Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Freedom of Speech

The CRTC has decided not to renew the license of rock station CHOI in Quebec City when the license expires Aug 31st (Globe and Mail article). Apparently, the station was fairly controversial and shock-jocks said things like "psychiatric patients should be gassed" as well as other typically juvenile statements. Now, I'm all for freedom of speech. If you don't like what they say, change stations. Simple.

However, back in February 2004, Conan O'Brien came to Toronto, and his show did a skit with Triumph the Dog (this cigar chomping puppet that insults people) in which he insulted ('natch) people at the Winter Carnival in Quebec. Comments like:

"So you're French and Canadian, yes? So you're obnoxious and dull!"
"You're in North America, learn the language!"
"Oh, you're French? I can smell your crotch from here."
Back then, Alexa McDonough, a member of the New Democrat Party, described the program as "racist filth" and "utterly vile"
She was quoted as saying:

"There may be those who would say, "Isn't this interfering with freedom of expression?" It's not interfering to say we will not publicly fund this kind of vile, vicious hatemongering, McDonough told reporters.
So, how come she hasn't come out in favour of the CRTC's decision regarding CHOI-FM? In fact, most of Canada's politicians vehemenently distanced themselved from Triumph's barbs, so where are they now in distancing themselves from the comments made by a francophone shock jock?
I wonder how many of the people who have been protesting the CRTC's decision supported Conan's right to freedom-of-speech?