The Assassination of Theo Caldwell by the Network Sun TV News


Props to National Newswatch for first reporting Tuesday night that Sun News Network had gassed Theo Caldwell’s two-hour afternoon show.

Caldwell was dispatched with Orwellian aplomb. His bio was expunged from the website and there was no mention of his exit on air. Instead, Sun News ran lots of promos for his replacement, author and sometime AM talk radio host Michael Coren.

Viewers might well wonder if Theo had been but a figment of their imaginations, like that long forgotten military action in Eastasia.

For anyone who ever watched The Caldwell Report, it’s departure comes as faint surprise.

But was it fair, based on the numbers it pulled?

I took a peak at the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement numbers for the week the most recent five days before Caldwell’s exit. They show that Caldwell actually held his own during the afternoon, compared to other daytime Sun shows.

Indeed, average viewership on the network took a slight dip when Krista Erickson took over from Caldwell at 3 pm, these numbers show. On Friday, he scored 50,000 sets of eyes, though finished well behind TVO’s ersatz monkey lemur on Zoboomafoo, with 73,000.

But at night, Caldwell swooned. On Thursday, for example, he drew but 6,000 viewers (all numbers here based on individuals age 2 or greater, average viewers per minute). By contrast, the top show at that time, E-Talk daily, pulled 568,000.

Caldwell’s show was the second-worst rating that night at 7 pm, according to the BBM numbers. The only thing with fewer viewers? Darts, on Sportsnet East+, which got 5,000.

Worth noting, however, is that Caldwell’s numbers tanked even worst on Friday, but he was up against the NHL draft on TSN, with 1.1 million viewers in the average minute.

The numbers also show that radio host Charles Adler isn’t burning up the track in the attractive 8 pm time slot, either. The numbers aren’t great for David Akin’s The Daily Brief, but in fairness, he’s up against the big boy evening newscasts.

Clearly, wacky conservative bloviating carries the day, as Ezra Levant and Brian Lilley rate at the network studs. On Friday night, Lilley pulled an audience more nearly twice the size of CTV News Net was pulling at the same time but about half the share of CBC News Network. Still, not bad for a start-up.

TIME SLOT SHOW Tue. Jun. 22 Wen. Jun.22 Thu. Jun. 23 Fri. Jun. 24 Mon. Jun. 27 AVG
06:00 FIRST LOOK 1,000 3,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,400
08:00 ROUNDTABLE 5,000 6,000 16,000 7,000 12,000 9,200
11:00 NEWS WIRE 13,000 8,000 29,000 13,000 7,000 14,000
13:00 CALDWELL 31,000 26,000 44,000 33,000 24,000 31,600
14:00 CALDWELL 39,000 8,000 45,000 50,000 37,000 35,800
15:00 CANADA LIVE 24,000 34,000 37,000 37,000 37,000 33,800
17:00 THE SOURCE 30,000 46,000 44,000 45,000 36,000 40,200
18:00 DAILY BRIEF 9,000 38,000 20,000 16,000 26,000 21,800
19:00 CALDWELL 15,000 30,000 6,000 1,000 19,000 14,200
20:00 CHARLES ADLER 37,000 16,000 5,000 16,000 28,000 20,400
21:00 BYLINE 51,000 17,000 12,000 70,000 67,000 43,400
22:00 THE SOURCE 54,000 36,000 18,000 39,000 34,000 36,200
23:00 CHARLES ADLER 9,000 15,000 24,000 4,000 5,000 11,400
24:00 DAILY BRIEF 3,000 7,000 15,000 2,000 7,000 6,800

Inside Sun Media's CBC-Canada Day conspiracy theory


Because I’m a Bell TV subscriber, I haven’t been watching much Sun News recently — like most everyone else in the country.

But the few times I’ve tuned in while at work, I’ve heard a rotating casts of Sun hosts railing about a nefarious deal between the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to hog the TV rights to the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill.  The feds sold the rights to the show to itself, the Sun alleged.

“Heritage Canada inked a deal with the taxpayer-funded CBC worth an estimated $600,000 to air a star-studded line-up of Canadian greats, including Sam Roberts, Great Big Sea, indie rocker Dan Mangan, pop star Pierre Lapointe and salsa princess Florence K.,” the Sun reported.

