There are people that do not like us, do not like Sun News, do not like me, do not like Byline.
This isn’t shocking, we are not everyone’s cup of tea, nor do we try to be.
We had Margie Gillis, the hand dancer, and her friends try to shut us down a little while ago.
Gillis asked for us to be put off the air until we could prove that we supported and broadcast Canadian values, of course that would mean her version of Canadian values which might included bowing before her and the million dollars plus she’s sucked from the pockets of taxpayers over the years.
Gillis complained to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council and encouraged others to do the same – some 4,000 people did complain.
The Broadcast Standards council is not a government body but it is close. It is made up of Canada’s private broadcasters and it issues rulings on codes of conduct, it hears complaints and issues rulings.
If you ignore a ruling or refuse to comply you can have your licence pulled because membership in the council is often a requirement of the licence.
Remember the Dire Straits ruling?
One woman in Newfoundland complained that the song, a song that had been played on Canadian radio for 25 years, used the word faggot. The council didn’t look at the context of the song, they didn’t look at the meaning, they just ruled that it used the word faggot and was therefore homophobic and was essentially banned on commercial radio in Canada.
They reversed themselves after a public outcry, a good dose of public ridicule and after looking at the context of the song.
Well now a lone man in Toronto has started a campaign not to shut us down but in a way to shut us up.
Michael Erickson, a high school teacher in Toronto and a candidate for the New Democrats in the last federal election has petitioned the board of directors of our parent company Quebecor, the Canadian Broadcaster Standards Council and the Advertising Standards Council over our decision to air an ad that he doesn’t like.
The ad, from the Institute for Canadian Values, is against the introduction of the McGuinty government’s graphic sex-ed curriculum.
Here’s the ad.
Erickson’s complaint and his online petition, claim that “This ad promotes intolerance against people who might stand out from traditional male or female gender roles.”
I’d disagree with that and I have several times. The ad highlights what was in McGuinty’s proposed curriculum and what has been found in existing guides for teachers at the elementary school level.
Is teaching about transgendered issues, gender identity and gender fluidity in grade three a good idea?
I don’t think so.
Neither do the people behind the ad.
But rather than fight back using his own words, asking to come on the show, buying his own ad to counter the ad that has already played he wants to go a different route.
Here is what he is demanding from Quebecor.
“AN INTERNAL INVESTIGATION to determine how this ad was approved for distribution and at what rate; we also recommend you assess the level of conflict of interest involved in this particular case. We assume that you will take the appropriate disciplinary action with the employee(s) involved.”Wow – he wants to control our internal systems that would touch on ad sales, human resources and more. He also wants to control what ads we show on our network. His letter goes on.
“A ONE YEAR MORATORIUM on publishing or circulating ads by The Canadian Christian College and its subsidiary organizations, specifically (but not limited to) the Institute for Canadian Values.”A bit of an over-reach don’t you think, telling us we cannot run any ads by this group?
The ad he’s complaining about was approved by the regulator put in place to approve ads on private stations in Canada. It’s called Telecaster. But he doesn’t like the ad so he wants to shut us up. Oh, and he wants money as well.
“PROFITS FROM THE AD TO BE GIVEN to a registered non-profit in Canada or Ontario that promotes or provides services that improve the equality, safety, awareness and/or human dignity of trans, transsexual, transgendered, two-spirited or intersex people.”Okay, so he wants to control our internal systems including human resources, ad sales and he wants the money from the ad to go to a group he approves of, one that promotes his issues.
But as they say on those late night ads, wait, there’s more!
“TWO HOURS OF FREE AD TIME for a registered non-profit in Canada or Ontario that promotes or provides services that improve the equality, safety, awareness and/or human dignity of trans, transsexual, transgendered, two-spirited or intersex people.”So he wants money, free ads, control of our human resources and a ban on a potential client buying any ads from us for any reason or on any issue. This is starting to sound like a threat, it’s starting to sound like Michael Erickson, the NDP candidate and high school teacher wants to run this company.
But he’s not done yet. Michael Erickson also want to control our minds, our thoughts, our feelings. He wants to control what we say. One of his other demands.
“SENSITIVITY TRAINING for every employee in Quebecor and its subsidiaries who earn over $90,000 a year. The sensitivity training should be no less than 3 hours and should build awareness and sensitivity of trans, transsexual, transgender, two-spirited and intersex identities and experiences with the goal of building a long term capacity for equality and respect of diversity in your corporation.”Erickson has other demands including a public statement from the company on trans issues and an audit of our portrayal of trans people to make sure it is to his liking.
Don’t do these things and he will take us to the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council, the group that can yank our licence, and try to get them to force us to do it.
He will also demand action from the Advertising Standards Council even though this ad has already been cleared by the body set up to screen TV ads.
This is an attempt at lawfare, an attempt to harras us into accepting his point of view and not allow any others.
This is an attempt to shred the Charter of Rights and Freedom which does not grant but guarantees free speech.
For daring to exercise our own free speech and allowing others to do the same, this man wants to take control of many aspects of this television station.
All of this comes at the same time as a boycott has been launched by gay activists in Toronto targeting the advertisers of the Toronto Sun. The reason, a print version of this very same ad.
These folks are asking people to call, bully and harass the companies that do business with the Sun until we bow and scrap before them and their point of view. The boycott appears to have the backing of the paper Xtra.
Rather sad if you ask me but that’s the way things are.
Is this what Canada stands for now?
Writing about the Shafia honour killings trial recently the blogger Closet Conservative used the phrase “From never again to never offend.”
That’s an apt description of this situation as well.
Is that what we want to become in Canada, a country that doesn’t allow anyone to offend?
Diefenbaker said, “I am Canadian, free to speak without fear.”
I say we embrace Diefenbaker’s way, not the way of Michael Erickson and his ilk.
And that’s the Byline.