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‘Shock jock’ debuts in Canada with insults of French Quebeckers

September 3, 1997

TORONTO (AP) _ The Quebec government is looking into whether Howard Stern’s first radio broadcast in Canada, in which the ``shock jock″ called French Quebeckers some derogatory names, violated any laws.

Within minutes of going on the air Tuesday, Stern, who revels in his reputation for provocation and profanity, began railing against efforts by the province’s French-speaking majority to promote their language over English.

Montreal’s Francophones ``are complete pussies who think that somehow speaking French is like the most important thing in the world,″ Stern said. ``All people in Montreal should speak English.″

Some Montrealers said Stern’s diatribes should be shrugged off.

``If you take Howard Stern seriously, you have a problem,″ Richard Martineau, editor of the French-language alternative newspaper Voir, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

But Quebec’s justice minister, Serge Menard, described Stern’s comments as ``garbage″ and said he could be prosecuted. An investigation has been launched into whether Stern violated any of the province’s laws against hate-mongering.

``If after looking at the details ... we figure there’s an infraction of the Criminal Code, it’s obvious there will be prosecutions,″ he said.

Stern began his broadcast by telling his millions of listeners that he was pleased his New York-based show was being picked up by radio stations in Toronto and Montreal.

But later in the show, and again during a news conference, he referred to French Quebeckers as ``peckerwoods″ and ``scumbags.″

``Anyone who speaks French is a scumbag. ... It turns you into a coward,″ Stern said.

Stern’s show made its debut on Toronto’s Q-107 and Montreal’s CHOM-FM. Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has few Francophones, but 65 percent of the Montreal radio audience is French-speaking.

Ian MacLean, CHOM’s program director, tried to play down the controversy over Stern’s comments.

``I think that what he’s doing is a very entertaining morning broadcast and I think that he’s managed to push a few buttons,″ MacLean said.

Stern said he was aware of the controversy involving his entry into the Canadian radio market.

``There are a lot of people who don’t want me there (in Canada), because they say that Canada should be pure Canadian, which is a load of crap.

``What’s the difference? People are people. Why shouldn’t Canada have this program?″

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