Canada's Original Think Tank

Open Caucus

In the spring of 2014, the Senate Liberals began our Open Caucus initiative. The goal of these meetings is to foster nonpartisan discussion on issues facing our country. We invite all parliamentarians as well as the public to take part in the discussion with a panel of experts on any given topic, and focus informing ourselves and others on matters that are important to Canadians.


Open Caucus Themes

  • February 28, 2018 – Threats to Traditional Journalism in Canada

    The Open Caucus, a forum for discussion on issues of national importance, was first established in 2014 when Senate Liberals opened their Caucus doors to the public on Wednesday mornings. The Open Caucus is now co-sponsored by the Independent Senators Group (ISG) and the Independent Senate Liberals. This non-partisan collaboration brings together two groups representing the majority of the Senate’s current membership.

    This non-partisan discussion is open to all Members of Parliament, Senators, parliamentary staff, media, and the public.

    The landscape of the media industry in Canada is rapidly changing. There has been a steep decline in advertising revenue for traditional media, including print, television and radio, with accompanying cuts in the newsroom across the country. Over 90 percent of Canadians have Internet access and many prefer to receive the news with little or no cost to themselves, on their own time. As a result, advertisers have turned to digital media as an efficient means of reaching their target audiences. Social media giants – Google and Facebook – are capturing over 70 percent of Internet advertising dollars spent in Canada. Lacking the resources to adequately compete, domestic media companies are struggling to stay afloat.

    While national newspaper chains have weakened, local journalism is diminishing and professional journalists are being ushered out of their jobs. In the absence of these traditional gatekeepers, many Canadians report having difficulty separating fact from fiction or “fake news.”  With the decline of trusted resources, Canadians may know less about their community, government and country, posing a threat to democracy. Canadians need – and want – accurate news to make informed decisions. How can government navigate this changing landscape to create conditions in which vigorous, ethical journalism, open public expression and informed debate can flourish?

    Panelists included:

    • Edward Greenspon: President and CEO of Public Policy Forum. Author of The Shattered Mirror: News, Democracy and Trust in the Digital Age.
    • Karyn Pugliese: Executive Director of News and Current Affairs of APTN (Aboriginal People’s Television Network), and award-winning broadcast journalist.
    • Pascale St-Onge:  President of the National Federation of Communications (FNC-CSN), a Quebec union that represents journalists and media worker’s rights.
    • Matthew Johnson: Director of Education for MediaSmarts, Canada’s center for digital and media literacy. Expert in teaching citizens how to spot fake news

    The meeting took place:

    Wednesday February 28, 2018
    9:15 am – 11:15 am
    Room 160-S, Centre Block

    Read Senator Eggleton and Senator Saint-Germain’s thoughts on the topic of threats to traditional journalism in Canada here.

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