The federal Conservatives are rejecting a demand by the CBC to withdraw file footage from the national broadcaster that appears in new Tory ads targeting their political opponents.
The Conservatives did not seek permission to use CBC content in three ads that were posted online and broadcast on TV on Monday, said CBC spokesman Marco Dube said.
“The journalistic integrity of CBC-Radio-Canada–of the national public broadcaster–and its political neutrality require that our material not be used in partisan advertising,” Dube said Tuesday.
Dube said the CBC intends to send a letter to the Tories, demanding that the CBC content be yanked. It will also be in touch with other federal political parties to remind them of the national broadcaster’s guidelines.
Fred DeLorey, director of communications for the Conservative party, said Tuesday, “It’s free speech. It’s free use.”
“We have received the CBC’s request and disagree with their interpretation.”
The Conservatives have, in the past, seized on spats with the public broadcaster for political benefit. They used such differences as material for a fundraising letter that attracted an influx of donations from anti-CBC members of the party base in 2007.
DeLorey said the American public affairs channel C-SPAN allowed fair use of a similar clip of Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff in a 2009 Conservative Party campaign.
It determined that the clip was freely available and in use, as is the CBC’s material.
Furthermore, there is now no economic loss to the broadcaster, he added.
The Tory campaign includes 10 ads–six in English and four in French–that go after the Opposition leaders.
Three of the ads include footage broadcast on CBC. Two of the English ads feature comments Ignatieff made in 2001 and 2005, while a French one includes remarks by Justin Trudeau speaking unflatteringly about Ignatieff during the 2006 Liberal leadership race.
It’s not the first time the Tories have landed in hot water because of their ad campaigns.
At the beginning of 2007, they used excerpts–without seeking permission from a pool of TV broadcasters–from the Liberal leadership debates held the previous fall.