The Sun pins the blame on Heritage Minister (and moderate Tory) James Moore. “Moore said Sun News could have bid for the broadcast rights, but chose not to. But what he didn’t say is that CBC has an unfair advantage because it receives federal funding and can afford commercial-free broadcasts, unlike private networks which rely on advertising dollars.”

The Sun’s campaign sounded torqued, so I made some calls to CBC to find out what was really going on. It turns out the $600,000 figure is, apparently, pulled out of thin air.

The CBC is not paying Canadian Heritage $600,000 for rights to broadcast the Canada Day show.

Instead, the networking is providing production — cameras, trucks, switching, lights, blah blah– and is also sharing other unspecified costs of the show, but not at $600k.

For their part, Heritage lined up copyright permissions from the 106 scheduled performers that allowed CBC to legally broadcast it.

If you’ve ever been to a Canada Day show, you know that it is not — how to say this kindly? — a particularly attractive television property.  Of the acts listed by the Sun, I’ve heard of only Sam Roberts and Great Big Sea. For me,  Canada Day will forever evoke images of CanCon crap like Rene Simard and Patsy Gallant, as well as lots of native dancing and fiddlers.

So, not surprisingly, when Canadian Heritage cast around for broadcasters interested in carrying the show, only the CBC showed any real interest.

After they inked the broadcast deal, however, we learned that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, would be attending the event.  Add the Royals, and suddenly other broadcasters — Sun TV, come on down —  wanted a piece of the pie.

But because negotiating copyright clearances is a huge pain in the ass, there’s no time to do that for other broadcasters.

And, besides, CBC had already won the rights fairly by being the only bidder, fair and square.

The Sun’s gripe, it appears, is just sour grapes over not getting the video rights to Wills and Kate.

Inside Sun Media’s CBC-Canada Day conspiracy theory


Because I’m a Bell TV subscriber, I haven’t been watching much Sun News recently — like most everyone else in the country.

But the few times I’ve tuned in while at work, I’ve heard a rotating casts of Sun hosts railing about a nefarious deal between the Department of Canadian Heritage and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to hog the TV rights to the Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill.  The feds sold the rights to the show to itself, the Sun alleged.

“Heritage Canada inked a deal with the taxpayer-funded CBC worth an estimated $600,000 to air a star-studded line-up of Canadian greats, including Sam Roberts, Great Big Sea, indie rocker Dan Mangan, pop star Pierre Lapointe and salsa princess Florence K.,” the Sun reported.

The Sun pins the blame on Heritage Minister (and moderate Tory) James Moore. “Moore said Sun News could have bid for the broadcast rights, but chose not to. But what he didn’t say is that CBC has an unfair advantage because it receives federal funding and can afford commercial-free broadcasts, unlike private networks which rely on advertising dollars.”

The Sun’s campaign sounded torqued, so I made some calls to CBC to find out what was really going on. It turns out the $600,000 figure is, apparently, pulled out of thin air.

The CBC is not paying Canadian Heritage $600,000 for rights to broadcast the Canada Day show.

Instead, the networking is providing production — cameras, trucks, switching, lights, blah blah– and is also sharing other unspecified costs of the show, but not at $600k.

For their part, Heritage lined up copyright permissions from the 106 scheduled performers that allowed CBC to legally broadcast it.

If you’ve ever been to a Canada Day show, you know that it is not — how to say this kindly? — a particularly attractive television property.  Of the acts listed by the Sun, I’ve heard of only Sam Roberts and Great Big Sea. For me,  Canada Day will forever evoke images of CanCon crap like Rene Simard and Patsy Gallant, as well as lots of native dancing and fiddlers.

So, not surprisingly, when Canadian Heritage cast around for broadcasters interested in carrying the show, only the CBC showed any real interest.

After they inked the broadcast deal, however, we learned that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, would be attending the event.  Add the Royals, and suddenly other broadcasters — Sun TV, come on down —  wanted a piece of the pie.

But because negotiating copyright clearances is a huge pain in the ass, there’s no time to do that for other broadcasters.

And, besides, CBC had already won the rights fairly by being the only bidder, fair and square.

