Expression with Expletive Not Found to Be in Breach of Code, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

Ottawa, March 28, 2018 – The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning a comment made during CHIK-FM’s morning show Dupont le matin.  The host used the phrase “on s’en calisse” around 7:30 am.  The CBSC found no breach of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics in this particular instance.

Dupont le matin is the morning show of top 40 radio station CHIK-FM (Énergie 98.9, Quebec City).  During the April 12, 2017 show, Stéphane Dupont talked about a situation in which the authorities had cut the electricity in response to flooding.  He suggested that damages were caused to homes by cutting the electricity and, of the authorities, he said “on s’en calisse” (approximate English translation “they don’t give a fuck”).

The CBSC received a complaint from a listener who objected to the use of coarse language at a time when children could be listening.  The station pointed out that the host is known for having controversial views on public affairs, and that the expletive was used to emphasize his criticism of the authorities’ carelessness in this situation.

The CBSC’s French-Language Panel examined the complaint under Clause 9(c) of the CAB Code of Ethics which prohibits the broadcast of unduly coarse and offensive language.  Although in previous decisions, the CBSC has found such language in breach of that code, the Panel did not in this specific case due to the context of its usage.  The expression was used only once, in a non-insulting manner, and as an equivalent to the expression “don’t give a darn”.  When considered in light of “broad social norms”, the expression has become part of popular language.  The Panel did, however, emphasize that such language should not be used indiscriminately and hosts should acknowledge and apologize for such slips on air.

The CBSC was created in 1990 by Canada’s private broadcasters to administer the codes of standards that they established for their industry.  The CBSC currently administers 5 codes which deal with ethics, equitable portrayal, violence, news and journalistic independence.  Around 800 radio stations, satellite radio services, conventional and discretionary television services across Canada participate in the Council.

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All CBSC decisions, codes, and related information are available on the CBSC’s website at .  For more information, please contact the CBSC Chair, Sylvie Courtemanche, at scourtemanche@cbsc.ca or by telephone at 613-233-4607.