The complainant, Norman Swan, objected to an Opinion column critical of people having large families. He found it “disrespectful of family planning choices,” and he rejected the writer’s arguments for advocating for small families. It was a clearly-marked opinion piece on a contentious issue. Balance was provided by another article presenting a different point of view. Its tone does not constitute a violation of policy.

COMPLAINT

In January of this year cbcnews.ca published an essay in their Opinion section entitled: “It shouldn’t be taboo to criticize parents for having too many kids.” Celebrity couple Chip and Joanna Gaines, who have a TV show called “Fixer Upper,” had announced they were expecting their fifth child. They were criticized by some for having such a large family. In her article, Kristen Pyszczyk defended those critics and gave a critique of her own. She stated that while a decision to have a child is a private matter, the impact of population size has global implications.

You strongly objected to the article. You said “we don’t need to talk about eugenics.”

I want to call out “callout” culture for the absolutely cancerous, annoying, spiteful, and hate-filled rhetoric that it is. This editorial is to me as hateful as a neo-Nazi advocating for genocide of Jewish peoples, gays, trans, Roma, and whosoever remains in their scope of victimization. I believe the author should do some self-reflection, and consider how hateful she comes across to parents.

You said Ms. Pyszczyk was the one being irresponsible, labelling the Gaines in that way for having five children. You pointed out raising children is an enormous responsibility:

People who have five children have a huge level of responsibility, and just because some millennial university student has been manipulated into thinking that she shouldn’t procreate to “save the planet” (as insane as the proposition is), doesn’t mean she should advocate for shaming others for their personal choices.

You questioned her invoking the notion that having more children could have an impact on climate change, and how this could, as the author asserted, have an impact on “everyone who inhabits our planet.” You called that notion “insane.”

I would like to see actual evidence that relates a newborn child with climate change. This doesn’t exist as far as I know. If I have 1 kid right now, how much faster has the climate changed? Curious, as no evidence is given in this article.

MANAGEMENT RESPONSE

Steve Ladurantaye, the Managing Editor of @cbcnews, responded to your complaint. He told you he did not agree that this article was “hateful.” The comparison to eugenics and Nazi activities is also wrong, he explained, because there is no talk of coercion or forcing her views on anyone else. She added that she herself refers to the fact that past policies that tried to control population through eugenics were “nasty.” However, she did advocate a discussion about the impact of population growth because it is a personal choice that affects everyone in some way.

He added that this article appeared in the Opinion section of the website.

Continue reading this on the CBC website, where it was first published.