April 30, 2003: Isn't It Strange That The Ethnicity That CBC Cheerleads, Disappears When The Members Of The Ethnic Group Bring SARS Back To Canada?

Ms. Lorna Haeber
Executive Director
Information Programming
Radio One
Vancouver, B.C.

Dear Ms. Haeber:

Here are a few comments on CBC Radio programming over the week, April 21 to 27, 2003.

(1) CBC Radio is once again in the midst of its celebration of Asian Heritage Month. This “month” is supposed to be May, but at CBC, it often goes all year long. Local residents are force-fed a diet of feel-good material, most of which has little to do with distant-past heritage but much more to do with recent immigration. The message is clear: “Look at all these wonderful people. Let’s bring in more.”

(2) CBC Radio often loves to proclaim the wonders of multi-culturalism by hyphenating the identities of immigrants. These people are “Chinese-Canadians, Filipino-Canadians, Iranian Canadians, East-Indian-Canadians”, et al. Of course, the emphasis is on the ethnic background, not on the “Canadian”. It is curious indeed that in the recent SARS scare, the people who brought the disease back into Canada are now almost always identified by CBC as “Canadians”. Most of us know indirectly that the disease was brought into Canada (the Toronto area in particular), by immigrants returning to Hong Kong. In pre-SARS days, the CBC would have identified these people as “Chinese-Canadians”. Now, their ethnicity has been erased. A bit strange, might you not say? If all of these people were such wonders that they were identified by ethnicity previously, why is their ethnicity now being hidden?

(3) Not very long ago, the Canadian media (CBC included) were telling us of horrendous immigrant line-ups at the Canadian embassy in Beijing. According to the immigration industry, this was a crisis. Canada was losing wonderful opportunities to obtain skilled workers. Setting aside the fact that neither the immigration industry nor Citizenship and Immigration ever provided any evidence to show that Canada really needs these people in the line-ups, has any CBC reporter asked whether, in the light of the SARS panic in Beijing, these line-ups continue today? Better still, has any CBC reporter asked if Citizenship and Immigration is checking the people in these line-ups to see if they are carriers of SARS? Or does CBC consider this to be ethnic-profiling? Who should Citizenship and Immigration be protecting: the thin skins of ethnic groups and the interests of Canada’s immigration industry or the general health and welfare of Canadians?

(4) Since 1989, Canada has allowed close to half a million foreigners to claim refugee status here. Assuming this flood continues today, has any CBC reporter asked whether these people, most of whom come from Asia, are being checked and appropriately quarantined for SARS? Once again, do the general interests of Canadians rule in this situation or, does Citizenship and Immigration place the demands of refugee claimants, most of whom are illegitimate, in first place?

These are a few thoughts and suggestions.

Have an enlightened day.