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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Canada Does Not End in Nova Scotia

Can you recall reading a Globe and Mail news story on the impact of Air Canada abandoning its London flights from Newfoundland and Labrador? How about a National Post story on the plight of Newfoundland and Labrador fishing communities? Do you recall seeing a CTV or CBC National news story about the fight to save certain Newfoundland and Labrador families from deportation? No, well you aren’t alone and it isn’t surprising, in fact it’s quite common. The problem is that the rest of Canada doesn’t even realize how little this Province is considered when it comes to reporting on the national situation.

I’m not talking about venomous commentaries where Newfoundlanders are portrayed as ignorant lazy slobs or where the Premier is likened to a vicious dictator, no, indeed those are quite common. What I’m referring to is an honest to goodness news story, sans commentary, where a local Newfoundland and Labrador story with a national link is reported, rather than one from Ontario, Quebec or points west. Places where all it takes is for a local politician to catch a bad sinus infection and banner headlines begin to roll.

A few months ago the Portnoy family was seeking refuge in a church basement and people in Newfoundland and Labrador lobbied in force to delay that deportation. Nobody outside the Province noticed. Mr. Portnoy has already been deported and his family is still in the basement. While this was going on other families in similar circumstances, on the West Coast of Canada, were suffering the same fate. The national news services were all over those, but not in Newfoundland and Labrador.

When farmers or autoworkers or loggers are struggling to survive in Ontario or Quebec you can read about it in any paper and see it on national news coverage day after day after day. When fishermen or fish plant workers or loggers in Newfoundland and Labrador are suffering nobody knows outside the Province itself.

There are always rare exceptions to the situation however. Take for example a May 31 article in the National Post concerning the planned cancellation of EI extensions by the federal government. The article opened with two short paragraphs explaining the government’s plans and immediately followed with a commentary from Earle McCurdy, president of the Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union in Newfoundland and Labrador.

The comments of Mr. McCurdy go on for several paragraphs. I can only assume the reporter or editor on this piece thought to him or her self, “Hmmm. We need a commentary on cutting back EI benefits. Call someone in Newfoundland for an interview”

It’s just this sort of mentality and stereotyping that has gotten under the skin of so many Newfoundlanders and Labradorean’s for decades. Yet it continues. As far as these news services are concerned Newfoundland and Labrador is not relative to any national issue unless it deals with so called government handouts or unemployment. This type of thinking is one of the reasons that a lot of people in the province continue to feel that they are not a part of the Dominion and haven’t been since 1949.

The catch 22 here is that even though many Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans feel this way, because of the total disregard of Canada’s national news services, nobody outside the province even realizes a problem exists.

22 comments:

WJM said...

A few months ago the Portnoy family was seeking refuge in a church basement and people in Newfoundland and Labrador lobbied in force to delay that deportation. Nobody outside the Province noticed.

Sorry to inconvenience your narrative, but articles on the Portnoys have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Halifax Daily News, Sault Ste. Marie Star, Cape Breton Post, Charlottetown Guardian, Prince George Citizen, Peterborough Examiner, Niagara Falls Review, North Bay Nugget, Sudbury Star, Whitehorse Star, Montreal Gazette, Truro Daily News, Kitchener Record, Victoria Times - Colonist, Timmins Daily Press, Barrie Examiner, Brantford Expositor, New Glasgow Evening News, Winnipeg Free Press, and Moose Jaw Times Herald, as well as CanadaEast.com and national CBC news programming.

When farmers or autoworkers or loggers are struggling to survive in Ontario or Quebec you can read about it in any paper and see it on national news coverage day after day after day. When fishermen or fish plant workers or loggers in Newfoundland and Labrador are suffering nobody knows outside the Province itself.

Funny... loggers in other provinces say the same thing in reverse.

Patriot said...

You knew of course that I would disagree with you WJM so I won't disappoint you.

The only national paper you mentioned in your comment was the Mop and Pail. The others do not bill themselves as national papers. As for the portnoy case I will not try to argue that the GM did not do an article but I will say that I certainly never saw one and never saw anything on the national news services about the case (and I looked believe me).

This tells me that either they didn't do it or if they did it was such minor back page small piece that it was easily missed. In comparison some of the cases out west were front and center for days on end and made multiple NATIONAL news services.

As for loggers in other provinces I doubt very much they say the same thing in reverse. How could they possibly complain about the news attention that NL loggers get when they don't get any. When was the last time you heard a story about NL loggers (outside NL that is and very rarely here)? I have heard stories about BC loggers many times and yes, I admit I did not mention BC in the article (for brevity's sake) but they, and those in other parts of Canada, get much more news time than anyone here be they butcher, baker or candlestick maker. (not counting seal hunters of course but then we go back to the NL stereotypes again don't we.)

Anonymous said...

Also don't try and claim that Newfoundlanders all support their illegal actions.

I for one, whos family came to Canada the legal and expensive way, completly oppose this criminal getting a short cut.

WJM said...

As for loggers in other provinces I doubt very much they say the same thing in reverse. How could they possibly complain about the news attention that NL loggers get when they don't get any.

