Broadcasters air lies about Thomas Mulcair because the CRTC allows it

Whenever I turn on CKNW Radio or News 1130, I seem to hear a vicious Conservative attack ad about NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair's "carbon tax".

Nothing gets me flipping the dial more quickly than this message.

That's because the ad is a bald-faced lie and any station that airs it does not deserve my time.

Mulcair has never supported a carbon tax, much to the chagrin of some environmentalists. It's not just me saying that he opposes a carbon tax. Maclean's columnist Paul Wells has also pointed out that the Conservatives are lying when they say Mulcair backs a carbon tax.

But the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, which is a private-sector-run subcontractor to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, does nothing to stop these lies from repeatedly going out over the airwaves.

And that's undermining Canadian democracy.

Another self-regulatory body, Advertising Standards Canada, also hasn't done anything about the carbon-tax message, even though its code says that ads "must not contain inaccurate, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims".

I've previously reported that the Canadian Association of Broadcasters asked the federal broadcast regulator for the right to govern broadcast standards in 1986.

Five years later, the CRTC granted this wish.

So now when a private radio station airs a bald-faced lie—such as the one about Mulcair promoting a carbon tax—the public is encouraged to go to the industry-funded organzation. The very companies that make whopping sums of money from these outrageously false ads are, in effect, the referees.

That's a conflict of interest. A regulator should never be in a position to profit from its decisions.

If the NDP wants to scare the daylights out of the private-sector broadcasters that keep running these lies, there's a simple solution: promise to return the regulation of broadcast standards to the CRTC.

Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at

Comments (30) Add New Comment
I don't generally support Conservative policies or values, but it's their bald-faced, ignorant lies that turn me off (completely) from voting Conservative.

Only an ignorant moron would vote for a party that tells bald-faced lies, day after day.

Lie to me and I will do everything in my power to fu*k you around. I'm not as stupid and uninformed as a member of the Conservative base.

PS - CKNW is the most ridiculous radio station in Canada. They don't employ a single host with a functioning brain. That's why we now have Christy Clark as premier - stupid, biased and useless.

Maybe former sports reporter, Bill Good, will assume the leadership.
Rating: +8
Mateus Rocha
Nothing says that you can't appreciate a good piece of propaganda, so why don't you write your own?
Rating: -8
The Cons are just taking a page out of the old Joesph Goebbels playbook: "Tell a lie often enough and people will believe it".
Yes, the Cons have resorted to the strategy of a Nazi propaganda artist to win public support and please their corporate masters. Nothing new here, actually...
Rating: +13
independent my ass
The conservatives hijacked the CRTC over a year ago. Calling it an 'independent' body now is a joke. Expect a lot more of this to come.
Rating: +14
Justin Flontek
Cons lie. Only way they're going to learn not to lie, is to smack them around every time they get caught.
Rating: +1
Ivan Ilyich
I've heard these dumbo attack ads "brought to you by Canada's conservatives" on Radio 103.5 Vancouver.

They run another ad for the BC Liberals which only a person who has no knowledge of their disgraceful behaviour could fall for. "We're on our way to balancing the budget in 2015". I can't forget how they were wrong on the budget by around 900% before the last election and yet no mention of HST.

They don't seem to have any other advertising which makes me think I'm listening to pure government sponsored propaganda. I would turn it off but I'm not at home.

Is the CRTC complicit to allow these fables on air?

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over”

Joseph Goebbels
Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda
Rating: -1
Look, Harper displeases me as much as anyone, but the NDP want a cap-and-trade system to "force polluters to pay for their carbon output."

How is that not a tax? Specifically, a carbon tax?

Taking money by force is taxation, you can call it cap-and-trade, or call it a handjob, or call it gaia stimulus, but that doesn't change the fact that it's a tax.
Rating: -6
Charlie Smith, you are the greatest Vancouver journalist and I thank God for your existence every time I read an article written by you. Yes, the deck is getting stacked against us more, but without you most people wouldn't even know it.

