TQS re an episode of L’Avocat et le diable (Court of Appeal decision)

quebec regional panel
(CBSC Decision 05/06-1636)
M.-A. Murat (Vice-Chair), B. Kenemy, D. Meloul, G. Moisan

the facts

L’Avocat et le diable is a daily open-line television show, running from 9:00-10:00 am. The hosts at the date of the challenged episode were Richard Desmarais and Stéphane Gendron, who generally discussed current news stories or issues with their callers. The question of the day on May 31, 2006 was “Should Justice Lise Côté resign?” The subject of the day was sparked by a decision of the Court of Appeal on appeal from a lower court decision dealing with the sentencing of a pedophile. The Bench split 2-1 and Madame Justice Côté wrote the opinion for the majority. The transcript providing the background relating to the original conviction and sentencing can be found in Appendix A (available in French only). Only that portion of the transcript that relates to the comments made about Madame Justice Côté is included in the decision itself.

The appeal was from a condemnation of an individual identified as Luc X, who had originally been sentenced at trial to 15 years in prison (according to the program co-hosts) for a crime that the hosts did not identify in precise legal terms. One may intimate from their language that the issue was the sexual abuse of a very young child, the daughter of the accused, and the showing of those and other acts on the internet.

In fact, as the decision of the Court of Appeal makes clear, the sentence rendered by the Hon. Dominique Wilhelmy of the Court of Quebec was for 8 years, 8 months for sexual assault, plus 5 years for production, 5 years for distribution of child pornography, and 3 years for possession of child pornography. The child pornography condemnations were concurrent with respect to each other but consecutive with respect to the condemnation for sexual assault. Consequently, the overall term to be served was 13 years, 8 months.

The decision of the Court of Appeal reduced the sentence to 6 years for sexual assault, plus 3 years for production, 3 years for distribution of child pornography, and 1 year for possession of child pornography. As in the case of the trial decision, the child pornography condemnations were concurrent with respect to each other but consecutive with respect to the condemnation for sexual assault. Consequently, the overall term to be served was 9 years.

The co-hosts described, or referred to, the crime during the course of their dialogue but devoted considerable energy and commentary to Madame Justice Côté on a personal basis. They noted that she had been the most recent appointee to the Quebec Court of Appeal and co-host Gendron recommended “And the first who should be dismissed.” In referring to one question raised by the majority, the co-hosts said:

[translation]

Gendron: But because she wasn’t tied up or gagged, hey, Lise Côté, has that ever been done to you?Plus, she says, “I’m not certain that the father put his willie –

Desmarais: Well, that.

Gendron: – in the girl.”

Desmarais: So, this morning –

Gendron: Hey, Lise Côté, I think you have a little, um, judgement problem –

Desmarais: We’ll, we’ll quote her word for word.

Gendron: – that is very serious.

Desmarais: We’ll quote her, because she says that –

Gendron: Yes, it’s worth it. Listen to this.

Desmarais: She wrote, on behalf of the justices, that “the actions are not, no, did not take place in a context of physical violence.”

Gendron: I hope that –

Desmarais: Sexually assaulting a child is not physical violence.

Gendron: A child.

Desmarais: “Did not take place in a context of physical violence beyond the inherent violence of this type of crime.”

Gendron: Yeah.

Desmarais: I couldn’t get over it.

Gendron: [reading aloud from a newspaper] “There is no medical evidence establishing her father’s willie.” That’s getting bad. And as far as the sentence goes, he must be given a chance: he only has one prior in a similar matter. Luc X the pedophile had already embarked on his career. As a minor, he abused those younger than himself. He is only 34 years old [sic, the Court of Appeal said 32 years].

[.]

Desmarais: We get rid of him for 15 years and Justice Lise Côté, with another, with another justice, um, from the bench, two to one – because one of them stood up in this case and said, listen if he shouldn’t get the maximum, there will never be a maximum if you think about it. Because if we begin to think that there may be worse to come or that a worse day will come, the maximum applied to –

Gendron: And the dishonourable Côté will have us wasting money in appeal costs because this will end up before the Supreme Court. The Crown Attorney cannot put up with such imbecility. It is disreputable.That woman has no honour.

Desmarais: Stéphane, you’ve just said a mouthful. Had it come from a man, all the women would have risen up to bash this male judge and his decision. What amazes me is that this is a decision rendered by a woman.

Gendron: Yes. You can’t say –

Desmarais: A decision handed down by a woman!

