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History of Censorship in Canada Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 January 2008 14:35

Dr. Charles McVety
President of Canada Christian College

“to regulate all radio broadcasting in Canada and to provide and deliver to all regions of the country, entertainment and information programs that were primarily Canadian.”

“American pastors can preach the gospel without censorship, where as Canadian pastors are censored every day and may even have their sermons pre screened and some are even taken off the air for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. “

The Canadian Government has a long sordid history of political censorship restricting free speech and freedom of religion in broadcasting.   It wasn’t until 1993 that Christians could even apply for radio and television stations.  To this date the government of Canada  polices politically incorrect speech with what the CRTC Chairman describes as a “blunt instrument”.
In the late 1920’s radio broadcasters began preaching the life changing Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Government quickly moved to eliminate these stations, not allow any others and impose strict controls through their long arm of power that we now know as the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission). The earliest version of the CRTC was the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC).  It began when the Hon. P. J. A. Cardin, Minister of Marine and Fisheries used his power over broadcasting as he revoked the radio licences of the few that were on the air in 1928. Prime Minister Mackenzie King the set up a Royal Commission to direct the future of Canadian Broadcasting.  He expressed his desire to “establish government-owned and operated stations”. The Commission made its report in 1929, establishing a national public radio system to be called the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Company.

Prime Minister King lost the 1930 election to the Conservatives.  The new Prime Minister R. B. Bennett established the Canadian Broadcasting Act of 1932

This  legislation created the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission. “to regulate all radio broadcasting in Canada and to provide and deliver to all regions of the country, entertainment and information programs that were primarily Canadian.”
The CBC was created on November 2nd, 1936 and assumed the powers of the CRBC. By 1958 the Board of Broadcast Governors (BBG) was created to take over the CBC’s regulatory duties regulating Canadian broadcasting. In 1968 the Fowler Committee replaced the BBG with the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) as new the regulatory and licensing agency.   These agencies maintained the policy of not allowing any Christian broadcasting stations in Canada until 1993.

In its 1983 notice on religious broadcasting (Public Notice CRTC 1983-112 dated 2 June 1983),” the Commission reiterated its position that the most effective way of ensuring balance in programming that is controversial in nature is to require that balance be attained by each individual station in the programming it broadcasts… the Commission maintained its policy of not licensing new AM, FM or TV undertakings for the purpose of providing a religious programming service.”  In 1987 a multi-faith channel Vision TV was given a licence to operate.

CRTC came under tremendous pressure to allow for Christian broadcasting radio and television stations.  The CRTC held hearing and according to their records over 2,600 written submissions and heard oral presentations from 56 individuals and organizations were submitted requesting the CRTC all freedom for religious broadcasting licences to be granted.  One of the pioneers was Dick Dewert who operated an unlicensed station in Lethbridge, Alberta for seven years  After numerous attempts to shut it down, the CRTC called Dick and promised to give him a licence for the first Christian station if he promised to shut down voluntarily.  This led to the birth of the Miracle Channel.

However the commission first had to change its regulations.  They did so reluctantly on 3 June 1993  as the CRTC released their new “RELIGIOUS BROADCASTING POLICY” announcing that the CRTC changed their longstanding regulation and allowed for religious broadcasting licences to be issued however under strict CRTC controls:

Licensees who broadcast religious programs should ensure that the following practices are observed:

1. No programs shall have the effect of abusing or misrepresenting any individual or group.
2. No group shall be targeted for the purpose of conversion or proselytism.
3. While groups and ministries are free to express their views about activities that they deem to be “sinful”, they shall not call into question the human rights or dignity of any individual or group.
4. When programs are planned that deal with or comment on the beliefs, practices, liturgy or behaviour of another religious group, the licensee shall ensure the accuracy and appropriate context of such content.  The Commission may impose the above guidelines on ethics as a condition of licence, particularly if it receives complaints concerning a licensee’s religious programs.

The CRTC Chairman Bev Oda disagreed with the Commission’s findings and wrote a dissenting opinion that all single faith broadcasting would be “destructive, intolerant and unbalanced.”
“As Commissioners of the CRTC, entrusted with the regulation of Canadian broadcasting, we cannot support a policy which would allow the licensing of any unbalanced broadcasting services. We believe that this policy will result in an unbalanced Canadian system. Such a policy is not in the long term interests of a tolerant Canadian society and is in our view contrary to the Act.
“Opinion was divided as to whether the subject of religion, itself, should continue to be regarded by the Commission as a matter of public concern. Some argued that Canadian society has grown more tolerant since the 1920s, when disputes among religious groups in radio broadcasts became a matter of public concern.

“Our main opposition to licensing a service which will not commit to balance is the potential that continued exposure of consistently one-sided views may prove to be a destructive force in Canadian society.

