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Friends with Benefits: CTF finds Friends of Canadian Broadcasting on the CBC Payroll by Gregory Thomas

Feb 2, 2012

Source: Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Amongst the many Access to Information (ATI) enquiries we make each year was this tidbit relating to the CBC. Our National Research Director, Derek Fildebrandt got to thinking about the leadership of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, the group that advocates for more funding for the CBC. “What if these people are actually on the CBC’s payroll?” thought Derek.

If it were true, it would go a long way to explaining their passion for public broadcasting. And it would be very, very funny.

We finally got our answer, after a long wait. As it turns out, the situation is actually pretty funny. ATI documents show that three members of the ‘Friends’ Steering Committee actually were on the CBC payroll.

Aritha van Herk was paid to write poems and was paid $6,322. David Tars was paid to be a “reader” and was paid $277, while Stephen Kimber was paid $675 as a “freelance[r].”

These are quite small sums of money – especially in the latter two cases – however this is by no means the whole picture.  Some of the individuals refused to disclose their financial arrangements with the CBC, resulting in about 85 pages of the ATI documents being blanked out.

Those refusing to disclose their financial dealings with the CBC include the ‘Friends’ spokesperson Ian Morrison, Chairperson Noreen Golfman and members Anna-Marie Dekker, Maggie Siggins and R.H. Thomson. Somewhere in the 85 blanked out pages, at least one of these names is sure to be found.

It sort of makes you think – if your goal is to demonstrate public support for the CBC, wouldn’t you put members of the public on your board, rather than CBC contractors?

Background

The CTF filed this very same ATI request in November of 2010 and was meet by the usual refusal to disclose anything. Following the CBC’s losses in court to keep itself effectively immune from the ATI Act, the CTF re-filed the request in October of 2011 and received a response on February 1st, more than 2 months after the legally required deadline.

© Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Feb 2, 2012 — Statement: Taxpayer Federation statements false
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation has posted false statements on its website concerning the relationship between the CBC and the broadcast watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.