There was a time when we counted on the media to hold the government to account. Not anymore. We are obligated to hold our media, especially publicly funded media, to account if we are going to protect our hard won Western values.


In 2015 I once again contacted the CBC regarding their bias-this time against the Harper Government’s response to the Supreme Court ruling allowing the right to wear the niqab during the citizenship ceremony.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says his government would consider banning public servants from wearing the niqab, but rejects the suggestion that recent assaults against Muslim women should stifle debate about the issue.

“Look, I don’t think you can use that kind of thing to discredit legitimate political debate,” Harper said in an interview with CBC’s Rosemary Barton, host of Power & Politics, at a manufacturing company in Mississauga, Ont.

“Violence against women is unacceptable, which is why our government has brought forward laws to crack down on such violence.”

The Conservatives’ steps to ban wearing a niqab while taking the citizenship oath, along with the campaign pledge to create a “barbaric cultural practices” tip line, have led some to accuse the party of engaging in identity politics and fuelling anti-Muslim sentiment.

The Harper government is appealing the decision.

And the Left pounced.

For two days CBC Metro Morning with Matt Galloway pushed back against the government with interviews from people who are in favour of wearing the niqab.

Last week I finally heard from Joan Melanson, the Executive Producer for CBC Radio Toronto, responsible for regional radio news and the daily Toronto programs. “I believe you will find that Mr. Galloway and Metro Morning have treated the matter fairly, accurately and even-handedly throughout.”

For the CBC, the Government is one side and then there is the other side, the one that disagrees. CBC hasn’t learned that the government is not a side. It’s the collective voice of the people. And the people can then agree or disagree with the government.

It’s about “context,” wrote Ms. Melanson. Speaking during Question Period Stephen Harper said that “almost all Canadians oppose the wearing of face coverings during citizenship ceremonies”.  It is “contrary to our own values”, he said, it’s “not transparent”, it’s “not open and, frankly, is rooted in a culture that is anti-women.”

Melanson wrote “It was strong language, forcefully put and there are other views. Mr. Galloway explored one of them. He also pointed out that the Conservative government had started an online campaign including a website entitled, ‘Not the way we do things here.’” (Oh no, the government is in favour of Western ethics and values!)

So we heard from Rabia Khedr of the Federation of Muslim Women. She was asked: “Can a woman be a full member of society wearing a niqab? And is there broad support for a ban?”  You can read her response here.   Not fond of Harper. Quelle surprise!

Melanson reminded me for the umpteenth time that it’s the “CBC’s obligation through federal regulation and corporate policy to carry different points of view on controversial matters such as this. Of course, not everyone will agree with the views expressed, as clearly you do not. The CBC must ensure that Canadians are given the opportunity and the information they need to make up their own minds.”

Yes, Ms. Melanson, and how lovely were that to be true. The next morning Metro Morning asked “Why would Mr. Harper be so emphatic about his opposition to the niqab, strongly stating his views twice in two days? Is there something more at play than the plain meaning of his words?  Are they related to a federal election expected in a few months?”  All good questions, wrote Melanson: if you’re a conspiracy theorist.

So we heard from Bruce Hicks, a professor of political science at the School of Public and International Affairs at Glendon College. I graduated from Glendon College in the late 1990’s. Let’s say it is not a stronghold of views from the right-or even close to the middle.  Melanson then paraphrased Hick’s comments. “The idea of multiculturalism is broadly supported in Canada but polls find a certain reticence just below the surface. A strategy that appeals to that reticence can be a ‘risky game, but one that could pay off politically in an election year.’ Prof. Hicks argued at one point that ‘there seems to be a post 9-11 Islamophobia,’ which politicians saying certain things can legitimize. He went on to caution about the risks involved, explaining that, as Pauline Marois found out in Quebec, the strategy may not have the legs to deliver the vote.”

Melanson emphasized that the interview was not about niqabs – nor did it include a particular view about niqabs — but about the politics behind Mr. Harper’s comments about niqabs. The politics. Yes. The secret agenda; because the CBC knows that most Canadians are in favour of women walking around this country with their faces covered. I’m waiting for the right for men to do the same thing. Why not? Women are being given that right based on “feelings.”

The problem remains that the CBC does not give voice to different perspectives from  average Canadians-just the Canadians that agree with the CBC. There were no comments from the common man-or woman regarding the Government’s policies and concerns.  Women like Raheel Raza.   Or men like Tahir Gora.

Did I hear anyone suggesting that Mr. Harper did this for moral and ethical reasons? That women are equal to men in Canada and the niqab speaks to inequality? Did I hear a feminist talk about the symbolism of the niqab in the West? No, I didn’t because this CBC programme was made to make people who are against the niqab feel that they are Islmophobic. The CBC self-edits in order to appease those who cry “Islamophobia.”
Melanson suggested that I contact Esther Enkin, the CBC Ombudsman.
Am I going to report this to the Ombudsman? Of course not. Why bother.
I am still waiting to hear about my concerns regarding the ombudsman’s egregious conflict of interest and why she is still in that position.

I am once again giving you contact names.  Whether you live in Canada or not, we all suffer from the ideologies of these public broadcasters who are paid from the same pot as our politicians-us-the tax payers who represent a broad spectrum of political views. While these media from around the world scream for transparency they are decidedly opaque. Never think that your little note is unheeded. They read them, they watch, they worry. The CBC is under the gun, with constant budget cuts.

There was a time when we counted on the media to hold the government to account. Not anymore. We are obligated to hold our media, especially publicly funded media, to account if we are going to protect our hard won Western values.