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Education and science are critical to Canada’s global competitiveness, and are an investment in our future. However, the federal government has cut funding to Canada’s Research Granting Councils, hurting students and the research community and damaging the ability of Canadian universities to undertake innovative research.

Tell the government that education and research are important to Canada’s future.

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SCOTT HARRIS / scott@vueweekly.com 7 : f ever there was a company whose very business model seems intentional- I: designed to infuriate and alienate as many people as possible—while at the same time cleverly guaranteeing there 1S practically nothing an individ- ual can do in response—tt is Ticketmaster. Or, if you prefer, Ticketbastard.

For years it's been de rigeur to bash Ticketmaster, and more recently its Ticket- sNow subsidiary, for everything from its absurd “convenience” charges to its poor service, exclusive rights to practically every major venue in North America and goug- ing of fans. First Pearl Jam and later bands like the String Cheese Incident tried to take on the entertainment behemoth, only to discover that the power of monopoly capital- ism is strong enough to win out over devoted fans and moral indignity.

Despite years of frustration and numerous failed attempts to reign the com- pany in, it finally seems as though the tide has turned on Ticketmaster. Recent high-profile debacles involving fans being diverted to the TicketsNow resale site, where tickets were available for many times their face value despite seats still being available, have so blatantiy crossed the line that governments across North America seem to have finally decided enough is enough.

Last month Ticketmaster reached.a settlement in a lawsuit brought by the State of New Jersey over sales of tickets to favourite son Bruce Springsteen. In Ontario the company faces a.class-action lawsuit over allegations its opera- tions violate provincial scalping laws. Most recently similar problems involv- ing tickets to Leonard Cohen's tour have spurred an investigation by the attorney general in Ontario and prompted calls for action by everyone from the federal NDP to the Alberta Liberals.

While some of the motivation behind such calls is no doubt crass populism, it's clear that governments, not fans or bands, are the only ones who can reign in Tick- etmaster and that it’s time to do so. Self-evident rules to limit surcharges, prevent ownership of a subsidiary that profits off of scalping its parent company’s tickets and, here’s a thought, laws against selling tickets for higher than face value that are actually enforced are good steps to start with. With regulation and government intervention in failed markets no longer absurd lefty concepts, it’s time to act. w

Phissue No 698 / Mar 5 - Mar 11, 2009 / Available at over 1400 locations

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ae hn ee

Oe ae “a

z LETTERS

PROUD OF THE FEAR HE INSTILLED

Sarah Hamilton's spin on Joscelyn Gard- ner’s exhibit Missionary Position ("Bad sex,” Feb 12 - Feb 18, 2009) makes me wonder how much time she spent view- ing the exhibit. Her review does no jus- tice to the artist's intent to restore the memories of the women recorded in Thistlewood's diaries. Hamilton instead focuses on Thistlewood, the man who subjected the women to daily abuse, including torture and rape. Where does contemporary sexual politics come into this history of violence save for contem- porary sexual violence? Her disconnect- ed review attempts to restore some sort of humanity within the perpetrator—a man who had a voice and hardly deserves excusing for/his actions. Hamilton’s comparison of the diary to shoddy erotica puts the works in the same league as rape fantasies and role- play. There is a significant difference between experiencing non-consensual abusive sex than experiencing kinky sex with a partner on equal grounds. Post- colonial and feminist readings enable us to reevaluate history, and today we rec- ognize Thistlewood's activities as sexual assault. No wonder issues such as rape are so seldom spoke of in public life

