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Joined: 04 Oct 2006
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 9:12 am    Post subject: Globe: A dark time for local journalism Reply with quote

From last month, but still an interesting opinion piece.
Even more topical as the Ontario Election Looms

This is a dark time for local journalism.

Dozens of community newsrooms were swapped and closed by the country’s two biggest newspaper companies late last year, a deal now being investigated by the Competition Bureau.

An increasingly troubled business model has left big markets like Thunder Bay with bare-bones reporting resources that leave local citizens uninformed.

This has been compounded by attacks on the credibility of the profession, especially in the United States. President Donald Trump has given ammunition to anyone looking to discredit pesky reporters by bleating the phrase “fake news.”

This is the climate Ontario Liberal MPP Bob Delaney waltzed into with his recent attacks on his local paper, the Mississauga News.

The dust-up began when the News published a story accurately reporting comments Mr. Delaney made at a constituent meeting to discuss the provincial budget last week.

In a testy exchange with a News reporter about rising debt, the MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville said, “With respect, that’s bullshit.”

“We have tripled [the debt] and we’re proud of it, because we can afford it,” he went on to say.

Faced with published evidence of his words, Mr. Delaney went on talk radio and said the News had their story wrong. He also ran a Facebook ad attacking the News for their “seriously inaccurate and incomplete” story and suggesting that those who believed it were “neo-cons.”

Unfortunately for him, the News had tape. Their recording confirmed the original story.

It takes a politician of a truly adamantine shamelessness to lie in the face of recorded evidence, and Mr. Delaney is no Donald Trump.

He has apologized to the News and admitted their story was accurate.


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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in Chatham-Kent, a "municipality" ten times the size of Toronto with one-tenth the population, that runs from Lake St. Clair to Lake Erie. Several towns were treated roughly, put into a 'regional government' so they could pay more government salaries. So we folks out here, where there are no streetlights, help Chatham-Kent subsidize a class of government workers that only hires white men if they can't help it. They're the nastiest people in these towns.

It's natural units are small towns like Blenheim, and Tilbury, and lots of places you have never heard of -- little towns of 5000 or so, each with their own issues. One wants garbage collections, and another wants the ditches brought up to grade. But there is no central community. And no media! Zero.

It means all kinds of weird things happen in government, at the administrative level. I called them about an old willow that is rotting and threatened my garage. They told me it wasn't their problem. (It did take out my garage. They gave me 30 days to clean it up.) But when my neighbour let his 12year old hypo-allergenic doggie sit on the porch, the municipal PETA enforcement officer is here, going nose-to-nose with him and threatening a $400 fine next time. So rules that make sense in a city are imposed where they have no place ... we run a big police department, but other than drugs, which the police are useless against, but the crimes consist of an air conditioner stolen from somebody's garage.

But our water utility is buying into other water companies, and generally treats us like they're a German pension fund. And there is no media involved! Nobody knows what's going on, and there is no sense of a Chatham-Kent community. In as much as there is an expensive little paper in Chatham, a weekly, it is bland and covers pee-wee sports rather than city council.

Just sayin ... media are important. It creates a sense of community, and it can hold the local 'administration to account -- but that isn't happening. The internet stuff is in the older communities, and the administration can do what it wants by keeping all these places divided. They all have different issues, and none of them get satisfied, so far as I can see. The place is run from Queess Park.

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PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2018 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that is a good point.

There is no accountability to the smaller communities within the "larger" scope of a riding. The lack of media draws attention away from smaller communities and limits any secondary accountability to Government representation.

While I do not agree with much the Ontario Government has done as of late, taking the recommendations of the Far North Electoral Boundaries Commission and adding two new ridings in the North was something I was in favor of for the reason of community representation.

Granted the populations are under 40k per riding but cover
294,083 and 254,894 square kilometers respectively and having a single MPP cover over half a million square KMs previously would have provided a challenge to provide representation to all corners of the riding.

Your example of Chatham-Kent is smaller example but an apt one;
The Chatham-Kent—Leamington riding is 2,000 square KMs with a single MPP to represent all the communities within it.

Granted the population is 110,000 but its a 110,000 spread over multiple communities as oppose to some suburban ridings where an MPP is representing a similar population within one community in an area that is 1/100th the size.
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Globe: A dark time for local journalism

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