On May 11, 2016 the Jian Ghomeshi scandal was brought to what is for many a disappointing end. On that day it was announced that Ghomeshi agreed to sign a peace bond provided the Crown withdrew any further sexual assault charges. On the surface it looks like Jian Ghomeshi has gotten a free pass for assaulting and harassing so many women, but when you look at peace bonds in greater detail it’s clear the former radio host has hardly gotten a slap on the wrist.

Peace bonds are covered in section 810 of the Canadian Criminal Code. The loose definition of peace bonds is that they’re a formal commitment by a defendant to keep the peace. It’s one of the more common results of plea bargaining between defense attorneys and the prosecution.

In order for a defendant to be made to sign a peace bond, a justice of the peace or court has to be convinced that the victim(s) in a criminal case have reasonable grounds to fear that she, her spouse or common law partner or her children will come to harm without one. The peace bond is also granted if there’s a risk that the defendant could damage victim’s property or if the defendant is at risk of violating Canada’s revenge porn laws.

A peace bond is not a criminal conviction. It does not result in a criminal record or jail time. However, like a prison sentence, peace bonds have a set duration, the maximum being twelve months.

Peace bonds almost always come with conditions decided on by the court and prosecution. These conditions can include making a defendant abstain from drugs and alcohol with the exception of prescriptions. The bond can stipulate that the defendant provide samples of bodily substances for testing like blood or urine either at regular intervals or upon request from a probation officer.

The court can also ban the defendant from possessing any weapons, ammunition or explosives and any licenses or permits to have them. If the court bans the defendant from possessing said weapons, it has to specify in the peace bond the conditions in which they will be surrendered to the authorities and how they’ll be stored or disposed of.

borel

In addition to rules regarding drugs and weapons, peace bonds often include specific conditions made to protect the victim, her spouse or her children. The stipulations are similar to a restraining order and can include forbidding the defendant from directly or indirectly communicating with her or her family and prohibiting him from being at any place where the victim or her family is regularly found.

Since peace bonds generally come with many conditions, the reasons for a peace bond without conditions have to be included in the court’s records.

The duration of Jian Ghomeshi’s peace bond is the maximum twelve months prescribed by law.

Following his signing of the bond, Jian Ghomeshi issued an apology but it was hardly the one Canadian women were looking for. Instead of apologizing to all the women he assaulted and abused, he directed his apology only at Kathryn Borel whom he physically, sexually and verbally abused during the time she worked for him. His apology included one particularly troubling statement in which he said:

“I now recognize that I crossed boundaries inappropriately.”

It’s Ghomeshi’s use of the word “now” that’s problematic. By saying he has only now realized that his behavior was inappropriate he’s implying that he didn’t know at the time that punching, choking, sexually harassing, assaulting, and abusing women was illegal or wrong.

His claim violates one of the most fundamental notions of law: nul n’est censé ignorer la loi aka ignorance is not an excuse. Neither Ghomeshi nor anyone else deserves a free pass for heinous crimes simply because they didn’t know they were crimes. As a media figure Ghomeshi’s claim that he didn’t know his actions were illegal or wrong is particularly doubtful for he would certainly have been apprised of all the news stories of men convicted and jailed for sexual assault and sued for sexual harassment.

It’s more likely that the real reason Ghomeshi is apologizing now is because he got caught.

Though Ghomeshi is currently not going to jail, we can take comfort in the fact that his chances of salvaging his reputation and career are slim to nil and we owe it all to Kathryn Borel. Kathryn Borel worked for Jian Ghomeshi at the CBC and during that time was regularly abused, sexually assaulted and harassed by him. When she went to her employers for help, they sided with Ghomeshi and said it was her job to endure the abuse.

Following the signing of the peace bond Borel turned a public outrage into a glorious vindication. On May 11, 2016 she boldly told the press:

Jian Ghomeshi is guilty of having done the things that I’ve outlined today. So when it was presented to me that the defense would be offering us an apology, I was prepared to forego the trial. It seemed like the clearest path to the truth. A trial would have maintained his lie, the lie that he was not guilty and it would have further subjected me to the very same pattern of abuse that I am currently trying to stop.

Since Ghomeshi’s sexual assaults have come to light, twenty more women have come forward with allegations of his violent, rapey tendencies. Though Ghomeshi has lied, denied guilt, and done a lot of victim blaming it’s clear he’s guilty and a repeat offender.

That means that even though he’s out on the street now, the chance that he’ll be able to obey the terms of his peace bond is pathetic at best, and disobeying the terms of a peace bond can result in jail time. Though most agree that Ghomeshi should be locked up, Canadian women everywhere can take comfort in the fact that though he’s out now, he won’t be for long.

It’s difficult to recall how long I’ve been in this desert. Two nights, I think. A few days. The nights I’ve spent lying atop billions of grains of sand, looking up at the sky, my mouth dry and my stomach empty.

The moon, Jian Ghomeshi’s smug, smiling face, peering down at me from a blanket of stars which spell out words; consent, rape culture, victim blaming. I check my revolver. It’s nearly spent from firing at Jian Ghomeshis.

