Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Exceptional Circumstances" No Excuse For Shoddy Misleading Journalism...

They say that two things are guaranteed in life. Death and taxes. It now appears there is a third constant. Misconstrued, misleading, error filled stories by those that are supposed to be the cream of Canadian journalism. We've been subjected to the tarring of Bev Oda, with the NDP, Bloc, and Liberals working hand in hand with said journalists in claiming Oda and the government were in contempt and misleading Parliament. One sentence in testimony given before committee by the head of Oda's office, stating that it was routine for the minister to add "not" when rejecting funding applications never saw the light of day in print, online, or on political talk shows save for a handful of journalists who actually possess the ethics and skills necessary to perform their job.

Just recently, we witnessed a media frenzy claiming the Conservatives were going to change same-sex marriage laws. Baseless in fact. Yet the usual suspects in the Parliamentary Press Gallery continued to run with the story, when no story existed. Same for wafergate. Ditto changes in abortion laws. Quick to try and inflict damage on the PM and his government, next to non-existent when it's time to set the record straight.

That takes us to the current media pile-on, Bill C-30. The target this time being Vic Toews. Admittedly, Toews painted a big bulls eye on his back with his idiotic comment about being with the government or the child pornographers. Toews has been subjected to someone tweeting the details of his divorce, from a House of Commons computer no less. True, some have showed the gumption to denounce these personal attacks, but some of the usual suspects seem to think Toews deserves it. Don Martin, the one who wrote an editorial denouncing journalists writing about Ruby Dhalla's nanny troubles, stating her private life should be out of bounds, seemed to imply Toews is deserving on Power Play. Not surprising, considering Martin actually did an op-ed detailing Toews divorce a few years ago.

But what seems to have taken this crappy journalism to the next level, is an Evan Solomon interview with Toews. In that interview, Solomon asks the minister about the "exceptional circumstances clause". Journalists have been running with the story about how Toews didn't read his own legislation.

Matt Gurney of the National Post ran an editorial titled Vic Toews should step down, which includes this gem: "When read this section of his own bill on CBC Radio, Mr. Toews seemed taken aback, and said that he didn’t believe that was appropriate. It was something, Mr. Toews said, that he would like to see explained." I have to wonder if Gurney ever even heard interview, or did he base his "facts" on what other journalists had previously written?

So what were Toews actual words in the Solomon interview? h/t to Gabby and Joanne

Toews: Let’s have that discussion then at first reading because I’m not familiar with that framing of the concern because, as I understand it, they can only ask for this information where they’re conducting a specific criminal investigation … [my emphasis]

Solomon: I’m just reading directly from section 17 under “exceptional circumstances”. So you’d be prepared then … that might be something you would be prepared to amend if that was brought up at committee.

Toews: I’d certainly like to see an explanation of that, because right today, police already have exceptional powers, whether it’s to come into your house, your car, and do any kind of seizure in exceptional circumstances. That is a common law power that is continued into our criminal code and beyond"

So with the media still running with this story today, it might be worth pointing out the obvious, that the "exceptional circumstances clause", the one Solomon and his brethren seem to be so fixated on as an invasion of privacy being forced on Canadians by a ruthless government, actually already exists. The highlighted sections of Toews reply to Solomon show that it is Toews who is actually aware of the existing law and how it would affect the proposed legislation.

184.4. Interception in exceptional circumstances
184.4 A peace officer may intercept, by means of any electro-magnetic, acoustic, mechanical or other device, a private communication where
(a) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that the urgency of the situation is such that an authorization could not, with reasonable diligence, be obtained under any other provision of this Part;
(b) the peace officer believes on reasonable grounds that such an interception is immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm to any person or to property; and
(c) either the originator of the private communication or the person intended by the originator to receive it is the person who would perform the act that is likely to cause the harm or is the victim, or intended victim, of the harm.

It's also noteworthy this section of the criminal code was put into force in 1993. 13 years of Liberal governments and never a peep about the law being invasive.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Paulstuff!
Doing the Job Media won't do.

Gerald said...

