August 15, 2015

"This Hour's..." Mark Critch is violating CBC's code of conduct

Ezra LevantRebel Commander

I like Mark Critch from This Hour Has 22 Minutes. As government comedians go, he's pretty funny.

He won't like my description, but that's what Critch is:

He's been on the state-sponsored CBC's payroll for years.

(Isn't it weird being a "satirist" who works for the Establishment? It's like being in a government punk band...)

Anyway, Critch has entered the federal election campaign.

He doesn't like a Conservative MP named Paul Calandra and he's been tweeting about it.

Critch called Calandra a "tool," then pledged to donate money to a Newfoundland abortion clinic every time someone tweeted the same thing.

But then Critch vows to use his show -- which is funded by taxpayer dollars -- to attack the Tory MP.

The trouble is:

The CBC's own code of conduct seems to forbid this kind of political activity...

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commented 2015-08-23 01:30:49 -0400
Voting against the party you don’t like doesn’t work. Look at Alberta. Nobody thought it through,and now all those people who voted NDP are moving back to Ontario Quebec and the eastern provinces after only 4 months. Thanks a lot. From now on stay there.
commented 2015-08-19 05:04:39 -0400
Joan, for the first time, I think I agree with just about everything you said. Jimmy, nice reserved commenting, but that NYT article was bullshit, and far worse than what you accuse Ezra and TheRebel.Media of being. Do you actually believe the preposterous claims in Marche’s article? Do you really think Harper is engaged in a “war on science”, or that he’s hostile to the press, and a “know-nothing” conservative who "cloak"s his government in “secrecy” to promote a society of “wilful ignorance”? If so, I’d welcome any opportunity to try and convince you otherwise.
The CBC and Unifor, et al, are promoting it as a “Stop Harper” election, but that doesn’t make it so. Wouldn’t you rather cast your vote FOR the candidate/party/leader you want, instead of just voting AGAINST the one you don’t (which in this case, I would argue, is irrational)?
Further, most Canadians are not liberal, but centrist, and that is precisely why Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party have remained in power for so long. It’s so simple, you’d have to be an idiot not to understand that they are the most centrist of all the parties, as Joan explained below.
commented 2015-08-17 19:52:19 -0400

To be honest, I think this is just a “Stop Harper” election to many Canadians. Meaning that liberals will vote Liberal or NDP – depending on the polls and who has the better shot to beat Harper. If the Green party was neck and neck with conservatives, Canadians would vote for the Green Party to stop Harper.

Similar to Torontonians that wanted to stop Rob Ford. Olivia Chow would be mayor now if she had swapped polling spots with John Tory.
commented 2015-08-17 19:15:18 -0400
It’d be nice if the CBC was cut 100% of all their funding. If people wish to start up a “CBC” on their own steam, then let them, but I think its a big waste of money. The time for " a national voice" is long past (like 30 years ago now). If the NDP and Liberals need a mouth piece, they should have to pay for themselves.
commented 2015-08-17 18:16:03 -0400
Jimmy – I know what you are saying but I’m not sure most Liberals and NDP would agree they are both the same or even similar enough to represent one big leftist group.

In any event, while poll results differ on who is out front, they all agree no party has a majority yet.

Leger’s latest poll shows NDP at 33% (minority), Trudeau at 28% and Harper at 27%. But these ones more or less reverse those numbers:

I disagree too that Trudeau doesn’t stand a chance. Canadians are starting to hear some scary stuff about Mulcair not only at but also on radio and social media. At the same time, polls all agree Trudeau’s numbers are edging up. But a majority? Don’t think so.

It’s so close now it’s hard to tell but I think I am pretty objective and I see Trudeau’s campaign style improving by the day. To win, though, he must woo votes from the Conservatives as well as the NDP which will keep all the hard-core union votes even if the sky falls, and disgruntled Conservatives are mostly saying they’ll vote NDP.

I think if the Liberals and NDP became one party that the Conservative and/or other parties would grow just to balance the game. Because nothing hurts democracy more than a one-party system.
commented 2015-08-17 16:54:59 -0400

I am just saying that there are liberals that will vote NDP and there are liberals that will vote Liberal – thus making it more difficult to beat Harper, because one party isn’t getting the entire liberal/left/progressive vote and thus the majority of Canadians are not been heard.

This is why the majority of Canadians are not happy under Harper and the conservatives per pretty much every single poll that has been done.

