Star’s Tim Harper quotes anon source calling Harper’s people “pricks”

tim harper

Apparently there was at least one person running around the Manning Conference this weekend ready to call Conservatives nasty names when speaking to Media Party members:

“There are a lot of core Conservative supporters who don’t live here and don’t realize what a bunch of pr–ks these guys are,’’ said one conservative.  (see here)

By not naming, we have to (again) trust an anti-Conservative reporter that this person is: 1) a conservative 2) actually exists.

I’ve asked Tim Harper to explain how it’s ethical journalism to quote an anonymous ‘conservative’ source in this fashion and will update if he responds.

Update: I have now filed a complaint with the president of the Canadian Association of Journalists, Hugo Rodrigues:

Besides contacting you on Twitter, I am asking for your comment on Tim Harper using an anonymous source quoted calling Conservatives “pricks” in his column titled “The gulf between conservative family and Conservative government”.

Your ethics guidelines clearly states “We do not allow anonymous sources to take cheap shots at individuals or organizations” yet this is exactly what Tim Harper has done.

Please inform me what your organization will be doing to enforce this ethics infraction and the disciplinary procedures that are in place to deal with it.

Consider this a formal complaint.

Thank you, I await your response.

Update: Posted below is the CAJ response and my reply:


Journalism is not a regulated profession in Canada. Our ethics guidelines are just that, guidelines. A set of best practices, if you prefer. There is no enforceability to them and we do not investigate complaints about a particular journalist’s conduct based on our ethics guidelines.

I would suggest the following chain of people to contact in order to address your concern:
– Harper himself.
– The Star’s Ottawa bureau chief and/or political editor
– The Star’s editor in chief, Michael Cooke
– The Star’s public editor (ombuds), Kathy English
– The Ontario Press Council, of which The Star is a member.

Of that list, the only who can enforce any sort of consequence are those who supervise the journalist in question.

I hope this has been helpful.

Hugo Rodrigues
CAJ president


Hugo, thank you for your prompt response. I very much appreciate it.

Your ethics guideline does not suggest a code of conduct, it states a rule without caveat “We do not…”.

If you do not have an enforcement or complaint policy in place, having these policies posted only ends up making a mockery of your organization as it stands. You might as well include the word ‘please’ at the beginning.

I have already contacted Kathy English and will be making further complaints including the Press Council.




Point understood– however, as I stated journalism is not a regulated profession in Canada. Membership in the CAJ (or any other similar body) is not a mandatory part of being a journalist. We have no investigative or enforcement powers as such and to act like we do would be disingenuous.

The only people who can enforce anything on a journalist are her or his employer. For the CAJ to have any kind of complaint or enforcement policy would be redundant– we can take no legal or other action against a journalist that has any consequence.

Our guidelines are written as best practices as I’ve already stated. We’re happy with the way they are written.



I will counter that you do make public statements to complain about cut-backs and lay-offs while choosing not to say anything when a journalist breaks your ethics guidelines.



Yes, we do point out that media companies choose to layoff journalists and that concerns us. That impacts the ability of all journalists to do their best work.

It’s also important for us to be seen supporting our members and other journalists.

A journalist who may or may not do his or her best work isn’t our issue to deal with. As I’ve said twice now, that’s the employer’s issue to deal with based on any complaints they may or may not receive and any infractions of any of their own policies and procedures.

To be clear– we don’t investigate and we don’t rule on complaints brought to our attention because we have no legal power or standing to do so. I’ve advised you on who you can contact to seek the response you wish to your concerns. That’s that.




18 Responses to “Star’s Tim Harper quotes anon source calling Harper’s people “pricks””

  1. DAVID W Says:


  2. a Says:

    The gulf lies between the underlying Red Tory faction of obstructors masquerading as Conservatives a la Joe Clark; readily endorsed by the likes of this little “pr–k” from the rabidlly left Star; and the actual Conservative government.

    It feels like Manning, as in Mike Harris before him, has been “turned”.

    Newsflash: Socialists are not Conservatives!

  3. Liz J Says:

    An anon source sounds like another made up tale from the usual media prigs who are short on gossip. They’re probably same criteria they used in wafergate and other unsuccessful gotcha schemes.
    Lets just call this one pricks anonymous.

    • bocanut Says:

      Maybe “Anonymous” is Trudeau’s middle class “Nathalie” or Chretien’s homeless buddy or Redford’s forgiving Alberta friend or Susan Delacourt’s imaginary Ottawa source?
      Will the real Anonymous please stand up?

  4. Jen Says:

    What amazes me is that ‘the lefty media’ had or have the freedom to bash the conservatives in particular PM Harper. Yet those same bashers are treated like **** by their adored Justin.
    When the media’s hated man PM Harper answers their questions the media are upset and say ‘that he does not want to answer their ‘tough’ questions.
    But, when the media’s lover boy and chosen one Trudeau refuses to answer their questions and walks out on them through the back door, the media ‘rejoice and praise him’. WHAT A PRIKING JOKE THE MEDIA ARE.

    The first people Socialists control is the media, and so far, Justin has proven that he is doing just that. The NDP will make mincemeat out of the media like FIFE, SOLOMON, T/S, CBC and others. No wonder they reporters, rarely ask NDP questions. The NDP just like CPC are fully aware of the cover-ups the media has done for the liberals regarding to adscam and more throughout the years.