Gendron: – if she’s crazy. The problem is that we can’t say she’s crazy.

Desmarais: We can see the state she must be in –

Gendron: Do you understand?

Desmarais: – when she wrote –

Gendron: We in the media are so muzzled. We can’t say that that woman is crazy.

Desmarais: No, but we can ask you if you believe Justice Côté. And that is our question this morning.Justice Lise Côté of the Quebec Court of Appeal, the most recent arrival, the most recently appointed, less than a year ago in July of 2005, do you believe Justice Côté should resign? Or, do you believe thatshe should be dismissed, if um -?

[.]

Desmarais: This isn’t the first time that –

Gendron: No.

Desmarais: – there are some stupid pronouncements made before the courts concerning the protection of children, concerning the, the actions of those who abuse children. And that it, it isn’t raising more of a stink.

[.]

Gendron: If we say that on the air, we lose our jobs. Our 20 seconds of glory. We’d be in for it right away. In twenty seconds I would be fired, if I said things of that nature.

[.]

Gendron: So this goes to prove that in cases of sexual crimes, discretion should no longer now be left to the judges. In a case involving the abuse of a child, it’s a 15-year sentence. Non-negotiable!

Desmarais: Yeah, that’s it. But that judge, Judge Côté, in a case where she said that “Quebec is the province, in the, in the country where the media have the most open access to the courthouse.However, one must constantly ensure the equanimity of the judicial process.” Well, the journalists are the ones seeing to that equanimity –

Gendron: Yes, thank heavens.

Desmarais: Much more than the, the judiciary in its, in its [?].

Gendron: We’ve got an e-mail, expressing hostility towards, um, Justice Côté. We may not be able to read it all on the air, but –

Desmarais: No, no, as for me, no.

Gendron: – people are wondering if Justice Côté doesn’t in fact sympathize with pedophiles.

The hosts then took their first call, from Suzanne, who made comparisons with the case of Judge Andrée Ruffo of the Court of Quebec, Chambre de Jeunesse. Co-host Gendron then added the following comments:

[translation]

Gendron: I am revolted. I am in such a state this morning. I don’t dare even tell you on the air what I think of this, um, I hope Côté is listening in that toilet of hers that is a bench.

Desmarais: No, no, they’ll give her a report; they’ll give her a report.

Gendron: They’ll make a cassette for her. Call TQS, get that tape out and she can listen to that in her Court of Appeal judge’s toilet.

Suzanne: I really think it is a shame for you, Mr. Gendron, that you can’t, that you don’t have the right to say what you really think.

Gendron: Well, no, because the bar would get me, because the bosses on the third floor would get me.

Desmarais: Especially –

Suzanne: [??] in your view.

Gendron: They’ll give me my 20 seconds of glory [?].

Desmarais: On top of that she’s messing with the evidence. She messed with the evidence. In her decision, she questions –

Gendron: Yes!

Desmarais: – that bit about penetration. That’s none of her business!

Gendron: Exactly.

Desmarais: That’s up to the judge who heard the case.

Gendron: [??]

Desmarais: And if she has something to say about it, then she should give them a new trial!

Gendron: Give them –

Desmarais: That’s it, that’s all.

Gendron: Well yes. You learn that in your first year of law school, the judges of the Court of Appeal, the highest court, but what did she do? Is this a political appointment?

Caller Esther then provided her views on the possible fate of Justice Côté.

[translation]

Esther: I’m of, um, like of the same opinion as Ms. Suzanne who was speaking a few minutes ago. I find that she doesn’t even deserve, to be, to resign –

Gendron: [??] no honour, she won’t resign.

Esther: But, she should be fired.

Desmarais: It’s not done. That’s not the thing.

[.]

Gendron: Maybe the judge should get raped and see how that is – get a taste of it for herself.

Esther: It makes no sense. There is no logic to it at all.

Desmarais: No, there isn’t any.

Esther: But I wanted, I wanted to say to Mr. Desmarais, that I find you have a lot of class.

Desmarais: Thank you.

Esther: Sometimes, Mr. Gendron has a bit less. [Desmarais laughs]

Gendron: I, [???].

Esther: But –

Gendron: I’m [??].

Esther: [??] well I often agree with you, but sometimes I find that you allow a bit, that it’s a bit raw.

Gendron: No, it’s true.

Desmarais: It’s, it’s –

Esther: [???].

Gendron: For those who hired me [he laughs].

Esther: [??] because I think there were problems.

