CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Childless by Choice)

quebec regional panel
(CBSC Decision 05/06-1671)
M.-A. Murat (Vice-Chair), B. Guérin, D. Meloul, G. Moisan

the facts 

Doc Mailloux was (at times material to this broadcast) an open-line radio program hosted by psychiatrist Pierre Mailloux and his co-host Janine Ross. The program aired weekdays on CKAC (Montréal) from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The hosts and callers discussed topics related to psychology, sociology and similar disciplines, occasionally inspired by a current news story or social phenomenon. 

The question of the day on the episode of May 30, 2006 was “Have you decided not to have children?” The more pertinent dialogue follows (a more complete transcription of the dialogue can be found in Appendix A, in French only). Mailloux began by discussing the birth rate in Russia: 

[translation]

Doc Mailloux: The, um, the Russians, the Russians have that problem at the moment. I was reading two weeks ago. They have lost seven million. It was 145 thousand and now it’s at 130 some odd thousand. They have lost seven million in, population.

Janine: A population decrease of seven million in -?

Doc Mailloux: So, the Russians are no longer reproducing. They are in, in a demographic decline.

Janine: Yes. And they have some darned good reasons.

Doc Mailloux: It should be said that for deficient countries, it may not be a bad thing. I think they had enough morons and a few less wouldn’t be a bad thing. At any rate, they are experiencing a population decrease, O.K.? And it’s snowballing. Looking at our own figures here, six or seven years ago the PQ had the brilliant idea, the PQ’s standards, to import, to bring in importees from third world countries; Catholic countries, Muslim countries, um, often deficient countries, and, um, against contraception. It involved countries that do not tolerate the, contraception for women and they reproduce like rabbits; six, seven, eight, ten children. So, they were bringing that in, they were populating Quebec. That is the most stupid idiotic idea I have ever heard, and that was when the PQ was in power. Janine, what I find abominable in the, in the PQ’s attitude at the time, and not because it’s politics or that I’m anti-PQ, I could care less. Had it been the Liberals, it would have been just as stupid. So, they were, they were at the time and, um, they will bear the ill effects. If there is a problem with such a low birthrate, how come no one ever bothered to study that problem?

Janine: Yes.

Doc Mailloux: There has never been a serious study of this problem. How is it that women in Canada have an average of one point four children per woman of reproductive age?

Janine: Hmn, hmn.

Doc Mailloux: Why is that? Not one damn study on that issue, other than three or four idiotic statements by a political party.There are surely reasons.Are they good reasons or not?I have no idea, but I would have liked.Listen, with all the millions and billions that we spend on education and research, you’d think we could take a bit, you know, a few crumbs, to study the factors linked to the major decline in repopulating our country.What are the dissuading factors?What factors are turning women off to the point that they say: me get knocked-up? Niet! 

That part of the discussion on birth rates and choices regarding having children continued. At a point, a caller named Maxime suggested that women will not accept “no” for an answer from men. Mailloux then provided his thoughts on Maxime’s observation. 

[translation]

Doc Mailloux: When you start saying “no” to a woman.

Maxime: Yes.

Doc Mailloux: It won’t be pretty.

Maxime: Yes.

Doc Mailloux: Isn’t that right?

Maxime: It’s impossible to say “no” to a woman. You can’t.

Janine: But yet, yet that’s part of the normal give and take in life, Pierre.

Doc Mailloux: No, no, no, no. Janine, Janine.

Janine: Yes?

Doc Mailloux: Maxime said something there.

Janine: Yes, yes.

Doc Mailloux: Maxime said, my experience is that I can’t say “no” to a woman. That will, it will bring us to the end of the relationship.

Janine: That means you can’t have a frank and open discussion. That’s how I interpret that.

Maxime: There you are.

[.]

Doc Mailloux: And it reflects a, a large part of the female culture in Quebec. Women, most of them, the vast majority of women in Quebec are incapable of taking “no” for an answer coming from a man.They get revenge, they are, they are a real pain in that sense, you would not believe.

Maxime: As far as I’m concerned –

Doc Mailloux: They almost automatically go into sexual blackmail mode or emotional blackmail mode.

Maxime: Well, both; they often make you feel guilty.

Doc Mailloux: Yes.

Maxime: It’s often a case of trying to find [?] in your emotions then [??] all messed up.

Doc Mailloux: So, try to recall the important “no’s”, the times when you said “no” to a broad and it lead to the end of the relationship.

Maxime: It’s really more the negative acts from what she didn’t want.

Doc Mailloux: Such as?

Maxime: Let’s say that I’m just getting home, O.K., from work; um, I was a waiter at the time. Um, I was just getting home and I was exhausted. I had been on my feet for the past five hours, running around like a fool.

Doc Mailloux: Hmn, hmn.

Maxime: So, I get home and collapse. Well, Madam has her face in a knot and she’s working up a head of steam. So she’s doing the dishes, and she does this and she does that, and she cleans over here and she cleans over there. I’m taking it easy.

Doc Mailloux: Yes.

Maxime: But the more I rest, the more I can feel the tension mounting. So, I look at her and I say “What is it?” “Oh, nothing”, she says.

Doc Mailloux: O.K., Sally is not happy, because she had some chores for you.

Maxime: Chores, exactly, exactly.

[Janine laughs]

Doc Mailloux: Sally is not happy.

Maxime: There it is.

Doc Mailloux: Fido doesn’t want to obey visual and hand signals; Fido wants to rest.

Maxime: You just figured out my name.

Janine: [laughing] Fido.