The Sun’s gripe, it appears, is just sour grapes over not getting the video rights to Wills and Kate.

Once lobbied, Stockwell Day becomes not-a-lobbyist


UPDATE:  Day called me from Vancouver to discuss….

Former Harper government cabinet minister Stockwell Day says the federal ethics commissioner has cleared him to set up a consulting company that helps private clients develop a “government relations strategy.”

Day has hung out his shingle in downtown Vancouver with a new company called Stockwell Day Connex.

The company’s website says “Stockwell Day Connex can work with your organization to create a clear and concise government relations strategy as well as provide insightful analysis on Canadian political developments.”

The Federal Accountability Act that Day helped usher in while in cabinet placed a strict prohibitions on former public officer holders that bar them from working as lobbyists for five years after leaving office.

But Day says he will not be doing anything that violates the ethics law.

“It is not a lobbying firm,” he said. “We do no lobbying whatsoever. I’m very clear with clients that we do not provide, nor do we intend to provide, access to public-office holders.”

Although the website refers to government relations – a term sometimes used as a polite alternative to lobbying – a disclaimer on the company website says it doesn’t lobby.

Day says he had discussions with Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson to ensure he is in compliance with the Federal Accountability Act.

He had a sit-down meeting with her in Ottawa and has had follow-up communications with her office.

“We just had a very good discussion. I wanted to make sure I was clear and also to let her know it’s not my intention there would be any lobbying or any attempt to provide access,” he said.

“It’s very clear that I cannot use any info that is seen as insider or strictly gained from that experience.”

Day says his initial clients, whom he declined to name, understand that he won’t be giving them a foot in the door with the government.

“This is all about strategic approaches to issues. It’s about communications. It’s about business issues.”

So why would someone hire him if he can’t help move files ahead with his former colleagues?

“They see me as somebody who has learned some things about problem solving, learned some things about business and community relations,” Day said.

“They talk me about what advice I can bring to the table in those general areas.”

He cited as an example the advice he could give a developer about being transparent within its community.

Day said he has spoken to a number of potential clients about working with them but wouldn’t say which ones.

“I am a private business person.”

He does not have any partners at this point.

Day is the former finance minister of Alberta, former leader of the now defunct Canadian Alliance, and served as international trade minister, public safety minister and president of the Treasury Board in the Harper government.

Day announced he was leaving politics before the last election.

He says he wants to keep working because he doesn’t want to live on only the $64,000 pension he has earned.

“I’m pleased to have that but my intention is to be living on a few more dollars than that.”

A Citizen review of lobbying records shows that, when in cabinet, Day had numerous contacts with the government relations industry.

Since the summer of 2009, when lobbyists were legally required to report communications with public-office holder, lobbyists logged 116 contacts with Day on a variety of subjects.

Among the organizations he had contact with were SinoCanada Petroleum Corporation, TransCanada Pipeline, Teck Coal Limited and Canadian National Railway.

Dawson’s office is closed Mondays during the summer for “flex days,” so no one was able to provide clarification Monday.

LEGACY COPY:  My colleague Stephen Maher of the Halifax Chronicle Herald today tweeted a link to a website that looks like former Treasury Board President Stockwell Day’s new post-politics business.

The putative — I say this, because there is no confirmation from Day that this is really legit and not a hoax — company is called Stockwell Day Connex.  It lists a downtown Vancouver address but the site is registered through GoDaddy and cannot be traced without a court order.

The site is registered through GoDaddy to a Sam Reynolds, who identifies himself as Day’s assistant.  It lists an address on W. Hastings in downtown Vancouver.

A disclaimer warns, “Stockwell Day Connex is not a lobbying firm” even though else on the same page, it uses the widely-known synonym for lobbyist, “government relations.”

Further, the site explains, “in consultation with Canada’s Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and subject to the Government of Canada Accountability Act and the Conflict of Interest Act, neither Stockwell Day nor Stockwell Day Connex will provide ‘insider’ information on any matters related to Cabinet discussions, files or decisions, past or pending.”

Oh, well, guess that’s okay, then, right?