Desmarais: Yeah.

Esther: But, in any case, I really do think that Madame, um, Côté, really has no sense.

Gendron: You are being polite.

Esther: And, she should [?] from [?] to [??].

Desmarais: Very polite Madame, you are very polite. Thank you, Esther.

The next caller was Josée from Gatineau, who was a bit more outspoken than the previous caller.

[translation]

Josée: Yes, I was very frustrated by what is going on now because that lady, um, is a disgrace to the Quebec judicial system.

Gendron: You say “the lady”. Yes, “the lady”, you are polite.

Josée: Um, yeah. I should use another word, but I’m polite. Um, as to whether, as to whether she should resign, um first of all she should be fired. That lady, who is she to judge such circumstances? Does she have children, first of all?

Gendron: She is surely not a mother.

Josée: Surely not. [.]

Gendron: But he’ll be out in three years.

Desmarais: No, no.

Josée: Exactly.

Gendron: No? A third of his sentence?

Desmarais: Five.

Josée: Yes, thieves do more time than assaulters.

Desmarais: But, that is to say [?] with the new sentence.

Gendron: The new one, yeah.

Desmarais: Yes, the new sentence. Three years and it’s over.

Gendron: Three years and it’s over. With good behaviour he can go stick his willie somewhere else; maybe in Lise Côté.

The hosts discussed the issue of whether the Crown would appeal the sentencing decision of the Court of Appeal and they encouraged viewers to e-mail the Minister of Justice asking for the firing of Madame Justice Côté. Following a break for commercials, the hosts read a number of e-mails they had received.

[translation]

Desmarais: Yeah, they’re piling up. Look at this [reading the e-mails] [JC] in Rivière-du-Loup: “She surely doesn’t have children.” Karen: “It’s unworthy.” “It’s a scandal.” [LG].

Gendron: “Major idiot. She must resign.”

Desmarais: “It’s disgusting, disgusting.” [DL]. [JT]: “This, this judgement almost made me vomit.”

Gendron: Yeah, yeah. Here we have [M-CM]: “She’s a major idiot. She should resign in a hurry. Having been abused myself without penetration, I still live with the consequences at the age of 55.”

They then telephoned the office of the Justice.

[translation]

Desmarais: Check this out. Look, we’ll try [?]. We’ll try calling her office.

Gendron: Oh yeah.

Desmarais: You never know, on the off chance that it could work. We don’t know if it will, if it will, work because judges do have a duty not to comment.

Gendron: Independence.

Desmarais: They are not allowed, they are not allowed to comment on the judgements. But does, we don’t know if, hello, hello, hello? Is it working?

Gendron: Yes.

Desmarais: Can we hear what’s …

Gendron: Madame Côté?

Secretary: Um, Madame Côté, I’m her secretary.

Gendron: Yes, is she still a judge?

Secretary: Yes.

Gendron: After the decision she handed down in the Luc X case, she hasn’t had the honour to resign? … Hello?

Secretary: Who is speaking?

Gendron: Stéphane Gendron at TQS. You’re on the air on TV. Does Madame Côté intend to resign? [the secretary hangs up] Oh.

Desmarais: Oh.

Gendron: A frustrated woman. Oooh.

Desmarais: Well no. You have to understand that that’s how it is in the [?] judicial system. You can’t, you can’t ask a judge to explain herself or himself here, like we do with other people.

Gendron: I wasn’t talking to the judge, I was talking to her secretary, her serving woman.

Desmarais: No, her secretary is not required to give explanations either, but she could have said, “listen Madame, or Sir, um -”

Gendron: “She’s not available; she’s in her bathroom.” Is her toilet silent?

The next caller was also Josée, from Laval.

[translation]

Desmarais: I don’t know, O.K. We’ll take a call from Laval. Hello, Josée.

Josée: Yes, hello.

Desmarais: We’re listening.

Josée: Yes. Well I have just one thing to say and that is that that woman should be dismissed. And, as a woman, I am ashamed to be a woman when I see people behaving like, like Madame Côté did. That’s all I have to say.

Gendron: It is a national disgrace. Thank you, Josée.

Desmarais: A woman. A woman. Because if a man said, the women would have been on the ramparts demanding that this man leave the court.

Gendron: And, you know what? The dissenting opinion in that judgement, the only judge who had balls, well that judgement was made by a man!

Desmarais: Yeah.

Gendron: It just goes to show, eh?

