CBC Should Fire Kevin O'Leary

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


Written by Peter Miller

You might say that the Sun News is far right. I agree, but I also think you should have the opinion that all corporate media is right wing.

Only a few corporations have a monopoly on news media. These corporations are owned by people who enjoy the status quo.  This status quo includes corporate tax cuts and austerity for our public social programs like employment insurance, healthcare, and education that benefit working people. Attacks on public education, public healthcare, and the welfare state in general have been happening in Canada and the United States for over the last 30 years.

Media corporations and the interests they represent do not want commentators standing up against austerity. Corporations with Advertisements that bring revenue and profit into the media also don’t want any radical, leftwing commentators or journalists on the corporate media. After all, one of these rad journalists might decide to ask tough questions about my corporation’s human rights record, the corporate CEO will think.

As a result we see corporate media working to divide people to try to stop the 99 percent from coming together to organize in our common interests. One day a commentator speaking out against public health care asking why wealthier people should have to pay for other people’s health. The next day another “journalist” says that education is a privilege, not a right, and university tuition fees should be allowed to skyrocket. Another day we get to hear another “journalist” telling unorganized workers that workers in unions don’t deserve to make more money. Of course, they says this without mentioning that unionized workplaces have won these gains in pay from struggle in the workplace and higher wages for unionized workers lift up everyone’s wages.

Together, we can think critically and realize that these commentators do not represent our interests. We know that education should be a right, that public healthcare is a collective responsibility of society, that jobs should provide everyone with living wages and not poverty wages.

The fact that all corporate news is generally right wing and now CBC, our publically own broadcaster is employing, with our tax money, the likes of Kevin O’leary, Rex Murphy, and Don Cherry, makes me sick.

The CBC is a public broadcaster that has high journalistic standards, at least according to its policies. Yet it has allowed Kevin O’Leary to represent the interests of big business and promote austerity unquestionably at a time when people in Canada are facing joblessness, a growing gap between the rich and poor, part-time, and low wage work.

O’Leary has said that, if elected to be Prime Minister, he would make unions illegal, and “unions themselves are born out of evil. They must be destroyed with evil.” The fact he said this at all is unacceptable. These same words could have come from a fascist dictator. He also said this when the Canadian Government is attacking unions, and when Canada was securing a free trade deal with Colombia, a place where around 200 trade unionists are killed each year.

More recently, O’Leary has said that an Oxfam report showing that the wealthiest 85 people on earth had as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion was “Fantastic,” provoking public outrage, and a jump in the amount of petition signatures calling on the CBC to fire Kevin O’Leary. You can sign the petition here.

O’Leary also has said he enjoys being on the show “Dragon’s Den,” because the show provides “free advertising” for himself and his venture capitalism. Students should also appreciate the fact that O’Leary said that unemployed students, “deserve to be in debtors prison.”

O’Leary is also known for his racism and sexism. Shamefully he once called someone he interviewed, “an indian giver with a forked tong,” when referring to the guest's opposition to foreign corporate control of Saskatchewan's potash industry.

In his most recent book, O’Leary has a chapter titled, “how to spot a gold diggers.” Can O’Leary’s racism, sexism, and bigotry get any worse?

One reason why the CBC is hiring people like Kevin O’Leary to use public television as a platform for austerity and attacks on workers is to bring in more advertising revenue from corporations. Corporations always like it when there is absolutely no chance the show they are advertising on will say anything critical about the agenda of big business. Instead, public funding should be expanded to the CBC so it does not have to rely on advertisements to run.  We need more media outlets that ask tough questions to decision makers and encourage investigative journalism so we can be as informed as possible about our society. 

We also need the CBC to fire Kevin O’Leary. The CBC should be better than corporate media, not slipping down to its level. 


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