Nfld. & Labrador

Penashue takes verbal swipe at CBC journalist

A media scrum that followed a federal funding announcement took a bit of a twist on Friday — when former Labrador MP Peter Penashue took issue with CBC journalist Peter Cowan.

Former MP feels CBC has treated him unfairly

Former MP Peter Penashue speaks to reporters in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. 3:05

A media scrum that followed a funding announcement took a bit of a twist on Friday — when former Labrador MP Peter Penashue took issue with a CBC journalist in Labrador.

Although the federal byelection for Labrador has yet to be formally announced, Penashue attended Minister of National Revenue Gail Shea's announcement regarding recreational infrastructure in Labrador. Penashue was present at the event in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

It was his first public event since he resigned last month.

After the announcement, CBC reporter Peter Cowan asked Penashue whether he would explain how donation errors occurred in the 2011 federal election campaign.

Penashue stated that he wanted to talk about the announcement instead.

"Peter, what I would like to talk about is the announcement today. I am very pleased to be here, and the reason I am very pleased to be here is that these files that are being announced are the files that I worked on," Penashue said. 

"Now, there are several others that couldn't be announced, which will be announced later. And so, as I've said to Labradorians, I am running in the byelection, and I hope to continue my good work after the election, and of course I leave that to Labradorians to decide.

"But I am very pleased with this announcement, because this is the type of work I've been doing, making sure that resources are being shared fairly and equitably to all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, particularly in this case, to Labradorians."

Cowan asked Penashue again to explain what exactly what happened with the campaign errors.

Conversation shifts

"I have explained this, and I have explained it many different ways, and I'm not going to continue. I will explain it door to door, if people ask that question, because I've done it several times. And the reason why I won't be very specific with you, Peter, is because I don't think you've treated me very fair, you didn't treat me fair right from the get go," said Penashue.

"When I announced my candidacy in 2011, you didn't treat me well. You continue to treat me unfairly. And I just found out today that your colleague is now running the Liberal campaign. Is that true?"

Cowan responded, "No, it is certainly not a current colleague of mine. No one employed by CBC is involved with any of the campaigns."

Penashue continued, and said he was surprised at the situation.

"I could not believe when I heard that. Jesus, I mean you need to take a look at that. I mean that's a really good story for CBC," said Penashue.

The person running the campaign for Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones is Cindy Wall. The former radio host retired from CBC two years ago.

Penashue's former Labrador adviser, Donna Paddon, also used to work for CBC.

"The questions I have are what many Labradorians have," Cowan said. 

"I will speak with Labradorians, don't you worry about that. I'm going door to door. I am actually going to Black Tickle today. I'm going to be in Cartwright door to door, I'm going to be in Port Hope [Simpson] tonight, and I'm going to be door to door tomorrow in Port Hope Simpson; and I am going to take a trip down to Charlottetown — so don't you worry about information getting out to the people. I'm going to have that conversation with Labradorians."

Cowan added,"But don't you believe that it's important to tell people? There are lots of questions that people have."

"It's very important to pass along that information to Labradorians — but I'm concerned about Peter Cowan, and CBC. CBC hasn't been fair to me."

"I think we've absolutely been fair to you, Mr. Penashue," Cowan replied.

Penashue replied, "CBC and Liberals are like family, for some strange reason."

"Not at all, I would be challenging anyone or any party with this sort of thing," Cowan replied.

"I was just told your colleague is now running the Liberal campaign in Labrador. It's a shocker to me. Thank you very much."