Desmarais: Benoît Morin, Justice Benoît Morin. Benoît Morin who said the maximum sentence applies –

Gendron: But, you know? It has nothing to do with gender after all, but it is true that it is disgusting that a woman could think in those terms.

Desmarais: No, no, it has nothing to do with the fact that it isn’t a man. If it were a man, there would be women waving signs in public areas today, saying –

Gendron: With good reason.

Desmarais: – that this man no longer has the competency or decency to sit on, on the bench of the Court of Appeal.

Gendron: With good reason. Yes, yes.

Desmarais: With good reason. But we won’t do it because she’s a woman.

Caller Gaston was next.

[translation]

Gaston: Mr. Gendron, you may not have the right to say that she’s crazy, but I’m telling you that she is damned crazy.

[.]

After that call, the hosts took a call from Gisèle and ended that exchange with the following comments:

[translation]

Desmarais: I’ll just remind you of the question we are asking this morning. Lise Côté, she’s the Court of Appeal judge who handed down the brilliant decision in the Luc X case. His sentence was reduced form fifteen years to nine years. Should she resign?

Gendron: Does a judge have a reputation?

The callers continued to express their views along the same lines. The hosts also read e-mails, commenting on these as they went along:

[translation]

Gendron: What, did [AS] from Terre-Bonne change words? He says “I firmly believe that Justice Côté should be replaced by computers or monkeys.” Well, that’s almost an insult to monkeys. [Richard Desmarais laughs] It’s like the separatist cows. Senator Hébert who said to Josée Legault “you’re a separatist cow” and then he apologized to cows.

Desmarais: Statements made by crazy people.

A complaint regarding the episode was sent on the day of the broadcast to the CRTC, which forwarded it to the CBSC in due course. It said in principal part (the full text of all the correspondence can be found in Appendix B, available in French only):

[translation]

Host Stéphane Gendron encouraged and incited violent acts several times and slandered Madame Justice Lise Côté.

[.] Stéphane Gendron stated that Madame Côté “should get raped and see how that is” and that the accused in this case “should go stick his willie in the judge” when he has served his sentence.

[.]

[.] Twice, host Gendron called Madame Côté a “damned fool”, and then compared her to a “monkey”, adding that this is an insult to monkeys.

Consequently, I feel that these are slanderous and unacceptable comments under the CRTC’s standards and that TQS Inc. failed in its duty to comply with the rules attached to its broadcasting licence.

The Vice-President, Communications, responded on June 13, saying, in principal part:

[translation]

We sincerely regret that you were offended by Mr. Gendron’s comments and we apologize. However, as described in our programming log, the program L’avocat et le diable is an “opinion-basedmagazine on the important issues of the day”. In this news magazine, Mr. Gendron often plays the role of “the devil’s advocate”. He is known for being outspoken and his often biting comments have the admitted goal of priming discussion or getting a reaction out of the viewers. This is consistent with the style of the program. We very humbly believe that these comments are within the limits protected by freedom of speech. That being said, we refer you to CBSC decision 01/02-0512 of December 20, 2002.

During this program, Mr. Gendron essentially expressed the opinion that in his view the sentence handed down by the Court of Appeal was far too mild. In support of that comment, Mr. Gendron used various images whose only purpose was to illustrate the gravity of the crime that was committed, and that fundamentally do not attack the personal reputation of the judge, but rather the decision she rendered as a justice of the Court of Appeal.

On July 14, the complainant sent the CBSC his Ruling Request, in the following terms:

[translation]

The broadcaster’s response (TQS Inc.) does not answer my concerns in any way. TQS recognizes neither the gravity of the comments made by the host, nor the damaging influence they can have on the public. In addition, it does not seem to recognize the responsibility it has to meet its ethical obligations given that it has been accorded the “privilege” of broadcasting on the Canadian public airwaves.

Contrary to what the broadcaster claims, I believe that the comments made went far beyond the limits of freedom of speech. In fact, it should be noted that the co-host of the May 31, 2006 broadcast had to correct Mr. Stéphane Gendron several times and appeared to be visibly annoyed by the substance of those comments. Unfortunately, rather than address the problem directly, the broadcaster decided to explain the concept of the program in his reply to me. That is useless and I personally find I am being somewhat treated as a child. I am perfectly aware of the concept and style of public affairs programming that TQS Inc. favours.

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 Violence Code:

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 Violence Code, Article 1 (Content)

1.1   Canadian broadcasters shall not air programming which:

! sanctions, promotes or glamorizes violence

Broadcasters shall not telecast programming which sanctions, promotes or glamorizes any aspect of violence against women.