Doc Mailloux: No, no, it’s, Janine. What Maxime is describing is the most prevalent dynamic in Quebec.

Janine: Fine.

Maxime: Yes.

Doc Mailloux: And you are thirty years old.

Maxime: Yes.

Doc Mailloux: Those who are 50, 70 –

Maxime: It’s worse.

Doc Mailloux: It’s true. Call in this afternoon and testify en masse to the same situation being described here. Women in Quebec are not properly brought up or educated if you will. The majority of them are very poorly brought up; they don’t know how to conduct themselves.

[.]

Maxime: A woman is a magnificent thing; beautiful and graceful.

Doc Mailloux: No, no, no, no.

Maxime: But geez, now it’s like –

Doc Mailloux: No. No. No. No. Stop right there.

Maxime: Well, I do find them a wonderful thing in any case.

Doc Mailloux: You made an error. You said “a woman”. Certain women.

Maxime: Yes.

Doc Mailloux: O.K.?

Maxime: Yes, yes, yes; I agree.

Doc Mailloux: Let’s not tar them. One thing we’re going to do; we will never tar them all with the same brush again. Some of them are excellent, but there are others.

Janine: Fine.

Maxime: Yeah. I have a question before I sign off. Are the only women who are properly brought up in Quebec only children? I would think so.

Doc Mailloux: No.

Maxime: Because they are the only ones who would have been given the proper attention since there would have been only one child to look after.

Doc Mailloux: Not at all.

Janine: Some are neglected. Some are neglected, after all.

Doc Mailloux: There is no connection.

Maxime: No connection as well?

Doc Mailloux: No connection, Maxime.

In a discussion with caller Johanne, who explained that she had a mentally disabled brother, she made mention of the references by Doc Mailloux on that subject on an earlier program, for which the CBSC had found CKAC in breach of Clause 2 of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics. In his comments, the host referred to the earlier conflict he had had with the CBSC on the subject of those remarks (he erroneously referred to the CRTC, when the decision in question had been rendered by the CBSC): 

[translation]

Johanne: Before we get into the topic of children, um, I would like to say that I was the only one who thanked you on the air for your comments to the effect that not every person has the same value. Um, I thanked you at the time because, because, am I allowed to say why?

Doc Mailloux: You know, we have a great deal of latitude here on our open-line show. Go ahead.

Johanne: O.K., well it’s because I believed for a long time that everyone was equal. I have a brother who is twelve years older than me and he is mentally deficient.

Doc Mailloux: Yes.

Johanne: And I thought I was really bad for succeeding.

Janine and Doc Mailloux: Yes.

Johanne: And then one time, one time in a fit of goodness, my mother told me that that boy, let’s call him George, um, that that guy was her best, he was her best child.

Doc Mailloux: Yeah.

Johanne: I can tell you that she really hurt me, despite the compassion I had for my mother.

Doc Mailloux: Yeah.

Johanne: It really hurt.

Janine: Yes.

Doc Mailloux: Idiotic comment.

Johanne: Yes, and to equate –

Doc Mailloux: You elevate, you never elevate an individual by lowering others.

Johanne: [?] it’s true.

Doc Mailloux: And I’m sorry and I reiterate my comments. Human beings do not have equal value.

Johanne: I thank you, Pierre.

Doc Mailloux: And I have no problem with that. No one will make me change my mind. You can take me off the air; you can strike my name from the College of physicians, but you will never silence me.

[.]

Doc Mailloux: You know, I was blamed by the CRTC.

Johanne: Oh, why did –

Doc Mailloux: Concerning this, concerning the comments I made about that ad on CBC one morning where they were trying to make us believe that a young woman of 21 with Down syndrome has the same value as three lovely young women of the same age at the university level.

Johanne: Mm, hm.

Doc Mailloux: It was major damned bullshit.

Johanne: Mm, hm.

Doc Mailloux: And you will never elevate someone by lowering three other people.

Johanne: Thank you.

Doc Mailloux: It just doesn’t work.

Johanne: Truly, on that score, Pierre –

Doc Mailloux: A, a, um, someone, a human being with Down syndrome does not, and will never have, the same value as a talented person.

Johanne: Mm, hm.

Doc Mailloux: So I say to the CRTC, my eye and up your anus. Is that clear?

At another point in the program, the following exchange occurred between the two co-hosts: 

[translation]

Doc Mailloux: No, well, she’s a girl. Listen, have you ever seen a well brought up or educated woman in Quebec?

Janine: There are some, Pierre.

Doc Mailloux: No, no, no, no.

Janine: Some can advance, Pierre. If you, if you label them that way each time.

Doc Mailloux: No, no, it’s so rare. No, it’s so rare that it isn’t even funny. There is really, there is, there is a revolution needed, nothing less than a revolution in educational and child-rearing attitudes in Quebec.

Janine: It’s; it’s been determined –

Doc Mailloux: Not even an evolution; that would not be fast enough.

Janine: You say a revolution. Well, women –

Doc Mailloux: Ah, so many changes are needed that it isn’t even funny.

Janine: Because things have shifted enormously, and it seems like no adjustment was made.

Doc Mailloux: What do you mean, things have shifted? Nothing has shifted.

Janine: There has been a shift.

Doc Mailloux: What I’m trying to tell you is that nothing has shifted.

Janine: On the level of –

Doc Mailloux: We are inheriting all the deficiencies of those who have gone before us.

Janine: Externally, Pierre, things have shifted, right?

Doc Mailloux: Well, externally –

Janine: A lot of women are educated; a lot of women hold major diplomas.

