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Manager's radio remarks spark storm of outrage

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Archived_Member16, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. Archived_Member16

    Archived_Member16
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    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070922.wbcbuble0922/BNStory/National/home

    Manager's radio remarks spark storm of outrage


    ROD MICKLEBURGH
    From Saturday's Globe and Mail

    September 22, 2007


    VANCOUVER — Bruce Allen, the veteran, outspoken manager of many Canadian music stars including Michael Bublé and Bryan Adams, is facing calls for his removal from the 2010 Winter Olympics' creative team over controversial remarks he made about immigrants.

    In one of his regular commentaries on radio station CKNW, Mr. Allen charged last week that Canada is being pilloried by “special-interest groups” who want special rules for themselves.

    He mentioned “turban-wearing Mounties,” those who complain about having to wear motorcycle helmets over their turbans, and the controversy over whether veiled women should be allowed to vote.

    “If you choose to come to a place like Canada, then shut up and fit in,” Mr. Allen declared, adding that demands from special-interest groups are easy to solve.

    “There is the door. If you don't like the rules, hit it. We don't need you here. You have another place to go. It's called home. See ya.”

    Mr. Allen's comments evoked a storm of outrage within the Indo-Canadian community. Punjabi radio hot-line shows have been deluged by angry callers demanding some kind of action be taken against Mr. Allen. At least one complaint has been lodged with the CRTC.

    Yesterday, NDP Olympics critic Harry Bains called for Mr. Allen's removal from the 10-member Olympics team charged with putting on the Games' signature opening and closing ceremonies. The team, headed by Australian whiz choreographer David Atkins, was announced on Thursday. Mr. Allen was one of three music industry heavyweights included on the roster.

    Mr. Bains said that, with his comments, Mr. Allen has shown himself unable to represent the multicultural nature of Canadian society that should be reflected in the Games ceremonies.

    “I respect his right as a journalist to make his views known. But I think he went overboard. He crossed the line, and he has upset a large segment of our multicultural society,” the NDP critic said.

    “He's talking about a community that has been here for over a hundred years. They are as Canadian as Mr. Allen is. Who is he to decide what the rules are here?”

    Sukhpreet Singh of the Canadian Organization of Sikh Students said his group also intends to press for Mr. Allen's removal from the Olympics team.

    “It is a public position, involving the spending of Canadian tax dollars, and his views do not reflect Canadian values. He is clearly not in line with what Canada is all about,” Mr. Singh said.

    He added that he has written letters of complaint to the CRTC and CKNW. “At the very least, we want an apology from Mr. Allen.”

    But, in an occasionally heated exchange yesterday with CKNW hot-liner Christie Clark, Mr. Allen was unrepentant. He termed the controversy “a bunch of **** dredged up by some people who don't get it. I'm not hate-mongering. I'm an editorialist. I hate people playing the race card … I make people think. That's my job.”

    Ms. Clark, who defended Mr. Allen's right to express his views, shot back: “Just because you're an old white guy doesn't mean they [immigrants] have to meet your standards.”

    Although he did not make it clear in his commentary, Mr. Allen said to Ms. Clark that he opposed the refusal of Canadian passport officials to accept photos of three Sikh youths who wore religious headgear.

    “That's race-bashing, and I don't like it,” Mr. Allen said.
     
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  3. Archived_Member16

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    http://www.canada.com/theprovince/news/story.html?id=80c19784-c404-44ee-99c5-257499c33610

    Critics attack Allen's Olympics role
    Fiery radio comments spark cries of racism, calls for removal
    John Colebourn

    The Province (Vancouver, B.C.)

    Sunday, September 23, 2007

    Calls for the dismissal of Bruce Allen from a key position on the 2010 Olympics ceremonies committee continued yesterday following a storm of controversy over the concert promoter's radio comments -- comments some have labelled as racist.

    "He is a person who will have important influence in the opening and closing ceremonies and, judging from his comments, I don't think he will reflect Canadian values," said MLA Harry Bains, the NDP Olympics critic, last night.
    "His comments are very, very disappointing and have left a lot of people angry," added Bains.

    "He is not the right person to be representing Canadian values at our opening and closing ceremonies and if he has any influence we will be embarrassed."

    Allen, a veteran music-industry heavyweight and manager of a stable of Canadian music stars, including Michael Bublé and Bryan Adams, was introduced Thursday as one of 10 members on a creative team shaping the ceremonies and entertainment at the Vancouver and Whistler Olympic Games.
    In his regular Reality Check radio comment on CKNW Sept. 13, Allen stated "special interest groups" expect rules for themselves.

    "There is the door. If you don't like the rules, hit it," said Allen. "We don't need you here. You have another place to go. It's called home. See ya."

    Added Allen: "This is simple. We have laws in this country. They are spelled out and easy to get a hold of. If you're immigrating here and you don't like the rules in place, you have the right to choose not to live here. If you choose to come to Canada, shut up and fit in. We are a democracy, but it seems more and more that we are being pilloried by special interest groups that want special rules for themselves."

    Indira Prahst, a sociology instructor at Langara College who specializes in race and ethnic relations, said she was "shocked" when she first heard Allen's comments.

    She also said Allen's subsequent appearance on Christy Clark's CKNW show last week would have been an opportunity to show his remorse at the comments. "He could have apologized," she said. "I think the people representing the Olympics should be culturally sensitive. I think there should be some very serious consideration about his role with the Olympics."

    Allen, in a lively exchange with Clark, was unrepentant over his comments. He called the controversy "a bunch of **** dredged up by some people who don't get it. I'm not hate-mongering. I'm an editorialist. I hate people playing the race card . . . I make people think. That's my job."

    Both the CRTC and CKNW have been sent letters of conc
    ern from some in the South Asian community regarding Allen's comments.
    Calls to VANOC's media department were not returned.

    jcolebourn@png.canwest.com

    OFFENDING REMARKS
    In his commentary on Christie Clark's CKNW show, Allen also talked about the "turban-wearing Mounties" who complain about having to wear motorcycle helmets over their headdress.

    Although he did not make it clear in his commentary, Allen said to Clark that he opposed the refusal of Canadian passport officials to accept photos of three Sikh youths who wore religious headgear.

    And he thought immigration bureaucrats were wrong to refuse admission to prospective Sikh immigrants who used only Singh or Kaur as their surnames.
    "That's race-bashing, and I don't like it," Mr. Allen said.

    Radio India talk-show host Harpreet Singh last night said there have been 1,200 letters written to the CRTC about Allen's commentary. "We believe this is hate-mongering," he said. "We are also proud Canadians so, who is he to say anything about turbans?"

    Singh said they will lobby to have Allen removed from his Olympic position. "We are demanding he be removed from the Olympic committee," said Singh. "This is an insult -- who's he to say we should go back to where we came from?"

    © The Vancouver Province 2007
     

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