On Friday November 5th, vice-president Cathy Rushton declared there were "aspects of censorship that are relevant" to justify Red River College hiding behind the Kick-FM "executive committee" to cancel The Great Canadian Talk Show. College officials had been directed by RRC president Stephanie Forysth to find a way to eliminate the show, after a false complaint was made to her by Winnipeg Free Press editor Margo Goodhand.
All weekend long, word of the decision spread throughout the city, despite Goodhand's request that her attack on Marty Gold be kept confidential.
A call from one of the key sponsors of TGCTS was placed to the station the following Monday morning, and station manager Rick Baverstock sent a heads-up email to Graham Thomson at 11.10 AM:
"I just got a call from the Winnipeg Police Association, who heard something about "Marty's possible termination" at City Hall this morning ... I asked Mike Sutherland (who called from the Police) to send me his concerns via email. As soon as I receive it, I'll forward it you."Sutherland's email arrived within 15 minutes.
"I was recently advised today of the potential for the cancellation of the great Canadian talk show purportedly as a result of a complaint from a Free Press reporter.
I must advise that the Winnipeg Police Association is greatly concerned about the cancellation of the show for a number of reasons. It is the only radio show the association has provided long term sponsorship for in recent history and we do so for a variety of reasons."
The list included:
- "it highlights the communities concerns and inspires debate among the public and Red River students in regards to the whole spectrum of public safety in Winnipeg" ;
- access RRC students working with the show got to "the front line police perspective ... that otherwise may not exist";
- the consideration of mainstream and alternative media sources in TGCTS reporting ; and
- "to silence an important voice in the spectrum because they dared to be critical of the Free Press is in our view significantly alarming"
When Cathy Rushton got the email from Thomson and passed it upstairs to Forsyth, and the college lawyer who was drafting the termination notice, she did not comment on;
- how city hall and the police union had heard about the no-longer confidential link between the cancellation and the Free Press, blowing the cover-up story 3 hours before it had even been floated.
- the importance of TGCTS enabling student journalists to develop a positive relationship with the police.
- the platform the show provided for the community to discuss important policing and safety issues.
Instead, what Cathy Rushton commented on, was why the email protesting the cancellation had been sent at all.
And she was able to impugn the reputation of Kick-FM station manager Rick Baverstock and discredit Mike Sutherland and the entire Winnipeg Police Association, with a single speculative sentence:
"Another example of what appears to be Rick lobbying for support."
page 2When a Freedom of Information filing uncovered Rushton's smear of the police union, Mike Sutherland emailed RRC President Stephanie Forsyth "to formally indicate our strong objection to a patently erroneous representation of our motivation".
From: Mike Sutherland
Sent: January-11-11 8:55 AM
Cc: ' Rick@kick.fm '
Subject: Freedom of Information Disclosure & Concerns over WPA correspondence
Attachments: EMAIL RRC 1.pdf; EMAIL RRC 2.pdf
Dear Ms. Forsyth
I am corresponding with you in order to clarify and correct any misconceptions you may have about our concerns as expressed to kick fm station manager Mr. Rick Baverstock, in relation to the cancellation of the Great Canadian Talk Show, as well as to formally indicate our strong objection to a patently erroneous representation of our motivation in that regard.
I have recently been provided a number of emails as a result of a freedom of information request, some of which reference me and my organization specifically. The particular email, to which I refer (and has been attached), appears to have been authored by Cathy Rushton, the Vice President of RRCC, and although some ambiguity may now exist, also a current or former member of the Cre Comm radio board.
By way of background I can advise that the Winnipeg Police Association supported TGCTS. Upon learning of the show’s impending cancellation, which I can unequivocally assure you was not from Mr. Baverstock, I telephoned him as the station manager, presumably as he would have had a significant role in that decision.
I then expressed my concerns and further followed up with a detailed email dated November 8th 2010. Let me absolutely clear, the expression of that concern was in absolutely no way recruited by or initiated by Mr. Baverstock in any fashion whatsoever.
In fact an email sent at 11:10 am on November 8th from Mr. Baverstock to Mr. Graham Thomson, illustrates the nature of how our concerns came to be expressed. Mr. Baverstock requested the email from me at the conclusion of our phone conversation, which was initiated by me, simply to ensure the exact and detailed nature of my concerns during that discussion would be accurately and completely outlined.
The strong objection we now have centers around the following comment, which refers to us, in an email at 12:23 pm on November 8th sent by Ms. Rushton, and apparently authored by her, to you RRCC president Ms. Stephanie Forsyth;
“Another example of what appears to be Rick lobbying for support.”