Doc Mailloux: Well yes, but education has nothing to do with knowledge.

Then, in a conversation with caller Julie, Mailloux compared the people of Québec to people in other parts of the world in the following terms : 

[translation]

Doc Mailloux: There is one thing. When Mailloux says that Quebec is only half civilised, he may be right. 

Julie: [Laughing] Many times, yes.

Doc Mailloux: When you look at things like that. Once in ten years, along comes a moron who kills a baby in Quebec. Go on.

Julie: There are, there are many morons.

Doc Mailloux: Yes, yes, yes, there are tons of them. Not everyone is a moron, but we need to recognize, to humbly recognize that before claiming to be civilized in comparison with Africans, our society, we could, I think that we could be a bit more modest and say well, perhaps we are a bit more civilized than certain South American or African tribes, but let’s not get too carried away as far as being civilized is concerned. 

Then, in a part of the dialogue with co-host Janine Ross alone, the host reacted to an observation made by Mme Ross : 

Doc Mailloux: This is equating, this is taking what women say and transposing it to men, and then we talk about men as though they were women. That, that doesn’t work. That’s not how, it doesn’t reflect male reality, Janine, according to my impression.

Janine: Fine, okay, okay, well if I get the comments of that individual, he didn’t want to reproduce. We’ll say that that much was clear. If I say it that way, does it make sense?

Doc Mailloux: No, it doesn’t really work, because the man does not reproduce.

Janine: But, he does reproduce.

Doc Mailloux: No, it’s the woman who reproduces.

Janine: But, the man, in sowing his seed, I don’t know, after all –

 Doc Mailloux: No, no, fuck the sowing of seeds.

There followed a conversation with caller Steve on a subject that was somewhat removed from the question of the day regarding the decision to have or not have children. Following the dialogue cited below, however, the conversation turned briefly to that issue. 

[translation]

Doc Mailloux: As far as broads are concerned, on the weekend. Pressure in the pipes; what do you do, masturbate?

Steve: Well, we don’t really have a choice, otherwise well, you pay and you’re, um, left in peace.

Doc Mailloux: Ah, so you pay once in a while to have the pipes emptied.

[Janine laughs]

Steve: Yeah, that’s right, that’s right.

Doc Mailloux: What do you mean, you pay? Where do you go?

Steve: Well, um, I read the classifieds. The pages, look they’re all well indicated aren’t they?

Doc Mailloux: Well no, explain this to me. I don’t know. I’m not up to speed on this.

Steve: No, well to tell you.

Doc Mailloux: What do you do?

Steve: You look at a page, you look, um, under “personals” and, um, you pay a hundred bucks and come on over to my place, then, um, after half an hour, um, get dressed, and it’s all taken care of.

Doc Mailloux: House call?

Steve: Right to your home.

Doc Mailloux: For a hundred bucks?

Steve: For a hundred bucks.

Doc Mailloux: Half an hour?

Steve: Half an hour, well, half an hour, the time it takes to come, finally.

Doc Mailloux: Okay. Okay. Right. I understand. Go on.

Steve: Okay, fine. But, that doesn’t discount the fact. I talk with, with, with women my age and they don’t have children. And you often hear it said that women are all about kids, women want kids, and so on. Those who are 35, 36, 37, those who don’t have any, don’t even bring it up because they don’t want any. In my group of friends.

Janine: Yes.

Steve: They don’t want children. They like their freedom. They’ve started careers or their careers are in full swing, um, they have the weekends to themselves, their evenings; they don’t have a boyfriend or they have one, whatever their preference. But kids, don’t talk to them about kids at 35. Forget it.

Doc Mailloux: But you, when the pressure builds up in the pipes, you pay a woman and she comes to bring you relief, a blow job or whatever, at home for a hundred bucks.

Steve: Yeah.

Doc Mailloux: But the women, the women who are the same, the same age as you, and in the same situation, what do they do when they feel like having sex?

Steve: I assume that they go to clubs. I assume they go to a club.

Doc Mailloux: A club?

Steve: Well, I don’t know, in a bar at [?] or whatever. I don’t know. I don’t go to, to bars; I go to happy hour and that’s not, um, the place to –

Doc Mailloux: Oh, yeah?

Steve: – where you can …

Janine: Bars where you can meet people. Is it easier? Well, we don’t know.

Steve: Well, I presume. I don’t know, but in any case, I, and I know this. We were talking about this with, um, last week, last weekend with one of my good lady friends. Hey, it’s been three years since she’s, um, she’s had her ashes raked if you can say it like that.

Doc Mailloux: Yeah.

Steve: I mean, it doesn’t seem to bother her, not at all. And there you have it.

Doc Mailloux: They don’t get, they don’t get the equivalent of pressure in the pipes, do they?

Steve: I think not.

Doc Mailloux: Okay.

Steve: I think not, and they don’t have –

Doc Mailloux: They don’t have to get their ashes raked regularly.

Steve: Yeah, in any case when the guys get talking, seven or eight guys, yes we do talk about it, but, um, seven or eight women, um, they’re going to talk about sex, of course, but as far as getting their ashes raked the same evening, I’m not so sure.

Janine: They can have, they can have affairs, after all. They can have affairs without paying someone.

Steve: They are more discreet on that level. They are more discreet [?].

Janine: Yes, perhaps. Perhaps you’re right.

Steve: Yes.

Janine: Yes.

Doc Mailloux: In any event, in your, um, like the woman you spoke with, she hadn’t had any action in three years.

Steve: Yeah.

