CBC Nervous About “Fucking Stephen Harper” In Halifax

By: Rick Salerno (Xtra!)

As a performer once called a “theatrical rabble-rouser” by The Globe and Mail, I’m used to causing and confronting offence, but I was nonetheless appalled to hear that my work was censored by our own public broadcaster, the CBC, last week, apparently because of a fear that broadcasting the title of one of my shows, Fucking Stephen Harper, would offend our prime minister.

“Is this still Canada?” I wondered. “Is this the same CBC that we’re supposed to trust with reporting the news and casting a critical eye to our government?”

It seems speech is no longer free when it comes to Stephen Harper.

Some background: I’ve been touring my one-man show, Fucking Stephen Harper: How I Sexually Assaulted the 22nd Prime Minister of Canada and Saved Democracy, since 2009. It’s a fictionalized account of my actual work covering the 2008 federal election for Xtra, a satirical look at politics and the media in Canada, and a call to action for queer rights in Canada.

I’ve performed the show in 11 cities across Canada to sold-out houses, several awards and critical acclaim. I’ve also used the show to raise money for HIV/AIDS-related charities that lost federal funding in the 2008 Harper budget.

I’d been invited to take the show to the Atlantic Fringe Festival and I leapt at the opportunity. Halifax is a wonderful town with a surprisingly active and engaged queer community. I thought the show would be a perfect fit – and since I was planning to retire it this year, I was happy to get out east with it.

Fringe theatre festivals typically assign performers to non-traditional theatre spaces as a way to contain costs. The Atlantic Fringe assigned me to the Bronfman Theatre in the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21.

The morning after a warm opening, my first indication of trouble arrived. I was called by a CBC Nova Scotia journalist who wanted to know if I’d had any trouble because I’m performing a show that’s critical of the government in a federally owned building. She thought it was “ironic.”

Read More:  Why is the CBC afraid of Harper?.

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About Drakakis

Street Poet scribbling to your tired, your poor, your huddled masses; the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, the homeless, tempest-tost ...
This entry was posted in Free Expression, Gov't Policy, Human Rights and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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