Canadian Heritage Minister Under Fire For Media Donations
May 4, 2007 at 5:45 AM (PT)
Seven major Canadian media executives, some with issues being reviewed by her department, made donations to Heritage Minister BEV ODA's riding association last year.
ODA, a former CRTC Commissioner, was supposed to be the guest of honor at a fundraiser on NOVEMBER 15 in TORONTO that was cancelled under pressure from critics in the House of Commons, but most of the donations made for the event were not returned, according to reports filed by the riding association with ELECTION CANADA. Among the donors were STANDARD's GARY SLAIGHT, CHUM's JAY SWITZER, ASTRAL MEDIA's ANDRE BUREAU, CANWEST GLOBAL's LEN ASPER, and the CANADIAN INDEPENDENT FILM AND VIDEO FUND's ROBIN JACKSON, while ROGERS' GARY MILES and TVONTARIO's LISA DEWILDE had their donations returned.
Personal donations under C$1,000 are legal, but the donations came while Prime Minister STEPHEN HARPER was pushing to end corporate influence in political financing. The fundraiser was scheduled for two weeks before the CRTC launched a review of its broadcasting rules, and while the records do not indicate whether the donations were part of the fundraiser, the amount of most of the donations -- C$250 or C$500 -- are consistent with the fundraiser's donation levels (ASPER contributed $2,500; a CANWEST lobbyist organized the fundraiser).