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We Choose CBC Campaign: The Fight for Canadian Journalism
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We Choose CBC Campaign: The Fight for Canadian Journalism

Published by
Journey Magazine
July 4th, 2019

We Choose CBC-Peterborough is advocating to make the CBC and the general state of Canadian journalism a campaign issue in the October federal election.

Working solo in a home art studio can be lonely.

Kady Denton, a children’s book illustrator and author knows this only too well — but having CBC Radio for company for the past 35 years has made all the difference.

“It picks up the mind. It’s there for me and it’s helpful as I work. You feel a little less alone and it gives me a connection to the world. I am still linked. I am still part of everything,” said Denton, who lives in Nogojiwanong/Peterborough, Ontario, in a recent interview with JOURNEY Magazine.

She wants that experience to continue for others across Canada. As a lead organizer for We Choose CBC-Peterborough, she is advocating to make the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the general state of Canadian journalism a campaign issue in the October federal election.

It’s an endeavor in which she’s been engaged since she first moved to Peterborough from Manitoba 15 years go. Her crusade started when she heard Dean Del Mastro, then-MP for Peterborough and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage say “maybe it’s time Canada got out of the broadcasting business”.

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That was the catalyst Denton needed. Horrified, she got in touch with some other local people and, at her home’s dining room table early one morning, set out to make a difference.

“From that little fledgling group, a first assembly of people was formed that would speak out for the CBC in this riding,” she said. “I have never lived anywhere where people have got so fired up about an issue. It certainly came to the attention of the Stephen Harper government and also Friends of Canadian Broadcasting (FCB).”

The FCB is a national, non-partisan citizens’ group of more than 360,000 supporters across the country which champions funding and resources for an independent CBC and Canadian journalism. It asked the Peterborough group to join its campaign during the 2015 federal election.

The FCB is targeting 22 swing ridings in this election, with Peterborough/Kawartha one of them. The local group has a dozen members on its steering committee. It’s been handing out petitions to be signed, and asking people to put up lawn signs. Members will also be at the Memorial Centre Saturday market with information in July and August.

“Putting up a lawn sign is a person’s way of saying I support a strong, public broadcasting network in Canada and I support Canadian journalism,” said Denton.

“We want to elect a government supportive of Canadian culture and one that will stand up to the terrific pressure of the foreign tech giants,” she continued. “They’re getting bolder and bolder all the time.”

“We ask voters to look at the policies of all the parties. Who will defend objective journalism? Other countries are cracking down on foreign internet media giants, why isn’t Canada?”

Companies like Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (the FAANGs) are taking advertising from Canadian companies that, in the past, went to local media. And the FAANGS are not paying Canadian taxes. Since 2008, almost 250 Canadian news outlets have closed or merged.

“That’s why our campaign is saying ‘don’t put Canadian media at a disadvantage. Level the playing field’,” said Denton.

The necessary “simple” tax changes have been well-received by the Senate and widely discussed and supported in the journalism field, she said.

“It isn’t insurmountable. That’s where the local campaigns come in. If they (governments) see people standing up, then they’ll respond. So that’s our role – to help make people’s wishes known by giving them lawn signs and information. It’s an important part of the democratic process.”

© Journey Magazine