Doc Mailloux: O.K.

Steve: And that’s just fine, and –

Doc Mailloux: What about you? About how long do you go without, um, emptying the pipes?

Steve: My God, um …

Doc Mailloux: No, no, my God [??]. Call me “my Pierre”, but not “my God”.

Steve: No, no, no. Listen, the question, um, I don’t know, the longest time, listen, I suppose it was maybe, um, a month and a half.

Doc Mailloux: A month and a half?

Steve: A month and a half, two months.

Doc Mailloux: Okay, that’s your outside limit, then.

Steve: My outside limit, yes, yes, yes.

Doc Mailloux: After that, you need an oil change.

The last of the callers that day was Louise. After discussing the fact that she had had no children, in large part because she had never found a suitable man, one who was honest, good, marked by integrity, the host asked her whether she had previously lived with anyone. When she said that she had not, he probed her sexual background and experience in the following terms: 

Doc Mailloux: At what age did you receive your first complete sexual lesson?

Louise: Um, at thirty-five.

Doc Mailloux: Explain.

Louise: Well, I mean, um, what do you want me to explain?

Doc Mailloux: That’s unusual. It isn’t common to experience your first penetration at thirty-five [?].

Louise: Yeah, well that’s because, no, but that’s because I wouldn’t give myself to just anyone. I, you know what I mean, um, …

Doc Mailloux: Madam, Louise. When you copulate, you don’t give yourself, you copulate. So that business of, of giving your vulva, no, no. No, no, no, no. That doesn’t fly. You are of a generation. Yet, you’re only fifty-nine now.

Louise: Yeah?

Doc Mailloux: You know, at thirty-five, that was in the, in the ’70s.

Janine: You had, or there was –

Doc Mailloux: Just why is it that you have that kind of mentality, that a vulva can be given? A vulva isn’t given, it is penetrated. Where did you get that nonsense? Those foolish attitudes?

Janine: She never met someone.

Doc Mailloux: No, no, that’s not it. No, no, no, that’s not it at all. This is all about rationalisation.

Janine: Hmn, hmn.

Doc Mailloux: That’s major bullshit. What is this about you not giving yourself to just anyone? Copulating for the first time at thirty-five?

Louise: Well, let’s say that I was afraid of that, um …

Doc Mailloux: Now we’re getting to the truth. What were you afraid of?

Louise: Well, penetration, um, …

Doc Mailloux: Yes. That still exists. There are still women who are afraid of being penetrated.

Janine: Certainly. Of course, of course.

Doc Mailloux: Of course. It’s not a frequent occurrence. We don’t discuss that a great deal on the air, but just because we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

 

The Correspondence 

On June 8, a complainant wrote the CRTC, which forwarded the complaint to the CBSC. This was the second complaint by the same individual treated by the Quebec Regional Panel on this date. The outcome of the other can be found in Panel decision CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Argent) (CBSC Decision 05/06-1379, December 11, 2006). The same complainant had also filed an earlier complaint that was dealt with by the Quebec Regional Panel earlier in 2006, namely, CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Trisomy 21) (CBSC Decision 05/06-0642, February 3, 2006). The letter of June 8 reads in pertinent part as follows (the full text of all correspondence can be found in Appendix B, available in French only): 

[translation]

I am writing to complain, once again, about the denigrating comments made by Doc Mailloux concerning, in this case, the Russians and their declining population. He stated that “for that deficient country, it may not be a bad thing. I think they had enough morons and a few less wouldn’t be a bad thing.”

This complaint also concerns UNDUE swearwords: “that costs money, dammit, you’ll have to move your ass”, and “listen moron, there is no connection, dammit. Straighten up, dammit, that’s what he should have told him.” And there is also “FUCK the sowing of seeds.”

 I will leave aside the numerous comments that I consider denigrating, discriminatory and UNDUE about women in order to focus on the main purpose of my complaint, namely that the doc reiterated the comments he made some time ago that were deemed in breach by the CBSC and that he went as far as to defy the CRTC in a coarse manner. He said “I reiterate my comments.human beings do not have equal value. And I have no problem with that. No one will make me change my mind. . A human being with Down syndrome does not, and will never have, the same value as a talented person. . You know, I was blamed by the CRTC concerning this. . SO I SAY TO THE CRTC, MY EYE AND UP YOUR ANUS. IS THAT CLEAR?”

In conclusion, I am submitting this complaint to the CBSC so that it can assess how much the broadcaster was truly serious when he claimed, at the time of my two previous complaints, that it will exercise the greatest vigilance with respect to the comments made by Doc Mailloux in his daily program. As far as I am concerned, the broadcaster, Doc Mailloux and host Janine Ross are demonstrating that they absolutely did not take into account the fact that the CRTC and the CBSC found them in breach, and that no steps were taken internally (as claimed) to rectify the situation. In my opinion, the broadcaster is not complying with the Broadcasting Act, the radio regulations and the codes and standards of the CRTC within the general context of this program. 

The General Manager of CKAC responded on July 10. He said, in pertinent part: 

[translation]

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) asked us to reply to your letter, that we received on June 13 and in which you express your general concerns about comments made by Doctor Pierre Mailloux during his program Un Psy � l’écoute [sic] on CKAC, more specifically during his program of May 30, 2006.

