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The real Maurice Strong, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation style

by Judi McLeod,

July 30, 2004

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is a non-entity outside of Canadian borders. How many viewers watch the CBC in the United States of America, or for that matter, in China?

So on March 30, 2004 when the CBC first released a special called, The Life and Times of Maurice Strong, most of the world would have been tuned out.

Rarely, if ever biting the hand that feeds it, CBC is state-owned, big and small-l liberal. A highly flattering profile of Canadian-born UN poster boy Maurice Strong, and one with minimal journalistic balance, would likely never be challenged outside Canada, where it wouldn’t be seen.

The Life and Times of Maurice Strong was broadcast just three months after the Dec. 12 swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Paul Martin at the House of Commons.

The outside world may have missed the Indian "smudging ceremony" that highlighted Martin’s swearing-in celebrations.

Rushing to air to fawn over Martin’s mentor would have created no logistic problems for the Canadian elite. Strong’s bosom buddy, governor-general Adrienne Clarkson is a former prominent CBC journalist. In fact, convenient scenes from The Life and Times of Maurice Strong boast how Strong received a "lot of attention" from Russian leader Vladimir Putin when the governor-general, her husband and an expensive travelling contingent of the Canadian elite paid a visit to the Kremlin. The Kremlin stop was part of the GG’s controversial $5.3 million "circumpolar" trip, which included Strong.

Scenes of Strong being centered out by Putin in the guest line served as the background when CBC interviewer Ann-Marie McDonald asks, "Who is that man? (He’s) so understated, he gets no attention in his own country."

The Life and Times of Maurice Strong, CBC style is a sort of a modern-day Cinderella story, with a 14-year-old male replacing the girl of glass slipper legend. It’s the story of a boy born in the middle of the Great Depression, who dropped out of school, but saved the world anyway.

In a lifestory that gets to the top at breakneck speed, Strong who worked as a deckhand on ocean going ships lands on his feet as a UN desk clerk, at age 17. "Within a few months he meets David Rockefeller, whose father John made the UN (Manhattan headquarters) possible," McDonald explains.

It’s a whirlwind success tale with doors of power opening as quickly as you can say, "Open Sesame."

Cinderella found only one prince. Princes in the Maurice Strong saga include the likes of Al Gore, Kofi Annan, Ted Turner and Mikhail Gorbachev.

CBC’s gushing McDonald conducts the interview and does overvoice duty.

Ted Turner describes Strong by saying, "He’s really a straight thinker."

McDonald, who says Strong "doesn’t know how to use a computer", calls him "the Michaelangelo of networking", "an internationally travelling salesmen with bits of paper in his pockets" and "a cross between Rasputin and Machiavelli".

Yet, Maurice Strong, she adds, "refuses to be pigeon holed".

Back to the power relationship between Maurice Strong and Paul Martin.

"While there’s only eight years between them, (Strong) "is a type of father figure to the Prime Minister," says McDonald.

The Life and Times of Maurice Strong should end any speculation about how Canada’s new Prime Minister really feels about the George W. Bush administration.

The only problem Martin said he has with Strong is that "when it’s 3 o’clock in China it’s 3 a.m. in Canada and "that’s when he always calls."

Martin’s mentor is a self-admitted close friend of Al Gore. "He won the election and lost the presidency," says Strong, adding in the same chain of thought that he would like Bush to "give the same amount of attention" to environmental matters as he does the "immediate (terrorist) threat."

In other portions of the special, Martin makes it clear he does as Strong wishes on most matters. In other words, Martin feels the same way about Bush as does his life-long father figure and mentor.

Strong admits he would like power in the U.S.

But it was only after a Colorado court denied him the rights to "one of the largest American aquifers", which just happens to be right under the Baca ranch new age colony still run by his wife, Hanne that Strong who "had planned to become a U.S. citizen gives that up".

The Life and Times of Maurice Strong shows Strong traipsing about in palaces, mansions and up and down the corridors of power.

It was in an admiring way, that Macdonald described Strong as a sort of "cross between Rasputin and Machiavelli".

Modern-day Machiavelli Mikhail Gorbachev, interviewed about Strong on the CBC special tells McDonald, "We used Maurice Strong a lot" and that it’s "very important to collaborate".

On a visit to the former Soviet leader, Gorbachev gives Strong what McDonald describes as "a glass saber full of the same brandy Stalin used to send Winston Churchill every week."

We leave it to the historians to document whether Joe’s brandy cache is still around some 51 years after his death and how Gorby came to be in possession of it.

Clips show Strong with his interior decorator wife checking out their Ottawa apartment and hear Strong say how it is in close proximity to Canadian Parliament "in case they need me."

The arrogance of the UN Secretary-General’s special advisor is staggering. "We are now a species out of control," is how Strong describes the human race.

At one point, McDonald answers her own question, "Can Maurice Strong save the human race?" with the reply: "He’s trying."

The ga ga gushing of the CBC special doesn’t tell the story behind the story. The Life and Times of Maurice Strong was broadcast in the flush of the December 12 Paul Martin swearing-in ceremony, a time described as an "emotional moment" by Strong.

"I guess everyone has an emotional side," he says, tearing up and looking into the camera.

Back on the eve of what was soon to become the fully-fledged Liberal sponsorship scandal, the CBC, Martin and Strong Strong still may have been anticipating certain Election Day victory.

But a funny thing happened on the way to E Day victory: Canadian voters reduced the Paul Martin Liberals to certain minority status.

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at:

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