By Trevor Greyeyes
Colin Craig, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation prairie director, has a whole lot of explaining to do after his performance at the fed's news conference to announce the passage of Bill C-27 on March 27.
It was one protester banging on a drum that disrupted the news conference sending Bernard Valcourt, Aboriginal Affairs minister, and his flunkies fleeing the news conference to hide out behind closed doors.
Here's the video of the protester banging his drum. Notice when the camera turns around Craig is just sitting there adjusting his glasses. If he felt that strongly about standing up for "grassroots people" like Phyllis Sutherland. He should've confronted that protester.
For me, that was a real shame because I had pointed questions for certain individuals that were to speak that day including Craig.
Craig as Bully and Coward
By now, I know many people have seen the video where Craig comes out of his hole to intimidate and scream at Pam Palmater.
And for those who might have missed it, here it is.
Unfortunately, it wasn't Palmater and her group of supporters that disrupted the news conference.
"Everyone who attended here today comes from a different background. It could be Idle No More. It could be AIM. It could be regular community members," said Palmater.
Later after being challenged by a reporter if name calling was appropriate, she said, "I don't remember calling anybody any names."
Later on, she added, "If my brothers and sisters are frustrated that their people are dying on a daily basis then I understand that frustration."
Seems Craig is much more interested in bullying an innocent woman who was there to peacefully protest.
David Climenhaga is a former journalist/ journalism instructor who has written about the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in the past. (http://albertadiary.ca/2013/03/minuscule-canadian-taxpayers-federation-in-running-for-turfy-award.html)
"The other thing that really shocked me about that thing, I heard the clip on CBC, was the way he was shouting and interrupting in that dispute with Pam Palmater," said Climenhaga.
"I was very surprised because the one thing about the CTF is their people tend to be slick and good at being sympathetic looking like polite young men. I thought Colin Craig's performance was amateurish for the CTF."
Craig as Liar
Never let it be said that Craig let anything like the truth stand in the way of a good soundbite.
Craig is lying when he claims that certain chiefs earn more than the prime minister.
Now, here's the thing with CTF calculations on chief and council salaries. Salary plus travel and honoraria, etc... are all added together and then the Ernst and Young’s Personal Income Tax calculator, and this is all taken from the CTF website (http://www.taxpayer.com/blog/some-thoughts-on-exorbitant-chief-and-council-pay), is used to calculate what the income would represent with tax.
Craig knows that he's open up to criticism when he writes on the CTF website that "If we start quibbling about the jet the prime minister gets to fly on I think we’ve all missed the point."
I'm not quibbling Craig.
I am saying it's a misrepresentation of the facts with your selective accounting and mathematical manipulation.
If Craig had just come out and said that some chiefs make an inordinate amount of money then I would agree.
For example, even though Glenn Hudson's salary has dropped to $110,000, I think that's still outrageous.
What do you fear Mr. Craig?
Over the past couple of years, I have sent repeated emails and left phone messages to set up an interview with Craig only to be put off or outright ignored.
In the intervening time, I have published articles questioning the legitimacy of the CTF and some of Craig's statements.
For me, I thought it was a shame the minister and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation would not stand up against one loud protester at their own news conference because I had several pointed questions for the presenters involved.
Instead, I joined in a scrum of reporters as he answered questions.
When asked how the CTF came to involved Craig answered, "We've had a lot of grassroots supporters come to us over the years."
However, Craig refused to answer my question as to the precise number.
For any columnist, such as myself, in the absence of an answer I can only speculate that the real numbers might actually seem small when you consider that there are 630 recognized First Nations in this country with an estimated population around 700,000.
Or, perhaps, Craig truly doesn't know which means in that case the CTF hasn't done an adequate job of actually doing their homework to amass evidence for a bill that the Conservative government pushed through with their help.
In any case, I continued to follow Craig trying to get answers to questions.
As the door closed to his safe retreat, Craig said that I wasn't a real journalist.
Mr. Craig, I truly apologize for not taking your words at face value and then just regurgitating those words in an article to be published later.
Wait a second.
Don't real journalists ask tough questions challenging anyone making claims to prove what is being said.
It seems there are many mainstream journalists across the country that should hang their heads in shame for taking your words and figures at face value.
I know you must read everything I've written and it just warms my heart to know you're such a big fan that you even monitor my Facebook page.
Surely, after reading it and analyzing it you can formulate appropriate responses.
Why so scared?
Well, Climenhaga offered me an explanation why Craig refuses to grant me an interview or even respond to a question.
He said, "Oh, I suspect that he knows that he'll look like a fool."
However, my invitation remains open Mr. Craig.
And if you don't want to do the interview with me because you don't think I am a journalist then do it because I am a CTF financial supporter.
Now, Just to be fair.
I will post a list of questions on this very site that you can look over and prepare to spin.
Unless, of course, you're afraid.
And just to let you know what a stand up guy I am.
I will remove this column and offer you an apology if:
- You, Mr. Craig, offer an apology to Pam Palmater for interrupting her and trying to bully her while she was talking to the media.
- Sit down with me and answer my questions. No screaming. No shouting. Just plain questions followed with answers.
- Convince me that you are not lying.