The Quebec Regional Panel Adjudicators reviewed a tape of the call-in show and read all of the correspondence. The Panel concludes that the episode was in violation of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics, as well as Article 1 of the CAB Violence Code, but not of Article 7 of the latter Code.

Full, Fair and Proper Presentation of Comment, Editorial and Opinion

An earlier CBSC decision is strikingly factually similar to the matter at hand, namely, CILQ-FM re John Derringer’s “Tool of the Day” (CBSC Decision 02/03-1465, February 10, 2004) . It dealt with a broadcast commentary related to a decision of the Ontario Court of Justice regarding the sentencing of an individual for possession of child pornography. The commentator did not agree with the decision of that Judge. What follows is in part what he said:

What is gonna have to happen at some point in this province is that a Justice like [Justice X] is gonna have evidence brought into court in a case like that of Yong Jun Kim, and it’s gonna be his kid being forced to perform fellatio on a man and sent around the world on the Internet. It’s gonna be his grand-daughter forced to perform acts of bestiality. It’s gonna be a friend of the family who is forced to do something disgusting and then see it shipped around the world via the Internet.

[.]

[Justice X], you are disgrace to our justice system, you are disgrace to our society, and as much as I would like to see it, I can’t bring myself to hope that, one day, it is your kid who is doing what was performed on the videos in Yong Jun Kim’s possession.

The points of identity between the tone and substance of the comments complained of in the CILQ-FM decision and the present matter are evident. They are insulting and use extremely irreverent language to describe the respective judges. In the CILQ-FM decision, the Ontario Panel allowed that disagreement with the judgment was one thing. It was fair game, as much as disagreement with, say, a government policy would be. The Panel was, however, troubled by the vindictive comments made about the judge himself. In the Panel’s words,

What was, however, far worse was the fact that the Derringer comment was not restrained by the intellectual or policy perspective. He was not satisfied by pummelling Justice X’s judgment; he then proceeded to tear apart the judge on a personal level. Derringer’s exaggerated statements included references [emphasis added in each instance] to “a judge, supposed Justice named [Justice X],” “if there is any defence of [Justice X], the judge, and there is very little“, and “[Justice X], you are disgrace to our justice system, you are disgrace to our society.” The Ontario Regional Panel finds the John Derringer commentary in breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics [.] because of the personal attacks on the judge. [Emphasis original.]

In the challenged episode of L’Avocat et le diable, through either co-host Gendron directly or the callers or e-mails from viewers, TQS aired a litany of personalized comments about Madame Justice Côté, most of which ought not to have been broadcast. When viewed cumulatively, the list is, in the view of the Quebec Regional Panel, well beyond the pale. The offending comments include (in each of the following examples in this section of the decision, the emphasis has been added):

[translation]

And the dishonourable Côté will have us wasting money in appeal costs because this will end up before the Supreme Court. The Crown Attorney cannot put up with such imbecility. It is disreputable. That woman has no honour.

Co-host Gendron then asked the rhetorical and inexcusable question “if she is crazy”. The Panel does not consider that his observations that one cannot say that she is “crazy” in any way gets either him or the broadcaster “off the hook” regarding the assertion. The effect is undoubted. Viewers understand clearly that co-host Gendron has made that accusation his (and the broadcaster’s) own. Moreover, M. Gendron repeated the characterization no less than four times and again in the mouth of caller Gaston, who shamelessly said, in effect, that, even if you cannot say that, I can. In what may have been an ultimately unwarranted assumption that he would not be thrown out of his on-air position at TQS or the Barreau du Québec, Gendron’s level and style of insults escalated. He also exercised no effort whatsoever to restrain callers, who warmed to the example of his accelerating negativity. A list of originally separate examples follows:

[translations]

Gendron: I hope Côté is listening in that toilet of hers that is a bench.
Gendron: [S]he can listen to that in her Court of Appeal judge’s toilet.
Gendron: Is this a political appointment?

Josée: Yes, I was very frustrated by what is going on now because that lady, um, is a disgrace to the Quebec judicial system. [.] That lady, who is she to judge such circumstances? Does she have children, first of all?
Gendron: She is surely not a mother.

He then read e-mails and, by so doing, added them to his and the broadcaster’s responsibility:

[translations]

Gendron: “Major idiot. She must resign.”

