Tory MPs call pundits, cable firms to testify on CBC access fight
The Conservatives are calling on some of the CBC's harshest critics to testify about the broadcaster at a parliamentary hearing on access to information.
The Commons committee is studying the CBC's current battle in the courts to keep some of its records exempt from access-to-information laws.
Some MPs on the committee initially wanted to call the parties directly involved in the case to testify, but others were concerned about possible interference in the ongoing legal process. In the end, MPs agreed to postpone appearances by those witnesses, such as the CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix and information commissioner Suzanne Legault, until after an Oct. 18 court hearing."We followed what happened at the committee today. If the committee wants Mr. Lacroix to appear, he will appear," said Marco Dube, a spokesman for CBC.
The Conservative MPs also want to hear from journalists from the Sun News Network who have been highly critical of public funding for the CBC and of the broadcaster's record on access-to-information requests, as well as Pierre Karl Peladeau, head of Quebecor Media Inc., which owns Sun News.
Other witnesses might include the chairman of the CRTC, and representatives from cable and satellite companies that also own some of the networks that compete with the CBC for viewers.
Luc Lavoie, a spokesman for Sun News, said its journalists would not accept the committee's invitation, Sun Media reported Tuesday.
"As a matter of principle we do not want our journalists to be called before a parliamentary committee," Lavoie told Sun Media. "Mr. Peladeau is the CEO of the entire group and can speak on behalf of everybody."
The Tories say they are concerned about the fact taxpayers are on the hook for both sides of a court battle pitting the CBC against the information commissioner.
With files from CBC News