Suzuki's political endorsement appears to break CBC rules

David Suzuki



HALIFAX - Despite CBC ethics rules that appear to be to the contrary, environmental activist and CBC host David Suzuki is lending his star power to a political race.

On the CBC this week, he offered his support to Liberal leadership candidate Joyce Murray.

"She has taken a bold step saying we should put a price on carbon which as you know was fatal to Stephane Dion, but the world has changed enormously," he said, adding he also likes her plan to unite non-Tory candidates in tight fights against the Conservatives.

The CBC has a rule that on-air personalities, both freelance and full-time, remain politically neutral and never endorse political candidates.

"(Employees) are restricted from engaging in political activity defined as running for public office or publicly supporting a candidate," the rule reads.

But the CBC said it doesn't apply to Suzuki, though offered little explanation how his work is different from that identified in the policy.

"As David Suzuki is a freelancer who does not work exclusively for CBC, this policy does not apply to him," Angus McKinnon, spokesman for CBC, wrote in an e-mail.

"(His endorsement) is an expression of his personal opinion. It is not being expressed in his capacity as host of CBC's The Nature of Things and does not represent the views of the corporation."

Conservative MP Rob Anders is crying foul.

"It shows a collusion, it shows a conflict of interest and I think both the CBC and Suzuki are playing favourites, and I think it's a scandalous abuse of taxpayer funds."

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