I don’t think Trudeau has a chance this go around. But I do think if he sticks with politics, he will have a much better shot at the next election. It’s Mulcair vs. Harper and I hope to hell that Mulcair takes it.
commented 2015-08-17 15:28:12 -0400
Hit post by mistake. The ipad keyboard is so sensitve and thinks it is so smart …

Anyway, as I was saying, some NDP and Conservatives have as much in commn as NDP and Liberals do. Tough on crime, for one.

I think if we end up with a minority and must live with a coalition government that it should be formed from the two parties with the most votes, not from Trudeau, Mulcair, Duceppe and May. I think economist Harper and lawyer Mulcair would make a killer team.

But I don’t believe Trudeau will ever compromise and for so long as Mulcair leads in the polls, neither will he. Conservative leader Stephen Harper was smart to unite the right. Right? So maybe he is not such a bad leader for our country after all. Eh??

But I must say that every day, Trudeau’s delivery style becomes more and more authoritarian, more and more demanding, and whether or not it is wise, voters looking for someone to believe in will vote for that type of style. Don’t count Trudeau out yet, folks. He may be the dark horse we must beat.

Jimmy, the Conservative Party of Canada is centrist enough in its values and policies to have stayed in power for ten years because it attracts small-L liberal Canadian swing voters (includng some Liberal Party members who don’t like how the Liberal Party is being managed) swing voters who, like many Liberal Party members, favour fiscal Conservativism and social progressivism. Neither of those values is exclusively the purview of one or another of the parties and voters variably favour one or the other.

Can Conservatives win again? Still too early to say. I find it interesting and perhaps telling that the Conservatives just promised more legislation to restrict terrorist activty. That suggests the party’s polls show that issue is key for Canadian voters.

I know it sounds cynical, but a timely terrorist event in late September could tip the scales. As could a rapidly escalating recession. Or a natural disaster. Or more party-specific scamdal. Ha!! Scamdal – I was going to correct that typo but decided to leave it.

And media does play a big part. Not just the mainstream but more and more, social media. I have subscribed to email from all parties and I can tell you, the NDP is by far the most aggressive. I get email every day asking for $5 and shaming me when I don’t donate. (Shaming is a bad recruitment tactic). Conservatives send me email about once a week almost always asking for $100. I also think that is a mistake. I think they should ask for $5 or more but without the shaming. I almost never get email from the Liberal Party not even from our local candidate. The local Green candidate tweets, as does Trudeau more and more. And Trudeau attaches petitions and letters and other missives in excess of 140 characters. Harper and Mulcair tweet at about the same rate, usually about where they are on their campaign tours, with photos – bit of a yawn. I think they could take a lesson from Trudeau and use Twitter better to address issues and to recruit votes. Asking Canadians to join one in a cause feels more personal, is more inviting and, in my view, more effective. I don’t use FB or instagram but I do check out and Vice and youtube as well as the Post, the Mail, various American news sites, the Globe, cbc, the Sun, the Citizen, etc., etc., etc.

I think Critch will be fine. 22 Minutes has been a lot less biased than some media with its satire over the years and I can’t imagine them abandoning that any time soon. They don’t hate Harper or Conservatives but they are going to lampoon the party in power the most because … well, duh, right? And they have lawyers. It’s all just business, more or less, not really personal most of the time.
commented 2015-08-17 15:22:49 -0400
Who is this guy? CBC has a “comedy” show? Seriously?
In any event, who cares. Whoever this guy is, he’s just preaching to his choir.
commented 2015-08-17 14:53:39 -0400
Jimmy – I don’t care that he is Canadian. Denigrating a whole nation as ignorant to make a political point about a leader you dislike is what Peter Pan – and I – call bad form.

Do you really think NDP and Liberals have enough in common to unite the left? Or are you only considering those in each party who agree?

NDP and Conservatives have
commented 2015-08-17 12:27:32 -0400

Yes, The New York Times – the most respected news source on the planet, despite what you may think. You know, you can be left leaning and still be factual or accurate.
commented 2015-08-17 12:19:21 -0400

Well to be fair – he is Canadian, so it’s not like he is some American calling us out.

Secondly, the majority of Canadians are liberal and vote liberal – the problem is that there are too many political parties in Canada that represent a liberal view and thus liberals screw themselves by giving their vote to more than one party. If it was just Liberal vs. Conservative party and no NDP or Green, Trudeau would bury Harper in this election.

