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Canada’s mainstream media papers demand a second bailout

Papers demand Ottawa tax Google and Facebook

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Most mainstream media newspapers across the country went to press Thursday with nothing on their front pages – part of a campaign asking the federal government to start taxing Google and Facebook and pass the revenue on to them.

Postmedia newspapers and the Toronto Star all went without pictures or headlines on their front page.

The Western Standard did not participate in the demand for more government support. In place of low-value Google Ads, the Western Standard is moving to sell ad placements directly to businesses and non-profits.

Canadian mainstream media outlets have been the recipients of $600 million in federal Liberal handouts since 2018. The Western Standard refuses to accept the federal media bailout.

“You’ll notice something different about the front page of today’s print edition: it is blank. It represents a very real phenomenon — local headlines and local newspapers are disappearing across Canada,” the papers said in an editorial.

“A large part of the reason is the dominance of global tech giants such as Google and Facebook, which refuse to pay a fair price for content created by Canadian news outlets. They also drain off more than 80 per cent of all digital advertising revenue in Canada.

“It’s time for Ottawa to act. The best solution is for Ottawa to follow an Australian example and adopt legislation that allows newspapers to negotiate a fair price for use of their content, with massive fines if Google and Facebook refuse to co-operate. Importantly, no new government funding, taxes or fees are required for this solution.”

This is not necessarily true.

There is no law barring media outlets from negotiating contracts with Google and Facebook. The big media companies are asking the federal government to make the contracts mandatory, and impose taxes where contracts are not accepted by both parties.

David Clement, with the Consumer’s Choice Centre and a Western Standard columnist, blasted the paper’s actions and any chance of moving to the Australian model.

“It is nothing but naked rent-seeking trying to manipulate public opinion,” Clement said.

“It is not in the readers’ best interest to go to the Australian model.”

Clement said relations between the Australian government and the two companies have deteriorated to the point where Google is talking about the banning of media postings.

“The is the opposite of how the market should work, if I send a post freely and someone clicks on it, it takes them to the newspapers website , where they can then do things like trying to sell subscriptions. It doesn’t make sense to me to ask Facebook and Google to pay to do that,” he said.

If Canada adopts the Australian model, the newspapers said that would give them an extra $620 million a year, keeping the jobs of 700 journalists.

The Western Standard doesn’t accept government bailout money or grants.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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Health officials told Senator twice they were prepared for pandemic

“I was told twice, not just once but twice, you had enough resources on hand to deal with the pandemic,” said Senator Éric Forest

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A Liberal Senator said the Public Health Agency twice told him they could handle the COVID-19 pandemic despite the fact they “lacked everything,” says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“I was told twice, not just once but twice, you had enough resources on hand to deal with the pandemic,” said Senator Éric Forest (Que.), told the Senate national finance committee.

“The Agency lacked everything. There was mention of a lack of capacity and many shortcomings, lack of expertise, lack of management experience.”

Forest cited a confidential audit published by Blacklock’s January 22 that pointed to disarray and mismanagement at the $675 million Public Health Agency.

“Some of these ongoing challenges included confusion,” said the audit.

“We learned the Public Health Agency had limited expertise with regard to having enough epidemiologists and other experts at the upper levels of the Agency,” said Forest.

“I know this pandemic is unprecedented, but I can’t help but note there was a huge gap between the perception the government had at the time on its state of preparedness and the reality as depicted in the audit.”

The Agency in an internal memo to cabinet boasted it was so prepared for a national emergency that all rush orders for medical supplies could be filled in a day.

The memo was dated September 16, 2019, three months before the coronavirus was first detected in Wuhan, China.

“The target timetable to deploy assets is within 24 hours,” said the memo 

It was only after a pandemic was announced last March 11 did the Agency admit it had “only relatively small amounts of personal protective equipment.”

Auditors cited lack of “required skills and expertise,” “limited public health expertise including epidemiologists” and “no clear understanding” of how to compile data.

