Beef, oil, bullies, corruption and spies: Politics on TV, Oct. 14 edition

Dale Smith on the Sunday talkshows

Message of the day

“The government would not put someone forward to comment.”

Questions not answered

  • How will the government respond to the owners of the XL Food plant now that they’ve laid off their workers?

Tainted beef:

Question Period’s Kevin Newman spoke to UFCW president Doug O’Halloran, who said it makes no sense for XL Foods to lay off workers temporarily if CFIA needs to see more processing taking place. He said that unless owners are trying to hide something, it appears they are trying to bully the inspection system. Neither Gerry Ritz nor the CFIA would appear on the show to comment.

Northern Gateway Pipeline:

On The West Block, Tom Clark spoke to B.C. Premier Christy Clark, who said that while she understands the economics of shipping oil to Asia by way of B.C., they need a better balance of risk and reward. Clark said the list of concerns is growing as the hearings continue, but that could also mean the company will revise its plans. When asked why she wasn’t having these discussions in the B.C. legislature, Clark said they need to take place between herself, Premier Redford and Prime Minister Harper.


Question Period spoke to Ottawa city councillor Allan Hubley, whose son Jamie took his life a year ago. Hubley says in a cyber era, bullying victims are no longer safe in their own homes. Hubley said he’s not sure making it a federal crime is the right approach, but that we’d be better to  fund front-line services and attach a social stigma to bullying. Vic Toews wouldn’t appear on the show, but said on Friday that a Senate and a Commons committee are looking at the issue.

Newman then spoke with NDP MP Dany Morin, whose private members’ motion to create a committee to create a national strategy to prevent bullying will be up for debate this week. While he agrees with Hubley’s assessment, he hopes the non-partisan committee will focus on prevention.

Over on The West Block, Christy Clark said that during her career as a broadcaster, she championed the Pink Shirt campaign to combat bullying. She said B.C. is beginning a new program for 15,000 educators to spot and deal with bullying.


With the Jeffrey Delisle conviction and anxiety about Huawei, Kevin Newman spoke to MPs Jack Harris and John McKay about espionage, while the Conservatives declined to put an MP up for the panel. Harris said the government’s credibility is at stake when it says allies aren’t concerned about the breach at the same time that the Crown said the blow was severe and irreparable (though not all intelligence experts agree with that position). McKay said Harper should be insulted by the Russian ambassador’s comments, and wondered why it was OK for the U.S. Congress to look into these matters but Canadian MPs were kept in the dark.

Deborah Coyne:

Deborah Coyne appeared on Question Period where she said it’s never too soon to start engaging Canadians across the country. Coyne says there will be no awkwardness with Justin Trudeau — she had a relationship with Pierre Trudeau that produced a daughter, Sarah, in 1991 — as their families have always been separate. She said all candidates bring different backgrounds to the debate. Coyne says her vision is of “one Canada for all Canadians,” where the government doesn’t disengage the way that Harper is currently.

Quebec corruption:

Tom Clark spoke with journalists Alex Panetta and Martin Patriquin about the Charbonneau inquiry. Patriquin said in the two years since the controversial Maclean’s story, the political element has been implicated in a more insidious way, and that the federalist/sovereigntist angle colours this in the province when the choice becomes voting for crooks or separatists. Panetta said revelations have infused the political conversation, and that the Quebec Liberals and the implicated companies are hoping future revelations will spread the blame.