Okay, here’s the ugly truth. I refused to vote in the federal election. I turned my back on my ballot. I skipped the whole thing. When all was said and done, it felt like the only responsible thing to do.
On a bleak Monday in late November, 2005, the leaders of Canada’s opposition parties, each hoping to profit from an election they knew to be untimely and wasteful, effected the fall of the country’s minority Liberal government.
The news brought a sense of triumph and renewed hope to the ruling classes in the neighbouring United States, as well.
According to mainstream media, that’s how most Canadians felt about the silenced voice of their public broadcaster.
Citing the influential pollster Decima, the most repeated message of the CBC lockout was that only ten per cent of Canadians were inconvenienced by the absence of CBC radio and TV.
The Senate Committee Studying Media held a public hearing in Winnipeg in February, and it had all the excitement of any party that nobody wants to give and nobody wants to attend.
In fact, hardly anybody did attend. Among those absent were the committee’s two senators representing Manitoba, anyone from the Manitoba Press Council and anyone from the province’s two schools of journalism and three universities. And, of the several hundred thousand Manitobans who read newspapers, listen to radio and watch television in Manitoba two, count ‘em: two people showed up with opinions about media, and both were given the bum’s rush. I have the honour of being one of them.