NL loggers?

NL fishermen.

but they, and those in other parts of Canada, get much more news time than anyone here be they butcher, baker or candlestick maker. (not counting seal hunters of course but then we go back to the NL stereotypes again don't we.)

Have you done this analysis of national news?

Care to share it?

What are the percentages?

WJM said...

You said:

Nobody outside the Province noticed.

The Globe and Mail, Halifax Daily News, Sault Ste. Marie Star, Cape Breton Post, Charlottetown Guardian, Prince George Citizen, Peterborough Examiner, Niagara Falls Review, North Bay Nugget, Sudbury Star, Whitehorse Star, Montreal Gazette, Truro Daily News, Kitchener Record, Victoria Times - Colonist, Timmins Daily Press, Barrie Examiner, Brantford Expositor, New Glasgow Evening News, Winnipeg Free Press, and Moose Jaw Times Herald, as well as CanadaEast.com and national CBC news programming, and their readers and audiences, are all "outside the province".

You are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's just becasue nothing really new or interesting ever happens in Newfoundland. It's always about the fishery, the unemployment ,the fishery, and oh yeah, the fishery.

NL-ExPatriate said...

The media is one thing but our political process and system is inherantly pro-Ontario with 106 seats out of 308. Which is all well and good for the house of commons but there is no equality anywhere in our political system nowhere.

Not in the senate not in the supeme court nowhere. In fact the supreme court which is supposed to be blind and outside political pressure has a mandated 3 seats for Quebec and 3 seats for ontario leaving 3 seats to be divied up amongst the rest of the colonies of ont. Of which NL is one and has never in it's 57 years in this Colonial/Federation had a supreme court judge appointed from this colony.

It's all about perception and accepted norms. The perception in Upper Canada is that NL is a drain on the country as a whole when the reality is Canada wouldn't be half of what it is today if it wasn't for NL.

Trade concessions for the fish resource on the continental shelf, The iron ore in Labrador which Cd Howe recommended be hidden from NL until we had signed the dotted line of Confederation, Air Space, Upper churchill, Voiseys bay, just to name a few.

What did we get in return? Lost our RR which we built without slave labour unlike Canada, Continental shelf unclaimed mainly because it would mean a loss of trade concessions for Ontario, Worlds largest food source destroyed by bottom trawling/dragging, No power corridor to sell our Upper and lower churchill power, substandard ferry service which is an impediment to developing a manufacturing industry due to high fees, many parts of our Republic still isolated and only accesible by seasonal ferry, South shore and Coastal Labrador, outmigration with no end in sight.

No sir joining with Canada either willingly or underhandedly hasn't been good for NL nor does it look like it will improve anytime in the near future mainly due to the political system which is inherantly geared towards favoring Ontario and centralization with little or no equality for the rest of the colonies. Canada is a flawed political process and will never change until the political system changes.
MouseLand pretty much says it all.

WJM said...

When was the last time you heard a story about NL loggers (outside NL that is and very rarely here)? I have heard stories about BC loggers many times and yes, I admit I did not mention BC in the article (for brevity's sake) but they, and those in other parts of Canada, get much more news time than anyone here be they butcher, baker or candlestick maker. (not counting seal hunters of course but then we go back to the NL stereotypes again don't we.)

For curiosity's sake, I tried searching a Canadian news CD-ROM service, which searches the full text of pretty well every English-language daily paper in the country, for the following searches. They are expressed in Boolean logic, with the number of "hits" matching each search following:

(fishermen OR fisheries OR fishery) AND Newfoundland: 34789
(fishermen OR fisheries OR fishery) AND Quebec: 23402
(fishermen OR fisheries OR fishery) AND “Nova Scotia”: 22870
(fishermen OR fisheries OR fishery) AND “British Columbia”: 15161
(fishermen OR fisheries OR fishery) AND “New Brunswick”: 13966
(fishermen OR fisheries OR fishery) AND “Prince Edward Island”: 8019

(loggers OR forestry OR "pulp mill" OR "paper mill") AND “British Columbia”: 18184
(loggers OR forestry OR "pulp mill" OR "paper mill") AND Quebec: 15091
(loggers OR forestry OR "pulp mill" OR "paper mill") AND “Nova Scotia”: 5431
(loggers OR forestry OR "pulp mill" OR "paper mill") AND Newfoundland: 5381
(loggers OR forestry OR "pulp mill" OR "paper mill") AND “New Brunswick”: 5005
(loggers OR forestry OR "pulp mill" OR "paper mill") AND “Prince Edward Island”: 2247

Three things jump out:

1) Fisheries in ALL provinces that I tested for generated more news, going back to about the mid-90s, than forestry in that province;

2) Forestry/Newfoundland generated more hits than in New Brunswick and nearly as many as Nova Scotia;

3) Of all the resource/province combinations I tested for, fisheries/Newfoundland generated the most hits.

Patriot said...

