EXCLUSIVE: CBC Hid the Truth of Residential School Deaths

Media National Politics

“It is clear that CBC/Radio-Canada needs to examine its own actions, including its portrayal of Indigenous peoples in Canada.”

By Gabriel Sinduda
With Jack Etkin

We got a response.

It was not long ago that NYCBC News’ correspondent Jack Etkin sent an email to CBC and The Globe & Mail, calling for their accountability and apology for their neglectful reporting of the Residential Schools scandal.  The CBC and The Globe and Mail knew children were being brutalized and were dying, but they buried the story and allowed the nightmare to continue for decades.

We at NYCBC News believe that there is ample evidence that would suggest that the corporate media of Canada were neglectful in their duty to inform the public about the heinous acts and outcomes of systemic abuse which were indubitably being brought to their attention, over decades, at the time of their occurrences.

It is the news media’s traditional responsibility to inform the public about egregious deeds of mistrust, in whatever sector they play out. Their responsibility is paramount when the health and safety of children is concerned. These are reasonable expectations.

But a critical review of archival content from the CBC and from the gamut of Canada’s corporate media would suggest that they were more than negligent in their reporting. Far too often, they went out of their way to dismiss the warning signs, and to instead give their endorsement to the system of residential schools that was destroying Indigenous families and ways of life through generations.

With all this in mind…

Here is the response, from Catherine Tait, President & CEO of the CBC:

From: Catherine Tait <catherine.tait@cbc.ca>
Sent: Friday, June 3, 2022 2:27 PM
To: jetkin@hotmail.com <jetkin@hotmail.com>
Cc: michael.goldbloom@cbc.ca <michael.goldbloom@cbc.ca>
Subject: Response from Michael Goldbloom and Catherine Tait – CBC/Radio-Canada

June 3, 2022

Dear Mr. Etkin;

Thank you for your email. The question of apologies to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples for historic failures by Canada’s public institutions is such an important one.

It is clear that CBC/Radio-Canada needs to examine its own actions, including its portrayal of Indigenous peoples in Canada. The Corporation is committed to doing so in a meaningful way, in consultation with Indigenous peoples themselves.

As the Truth and Reconciliation Commission pointed out, apology for past wrongs is a critical first step in reconciliation but must be accompanied with action; a plan for the future. This is what CBC/Radio-Canada is undertaking at this moment. As part of our public statement to the CRTC at our licence renewal hearings in January 2021, we committed to working with Indigenous peoples in the development of an Indigenous Strategy for the public broadcaster.

In September 2021 we established an Indigenous Strategy Working Group, made up of Indigenous employees and their allies from across the country. Its mandate is clear: “to develop an Indigenous Strategy at CBC/Radio-Canada, aimed at creating equitable opportunities, representation and self-determination for Indigenous peoples, [and] guiding the advancement of Reconciliation across the organization.”

This work is guided by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Final Report, The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP).

This Working Group is currently engaging with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples across the country about what they expect from CBC/Radio-Canada as well as how we can better serve them, and how we will better-inform non-Indigenous Canadians about the richness of Indigenous life. These conversations are also addressing the appropriate way to acknowledge past harms and repair relationships for the future.

We will have more to share with Canadians as this work continues.

Many thanks again for your email,
Sincerely,Catherine Tait,
President and CEO
CBC/Radio-CanadaCc Michael Goldbloom, Chair of the Board of Directors


It’s clear from the letter above that CBC knows they did wrong.  Perhaps it is time for a full apology from Canada’s Corporate Media to Canada’s Indigenous Peoples – and to all of Canada as well.  Their Media failed us and betrayed us all and allowed this tragedy to go on and on.  The Indigenous peoples of Canada, and all Canadians, are waiting for an apology from Canada’s Corporate Media.

Also to note, while the CBC did at least respond to our letter, The Globe and Mail, owned by Canada’s richest family, the Thomsons, has to date not offered any response.

To be continued.