September 8: Media Roundup

By Ian Capstick · September 8, 2015

The Media Narrative

Over the long weekend, Canada’s media focus was split between the serious and the surreal.

The refugee crisis in Europe dominated media coverage. National newspapers devoted major sections to the issue, and television newscasts led with breaking stories related to Syrian refugees. Meanwhile, domestic politics became downright weird as the CPC lost two candidates to bizarre behaviour.

The Weekend Shows

CBC’s The House made news with comments by Louise Arbour, a former Supreme Court justice and United Nations high commissioner on human rights. She commented on a variety of topics including C-51, CPC anti-court positioning and refugee resettlement in Canada. On the last point, she bluntly suggested the current goals are inappropriate.

“I think these numbers, frankly — 10,000 over the next four years — are so out of proportion of what Canada should be doing,” she said in the interview. The NDP released a more comprehensive action plan over the weekend, and the LPC continues to suggest they will bring in 25,000 refugees “immediately.” Expect the refugee crisis to be front and centre this week.

CTV Question Period roared back to life Sunday with interviews and coverage of the humanitarian crisis created by the Syrian civil war. Justin Trudeau was the lead interview on QP and gave a sympathetic view on refugee resettlement. The LPC leader pitched a meeting of all party leaders, which CTV pushed as breaking news on social media. Bob Fife also spoke with Chris Alexander, demanding to know why the CPC hasn’t set aggressive targets for refugees. Fife used the 1979 Clark government resettlement as the basis for many of his questions to devastating effect.

CBC’s Power & Politics returned to its two-hour format last week. On its one-hour weekend show, Gilles Duceppe suggested he’d be open to a coalition no one wants him a part of. The Power Panel (Silver, Lavigne and McDonald) managed to dress up and play nice for Barton’s second outing on Sunday, and each pundit clearly indicated that their respective campaigns consider Monday a “defining moment” in the 2015 campaign.

Global’s The West Block returns next week.

Monday’s News

#Peegate: On Sunday, CBC’s the National broke the strangest story of the election: a Marketplace report from 2012 featuring a longtime Toronto Conservative candidate (he ran in 2006 and 2008) on video urinating in a coffee cup while working as an appliance repairman. The political crowd on #cdnpoli and #elxn42 had a field day with trickle down economics jokes and a million puns. This news was followed quickly by the ousting of the CPC Toronto-Danforth candidate, who recorded a strange series of videos. People are beginning to question the CPC vetting process.

Harper’s interview with Mansbridge: On Monday, Stephen Harper took the first round of the leader’s interviews with Peter Mansbridge. A combative Mansbridge asked Harper whether the party with the most seats should take power in a minority government situation. Harper responded, “My position has always been if we win the most seats I will expect to form the government and if we don’t, I won’t.” This echoes Justin Trudeau’s comments that Canadians don’t want a coalition government. The full text of the wide-ranging interview is an interesting read. Trudeau is up on Tuesday, Mulcair Wednesday and May wraps up the week on Friday.

Trouble in CPC HQ: CTV’s Bob Fire suggests senior CPC sources are uncomfortable with the disarray at campaign headquarters. There’s a growing perception that questionable candidates and slipping numbers could lead to a shake up in the CPC team. Fife said Conservatives think Jenni Byrne, CPC campaign manager, should spend more time in the war room and not on the campaign trail. Althia Raj ‏suggested via Twitter that Fife’s comments “on Jenni Byrne tonight were scathing & unusual. They are also things I have heard. Lots of unhappy ppl at CPC HQ.”

Selected coverage

On yesterday’s political shows

  • Power & Politics highlight: NDP MP Fin Donnelly defended his actions related to the Kurdi family in the face of harsh criticism from the right.

  • CTV’s Power Play had the day off.

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