Solomon and his cohorts are going to be spinning the news right up to the next election.It's getting worse everyday.It's seems like a person's in a parallel universe.You watch them sitting there putting a spin on everything,and a person can hardly believe what he's seeing and hearing.There's been so many cases of the media trying to destroy the CPC,and I totally believe that PM Harper has to start playing hardball.There must be plenty of dirt out there on these so called journalists,and it shouldn't be very difficult to find it out.I'd give more money to the CPC if they would get off there rear ends and go find the dirt on these guys and gals,as the dirt is surely there.Some of the CPC are to chummy with the media and the opposition,especially the media.James Moore would be one of them.I believe the Conservative ladies,especially Candice Hepner,Raitt,and the lady policewoman etc.,are tougher with the media than a lot of the male Conservative MP's.Actually,I don't think that the Conservative MP's should go onto the Solomon program.The lady MP Rempel(I think that's her name) is also a very good MP.Remember the time that Elections Canada raided the CPC offices,and brought the libs and the CBC with them.I know that if I was a MP I definitely wouldn't talk to the the left media,except to tell them to go to you know where.

Bec said...

This is the stuff that riles me and even makes me question some supposed Conservative voters and commenters.

It's one thing to disagree with the Bill but it's another thing entirely, to fabricate the facts and make them a complete different reality.

This has most certainly been another witchhunt at the lowest of lowest levels. There are many people that look dumb on this one but Canadians that take the time like you paulsstuff and those you credit with the research that are the true intellects on this file.

Anonymous said...

Paulsstuff, to add to your list of gross exaggeration on the part of the media ...

Recently some journalist (I don't remember which one) listed some offensive ways the Conservatives have supposedly used to refer to their opponents, in the same vein as Toews' "He can stand with us or with the child pornographers."

In that list the journalist included Peter MacKay supposedly referring to Richard Colvin as a "Taliban dupe." Well, at the time of that controversy, I checked Hansard between Nov 18 and Dec 2, 2009. Minister MacKay had used no such phrase that I could find, yet it was reported by several media, including the CBC, CP,, the Telegraph Journal, and LawtimesNews.

That is why I think we bloggers should refrain from using such name-calling, because journalists lurking in conservative blogs can pick up those names and ascribe them to the Conservative party. For instance, I doubt that the name "Taliban Jack" originated with the party itself, but it also figured in the list I mentioned above.

Rather than sinking to the same level as our opponents, I believe the general public would appreciate the Conservatives taking the high road. Just my opinion.
-- Gabby in QC

Anonymous said...

On another tack ...
I believe Conservative MPs should indeed agree to appear on political shows, regardless of the host's probable bias, but whenever they're interrupted they should firmly but politely tell the host or other panelists "If I could finish ..." or something similar.

They should also listen very carefully to others on the panel, rebutting what is said rather than repeating the same talking points over & over. I hate to point to some weak Conservative spokespersons but recently one rookie woman MP, who doesn't have a strong voice to begin with, just kept repeating the same thing over & over to no effect whatsoever.

On the other hand, the previously mentioned Michelle Rempel, Candice Hoeppner, Shelly Glover as well as Kerry-Lynne Findlay are all good panelists, quick-witted and articulate.

If asked a question to which they don't know the answer, the MPs should say so and promise to get back to the host with the information rather than bluff their way through.

Of course, it's easy for me to make those suggestions from the comfort of my living room ...
-- Gabby in QC

Anonymous said...

Something else Solomon has been obsessing about ... the title of Bill C-30.

Solomon has mentioned over & over again that the bill's title is Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act but that the bill itself doesn't mention child predators. He worked it into one of the questions during the Tuesday Feb 21 segment The Firing Line.

But the bill actually has two titles. Go to Hansard, Feb 14, 2012 and under "Routine Proceedings" you will read this
"Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act
[Table of Contents]
Hon. Vic Toews (Minister of Public Safety, CPC)
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-30, An Act to enact the Investigating and Preventing Criminal Electronic Communications Act and to amend the Criminal Code and other Acts.
(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)"

Now, I don't know how the title got changed and why there are two titles recorded in Hansard.

But Solomon would have the public believe Bill C-30 has only the one title, the one about child pornographers ... I suppose the better to exploit Vic Toews' "He can stand with us or with the child pornographers."
-- Gabby in QC

Brett said...

"have to wonder if Gurney ever even heard interview, or did he base his "facts" on what other journalists had previously written?"

He probably based that on what the other urinalists have written. Thy don't teach investigative reporting anymore, you know the type where they actually check facts. Even SNN's Brian Lilley was guilty of that when he railed against it on his byline the other night. Maybe that was his attempt at showing "balance" but it is clear that he did not have his facts straight as you have ably indicated in this and the following post Paul.