The CBC is fuelling a "faith war" and using its taxpayer-funded position to "foment religious division," the Prime Minister's strategists in their latest attack on the public broadcaster.
In a memo to supporters, the backroom operatives note that this is just the next step in the CBC's "ongoing campaign against the Conservative Party." At issue is a story about the rise of the right-wing religious groups and their connections to the Stephen Harper's government that ran on The National last night.
The piece - which, as Tories armed with stopwatches note, ran "a full eight minutes in length" - was inspired by the release of a new book, The Armageddon Factor by journalist Marci McDonald, in which she investigates the right-wing religious movement in Canada and its ties to Stephen Harper and his government.
"Last night's dominant CBC story … featured an attack on the religious affiliation of some government members and supporters," the Tory missive says. "Apparently, the CBC thinks it newsworthy that some Conservative Ministers and MPs practice their faith. Even more scandalous, some members of the Prime Minister's Office go to church!"
The CBC piece, which aired about 25 minutes into the nightly broadcast, referred to Treasury Board President Stockwell Day as a "devout Christian" who is "seen as the leader of the religious right" on Parliament Hill. It also singled out a couple of other Tory MPs.
The Conservative strategists are alleging that this faith-based attack follows the strategy laid out by EKOS pollster Frank Graves, who had suggested in a Globe and Mail column that the Liberals mount a "culture war" against the Harper government. The Tories say Mr. Graves is a Liberal partisan and should be identified as such when he conducts polling for the public broadcaster.
"Is it just a coincidence that the CBC news coverage advances the strategy that pollster Frank Graves gave to the Liberal Party?" the Tory memo says. "Seems to us that following the Frank Graves strategy was exactly what the CBC was doing last night. CBC executives have yet to explain why."
The Globe has asked CBC for comment, but the network has yet to respond.
"Perhaps Canada's tax-funded broadcaster needs a lesson in freedom of religion," the Tories say. "Under the Charter of Rights, neither religious affiliation nor lack of religious affiliation is grounds to deny participation in the democratic life of the country."