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S'enregistrer au Flux RSS Le Sénat du Canada
Blog > Politics > Harper forces the press to pledge allegiance
May 04

Harper forces the press to pledge allegiance

Honourable senators, on this World Press Freedom Day, I speak in this chamber today to assure the Canadian public that the fundamental principles of journalism are being respected.

Allow me to refer to the code of conduct of the Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec to outline the fundamental values of journalism in Canada.

We know that journalists” work must be based on the critical thinking that pushes them to question everything, the impartiality that pushes them to do their research and report on the various aspects of a situation, the independence that keeps them at arm”s length from power and lobby groups, the honesty that makes them stick to the facts, and a number of other principles.

In the collective agreement between CBC/Radio-Canada and the Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada, which expires on September 30, 2012, it is agreed that in order to fulfill the mandate given to the corporation by Parliament through the Broadcasting Act, CBC/Radio-Canada staff members will report factually and without intent to deceive the public. The parties recognize that the primary professional obligations of the corporation and of its employees are toward the public, which is entitled to news and information that is impartial, complete, factual and balanced — that is from section 47.2 of the agreement.

On December 21, 2011, the Conservative government imposed a type of “pledge of allegiance”" on all federal institutions through a so-called values and ethics code. The code describes the values and behaviours expected of public officials in all activities related to the performance of their professional duties. This so-called code was established by the Treasury Board, in accordance with section 5 of the Public Servants Disclosure Protection Act.

In this regard, it must be stated that under the Broadcasting Act, CBC/Radio-Canada staff are not subject to the so-called values and ethics code. Although the corporation is a federal institution, section 44(3) of the Broadcasting Act states that staff members are not officers or servants of Her Majesty.

In fact, under section 46(5), the corporation shall, in pursuit of its objects, enjoy freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence. Therefore, CBC staff enjoy an exception and are not subject to the values and ethics code.

Finally, CBC/Radio-Canada adopted a new code of ethics on April 2, 2012, to introduce guidelines for standards of integrity and professional conduct for its staff. This new code is a serious threat to the independence of the public broadcaster and its staff. Section 1.2 of the code states that CBC/Radio-Canada staff must loyally carry out the decisions of their leaders and support ministers in their accountability to Parliament and Canadians. And there is obviously no exception for the opposition.

The Conservative government and the new CBC/Radio-Canada code of ethics violate the principles of independence and impartiality that are so closely associated with the profession of journalism, and are a serious threat to the preservation of Canadian democracy, where freedom of the press is a fundamental value enshrined in our Constitution.


  1. Dave Turchynsky le 5 mai 2012 à 18h56

    Well… this is a frightening concept. I suppose that’s why there hasn’t been any publicity. Afterall, the Harper Government wouldn’t want any inconvenient truth getting out now, would they?

    Shades of Europe in the early 30′s. Very frightening development!


    A Canadian.

  2. Voice of tReason le 5 mai 2012 à 19h08

    Is there no limit to Harper’s corruption?

  3. Robert DeWolfe le 5 mai 2012 à 19h09

    It is a disgrace that the Government of Canada would seek to, in anyway, restrict or prevent the media, especially our public broadcaster, from presenting the truth in a professional, ethical manner. It is a cornerstone of democracy that the citizens of a country have free an unfettered access to “the truth” about our government as presented in an impartial and unbiased fashion. The “truth” holds no allegiances. Any attempt to prevent the press from doing anything but it’s duty to the citizens of Canada is an affront to our democracy.

  4. John Bell le 5 mai 2012 à 19h16

    This government must be replaced with a democracy now….Load The Cannons….

  5. Sandra Harris le 5 mai 2012 à 19h21

    This explains a great deal. “We” are aware that Canada is no longer a democracy and is currently under the control of a corporate owned fascist regime passing itself off as a “Government.”

    “We” have felt betrayed by mainstream media and have also come to know that mainstream media are also owned by corporations and thus, must report what they’re told to report, even if what they report is untrue or a lie due to omission. Personally, I’ve lost confidence in mainstream journalists as they seem as willing to hide the truth and deceive the Canadian people as the regime is.

    “We” hate what the regime has done to our CBC, who in my opinion has been the only trustworthy source of “real news” for Canadians.

    All of us are living under a “dick-tatorship.”

  6. Karen Copeland le 5 mai 2012 à 21h33

    This present “government” could not govern their way out of a wet paper bag so they play at being Hitler. Might be a good idea for them to review the history and the downfall and death of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Mouammar Kadhafi and the like.While their time in office varied, their downfall was a foregone conclusion. They have become forever to be found in the lists of the infamous, the vilified. Their children and other family members have been left to bear their shame for decades to come or, as many have done, go into hiding and change their names. Not much of a legacy to be leaving, is it?

  7. June Copeland de Jager le 5 mai 2012 à 22h49

    When you become complacent and fail to exercise your right to vote you end up with the likes of P M Harper.
    When you get sucked in by “get me elected” speech and campaign rhetoric,you end up with the likes of P M Harper.
    When you vote for a party, because your parents, your grandparents, your cousin, friend or the post man votes for them,you end up with the likes of P M Harper.
    Its time for some Canadians, to stop complaining, look around and see which party is putting forward a candidate that you can be proud to have as our P. M. Someone who puts the country first, who is not in bed with big business, who respects those who have worked hard and made Canada a nation respected globally, someone who honours and respects the Constitution and the Canadian Bill of Rights.
    It’s up to you.

  8. Judy Filipkowski le 6 mai 2012 à 01h00

    I am very concerned with what is written in this blog and have no reason to doubt it. I can only hope that the other media outlets pick this information up, do some investigating and realize that the CBC has been muzzled, like the RCMP, the Scientists, the bureaucrats and anyone else that have legitimate questions for the the party in power and their method of governing.

    It is high time that the citizenry of Canada become engaged in what is happening while they try to keep their families sheltered and fed.

    This is not the Canada that my parents and grandparents fought for in the second world war. This is no longer the Canada that any of us know.

  9. Tim Hickey le 6 mai 2012 à 13h04

    338 Courageous Canadians(all non partisan) will Stand on Guard for Canada in the next federal writ whenever it is dropped, to return to the people of this great land integrity in government, and in our public broadcasting!

    No partisan government should ever gain control over our media! Currently, the only effective opposition we have to a federal government that does not have the moral authority from at least 2/3rds of the people of this land to govern, is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation = to be agents of truth and justice even when we as Canadaians might not like it!

    Change is coming, and the Harper Government en masse will be fired and sent to pasture by an informed electorate! CBC and all employess, take the stand with us, and inform the public accurately and without fear of losing your jobs or your incomes! We have a history of men and women who have laid their lives down for the freedom that we must defend! Journalists included! We need to be able to trust the press, the unspun press to deliver, as the CBC for the most part has done throughout its’ 75 years!

    Change is coming!

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