today, where victims are afraid to come forward out of fear of stigmatization, trivialization and public sympathy for the assailant. The figurative works portray the dichotomy between the dehumaniz- ing nature of sexual abuse and torture on the body and the restorative nature of art to the body and its ability to rec- oncile with a painful past. Writing the women’s names on the gallery wall commemorates each woman whose Names appeared in Thistlewood’s diary. Inserting “Bad Sex" into the review title contributes to the rape myths in our contemporary society where sexual assault is often written off as a bad sex- ual experience. How could enslaved women have consented to these acts of abuse when they held no legal rights? They could not deny Thistlewood’s authority as plantation owner and had no place in their society to escape to. Each diary excerpt is not written out of worship as Hamilton suggests. His writ- ings read like that of a rapist reliving his assertion of power and control. It would have been worthwhile for Hamilton to focus more on the images themselves— the significance of the pubic motifs, the braided hair and the style of the*font and prints and how these elements related to the identity of the women who were ren- dered through time as faceless and voiceless. The map records where each event in his diary took place on his prop- erty. He had access to his women at any given time. The quotation where he tore and branded one of his women who tried

to escape signifies that he used rape to mark these women as his territory. The simple execution of the animated paper doll piece, “Marking His Territory,” which. Hamilton critiques, sums up the signifi- cance of Thistlewood's use of rape and torture, so it would not go over the head of a viewer such as Hamilton.

CAITLIN RICHARDS

REBIRTH?

Although | agree in part with the review of From the Inside by Alice Cooper (Old Sounds, Feb 19 - Feb 25, 2009) | must say that this album did not get good reviews from the English music press. We were all desperate for a return to the good old days of Killer, School's Out and Billion Dollar Babies, only to be dis- appointed. We all know he was very ill, albeit self-inflicted, but it was felt that he had gone soft and that there were just too many ballads on every album. In my opinion, he never really captured those earlier tracks until The Eyes of Alice Cooper and Dirty Diamonds.

LEIGH CHANDLER

Vue Weekly welcomes reader response, whether critical or complimentary. Send your opinion by mail ue Weekly, 10303 - 108 Street, Edmonton AB TSJ 117), by fax (780.426.2889) or by email (let- ters@vueweekly.com). Preference is given to feedback about articles in ue Weekly. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity.

6 WWwEWEEKUY MARS -~MNRf/2009

.. WUEPOINT.

~

v

: Women still earn less at work and do more at home, and the _ Fecession will likely make it worse. Happy International Women’s Day

Mroaching a rift

SCOTT HARRIS / scott@vueweekly.com lor more than 30 years, Canada has joined nations around the

- world in officially marking Inter- national Women’s Day (IWD), setting aside March 8 of each year to recog- nize the struggles, progress and barri- ers in the fight for women’s Social, political and economic equality.

But while the two decades following the 1977 United Nations resolution calling

on member countries to recognize IWD saw significant gains across Canada in many key measures of women’s equality, Starting in the mid-1990s the steady progress being made in closing the gap between women and men stalled—and with the country in a deep recession which might last years, there are fears that decades of advances in women’s equality are now at risk.

Kathleen Lahey is a professor in the faculty of law at Queen’s University who specializes in taxation and has for years analyzed federal budgets for gender bias. She says that the mid-’90s was a crucial turning point for women’s economic gains, and many of the changes to public policy that took place then will have a major impact on how women are able to weather the growing economic storm.

"Just to give you a sense of how well things were going in the 1990s, Canada was ranked number one in the world in terms of the gender development index, indicating that men and women were benefiting almost equally, the most equally of any sort of gender breakdown in any country during the second half of the 1990s,” Lahey explains. “But the radical restructuring of Employment Insurance that took place beginning in 1996 really undercut a lot of that. And even though it wasn’t very pro- nounced, the fairly light recession that took place just after the turn of the mil- lennium actually seemed to mark the point at which women lost their momentum in terms of increasing their share of full-time jobs, and more and more new jobs for women since then have been in the part-time mode. Combine that with tax cuts that have left women literally with lower after- tax incomes overall then they would have had before, and with things like income splitting and incentives for women to focus a lot of their produc-

= (GENDER GAP

tive efforts in the unpaid sector, it has- n’t taken much. | wouldn’t say the income gap is stagnating, it’s now going the other way—it’s widening.”

