A Political Party Supports NGO New Media

Posted on Wednesday, October 26 at 13:06 by gaulois
LC: What is the NDP new media policy, if any?

YG: We have not developed a New Media policy yet. We have to look carefully at government involvement in order to protect the principles the New Media was founded on: independence and unfettered judgment.

LC: Does the NDP recognize a role to the New Media NGO sector in the renewal of la Francophonie? For instance, should renewal of FHQs be driven primarly within the NDP party policymaking apparatus?

YG: The NDP's role would be a facilitator, not a leader. It’s up to the FHQs to build bridges across Canada, and the New Media is key to this bridge building. The NDP has always stood in support of the vulnerable groups of our society, as well as staunch defender of bilingualism.

Question #2 set - need for media reforms amongst FHQs
LC: Le Canard Réincarné has been claiming during its first six months of operations that our official FHQs medias (TV, radio and press) have been under a Tutelle serving us mainly with Heritage Canada propaganda. Analysis of public affairs has been very weak. All the FHQs media people are subsidized to follow the party line and freedom of expression is seriously curtailed. Internet new media usage (of French) amongst FHQs has been lagging. This has overall contributed to disengaging the community toward further assimilation on the English side where there is competition to the subsidized monopoly, certainly on the next generation of FHQs.

LC:The NDP has fought to maintain existing funding to the Société Radio Canada (SRC) without asking for changes. Does it mean that the NDP does not see a need for media reforms amongst FHQs?

YG: The NDP has never been in power federally, so the last word on FHQs and CBC rests in the hands of the current Liberal government. We do not see a fundamental opposition between Radio Canada and the New Media. The New Media has always prided itself on being grassroots and in touch with the community it serves. The federal government has to support the CBC as a public good and a symbol of national identity. The New Media prides itself on being independent and reflects the diversity across the country. The federal government could play the role of a facilitator.

LC: The NDP has also been vocal on protection of Canadian content with the CRTC but does not appear to have a New Media policy (see first question). Does the NDP see need for media reforms within the CBC too (similar to the SRC ones)?

YC: Increasing the accountability of the CBC is perfectly in line with our principles.

Question #3 set - need for democratic reforms amongst FHQs
LC: Le Canard Réincarné has also been claiming during its first six months of operations that the official francophone federations' "spokespeople" for francophones living in minority environments in Canada are out of touch with their communities, live in a bubble, do not consult, do not have democratic instances, do not have a participatory Internet presence, do not renew themselves, have in fact disengaged the community toward further assimilation by mainly acting as lobby groups for special groups of interest wanting to provide services that the community did not have a say in. Public sector unions have also conducted lobbying.

Is the NDP public policy on la Francophonie based on what these special groups of interest have lobbied for? What are the other inputs considered in the making of your public policy? Do you see needs for democratic reforms amongst these francophones similar to the ones you have supported for First Nations? Has the NDP ever challenged the "spokespeople" claims on their legitimacy -vs- unilaterally supporting the Canada-community agreements?

YG: The NDP is doing what it can to accommodate the vast array of communities that are very active in uniting their members and constituents as the FHQs are. We understand that there are a lot of problems in terms of democratic representation and legitimacy. It is extremely difficult for the NDP or any political party to be constituently reflective and on top of every issue and problem affecting us all. We are doing our best, given our limited resources to work on these issues, in the context of a very volatile minority government; and we hope that the FHQs will come up with concrete proposals to fully assess their needs and develop solutions.

Question #4 set - access to tools needed to preserve and develop their language and culture
LC: Le Canard Réincarné does not believe that a language and a culture can be preserved without an economic breathing space (independent of the public sector). This is to some extent the same message as the Parti Québécois sovereignty one. The NDP policy on FHQs does not appear to recognize the need for an economic breathing space required to preserve and develop a language and a culture. Le Canard also believes that the official language act has relegated the role of FHQs to public servants, thereby fracturing the FHQ's community by allowing some of its members to live in a bubble and disengaging the community toward further assimilation.

Does the NDP really think that the official languages act (or extensions to it under S-3) on bilingualism or delivering government services in French will help preserve and develop their language and culture? Does the NDP not see a role of independent media and democratic instances as tools FHQs desparately need to improve their situation?

YG: We support your ideas. The New Media must be independent and their role is to serve and protect grassroots democracy. It takes much more than legislation to ensure a thriving a prosperous French culture in Canada. Parliament can facilitate but should not dictate. It's up to the FHQs to be the masters of their destiny, and the NDP`s role is to facilitate and reflect their best interest.

Question #5 set - NDP constituency -vs- FHQs
LC: Although the NDP has been vocal in the plight of First Nations minorities toward increasing self-governance, it has never been vocal on the one of FHQs minorities.

Is it possible that taking a similar stance in favor of increased self-governance amongst FHQs minorities would cost votes to the NDP in the right-wing section of your party, similarly to the stance you have taken on First Nations? It would also not likely gain votes in Quebec where the Bloc is expected to dominate. In addition, the FHQ's vote is also mainly irrelevant as their numbers are so small. Could you explain why the NDP has not been able to articulate a more precise policy on FHQs so far? Does the NDP not recognize that there is a very serious problem of assimilation amongst FHQs, certainly in Western Canada? Some have used the word slow and polite genocide. Some have said "it is a fact of life." (I.e., Jean Chrétien.)

Finally, has the NDP ever challenged the Bloc for not having a coherent policy on FHQs??? Perhaps the NDP can't do it, because it does not have one yet in the first place and do need one. Will the NDP lead or precede this policy, even if the Bloc also has to deal with the issue of having a coherent policy on protected minorities in Quebec too?

YG: Does the New Media need the NDP to tell them what they consider there role to be? The New Media for FHQs must define their own role and show the government that their contribution to the francophone community is worth supporting. Culture also takes place in the community, at home and in the family, and in the workplace. The New Media must support these institutions and this is what the NDP has always done. We are always willing to work on issues that are important to Canadians, such as equality, bread and butter issues, discrimination, language and minority rights, in practical terms. We will gladly help. [Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on October 27, 2005]

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