“Data are critical as key players involved in the COVID-19 response rely on data to inform their decisions,” said the report.

“While skills exist within the Agency in a variety of areas, the capacity required to address the vast number and range of Covid-19 activities far exceeds the current capacity of the Agency.”

The president of the Agency, Tina Namiesniowski, abruptly resigned last September 18 after receiving a copy of the then-secret audit.

“I need to take a break,” Namiesniowski emailed staff.

Namiesniowski was appointed a $273,700-a year senior advisor to the Privy Council two days later. Cabinet on February 26 again reassigned Namiesniowski to a new job as senior assistant deputy minister of employment at her current salary.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta looking for in-house vaccine production

The province announced Monday that over the next 10 business days, the government will be accepting proposals regarding COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing.

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The UCP government wants to set up production of made-in-Alberta vaccines in the future.

The province announced Monday that over the next 10 business days, the government will be accepting proposals regarding COVID-19 vaccine development and manufacturing.

“The economic recovery of Alberta, Canada and the world depends on achieving mass vaccination against COVID-19,” said Job Minister Doug Schweitzer in a news release.

“Our government is exploring potential opportunities in the development and manufacturing of vaccines right here at home. Albertans are hard-working innovators and problem solvers, and we are ready to see how they propose to continue the fight against COVID-19.”

Companies and organizations interested in submitting their proposals can apply online, starting March 8. The application form will remain online for 10 business days, with applications closing at midnight on March 21.

“Jobs, Economy and Innovation is developing a Pharmaceutical and Life Sciences Sector Strategy to boost the growth of the sector. Developing pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical manufacturing capacity in the province is a key part of that strategy,” said the government release.

In January, Providence Therapeutics, a biotechnology company with offices in Calgary and Toronto, announced it had begun Phase I trials of its vaccine. Providence is also working with another Calgary company, Northern RNA, which wants to develop vaccine manufacturing capacity in this city.

As of March 6, 290,391 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in Alberta.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Ottawa press gallery expells Chinese agency

Founded by the Communist Party of China in 1935, Xinhua in recent dispatches praised an “ethnic policy” deemed genocidal by Canadian MPs.

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The Chinese news agency has been booted out of the Canadian Parliamentary Press Gallery after 57 years.

The press gallery said Xinhua News Agency, the propaganda arm of China’s Communist Party, was stripped of membership not due to expulsion but a paperwork error.

The embassy “neglected to send in their membership review form,” said Jordan Press, outgoing president of the gallery.

“It was an administrative oversight that they were still on the membership list at the end of last year.

“They were not expelled, they were not removed. They just simply did not file a review form.”

The Chinese embassy had no comment on the issue.

Gallery rules restrict membership to publishers and broadcasters that “adhere to generally accepted journalistic principles and practices.”

Xinhua is state-run and is known as a propaganda agency for the People’s Republic that prompted pro-democracy demonstrators to vandalize its Hong Kong office in 2019.

“The violent acts of the black-clad rioters have once again shown that only by stopping violence in accordance with the law would social order and public security be restored,” Xinhua said at the time.

Founded by the Communist Party of China in 1935, Xinhua in recent dispatches praised an “ethnic policy” deemed genocidal by Canadian MPs, urged foreigners to “stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs” and hailed China’s “comprehensive green transformation.”

“There is no perfect democracy, only democracy that fits best,” Xinhua wrote in a March 4 report.

The Ottawa Press Gallery granted Xinhua membership in 1964 at the request of then-Foreign Minister Paul Martin, Sr.

Xinhua was granted membership in a diplomatic exchange with Maoist censors who allowed the Globe & Mail to open a bureau in Beijing.

Press said if the agency wants to return they would have to submit an application form.

The Department of National Defence in 2012 blacklisted Xinhua from going to military briefings on Parliament Hill.

The agency that same year was accused of misusing its press credentials to maintain surveillance of Chinese dissidents in Canada and obtain details of a private meeting between the visiting Dalai Lama and then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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