Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Auditor General of Canada: Request to Investigate CBC Funding of Dream Street Pictures Film "The Phantoms"

August 30, 2011

John Wiersema, Interim Auditor General
Office of the Auditor General of Canada
240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G6 Canada

Via email: communications@oag-bvg.gc.ca

Original sent under separate cover

Dear Mr. Wiersema:

Re: CBC Funding of Dream Street Pictures "The Phantoms"
We are Isabelle Hains, Ana Acevedo, and Marcella Kelly, the mothers of Daniel Hains, Javier Acevedo and Nikki Kelly who were killed along with four of their teammates from the Bathurst High School Phantoms basketball team on January 12, 2008. We are writing with the support of our partners and families to request the Auditor General of Canada undertake an investigation of CBC's funding of the Dream Street Pictures' made for television movie "The Phantoms".

We believe that "The Phantoms" is neither an efficient or economical use of CBC's assets; rather, we believe it a wasteful use of taxpayers dollars because:

1) there is a risk that this film may never see the light of day if we are successful in stopping the production and preventing it from being aired on television;

2) the film is based on false premises which will make it an artistic bomb and economic failure and;

3) the persons most affected by the film - the victims' parents and families - were never consulted by anyone connected with the production which is a violation of the Crown corporation and the Department of Heritage's code of ethics.

We believe that CBC Executives Tom Hastings, Head of Drama, and Scott McEwan, Executive in Charge of Development, made a decision to support the development of this film without any consideration whatsoever to the inevitable outcry from the victims' parents and families which they knew would follow the public announcement on July 22, 2011 that a movie about the Boys in Red tragedy would be filmed on location at Bathurst High School.

We believe that Mr. Hastings and Mr. McEwan took the cynical view that any complaint from victims' parents and their families would be good pre-publicity for the film as it would attract media attention and add to the pre-launch "hype". Their insensitivity and lack of respect for the torment this film has brought to us - the victims' parents and their families - is inexcusable and, in our opinion, just cause for dismissal.

We are therefore asking you to investigate the circumstances which led to CBC's support of "The Phantoms" over the last two and a half years from first contact with Dream Street Pictures and story development through to full fledged production.

If you have any questions about this request, please feel free to contact us at 506-546-6370 or by email at info@vanangels.ca

Yours sincerely,

Isabelle Hains, Ana Acevedo, Marcella Kelly
email: info@VanAngels.ca

Hon. James Moore, Minister of Heritage, james.moore@parl.gc.ca
Yvon Godin, MP (Acadie Bathurst), yvon.godin.a1@parl.gc.ca
NB Premier David Alward, david.alward@gnb.ca
Hon. Trevor Holder, NB Minister of Wellness, Culture and Sport, trevor.holder@gnb.ca
Hon. Jody Carr, NB Minister of Education, jody.carr@gnb.ca
Hon. Claude Williams, NB Minister of Supply and Services, claude.williams@gnb.ca
Hubert LaCroix, President and CEO, CBC, ht.lacroix@cbc.ca
Kirk Lapointe, CBC Ombudsman, ombudsman@cbc.ca
Tom Hastings, Head of Drama, CBC Television, tom.hastings@cbc.ca
Scott McEwan, Executive in Charge of Development, Drama in English Television Arts & Entertainment, CBC Television, scott.mcewan@cbc.ca
Phyllis Platt, Executive Director of Scripted and Commissioned Programming, phyllis.platt@cbc.ca
Kevin Lacey, Atlantic Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, klacey@taxpayer.com