Did Oda Return All the Cheques?

Regular readers will recall that last fall Canadian Heritage Minister Bev Oda was embroiled in a fundraising controversy when it was revealed that a lobbyist for Canwest Global was planning a broadcast fundraiser on her behalf just weeks before a regulatory review.  Oda proceeded to cancel the fundraiser.  Days later, NDP Heritage critic Charlie Angus asked then-Treasury Board President (and current Environment Minister) John Baird whether the cheques for the fundraiser were actually cashed.  In response, Baird assured the House of Commons that they were returned.

Elections Canada has just posted the 2006 Annual Report for the Durham Conservative Riding Association (Oda's riding).  Leaving aside the additional contributions during the January 2006 election campaign from EMI Music Canada and two Sony BMG Music Canada executives (which is apparently par for the course) and $2500 from Canwest's Leonard Asper just two days after the election, the return reveals several contributions made just weeks before the planned fundraiser.  The contributors include Astral Chair Andre Bureau, Standard Radio President & CEO Gary Slaight, CHUM President & CEO Jay Switzer, Rogers Radio CEO Gary Miles, TV Ontario CEO Lisa deWilde, Canadian Independent Film & Video Fund Executive Director Robin Jackson, and the Radio Marketing Bureau.

Were these contributions associated with the cancelled fundraiser and actually not returned as Minister Baird told the House of Commons?  Part of a separate radio-oriented fundraiser?  Separate contributions from senior broadcast executives coincidentally made weeks before the CRTC announced the results of its commercial radio policy review?  While the distinction matters with regard to accuracy of the Baird response, in the bigger picture it looks bad under any explanation.  There was presumably nothing unlawful about accepting several thousand dollars from broadcast executives, yet surely the Minister of Canadian Heritage or her riding association, elected on a platform of political accountability, should not be cashing cheques from the very industry that she regulates.


  1. DMCA + the chilling effect on free speec
    Michael this is off topic…

    so with that in mind, there’s been an absolute watershed moment on the social news site in relation to the DMCA and copyrights. It’s not on Wikipedia because they are deleting any and all referneces to the HD-DVD processing key in fear of the DMCA, but here’s some discussion:
    [ link ]
    [ link ]

    Here’s Digg’s first response to removing stories with the processing key: [ link ]

    ANd then after the revolt on, this is their latest response:

    Today was an insane day. And as the founder of Digg, I just wanted to post my thoughts…

    In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

    But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

    If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

    Digg on,

    [ link ]

  2. Wikipedia again
    Again sorry for off topic, but here’s the specific discussion on the Wikipedia deletion of the processing keys and any mention of the event: [ link ]

  3. Russell McOrmond says:

    Mixed feelings about “DVD DRM row spark
    Also on the same off-topic topic:

    Wish more people would spend some of the energy being used spreading decryption keys with talking to policy makers to get rid of the use of these highly controversial keys in the first place.

    [ link ]

  4. TVOntario is a _public_ broadcaster, limited to _television_ and internet. No radio and no commercials. Is it likely that the contribution before a “commercial radio policy review” would be relevant? Or is it just name dropping? I expect better.

  5. Are IPR profiles for the major parties available on the Internet? I’m disappointed with the Conservative government (esp. Oda) but also with their Liberal predecessors (esp. Frulla). Or is it unfair to tar them with the same brush? Could one expect more enlightened policies from the NDP or the Greens?

  6. Russell McOrmond says:

    Reply to Wes
    A reply to Wes: Please go to the Digital Copyright Canada forum [ link ] where you can look up your MP and past candidates, as well as candidates for the next election.

    Individual people mean more than the parties as this isn’t an issue where the parties differentiate. The NDP look good at the moment as their Heritage critic is an actual independent musician, but this wasn’t the case under their previous Heritage critic. The Greens haven’t elected any MPs in Canada yet, so we can’t give any historical analysis. Party policy and platforms don’t matter with any of the parties as much as the individual elected MPs do.