By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD
Canadians want the truth, but they want the truth about stories the media aren’t giving them, former CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge told delegates at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver on Wednesday (Sept. 25, 2019).
Mansbridge was the keynote speaker for the day, telling anecdotes about the many world leaders he’s interviewed. But he kept returning to the importance of local news versus international news.
He said he’s been travelling the country for a one-hour documentary special that will be broadcast after the federal election, and people want to know about issues of local importance, like health care, the environment, and jobs, not attack politics.
“People are sick of it; they want real issues discussed,” Mansbridge said, referring to what he called a disconnect between media and the public.
“In many cases we’re telling the truth about issues that don’t matter to people.”
He said the media spent four days doing heavy coverage of the relevations about Justin Trudeau dressing in brownface and “people accepted it as a story and moved on… and wanted to get back to real issues.”
He said Justin Trudeau and his father Pierre are nothing alike but Pierre was a fighter and so is Justin, so don’t count him out.
He said young journalists would be well-advised to focus on hyper-local issues. “When young journalists come to me and say ‘where should I go to really kick off my career,’ I say, you want to go local because nowhere will you better appreciate what’s on people’s minds than when you cover school board and local governments.”
Mansbridge discussed some of the stories he’s covered over the years both in Canada and around the world and has come to realize, “We’re lucky with what we’ve got.”
CONVENTION NOTES: Premier John Horgan was a surprise guest at a luncheon of Southern Interior Local Government Association delegates, calling for more co-operation between his government and the Opposition…. Trans Mountain pipeline president Ian Anderson gave councillors and regional district directors representing communities along the route an update during a morning meeting, saying confidence is growing that construction will start soon…. Consideration of resolutions got underway, with one of the first to be passed being one calling on the provincial government to treat local governments with respect and cooperation. The resolution said “recent examples of provincial processes and programs affecting the land base have not been conducted in a manner consistent with the principles espoused within the Community Charter”…. Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said focus needs to be put on building a new, green economy. “Elected leaders are a pivotal moment in human history,” he told delegates.
Mel Rothenburger is a regional district delegate to the annual Union of B.C. Municipalites convention in Vancouver.