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CRTC cautions media to stay objective when discussing election

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is taking election matters into their own hands, cautioning broadcasters “to play fair in campaign news coverage,” says Blacklock’s Reporter.

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Media outlets who aren’t willing to be objective in their election reporting may be facing consequences.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is taking election matters into their own hands, cautioning broadcasters “to play fair in campaign news coverage,” says Blacklock’s Reporter.

TV and radio stations are under relatively new guidelines ever since an investigation in 2016 revealed coverage of a Conservative MP “was so one-sided it breached the Broadcasting Act.

Guidelines For TV And Radio Broadcasters said in a statement in order to comply with the balance requirements, broadcasters are required to “take reasonable steps” to attempt to ensure their audiences “are informed on the main issues, and of the positions of all the candidates and registered parties on those issues, through their public affairs programs generally.”

The Broadcasting Act does not apply directly to news coverage, but requires broadcasters to “set a high standard and permit expression of differing views on matters of public concern.”

The former Conservative MP for Calgary Northeast who held the position for two terms, Devinder Shory, lost re-election in 2015 by 2,759 votes. Shory claims his loss was partially due to a “pro-Liberal” broadcast on Calgary Radio CHKF-FM put on by Fairchild Radio the night before the election.

The CRTC agreed with Shory in a 2016 decision, saying “the lengthy broadcast was so partisan it violated federal law,” but no penalty was ever imposed.

The Commission said the night before the election, a four-hour program occurred in which hosts discussed election issues with guests and took live listener calls. The Commission said “the hosts, guests, and callers mainly talked about what they disliked about then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party.”

Apparently discussions on the program were “primarily centred on the reasons not to vote for the Conservative Party, and on strategic voting.” Strategic voting in this context meaning a vote for the Liberals also counted as a vote against the Conservatives.

During the four-hour Punjabi-spoken broadcast, Shory said Fairchild Radio and it’s hosts “openly campaigned against him and asked listeners to vote for a candidate who wears a turban.” The turban comment was taken by Shory as a personal attack since he does not wear a turban — ironically, Darshan Singh Kang, the elected Liberal candidate, does.

The broadcast was unusually long because it was actually a combination of two separate shows with two different hosts. The CRTC was told “neither of the hosts or guests provided any balance.”

Ultimately, the CRTC ruled the broadcast left no time for Shory to respond appropriately before the election, saying “the night before an election is a more sensitive period.”

The Commission said the show aired from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm, a mere matter of hours before the polls opened the next morning.

“The station broadcast political comments against a political party and discussed voting strategies aimed at a specific outcome the night before the election, when there was no time to provide opposing view on these comments,” the CRTC said. “The station knew candidates or political parties affected by the comments would not have time to reply.”

Jackie Conroy is a reporter for the Western Standard
jconroy@westernstandardonline.com

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Steven

    August 18, 2021 at 7:07 pm

    Ya nothing Communist about the CRTC. Free media in Canada until it was bought by Justin Trudeau CRTC you have anything to say about that in a free society Comrade?

    We need the CRTC like we needed the Western Wheat Board & we don’t miss the Western Wheat Board. Probably won’t miss the CRTC either once it’s gone from Alberta’s orbit. Bye.

    Try watching Fox News & CNN on a US channel. Two different opinions there, but we only get one opinion in Canada & guess which one that mostly is? Liberal !

    The Eastern CRTC can go get stuffed. Go Maverick !

  2. Left Coast

    August 18, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    I have one comment for the CRTC . . . Go To HELL . . . do not pass go do not collect !

    This organization is Mind-Numbingly Stupid & Partisan . . .
    largely responsible for Decades of Dumbing Down Critical-thinking in Canada. Should be abolished ASAP

  3. CodexCoder

    August 18, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Objective? The CRTC, one of the most partisan monopolies on the planet now wants objectivity? Or you will do what? Close down the mainstream media owned by the parties that are part and parcel of the CRTC? PLEASE, CLOSE THEM NOW! No one will miss the coverage because it will now be objective.

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Canada-Europe take action over COVID variant Omicron

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

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With the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC) named Omicron in South Africa, the Canadian government is taking steps to limit the risk to Canadians.

Travellers arriving from countries of concern within the last 14 days will be required to quarantine pending negative COVID-19 tests. Countries of concern include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

On Friday, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the federal government will impose five measures in an effort to limit its spread in Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam took to Twitter on Saturday to share her concerns over the VOC.

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” wrote Tam.

The WHO has labelled Omicron as a variant of concern due to its high number of mutations and reports that early evidence suggests it could be more infectious than other variants.

Meanwhile, during a news conference on Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will take “targeted and precautionary measures” after two people tested positive for the Omicron variant.