Day, of course, is quite familiar with the government relations industry. In his five years in Stephen Harper’s cabinet, Day was frequently contacted by lobbyists.  Since lobbyists became legally required to report contacts with cabinet ministers in the summer of 2009, they reported 116 separate contacts with Day.

A list thereof:

DATE TYPE ORGANIZATION RESPONSIBLE OFFICER SUBJECT
2010-07-20 In-house Corporation: Canadian National Railway (CN) Claude Mongeau International Trade,  Transportation
2010-07-14 In-house Organization: BUSINESS COUNCIL OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Virginia Greene Budget
2010-06-23 In-house Corporation: Vancouver International Airport Authority Larry Berg Transportation
2010-06-17 In-house Organization: Information Technology Association of Canada Bernard Courtois National ICT Strategy
2010-06-17 In-house Corporation: Canadian National Railway (CN) Claude Mongeau International Trade
2010-06-03 In-house Organization: Sustainable Development Technologies Canada Vicky Sharpe Innovation
2010-06-02 Consultant: SinoCanada Petroleum Corporation WILLIAM PRISTANSKI International Relations,  International Trade,  Energy,  Research and Development (R&D),  Industry
2010-05-12 In-house Organization: BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES DEPARTMENT, AFL-CIO, CANADIAN OFFICE ROBERT BLAKELY Government Procurement
2010-05-12 In-house Corporation: Teck Coal Limited Boyd Payne Infrastructure,  Transportation
2010-05-06 In-house Organization: British Columbia Maritime Employees Association Andy Smith Labour,  Transportation,  International Trade
2010-04-13 In-house Corporation: Canadian National Railway (CN) Claude Mongeau International Trade
2010-03-25 In-house Organization: Federal Superannuates National Association Sylvia Ceacero federal pensions and benefits
2010-03-10 In-house Organization: BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES DEPARTMENT, AFL-CIO, CANADIAN OFFICE ROBERT BLAKELY Government Procurement
2010-02-15 In-house Corporation: TransCanada Corporation Harold Kvisle Mackenzie Valley Pipeline
2010-02-15 In-house Corporation: Imperial Oil Limited Bruce March Energy
2010-02-02 In-house Organization: Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty Taxation and Finance
2010-02-02 In-house Organization: CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS CATHERINE SWIFT Borders
2010-02-01 In-house Organization: British Columbia Maritime Employees Association Andy Smith Transportation,  Labour
2010-01-15 In-house Organization: BC Lumber Trade Council John Allan International Trade – request for funding for Canadian Lumber Trade Alliance
2009-12-08 In-house Corporation: CAMECO CORPORATION GERALD GRANDEY Industry,  International Trade
2009-12-05 In-house Organization: Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada (CME) Jayson Myers Canadian response to US Buy American legislation
2009-11-26 In-house Organization: Christian Reformed churches in Canada (CRCNA Canada Corporation) Bruce Adema International Relations
2009-11-26 Consultant: Canadian Coalition Against Terror Sheryl Saperia Deterrence of Terrorism and treatment of terror victims
2009-11-24 In-house Corporation: Suncor Energy Inc. Richard George Mining,  International Trade,  Industry
2009-11-24 In-house Corporation: Vale Inco Ltd Tito Martins Bill C-300
2009-11-24 In-house Organization: The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) Gordon Peeling Corporate and Social Responsibility & Human Rights in respect to the Rountable Report and the goernment’s CSR Strategy and Bill C-300
2009-11-23 In-house Organization: CANADIAN STEEL PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION Ron Watkins Industry,  Government Procurement,  International Relations,  International Trade
2009-11-03 In-house Organization: Rick Hansen Foundation Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary
2009-11-03 In-house Corporation: Canadian National Railway (CN) E. Hunter Harrison Asia Pacific Gateway issues
2009-10-28 In-house Organization: Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada Paul Davidson International Academic and Student Mobility
2009-10-27 In-house Organization: Canadian Council of Chief Executives THOMAS D’AQUINO Employment and Training,  Taxation and Finance,  Infrastructure,  International Trade,  Industry,  Science and Technology,  Internal Trade,  International Relations,  Financial Institutions
2009-10-22 In-house Organization: Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association Garth Whyte Taxation and Finance
2009-10-05 In-house Organization: Canadian Council of Chief Executives THOMAS D’AQUINO Environment,  Health,  Industry,  Defence,  Infrastructure,  International Relations,  Taxation and Finance,  Justice and Law Enforcement,  International Trade,  Intellectual Property,  Immigration,  Energy