In its reply to one of your previous complaints, Corus Quebec informed you that an internal analysis was underway in order to follow up on your concerns that we do recognize as being extremely grave. You will understand, I am certain, that the fact that this program, and indeed most of our programming, is broadcast live creates a definite problem where control is concerned. Nevertheless, we do agree that regardless of the fact that they are aired live, these programs are in no way exempted from the requirements concerning quality and compliance with various regulations. That is why Corus Quebec is currently looking into the possibility of putting in place a 15-second delay mechanism for this program in order to give the station’s management sufficient time to react when comments are made that should not be aired.

In your letter, you point out comments made by Dr. Mailloux that we recognise are vulgar and unacceptable. For this reason, we are considering this technical procedure of “delayed broadcasting” in an attempt to find an efficient means of containing out-of-control reactions and comments that we recognise as being unacceptable in many cases. 

Dissatisfied with the broadcaster’s response, the complainant filed his Ruling Request on July 19. In his covering letter, he added the following comments: 

[translation]

It appears clear, in my opinion, that the broadcaster is not truly willing to take the required corrective action with respect to Doc Mailloux’s comments and language – comments and out-of-control incidents that the broadcaster himself recognises as being unacceptable in many cases.

 The broadcaster has had ample time and opportunity to reign in his host Doc Mailloux since my first complaint and since other previous complaints filed with the CBSC for reasons similar to mine (see CRTC decision 2005-258 and CBSC decision 05/06-0642). Quite the contrary. As an example of the broadcaster’s unwillingness to prevent the Doc’s out-of-control incidents, swearwords, offensive and unsavoury comments, taped programs are currently (for nearly a week now) being aired on CKAC still containing unedited swearwords and comments that undoubtedly breach CRTC laws and regulations, while CKAC could surely modify or edit these repeated programs. 

 

the decision 

The Quebec Regional Panel examined the complaint under the following provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and the CAB Sex-Role Portrayal Code: 

CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 2 – Human Rights 

Recognizing that every person has the right to full and equal recognition and to enjoy certain fundamental rights and freedoms, broadcasters shall ensure that their programming contains no abusive or unduly discriminatory material or comment which is based on matters of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability. 

CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 6 – Full, Fair and Proper Presentation 

It is recognized that the full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial is the prime and fundamental responsibility of each broadcaster. This principle shall apply to all radio and television programming, whether it relates to news, public affairs, magazine, talk, call-in, interview or other broadcasting formats in which news, opinion, comment or editorial may be expressed by broadcaster employees, their invited guests or callers.

 CAB Code of Ethics, Clause 9 – Radio Broadcasting 

Recognizing that radio is a local medium and, consequently, reflective of local community standards, programming broadcast on a local radio station shall take into consideration the generally recognized access to programming content available in the market, the demographic composition of the station’s audience, and the station’s format. Within this context, particular care shall be taken by radio broadcasters to ensure that programming on their stations does not contain: 

[…]

(b) Unduly sexually explicit material; and/or

(c) Unduly coarse and offensive language.

CAB Sex-Role Portrayal Code, Clause 2(c) – Diversity 

Television and radio programming shall respect the principles of intellectual and emotional equality of both sexes and the dignity of all individuals. [.] 

CAB Sex-Role Portrayal Code, Clause 4 – Exploitation 

Television and radio programming shall refrain from the exploitation of women, men and children. Negative or degrading comments on the role and nature of women, men or children in society shall be avoided. […] 

The Panel listened to a recording of the broadcast of May 30 and reviewed all of the correspondence. The Quebec Regional Panel concludes that portions of the broadcast are in breach of all of the foregoing provisions.

Limits of Race-related Commentaries 

In another decision of even date, this Panel has dealt with the treatment by this host and broadcaster of the issue of race-related commentaries. In CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Money) (CBSC Decision 05/06-1379, December 11, 2006), it summarized the Council’s position on race-related commentaries in the following terms: 

It has long and consistently been established by CBSC Panels that it is not just any mention of the groups identified in the Human Rights Clause of the CAB Code of Ethics that will fall afoul of the prohibition contained in that Clause. It is only those mentions that are abusive or unduly discriminatory that are prohibited there. Moreover, genuine political or historical observations, or opinions based on political or historical events are likely to survive scrutiny, although care must be taken by broadcasters to ensure that such content is not excessive. There is no doubt that the CBSC will look closely at statements that could have the effect of abusing, or unduly discriminating against, individuals on the basis of their race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion or the like since they tread in delicate societal territory. In the view of the Panel, there is, in the area of human rights, much at stake. Abusive comments pierce souls rather than skins. They do not just offend; they harm. Flippant, thoughtless or heedless in the mouth of the speaker, such comments become weighty and painful in the ears of the affected. Consequently, the CBSC Panels examine such complaints with the measure of the impact very much in mind.

In another matter dealt with by this Panel on this date, namely, CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Financial Difficulties) (CBSC Decision 05/06-1405, December 11, 2006), this Panel found the broadcaster in breach of the Human Rights Clause because of the host’s commentary about Haitians, Russians and Cubans. In the matter at hand, he referred to Russia as a [translations] “deficient country” and the inhabitants as “enough morons”, concluding that the decreasing of the population was a good thing; in his words, “a few less wouldn’t be a bad thing“. In addition to his comments about nationality, in his dialogue with caller Johanne, he enunciated comments similar to those made by the host on a previous episode regarding the depreciated value in human terms of persons afflicted with Down Syndrome, namely, “a human being with Down syndrome does not, and will never have, the same value as a talented person.” He concluded his observations on the subject by referring to Johanne’s older disabled brother as a “retard”. As in the decision referred to in this paragraph, the Panel finds the comments equally “insulting, degrading and abusive, and in clear violation of Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics.” 

