PROJECT CENSORED NAMES TOP 10 UNDER-REPORTED STORIES OF 1995
VANCOUVER _ The threat posed by a proposed U.S. environmental law
Canada's air and water has been chosen as the top under-reported story of 1995
by Project Censored Canada.
A national media research effort now in its third year, the project
involves the communications schools at Simon Fraser University and the
University of Windsor, plus the Canadian Association of Journalists.
Ranging from stories on the environment to others about fiscal,
health, defence, and human rights issues, the selections were made by a
national judging panel of journalists, academics and public figures. A short
list of 16 stories was produced by a team of students at SFU, who researched
"We're this list will stimulate journalists and the public find out
more about these stories," said Donald Gutstein, a lecturer of communication
at SFU and one of the project's co-directors.
"Our number one story could affect the lives of a great many Canadians
and should have received more attention in the press."
Each story is judged on the following criteria: whether it is national
or international in scope, whether it significantly affects a large number of
people, how much coverage it received, how well it was documented, and whether
identifying the story through the project would encourage further media and
Here are the top 10 under-reported stories of 1995:
1) Proposed U.S. Environmental Law could harm Canada's air and
The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill in May 1995 which
lifted protections for wetlands, made regulators give greater consideration to
costs before requiring water quality improvements from cities and industry,
and allowed states to opt out of environmental water regulations deemed too
expensive or unenforceable.
This will weaken the Great Lakes Initiative and lead to greater
pollution of these water bodies - a move which would affect Canadians and
In addition, proposed changes would increase ozone pollution in
Michigan, a move that would directly affect Windsor and other areas of
(Ray Ford, The Windsor Star, Nov. 18, 1994; Chris Vander Doelen, The
Windsor Star, Feb. 14, 1995; Brian McAndrew, The Toronto Star, June 3, 1995 )
2) American-style health care is coming to Canada.
With falling federal transfer payments for Medicare, some provincial
governments are turning to private insurers and health care organizations to
help re-structure provincial health care. Many of these organizations are
largely American for-profit companies. Auto parts manufacturer Magna
International Inc. wants to establish a company-operated Comprehensive Health
Organization, similar to American Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs). If
this happens, U.S. HMOs will be allowed access into Canada under NAFTA.
(Maude Barlow and Bruce Campbell, Canadian Forum, November 1995 ;
Daniel Tatroff, Our Times, May/June 1995)
3) HAARP: The U.S. military's plans to alter the northern
The U.S. government is constructing a military radio physics research
facility in a remote part of Alaska. The High Frequency Active Auroral
Research Program (HAARP) will enhance the U.S. military's long-range radio
communications and surveillance by injecting high-frequency radio energy into
the fluctuating ionosphere, 35 to 500 miles above the earth.
But this could impact on weather, wildlife migration patterns, and
negatively affect the upper atmosphere.
The project may also violate the 1977 Environmental Modification
(Socialist Studies Bulletin, Number 41, July/Sept. 1995; Mark Farmer,
Popular Science, September 1995 )
4) Things the right wing doesn't want you to know.
A 1991 Statistics Canada report shattered neo-conservative claims that
social spending largely caused government deficit. Those same
neo-conservatives furiously attacked the report in 1995. In comparison,
alternative approaches to paying down the federal debt received little media
(Bruce Campbell, Canadian Dimension, Apr/May 1995; Mary Rowles, Our
Times, Dec/Jan 1995; George H. Crowell, Canadian Dimension, Oct/Nov 1995;
Lorne Gunther, Western Report, June 26, 1995)
5) The untold costs of New Zealand's economic revolution.
Although New Zealand's painful deficit-cutting style is touted by many
influential Canadians as a model for debt reduction and economic
restructuring, New Zealand's public debt is now twice as large as it was when
the country began restructuring in 1985. At the same time, social conditions
for many have seriously worsened.
(Murray Dobbin, Canadian Dimension, Apr/May 1995)
6) Anarchy at Kanehsatake: Why governments are afraid to stop the
While lawlessness and violence pervade the Mohawk First Nations
community of Kanehsatake in Quebec, governments with the power to stop it
continue to turn a blind eye.
In part, the federal and Quebec governments fear another Oka-style
confrontation, but in the meantime, there are no checks and balances on the
This makes it a prime example of the problems posed by Indian
self-government under the old Indian Act model.
(Dan David, This Magazine, Dec-Jan 1995-96; Ben Whiskeyjack,
Windspeaker, June 1995)
7) Canadian media mum on human rights abuses in Mexico.
Two years after the signing of the North American Free Trade
Agreement, Mexican human rights abuses remain largely ignored in the Canadian
(Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail, August 4, 1995)
8) 'Family entertainment' at Canada's arms bazaar.
Canada has cultivated an image of being the world's peacekeeper. It
is also one of the world's largest international suppliers of arms and
And the premier venue for viewing the military industry's products in
this country is Airshow Canada, a biennial event which runs in conjunction
with the Abbotsford International Airshow, an annual event widely advertised
as family entertainment.
(Ron Dart, Briarpatch, September 1995; Kim Bolan, Vancouver Sun, Aug.
10, 1995; Ken Epps, Ploughshares Monitor, June 1995)
9) Home-based garment workers are being exploited.
Home-based workers in the garment industry in B.C. and across Canada,
mainly Asian or other third-world immigrant women, work out of their homes on
a piecework basis often for less than minimum wage.
But there are few checks and balances to protect them from
(Dirk Beck, The Georgia Straight, April 14-21, 1995)
10) CF-5 jets on the block after $300 million in upgrades.
Midway through a costly modernization program, the federal government
is taking a heavy loss after putting the squadron of Canada's remaining CF-5
jet fighters on the block.
(George Koch, Western Report, June 19, 1995)
Project Censored Canada's Judges:
Project Censored Canada is funded by a grant from the Social Sciences &
Humanities Research Council of Canada, by a founding grant from the Goodwin's
Foundation, and by donations from concerned citizens.
- Donald Benham, professor of journalism, Red River Community College;
- Sandra Bernstein, journalist;
- June Callwood, author and social activist;
- Michael Clow, sociology professor, St. Thomas University;
- David Cohen, dean, University of Victoria law school;
- Clark Davey, retired newspaper executive;
- Francois Demers, dean of arts, Universite Laval;
- Tom Flanagan, author, professor and former research director,
Reform Party of Canada;
- Fred Fletcher, professor of political science, York University;
- Deborah Jones, freelance journalist;
- Lawrence Martin, author and journalist, former correspondent for The
Globe and Mail;
- Linda McQuaig, author and journalist;
- John Miller, chair, school of journalism, Ryerson Polytechnic University;
- Pierre O'Neil, former press secretary to Pierre Trudeau, counsellor,
communications, Bombardier Inc.;
- Howard Pawley, former premier of Manitoba and professor of political
science, University of Windsor;
- Shirley Sharzer, former assistant managing editor, The Globe and Mail;
- Maggie Siggins, author;
- Richard Starr, freelance journalist;
- Gillian Steward, freelance journalist, former managing editor of the
- Bruce Wark, journalism professor, former producer of CBC's Media File;
- Barrie Zwicker, publisher, Sources.
For further information:
Project Censored Canada office: (604) 291-4905
PCC e-mail: email@example.com
CC Internet address: http://cc6140mac.comm.sfu.ca/index.html
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Donald Gutstein, PCC co-director (Simon Fraser University):
Robert Hackett, PCC co-director (Simon Fraser University):
Jim Winter, PCC co-director (University of Windsor):