The ashes may still be smoldering, but a fiery debate surrounding radio commentary made by Canadian manager Bruce Allen has taken a turn following his attempts to clarify a September 13th "Reality Check" radio program focusing on immigration.
Although Allen’s show claims to "set the record straight" with "forthright opinions," some officials in Vancouver felt he’d crossed the line. They called for inquiries by Canadian broadcast commissioners and the removal of Allen from his positions at radio station CKNW and the organizing committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics.
MP Raymond Chan, who filed a complaint with the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission following the broadcast, told the Globe and Mail Allen’s comments crossed the line – specifically, "If you choose to come to a place like Canada, then shut up and fit in."
"I think that new Canadians are actually fitting in by exercising their political rights, and using democracy and non-violent means to advance their views," Chan told the Globe.
Chan also called Allen’s comments unfitting of a member of Vancouver’s Olympic Organizing Committee.
"I think it’s important that a leader who is organizing an event that will represent Canada to the rest of the world has to be clear what Canada is all about," he said.
But Allen, who’s been chosen to help organize the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics, isn’t in jeopardy of losing that spot any time soon.
"He has an important role to play in the area of securing top Canadian talent," VANOC spokeswoman Renee Smith-Valade told the paper. “He has communicated his regret over the controversy and he has reconfirmed and emphasized that he shares our goal of showcasing [Canada’s] culture and diversity through the ceremonies.”
Allen – manager of Anne Murray, Bryan Adams, Martina McBride and Michael Bublé – acknowledged making some mistakes.
"If I offended anyone, I apologize," he said in a segment, explaining he may not have made the best choices in the wording of the program.
However, he also took a jab of his own at the media and political profiteers, claiming the segment should have been a non-issue.
"Canada would not be the great country it is without immigration, that’s a given. But when the media misquotes and is being fueled by malcontents, we stir up a situation where only the media benefits. The story should have been stillborn, and for a week it was, but when politics entered the picture, the gloves were off," he said.
Allen also met with Sikh and Muslim leaders in the community to discuss the issue the same day, according to the Globe, and while many felt he cleared the air by doing so, Chan told the paper he would continue to call for an apology.
"It is an attempt to blame the media and others for the trouble Mr. Allen got himself into when he should really be taking responsibility for himself," Chan said.