CBC Ombudsman: True or False—There aren’t always absolutes
By Esther Enkin for the CBC
The complainant, Stephen Birch, took issue with a Metro Morning interview with Finance Minister Bill Morneau. He said the minister had made a false statement about how Canadians are taxed and it was the responsibility of the program host to challenge it. It is not at all clear that in this context the reference was wrong.
You were concerned that a statement made by the Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, during an interview with Metro Morning host Matt Galloway, went unchallenged. The interview was broadcast April 7, 2016, shortly after the tabling of the federal budget and one day after the release of the Panama Papers. The Panama Papers is the collective name given to tens of thousands of documents leaked about tax evasion and avoidance. Some Canadians were featured in the documentation. You took issue with the Minister’s statement that the “tax system is aimed” at ensuring people pay their taxes in the jurisdiction where it is earned. You noted: “this is patently false.” You explained that the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) taxes people on their income, no matter where it is earned.
You added that you had contacted Metro Morning directly, but no one had responded to you. You believe that there is an apology owing for failure to respond, and that the programmers have a responsibility to let the listeners of Metro Morning know the “Minister was not being 100% truthful.” You believe it is the duty of CBC journalists to challenge policy makers in the course of an interview:
As a public, and publicly funded, broadcaster I believe they have a duty to ensure accuracy and transparency in the information conveyed to the public. I also believe they have a duty to challenge Ministers of the Crown when they fail to provide the truth about government policies and programs.
You added, in later correspondence:
As it is the Minister realises he can get away with falsehoods like this that appear to make his Ministry’s policies ever so reasonable when in fact they are draconian.
The Executive Producer of CBC Radio in Toronto, Joan Melanson, replied to your complaint. She apologized for the delay in providing an answer.
Continue reading this story on the CBC website, where it was first published.