Saturday, March 21, 2009

Justice Minister Don Morgan vs CBC

Should the CBC be scrapped? It is reported that only 1 in 12 Canadians watch CBC. The government too heavily funds the CBC. Over one billion at last count and they are now asking Minister James Moore for another 100 million in the form of a loan on their annual federal appropriation due to a drop in advertising revenue resulting from the failing economy. The CBC has little to do with protecting Canadian content or providing Canadian content. In one year they lost the Grey Cup and the Brier to TSN and those two are about as Canadian as it gets with the exception of hockey.

Regardless, Justice Minister Don Morgan was maybe too quick out of the gate when he apparently wrote a strongly worded letter to the CBC Ombudsman. Morgan was opposing the possibility of CBC airing a telephone interview they conducted with convicted killer Curt Dagenais. Interestingly, Justice Minister Don Morgan did not know the content of the interview between the CBC and Dagenais and nor did he know what part, if any, the CBC was intending to air. Morgan did know that Dagenais may appeal his conviction and charged that the CBC was in some way attempting to reopen the case by conducting the interview. I understand it is generally popular to oppose the CBC. It is also popular to speak out against convicted killers like Curt Dagenais.

In this case, the CBC had every right to interview Curt Dagenais and they would have had every right to report, based on that interview, that Dagenais may appeal his conviction. Nonetheless, this matter raises more questions about the motives of Justice Minister Don Morgan than it does about the CBC. Was Morgan too quick out of the gate without having all the facts before him? By his own words, when informed of what was in the CBC interview, Don Morgan said, "Maybe I was going too far, too fast." It seems the CBC was within their mandate, but was Justice Minister Don Morgan within his mandate?