By 2006, Canada had dropped to 25th on the OECD measure, and national statistics show why.

According to Statistics Canada data for 2005, for full-time, full-year work- ers in Canada—the most common measure of the gender gap in income—women earned just 70.5 per cent of what men earned, a number which hasn’t improved since 2000. When all types of work—including part-time and other non-standard work—are looked at, women earn just 64 per cent of men’s salaries.

Th part this disparity is because most employment for women continues to be concentrated in a handful of traditional sectors, with two-thirds working in teaching, nursing or other related health care fields, clerical positions or sales and service jobs in the retail sec- tor. Meanwhile, women still hold just seven per cent of jobs in transportation, trades and construction, and just a third of all manufacturing jobs.

Women also far outnumber men in part-time jobs, with just over a quarter of women working less than 30 hours a week, compared to just one in 10 men— and one in five women say they don’t work full-time due to personal or family responsibilities, a problem made worse by a serious shortage in affordable child care spaces across the country.

IN ALBERTA, the recent years of a red-hot economy actually widened the gender gap, says Susan Morrissey, the execu- tive director of the Edmonton Social Planning Council.

“We looked at the earning gap between males and females over the past 30.years, and the data shows that the gap between men’s and women's earings for full-time and full-year employment seems to grow during economic booms. During the boom men are more likely to go into occupations like oil and gas extraction and construction, where they get paid very, very well.”

Because few women work in these

‘recession, and

occupations, income in Alberta is more unequal than in Canada asa whole, with women who worked full- year, full-time in 2006 earning just 59.3 per cent of men’s salaries, down from a peak ratio of almost 71 per cent in 1995.

€o m= bined with the high cost of living in the province, the income disparity has had significant conse- quences for women in boom- time Alberta.

“Woman are still twice as likely

to live in poverty as men, and that's been consistent across the board,” Morrissey says. “In 2006, 7.3 per cent of families where the major income earner was male were living below the LICO [low income cut-off] and 16.9 per cent of families where females were the major income earner were liv- ges below LICO. S re) there's still a major difference between those two.”

With the province now in

Finance Minister Iris Evans predicting 15 000 jobs in

the province will be shed in 2009, the gender gap in income may actually fall as the economy sheds high-paying, male-dominated jobs in the trades, but that’s hardly good economic news for women, who will also increasingly feel the pinch as the economic downturn ripples through the service sector,

where most new jobs for women have been creat- ed in recent years What's worse, with warnings of a “rude awakening” on government spending being

the April 7 provincial budget, women in Alberta are likely to find themselves caught between government cuts and the void in services that results.

“When we cut back on government spending what we're doing is cutting back on services that are generally pro- vided by unionized women, and which will now have to be provided by volun- teer women,” explains Lisa Lambert, a PhD student in political science at the University of Calgary and the author of the popular monthly feminist newsletter

Iron Board

Lounge’s

Daily Special!

S SCNO snack moms and n homes to feed aging parents and grandparents—and we know that two- thirds of caring labour is provided by women itis disproportionate- ly women that are doing this labour—and they’re often doing it without pay but also on top of a'regular work day. So it’s the double shift that we talk about, the double day for women of providing labour all day and then free labour for all the things that don't get covered when they should be,”

IN RESPONSE to the dramatic downtum

in the economy, on January 27 the Harper Conservatives released the 2009 federal budget, intended to “stim- ulate economic growth, restore confi- dence and support Canadians and their families during a synchronized global recession.”