2009-09-30 In-house Organization: CEMENT ASSOCIATION OF CANADA Pierre Boucher Energy,  Environment
2009-09-29 In-house Organization: Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty Border preclearance
2009-09-29 In-house Organization: International Science and Technology Partnerships Canada Henri Rothschild Science and Technology
2009-09-29 Consultant: Emirates Airline Mark Vaile International Relations,  Tourism,  Canada-UAE Air Transport Agreement,  Airline Competition,  Transportation,  International Trade
2009-09-28 In-house Corporation: British Columbia Ferry Services Inc. David Hahn Taxation and Finance
2009-09-28 In-house Organization: Rick Hansen Foundation Rick Hansen 25th Anniversary
2009-09-22 In-house Corporation: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation Donald Osborne International Trade,  Science and Technology
2009-09-22 In-house Corporation: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Corporation Donald Osborne Science and Technology
2009-09-15 Consultant: The Canadian Wheat Board Larry Hill International Trade
2009-09-15 In-house Corporation: Canadian Wheat Board Ian White International Trade
2009-09-04 In-house Organization: Canadian Chamber of Commerce Perrin Beatty Buy American provisions
2009-08-28 In-house Organization: BC Lumber Trade Council John Allan International Trade – request for funding for Canadian Lumber Trade Alliance
2009-08-21 In-house Organization: CANADIAN STEEL PRODUCERS ASSOCIATION Ron Watkins International Trade,  Government Procurement
2009-08-20 In-house Organization: Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada (CME) Jayson Myers Canadian proposal on Buy American negotiations with the US
2009-08-17 In-house Organization: TRIUMF Nigel Lockyer Science and Technology
2009-08-17 Consultant: TRIUMF Geoff Morrison discuss TRIUMF’s proposal to build a new accelerator
2009-08-06 In-house Organization: Canadian Council of Chief Executives THOMAS D’AQUINO Intellectual Property,  International Relations,  Energy,  Industry,  International Trade,  Environment
2008-08-29 Consultant: Chiikayabano Inc. Deborah Reid Aboriginal Affairs,  Employment and Training,  Government Procurement,  Justice and Law Enforcement
2008-08-29 In-house Corporation: Chiikayabano Inc. Harry Snowboy Government Procurement,  Justice and Law Enforcement,  Aboriginal Affairs,  Employment and Training
2008-08-22 Consultant: Ballard Power Systems Stephen Kukucha Energy
2008-12-15 In-house Organization: Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association Douglas Needham Taxation and Finance,  Financial Institutions,  Employment and Training
2008-12-12 In-house Organization: Canadian Council of Chief Executives THOMAS D’AQUINO International Trade,  International Relations
2009-01-28 Consultant: Simon Fraser University Mark Jiles Crime Prevention
2009-01-13 In-house Organization: National Cattle Feeders’ Association Bryan Walton International Trade
2009-01-06 In-house Corporation: CAMECO CORPORATION GERALD GRANDEY International Relations,  International Trade
2009-01-06 In-house Corporation: Nortel Networks Corporation Mike Zafirovski Science and Technology,  Industry,  Taxation and Finance
2009-03-31 In-house Corporation: Ford Motor Company of Canada, Ltd. David Mondragon Environment,  International Trade,  Industry,  Taxation and Finance
2009-03-31 Consultant: Areva Canada Inc. Sheryl Saperia Energy
2009-03-27 In-house Organization: BC Lumber Trade Council John Allan International Trade
2009-03-27 In-house Organization: Coast Forest Products Association Richard Jeffery International Trade,  Forestry
2009-03-26 In-house Organization: BC Lumber Trade Council John Allan International Trade
2009-03-26 In-house Organization: BUSINESS COUNCIL OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Virginia Greene DFAIT 100th Anniversary Celebration
2009-03-13 In-house Corporation: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. Daniel Friedmann Industry,  Long Term Space Plan
2009-03-13 In-house Corporation: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Inc. Daniel Friedmann Long Term Space Plan,  Industry
2009-03-13 Consultant: COM DEV International KEN MACKAY Briefing and discussion of the Canadian Space Plan
2009-03-13 Consultant: MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) KEN MACKAY Briefing and discussion of the Canadian Space Plan
2009-03-12 In-house Corporation: COM DEV International John Keating Canadian Space Plan
2009-03-11 Consultant: Northern Coal Coalition GENEVIEVE YOUNG Crown Corporation Governance,  Industry,  Mining,  Regional Development
2009-03-09 In-house Corporation: Transat A.T. Inc. Jean-Marc Eustache International Trade,  Taxation and Finance,  International Relations,  Transportation,  Tourism
2009-03-09 Consultant: Transat AT GENEVIEVE YOUNG Taxation and Finance,  Industry,  Transportation
