A national debate in Canada on Climate Change?

Posted 8.21.19

SHAWVILLE, QC | National polls consistently register that "action on climate change" is one of the top concerns of Canadian voters, even Conservatives (although with less gusto). The polls results vary with place, time, class, education, income, age, affiliations, and occupation, but, clearly, the issue remains high on Canadians' all-governments-must-do list.

Likewise in societies from much of Europe to China and the US. CNN announced a debate specifically on that subject. MSNBC is planning something similar. Yet in Canada, our self-proclaimed national broadcaster says no. Not exactly no, but "no debate". "We'll cover the topic as we do any important subject," to paraphrase the Mother (CBC).

Leadnow, a crowd-funded advocacy movement, has launched a campaign pushing the CBC for a 'National Leaders Debate on Climate Change". Leadnow, a bottom-up organization, has responded to CBC's demure by putting pressure on CBC's bigwigs in their own fancy digs -- posters apparently surround the Toronto headquarters and phone and email messaging is, apparently, flooding the broadcaster.

CBC-radio has two legs up over everyone else, being publicly funded and, essentially, without competition. CBC-radio is sometimes compared to America's PBS -- largely by those who do not listen to PBS. Given CBC's near-monopoly status, especially in rural communities, and given its taxpayer base, aren't we ordinary people justified in expecting something as significant as a Leaders' Climate Debate? Soon?

If we can't expect something as important to all Canadians as this, what can we expect?

Let's not examine the role of CBC's management, apparently blessed for life by the Harper administration, as his smooth alternative to just shutting down the broadcaster. Talk to Harperites; many still want the end of CBC!

And certainly we don't have space to look at CBC's claims of journalistic professionalism as assurances we will be satisfied by "coverage". No debate needed? -- oh-oh, listen to CBC-radio's retreat under the rock called "storytelling", which it labels as journalism.

Canada has a federal election within -- weeks! CBC "coverage" has been largely competing sound-bites from Liberal and Conservative leaders. If this meets the Mother's standards of journalism, our election "coverage" will be horse-race results on election night.

Anyone have a clue what the People's Party proposes? The NDP's "Green Deal"? For variety, we're given Ms May's soundbites on behalf of … what? What was it she said yesterday? Who knows the real content of even the Front Runners' climate plans? Let alone Jason Kenney's or Doug Ford's? BC's Horgan -- what do we know of his government's actions on climate? Some National Broadcaster.

And, lastly, when CBC does arouse itself and organizes a national debate, let's insist loudly of both the Corporation and the party leaders, that "promises", "sincere commitments", "solemn pledges", and so on, all without details and time-lines, be banned. Politicians have made farces of their own solemn pledges.

Let's insist CBC do its job and present real content in a real Leaders' Debate on Climate Change.


Copyright © 2019 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles 8.21.19