Letter to CRTC re: Sun News

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NOTE: here are directions to submit your letter on-line (the actual example letter follows):

  • Go to the CRTC’s online “Participate in a Consultation” submission page
  • Click “I Agree” > Next
  • Click “Option 1″ > Next
  • On the “Choose Applicant/Licensee” page, scroll way down to (and click on) “2012-0687-1: Sun News General Partnership” > Next
  • On the “Submit a Comment” page, first choose “Opposition”, then type/paste your comments** in the “Enter Comment” field (and attach any files you think are relevant, e.g. PDF of an article that highlights Sun News’ racism, etc., which is optional) > Next
  • Click on “Do not want to appear” (at the April 23 hearings), and confirm “I agree” > Next
  • Click “NO” re: designated representative > Fill out the “Intervener/Respondent Information” (your name/address/email) > you must ALSO click on the bottom checkbox that says “I will be sending a copy of my comments to the applicant”, in order to continue the submission process (this is mandatory, and probably the CRTC equivalent of legal “discovery”) > Next
  • Confirm whether everything you entered is correct, and whether or not you want a copy of your submission by email > SUBMIT

– See more at: http://politicsrespun.org/2013/02/how-to-petition-the-crtc-against-sun-news-mandatory-carriage/#sthash.jUbt3t91.dpuf

SAMPLE LETTER

RE: Opposition to Mandatory Carriage RE: 2012-0687-1: Sun News General Partnership

I am writing to express my very strong objection to the following application:

10. TVA Group Inc. and Sun Media Corporations, partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Sun News General Partnership Across Canada Application 2012-0687-1

Application by TVA Group Inc. and Sun Media Corporation, partners in a general partnership carrying on business as Sun News General Partnership, for mandatory distribution on the digital and analog basic service pursuant to an order issued under section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act of the national English-language specialty national news Category C service Sun TV News.

The Commission notes that the programming of this service is devoted to English- and French-language mainstream national news and information programming. The applicant also provides updated news reports every 120 minutes, as required by Conditions of licence for competitive Canadian specialty services operating in the genres of mainstream sports and national news – Implementation of the Accessibility Policy and other matters, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2009-562-1, 18 June 2010.

The licensee states that it meets all the criteria set out in paragraph 11 of Criteria for assessing applications for mandatory distribution of its service on the digital basic service, Broadcasting Regulatory Policy CRTC 2010-629, 27 August 2010 and proposes that its service be offered for a per subscriber monthly wholesale rate of $0.09 in the French-language market and $0.18 in the English-language market.

As a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose abortion as a reproductive option, I am particularly concerned because of information posted by the Huffington Post regarding Sun News’ allies in the anti-choice movement in the US:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/23/sun-news-abortion-crtc-_n_2535614.html

It is my view that Sun News should not be licensed to broadcast in Canada. It has shown itself to be a source of hateful attacks on Canadians who hold values and views that differ from those of its corporate owners. Sun News degrades the quality of public discussion by making abusive behaviour and expressions of hatred its every-day modus operandi cloaked as national discourse.

Furthermore, I believe that Sun News fails to meet the requirements of paragraph 11 of the Criteria for approval of applications for mandatory distribution on the digital basic service. Sun News should not be any given further means to distribute its bullying rhetoric to Canadians.

Thank you for your consideration,
[YOUR NAME]

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Privilege Safely Stowed. Now Can We Talk About Abortion?

Guilt goes a long way to getting results. Any Catholic priest can tell you that. To say nothing of those of us who grew up under the yoke of Catholic guilt.

I cast off that yoke years ago and I’m better for it, but guilt, insidious as it is still has power over me. And I resent that in a big way. I think that’s why I cringe at the insistence of some within the feminist and prochoice movement to constantly hammer away at the idea of privilege and its inherent dangers.

March For Life flyer from St Paul Catholic High School and voting station

I received a Facebook reminder yesterday for the pro-choice presence on Parliament Hill in response to the annual bullshit March for Life. I read the list of issues contained in the message (colonialism, ageism, dis/ability rights, education) each stated as being a “reproductive justice issue”.

*heavy sigh*

What I’m about to say is not going to be popular.

*sharp intake of breath*

Sometimes I feel that the need to appear progressive, cloaked in a show of inclusiveness, overshadows and ultimately endangers what we’re really trying to accomplish.

There. I said it.