  5. Martin Says:

    “pure” conservatives, are becoming as weary of the Harper style of attack politics and authoritarian governing as those who actively oppose the prime minister.”

    This from the above column by Tim Harper. Later he mentions positive reactions for Tudeau trying to “bring down the partisanship in the Commons”

    What could be more authoritarian than dismissing 32 Senators, most of them long serving party faithful, without even a hearing? Simply call them together to tell them they are fired from The LPC, then disappearing for several days.
    Not for the first time TorStar’s attacks on PMSH methods, and their support of JT actions are completely inconsistent.

    • Liz J Says:

      Trying to “bring down the partisanship in the Commons” would be to become a Communistic state.
      The partisanship these media hacks are talking about is attacking the nature of our democratic system.
      Are they trying to convince people only Conservatives are partisan when they enact and defend their policies as the governing party?

  6. Jen Says:

    Innocent LIBERAL senators WERE FIRED by JT for no reason at all. Robert Fife too chicken to find out far less question Trudeau on his bold decision.
    Media reporters FEAR that they will be ordered to be fired by JT, if they overstep their boundaries with the liberals.
    A classic case of Socialism.
    These reporters have no idea why they ‘hate’ PM Harper.

  7. Bubba Brown Says:

    Gee can one be a Maggot Media with “anonymous sources” without being a member of Pricks anonymous?
    Hi, My name is “Dick” and I am a MM-anony I have to confess my unrequited man-love for Juthtin, he dosen’t return my calls, I feel used and abandoned, why dosen’t he call ?

  8. Bec Says:

    Lots of bosses call their ‘staff’ pr**cks and I can tell you, lots of staff call their bosses pr**ks so why is this news?

    Say no more! Could it be because a political partisan journalist pr**ck heard the term used, referencing the party he probably loves to hate?

    It’s hard to say what you want to say re pr**cks these days apparently? Especially when the author of the ‘anonymous’ comment can’t just let sleeping dogs lie, comments left alone and shut up from a professional pov, understand that venting is healthy and that some of us think that about him?

    OR that it never happened BECAUSE he doesn’t have the ba11s to expose the source? Which ever setting sits, C-O-W-A-R-D is how I see the journalistic integrity of these people who spew garbage about some pr**cks but not other pr**cks!

  9. Alain Says:

    For gutter reporters nothing is too low or rotten, and if they cannot find anything rotten they make it up. I question the truth of this claim. I disagree with Harper’s handling of many issues, but I can do so with calling him childish names. I think the same goes for almost all who are not leftist. Frankly this reminds me of the claim that the PM did something nasty to a communion waffer in a Catholic church, and then there were the robot calls.

  10. Bubba Brown Says:

    The constant chatter of MM who don’t matter.
    If a MM picks his nose
    Does he find a rose?
    If he gets “pricked”
    Do they no longer love the rose
    Or is it just the attention of a anonymous prick that does the trick ?
    Only he knows
    I’m thinkin’ he’s the prick
    And it shows

  11. Liz J Says:

    Wonder who’s buying their wine, they always seem to have a glass in hand? It’s either to relieve all the stress of having nothing real to report so they’re using it to extract info from those being plied with the vino in their quest for “In Vino Veritas”.
    Anyway, they’re not elevating their profession or themselves.

  12. Tich Says:

    These eminent journos ( I use that term loosely) have yet to realize that the Conservative Government under PMSH was elected by the majority of voters across Canada and the only way to legally defeat this government is in the 2015 election. I must remind these so called journos that PMSH governs all of Canada not just the Ottawa bubble to which these fools belong. If Tim Harper etal do not like the direction that Canada is heading, then they can feel free to pack up their pens and move to either Russia, Venezuela, North Korea and Cuba and write their biased articles.

  13. Rich Says:

    Keep probing CAJ, Dean. Sooner rather than later CAJ will realize that there are reporters out there like yourself who ‘ARE NOT NOT’ like those(reporters) who ‘PRETEND’ or abuse their tactics without facts and proof. This is where the CAJ imo, thought you were at.
    It scares the so-called JOURNALISM body that there are ‘REAL’ JOURNALISTS out there who refuse to drink the same bath water with them.

    • BC Blue Says:

      They are blinded by their anti-Conservative bias that having/allowing journalists doing what Tim Harper did only further hurts their profession.

  14. Angus Says:

    I truly loath Fife. He’s is as bigoted as they come, as is Martin and his band of radio Pr#cks that I listen to every morning on CFRA on the way to work. The leftist media are in large a part responsible for keeping McWynne and her band of thieves in power. Their journalistic integrity, if they even have any, is highly suspect.

  15. Jen Says:

    Angus, Robert Fife is only demonstrating to the liberals and ndp that he stands by them over the Canadian people in hope of getting a senate seat. He has to ‘kiss’ arse to do so but, whether either coalition party(ndp/lib) elect him, remains to be seen.
    I get that he is not alone but many other liberal/ndp liberal medias have many huddles to jump over and stick to it in order to pass the test into senate seat.
    Meanwhile, us Canadians are living free and broadcasting freely like Dean on issues and news where Robert Fife would have trouble doing without the consent from his employers.
    Justin and the other liberals have proven to Robert Fife where they(liberals) stand with him. He is their doormat to use whenever they flicker their fingers, he jumps. Pathetic.

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