The Vancouver Scrum

On the move!

Agh! You’re still here? My new site and weblog, is now up and running; new posts are building up over there, never to be mirrored here. Go! What are you waiting for? All the stuff worth keeping has been migrated over to the new server, and I don’t anticipate making any more posts here.

Bloggers and webmasters: Update your links! Simply replace with in your blogrolls or bookmarks to point to the new site. Old posts will remain on this server for as long as the people at Blogger/Google allow them to remain; unfortunately, I’m not going to bother to come up with any way of converting permalinks on this blog to their corresponding posts on the new site. Yes, I plead laziness. I also realize the irony of switching away from Blogger just it starts to add features that the demanding blog nerds insist upon.

Thanks for reading and linking, and see you over at!

—Ian King, December 13, 2004

Sunday, June 13, 2004


Shocker: Asper brat favours buying off politicians!

Canada's favourite hotheaded media executive, David Asper, is at it again. The eldest son of the late Izzy Asper, until now most famous for calling his journalists "riff-raff" and bullying his subordinates, is lashing out at the new political financing rules brought in the the Chretien government last year.
"I find it absolutely offensive," Asper said. "I have a right to support whoever I want to support, or not support. That right has been taken away."

The law, which is in effect for the first time during the current general election campaign, bans corporations and labour unions from donating to political parties and limits their donations to candidates and riding associations to $1,000 for the election period.

The law, introduced by the Liberals under then prime minister Jean Chr├ętien, limits donations by individuals to a total of $5,000 a year. Before this year, there were no limits on corporate, union or personal donations to political parties.

Blogger Erik Sorenson (not to be confused with CBC Ottawa corro Eric Sorenson, surely not) went further, suggesting that Davey Boy was a tad bothered that he'd not be able to shovel a stack of cash to the Liberal party from the CanWest coffers.
Well, the official perception, especially in conservative circles, is that the Aspers are a bunch of hardcore Liberals, if right-wing ones. That may have been true of the old man, but he's gone, and his sons Leonard (the CEO) and David (the editorial enforcer) now rule the place. In a lengthy CBC News: Inside Media interview last month (reviewed here by the Star's Antonia Zerbisias), the Asper boys made it pretty clear that their support tended more to "classical liberal" ideas, not to political parties -- and I do recall David saying something to the order of him not being terribly tied to the Grits.

Sifting through the Elections Canada database, one finds that CanWest was not shovelling large sums exclusively to the Grits. In 2000, the last election where corporations were able to give freely to political parties (and Izzy Asper was alive and acquiring), CanWest gave $56,136 to the Liberals. The other beneficiary of CanWest's campaign grease? Why, 'twas the Canadian Alliance, who likely wouldn't say no to $30,466. CanWest also made contributions between $1000 and $3000 to individual Liberal and Alliance candidates' campaigns.

The last year for which returns are available is 2002. CanWest Global communications kicked nearly $6000 to the Liberals, and slightly less to the Alliance. CanWest Media shot another $4500 towards the Grits. A million dollars, surely it's not.

As for one David Asper, of a postal code that corresponds to somewhere in Winnipeg's North River Heights? He made only one contribution in 2000 -- $500 to Alliance candidate Betty Granger, who was forced to stand down during the campaign after referring to the large number of immigrants to the West Coast as an "Asian invasion." Not tied to the Liberals, indeed.

Note: The links to the results from the Elections Canada finance database may or may not work; EC doesn't provide any sort of permanent web link feature for these queries. The information can be retrieved by selecting the right year, words in the contributor name (like "Asper" or Canwest") and type of contribution -- to parties or candidates. You can do this stuff for yourself.

Update: Those database links are near-useless; you should query the database youself for best results.
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