Consumers Monitor CBC: Jim Derksen Critiques The National's Interview with Robert Latimer

(28 November 1997) — It is unfortunate Hana Gartner was not at the Latimer Trial so that her questions could have been grounded in the facts of the case rather than misinformation. The facts as established in the trial included that Tracy Latimer's pain was intermittent and situational, rather than "constant" as the interviewer and the Latimers erroneously described it.

The National Magazine interview with Robert and Laura Latimer will have the effect of promulgating and supporting values, attitudes and a social climate conducive to acts of violence against a target group of devalued people. In its outcome the interview is similar to a hate crime. It is unfortunate, for the target group of disabled people, and for us all, that, unlike a hate crime, this kind of broadcast is perfectly legal.

The CBC would surely not give a murderous spousal abuser, or gay basher, a 20 minute national podium from which to persuade the Canadian public his/her rationalizations for his/her crimes were valid. Why has CBC given this child murderer such an opportunity?

I would like to know why the CBC National Magazine allowed the murderer to represent the best interests of his victim. Where were the voices of people who have experienced forms of disability and surgeries similar to those of Tracy Latimer? Where were the voices of persons who have benefited from the hip joint and feeding tube surgeries Tracy's murderer denied her based on his own prejudice against such treatments? Surely such representatives are more legitimate representatives of Tracy Latimer's interests than her murderous father!

Those of us with tracheotomies so that we can breath with mechanical assistance, with gastrotomies so that we can eat through feeding tubes, with skeletons surgically altered so that we can live in health without pain, say to Robert Latimer that we are not mutilated, not tormented, not terrorized. We have been helped; Tracy Latimer has been murdered.

Mr. Derksen has forwarded his concerns to the CBC. Canadians who are concerned about the CBC's portrayal of this issue are encouraged to contact CBC. Send your comments to:

The National
CBC Toronto
PO Box 500 Station A
Toronto ON
M5W 1E6

Comments can also be forwarded by :

fax: 416-205-7459,
voice mail: 1-800-565-1422.

Winnipegers With Disabilities Protest CBC Robert Latimer Interview

Winnipeg—On Thursday, 27 November 1997, a group of Winnipegers with disabilities visited the Winnipeg CBC offices to present a letter of protest demanding an apology for a recently aired broadcast of an interview with Robert and Laura Latimer. The group is outraged by the unbalanced interview which was shown on CBC's The National on Tuesday evening. The group met with CBC's Regional Director Jane Chalmers to present the letter which calls for the apology.

Gregor Wolbring Responds to Marilynne Seguin of Death with Dignity and Reveals Their Ableist Bias


Dear Ms. Seguin,

I must say that we are even more disturbed by your response to us than by your comments to a Southam newspaper.

Just a few comments:

1) If you follow the media then you must realize that pro Latimer people (like you) and groups are even more cited than the contra Latimer people.

2) If speaking to the media by us is "meddling in the case" then you are meddling in as much as you also speak to the media.

3) If you go onto the internet (i.e. talk euthanasia) you will hear many right to die activists who are very vocal on behalf of Robert Latimer.

4) If you are a firm advocate for choice then you have to be ANTI-Latimer as he didn't give his daughter a choice.

5) What do you mean by "you are a supporter of those who suffer"? Having a disability does not equal suffering.

6) If your group does not come out against Latimer then indeed we do not have many reasons to trust your group and reasoning.

7) Is it a coincidence that Svend Robinson is cited in the newspaper today saying that he wants to have mercy killing legalized?

8) So far the Right to Die movement in Canada has not done much to have a dialog with the disability movement in order to help remedy the problems we have with their position or to help to remedy our increasingly difficult situation in society.

Yours Sincerely

Gregor Wolbring

(Mr. Wolbring's letter was written in response to correspondence received by CCD from Marilynne Seguin November 5/97. See CCD Latimer Watch, 19 November 1997.)