At last weekend’s Ethnic Media Seminar, organized by the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC) at Seneca College in Markham, Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke to the assembled at the gala dinner. He was not the only high-level politician in attendance. Federal Conservative politicians were Ministers Jason Kenney, and Peter Kent, MPs Lois Brown, Royal Galipeau and Peter Braid, with Liberals Bob Rae and Justin Trudeau rounding out the Ottawa contingent. Provincially, Liberal Ministers Margaret Best and Gary Phillips and MPPs Khalil Ramal, Mike Colle and Reza Moridi were joined by the Conservative Leader of the Provincial Opposition Tim Hudak.
Every speaker said how vital ethnic media is to the Canadian mosaic and after every speaker (with the exception of the Prime Minister) the President of the NEPMCC Thomas Saras asked why they, as government representatives, don't give the ethnic media advertising money. "You give money to mainstream media, yet you give us very, very little," said Saras.
The courses, set up by Seneca College (supervised by President David Agnew) were taught by Professors, all of whom had practical experience and managed to squeeze half a semester into an hour and a half time slot. Marketing (basically sales), was taught by two sales executives on two levels and covered pretty much everything and then some, ending with statistics.
Interviewing (taught by a former TV personality and current CBC writer) was right on in substance and even explained the significance of posture and breathing.
There were lectures on networking, journalism techniques, positioning the ethnic media in Canada, real space vs. cyberspace, competitive and market intelligence and more.
Back to political speeches. Justin Trudeau carried on from our discussion at CEMA’s November meeting, as covered in the last issue of Estonian Life. His argument was again that in those days the industry of multiculturalism was the way to go. Others, however, now asked the same question that I had, and he had the same lame answer as before. All in all his "charisma" was working well and the crowd of hardcore reporters, both men and women, flocked to him in numbers.
Conservative Federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Kenney went on about the fact that last year the government let in 500,000 immigrants (instead of the usual 250,000). The ethnic media applauded wildly. "We did this in the middle of a recession," said Kenney, proudly. I hope those who were recently laid off felt as proud.
Prime Minister Harper said “we believe strongly that freedom for Canadians goes hand in hand with journalistic freedom. Our liberty is strengthened when journalists are free to pursue truth, shine light into dark corners and assist in the process of holding governments accountable."
The Honourable Bob Rae spoke on the last day of the seminar. "We will demand that all countries follow the same principles we do," said Rae.
The final lectures were on how to have an impact in the world of internet media and how to receive advertising from the government. The person who handled the money that went to pay for this seminar spoke here along with a lady from Department of Public Works. The Public Works lady originally didn't want to attend, but Saras had to get help from the Prime Ministers Office. She came, gave a very informative lecture, and got royally reamed out by Saras.
This was a very informative seminar with politics as entertainment for a political junkie. I did, however, expect to see Professor Ruho Paluoja; a lecture from him on the finer points of political chicanery would have been the icing on the cake.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets ethnic media