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CBC loses lawsuit against Conservatives

A lawsuit launched by the CBC over the Tories' use of their footage in advertisements during the 2019 federal election has been dismissed. The court ruling indicated that the Conservative Party's use of CBC material was fair.

"As indicated at the outset of this Decision, the CBC had requested a wide ranging injunction. The terms of such an injunction would have been to create a code for the Respondents to follow in its political advertising. Such a code is difficult to craft and enforce. CBC amended its request relief to a declaration of right alone. This is an unusual remedy but not unknown either in principle or practice. However, given the Court's disposition, a simple dismissal is the appropriate and necessary remedy," read the decision.

The Conservative Party wrote in a release: “The 17 seconds of CBC clips in the video included (Postmedia columnist) Andrew Coyne highlighting how Justin Trudeau broke the law, Justin Trudeau telling a Canadian war veteran that he is ‘asking for more than we can give right now,’ and one CBC reporter questioning why the Liberals provided Loblaws with $12 million in tax dollars to install new refrigerators.”

All this for 17 seconds of footage - and one wonders how some can, despite this, still deny the partiality of the CBC.

"Not only does the lawsuit fuel perceptions of bias, but it causes enormous damage to CBC journalists – Rosemary Barton and John Paul Tasker – who are both named as plaintiffs in the lawsuit," wrote University of Ottawa academic Michael Geist.

Allegations of bias are far from new. CBC president Hubert Lacroix criticized the “vicious circle” of funding cuts enacted by the Harper administration.

“If we don’t work together to turn this around … we risk becoming so weak that we will no longer be able to provide what our citizens need from each of us and, in turn, it will be harder to justify their investment in us,” he said.

Certain CBC reporters accordingly played a role in promoting Trudeau in 2015 in order to accrue lost funding. “Justin Trudeau says govt has a role in promoting cultural industry,” said CBC reporter Margo McDiarnid back in 2015.

It should be noted that the NDP is also equally adept at calling out the CBC for unfair coverage that elevates the Liberals over other parties. Vancouver MP Don Davies wrote earlier this spring: “Just saw a 4th and 5th federal story on CBC national news: on Meng case and Uyghurs. Trudeau quoted on both. No opposition. That’s 5 straight federal stories on CBC TV news with exclusively Liberal comment. Brazen lack of balance.”

Anti-CBC rhetoric has consequently become increasingly common, with news vehicles being defaced and "Defund the CBC" merchandise becoming common among members of the Canadian right.

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