CBC admits Paul Wells’ comment about Maxime Bernier’s supporters was “inappropriate”

Below is the response I received to my complaint (see here) filed with the CBC Ombudsman:


Dear Mr Skoreyko,

Thank you for your email addressed to CBC Ombudsman, Esther Enkin regarding Power & Politics.  Since Power & Politics is my responsibility, Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief of CBC News, asked me to reply.

You wrote to express your concerns about a comment made by Paul Wells on the September 14th show.  You found the comment inappropriate. I agree with you.

On the September 14th show we discussed The People’s Party of Canada – a new political party created by former Conservative MP Maxime Bernier. Host Vassy Kapelos interviewed Mr Bernier about his new party. Later in the show the Power Panel (Jen Gerson, Martin Patriquin, Katie Simpson and Paul Wells) discussed the new party and its potential impact on the Canadian political landscape.

At the end of the discussion Mr Wells said “basically his [Mr Bernier’s] voter base right now is the stupidest people on Twitter and so we will see how far that gets him.”

The comment was not appropriate and Mr Wells acknowledged that the following day when he tweeted “Honestly the bit at the end of this clip was a thoughtless bit of hyperbole and it was stupid of me to say it. I apologize to everyone I upset.”

We ask our Power Panellists to offer political commentary based on their own knowledge and experience. We expect them to provide context, to be insightful, outspoken in their views, challenging, and, yes, on occasion, provocative. However, Mr Wells’ comment in this instance was inaccurate and inappropriate.


Amy Castle

Executive Producer

Power & Politics

CBC News

cc. Esther Enkin, CBC Ombudsman

Jennifer McGuire, General Manager and Editor in Chief, CBC News

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