2009-05-26 In-house Organization: CANADIAN VINTNERS ASSOCIATION Dan Paszkowski Investment in wine tourism infrastructure
2009-05-25 In-house Corporation: Vale Inco Ltd Tito Martins International Trade,  Mining
2009-05-25 In-house Organization: Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada (CME) Jayson Myers Canadian response to US Buy American legislation
2009-05-12 In-house Organization: Canadian Council of Chief Executives THOMAS D’AQUINO International Trade,  International Relations
2009-05-12 In-house Organization: Forest Products Association of Canada AVRIM LAZAR Forestry
2009-05-07 In-house Organization: EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF CANADA BRUCE CLEMENGER Corporate Socail Responsibility
2009-05-05 In-house Organization: Canadian Council of Chief Executives THOMAS D’AQUINO International Trade,  International Relations
2009-05-01 In-house Corporation: Methanex Corporation Bruce Aitken International Trade
2009-07-27 In-house Organization: Canadian Council of Chief Executives THOMAS D’AQUINO International Relations,  International Trade
2009-07-27 In-house Organization: Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada (CME) Jayson Myers Status of federal-provincial talks on developing a negotiating proposal on procurement with the United States, strategy for launching procurement negotiations with the United States
2009-07-23 In-house Corporation: Bombardier Inc. Pierre Beaudoin International Trade
2009-07-14 Consultant: GOVERNMENT OF UKRAINE BOHDAN ONYSCHUK Energy
2009-08-04 In-house Organization: BUSINESS COUNCIL OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Virginia Greene Energy
2010-06-09 In-house Organization: The Canadian Society of Immigration Practitioners (CSIP) Nuha Nancy Salloum Industry,  Immigration,  Consumer Issues
2010-09-27 In-house Organization: Canadian Police Association Charles Momy Justice and Law Enforcement,  Labour
2010-09-27 In-house Organization: Canadian Police Association Charles Momy Labour,  Justice and Law Enforcement
2010-09-27 In-house Corporation: Bell Canada George Cope Broadcasting,  Telecommunications
2010-09-09 In-house Corporation: GENERAL ELECTRIC CANADA Elyse Allan Defence
2010-09-09 In-house Organization: Sustainable Development Technologies Canada Vicky Sharpe Innovation
2010-10-29 In-house Corporation: Vancouver International Airport Authority Larry Berg Transportation
2010-10-29 In-house Corporation: Canadian National Railway (CN) Claude Mongeau International Trade
2010-10-19 Consultant: Terry Fox Research Institute GENEVIEVE YOUNG Infrastructure
2010-11-19 Consultant: AVCORP INDUSTRIES INC. MICHAEL BAILEY Defence
2010-11-18 In-house Organization: Rick Hansen Foundation Rick Hansen International Relations
2010-11-03 In-house Organization: CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS CATHERINE SWIFT Small Business,  Government Procurement
2010-11-22 In-house Organization: Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada (CME) Jayson Myers Industry
2010-12-03 In-house Organization: Coast Forest Products Association Richard Jeffery Forestry,  International Trade,  Industry,  Taxation and Finance
lob_date lob_type org resp_off subject
2010-12-03 In-house Organization: Coast Forest Products Association Richard Jeffery Taxation and Finance,  Forestry,  International Trade
2010-12-06 In-house Organization: Canadian Diabetes Association Michael Cloutier Health
2010-12-09 In-house Organization: Canadian Council of Chief Executives JOHN MANLEY International Trade,  Industry,  Taxation and Finance,  Regional Development,  Infrastructure
2011-02-04 In-house Organization: FPInnovations Pierre LAPOINTE Science and Technology,  Forestry,  Industry
2011-02-02 Consultant: Western Coal Corp. ANDY GIBBONS Transportation,  Mining,  Economic Development
2011-01-26 In-house Organization: Alliance of Manufacturers & Exporters Canada (CME) Jayson Myers Taxation and Finance,  Industry,  Budget
2011-03-03 In-house Organization: Canadian Medical Association Paul-Émile Cloutier Health
2011-02-09 In-house Organization: Information Technology Association of Canada Bernard Courtois Industry
2011-02-25 In-house Corporation: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Inc. Mag Iskander Defence
2011-02-25 Consultant: Cisco Systems Canada Jim Armour Telecommunications,  Government Procurement
2011-02-09 In-house Corporation: Suncor Energy Inc. Richard George Transportation
2011-02-08 In-house Organization: CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS CATHERINE SWIFT Small Business,  Budget
2011-02-04 In-house Corporation: Westcoast Energy Inc., dba Spectra Energy Transmission Douglas Bloom Energy
2011-03-03 Consultant: Canadian Medical Association Brian Brodie Health
2011-03-18 In-house Organization: Rick Hansen Foundation Rick Hansen Health,  International Relations
2011-02-15 In-house Organization: Federal Superannuates National Association Sylvia Ceacero Pensions

