Cherry’s firing not about free speech
Mr. Perry Foster’s recent letter about Don Cherry being let go is completely missing the point. Cherry’s firing has nothing at all to do with a lack of free speech. It has to do with the fact that he was representing a company.
Hockey Night In Canada is owned by Sportsnet. Cherry was working for that company. He was therefore a representative of them, and they have every right to fire an employee who is spouting a political diatribe that does not align with their message. If Sportsnet had kept Cherry, it would imply that they had no problem with what he said — even that they supported it — since it was said on air. When you are tied publicly to a company’s image, you cannot just say the awful things that he said.
If you started making discriminatory comments to or around customers at work, your company would likely decide that they don’t want you representing them or working there. It implies that they support the things that you say. Especially when you say them on air like Cherry did.
We have freedom of speech in Canada. That is a fact that is written into our law. Cherry is free to stand on a street corner and say these things. But he cannot say them while on air, while at work. Additionally, freedom of speech is not an absolute right. It is subject to the reasonable limits clause of the Charter. Not all speech is protected speech. Cherry was not necessarily inciting violence, but his comments were highly questionable.
Anyone who claims that this is an example of a lack of free speech in Canada is completely missing the point.