POLITICS

Radio-Canada ombudsman says ex-reporter running for PQ didn't show bias

07/23/2012 04:50 EDT | Updated 09/22/2012 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - A Parti Quebecois candidate wants an apology from the provincial Liberal party now he's been cleared of bias by the ombudsman of the CBC's French-language network.

Karl Blackburn, the director general of the Liberal party, alleged Pierre Duchesne was in a conflict of interest because he was a Radio-Canada political reporter and analyst at the legislature shortly before switching to politics.

However, Radio-Canada ombudsman Pierre Tourangeau said in a ruling released Monday he could find no evidence that Duchesne breached the public broadcaster's journalistic codes or was biased.

Duchesne was outraged because he believes his integrity was questioned.

"I want an apology," he said.

"I think people . . . see that this is an attempt to intimidate, to destroy a reputation Over the years, (the Liberal party) had every chance to file a complaint. They scrutinized my work very closely. This is a political tactic I find deplorable."

The former TV journalist announced his PQ candidacy three weeks after he quit Radio-Canada.

Several media reported that discussions between Duchesne and the PQ started at the beginning of the year, although this was denied by Duchesne and PQ Leader Pauline Marois.

Liberal spokesman Michel Rochette criticized the ombudsman for being content with interviewing PQ officials and Duchesne. He said the party filed its complaint in good faith based on what had been reported.

"We find it funny that the Radio-Canada ombudsman took all these journalistic sources and put them in the rumour column and took as fact comments made by the person directly involved and the Parti Quebecois."

A second complaint against Duchesne has also been filed by the Liberals with the Quebec Press Council but there has been no ruling.