Bul according to an analysis of the budget conducted by Lahey entitled “Designed to Leave Women Behind— Again,” women will see little direct ben- efit from the budget, which she says seems “almost designed” to exclude women from much stimulus spending

While $8 billion a year for the next two years was dedicated to infrastruc- ture spending, Lahey says men will disproportionately benefit from the jobs created because so few women work in trades or manufacturing

Announced changes to the personal exemption amount and shifting of income brackets, Lahey says, will also make little difference for most women

“You have to remember that women’s incomes are so much lower than men’s incomes that 40 per cent of women have no tax liability,” Lahey explains. "So if you give a woman in

/

CONTINUES ON PAGE 9

780.422.6083 10238 104St

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MARBAMAR-U.2099 WUIEwEExuy 7

Let’s get this show on the road

US-China deal on emissions must happen soon if world is to reach agreement at Copenhagen

S | DYER STRAIGHT

= GWYNNE DYER & | guyme@weweekly.com

For a decade now, the deadlock between the United States and China on how to deal with global warming has crippled the effort to make an effective international treaty. It’s why the 1997 Kyoto accord was such a botched job: with the US refusing to sign and China under no obligation to control its green- house gas emissions, over 40 per cent of the world’s total emissions were excluded from the treaty.

The US-Chinese quarrel could have the same poisonous effect on the attempt to negotiate a replacement treaty in Copenhagen by the end of this year, so Washington and Beijing need to sort out their differences first. This can only be settled at the highest level, and there isn’t much time left, so what is needed is a summit meeting between the two countries to make the deal.

John Holdren, President Obama's chief scientific adviser, has been press- ing for such action for years. In an inter- view last year, he told me, “| run research projects in collaboration with government organizations, think-tanks, universities in China and India on cli- mate change and what to do about it. And what | can tell you is that the Chi- nese and the Indians are not less knowl- edgeable and not less worried about this problem than we are in the United States or Canada or Europe.

“They are waiting for us to lead, in part because we in the industrialized world caused most of it up until now. But they understand that climate change is already harming them. You go and sit pri- vately with the political leaders of China and they will quote to you the results of their own Chinese climate scientists’ studies showing that China is being seri- ously harmed today by climate change.

"The Chinese and the Indians in my view are going to sign on to a global approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions within three to five years of the United States making the transition from laggard to leader. They're waiting for us to do it, but they're going to join.”

There was no announcement about a US-China summit following Secre- tary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Beijing on February 21, although Obama and President Hu Jintao are already scheduled to meet during the G20 summit in London in April. How- ever, there are many hints and signs that a summit is coming up quite soon. The most striking one was the publica- tion in early February of a report joint- ly published by the Asia Society and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. ‘The report was produced by a committee chaired by Stephen Chu, Obama's new energy secretary, and John Thornton, tipped as the new US ambassador to China. John Hol- dren was among the contributors. It explicitly calls on President Obama to hold a summit with the Chinese lead- ership on the climate issue.

Zhou Wenzhong, the Chinese ambas- sador to the United States, attended the launch of the report at the Brookings Institution and spoke in much the same terms: “Cooperation between our two countries on energy and environmental issues will enable China to respond to energy and climate change issues more efficiently, while at the same time offer- ing enormous business opportunities and considerable return to American investors.”

IF THE SUMMIT does happen, its main job will be to recognize the fact that China and the US cannot be expected to make equal cuts in their emissions, and that China needs help in meeting even a less demanding commitment to cuts. For a decade American politicians have been unwilling to accept that it has to

WEEKISY MAR 5 - MAR41, 2009

a

be a very lopsided deal, and now they have to bite the bullet.

The problem is history. The United States, like the other fully industrialized countries, has been emitting green- house gases for a long time, and is very tich as a result. China, like the other rapidly industrializing countries, has only been producing large emissions for a couple of decades, and is still relative- ly poor

The two countries now emit about equal amounts of carbon dioxide each year, but China has four times as many people, so its per capita emissions are still only a quarter as big. Over time, the United States has put three times as much carbon dioxide as China into the atmosphere. So the United States, in Beijing's view, has a moral obligation to make much deeper cuts, much sooner, than China.

China must at least stabilize its emis- sions in the relatively near future, too, but it must do so in ways that let it keep growing its economy. That means it has to go on growing its electricity generat- ing capacity, but the new power must come from renewable sources like wind and sun or from nuclear energy. Those are all more expensive than dirty coal- fired power stations, so China will need help with the extra cost.

