As the Communist-in-Residence at Sun News, I get certain privileges. Among them is (a) no parking space, (b) no personal dressing room and, (c) no acknowledgement of my existence from my fellow Sunnies.
They do, however, tolerate some of my points of view. So, when I go on-air and remark favourably about the CBC, they don’t pop a head valve or even object. They instead regard me with some considerable sadness in the way wedding parties view doddering, forgotten great-uncles who commandeer microphones to tell off-colour limericks while the children are still up.
Thus, I am one of the few people at Sun News who will courageously say nice things about the CBC. I like the CBC, you see. I’ve been on CBC radio, CBC-TV and CBC websites, and I think it generally provides a valuable service.
In a country as big and as spread out as this one, it would be pretty hard to convince someone in the private sector to broadcast to every little town and every remote region. So the CBC does that, which is good.
I am different from my colleagues in other ways, too. For example, I do not call CBC “the state broadcaster,” like everyone else seems to around Sun News. It’s not as if they got a memo from Kory Teneycke and Luc Lavoie to always refer to the CBC as “the state broadcaster,” by the way. It’s just everyone calls it that, except me.
Most of the time, Sunnies are just doing that to poke fun at Mother Corp. because the Mother Corp. takes itself too seriously. It needs to laugh at itself a bit.
Last week, however, quite a few people — me included — were laughing at the CBC, and not in a good way, either. Last week in fact, the CBC became a laughingstock, even among latte-sipping, secular humanist One-World-government types, like me.
This week, as you would’ve heard on Sun News — but not on CBC (at all) or CTV (very much) — the CBC became the object of derision because it hired, and then frantically disassociated itself from, former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe.
If you missed the Disastrous Duceppe Debacle, it’s because you listen to and/or watch only CBC, which has been conspicuously mute on this mess. So let me fill you in.
A few days ago, the CBC let it be known to QMI Agency the former MP — who, in case you have forgotten, was paid by federal taxpayers while he schemed to break up the federation — was their latest hire. He would host a weekly morning Franch-language radio segment called “The Week’s Performance,” wherein he would be allowed to talk about all sorts of stuff, and not just politics.
When asked by a QMI Agency person if he would be any good at his new job, Duceppe said: “The people will judge.” Well, the people judged CBC’s decision all right and the people found it lacking.
Even during the dog days of summer, Canadians from coast to coast were roused from their slumber — and they expressed honest-to-goodness outrage. Outrage that untold thousands of their tax dollars would go to a separatist who is entitled to collect a $140,000 annual MP’s pension. Outrage that the CBC would hire someone who had been repudiated by millions of Quebec voters, and only a few weeks ago, too. Even leading francophone voices, like the Toronto Star’s Chantal Hebert, called the situation intolerable.
So, on Wednesday, before he got a chance to sidle up to a CBC microphone, Duceppe and CBC hurriedly parted ways, calling the untidy little affair a “misunderstanding.” It was more than that. It was a joke.
And, this week, the CBC discovered the “joke” was on them. Even for Communists-In-Residence like me.