Most Canadians (66% according to most polls) don’t like the direction of the country, so it’s a fallacy that Canadians love Harper or that they feel that they are better off now under the conservative party. So in this regard, Canadians are ignorant for allowing Harper to continue. It’s actually stupid that the Liberals and the NDP don’t work together. They are very likeminded and it would ensure a win. I wish they weren’t so stubborn.

I get it Joan – you are a conservative, but under Harper – I think Canada has become more and more like America. Canada is America Jr. We truly are going backwards in many ways and becoming less Canadian.
commented 2015-08-17 10:15:18 -0400
IJoan – I understand completely what you are talking about. The root cause that causes people to lose their empathy, reason or humanity is political partisanism. They actually adopt political branding at a tribal level. From that point forward the world is a matter of “us and them”. Debate is ended as they go to some self propelled war like mentality against all who are not of that political brand or persuasion. It explains fully how they would take the side of the Jihadis on 9/11 – they both have ideologies which are intensely tribal. This is what polemic politics does to people
commented 2015-08-17 09:15:20 -0400
I object to Marche characterizing Canadians as ignorant. We are not.

In September 2001, after 3,000 people lost their lives at the world Trade Centre, I listened to local Council of Canadians and COMER members, with whom I was associated at work, cheer. They said the Americans who died “deserved it”. Our campus FN coordinator lost all the adult men in her family who were part of the construction crew that day at the World Trade Centre to fortify the foundation. Did they deserve that or were they justifiable collateral damage? Coincident with the event, my associates knew bin Laden organized the attack. They said the hit was revenge for how Americans treat Muslims. When I objected that many who died were Muslims, the local COMER editor complained there had been a mistake. He lamented, “They were supposed to be all Jews”.

That was the day my views began to drift further to the right. Later, I wrote to my American friends and family and apologized for PM Chretien after he said he agreed with Chirac that the Americans deserved the attack. No one deserves to die like that. Where is our compassion for innocents?

I have and would never characterize a whole people as ignorant. Especially a good neighbour like the US. If we object to their government, surely we can find policies to criticize without denigrating all Americans. Likewise, Marche can do better than to demonize Canadians as morons.

Marche relies on disinformation to demean Canadians. I would argue that is worse than his false premise that because PM Harper hates information, he has made all Canadians ignorant. Harper neither hates sharing information nor has he made Canadians ignorant.

No leader in any democracy has the power to keep his/her people ignorant. Thank Christ!
commented 2015-08-17 05:13:55 -0400
Ah the NY Times, a leftist piece of trash. That article requires a good fisking…. Alas, I have other duties. BTW, have they given back Duranty’s Pulitzer yet?
commented 2015-08-16 22:46:35 -0400
That couldn’t have been a more accurate article about Harper and the conservative years.
commented 2015-08-16 22:40:56 -0400
Speaking about Stephen Harper -

From The New York Times:

The Closing of the Canadian Mind

THE prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has called an election for Oct. 19, but he doesn’t want anyone to talk about it.

He has chosen not to participate in the traditional series of debates on national television, confronting his opponents in quieter, less public venues, like the scholarly Munk Debates and CPAC, Canada’s equivalent of CSPAN. His own campaign events were subject to gag orders until a public outcry forced him to rescind the forced silence of his supporters.

Mr. Harper’s campaign for re-election has so far been utterly consistent with the personality trait that has defined his tenure as prime minister: his peculiar hatred for sharing information.

Americans have traditionally looked to Canada as a liberal haven, with gun control, universal health care and good public education.

But the nine and half years of Mr. Harper’s tenure have seen the slow-motion erosion of that reputation for open, responsible government. His stance has been a know-nothing conservatism, applied broadly and effectively. He has consistently limited the capacity of the public to understand what its government is doing, cloaking himself and his Conservative Party in an entitled secrecy, and the country in ignorance.

His relationship to the press is one of outright hostility. At his notoriously brief news conferences, his handlers vet every journalist, picking and choosing who can ask questions. In the usual give-and-take between press and politicians, the hurly-burly of any healthy democracy, he has simply removed the give.

Mr. Harper’s war against science has been even more damaging to the capacity of Canadians to know what their government is doing. The prime minister’s base of support is Alberta, a western province financially dependent on the oil industry, and he has been dedicated to protecting petrochemical companies from having their feelings hurt by any inconvenient research.