A US-China deal must include all that: much stronger emission curbs in the US than in China in the early stages, techno- logical help from the United States and large-scale American investment in clean Chinese energy sources, and prob- ably a carbon-trading deal as well. But if it can be done, it will provide the tem- plate on which other industrialized and industrializing countries can join up to a global deal for steep emissions cuts in Copenhagen this December. w

Gwynne Dyer is a London-based inde- pendent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries. His column appears each week in Vue Weekly.

FRONT

To science, | could help ...

WELL, WELL, WELL

CONNIE HOWARD health@vueweekly.com

HEALTH

l've been thinking lately that science itself needs a bed in the intensive care unit. In a climate too often characterized by hostility, manipulation, protectionism and financial interests, it appears to be battle-weary, losing its grasp on its very life-blood—the testing and retesting of what we think we know. But though the challenging of existing theory is the very essence of science—the way by which it self-corrects and remains valuable— some paradigms seem to have become sacred and off-limits.

Not that this is anything new. Dr Abram Hoffer, one of the pioneers of nutritional and orthomolecular medicine, had pub- lished over 150 articles in medical journals when his publishing career came to an abrupt halt. What halted acceptance and publication was his focus on orthomolecu- lar, nutritional psychiatry.

Unwilling to admit defeat, he and his colleagues created their own journal in 1967—the Journal of Schizophrenia, which eventually became the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine. But despite the high quality research it has reported for four decades, and despite the astounding success of Dr Abrams clinical practice, orthomolecular medicine is still marginalized by the orthodoxy, and myths about nutritional medicine still abound.

One of the most common myths used to dismiss nutritional medicine is the claim that we generally get all the nutri- tion we need from food. But most of us are, even by very conservative recom- mended dietary allowances according to a US Department of Agriculture survey published a decade ago, deficient in a significant number of key nutrients.

Another tired myth is the one holding that nutritional medicine does little more than feed the fish—many, many studies have shown that supplements increase blood levels of the nutrients supplement- ed. And yes, excesses are excreted, but with high-grade bio-available supple- ments much is also absorbed and used. Ironically, those fond of the expensive urine argument don't consider it a valid one when it comes to therapeutic doses of any other medicine—therapeutic doses of all medicines result in feeding

| felt that

of the fish, only in the latter case we're feeding them with antibiotics, antihista- mines, antidepressants, decongestants, pain relievers, anti-cholesterol meds, hormones and sedatives.

STORIES THAT PARALLEL Dr Hoffer's marginalization abound, and in fact go back a very long way. In 1847, Dr Ignaz Semmelweis, also challenging medical orthodoxy, dramatically reduced mortali- ty in pregnant women by advocating dis- infection of hands. For his radical hypoth- esis, he was ridiculed and rejected and had his clinical privileges at the hospital terminated. A few years later, Louis Pasteur went on to make scientific histo- ry with his theory of infectious disease.

A society named after the hand-wash- ing pioneer and devoted to exposing mali- cious and sham peer review—the Semmelweis Society Intemational (SS!}— awards a Clean Hands Award to honour those unfairly maligned by the orthodoxy. Last year's award went to Dr Peter Duesberg and journalist Celia Farber for their science and reporting on AIDS, work for which both have suffered serious career setbacks and character assassination.

For shining the spotlight on holes in both proofs and treatments of AIDS, both have been accused of causing untold harm and death among AIDS victims. But it is AIDS that kills, not discourse about causes or standard of care. And it was panic and insufficiently tested early treatment—high dose AZT monothera- py—that turned out to be highly toxic.

Some defend the power of orthodoxy as legitimate and protective, but I'm con- vinced that its power is rarely used to protect the public from research of inferi- or quality or from dangerous ideas, but rather as a way to shut down ideas that run counter to more profitable ones. Pick a field, any field—from political science to the environment to cancer or vaccine or drug research—and talk to a few sci- entists trying to get funding for research that poses a threat to the existing wis- dom; you'll see.