Comments about Women 

The complainant also raised the issue of Mailloux’s comments about women. The CBSC dealt with similar complaints in CHOM-FM and CILQ-FM re the Howard Stern Show (CBSC Decisions 97/98-0001+, October 17 and 18, 1997). In that case, the CBSC Panels observed that the host referred to his female callers and guests as “dumb broads”, “fat cows” and the like. The Panels found a breach of Clause 2 in that case, noting that “Women […] are entitled to the respect which their intellectual, emotional, personal and artistic qualities merit. No more than men. No less than men. But every bit as much as men.” 

While Stern’s negative characterizations of women were arguably more consistent and recurrent, the Quebec Panel nevertheless considers that Mailloux’s comments levelled at women in this broadcast to be unduly discriminatory. The following sweeping generalizations are obviously without foundation: [translations] “Women in Quebec are not properly brought up or educated if you will. The majority of them are very poorly brought up.” The host returned to that theme at another point in the episode when he challenged his co-host: “Listen, have you ever seen a well brought up or educated woman in Quebec?” Similarly, the broad accusation that one cannot say “No” to the “vast majority” of women in Quebec without suffering vengeful sexual reprisal is equally unduly discriminatory. 

[translation]

Doc Mailloux: And it reflects a, a large part of the female culture in Quebec. Women, most of them, the vast majority of women in Quebec are incapable of taking “no” for an answer coming from a man. They get revenge, they are, they are a real pain in that sense, you would not believe.

Maxime: As far as I’m concerned –

Doc Mailloux: They almost automatically go into sexual blackmail mode or emotional blackmail mode.

Maxime: Well, both; they often make you feel guilty.

Doc Mailloux: Yes.

The general use of terminology such as “broads”, “wenches” and “shrews” reflects, particularly in the collective sense, a level of disrespect prohibited by the codified standards cited above. In all, the Panel finds that the foregoing examples constitute a cumulative level of disrespect and intolerance that was in violation of Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics and Clauses 2 and 4 of the CAB Sex-Role Portrayal Code. 

 

Sexual Content 

The matter at hand is substantively similar to this Panel’s decision of even date in CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Money) (CBSC Decision 05/06-1379, December 11, 2006), in the sense that the ostensible subject had nothing whatsoever to do with sexual content. Nonetheless, the host, in his discussion with callers Steve and Louise, found a way to pass several minutes in discussion of explicit sexual matter with both. The Panel considers its remarks in the Doc Mailloux (Money) decision to be on point here. 

In the challenged broadcast, although the mentions of sexual content (all of which occurred in the dialogue with caller Carole) were not as frequent, those that were spoken were unduly explicit. Moreover, in the view of the Panel, they were utterly unnecessary to the issue being discussed. They were gratuitously explicit and inappropriate for the time of day of the challenged episode. Consequently, the Panel finds the broadcaster in breach of Clause 9(b) of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

The Panel concludes that CKAC is in breach of Clause 9(b) of the CAB Code of Ethics for the broadcast of similar content in the present instance. 

 

The Use of Coarse Language 

In two decisions of even date, this Panel has dealt with the use of coarse language by the present radio host. In CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Money) (CBSC Decision 05/06-1379, December 11, 2006), where the host used the word “fuck”, the Panel referred to CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Adolescent Sexuality) (CBSC Decision 05/06-1104, June 30, 2006), where this Panel also found that “fourrer”, a related French word, fell squarely within the level of unduly coarse or offensive language. In CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Trisomy 21) (CBSC Decision 05/06-0642, February 3, 2006), this Panel considered the use of the word “fuck” in a discussion of persons with Down Syndrome during the course of the afternoon to be in breach of Clause 9(c) of the CAB Code of Ethics. And in CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Financial Difficulties) (CBSC Decision 05/06-1405, December 11, 2006), this Panel reached a similar conclusion. The Panel considers that the use of the word “fuck” in the matter at hand is correspondingly in breach of Clause 9(c) of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

 

Comments about the CBSC 

The host obviously confused the decision rendered by the CBSC on the subject of persons afflicted with Trisomy 21 with one he thought taken by the federal regulator, in the matter of CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Trisomy 21) (CBSC Decision 05/06-0642, February 3, 2006). Leaving aside the question of his being ill-informed, here is the dialogue with caller Johanne on that point: 

[translation]

Doc Mailloux: Concerning this; concerning the comments I made about that ad on CBC one morning where they were trying to make us believe that a young woman of 21 with Down syndrome has the same value as three lovely young women of the same age at the university level.

Johanne: Hmn, hmn.

Doc Mailloux: It was major damned bullshit.

Johanne: Hmn, hmn.

Doc Mailloux: And you will never elevate someone by lowering three other people.

Johanne: Thank you.

Doc Mailloux: It just doesn’t work.

Johanne: Truly, on that score, Pierre –

Doc Mailloux: A, a, um. Someone, a human being with Down syndrome does not, and will never have, the same value as a talented person.

Johanne: Hmn, hmn.

Doc Mailloux: So I say to the CRTC, my eye and up your the anus. Is that clear?

The CBSC has said in previous decisions that broadcasters are free to criticize decisions of the CRTC, the Government, the courts and other such institutions that are in the business of developing policy and reaching conclusions about the rights of persons. The appreciation of such questions falls squarely within the anticipated limits of the freedom of expression of all citizens. This does not, however, mean that those who criticize are entitled to expect terminological shelter when their comments exceed the bounds of other codified standards. 

