Conservative leader Stephen Harper has been ducking CBC for weeks on doing a ''Your Turn'' town hall-type of thing with The National's Peter Mansbridge. Now it appears his handlers have unleashed him. The 90-minute special will air Thursday at 9 on CBC Newsworld, and at 10 on the main network.
Why the wait? What was the Harper team afraid of?
Indeed, it has been playing hard to get with other media as well, notably the New York Times which ran a profile of Harper today. Eleven graphs into the 24-paragraph story, it says
His campaign refused to arrange an interview for this article.
Rick Mercer, host of "The Rick Mercer Report," a current-affairs parody on CBC, said the arrangement was unacceptable.
"The reality is that when three or four networks are at the table with three or four political parties, someone is going to be the victim," Mr. Mercer said, adding that he did not use any debate clips, but not because of the ban. "It's so pathetic I won't use it," he said. "The whole idea of calling it a debate is contemptible. They may as well have just run the parties' infomercials."
Canadians ought to be stupefied at this arrangement. Why should the networks so readily cede control of their own footage to political strategists? Who are they to dictate what gets discussed or satirized on the public airwaves? This is what happens in banana republics not democracies.