Science at its best continues to look for better answers where existing ones are inadequate; science at its worst defends existing paradigms, no matter how inadequate, with desperate and vicious defensiveness. But it is relentless refusal to set existing paradigms in stone that permits science to self-correct, to be alive and well enough to serve us. w

0 ure? a that 40 per cent a tax cut you're giving her nothing. ionately, on a statisti-

“So disproportis cal basis, it’s going to go more to men than to: women because more men will fall in the higher end of that low brack- et then the women will; women always cluster in the bottom end of every income bracket.”

The same problem is repeated in the other shifts in higher, tax brackets, delivering the greatest benefits to those at the top, who tend dispropor- tionately to be men.

" “I've never seen this kind of pattern used for tax cuts before. Not anywhere. Not in the US, not in European counties, not in Australia,” says Lahey. “It's very strange that it would be done in this way to put each of those at the top end of the low income brackets. And there are rela- tively few women there already.”

Other elements of the stimulus pack- age, including home renovation credits and home buyers’ tax credits, will simi- larly disproportionately go to’men because they tend to have higher income levels and are in the best posi- tion to benefit from such measures, which entirely exclude renters and those who don't have savings to invest.

Lahey says that this budget, and most that she’s seen since she started analyzing them in the 1980s, simply ignore the fact that women’s incomes and lives are different from men’s, and as a result require different types of supports to increase their level of eco- nomic security.

One example is that no infrastruc- ture spending was dedicated to build new child care facilities, which all advocates say is critical for women, who are still responsible for most child rearing duties, to be able to effectively access good jobs in the labour market.

It's also evidenced by the announced enhancements to the Employment Insurance program, which will extend the benefit period for EI, but only for workers who already qualify for the program, which current- ly excludes most women.

Monica Townson, an economic con- sultant and research associate with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives who co-authored a 2007 report on the gender bias in the EI program, explains that when the Unemployment Insurance program was changed to the Employ- ment Insurance program in 1997, eligi- bility criteria went from being based on the number of weeks worked to being

based on number of hours worked. This

change, which dropped the percentage of unemployed workers who qualified for El from 70 per cent to just 36 per cent by 2004, disproportionately impact- ed women because they tend to work more part-time and other non-standard jobs due to family responsibilities, and therefore find it harder to accumulate the necessary hours. While 40 per cent of men qualified in the year Townson looked at the data, just 32 per cent of women did. In Alberta, because of the complicated formula based on regional unemployment levels, fewer than one in four women in the province were eligi-

ble for El in 2004.

"The important thing to note is that women are adversely affected com- pared with men under the current situ-

ation, and that will be particularly seri- ous for them in the recession if women are losing their jobs and can’t qualify for benefits," Townson warns.

WHAT IT ALL ADDS UP TO isa more

precarious economic situation for women in the recession, meaning they will have fewer options available to them, for example, in situations where they are living with domestic abuse, a serious problem at any time in Alber- ta—which leads the country in domes- tic assault, homicide-suicides and stalking—but one-that is often exacer- bated by the frustration and stress that comes with a recession.

Jan Reimer, the provincial coordinator with the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters, says that while the most recent data from shelters in Alberta won't be collected until next month, there are troubling signs emerging.

“What we're seeing, particularly from the United States, is fairly fright- ening,” she warns. “There's tons and tons of articles coming across our desks now about the escalation of

domestic violence. 1 recall one article where a shelter had indicated they'd seen more than a 200 per cent increase in demand with this down- turn in the economy. So’ we're very concerned about how this may play out in Alberta in the next little while.”

Unfortunately, a recession also means that shelters have fewer resources avail- able to help women in need.

"Shelters are always stretched, but certainly their funding becomes more and more compromised when it’s harder to fundraise in their own local communities,” she says. “As business- es and organizations cut back, so does {shelters’] access to those much-need- ed dollars.”