NDP filibuster: half a Bible of blather


Mid-way through the NDP filibuster of back-to-work legislation, I posted a leader board based on the number of words spoken. At that point on Friday morning, about 97,000 words had been uttered.

Now we’ve finally got the official transcript from Hansard, we can crunch the numbers with a bit more accuracy. (Keep in mind this is based on the English version of Hansard — statements made in French have been translated.)

Total number of word’s spoken by all MPs: 432,143.

That’s about 55 per cent of the length of the King James Bible and 77 per cent of the length of Tolstoy’s War and Peace.

Charlie Angus proved himself the Filibuster Filler. He spoke more than 11,000 words, more than any other MP.

To put that in context, Angus spoke for 41 times the length of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. (But about 2,600 words short of the speech given by Edward Everett, who opened for Lincoln at Gettysburg with a two-hour chinwag that was forgotten in the wake of Abe’s oratory.)

Angus’s words in the House were also, cumulatively, seven times longer than Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech on the Washington Mall.

During the debate, the phrase, “Mr. Speaker,” was used 1,087 times.

The phrase, “Canada Post”: 287 times.

“rights”: 548 times.

“outrageous”: 21 times.

Most words uttered, by MP:

Charlie Angus (NDP)    11,014
Dany Morin (NDP)    10,028
Yvon Godin (NDP)    8,954
Christine Moore (NDP)    8,680
Kevin Lamoureux (Liberal)    8,620
Chris Charlton (NDP)    8,589
Peter Julian (NDP)    8,368
Jack Harris (NDP)    7,652
Rodger Cuzner (Liberal)    7,476
Pat Martin (NDP)    7,204
Libby Davies (NDP)    6,942
Elizabeth May (Green)    6,241
Thomas Mulcair (NDP)    5,931
Randall Garrison (NDP)    5,781
Jinny Jogindera Sims (NDP)    5,690
David Christopherson (NDP)    5,661
Robert Chisholm (NDP)    5,571
Sana Hassainia (NDP)    5,445
Brian Masse (NDP)    5,268
Carol Hughes (NDP)    5,182

The Parliamentary Press Gallery: White (and male) like me


On Thursday, the Parliamentary Press Gallery threw a pizza lunch in Centre Block to unveil the most recent photo portrait of its members. The enormous frame contained individual images of 304 current full-time members of the gallery.

The gallery does the portrait sporadically every six or seven years. The last pictures were assembled in 2004 and 1998 and are the closest we get to having a high school yearbook. Not everyone poses for the picture, it should be noted, but it gives a pretty good glimpse of the face of people who report on parliament..