In the matter at hand, it is certainly acceptable for the host to have been in total disagreement with the CBSC’s above-cited decision; however, what is regrettable is that this host apparently did not have the ability to express his disagreement in substantive or even literate terms. The visceral reaction, [translations] “It was major damned bullshit” is hardly on the level of the explanation of the broadcaster’s breach in the first place. And it was followed by an out-of-control reaction to the decision in the following language: “So I say to the CRTC, my eye and up your anus. Is that clear?” Audiences deserve more. On-air hosts have an obligation to manifest a certain level of aptitude before the powerful microphone that it is their privilege to employ. While the foregoing comment is not equal to the responsibility of the host, the Panel concludes that it is inept and in the worst of taste but not sufficiently over the edge to be in breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics

 

The Consequences of Repetitive Breaches 

While it is not a frequent occurrence, it has happened from time to time that a broadcaster has breached a specific codified standard on more than one occasion. When that has happened, the CBSC has taken steps to ensure that the problem would not recur. In the first such case, namely, CILQ-FM re the Howard Stern Show (CBSC Decision 97/98-0487+, February 20, 1998), the Ontario Regional Panel noted the following requirement of membership, under the heading “Compliance”. 

If a member broadcaster fails to comply with a decision of the Council, by not broadcasting a Council decision in favour of the complainant or by refusing to adhere to an approved standard, the broadcaster’s membership in the Council will be revoked. 

The Panel then explained the consequence of non-compliance. 

The consequence of not adhering to the “approved standards”, which were the creation of the private broadcasters themselves, would be the removal of the member from the voluntary authority of the CBSC. While, ultimately, all CBSC members are subject to the regulatory authority of the CRTC, any broadcasters who might cease to be members would be more immediately involved with the formal regulatory regime.

 It should not be forgotten that the standards were instituted by Canada’s private broadcasters to ensure that the acceptable content criteria of broadcast material would be the same for all listeners and viewers and, moreover, that no individual stations would be able to steal a competitive march on other broadcasters in their market by breaching those standards.

In the case of the Howard Stern Show, the broadcaster had already put infrastructural mechanisms in place prior to the rendering of the second decision and it was clear that diligent, even expensive, methods were being employed to ensure that the program would conform to Canadian private broadcaster standards. 

In the second case, which involved TQS, this Panel was faced with a similar problem of disregard for certain of the private broadcasters’ codified rules. On that occasion, in TQS re Faut le voir pour le croire(CBSC Decision 99/00-0460, August 29, 2000), this Panel concluded: 

In the circumstances, in addition to its finding regarding the specific breach in the case of the broadcast under consideration, the Council specifically concludes that the broadcaster must, within the thirty days following its receipt of the text of this decision, provide the CBSC with concrete indications of the measures which it intends to put in place in order to avoid the recurrence of the broadcasting of inappropriate sexual content prior to the Watershed. Failing that, the CBSC will determine whether there is any reason for which Télévision Quatre Saisons should be entitled to remain a member of the CBSC or whether TQS should become the first private broadcaster in Canada to be removed from the self-regulatory mechanism. 

Since those two decisions, and in order to avoid any uncertainty in this regard, the CBSC modified its Manual to ensure that the obligations of its members were clear. The Manual now provides:

Broadcaster members which join the CBSC do so voluntarily and, by so doing, agree to:

b) avoid the recurrence of any breach of the Codes which has previously been decided against them with respect to a particular program or series; 

There was a third instance in which a CBSC Panel faced a case of repeated Code breaches by a broadcaster, namely, Showcase Television. In Showcase Television re the movie Frankie Starlight (CBSC Decision 02/03-0682, January 30, 2004), the National Specialty Services Panel established the following requirement: 

[T]he Panel concludes that Showcase Television must, within the thirty days following its receipt of the text of this decision, provide the CBSC with concrete indications of the measures which it intends to put in place in order to: a) avoid the recurrence of the broadcasting of coarse or offensive language prior to the Watershed; and b) ensure that it will include viewer advisories with the required form and frequency in its programming. Failing the receipt of that written assurance of the steps Showcase plans to take, the CBSC will determine whether there is any reason for which Showcase Television should be entitled to remain a member of the CBSC benefiting from the operation of the self-regulatory mechanism. 

It should be noted that, within the agreed delays, Showcase Television undertook concrete measures to ensure future compliance and presented the CBSC with a commitment in the form of an extensive and detailed plan to ensure the avoidance of any slip-ups in the problematic areas in the future. The Prairie Regional Panel adopted the same requirement in the case of radio station CJAY-FM. The details of their conclusion can be found in CJAY-FM re Forbes and Friends (graphic discussion) (CBSC Decision 03/04-0157, April 16, 2004). In that case, the broadcaster also provided the Council with a set of concrete measures in written form. Most importantly, none of the foregoing four broadcasters has been found in breach for those reasons at any time since their respective commitments. 

 

Applicability of the Foregoing Principles to CKAC-AM 

With respect to the matter at hand, the Panel notes three areas of breaches, each of which has been repetitive, but repetitive in different ways. One area of breach has involved Clause 2, the Human Rights Clause, of the CAB Code of Ethics. The second category of breach has involved Clause 9(c), which prohibits unduly coarse or offensive language. The third has involved Clause 9(b), which prohibits unduly sexually explicit content. 