Keep your stick on the ice and your elbows up in the corner, we're in the stands rooting for you!
Rating: +3
@ Birdy: The Conservatives have also advocated cap-and-trade.

Please tell the class how this differs from the NDP cap-and-trade.

If you can't do so, logically, here's an idea: Shut up.
Rating: -8
Give us a break Charlie, just because you hate the Conservatives, it doesn't mean the Straight is the only source for the truth & the same for other "alternative" media outlets. Just face it, people who read, listen or watch mainstream media/news outlets are not stupid like you would like to think we are nor are we being duped or lied too. But then again we aren't informed & aware as a leftest purest such as yourself.
Rating: -13
Vasoline Man
What we need in our country is our own version of MSNBC.
Rating: 0
re: David H

I guess you're having reading comprehension difficulties with the first sentence of my post. I didn't say it was different. I'm not defending the Conservatives here, they're just as stupid and useless as every other party. I'm simply stating that they're all miserable liars. When the NDP acts all righteous and indignant they're being hypocritical, as they are twisting the truth just like Harper.

Here's a better idea: If you can't deal with the idea that someone isn't on board with ANY of these pathetic slop-bucket-hoarding political gangs, maybe you should stop using the word "logic" in your feeble partisan attacks.
Rating: -1
Charlie, wow! you're having a good day!

If one repeats a lie often enough then the simple matter of frequency causes the reader/listener/watcher to believe it.

An example: "The NDP left the province in financial ruin."

The truth: Premier Dosanjh left 1.6 billion in the Treasury.

The Lie: There will be no debt left after the 2010 Olympics. Some Irish blarney.

The Truth: Debt is over 6 million or billion--I forget--please check with Chris Shaw. Thanks.

Rating: +4
The federal Conservatives appear in their false ads to sound extremely worried and desperate. How can anyone with a shred of decency, morals, intelligence, integrity, honesty and common sense defend the Federal Conservatives and Stevie Harper on how they govern this country. The only thing that the federal Conservatives have going for them is voter apathy. Finally a columnist has shed some light on the darkness that hides the shenanigans of the federal Conservatives party.
the federal Conservatives under Stevie Harper walked into the biggest economic boom in Canadian history and screwed the Canadian taxpayers royally in favor of themselves and big corporations that line their pockets. And with the temporary foreign worker program we are really going to get shafted all while corporation and politician get rich from the deal that do nothing to benefit the average Canadian taxpayer and voter.
Rating: +10
Plum Duff
I'm firmly NDP but damn Thomas, do a little detail trim on that beard. You could be a real rogue if you paid some attention.

Just sayin' ;)
Rating: +216
Finally, an offset for the CBC. Now we are getting balanced.
Perhaps now the people might even get a prospective on both sides of an issue. God forbid!
Rating: +7
The fact is whether it is a carbon tax or a cap and trade system the end result is the same...a tax on carbon. One is a direct tax, the other is an indirect tax. Lies I guess are in the eyes of the beholder. I know it drives the lefties nuts but the fact remains prices will go up under either system. To think corporations are going to absorb the increased costs is plain silly. Live with it. It is a carbon tax.
Rating: +2
Falsehoods are just a form of free speech according to Peter Van Loan (December 2011, response to bogus by-election telephone calls). I read that statement as saying honesty and integrity are no longer a requirement within the Conservative Party.
Rating: +1
Go save a polar no-good, ignorant watermelon commies!
Rating: -502
Arthur Vandelay
Indignation like this article would be more believable were it to show up in different contexts and not just when the poor NDP takes it on the chin. I didn't hear much righteous indignation from the GS when the Cons plastered the Liberals in the last few elections with equally misleading material. Besides, shouldn't the NDP have been prepared for this attack and use it to brand the Cons as untrustworthy liars if its so far off base?

As it is, this all just comes off as more NDP whining. Man up for a change.
Rating: -6


Add new comment
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.