One case was identified in Brentwood, a town in southeastern England while the other case was located in the central city of Nottingham. Both individuals are linked and had travelled from southern Africa. The two individuals are self-isolating along with their households and authorities are working on contact tracing.

Johnson confirmed travellers arriving in England will be required to take a PCR test and self-isolate until a negative test result is provided. Those that test positive for the new variant will have to self-isolate, along with any of their close contacts, for 10 days regardless of vaccine status.

He also said masks will be required in shops and other public spaces and indicated they will “boost the booster campaign.”

“Right now this is the responsible course of action to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximize our defences,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the new rules will be reviewed in three weeks when scientists know more about the variant.

On Friday, the British government added Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to the country’s travel red list. By Saturday, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia were also added to the list.

Other countries are adding restrictions on travellers coming from various southern African countries including the US, Japan, Brazil, and Australia while cases have also been reported in Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong.

Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic have also reported suspected cases related to travellers arriving from South Africa.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Road closures as British Columbians brace for more rain

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday.

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As BC braces for additional rain, the government has ‘proactively’ closed a number of highways for travel.

“We are actively responding, monitoring and assessing the many highway closures due to flooding and will continue to do so as we work with local and emergency service partners,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Safety is our top priority while we deal with a rapidly changing and difficult situation.”

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday. The ministry said the time and duration of the closures will be weather-dependent.

“The highway infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable following recent storms, and more heavy rain in the forecast poses an additional risk,” said the ministry in a press release.

“The closures of these three highways will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning, with the highways reopened when it is safe to do so.”

The release said Highway 1 will be closed between Popkum and Hope on Saturday afternoon as BC Hydro plans a reservoir release, “crucial to protect the Jones Lake Reservoir, which is also being affected by the heavy rains.”

The release explains the reservoir release will discharge water towards areas of Highway 1 that were affected during the November 14 storm.  

“This additional flow – combined with the increased precipitation and already high stream flows – poses a risk of impact to Highway 1 in the Laidlaw area.”

The ministry is bracing for further damage to Highway 1 in this area and said the reopening time cannot be determined at this stage but will be assessed by crews “when it is safe to do so.”

Highway 7 between Mission and Hope remains open with travel restrictions in place. Essential purposes for travel are defined in the travel restrictions order through the Emergency Program Act

Weather statements are in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Squamish to Whistler and the Sunshine Coast into next week. Storms are expected to bring more rain which has resulted in high streamflow advisories for all regions of the coast by the River Forecast Centre.

Ongoing road and travel updates are available on the ministry’s website.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Bill to aid jurors traumatized by testimony up for vote … again

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling.”

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For the third time in three years, legislators will attempt to pass an aid bill for jurors traumatized by graphic testimony in criminal courts.

“When we ask citizens to be a juror we don’t ask them to be a victim,” said Quebec Senator and bill sponsor Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

“There is no excuse not to adopt that bill.” 

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling,” said Blacklock’s Reporter.

Two identical bills, S-207 and C-417, lapsed in the last two Parliaments.

“That kind of bill should be a government bill, not a private bill,” said Boisvenu.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of private interest. It’s a matter of national interest.”

In 2017, the Commons justice committee recommended the Criminal Code amendment after hearing testimony from former jurors who said they quit jobs, suffered marriage breakdown and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being compelled to watch crime scene videos and hear testimony from coroners.

“Everyone’s mental health matters,” Ontario Senator Lucie Moncion said Thursday.

“Yet from a legal point of view, jurors are part of a special category of people who are denied complete health care. The secrecy rule prohibits a juror from disclosing information related to deliberations to anyone including a health care professional. This needs to change.”

Moncion was a juror in a 1989 murder trial and said the experience left her with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“They show you the whole autopsy,” said Moncion.

“It was very difficult. This is still very difficult for me.”

Alberta Conservative MP Michael Cooper, a member of the 2017 Commons justice committee that recommended reforms, said delays were inexcusable.

“It should have been a no-brainer for the government to have brought this bill forward,” said Cooper indicating the bill has been “studied thoroughly.”

“There have literally been no arguments tendered against this piece of legislation.”

Cooper, in 2019, sponsored a similar bill – C-417 – that lapsed. MPs at the time noted U.S. jurors were free to discuss their experience with friends, family, psychiatrists or media.

“In the United States once a trial is over jurors are generally free to discuss the events of the trial and jury deliberations unless a specific court order bars them from doing so,” said Ontario Liberal MP Arif Virani, then-parliamentary secretary for justice.

“What that means is that jurors in the United States can talk with nearly anyone about juror deliberations including a talk show host on national television or across the Internet. This approach, which offers limited protection for juror privacy, is significantly different from the Canadian model.”

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