It will surprise no one, I'm sure ...

… that I’m on the CBC’s side on this one.

From Canadian Press:

OTTAWA — A private sector media competitor is using the Access to Information Act to target the CBC with “distorted attacks” on its executive spending, claims the chairman of the public broadcaster’s board of directors.

Tim Casgrain, in a letter to Heritage Minister James Moore, says the CBC has received more than 150 access requests so far this year — and most have come from just two sources.

“We accept that as a public broadcaster, we are vulnerable to our competitors using our accountability against us in a way that distorts our actual behaviour,” Casgrain wrote Moore in a letter dated Nov. 21 that was then posted on the CBC’s internal web site.

Stories on CBC executive expenses appeared recently in the Sun Media chain and Le Journal de Montreal, both of which are owned by Quebecor Inc. […]

Casgrain noted that with more than 150 ATI requests this year alone, the CBC is being bombarded at “a level that has dwarfed those of all other Crown corporations.”

“That openness also leaves the corporation vulnerable to distorted attacks by our media competitors, notably the recent spate of articles in The Sun (Media chain) and Le Journal de Montreal, owned by Quebecor Inc., our most important competitor in the Quebec market where its subsidiary TVA is the largest conventional television network,” he wrote.

Quebecor, based in Montreal, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Casgrain’s letter.

Casgrain also noted that Quebecor is currently suing Lafrance.

It’s hard to see how this kind of deliberative, legislated harrassment of a commercial rival (or, for that matter, ideological foe) was what the drafters of our original Access to Information law really had in mind. It’s also another example of another flaw in the Federal Accountability Act that could easily have been dealt with at committee stage — or in the Senate — but was instead left to fester, thanks to the Prime Minister’s pre-Christmas tantrum.

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