“We are disturbed by the extent of social, cultural and racial intolerance which is often rooted in religious intolerance. One need only look to Bosnia, the Middle East, India, Northern Ireland, South Africa and other world “trouble spots” to observe this phenomenon in its most violent form.”

The CRTC had already put into place a political censor board to enforce their views.  They had two main problems to overcome.  The first was the Broadcast Act that did not allow them to do so and the second was the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that guarantees Canadians, even religious Canadians the right to express their opinions without political censorship.  They came up with a crafty solution. 

The CRTC decided to third party the actions they were not permitted to do.  They moved to see a NGO (non-governmental organization) formed that would censor broadcasters and report the CRTC that would impose the penalties.  The Canadian Broadcast Standards Commission was created.  In a 2008 speech to a parliamentary committee, under oath the CRTC Chairman Konrad Von Finkenstein laid out the direct relationship between the CRTC government and the CBSC
The Chairman laid out how the CRTC forces broadcasters to participate.  He stated “The CRTC requires all broadcasters to adhere to a code on violence as a condition of licence. However, it suspends this obligation as long as the broadcaster is a member in good standing of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) and is therefore bound by the CAB code. “
Mr. Von Finkenstein went on to describe the formation of CBSC and how it was approved by CRTC.  He said “The CBSC is an independent organization established by the CAB (Canadian Association of Broadcasters), with the approval of the CRTC.”

In 1986 the CRTC released a notification stating “The Commission notifies all its radio and television broadcasting licensees, both CAB and non-CAB members, that it intends to impose a condition of licence when their applications for licence renewal are considered, requiring their adherence to the CAB self-regulatory guidelines, as amended from time to time and accepted by the Commission.”

The CAB responded and submitted a proposal for a National Broadcast Standards Council entitled “Guidelines for Developing Industry Standards” (April l987).  This became the basis to establish the CBSC that has now levied hundreds of judgements against broadcasters due to politically incorrect speech.

Many people have tried to deny the direct relationship between the CRTC and the censor board including Canada’s Heritage Minister James Moore who recently stated in a letter that “The government is not involved with the CBSC”.  This is simply untrue.

The CRTC Chairman explains the relationship as complaints made are made to the CRTC, heard by CBSC which then reports back to CRTC for enforcement. He stated how complaints are sent to the CBSC and then “The Commission will also hear any complaint in cases where the complainant is not satisfied with the resolution provided by the CBSC.
Enforced by Government.

“If violations of the same kind have occurred more than three times, the broadcaster is required to show within 30 days why they should remain a member in good standing of the CBSC.

“If the CRTC finds that a violation has occurred, it will issue a public Decision to that effect, and this goes on the record of the licensee. Such Decisions may be considered when the broadcaster’s licence comes up for renewal. Measures, even severe ones, can be imposed at that time. “

The CRTC Chairman then described the penalties for speaking out of turn on air.  “At the moment, the only penalties we can impose are either relatively light or excessively heavy. At the light end we have an on-air announcement required by the CBSC or a public Decision rendered by the CRTC in response to a complaint. At the heavy end, we can shorten the offender’s term of licence at renewal time, or deny renewal entirely. These are very blunt instruments.
“Our powers of enforcement would be both stronger and sharper if we were given the power to impose Administrative Monetary Penalties, or AMPs. In other words, the Commission should be able to fine a broadcaster for infractions. The fines would be proportionate to the offence. They would be large enough to hurt and to serve as a deterrent.“

Konrad admitted that this program is useful for the government to “to achieve the desired purpose.”  He said “We believe that the present system, based on industry self-regulation in adherence to obligatory codes, and backed up by the CRTC as the final arbiter, does provide an effective means to achieve the desired purpose. “  What is their desired purpose.  To politically censor views that they do not approve of. The “blunt instruments” of the government are being executed upon broadcasters in Canada if they dare allow Canadians to freely express themselves over the air.  Since this system was established they have censured over 400 broadcasts including preachers such as James Dobson, John Hagee, James Robison and more recently Charles McVety and Sid Roth.

Even though Chairman Konrad Von Finkenstein admits that “it is important to remember that the CRTC does not mandate or dictate programming” the CRTC continues.  Even though he says “the (Broadcast)Act also directs the CRTC to respect freedom of expression, as guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms” the government contiunes to circumvent the law and violate basic freedoms.This type of political censorship does not belong in a free and democratic society.

The American government attacked preachers in the United States in 1943. In 1944 preached band together to form the NRB. Today the NRB has several thousand TV and radio stations preaching the gospel. American pastors can preach the gospel without censorship, where as Canadian pastors are censored every day and may even have their sermons pre screened and some are even taken off the air for preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Mathew 28:16-20, the Great commission says, 16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” It’s time Canadian preachers unify in the cause of preaching the gospel and fighting for their charter rights and religious freedoms.

