By Stephen Pate – Last month, the Globe and Mail ran 12 stories that included references to the Senator Mike Duffy’s expense claim scandal. The Globe did not carry one story about CBC President Hubert Lacroix, who double dipped $30,000 from taxpayer’s wallets for 6 years before he got caught by a clerk in CBC’s HR department.
CTV News reported the Senator Mike Duffy story 11 times in February plus a video special on March 4th, 2014 on Power Play Mike Duffy Stardom to Scandal. CTV did not report that CBC President Hubert Lacroix hid his $30,000 double dipping at all. I don’t keep my eyes glued to the CTV newscasts full-time but there is no record on their website or Google of CTV Lacroix scandal coverage.
The National Post printed two stories about CBC President Hubert Lacroix – CBC head Hubert Lacroix faces Senate grilling over broadcaster’s future — and his own expense claims and ‘Embarrassed’ CBC president claimed nearly $30,000 in improper expenses since 2008, audit reveals. That was the total of their investigative reporting on the topic of the CBC President who claimed $30,000 in expenses that he should not have claimed.
The original size of Mike Duffy’s expense over claim was almost identical to Hubert Lacroix’s – $33,000 for Senator Mike Duffy and $30,000 for CBC’s Hubert Lacroix. Senator Mike Duffy claims living allowances despite being Ottawa resident since the 1970s wrote the Ottawa Citizen on December 3, 2012. CBC, CTV, The National Post immediately followed with coverage that questioned Senator Duffy’s honesty and integrity.
Lacroix’s cover-up gets sympathetic treatment
CBC President Hubert Lacroix is getting off lightly. He hid the discovery of his double dipping for 8 months in what could only be called a cover-up.
“A cover-up is an attempt, whether successful or not, to conceal evidence of wrongdoing, error, incompetence or other embarrassing information. In a passive cover-up, information is simply not provided; in an active cover-up, deception is used.”
“The expression is usually applied to people in positions of authority who abuse their power to avoid or silence criticism or to deflect guilt of wrongdoing. Those who initiate a cover-up (or their allies) may be responsible for a misdeed, a breach of trust or duty or a crime.” (Wikipedia)
CBC President Hubert Lacroix waited until Sun Media revealed his expense double-dipping and then issued a bland statement that conceals most of the details. Lacroix told the Senate on February 26th, 2014 “An error was made by me and by the corporation in the way my Ottawa business expenses were reimbursed, expenses that had been signed off, posted, and audited quarterly….I voluntarily paid back every cent. ” Taxpayers Have A Right To Know.
Who in Canada will push this story to find the truth? The CBC is incapable of reporting on their own President. The story with Rose Marie Barton last Friday was a press puff-ball that allowed no hard questions of the man who took $30,000. CBC employees are operating under duress. None of them are free to ask the hard questions and speak their mind about their boss.
Canada needs media who are willing to stand up on stories like this. So far, only Sun Media seems up to the task. The rest of Canadian journalists seem to have forgotten how to investigate stories, or at least their bosses won’t let them.
By Stephen Pate, NJN Network