Friday, 18 January 2013

Turns out there was more than one attempt to steal 88.1fm

You may remember that during the feeding frenzy over the vacant 88.1fm frequency left behind by the CKLN shutdown, I reported that one of the applicants (who had links to the Conservative Party via former Mike Harris era Ontario Cabinet Minister David Tubuschi) tried to game the system by lobbying a local Tory M.P.

From The Globe & Mail;

You may or may not also recall that my response at the time was basically; "Umm..Yeah, Right, Good Luck with that one. I'm pretty sure that's illegal though."

Turns out they weren't the only corporate weasels to try this stunt. Oh; and it also turns out that I was right about this. Too bad nobody told any of these high priced corporate radio big shots about the law. Then again apparently nobody told Finance Minster Jim Flaherty either. But the CRTC didn't need to be told though;
From The CBC;

From CTV;

Selected quotes;

"Responding to a dressing down from the federal ethics watchdog who said Jim Flaherty broke the rules when he sent a letter to the CRTC advocating for a business in his riding, the finance minister says any wrongdoing was borne of an "oversight."
Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson’s criticism was made public on the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's website Friday in a notice she also sent him outlining her conclusion after reviewing the case.
In her response, Dawson says Flaherty broke accountability guidelines, as well as conflict of interest rules, when he sent the letter to the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission last March to advocate for Durham Radio Inc. and its ultimately-failed bid for an FM radio station licence."
Nevertheless, Dawson says, considering his political position, Flaherty was wrong to have stepped in on the company’s behalf.
"It is improper for you, as Minister of Finance and Minister responsible for the Greater Toronto Area, to have written a letter of support on behalf of a constituent to an administrative tribunal in relation to its decision making," Dawson wrote.
As news of his letter first made headlines earlier this week, Flaherty told The Canadian Press he would "continue to be a strong advocate for the people and community I represent. It is my job."
The Prime Minister's Office also came to his defence, saying on Thursday that Flaherty was merely performing his duties as an MP.
Flaherty did not only sign his letter as an MP, however, as his sign-off also notes his status as finance minister and minister responsible for the GTA.
"I therefore order you to refrain from writing any similar letters in the future without seeking approval from my office."

And what is the bullshit excuse from the Tories? I'm glad you asked.

"As news of his letter first made headlines earlier this week, Flaherty told The Canadian Press he would "continue to be a strong advocate for the people and community I represent. It is my job." The Prime Minister's Office also came to his defence, saying on Thursday that Flaherty was merely performing his duties as an MP."

Translation; "Gosh I'm just a regular lil' ole M.P. You can't expect me to be up on obscure technicalities like this".

Uhh..No; Sorry guys the law says;
(From the Section of the Broadcasting Act:
7(1) Subject to subsection (2) and section 8, the Governor in Council (that means the Federal Cabinet or Prime Minister) may, by order, issue to the Commission directions of general application on broad policy matters with respect to;
(a) any of the objectives of the broadcasting policy set out in subsection 3(1); or
(b) any of the objectives of the regulatory policy set out in subsection 5(2).
(2) No order may be made under subsection (1) in respect of the issuance of a licence to a particular person or in respect of the amendment, renewal, suspension or revocation of a particular licence.

That means that No! Jim Flaherty, You may NOT, repeat NOT, lobby the CRTC for one of your cronies. You got that now? Making the claim that "I was only acting as a normal Member of Parliament gosh darn it" is nonsense. He is no such thing. Especially since he signed the fucking letter as Canada's Finance Minister. There is a copy included in the CTV story.

I expect the idiots at Ryerson to be this clueless but there is no excuse for Flaherty not knowing this stuff. It's kinda part of his job. It's not like he's Rob Ford for Fuck Sakes. On the other hand if you scroll down to the comment section you will find the usual collection of right wing Trolls making just that excuse. Probably the same sort of Tea Party wannabes who think Rob Ford was "set up" by "The Left". So there are clearly no limits to willful blindness.

The good news here is that, as I predicted, the CRTC was not bought off. They granted to a small independent group who are promising to play an all Indie and heavy CanCon format. (I did not predict this, although I did write a submission in their support). I doubt they could have outbidded the corporate big fish who were swimming in this pond, so they must have earned it fair and square. Say what you like about the CRTC, and there are legitimate reasons to criticize them, the CRTC are totally honest. In these days of blase' corruption I give them a great deal of credit for that.

Incidentally this reminds me that when Fitzroy Gordon was granted a license for a Black/Caribbean station at 98.7FM he made a point of saying in several interviews that he got the license after Stephen Harper and Immigration Minister Jason Kenny personally met with him and intervened with the CRTC. Gordon has specifically said this several times in various public interviews. He also urged black people to vote for Harper because of this. If true however that would mean that either;

a) Harper and Kenny blatantly broke the law (I wouldn't have though they were that stupid, now I'm not so sure)

b) Gordon is an ass-kissing liar who is just sucking up to Harper and making himself look like an insider.

c) Harper and Kenny just bullshitted Gordon to get him out of their office and then did nothing but make some empty promises and Gordon was dumb enough to believe them.

d) The Tories are running a shakedown operation for broadcast licenses since while Gordon was lobbying Harper and Jason Kenny, Durham inc. was also lobbying the Finance Minister and yet another group was slipping cash to yet another Tory MP. Setting aside the obvious corruption, can it really be this chaotic in Ottawa? How does a corporate weasel know who to pay off around here? What happens if you pay off the wrong sleazebag? How would you know? As it turns out NONE of these three jerks got the 88.1fm license anyway (although Durham has a slew of others across Canada), so they ALL got scammed. Serves them right of course but it still seems a tad unfair, not to mention inefficient.

Either way they are openly bragging about breaking the law. Someone really should look into this.


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