On this Bourque thing again, let me just say that I don't begrudge the guy's right to make a buck.
If his business plan is to slant his headlines to suit his advertisers and sponsors, and that can prove to be a sustainable business model, then good for him.
I think it would be the right thing to do to make your biases clear, but that's entirely up to him. I also think when you try to make a major scandal out of Dion crossing the street against the light (alternate spin: opposition leader ditches government car, walks to work) then your credibility tends to suffer, but again, entirely his choice.
Pierre is a businessmen and I believe in free enterprise. The market will decide the value of what he has to offer, long live the market.
My concern is more with the Conservative Party of Canada. As Warren notes today, it's no secret that Pierre sells headlines on his site. Heck, he even says so.
So my question is, given this line in the book excerpt I quoted yesterday:
Bourque Newswatch was a popular Ottawa-based site which published political news and gossip, and it had on occasion published items the Conservatives wanted out in the blogshpere.
And given the stridently anti-Liberal, pro-Conservative tensor of the headlines on Bourque Newswatch during the last election campaign, as this five day archive of headlines from the campaign indicates:
RCMP PROBES INCOME TRUSTS
LIBERALS ROCKED BY NEW SCANDAL
IGNATIEFF DEBACLE: ALF APPS' EMERGENCY EMAIL
TURMOIL EMBROILS IGNATIEFF'S CANDIDACY
COPPS: LIBERAL DEMOCRACY ? HA !
HARPER CALLS FOR OFFICE OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS
ADLER: HARPER THE NEXT PM
HARPER TO CUT GST TO 5%
PAPER: MARTIN LACKS RESPECT FOR VOTERS
HAMM ENDORSES HARPER
MARTIN OUT OF SYNCH
SLOWPOKES: PARTY HAS YET TO TURF ADSCAM LIBS
IS OPPOSING GST CUT HOMOPHOBIC?
HARPER KEEPS MOMENTUM
CHAREST REFUSES TO CAMPAIGN FOR MARTIN LIBS
LAYTON DEFENDS JEWEL THIEF CANDIDATE
TORIES LAUNCH STRAIGHT TALK ADS
HARPER: CANADIANS "MASSIVELY OVERTAXED"
CAW MEMBERS SNUB BUZZ'S PRO-LIB STAND, OPT FOR NDP INSTEAD
FREE SPEECH? MARTIN HECKLER JAILED 4 DAYS
LAYTON WAFFLES ON PRIVATE HEALTH CARE
MARTIN FLIP-FLOPS ON MIDEAST
I would like to ask Stephen Harper, John Reynolds and Michael Fortier these questions:
- Has the Conservative Party purchased headlines, or other advertising and/or sponsorship, on Bourque Newswatch?
- If so, did any of this spending occur during the writ period?
- If it did, was the advertising expense properly declared and accounted for by the Conservative Party in its filings with Elections Canada?, and
- If it did, did the advertising purchased on Bourque Newswatch by the Conservative Party during the writ period duly include the "Authorized by the Official Agent for…" disclosure as required by Elections Canada?