Did The CBC Just Commit An Act Of Hate Speech?

What would happen if the CBC–Canada’s public broadcaster, the purported bastion of tolerance–violated Alberta’s Human Rights Act (“AHRA”)? We may soon find out.

On January 20, 2017, producers for the CBC program Marketplace printed t-shirts containing racist logos and mottos, including “white power” and “white pride world wide [sic],” and hired a middle-aged white man to stand on a Toronto street to peddle the t-shirts and yell racist slogans.

The episode is titled “The Trump Effect” and was broadcast throughout Canada, including Alberta. It remains as a monument to our public broadcaster’s colossal ignorance on the CBC YouTube channel.

Shortly after the episode aired, an American journalist inquired in a tweet if this is what passes for journalism in Canada. The tweet piqued my interest, so I tried to watch the show.

I couldn’t finish it. It was chockful of frustrating errors, including one near the beginning of the show where onscreen graphics and dialogue equate “intolerant speech” and “hate speech”. The Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) has already ruled that these are not the same thing.

But not only is this episode the epitome of so-called “fake news” — fabricating a story in order to report it — it’s also deeply ironic.

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