Former Tory Labrador MP Peter Penashue says a CBC reporter treated him unfairly and accused the CBC of being like “family” with the Liberals. CBC reporter Peter Cowan has been nominated as a CAJ awards finalist for his investigation into Penashue’s election campaign spending.

By Tamara Baluja

Former Tory Labrador MP Peter Penashue says a CBC reporter treated him unfairly and accused the CBC of being like “family” with the Liberals.

Penashue refused to answer questions posed about the misspending by CBC’s Peter Cowan at the former MPs first public appearance since his resignation. Cowan has been nominated as a CAJ awards finalist for his investigation into Penashue’s election campaign spending.

“And the reason why I won't be very specific with you, Peter, is because I don't think you've treated me very fair, you didn't treat me fair right from the get go," Penashue said. "When I announced my candidacy in 2011, you didn't treat me well. You continue to treat me unfairly.”

Penashue is hoping to regain his seat in a byelection next month. He told Cowan the "CBC and Liberals are like family, for some strange reason […] And I just found out today that your colleague is now running the Liberal campaign. Is that true?"

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*Video courtesy of CBC

Cowan promptly denied that a CBC staffer was running in a byelection. He says Penashue might have been referring to Liberal candidate Yvonne Jones’ campaign manager Cindy Wall, a former radio host who retired from CBC two years ago.

“I don't know why he sees this as personal,” Cowan told J-Source in an email.  “Perhaps he feels my coverage hasn't been positive enough, but I don't know a politician who does […] I'm the one who first dug up his campaign overspending and illegal donations but I've always given him plenty of opportunity to respond to the facts.”

Cowan added that Penashue's campaign manager is Joe Goudi, a former CBC broadcaster. Penashue did not respond to J-Source’s request for comments. 

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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.