Reimer says that a pressing need in Alberta at the moment is second- stage transitional housing, which provides women with longer-term support after they leave emergency shelters, She says that based on the number of emergency beds, the province needs an additional 600 sec- ond-stage apartments just to meet current needs.

AS WOMEN in Canada face these chal- lenges, their capacity to collectively engage on such issues has also been greatly diminished in recent years, with formerly influential women’s organiza- tions such as the National Action Com- mittee on the Status of Women (NAC) now all but defunct.

“We're at such a difficult time for feminism in Canada because so many of the voices at the national level have been silenced because of the lack of funding,” Lambert says. “Many feminist organizations have been denied charitable status because we advocate, but a group like the Fraser Institute, a so-called think- tank that really just promotes very, very conservative ideologies and produces lots of reports about it can get charitable status.

“And the only other access to money that groups would have, which is gov- emment funding, has been completely cut back by Harper,” Lambert contin- ues. “He’s cut the funding to these

organizations at the very time they're desperately needed to speak for women who are unable to fund these kinds of organizations themselves— working women, women who are try- ing to do double shifts, who are providing caring labour, who are being laid off of their work, these are not the women who are donating money to advocacy organizations; they can’t pos- sibly. It’s very, very troubling.”

Lahey agrees the situation is serious but says that more and more women are realizing the impact that public pol- icy has on their lives and getting involved in community workshops on things like the budget, involvement Lahey says is critical

“If we get another even one or two years of budgets like this we've already had for two or three years we're going to be very squarely back in the male breadwinner model of social and fiscal policy in Canada,” she warns. “And look how long it took to displace that model.to begin with; we're talking about rolling back decades of move- ment forward and development.” v

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FRONT

o future at all

Why Big Media is bad for Canadian journalism

= MEDIA LINKS

STEVE ANDERSON steve@temucraticmedia.ca

Media giant Canwest reported a $33 mil- lion loss in the quarter ending November 30, 2008, and an overwhelming $3.7 bil- lion debt. In the past 12 months, Canwest has also cut over 1000 jobs, scaling back local operations and considering shutting down some stations entirely. :

Collectively Canwest, Torstar, Quebecor, and CTVglobemedia have cut over 1300 jobs in the past three months, on top of deep cuts made last year. With ad revenues expected to slump further, there is no end in sight. The effects of these dramatic cuts in journalism will negatively affect public debate and discourse in Canada because, as former Toronto Star publisher John Hon- derich notes, “The quality of public.debate, if not the very quality of life in any communi- ty, is a direct function of the quality of media that serve it.”

In his piece entitled “All the news that's

Sharron Proulx-Turner

fit to fund,” John Honderich does a good job of explaining why journalism is impor- tant in a democratic society. Honderich also offers good ideas on how to revive journal- ism, but he fails to discuss why journalism is in its current state of crisis.

What is the cause of the current state of journalism in Canada? In a statement made on the likely demolition of TV stations located in Montréal, Hamilton, Red Deer, British Columbia, Kelowna and Victoria, Leonard Asper, Canada's largest media baron, declared, “As they are currently con- figured, these stations are not core to our television operations going forward ... we believe that our efforts are best focused on the areas of greatest return.”

Asper poignantly reveals that news outlets, and the journalists who work for them, are increasingly treated as a part of a business rather than a unique social institution that is essential to a function- ing democracy,

But Big Media executives try to claim journalism’s woes are caused by the slump- ing economy or the displacement of audi- ences to new online media. While these

are factors, the primary cause is the highly concentrated media ownership in Canada combined with the deepening bottom-line mentality of big media corporations. Media ownership is more highly concentrated in

Canada than almost anywhere else in the _

industrialized world. As of 2005, almost all private Canadian television stations are owned by national media conglomerates and, because of increasing cross-owner- ship, most of our newspapers are owned by the same corporations that own televi- sion and radio stations.

Something to think about is the fact that just