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Douglas Fisher decries 'metropolitanism' at the CBC

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Millions of Canadians are being forgotten by the CBC, says Douglas Fisher. He's an NDP MP from Port Arthur (now Thunder Bay) who scored a huge upset in the 1957 federal election, unseating 22-year veteran C.D. Howe. In 1963 Fisher joined the Toronto Telegram as a columnist, giving him another outlet for his views. In this 1964 CBC-TV interview, Fisher - who says his base is largely rural and in the hinterland - charges that the public broadcaster scarcely seems to know there are people beyond Toronto and Montreal.
• Born in Sioux Lookout, Ont., in 1919, Douglas Fisher was a Second World War veteran and English teacher. In the 1957 federal election he was the Canadian Commonwealth Federation candidate in Port Arthur, Ont. His opponent, Liberal C.D. Howe, had held the seat for 22 years and was a prominent cabinet minister who was nicknamed "The Minister of Everything" during the war. In a stunning upset, Fisher unseated Howe by a margin of 12,228 votes to 10,813.
  • In a report in the Globe and Mail a few days after the election, Fisher said his strategy for winning had been to court conservative voters. He also bought up all the available ad time on Port Arthur's sole TV station for a week before the election and used classroom methods to talk to viewers.

• "No one had ever attacked Howe publicly. He was too big a man, everybody said," Fisher explained. "But I hit him head-on. Neither the Liberals not the Conservatives were well organized in our riding, so I felt that with emphasis on Mr. Howe's record, the people - especially the Conservatives - would get behind me."

• Fisher's column ran in the Toronto Telegram until that newspaper stopped publishing in 1971. The column was then picked up by the Toronto Sun, and Fisher continued as a commentator on federal politics until 2006.

• Fisher died on Sept. 18, 2009, a day shy of his 90th birthday.

Medium: Television
Program: Other Voices
Broadcast Date: Dec. 29, 1964
Guest(s): Douglas Fisher
Reporter: Don Francks
Duration: 2:50

Last updated: February 22, 2012

Page consulted on October 2, 2014

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