This year’s photo shows a marked under-representation of visible minorities in the Press Gallery.

I did a very quick count and found only 21 visible minorities in the picture. (And I was being pretty generous about whom to count). Everyone else was white.

That’s an amazingly low seven per cent.

Compare with the Canadian population, in which 16.2 per cent consider themselves visible minorities, according to the 2006 census.

Of these 21 visible minorities in the gallery, four represent Chinese news organizations Xinhua, the People’s Daily or the Falun Gong’s New Tang Dynasty TV.  So among the Canadian media, the number is probably even lower.

Someone with more time could go through the picture to figure out how many of those picture are reporters as opposed to technicians — the gallery includes camera and sound people.

I don’t know if the same low number would be found in newsrooms across the nation.

And I don’t know what this means, either, or whether it even matters, or if it does, how it should be remedied.

UPDATE: A colleague in the gallery suggested I figure out the percentage of women. I came up with 101 out of 304 full-time members in the photograph. That’s 33 per cent, better than the 25 per cent representation of women in the House of Commons, but, of course, well below the 50 per cent of women in the world.

NDP filibuster on Canada Post back-to-work law, by the numbers


Pity the poor stenographers charged with transcribing the ongoing debate in the House of Commons over the Harper’s government’s back-to-work legislation.

With the NDP filibustering the legislation to force locked-out postal workers to accept an imposed settlement, the debate is now into its 20th hour. The official transcript of the debate, Hansard, won’t be available until it concludes. But the “Blues” drafts that are circulated to press gallery members show that the stenographers have been up just as long as the MPs.Their work has given us not only a permanent record of the debate, but also a massive data set to play with.

The last available version of blues runs until about 6 am Friday.  I pulled this block of text into the open-source MySQL database manager to analyze.

A quickie word count shows that about 97,000 words had been spoken during the debate between 3 pm Thursday and 6 am Friday morning.

Some members, of course, spoke more than others. Here’s the rankings for the top-20 speakers during the debate, ranked by words spoken:

Hon. Jack Layton (NDP) 7,114
Hon. Steven Fletcher (CPC) 6,899
M. Yvon Godin (NDP) 5,187
Mr. Peter Julian (NDP) 4,906
M. Claude Patry (NDP) 4,531
Mr. Kevin Lamoureux (LPC) 4,023
Ms. Chris Charlton (NDP) 3,965
Mr. Don Davies (NDP) 3,918
Mr. Rodger Cuzner (LPC) 3,761
Mr. Brad Butt (CPC) 3,524
Mr. Robert Chisholm (NDP) 3,455
Mr. Matthew Kellway (NDP) 3,149
M. Philip Toone (NDP) 3,050
Mr. Phil McColeman (CPC) 2,672
Mr. Pat Martin (NDP) 2,366
M. Alexandre Boulerice (NDP) 2,323
Mr. Larry Miller (CPC) 2,154
Mr. Jack Harris (NDP) 2,123
Mr. Charlie Angus (NDP) 2,076
Mr. Devinder Shory (CPC) 2,052

I was also curious about how the MPs were managing to keep talking so long into the night on a rather narrow topic.  Rather than read the entire transcript, I turned to an online text analysis tool called OpenCalais, which I learned about at a data journalism conference in the U.S. earlier this year.

OpenCalais will perform a task called “entity extraction,” which pulls out names of people, places, organizations and companies. A nice feature of OpenCalais for data journalists is that it can be accessed by an API and there’s a Python wrapper for it, so you can write a little script to upload thousands of lines of text individually to the service and it will capture the results of the analysis.

These are some of the entities extracted from the Canada Post debate that were referenced only once during the debate. Not sure what it means, other than to illustrate the need to digress to keep filibuster going, but I found it mildly amusing.

Denmark
Sweden
Alcan
An Act Respecting Queen’s University
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada
Copenhagen
Falconbridge
FedEx
first Postal Clerks Association
gas price gouging
Haiti
Hans Island
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Le monde
Leeds
Libya
McDonald’s restaurant
New Carlisle
Norway
Sackville
Shippagan
Tragualishalow
Wag The Dog