You are good at listing numbers WJM, but how many of those "news hits" you identified were in National Papers as opposed to local and how many of those hits were simply because some minor mention of NL along with other places was in the article. I suspect most are local papwers like the ones you mentioned in your other comment:

Halifax Daily News, Sault Ste. Marie Star, Cape Breton Post, Charlottetown Guardian, Prince George Citizen, Peterborough Examiner, Niagara Falls Review, North Bay Nugget, Sudbury Star, Whitehorse Star, Montreal Gazette, Truro Daily News, Kitchener Record, Victoria Times - Colonist, Timmins Daily Press, Barrie Examiner, Brantford Expositor, New Glasgow Evening News, Winnipeg Free Press, and Moose Jaw Times Herald

I can search the web and find references to NL Loggers where the only information about those people are those two words and the rest of the story describes someone elsewhere or is pretty much focused on something else.

Your research techniques are slipping Wallace.

WJM said...

You are good at listing numbers WJM, but how many of those "news hits" you identified were in National Papers as opposed to local

What difference does it make? The question is whether the issues are getting attention in the rest of Canada, and including the local papers paints a much more accurate picture of that: how many people in the Sault read the Sault Star vs. the Globe or Post?

and how many of those hits were simply because some minor mention of NL along with other places was in the article.

No idea, but that problem is going to affect ALL of those searches in exactly the same way.

Your research techniques are slipping Wallace.

You are free to improve upon my research.

Please do, and report back here with some solid numbers.

BNB said...

"I tried searching a Canadian news CD-ROM service, which searches the full text of pretty well every English-language daily paper in the country"

Just curious WJM - would this be something that you have at work? What sort of use would your department have for this? Sort of makes you wonder what big brother is up too eh? And then you challenge Myles to improve upon your research - I doubt Myles' has the kind of resources you appear to have. Who's paying for that?

Patriot said...

To WJM:

First, thanks for essentially admitting that your research numbers are suspect at best.

Second, my commentary was about NATIONAL news services so local coverage in other areas is not a factor.

Finally, BNB makes a good point. You obviously have access to some interesting research tools, why is that and who is paying for those?

WJM said...

Second, my commentary was about NATIONAL news services so local coverage in other areas is not a factor.

Yes it is, by your own standards. You said:

Nobody outside the Province noticed. ... The national news services were all over those, but not in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Those local daily papers are somebodies outside the province, and they usually carried Canadian Press wire stories which is a "national news service".

You obviously have access to some interesting research tools, why is that

Why? Because I have liked doing research and digging in libraries since I was four years old and didn't even know the word "research".

and who is paying for those?

Me in some cases (I have several cool subscriptions), the public library board in the others.

WJM said...

First, thanks for essentially admitting that your research numbers are suspect at best.

They are all EQUALLY suspect. The limits to the accuracy of the research affects all of those search results in the same way.

Don't look at the absolute figures; look at how they relate to one another. That's all I did.

Robert said...

Interesting hobby. I have the same set of seach tools but I do media monitoring. Never knew many people with the money or interest to splurge for such access.

Suspect but interesting.

WJM said...

Nothing suspect at all. The really expensive stuff, I go to the liberry and access; the less expensive stuff, I spend a couple hundred dollars a year to subscribe to. Well, well, well, worth it.

Anonymous said...

anonymous,wjm,you totally piss me off every time I read your comments(if that's what you would call them). All you do is run off at the mouth about things that you haven't a clue about,to come to think of it I don't think you have a clue about anything.Your time would be better spent trying to educate yourselves by starting with kindergarten.I know one of your comments will probably be(why I didn't write sooner)well,you see I just didn't think you were worth it. Don't be letting your head get too big for your hat by thinking you are worth it because I wrote in,you're not, but, boy do I feel good that I did.

robert said...

Anom: You can't let pseudo-experts get under your skin, blogging allows everyone to be an armchair pundit even if they are not qualified to be so.

His opinion: $0.02
Your opinion: $0.02
My opinion: $0.02

Knowing yourself that they are usually wrong: Priceless!

Anonymous said...

Canada Does Not End in Nova Scotia


Yeah it does.

SkylarKD said...

Can you recall reading a Globe and Mail news story on the impact of Air Canada abandoning its London flights from Newfoundland and Labrador?

Nope, but I did see this comic:

http://skylarkd.blogspot.com/2006/05/everyone-needs-laugh-on-friday.html

Anonymous said...

Yes it does. At least according to Tim Horton's it does. A large Coffee on the Continent costs $1.68 taxes included while a coffee in St John's will cost you an additional 10 cents $1.78 taxes included.

SkylarKD said...

Hi there, sorry for the unrelated comment; I couldn't find an email address to contact you directly.

You may or may not have heard, but the Memorial University of Newfoundland has created a new logo, in which it is represented simply as "Memorial University" - no location.

Dropping Newfoundland from the logo is upsetting a number of people. A letter-writing campaign has been started, and there is a petition to keep Newfoundland in the logo. You can read more information about the new marketing campaign, and (if you agree, of course) sign the petition here:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/746786205

Thanks for your time!

Oh, by the way, have you heard of the NL blogroll?

www.nlblogroll.blogspot.com