*release of breath*

The issue is abortion access. If you say you understand abortion access and lack thereof, you must, or at least you should, understand that it is those who lack privilege (in all its variations, orientations, identities and degrees therein) in our society who have the most to lose when abortion access is limited/eliminated. That says it all.

But that’s not what I’m witnessing of late.

Instead we see the real issue: abortion/choice/reproductive and bodily autonomy piled on and confused with other, no less important, issues.

As a movement, we cannot do it all. Indeed, we do an injustice to all concerned if we even try. We also alienate people who would like to join the cause but don’t dare because they are being lead to believe they take on the weight of the world if they do.

What we get- indeed what we have- is a fractious group who are incapable of the focus required to move the issue of abortion forward. The resulting vacuum of coherence and over-arching vision in turn gets filled by right-wing zealots who do have the focus, and who organize effectively enough to rally a vote for a Conservative majority. They have a coherent vision, and it’s now frighteningly within their reach.

There is no doubt that the feminist movement of the past got many things wrong, not the least of which was a lack of inclusiveness and more than a smidge of elitism. This is indisputable. But have we so little faith in ourselves as progressive people and in the evolution of our movement that we need to constantly make a show of listing the marginalized?

Frankly, I find it beyond tacky.

We can be allies (a word I avoid because we are NOT at war and we minimize those affected by war when we use it), we can represent a myriad of voices, and we can welcome all into the fold and- here’s a novel idea- have them speak for themselves.

What we cannot do is misrepresent what we’re actually about. We have done exactly this and to the detriment of women’s lives. Guilt is a powerful thing, but it rarely brings about real change.

Only hard work can do that.

Stephen Harper Will Not Re-Open the Abortion Debate and Why That Scares the Crap Out of Me

A few years ago I was watching a biography of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. They interviewed political friends and foes alike on the Little Guy’s political acumen. One of those interviewees was Stephen Harper. While no fan of Chrétien, Harper did talk about how impressed he was with how wily Chrétien had been on his election promise and subsequent flip-flop on axing the much-hated GST.

He made much ado about how Chrétien, while giving the impression while in opposition and on the campaign trail that he would cut the GST once elected, never actually said the words, in sequence, “Once elected Prime Minister I will abolish the Goods and Services Tax (GST)”. Harper pointed out how Chrétien has uttered many variations on the theme “We hate it and we’ll cut it” while never specifying what ‘it’ was.

As all Canadians know, Chrétien did become Prime Minister and he did NOT, in fact, abolish the GST. He had never really said he would, Harper said. Not really.

I never forgot this grudging praise for such a slimy move from a political opponent. Oh, yes- the tactic made a big impression on our current Prime Minister back in the day. Harper is many things but he’s no dummy. He recognized the bait and switch as a stroke of political (deceptive) genius.

And he took notes.

Fast-forward to today. Federal election number 41 has delivered a majority Conservative government in Canada. The people have spoken. While it’s the outcome I predicted, it is most definitely not the outcome I had hoped for or that is good for Canada.

I want to find a silver lining (possibilities of electoral reform, of grassroots uprising, the death of apathy and uniting of the left) in all of this, because there is hope. Always. But right now, I need to feel out the dark spaces into which this election has forced me. I’m scared senseless and deeply, deeply sad. The Canadian electoral system, such as it is, has permitted the political party loaded (not entirely but disproportionately) with sexist, racist, misogynist, bigoted, contemptible, paternalistic, cynical and well, just plain mean MPs to win fair and square.

Good grief, MomForChoice! That’s awful.

I know!

As feminists and pro-choice advocates, what can we expect from this government in the next five years?

I’m glad you asked.

Back to Stephen Harper and his parliamentary education. We have heard him repeat time and time again, especially on the campaign trail, “As long as I am Prime Minister, we will not re-open the abortion debate.” Now think on what he learned from Chrétien’s GST deceit. What conclusion can we draw?

No, he or his whipped party member won’t re-open the abortion debate. In their minds, there is no debate! They oppose abortion. Period. Full stop. End of discussion that will never be had.

There will be no debate, but there will be legislated changes to abortion laws and laws governing access to reproductive services. They have a majority, now. They can do this.

Harper will not re-open the abortion debate. He said so himself.

I want to know what you think. Am I over-reacting? Am I fear-mongering? Will you join me in this fight to preserve women’s reproductive rights in this kick-ass country of ours?