One bullet left. For me. When the Ghomeshis overtake me.

By day I march. I don’t know what direction I’m going, but I keep moving, trying to find a way out.

The sun, Jian Ghomeshi’s glaring smile, beats down upon me relentlessly. Hardly anything grows here. Some stunted Jian Ghomeshi cactuses. The occasional Jian Ghomeshi weed tumbles by on the breeze. Jian Ghomeshis circle above me, waiting for me to expire so that they may name-drop while they feed on my still-warm flesh. A diamondback Jian Ghomeshi slithers by me, its tail rattling a warning. Each segment of the tail’s rattle is a little smiling Jian Ghomeshi face.

Then, my heart leaping to my throat, I see something in the distance.

It can’t be.

A post about something not Jian Ghomeshi.

I limp toward it as fast as I can muster, passing a Jian Ghomeshi sinking its teeth into the soft neck flesh of an exhausted Jian Ghomeshi. I approach the glorious vision. It begins to take form.

It’s… I think it’s a cat pic.

I thought the desert had stolen all the moisture from me, but I begin to weep with joy. A cat pic. Nothing has ever looked so beautiful in all my days. But as I stagger toward it, it distorts. With each lurching step the adorable cat face warps and shifts. My tears of joy turn bitter. To tears of anguish.

Exasperation.

Resignation.

It was a mirage. A damned mirage.

There is no cat pic. I fall to my knees in the sand at the foot of a towering photo of Jian Ghomeshi’s face, and I vomit. Or I try to, but I have nothing inside me. I fall forward, and I retch and cough into the sand.

I close my eyes. So I don’t have to see that each shard of sand glimmering in the sunlight is the grinning, jackass face of Jian Ghomeshi.

* This post originally appeared on QuietMike.org, republished with permission from the author

As Canadians we respect our crown corporations. We take pride in owning our own national and provincial services such as Canada post, Via Rail and Hydro Quebec. Owning these companies ourselves ensures we pay bottom dollar for high quality services we all need.

The Canadian Broadcast Corporation is no exception. The publicly funded broadcaster has been around for more than seventy five years providing us with uniquely Canadian content, news and entertainment. Despite the fact that we pay roughly a billion dollars a year to keep it running, nearly 70% of Canadians wish to see its funding increased or remain the same. Only 12% of us wish to see it defunded completely.

Stephen Harper’s Conservative Government cut the CBC’s budget by 10% with their first majority budget last year. It’s long believed that the conservative government desires to fully privatize the CBC, after all privatization is part of their small government ideology. Harper knows the public wouldn’t stand for a privately owned CBC, but I’m afraid what they’re doing instead could be much worse.

Conservative-CBC-logoThe Harper government has been quietly seizing greater control of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and has been doing so since it was first elected. Since 2006, Harper has been stacking the CBC board of directors with conservative supporters.

Currently, all eleven board members began serving since Harper’s first election victory and according to the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting; eight of them have made political donations to the Conservative Party.

It gets worse; Harper has revealed his latest omnibus budget bill (Bill C-60). Deep inside the bill is a provision giving the Conservative government new powers to direct how the CBC spends the 80% of its budget dedicated to its labor costs, including its vast amount of journalists.

By giving the government complete control over the wages and working conditions of all CBC journalists and staff, Harper becomes the definitive boss of every CBC employee. After nearly eighty years, Canada’s public broadcaster is in serious danger of becoming the Conservative’s state broadcaster.

“This is an outrageous and unnecessary violation of the principle of public broadcasting,” said Carmel Smyth, national president of the Canadian Media Guild.
The CBC along with every other crown corporation has always been kept at an arm’s length of the federal government. While the directors and the amount of funding is decided upon by the governing party, wages, budgets, working conditions and company direction is not.

The CBC provides the last independent news service in Canada. By independent, I’m referring to the CBC not being part of the corporate media. They’re among the last news services with real investigative journalism in the country and they do not have to answer to corporate sponsors in the same fashion as CTV or Global.

fb-free-cbcThe Harper Government is defending their actions by stating the move was meant to help the government rein in spending at Crown corporations that receive taxpayer funds. This asinine response couldn’t be further from the truth. The directors of crown corporations know ahead of time what their available funds will be, how they choose to budget it is up to them.

Marc-Philippe Laurin, the Canadian Media Guild’s president at the CBC wasn’t buying it either: “Make no mistake; this is not about the money. The Conservative government is effectively modifying the Broadcasting Act to inject itself into decisions such as staffing that have a major impact on everything that’s done at the CBC.”

It’s as if Harper doesn’t understand, but more likely doesn’t care to understand that the federal government doesn’t own the CBC, Canadians do. The CBC is publicly owned, but what Harper is on the way to achieving is turning Canada’s voice into his own.

For more information, please check out the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting website and sign their petition. This is not an issue we can afford to turn our backs on, Harper’s government has moved to limit debate of Bill C-60 in the House of Commons and time is running out.