If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would have been quite laughable: watching the CBC descend on Alberta after the election … “national” reporters landing like astronauts on a foreign planet, reporting back to Central Canada on the sudden discovery of strange new world.
A world populated by aliens who call themselves “Westerners” … living in a society featuring empty stores, closed companies, rising unemployment, declining construction, sagging house sales, increasing demand on food banks, and, extraordinary numbers of the population mourning the suicides of their own relatives, friends and neighbours.
Much of it fomented by burgeoning federal corporate taxes, increased environmental requirements and developmental regulations, the shut down of northern pipeline projects, a coastal tanker shipping ban, BC’s political obstructionism and costly Court challenges, anti-development activism and First Nations’ roadblocks.
How could anyone … especially Canada’s “national” PUBLICLY-funded news network … be surprised that the locals, after YEARS of this, are now showing signs of malignant ALIENATION: spouting anger; spewing out frustration; distrustful of outsiders; struggling with economic stresses; and many stricken with poverty!
A strange festering world, mostly unseen and largely under-reported on by the CBC … our supposed official “national” public network.
Even though these “Westerners” have been right there, within sight of Central Canada, trying to draw attention to their growing ills for a decade.
Why were they so ignored?
Under Canada’s Broadcasting Act, the FIRST mandate of the CBC is “reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions.”
I submit that, vis a vis, Western Canada, the CBC has FAILED that mandate.
The mandate also requires the CBC “to contribute to shared national consciousness and identity”.
I submit that, vis-à-vis, Western Canada, the CBC has also FAILED that mandate.
Here’s how …
The CBC’s prime reflector and reporter of “national” news is, appropriately, called The National.
But have you watched it lately?
I have … and here’s what I’ve seen:
A nightly “NATIONAL” broadcast that has three major components: the first segment, Canadian and world news, all of it from what I would describe as a left-of-center biased point of view; the final section, human interest features/promotions/discussions … often quite interesting, but most often composed of panels and panelists offering a definite Toronto/Ottawa/Montreal perspective and bias … Western, British Columbian and Maritime views are few and far between.
But it’s what comes BETWEEN those two segments that is most dangerous and, I believe, consistently violates CBC’s mandate … and contributes regularly to Western alienation.
These are the “advocacy” journal-type features (I’d call them propaganda pieces) … often exploring social contemporary issues … but pushing what I would again describe as a distinctly left-of-center agenda on: the environment, climate change, anti-pipeline views, refugees, immigration, women’s issues, LGBTQ rights, and First Nations’ problems, complaints, demands and protests.
How did we get to this?
The CBC’s own Journalistic Mission and Principles states “We are committed to reflecting accurately the range of experiences and points of view of all citizens.”
I dare say that, amongst a population of 37 million Canadians, there MUST be opinions on every one of these important subjects, reflecting conservative and right-of-center points of view on these same issues.
After all, 6,115,000 Canadians voted Conservative … including sweeping 71 seats in Alberta, Saskatchewan and most of Manitoba!
Have YOU seen their views on the issues EQUALLY reported on by the CBC?
I have not.
I believe conservative and right-of-center views … just like whatever else happens in the West … doesn’t receive equal coverage from the CBC. In fact, little or none, unless it involves one of the CBC’s favorite categories outlined above … and can fit their left-of-center coverage bias.
That’s why, in my view, it’s MUCH easier for anti-pipeline campaigners, climate change advocates, First Nations activists, and other minority issue voices to get air time than pro-life, pro-business, pro-pipeline, pro-development, pro-conservative family values types.
That’s how Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba’s massive economic decline, social distresses, poverty and growing number of suicides (unless they happen among First Nations or other vulnerable minority ) have gone unreported or severely under-reported by Canada’s “national” broadcaster.
Is it any wonder that people and politicians in Ontario and further East had little or no idea of the width and breadth of the Western alienation that has been festering and spreading throughout Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for years!
Until the votes were counted.
Out of sight on Canada’s “national” broadcaster leads to out of mind in Ottawa and the rest of the country.
Seriously tackling Western alienation requires real action … so the rest of Canada can come to understand the West’s feelings/problems/complaints … just as as it does those of Quebec.
And a good place to start would be with the CBC … and having it live up to its own “national” mandate.
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