Straight Talk
BRIAN LILLEY - CBC hides hockey dough as vital to national interest



OTTAWA - With the NHL lockout dragging into its third month it's no secret that CBC's revenue from live games is zero, but the state broadcaster has also released documents claiming zero revenue for the entire 2006-07 season when there was no lockout.

Of course, the CBC did earn revenue from ad sales and other revenue streams but documents released to QMI Agency show all monetary figures stripped out, with CBC claiming it would be against the economic interests of Canada to release the information.

QMI Agency filed the original request through a partner in 2007 asking for details on Hockey Night in Canada revenues.

At that time CBC claimed that the material was exempt from release as part of its programming activities.

CBC fought the federal information commissioner in court over the release of the file and lost, but found a new way to keep secrets hidden.

A one-page document with lines to detail revenues from regular season games, playoff games and the all-star game was released with the revenue figures removed.

According to the CBC, releasing that information would hurt "the competitive position of a government institution."

Access to Information expert and lawyer Michel Drapeau said the CBC is trying to use a rule intended to protect things like new inventions by government scientists.

"It may be against the economic interests of CBC but it is a long way off going against the economic interests of Canada," Drapeau said. "This doesn't pass the giggle test."

CBC recently touted its nomination for an award that honours openness and transparency in government.
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