Desmarais: “It’s disgusting, disgusting.” [DL]. [JT]: “This, this judgement almost made me vomit.”

Gendron: Yeah, yeah. Here we have [M-CM]: “She’s a major idiot.”

The lack of boundaries and judgment of co-host Gendron grew still greater. He telephoned the office of Madame Justice Côté and took her secretary by surprise.

[translation]

Gendron: After the decision she handed down in the Luc X case, she hasn’t had the honour to resign? … Hello?

He then followed that unwarranted question with

[translation]

Gendron: “She’s not available; she’s in her bathroom.” Is her toilet silent?

The secretary had the good judgment, when she realized what was going on and that she was on air, to hang up the telephone without comment on her part. The Panel ends its observations on the broadcaster comments with the following excerpts:

[translation]

Gendron: It is a national disgrace. Thank you, Josée.

Gaston: Mr. Gendron, you may not have the right to say that she’s crazy, but I’m telling you that she is damned crazy.

Gendron: What, did [AS] from Terre-Bonne change words? He says “I firmly believe that Justice Côté should be replaced by computers or monkeys.” Well, that’s almost an insult to monkeys.

The Panel considers that the foregoing comments are not typical of what it has encountered in the critical comments of broadcasters about either government or judicial policies or determinations. The Panel reiterates its support for the principle that criticism of such policies is fundamental to the democratic process and that fair discussion of the controversies that may flow from such determinations is equally basic. Nor does it have any difficulty with the notion that broadcasters may, outside of the news context, express editorial opinions on controversial matters. It does, however, expect that such comments, opinions and criticisms will be ad rem and not either ad hominem or ad feminam, as they were in the matter at hand. It finds that the challenged broadcast exceeded by a considerable margin the full, fair and proper presentation of opinion, editorial and comment. It concludes that the challenged broadcast is in breach of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics.

 

Sanctioned Violence

Not only did the broadcaster go too far in the case of the pointed personalized comments, the Panel considers that certain of the comments sanctioned or incited violence. In the first of these, co-host Gendron asserted:

[translation]

Maybe the judge should get raped and see how that is – get a taste of it for herself.

And the second such comment referred to the accused in the following way:

[translation]

Three years and it’s over. With good behaviour he can go stick his willie somewhere else; maybe in Lise Côté.

These comments take the personalized observations to an even more unacceptable extreme. They suggest that the only way the judge could possibly understand the result of her ruling would be for her to find herself in the same situation as the victim in the case on which she was ruling. This circumstance was also encountered by the Ontario Panel in the CILQ-FM decision, where the incitement to violence was made against the judge’s family. In this case, the advocacy of violence has been made against the judge herself. In the view of the Panel, this constitutes a sanctioning of violent actions against a member of the Court of Appeal and, in consequence, a breach of Article 1 of the CAB Violence Code. While the nature of the incitement is focussed on a particular individual, who, like every other person, has gender, the Panel does not consider that it is a gender-driven suggestion. Consequently, the Panel finds no breach of Article 7 of the CAB Violence Code.

 

Broadcaster Responsiveness

The CBSC considers, as a part of every decision, whether the broadcaster has complied with its obligation to respond appropriately to the complainant’s concerns. That dialogue is not only a part of every broadcaster’s CBSC membership obligations, it also represents the public’s sense of security in the process of self-regulation.While broadcasters are always involved with the reaction of their audiences to what they put on air, this dialogue with a listener or viewer is the manifestation to the complainant of that involvement. In this case, the Panel considers that the response by the Vice-President of Communications at TQS was thorough and appropriate.

 

CONTENT OF THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE DECISION

TQS is required to: 1) announce this decision, in the following terms, once during prime time 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 this program was broadcast; 2) within fourteen days following the broadcast of the announcements, to provide written confirmation of the airing of the statement to the complainant; and 3) to provide the CBSC with that written confirmation and with air check copies of the broadcasts of the two announcements which must be made by TQS.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has found that, in its broadcast of L’Avocat et le diable of May 31, 2006, TQS has breached provisions of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ Code of Ethics and Violence Code. In criticizing a decision of the Court of Appeal, one of the co-hosts made improper personal attacks on the judge in violation of the terms of Clause 6 of the CAB Code of Ethics, which requires the “full, fair and proper presentation of news, opinion, comment and editorial.” The co-host’s comments also sanctioned or promoted possible physical attacks on the judge herself in violation of Article 1 of the CAB Violence Code, which prohibits television programming that sanctions or promotes violence.

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