On Friday, CBC Fisheries Broadcast host John Furlong read a long excerpt, three minutes or so, of an email from one Agnes Noseworthy.
This is, presumably, the same Agnes Noseworthy who often calls open line shows to express her undying admiration for Our Dear Premier.
She expounded at length about the trade which Ottawa is purported to have carried out with other countries, using fish quotas as a trading chip.
“Ottawa has held the fishing industry stock, its very life-blood, the fishing quotas, under its control for fifty-eight years. But what quotas has it held belonging to the manufacturing or textile industries? Fish quotas have been used, according to some politicians, to trade manufactured goods and garner foreign affairs clout in Canada for as long as we have been a province. So how can Ottawa say that if they give an early retirement package to the fishers, that they will have to do the same for the workers of the manufacturing or textile industries? Ottawa has been doling out subsidies to the manufacturing and textile industries for years to keep them afloat. And the workers of the auto industries and the other industries have great pension plans in place. As for the fishery, anything Ottawa has done for that industry, it has used the fish quotas to reimburse itself, since it’s been doling out fish quotas to foreign countries for years, and in turn, it has garnered international trade for the manufacturing, textile, and agriculture industries. No one ever checks Ottawa on this topic. I think it’s time for you, and the other journalists who…”
And so on, in the same vein, for even longer; a nice nationalist-jingoist-crypto-separatist piece, complete with one of the favourite Eighth Floor leitmotifs – a reference to the number of years that have elapsed since March 31, 1949.
On Tuesday evening’s FishCast, Furlong read yet another email from an Agnes Noseworthy – presumably, again, the same Agnes Noseworthy as Friday, and the same Agnes Noseworthy who makes such marvelously gushing calls in support of Our Dear Premier, ones that couldn’t be any better if they were scripted. As read by Furlong, she said:
“A couple of questions that I would like answered are: why did the number of countries fishing off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland increase so exponentially over the past 58 years? For the most part of the 500 years, there were just European countries fishing there, namely, England, France, Portugal, and Spain. But in the past forty or so years, countries from every continent on the globe are fishing in our offshore waters. Was this a move by Foreign Affairs and International Trade to garner international trade for products somewhere else? It seems to have all coincided with the emersion of free global trade. Everything seemed to have taken off for Canada, especially in the manufacturing, agriculture, and every other industry. What a coincidence. Was this a move by Foreign Affairs and International Trade to garner trade for Canadian manufactured goods, Canadian agriculture products, and every other Canadian sector?”
The CBC has standards
. Lots of them
. Lots and lots of them
The broadcast media in particular have an obligation to be fair, accurate, thorough, comprehensive and balanced in their presentation of information.
CBC programs dealing with matters of public interest on which differing views are held must supplement the exposition of one point of view with an equitable treatment of other relevant points of view. Equitable in this context means fair and reasonable, taking into consideration the weight of opinion behind a point of view, as well as its significance or potential significance.
Information programs must reflect established journalistic principles:
The information conforms with reality and is not in any way misleading or false. This demands not only careful and thorough research but a disciplined use of language and production techniques, including visuals.
The information is truthful, not distorted to justify a conclusion.
Agnes Noseworthy is a member in good standing in the Congregation of Canada Is Out To Get Us. She has the zeal of the convert, even if she was probably born into it, and an irrepressible missionary impulse. Nothing will ever shake her political faith. And she has a good audience at the FishCast, where they are willing to air her proselytizing mythological message twice — unedited, unrebutted, unquestioned — over the course of three broadcast days.
Principles? Policies? Who needs ‘em, when there’s a good ol’-fashioned Newfoundland nationalist myth to promulgate.
And a myth it is, as about twenty seconds on the internets would tell John Furlong, or anyone at the FishCast, or anyone at the Ceeb, or anyone anywhere in the internet world:
Allocations for Trade Deals There is a widespread misbelief that Canada has repeatedly given foreign fishing countries allocations of Canadian quotas (or condoned overfishing) in return for trade deals for industries in other parts of the country. This is one of the most often repeated, unsubstantiated and untrue convictions regarding the government’s approach to the presence of foreign fleets. Two of the most repeated examples have been allocations to South Korea for a Hyundai car plant in Quebec and to Russia for purchase of Western wheat. A more recent one was the claim of allocations being given to Spain (in the 1980s) for landing rights in that country for CP Air. The review of foreign allocation policy and bilateral fisheries agreements conducted for the Panel concluded that no such deals were ever considered, let alone concluded. (Gough, 2005).
[Emphasis in the original.]
Myths are easy. Truth is hard. Newfoundland myths are easier; Newfoundland truth, harder still.
Getting that truth is what journalists used to do, back in quainter, gentler, times, even, from time to time, on the FishCast.
So, instead of giving Agnes Noseworthy free air time to reinforce the myth, how about the CBC — the Fisheries Broadcast, or anyone else — work to find answers to any
, or ideally, all
, of the following questions, assuming that these supposed trade deals actually exist or existed
traded fish quotas to foreign countries?
In exchange for WHAT
trade or foreign policy considerations or concessions?WHEN
did these deals occur?WHAT
was their duration?WHERE
were they signed or otherwise approved, and by WHOM
did this happen?HOW
, that is, under authority of what domestic or international legal regime, was this fish-for-X practice carried on?
Agnes Noseworthy is utterly convinced that these things happened.
Art May, Dawn Russell, and Derrick Rowe, no slouches, have definitively stated the opposite conclusion.
Agnes is unable to answer those questions, and unwilling to try; a common trait among all who have promoted the fish-for-X narrative over the past decade or so; in fact, a common trait among all purveyors of myth, Newfoundland-nationalist or otherwise.
Getting to the truth of this matter, instead of parroting the myth; and answering those questions, or at very least trying to; these things should be the job of one of the two media outlets in the province devoted to matters fisheries-related.Should be