VANCOUVER _ The threat posed by a proposed U.S. environmental law policy to 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 each story.
"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 public attention.

Here are the top 10 under-reported stories of 1995:

1) Proposed U.S. Environmental Law could harm Canada's air and water.

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 Americans alike.
In addition, proposed changes would increase ozone pollution in Michigan, a move that would directly affect Windsor and other areas of southwestern Ontario.
(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 ionosphere.

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 Convention.
(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 attention.
(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 violence.

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 band council.
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 news media.
(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 weapons.
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 exploitation.
(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.

For further information:
Donald Gutstein, PCC co-director (Simon Fraser University):
(604) 291-3863
Robert Hackett, PCC co-director (Simon Fraser University):
(604) 291-3858
Jim Winter, PCC co-director (University of Windsor):
(519) 253-4232, x2911, x2897

Project Censored Canada office: (604) 291-4905 PCC e-mail: CC Internet address:
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