CBC’s Ghomeshi Investigation a Cover-up Before it Begins

The fix is in.

Information released today by Chuck Thompson, CBC’s Head of Public Affairs, reveals the broadcaster’s impending 3rd party investigation of the Ghomeshi scandal to be a pre-determined cover-up and whitewash.

Lawyer Janice Rubin’s report will never be released to the public. What’s more, the CBC now admits that Rubin has been contracted only to investigate past and present employees of Ghomeshi’s shows, Q and Play. Rubin has no powers to demand answers, and no mission to learn who knew what and when. Participation in the investigation seems to be entirely voluntary.

Most strikingly, Rubin has no mandate to look into CBC management’s role in the Ghomeshi affair whatsoever.

Yet management is already implicated. Here is what we know so far:

1. in 2010, a Q producer complained about Ghomeshi to a union representative, who took her complaint to Q Executive Producer Arif Noorani and to Kim Orchard, then the CBC’s Director of Arts and Entertainment. The producer says she is absolutely certain she included her allegations that Ghomeshi told her he wanted to “hate fuck” and “grudge fuck” her, and that he touched her inappropriately. She chose not to file a formal grievance, as doing so would mean facing Ghomeshi directly with her accusations, which she felt certain he would simply deny. This meant no paper trail was created.

Arif Noorani said to CANADALAND that when the union rep approached him with his employee’s complaint, “sexual harrassment” was not mentioned.

When asked if “abuse” of any kind was mentioned, Noorani did not respond.

Kim Orchard, now retired, also denied to CANADALAND that “sexual harrassment” was mentioned.

When asked if “abuse” of any kind was, she said “no”.

2. As reported in the Globe and Mail today, 6 members of the Q team met with Linda Groen, CBC’s Director of Network Talk, in July 2012 to complain en masse about Ghomeshi’s behaviour. Though sexual harrassment was not mentioned, the team reportedly described to management a culture of fear and manipulation created by Ghomeshi and tolerated and enabled by the CBC. The Globe writes that the Q staff had to meet away from the CBC’s offices so as to escape Ghomeshi’s awareness. Management’s failure to act on these drastic warnings will evidently not be examined by Janice Rubin.

3. In his infamous Facebook posted self-defence, Ghomeshi claimed that CBC management gave him the option to misrepresent to the public the reasons for his departure.

“I was given the choice to walk away quietly and to publicly suggest that this was my decision,” he wrote.

Unless Ghomeshi is lying about this (and the CBC has not denied it) the broadcaster was willing to conspire with Ghomeshi to hide from the public the true reason for his dismissal: that he showed them evidence that he had injured a woman.

There is evidence to suggest the CBC was keeping open the option to do just that:

At 3:58pm on October 24th, I tweeted what I had learned from a source that the CBC had put Ghomeshi on “indefinite leave,” CBC-speak for “fired”.

8 minutes later, CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson tweeted a direct denial: “Jian Ghomeshi is not on indefinite leave from the CBC”.

by 5:30pm, the CBC had put word out through the Canadian Press that Ghomeshi was on “indeterminate leave”.

The semantic shuffle is curious. If the CBC simply fired Ghomeshi, why dispute the term “indefinite leave”? Better yet, why not just say that he had in fact been fired?

The answer may have been that as it was two days before Kevin Donovan and I published our expose on The Toronto Star’s website, the CBC’s brass were still hopeful that the truth might never come to light.

If that’s the case, we may never know.


Here is the new release from Chuck Thompson:

From: Chuck Thompson Sent: November 6, 2014 Subject: Terms of reference for Janice Rubin Mandate

Janice Rubin will be engaged by CBC/Radio Canada to carry out the following mandate:

(a) Current and former CBC/Radio Canada employees who worked on the “Q” or “Play” programs during the period in which Jian Ghomeshi hosted these programs and who have complaints, concerns or experiences they wish to share regarding harassment, discrimination, violence or other inappropriate workplace conduct during their work on these programs will be directed to contact Janice Rubin.

(b) Janice will make available to such employees an accessible and secure telephone number (with sufficient voicemail capacity) and email address through which they can contact her directly and she will acknowledge receipt of each message sent to her as soon after receipt as is reasonably possible

(c) Janice will arrange to meet each employee as soon as possible. Some employees may only wish to discuss with her their concerns or experiences without any further action being taken. However, if any employee has a specific complaint that they wish to have investigated, she will do so in accordance with applicable CBC/Radio Canada policies. Janice will gather all of the material facts, including the identity of all individuals involved, the specific conduct complained of and the date(s) and time(s) on which such conduct occurred.

(d) Janice will conduct all of your meetings as confidentially as possible. CBC/Radio Canada will fully co-operate with Ms. Rubin in completing her mandate and will ensure that she has access to any CBC/Radio Canada personnel to whom she may require access, and any CBC/Radio Canada documents to which she may require access, in the course of completing her mandate.

(e) Following the completion of her investigation, she will prepare and deliver to CBC/Radio Canada’s Vice President, People & Culture, or other individuals designated by CBC/Radio Canada, a final written report which sets out:

(i) A summary of the complaints, concerns or experiences shared by her, maintaining confidentiality to the extent possible;

(ii) Ms. Rubin’s findings to the extent you are able to make them with respect to each specific complaint that you are asked to investigate; and

(iii) Ms. Rubin’s recommendations as to any steps CBC/Radio Canada should take to resolve the complaints, concerns and experiences shared with her and to prevent similar issues from arising in the future, including any recommended changes to CBC/Radio Canada’s policies and procedures related to harassment, discrimination, respect in the workplace and workplace violence and the investigation of these issues.

(f) Following delivery of Ms. Rubin’s report to CBC/Radio Canada, she will meet with CBC/Radio Canada to discuss the same.

(g) The scope of your mandate may also be amended by agreement.

Chuck Thompson Head of Public Affairs CBC English Services

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