FCB Steering Committee
From: Ian Morrison, Spokesperson
Subject: Letter from William Chambers, CBC
On November 14, Bill Chambers, CBC's Communications VP sent a letter by email to several members of the Steering Committee and Advisory Council. A copy of the version that went to our Chair, Noreen Golfman is attached. It has also been posted in the communications section of CBC's Intranet (the internal website for CBC employees) labelled "Friends of Canadian Broadcasting fundraising campaign letter/Rebuttal by Bill Chambers".
By way of background, this is not the first occasion when Mr. Chambers has written to FRIENDS in this fashion. In February, he wrote to Noreen and copied several Steering Committee and Advisory Council members expressing concern regarding our communication to FRIENDS' supporters regarding the performance of CBC President Robert Rabinovitch and Executive Vice President for English Television, Richard Stursberg. A copy of that letter and Noreen's response is posted on our website:
That exchange was derivative from an evaluation of Mr. Rabinovitch's performance we posted in September 2006 and a subsequent letter to our supporters which drew upon that evaluation:
It appears that Mr. Chambers' November 14 memo was responding to an email we sent to some of our supporters on November 11, 2007.
I leave it to you to interpret the spin capabilities and motives of Mr. Chambers, as well as who instructed him to write this letter, and will focus on the evidence to support the contents of our November 11 memo to supporters.
As you know, owing to the lead times for Canada Post-based communication, email is essential for time-sensitive matters. Hence the November 11 message regarding the November 5 appointment of Hubert Lacroix as CBC President.
In that message we stated that Mr. Lacroix contributed $1,000 to a Conservative candidate during the 2006 election campaign (the maximum allowable contribution), and a further $1,000 last December to the constituency association of Senator Michael Fortier, two weeks after Senator Fortier's nomination as a candidate in the riding of Vaudreuil-Solanges. We also stated that Senator Fortier is the political minister for Montreal in Stephen Harper's cabinet. For your information, Senator Fortier is the patronage boss for the Conservative government in Quebec and is known to be very close to Mr. Harper.
We have searched the political contribution data base of the Chief Electoral officer and can find no evidence of any other federal contributions by Mr. Lacroix over the past decade, except for a $500 contribution to the Progressive Conservative Party in 1998. I also attach a brief press release indicating that Senator Fortier was nominated two weeks before Mr. Lacroix's second contribution.
While it is possible, as Mr. Chambers asserts, that Mr. Lacroix made other contributions to local candidates of other federal political parties, we can find no evidence to support that assertion on this data base for the past ten years.
In our e-note we also wrote that Mr. Lacroix is a mergers and acquisitions specialist and that we can find no evidence that he has ever managed any company, let alone a broadcasting company. As you know, management is not the same as governance. We did point out in the message that he served on the Board of TeleMedia (a family-owned broadcasting company) for a few years earlier this decade, including a period as Executive Chair. We also noted that during the period of Mr. Lacroix's service, Telemedia disposed of its broadcasting assets.
We drew Mr. Lacroix's biographical data from "Canadian Who's Who", and our knowledge of TeleMedia from our research capacity and broadcasting industry knowledge and experience.
The above is all we wrote about Mr. Lacroix in that memo. We also included a link to an updated briefing note entitled "The Conservatives' Hidden Agenda for Public Broadcasting and Cultural Sovereignty: a Briefing note for FCB Supporters from Ian Morrison" which contains a couple of paragraphs on the Lacroix appointment.
And we posed the question: "Why would Stephen Harper appoint someone lacking broadcasting management experience as President of CBC?"
I also attach for your information a memo which has come into our hands from a Conservative Party official giving its personnel talking points for use with local media about the Lacroix appointment.
As you know, we have sent Hubert Lacroix the following message: "We have not, as alleged in a recent letter from Bill Chambers, attacked your reputation, nor do we bear you any ill will. In fact, we offer our support and encouragement as you take on your new responsibilities, and look forward to an occasion to share our perspective should you so wish."