In 2012, he tried to defund government research centers in the High Arctic, and placed Canadian environmental scientists under gag orders. That year, National Research Council members were barred from discussing their work on snowfall with the media. Scientists for the governmental agency Environment Canada, under threat of losing their jobs, have been banned from discussing their research without political approval. Mentions of federal climate change research in the Canadian press have dropped 80 percent. The union that represents federal scientists and other professionals has, for the first time in its history, abandoned neutrality to campaign against Mr. Harper.

His active promotion of ignorance extends into the functions of government itself. Most shockingly, he ended the mandatory long-form census, a decision protested by nearly 500 organizations in Canada, including the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Catholic Council of Bishops. In the age of information, he has stripped Canada of its capacity to gather information about itself. The Harper years have seen a subtle darkening of Canadian life.

The darkness has resulted, organically, in one of the most scandal-plagued administrations in Canadian history. Mr. Harper’s tenure coincided with the scandal of Rob Ford, the mayor of Toronto who admitted to smoking crack while in office and whose secret life came to light only when Gawker, an American website, broke the story. In a famous video at a Ford family barbecue, Mr. Harper praised the Fords as a “Conservative political dynasty.”

Mr. Harper’s appointments to the Senate — which in Canada is a mercifully impotent body employed strictly for political payoffs — have proved greedier than the norm. Mr. Harper’s chief of staff was forced out for paying off a senator who fudged his expenses. The Mounties have pressed criminal charges.

After the 2011 election, a Conservative staffer, Michael Sona, was convicted of using robocalls to send voters to the wrong polling places in Guelph, Ontario. In the words of the judge, he was guilty of “callous and blatant disregard for the right of people to vote.” In advance of this election, instead of such petty ploys, the Canadian Conservatives have passed the Fair Elections Act, a law with a classically Orwellian title, which not only needlessly tightens the requirements for voting but also has restricted the chief executive of Elections Canada from promoting the act of voting. Mr. Harper seems to think that his job is to prevent democracy.

But the worst of the Harper years is that all this secrecy and informational control have been at the service of no larger vision for the country. The policies that he has undertaken have been negligible — more irritating distractions than substantial changes. He is “tough on crime,” and so he has built more prisons at great expense at the exact moment when even American conservatives have realized that over-incarceration causes more problems than it solves. Then there is a new law that allows the government to revoke citizenship for dual citizens convicted of terrorism or high treason — effectively creating levels of Canadianness and problems where none existed.

For a man who insists on such intense control, the prime minister has not managed to control much that matters. The argument for all this secrecy was a technocratic impulse — he imagined Canada as a kind of Singapore, only more polite and rule abiding.

The major foreign policy goal of his tenure was the Keystone Pipeline, which Mr. Harper ultimately failed to deliver. The Canadian dollar has returned to the low levels that once earned it the title of the northern peso. Despite being left in a luxurious position of strength after the global recession, he coasted on what he knew: oil. In the run-up to the election, the Bank of Canada has announced that Canada just had two straight quarters of contraction — the technical definition of a recession. He has been a poor manager by any metric.

The early polls show Mr. Harper trailing, but he’s beaten bad polls before. He has been prime minister for nearly a decade for a reason: He promised a steady and quiet life, undisturbed by painful facts. The Harper years have not been terrible; they’ve just been bland and purposeless. Mr. Harper represents the politics of willful ignorance. It has its attractions.

Whether or not he loses, he will leave Canada more ignorant than he found it. The real question for the coming election is a simple but grand one: Do Canadians like their country like that?
commented 2015-08-16 15:29:41 -0400
Peter Babich – If it happened in Canada, you should be able to sue for negligence given how badly it traumatized you. Under Canadian law, at that time, especially with a repeat offender, police should have arrested and the Crown should have prosecuted the man. Like Theo Fleury, you can sue and get the justice you say you feel you were denied that way.
commented 2015-08-16 15:21:37 -0400
Rick – Exactly! PM Harper is not the creepy, cold, demonic monster much of the media has made him out to be and that too many on the left believe he is.

