Monday, October 26, 2009

Wow, CBC

The CBC premiered its new look Monday, with brand new shows and apparently, a whole new focus on what constitutes quality reporting.

During the new Politics & Power segment, Evan Solomon interviewed three people involved in the environmental protests that took place today during Question Period on Parliament Hill. One of the participants was brought in to the CBC newsroom and put on camera, with blood dried on his face after what protesters described as a 'violent' removal from the House of Commons.

How long would it have taken for someone behind the scenes to wipe the blood of his face? Apparently, CBC didn't care to take the time to clean up their source before his big interview because they were more focused on shocking audiences than getting to the root of the issue. The entire interview reeked of the rabid sensationalist tactics popularized by American newsrooms. After all, "if it bleeds, it leads."

Am I the only one who thinks that quality reporting should not rely on vapid shock tactics to grab audiences? And taking into consideration the budget cuts that CBC was handed early this year, where did they get the money for such a dramatic overhaul? Maybe they budgeted too much for new green screens and tailoring for their anchors and forgot all about paying actual reporters to go out and investigate news.

While I realize that CBC is facing intense competition from CNN and other breaking news networks, they should not be resorting to the old adage, "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." What message does this hold for the future of Canadian reporting? Newspapers have collapsed due to the recession, radio has failed to attract a broad audience in the news sector, and now broadcast is sinking into the depths of sensationalism. If this is an indication of what news values the CBC intends to respect during the coming years, I'm petrified for journalists and attempting-to-be-informed citizens across the country.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Isn't Quebec the French Province?

The Supreme Court of Canada handed down a unanimous ruling on Thursday that will force Quebec to change a law that restricts the number of students who are allowed to attend the province's public English schools.

A class-action lawsuit brought forth by 25 families challenged a Quebec law which they say is unconstitutional because it forces many English-speaking students into the French language school system. Students must meet extensive criteria laid out by the provincial government in order to qualify to attend one of Quebec's publicly-funded English language schools.

Students who do not meet the criteria must either pay tuition at a private English-language school or else attend the publicly-funded French schools. The Supreme Court ruling has overturned this provincial law, and has given Quebec one year to come up with a new policy.

Maybe this is just the Anglophone in me, but isn't Quebec our french province? Its most basic reason for being is to preserve and foster the French culture. It was not created in hopes of being a place where English-speaking people can go about their lives as they would in Ontario or British Columbia. I am left with the question, why would someone who does not speak French and has no desire to be immersed in French move to Quebec? There are nine other provinces that offer publicly-funded English education; why are people targeting the one province with an actual justification for not funding English education? The number of people in Quebec who are fully bilingual is far more than any other province, except maybe New Brunswick, and clearly demonstrate that the French language system in place is not as negative as it is being made out to be.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

No More Excuses

Halifax archbishop Anthony Mancini addressed his parishioners on Sunday about the disturbing story of Bishop Raymond Lahey, which broke earlier this week.

Sunday marked the first time that parishioners across the Maritimes met since Lahey, former bishop of the Antigonish diocese, turned himself in to Ottawa police. He is charged with possession and importation of child pornography, and is currently out on $9 000 bail.

"You think, and many people think, that all we've got to do is throw more money at it, throw more structure at it, throw more psychiatrists at it, and at the end of it all we're going to come up with this wonderful, perfect structure. And you know what? That's never going to happen," Mancini said to parishioners on Sunday.

"So is it gonna happen again? Yeah, of course it's gonna happen again. What all we can do is try to prevent and try to make sure that we put up all the safeguards that we can possibly put up."

What kind of person is okay to just accept priest perversion as a reasonable situation? Mancini argues that there is next to nothing that people can do to prevent pedophiles from entering the priesthood, but he is missing the most obvious solution to the problem; let priests have sex.

The more forbidden something is, the stronger the pull towards what the mind sees as 'forbidden fruit.' By enforcing celibacy, the Roman Catholic Church only forces eroticism and sexual desires of its clergy under the surface, where they stew and ferment. In my opinion, it's these pent-up sexualities that manifest themselves in extreme and perverted behaviour.

Whenever news breaks about priests molesting children or watching child pornography, it is rarely (if ever) priests outside of the Roman Catholic Church. Why? Because reverends and ministers and preachers are allowed to marry and have loving, healthy sexual relations. In marriage there is an outlet for sexual desires, and they do not become evil and twisted as so often seems to happen within the minds of Roman Catholic clergy.