Krista Erickson’s Incredibly Dickish Interview with Margie Gillis [Updated]

by Joey deVilla on June 29, 2011

The “interview”, part one

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is being overwhelmed with complaints about this incredibly dickish interview shown on Sun News Network (Canada’s new cable new channel, a very thinly-disguised FOX News clone) featuring host Krista Erickson and Canadian dance icon Margie Gillis. The interview starts with the mandatory faux-niceties but soon devolves into an attack on funding – a fair topic for debate – but in a way so applallingly rude that “dickish” is the only adjective that describes it properly.

The “interview”, part two

Erickson goes through both the standard list of logical fallacies and a laundry list of dickish conversational techniques in the interview (including the aw-shucks “I don’t understand highfalutin’ concepts” and “I’m just a Philistine” quips coupled with the most condescending tone of voice you’ll hear this side of a high school guidance consellor). Perhaps she’s trying to establish herself as Canada’s Ann Coulter. It’s to Gillis’ credit that she handles Erickson’s boorish treatment with composure and grace. This “interview” – it’s so much an ambush that I have to enclose the word in “sarcasm tongs” – is such a good example of the extremes of how to and how not to conduct yourself in an interview that it should be used as media training material.

The caption for the YouTube video provides some steps you can take. As much as I dislike Sun News Network, I don’t think they should be taken off basic cable. I do think that they could stand to have a little heat put on them, and I’m a firm believer in voting with your dollar: if you don’t like what you saw, don’t give their sponsors any money, and let them know why. And finally, no matter what your stance on arts funding is, give Gillis a “like” on her Facebook page, even if only for showing us that grace and kindness is the face of incivility and boorishness is still appreciated.

We can respond by filing a complaint with the the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ( using the following information:

Sun News; Canada Live with Krista Erickson; June 1, 2011; 4:15 p.m.

When detailing your concerns, be sure to mention Sun News’ clear violation of Clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics (

Update: The CBSC isn’t taking any more complaints for this case; see the update below.

As well, you can send a written complaint, mailed to the CRTC (Secretary General, CRTC, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N2), asking that Sun News be taken out of basic cable programming. Scroll down about half-way in this link to find the instructions specific to filing a complaint with them ( In your letter, be sure to write out the URL for the online video:

…so that they can still reference it even after the four week deadline for complaints.

You can also consider boycotting the companies that support Quebecor and thus Sun News. See Margie’s most recent post for the list. English:…

There’s also a twitition to sign:
and you can write to your M.P. and ask him or her to take the issue up in the House of Commons:

And finally, you can show your support to Margie by "liking" her Facebook page:


Milan Davidovic pointed me to this page set up by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council on the Erickson case. Here’s the key part:

While the CBSC wishes to thank everyone who has taken the time to send a complaint to the CBSC concerning the Krista Erickson interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live, the volume of complaints already sent to us exceeds the Council’s resources.

In other words, the CBSC will be unable to respond individually to each and every complaint received on this topic, as it customarily does.  No problem, though.  The CBSC will deal with the substance of the broadcast via the Council’s normal process and a decision will be released publicly in due course.

May we also request that those of you who have not yet filed a complaint refrain from doing so?  It will not help the disposition of this file in any way since the CBSC never bases its decisions on the number of complaints it has received.  Decisions are always and only based on whether a broadcast has breached one of the CBSC’s codified standards.

So, many thanks for contacting the CBSC or contemplating doing so.  We have more than enough substance to go on to resolve the concerns regarding the interview with Margie Gillis on an episode of Canada Live.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Matthew June 29, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Heaven forbid that we should spend taxpayer money coming up with a solution for world peace.

Tim Trautmann June 29, 2011 at 10:44 pm

It saddens me to see that Murdoch’s culture war machine has reached Canada. Besides “The Harper Government”, I guess this is one less reason for liberal Americans to wish to immigrate to Canada.

John Bristowe June 30, 2011 at 12:55 am

Epic fail.

Patty O'Green June 30, 2011 at 7:57 am

Thanks for the update…I think it’s great that people write about this interview on their blogs. I guess it’s more powerful then complaining to CBSC now…

Ian Lockwood July 1, 2011 at 8:47 am

I don’t think that the interview was “dickish” at all. Erickson asks why taxpayers should be giving Gillis money. Gillis responds with an artsy, nebulous bafflegab about brain plasticity and world peace. What a load of crap. I was prepared to dislike Erickson when I started watching this interview, but ended up disliking the “dancer” and thoroughly resenting the fact that taxpayers give her any money at all.

Bill July 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I think bringing attention to this issue is what Canada needs.
Tax dollars wasted on someones hobby. I have hobby’s aswell, but they don’t get
funded from taxpayers. Krista Erickson might have been alittle bit aggressive, but
these liberal views are not easy issues and require this type of interview.

Joey deVilla July 2, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Ian Lockwood and Bill: I have no problem with the topic of whether or not the arts should be funded on the taxpayer’s dime. I don’t consider it an off-limits topic, and hey, it’s our money, we should talk about it. That’s cool.

My problem was with the mode of the interview. It’s an ambush. It’s today’s sorry excuse for journalism and discourse on television news today. There’s no investigation, there’s no attempt to learn what the other side has to say, there’s no real debate and there isn’t even etiquette. It’s all spectacular confrontation and the reinforcement of a worldview — it’s professional wrestling disguised as journalism. That’s where I take issue.

Judith Allen July 3, 2011 at 7:13 am

Real artists can make it without taxpayer money. People like Margie Gillis are afraid of free speech. Thank you Sun News for bringing issues that matter to our attention. CBSC show those looking for handouts that free speech is alive in Canada.

Mark July 4, 2011 at 10:50 pm

1.2 million over 13 years…… Over 90k a year in grants. Wow some gig. Is she an employee of the Canadian government? Soldiers fighting and dying in Afghanistan dont see that kind of money… Yes she is talented, yes I have actually seen her company. did I realize she was on the government payroll for what 13 years. This woman has travelled the world on the tax payers dime. Interview could have been better but a valid question. How long do we pay for this type of thing? And how much? I suspect this woman and her cause is one of millions out there. Arts are a priority in this country. Lets put a number on this and prioritize it accordingly.

Complaint to CBSC? Just as silly as the interview.

Richard McCarthy July 17, 2011 at 1:58 pm

krista erickson is canada’s counterpart to that other twat, Bill O’Reiilly.

What a disgusting, dishonest interviewer.

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