(Bev Oda Photo)
Bev Oda, Former CRTC Chairman
former Minister of Heritage / Currently Minister of International Development

“Our main opposition to licensing a service which will not commit to balance is the potential that continued exposure of consistently one-sided views may prove to be a destructive force in Canadian society.”  “We believe that this policy will result in an unbalanced Canadian system. Such a policy is not in the long term interests of a tolerant Canadian society and is in our view contrary to the Act.”

A division of the government, the CRTC (Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission), recently forced Television program, Word TV, “permanently off” two television stations for opposing the radical agenda of teaching our children six genders and that they cannot have a “positive image” of themselves until they accept their inner gender.  The Gospel compels us to act to stop this type of verbal sex abuse of our children. Jesus Christ commands us to care for the children.  Jesus stated in Matthew 18:6 “But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” 

Last year we raised opposition to the Ontario Government’s agenda. We went to air on Word TV and sent out a press release outlining the truth about Ontario’s new hostile curriculum that was set in place to teach little children to question their gender.  My statement read “it is unconscionable to teach , 8 year-old children same-sex marriage, sexual orientation and gender identity.  It is even more absurd to subject 6th graders to instruction on the pleasures of masturbation, vaginal lubrication and 12 year-olds to lessons on oral sex and anal intercourse. Mr. McGuinty planned to teach our children sexually explicit material that he did not give to his own. We asked the Premier to stop this form of corruption.

Ontario’s media jumped on the issue immediately and demanded a response from the Premier.  I must have conducted over 100 interviews with CBC, CTV, National Post, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail and almost every media outlet in the province.   As parents across the province read the material they were shocked.  The website was bombarded as thousands signed the petition and were led to call the Premier.

The Premier heard from so many parents he decided to read the curriculum for himself and quickly withdrew the curriculum. .  The Globe and Mail reported that “Mr. McGuinty pulled the plug on the new sex-ed curriculum last Thursday, after the Christian group led by evangelist Charles McVety and parents complained. The Premier read the chapter on sex ed for the first time that same day. ”  Just two days after presenting the truth, victory was achieved.

The Government has now retaliated with a vengeance, claiming that I “mis-characterized the curriculum”.  In fact Ontario’s Premier ultimately agreed with me as he removed the curriculum.  One person complained to the CRTC through the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council.  The Council held secret hearings, never notifying us to the charge.  We were not given due process.  They tried us without hearing from us.  We were not represented in any way.  We didn’t even know the trial was taking place.   Basic internationally recognized judicial rights were abandoned in their rush to judgement   Without notice, the CBSC sent out a press release to the media containing viscous, wrongful accusations against us on December 8th, 2010 followed by a 141 page report.  I immediately called the telephone number on the press release and reached the Chairman of the Council, Ronald Cohen.
 I asked him how he came to his outrageous conclusion that I was guilty of “Mis-characterizations” of What the Curriculum Teaches Children” I asked him if he had ever read the Curriculum.   He admitted that neither he nor the Council has ever read the curriculum in question.   The “Decision” also accused me of “Mis-characterizations of the Gay Pride Parades”. They objected to “the labelling of the parades as “sex parades””. The fact is that sex parade is a legitimate, accurate description of a parade that displays every type of sex under the sun.  They also did not like us speaking against the Toronto Tourism ad promoting Toronto “As Gay As It Gets” and “On any given day, hot boys and hot girls fill Church Street with” energy , “energy, passion and opportunity.”   Such ridiculous judgements could happen when someone is tried in secret for political reasons.

Political censorship is reserved for totalitarian regimes.  The first thing a dictator like Hugo Chavez does is silence voices of opposition.  Iran, Cuba, North Korea and other despotic regimes all move swiftly against free speech.  Canada heavily criticizes China for human rights violations denying free speech while Canada practices heavy handed political censorship.  I am not suggesting Canada is moving toward fascism, but toward total control of the education of our children. No country on earth confuses its children as young as eight-years-old with “gender identity” teaching.

The Council also wrongfully persecuted Word TV claiming that I said that homosexuals “prey on children”.
 I have never said that or anything similar to that but the truth does not matter to the “politburo”.  
Their only focus is to protect their agenda by silencing their critics.  For years this Orwellian Council has attacked other Christian leaders such as James Dobson, John Hagee, Jack Van Impe, James Robison and many more.  As an outspoken Canadian, they see me as a greater threat so they are going one step further trying to take me permanently off the air.

Unfortunately the council was successful at threatening CTS to take us off the air permanently.

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion; (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed to uphold these basic rights when he was sworn into office.  The actions of the CRTC, CBSC and CTS are unconstitutional.

The truth of God is the most powerful force on earth.  Deuteronomy 32:30 says “one can chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight” God has given us the truth. All we have to do is unite together in Jesus Christ, speak the truth, shout it from the housetops and see what God will do.



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