Remember this? PM Harper’s security got it wrong (can’t blame them, given the Toronto 18) and then afterwards, PM Harper went out of his way to make amends with 22 Minutes, again showing his ability to make risque, adult jokes in good humour:
commented 2015-08-16 10:43:57 -0400
JOAN ABERNETHY commented: “A serious challenge for you all: watch this short clip – it is from a cbc-produced series – and comment: ”">" Cool! I like seeing this side of our PM! Reminds me of a few years ago before the Socialist Media began hate mongering about him, when he sang on stage before a crowd! Takes a lot of confidence to do that!
commented 2015-08-16 03:06:09 -0400
KILL THE CBC! KILL THE CBC! Anybody who doesn’t think that Mark Critch licks Liberal and NDP ass everyday is an idiot. I stopped watching that show years ago. But Ezra is right. How do we allow a billion dollars of our tax money(EVERY YEAR) to employ these left wing idiots. They are always high on pot so they have no idea what is good for them. Suzuki’s wealth off of our tax dollars sickens me even more. KILL THE CBC! KILL THE CBC!
commented 2015-08-16 01:29:33 -0400
Why don’t you go write a few more speeches for Mike Duffy? You have your nose so far up Harper’s ass that you can’t breathe anything but Conservative butt.
commented 2015-08-16 01:18:10 -0400
Joan, go back and read it
commented 2015-08-16 01:14:23 -0400
That’s great and honestly, since Critch is a comedian – he can probably get out from under CBC’s code of conduct. Critch may have even told CBC that he was doing this and they were OK with it for comedic purposes ala mocking like The Daily Show.
commented 2015-08-15 22:27:43 -0400
Jimmy – oh I think a Don Johnson/Sonny Crockett type character would be wildly popular in a Canadian show. Well, I’d enjoy it anyway …

I also enjoy some of the programming on aptv.

Yes, I think most Conservatives think like I do. Those I know do. But the party membership is huge and there are lots of diverse views. Also, I think most Conservatives hold party views that may differ from personally-held beliefs. Like how Harper would not want to abort a pregnancy he seeded yet he appreciates the complex relationship abortion has to women’s health and recognizes how essential it is in a free democracy to respect the individual’s freedom to choose.

While we do not – yet – represent the majority of those who post at, there are more thinkers like you and me here now than there were when first started up. But yes, I think those rebels who consistently abuse and revile our views represent a minority in the Conservative Party and movement. Did they not, the Conservatives would never have got elected.

On the whole, Canadians are a sophisticated people, a humane people who love freedom and democracy. While Mulcair and Harper disagree on many issues, they both love Canada. At the Macleans debate, we witnessed Harper stand up for Mulcair’s nationalism. And Trudeau’s gaffe about sharing Whistler secrets for surviving winter is rooted in his belief in Canada’s long-standing tradition of humanitarian sharing and respect for foreign autonomy. I don’t know May as well but I believe she too is committed to the principles of a modern social democracy. That is what Canadians vote for. Canadian values. If we suspect a party is solely self-interested, hopelessly corrupt, defrauding the public or making law to take away or replace our free society with an exclusive, punitive, oppressive and unjust tyranny, we vote the bums out.

Most Conservative voters are pro-feminist, pro-choice, anti-homophobic, kind, intelligent and humane thinkers who care about Canada and think fiscal Conservatism, low taxes, business and individual freedom is the best way to protect our civil social democracy. But we do not brook bigotry, meanness or hatred. Those are not and have never been Conservative values.
commented 2015-08-15 21:22:05 -0400

Yes, maybe a Don Johnson/Sonny Crockett type might be inappropriate for a Canadian show. :)

But I do think Yannick is very limited as an actor.

I have a question for you – do you think your views reflect most conservatives in Canada and The Rebel represents the fringe?
commented 2015-08-15 21:06:27 -0400
Jimmy – I know what you mean but I rather thought the woodeness was intended to lampoon the character, to satirize the character’s excessive rigidity.
commented 2015-08-15 21:01:57 -0400
Jay Kelly – Not at all a bad idea … Mary might be just the ticket to convince Canadians to return another majority Conservative government. Do you know what her freelance fee is?
commented 2015-08-15 20:53:49 -0400
Speaking of dour, Gathercole, Gathercole and Gathercole… you could stand to lighten up a bit.
commented 2015-08-15 20:49:49 -0400
It’s true, I do not watch Critch as much as Ezra does, but I appreciate good satire, especially during an election campaign. In front of the camera Harper and his backdrop folks look so glum and dour these days you wish Mary Walsh would wander into the shot.