BTC: Selective reading

Full column shortly, but first, a look at the latest claims of Pierre Poilievre. Here’s what the baby-faced Tory had to say today during QP.

“Today I will be tabling in the House of Commons a judgment that was made by the chief electoral officer wherein he indicated that advertisements considered local are done so not based on their content, but based on their tag line. We had the tag line right … Mr. Speaker, in the 1997 document that was tabled by the then chief electoral officer, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, he indicates that the law determines an advertisement to be local based on the tag line and not on the content. In fact he says that the content is left only within the confines of charter rights of freedom of expression. Therefore we have legal backing from the former chief electoral officer.”

This certainly raised an eyebrow or two. So, after confirming to what Mr. Poilievre was referring, to the Elections Canada website we go. There we find the document in question, the Report of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada on the 36th General Election. The specific passage runs from the bottom of page 91 to the top of page 92. Though not a direct reference to the central question of the In-and-Out controversy, an interesting development, right?

Well… here’s the thing. Scroll to the start of the appendix that includes this passage. Seems this is Appendix D, entitled Report of the Broadcasting Arbitrator. Indeed, this is not Jean-Pierre Kingsley writing. No, these are the words of the broadcasting arbitrator, in this case one Peter S. Grant.

Update. Here are the exact quotes Poilievre attributed to Kingsley. 

“Since the time purchase was used to run a national advertisement with a local tag, this rendered the prohibition in section 48 somewhat ineffectual.”

“The content of the advertisement was accepted, subject only to the freedom of expression guaranteed in the charter.”

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.