In the first category, CKAC-AM has, on four other occasions, breached the requirements of Clause 2, the Human Rights Clause, of the CAB Code of Ethics. In the first of these, CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Immigration) (CBSC Decision 03/04-0453, February 10, 2005), the host made comments regarding the Sikh community. In that decision, released March 30, 2005, this Panel concluded that 

the host is entitled to espouse his chauvinistic intolerance until such time as his disrespect leaks into individual races and nationalities, as it did when he referred to the Sikhs as “a gang of bozos” (translation). It is the view of the Quebec Panel that that allegation is abusive and unduly discriminatory and is in breach of Clause 2 of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

Then in CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Trisomy 21) (CBSC Decision 05/06-0642, February 3, 2006), released May 9, 2006, this Panel found that 

Doc Mailloux’s characterization of persons afflicted with trisomy 21 constitutes abusive and unduly discriminatory comment on the basis of a mental and physical handicap and is in breach of the Human Rights Clause of the CAB Code of Ethics. 

In two subsequent decisions of even date, the broadcasts with correspondingly offensive matter were aired prior to the conclusions of the Quebec Regional Panel in the Trisomy 21 decision. Consequently, they are, for the present purposes, not essential to the conclusion reached in this section of the Childless by Choice decision. 

Because the present matter is the third decision in which the broadcaster, CKAC-AM, is found in breach of the Human Rights Clause and because it was aware of the CBSC’s rulings in the two previous matters prior to the broadcast of May 30 which is the subject of this decision, the Quebec Panel reaches the following conclusion. 

CKAC must, within the thirty days following its receipt of the text of this decision, provide the CBSC with concrete indications of the measures which it intends to put in place in order to avoid the broadcast of abusive or unduly discriminatory material. Moreover, for the sake of greater certainty, the Panel wishes to make clear that this requirement applies not only to the host, Doc Mailloux, but also to any of CKAC’s on-air personnel or material broadcast by them, whatever the source. 

In the second category, namely, coarse or offensive language, the broadcaster has, on five occasions in all, been in breach of Clause 9(c) of the Code. In three of the subsequent cases, the broadcasts took place prior to the release of the Trisomy 21 decision. The present decision involves a broadcast that took place subsequent to that decision. Moreover, the host recognized on-air another aspect of that decision’s conclusions. Consequently, the Panel will also require that CKAC must, within the thirty days following its receipt of the text of this decision, provide the CBSC with concrete indications of the measures which it intends to put in place in order to avoid the broadcast of coarse or offensive language. It also repeats its admonition that for the sake of greater certainty, the Panel wishes to make clear that this requirement applies not only to the host, Doc Mailloux, but also to any of CKAC’s on-air personnel or material broadcast by them, whatever the source. 

In the third category, namely, that involving unduly sexually explicit content, the broadcaster had no decision of the CBSC in hand prior to the broadcasts treated by this Panel on this common date. CKAC-AM re an episode of Doc Mailloux (Adolescent Sexuality) (CBSC Decision 05/06-1104, June 30, 2006) was only released on September 21, 2006 and the broadcasts dealt with in today’s decisions were all aired in April, May and June 2006, well before the Adolescent Sexuality decision. This is not to say that the broadcaster ought not to have known the rules, but only that their definition and effect were not known to the extent that they will be following the present decision. The Panel will not, therefore, impose any strict requirement with respect to the broadcaster’s obligations regarding the non-repetition of such sexual content. It will only alert the broadcaster to the stipulation it will face in the event of a repetition of such content in future. 

In sum, the Quebec Regional Panel requires that CKAC must, within the thirty days following its receipt of the text of this decision, provide the CBSC with concrete indications of the measures which it intends to put in place in order to: a) avoid the broadcast of abusive or unduly discriminatory material; and b) avoid the broadcast of coarse or offensive language. Failing the receipt of such written assurance of the steps CKAC plans to take and the satisfactory timing of their implementation, the CBSC will determine whether there is any reason for which CKAC should be entitled to remain a member of the CBSC benefiting from the operation of the self-regulatory mechanism. 

 

Broadcaster Responsiveness 

It is the practice of all CBSC Adjudicating Panels to assess the broadcaster’s responsiveness to the complainant. Although it is, of course, the case that the broadcaster need not agree with the complainant, it is expected that its representatives charged with replying to complaints will address the complainant’s concerns in a thorough and respectful manner. In the matter at hand, the Panel considers that the response of the Directeur général of CKAC to the complainant was focussed closely on each of the issues he raised in his original letter of complaint. As a result, the response successfully fulfilled the broadcaster’s obligation of responsiveness. 

 

Decision announcement 

CKAC is required to: 1) announce the decision, in the following terms, once during peak listening hours within three days following the release of this decision and once more within seven days following the release of this decision during the time period in which Doc Mailloux was broadcast; 2) within the fourteen days following the broadcast of the announcements, to provide written confirmation of the airing of the statement to the complainant who filed the Ruling Request; and 3) at that time, to provide the CBSC with a copy of that written confirmation and with air check copies of the broadcasts of the two announcements which must be made by CKAC. 

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that CKAC has breached the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics in its broadcast of the Doc Mailloux episode of the afternoon of May 30, 2006. By broadcasting degrading and abusive comments about Russian people and derisory comments about women, CKAC breached Clause 2 of that Code and Clauses 2 and 4 of the CAB Sex-Role Portrayal Code, which prohibits the broadcast of abusive or unduly discriminatory comments about people on the basis of their national or ethnic origin, or their gender. By broadcasting unduly sexually explicit content and coarse and offensive language, CKAC also breached Clauses 9(b) and 9(c) of the Code, which prohibits the broadcast of such content at a time of the day when children can be expected to be listening to the radio.

 

 This decision is a public document upon its release by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.