Rather, the CRTC should apologize

It's more the CRTC that should be apologizing


It's the proverbial drop too many. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission went so far as to demand a public apology from Radio-Canada for the use of the word “ n ” on its public affairs program Le 15-18. 

A columnist, quite harmlessly, referred to the book Nègres blancs d’Amérique by Pierre Vallières. Published in 1968, in the midst of the worldwide wave of decolonization, this book powerfully described the life of misery of the French-Canadian working class, oppressed by the Anglo-Canadian establishment and its own French-Canadian elites. . 

Hence the word “nigger” – a reference at the time not to its use as a racial slur, but to the terrible plight of African Americans. According to Vallières, at the time, French Canadians were the “white negroes of America”. 

An expression which, long before him, had also been applied to cultural communities say “white” and underprivileged in the United States, including Italian Americans.

Why call him back? Because the aberrant decision of the CRTC would have the effect, if Radio-Canada does not challenge it, of erasing major sections of social and political thought in the future. 

At least, some when their mere mention could “offend” anyone.

Never as a racial slur

It is true that the word ” n ” pronounced as a racial slur is totally condemnable. Its use must nevertheless remain when it is a historical or cultural reference. 

By denying it, the CRTC undermines the freedom to think, say, write, learn and debate. In doing so, he knowingly feeds ignorance and amnesia, both collective and individual. 

Let us also understand this. In its decision, the CRTC responds to a unique complaint from a single citizen who said he was “offended” by the chronicle of 15-18

The CRTC is therefore not here the poor victim of any ” wokist » or “multiculturalist”. He is the victim of his own recent inclination to take himself for a royal thought police, the toxic effect of which would be to multiply the reflexes of censorship and self-censorship on many other controversial subjects. 

The right not to be offended is a fiction

However, as one of the two dissenting signatories of this decision points out, “nor the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms nor do the applicable broadcasting provisions protect the plaintiff's right not to be offended.” This is however clear.

Hence the many calls urging Radio-Canada management not to apologize and to disavow the CRTC's decision. The very integrity of the public broadcaster is at stake. 

As proof, these calls to resist come from former Radio-Canada ombudsmen. Columnists from other media. Of journalists. Animators. 

They also come from the Professional Federation of Journalists of Quebec. Heads of antenna, including Patrice Roy and Céline Galipeau. All these words, united, are the canary in the mine. It is because it would lead to a culture of censorship that this CRTC decision must not survive.

In fact, it is up to the CRTC to offer its public apologies to Canadians for its decision delusional. Unless we can't say the “d” word anymore… 

The CRTC should be apologizing