He said what ?!?!?! CBC star’s comments tantamount to looking every new Canadian in the eye and saying, ‘you’re disgusting’
Don Cherry is a well-loved CBC personality and a Canadian treasure. But even a Canadian saint can go too far.
Recently, Cherry gave an interview to a newspaper in France. The interviewer asked Cherry about immigration. Did he support a policy, espoused by some extremists in Australia, of zero immigration? Cherry's reply was shocking:
"Oh, I think Canada is full too! Although it's the second largest country in the world, our surface area has been reduced. Our immigration policy is disgusting: We plunder southern countries by depriving them of future leaders, and we want to increase our population to support economic growth. It's crazy!"
We've all heard Cherry's rants against European hockey players. But this is different - this was a condemnation of his fellow Canadians. Who just happen to pay his hefty salary through their CBC taxes each year.
What Cherry said wasn't illegal. But it was tantamount to looking every new Canadian in the eye - translation: Looking minorities in the eye - and saying, "you're disgusting" and "it's crazy that we let you in here" and "there's no room for you."
Free speech, sure. But how can the public face of the government broadcaster make such a statement without the CBC at least putting out a press release distancing themselves from his extremist views?
Just joking! It wasn't Don Cherry who gave that interview to a French newspaper. It was his fellow CBC star, David Suzuki. But other than that, every word above is accurate.
Do you doubt for a moment, dear reader, that if the zero-tolerance immigration approach reprinted above had in fact been spoken by Cherry, rather than Suzuki, that Cherry would be suspended, or at least rebuked? Do you doubt that he would be the subject of petitions and condemnations, not just in the media, but by political leaders, liberal lobby groups and, of course, immigration lawyers?
Since when do CBC personalities promote the idea of "none is too many"? That was the unofficial motto of Canada's immigration platform in the 1940s that barred the doors to Jews seeking to flee the Holocaust.
Suzuki should know something about that. His family had already immigrated to Canada, but he himself was interned at a Japanese internment camp during the war. How can he now engage in such fierce xenophobia himself?
There are reasons to criticize Canada's immigration policy. In times of high unemployment, does it make sense to bring in low-skill immigrants who either won't be able to find work, or who will drive down wages for Canadians already here?
Do we really need to bring in Canadians with medieval values about the place of women - at best, putting them in demeaning burkas, at worst engaging in honour killings?
But Suzuki is not making those arguments. He's making the extreme environmental argument that there are too many people in the world, and he wants zero more. Oh, except for his own family, of course - he was one of four kids, and he has five himself. And three homes.
But put aside for the moment, his anti-human environmental ideology. And put aside his personal hypocrisy of living large while he wants us to live small.
What about the Media Party's hypocrisy for giving this xenophobe a free pass, when if it were his colleague Don Cherry, they would have built a gallows by now?
This column was written for Sun News July 16 2013.