In our view, not only is this a clearly inaccurate representation of our motivation behind the expression of our concern, but it is quite conceivable that our real and significant issues, could be easily trivialized and therefore dismissed as manufactured, by those with the jurisdiction to consider the show’s future.
I don’t recall ever having met Mr. Baverstock, and I can assure we have never participated in any alleged “lobby” purported to him. In terms of the categorization as arguably being recruited as pawns in this “lobbying” effort, nothing could be further from the truth.
Furthermore one might hope that either Ms. Rushton who made the assumption, or you who received it, might have instead done us the courtesy of a quick inquiry, to determine if in fact the assumed premise was correct.
You must appreciate that the receipt of the information regarding these communications is disturbing to us.
We would have hoped to have at least to been contacted to seek clarification before dismissing or minimizing our concerns, the concerns of an organization that represents roughly 1750 men and women who risk their safety on virtually a daily basis to protect Winnipeg's citizens.
We hope that this dismissive categorization was not the impression left with those considering the fate of TGCTS. I cannot emphasize enough that my communication was a sincere expression of our concern. It is disappointing to learn that it was portrayed otherwise.
Winnipeg Police AssociationIn response, Forsyth did ... nothing. So after 15 days, Sutherland sent her a reminder:
From: Mike Sutherland
Sent: January-26-11 4:54 PM
Subject: Previous email
Dear Ms. Forsyth, I sent an email to you back on January 11th 2010. Although it did not invite a response I just wanted to ensure that you received it. I have included the original copy of the email below. I have as well attached the two emails that came to my attention as a result of a freedom of information request that I refer to in my discussions in that original email.
If I could impose upon you to do me the courtesy of letting me know that you did receive this email, the previous email, or both, I would certainly appreciate it.
Mike SutherlandFinally, in the only known response to any supporter of TGCTS that has contacted her about the cancellation, Stephanie Forsyth was forced to say ... something, while trying to say nothing.
From: Stephanie G Forsyth [mailto: email@example.com ]
Sent: January-28-11 12:17 PM
To: Mike Sutherland
Cc: Stephanie G Forsyth
Dear Mr. Sutherland;
I am in receipt of your email of January 11, 2011. Thank you for taking the time to clarify and correct any misconceptions I may have had about the Police Association’s concerns regarding the cancellation of the Great Canadian Talk Show. We appreciate your efforts to keep misunderstandings on this subject to a minimum.
President & CEO
Red River College of Applied Arts, Science and Technology
firstname.lastname@example.orgSutherland still wanted to make sure that Cathy Rushton or any other College official was never again left unchecked if, in the future, they decided to talk smack about the Police Association.
From: Mike Sutherland
Sent: January-28-11 4:00 PM
To: 'Stephanie G Forsyth'
Subject: RE: Reply
Thank you for the reply and reassuring me that you have received my email outlining our overall concerns. Although cancellation of the TGCTS seems to be essentially a “fait accompli” I trust that any others with jurisdiction over that decision also had any misconceptions about our position similarly clarified.
Although to some it may seem inconsequential in light of the result, the implication that we were “recruited” for a “lobbying” effort is troubling to us, not only as it is completely inaccurate, but suggests that the Association’s concerns as expressed were perhaps not sincerely held, but simply manufactured.
As you can appreciate this view potentially undermines our reputation as sincere advocates for public safety and public safety education in the community, and therefore mandated we address it expeditiously.
Should there be any instances in future where the position of the Winnipeg Police Association, as it may be associated to some activity or issue related to RRCC, is portrayed or categorized by someone other than those properly designated to indicate it, we ask that you, or the appropriate party from your executive, please not hesitate to contact me directly for clarification. This should alleviate any such problems in future, as we would be pleased to address any inaccuracies that may have developed.
It is unfortunate that we were not provided a more timely opportunity to do so in this instance, but we were unaware of the categorization until we received the related materials.
I thank you again for the courtesy of your reply and confirmation of receipt our concerns.
*******************The Winnipeg Police Association email marks the third known incident in just the last half of 2010 alone, where supporters of The Great Canadian Talk Show were misrepresented in comments attributed to RRC vice-president Cathy Rushton that were circulated to other College officials. Rushton made a point last summer of mentioning "people whose opinions we care about".
Supporters of The Great Canadian Talk Show and of freedom of speech are evidently not included in that group.
We have received no indication Cathy Rushton has ever apologized to the WPA,
to Mayor Sam Katz (who called her repeated claims he had complained about the show to the College "patently false"), or to Provencher MP Vic Toews (who denied he had ever complained about the show).
Her boss, RRC President Stephanie Forsyth has, to our knowledge, not apologized to any of them either.