Is the Harper government now in the reality TV business? -

Is the Harper government now in the reality TV business?

The Conservatives won’t say how much Border Security costs taxpayers


Peter O’Neil reports that the cost to the CBSA of assisting in the production of Border Security is so far unknown.

But the 2011 memo and attached agreement between the CBSA and Force Four Productions also spelled out the operational costs to taxpayers in terms of the role government officials would play. The CBSA would “enjoy de facto executive production” authority, identify “scenarios, sites and storylines,” as well as oversee and control all film shoots.

“This (financial) burden is not insignificant,” CBSA president Luc Portelance said in the proposal that was released through the Access to Information Act. The memo also noted that the Force Four Entertainment pitch to the CBSA was reviewed by an official in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office before getting final approval from Toews.

I asked Mr. Toews’ office for the cost and the CBSA responded as follows.

The documentary show follows the regular day-to-day duties of CBSA employees at the land border, airports, mail centres and inland. The time and effort that CBSA has put forth in support of this production is very worthwhile when we see the value of reaching and educating millions of viewers. Our participating officers are doing their jobs, and the production takes place at no extra costs to our front line operations.

You’ll notice that there isn’t quite an answer there. Perhaps Conservative MP Brian Jean could submit an order paper question about this.


Is the Harper government now in the reality TV business?

  1. It’s a disgrace that a journalist, or any citizen for that matter, asks a direct question and instead gets this kind of bullshit reply. If Minister Toews or the Department think it’s worthwhile then they should be rushing to demonstrate their commitment with information about the size of the expenditure.

    They obviously don’t have the courage of their convictions.

    • So “the production takes place at no extra costs to our front line operations.” isn’t detailed enough for you?

      • What’s your source for that? Because the story makes it seem pretty clear that there is a cost associated.

        • Read the quote from Toews. Try to get to the last sentence.

      • “This (financial) burden is not insignificant,” CBSA president Luc
        Portelance said in the proposal that was released through the Access to
        Information Act.”

        Perhaps Toews should have checked with this guy what no extra cost actually means, or at least get his tps sorted properly?

        • Who inserted the word “financial”? It obviously wasn’t Portelance.

          • Well spotted. I missed that. Why not email O’Neil before you insinuate anything? Obviously PO wouldn’t have put it in brackets if he was trying to put words in his mouth. I imagine there is some kind of protocol over the use of brackets in Journalistic circles.

      • Note the “front line operations” qualifier. That right there is a pretty clear indicator that there are costs somewhere that they don’t want to disclose.

      • Then why not answer the question?
        Toews answer is evasive at best and disingenuous/dishonest at worst.
        Why is it such a burden to inform the taxpayer how much of their money was spent on this? What are they hiding? Why not release the figures?
        Why Rick Omen? Why?

      • Are you actually so stupid that you don’t realize that CBSA is bearing a cost off the front lines?

  2. Didn’t anybody see the 1812 propaganda commercials? Yes they are in the well scripted reality TV show business. Bachelorette anyone?

    • Was the CBSA in there too? Must’ve been the guys in blue.

  3. I’m holding out for a series on Election Canada myself. The bit where they kick down the CPC doors and find big D busy on the robo call ph bank should be exciting. Maybe they can jazz it up a bit by showing the bit where the election super dog trees him in the parking lot; and Harper has to send in the brute squad – PP and VTs with Ezra at the wheel – to whisk him out a there in the CPC super charged humvee. They all head to the safe house…Duffy’s…but nobody knows exactly where it is. The tension is electric.

    How they find it is in the next episode. Spoiler alert, it involves a sea chase.

    I’m working on the script right now. Shouldn’t be any prob getting that one by Vic at all.

  4. Said it when this first appeared, sayin’ it again: The time is right for a series about plucky revenue agents getting to the bottom of Canadian banks” investments’ in the Caribbean.

    Yes, it’s time for….”CRA:Barbados”, (Can’t wait for the Gerry McCaughey takedown episode. That’ll be a barn-burner! ) And the spin-offs? Caymans. Anguilla. Turks and Caicos. Endless! Through the roof! Boffo!

    Also, there’s probably room in the taxpayer-funded, Harper Government production budget for a paranoid thriller series about the shadowy government takedown of a world-leading science facility. Hey, they could call it “Experimental Lakes”! Of course, that’s low-budget compared to the production gloss that will flow to “Gazebo” (a light-hearted family comedy that takes place in Ontario’s tony Muskoka region wherein residents try to figure out what to do with their new but far-flung eponymous amenities).

    • I think you are saying the Opposition should get in to the reality TV show commercial business. That ‘science destroying’ mission sounds good: ‘Arctic Air’ with ‘Action Plan’! Look out lakes.

      • Yes! That grey, pink, green, um, blue and…what’s the other colour?…arrow motif. It shows up everywhere in ‘ExperiMental Lakes’! As a clue! The intrepid Megan Leslie stars! Ably assisted by the crusty Charlie Angus. Bob Rae guests on the phone as “Charlie’, the mysterious svengali of the whole counter-ops team. Special appearance by Stephen Harper as a guy with a cat in his lap!

        Tentpole! Franchise!

        You’ve got a future in the pictures, kid! Write me a wrasslin’ movie.