As our country agonizes over the nature of our future, Archbishop E.W. Scott, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has written to Al Johnson, President of the CBC with "a degree of puzzlement concerning the absence of any discernable pattern in CBC programming indicating that the nature of these historic events calls for more from CBC that just news coverage."
The Archbishop questions, "Is it appropriate to cover these events as you might a coronation or state funeral,...requiring no more than passive participation as interested bystanders?"
The Primate declared that "in the face of an apparent choice by the national, elected government to forego extensive citizen involvement," the CBC should accept a "central role as catalyst and medium for a Canadian constitutional dialogue." He likened this role to that of the builders of CPR except that now it is "human barriers of prejudice, ignorance and isolation" which must be bridged.
Archbishop Scott calls for an immediate meeting of the Board of Directors of CBC, or decisive action by Mr. Johnson as Chief Executive Officer, to institute "a policy of informational, cultural and citizen access programming."
The full text of the Archbishop's letter is enclosed.
- 30 -
For further information, please contact:
Richard J. Berryman
600 Jarvis St., Toronto
Tel. (416) 924-9192 ext. 286
November 13th, 1980
Mr. Al Johnson
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
1500 Bronson Ave.
Ottawa, Ont. K1G 3J5
Dear Mr. Johnson:
We recall with appreciation CBC's balanced and informative coverage of the Quebec referendum campaign. Careful advance planning, combined with a true sense of the significance of the occasion for the country, enabled the Corporation to involved people in the debate while still avoiding the clear risk of Radio Canada becoming a matter of controversy. We recognize that the direction and tone set by the Board of Directors of the CBC, chaired by yourself, was instrumental in providing a most positive example to Canadians of what is so unique about good public broadcasting.
We are writing now to ask members of the CBC Board, through their Chairman, whether an analogous role for CBC has been considered and planned during the present constitutional process? Hearings of the Special Parliamentary Committee are almost upon us and we admit to a degree of puzzlement concerning the absence of any discernable pattern in CBC programming indicating that the nature of these historic events calls for more from CBC than just news coverage.
We ask members of the CBC Board, as trustees of the public interest, to reflect upon how CBC can best serve Canadian needs in a period of active constitutional revision. Can there be any higher priority for CBC than to maximize opportunities for informed citizen participation in the process? Is it appropriate to cover these events as you might a coronation or state funeral, events of great significance to the population but requiring no more than their passive participation as interested bystanders ?
As the most fundamental symbol of Canadian nationhood, patriation of our constitution is an occasion of great moment, the collective, irrevocable assertion of our political independence and freedom. What is currently proposed is indeed even more than patriation, an essentially new constitution in which basic rules of Parliamentary government and rights of citizens are altered, basic approaches to citizens' relations with government are changed, basic understandings of the country are revised.
The right of each citizen to become involved in such a process requires no defence. The opportunity presented to the nation by the fullest participation of our citizens ought to be equally evident. For what value is there to elaborating a new blueprint for interactions among the regions, the language groups, the heritages or beliefs of Canadians, and even between the sexes, when our citizens are not themselves committed to the spirit of accommodation? By leaving citizens as bystanders, we lose the precious opportunity to involve them in a process which begins with exchange, grows into understanding, and should ultimately ripen to tolerance and/or acceptance. It is equally an opportunity to create a constitution which captures, to the best of our abilities, Canadians' collective self-image of the heritage, life and aspirations we share as a country.
We understand that members of CBC's Board -- in the face of an apparent choice by the national, elected government to forego extensive citizen involvement -- cannot lightly set a course for the corporation which might conceivably be perceived as a challenge to federal policy. There is no reason to believe that the same broad support would be forthcoming, as it was from two administrations during the referendum debate, for a CBC policy of greatly expanded public affairs programming and of extensive freetime, citizen access in order to animate participation by Canadians in the constitutional process. At least, on the positive side, the Board does not (yet) have to contend with Cabinet-level accusations of CBC being riddled with Western separatists. We ask members of the Board of CBC to consider most carefully the distinction between the federal interest and the national or public interest, for where the two are not synonymous, it is the latter which forms their ultimate mandate.
Should the Corporation accept what would be obviously a central role, as catalyst and medium for a Canadian constitutional dialogue, it would undertake a task in the electronic 1980's equivalent to the work of the railroad nation-builders a century ago. Only it is the human barriers or prejudice, ignorance, and isolation which the CBC must bridge, as the CPR once spanned the mountains, gorges and swamps of the Canadian terrain. In response to the most disheartening observation of the Task Force on Canadian Unity, that:
"Sometimes the country seemed to us to be composed of a multiplicity of solitudes, islands of self-contained activity and discourse disconnected from their neighbour and tragically unaware of the whole which contained them all. When one speaks, the others did not listen..."
We look to this nation's electronic media as the prime instrument of exchange and contact among our "multiplicity of solitudes", as you did yourself earlier this year before a committee of the CRTC:
"It is by radio and television, more than any other means, that Canadians live together, the events of their country -- that we experience together what we are and what we can do -- in drama and sport, in music and film, in community and individual endeavour. It is by radio and television that we are enriched by our heritages and by different identities -- the triumphs and the troubles of this country".
Unlike the Quebec referendum debate, the present constitutional process has no fixed ending, no compelling occasion for citizen involvement such as a vote, and no clear dichotomy of "oui" and "non"; but there are some datelines if not deadlines for decision. Fair balance in programming will be most difficult to achieve given the diversity of Canadian voices on constitutional issues, compounded by the absence of any one or two clearcut themes in a debate which is too infant to have yet developed a focus. This underlines for us the urgency of planning within CBC for such a complex enterprise. A special, immediate meeting of the Board of Directors of CBC, solely on the matter of CBC's role in the constitutional process, would be in our opinion justified by present circumstances. Canadians may never have been in such need as now of their national broadcasting service. If for some reason this is not possible, we would assume you make the necessary decision as the Chief Executive Officer.
We look to CBC for a policy of informational, cultural and citizen access programming which will inform, sensitize, and challenge Canadians regarding constitutional renewal. We trust we are not mistaken in our understanding of what national public broadcasting is all about for Canada during this critical period.
This letter comes to you following discussion with a number of concerned Canadians in many parts of Canada -- some active in the Church and others not. It also has the general endorsation of the National Executive Council of the Anglican Church of Canada which spent several hours sharing concerns and views about the constitutional situation at its recent meeting held from November 5th to 7th, 1980.
Ottawa - A brief on educational broadcasting which contradicts some of the recommendations submitted by Secretary of State, Judy LaMarsh, two weeks ago, was submitted today by members of three religious denominations.
The parliamentary committee on broadcasting, films and assistance to the arts were told by members of the Anglican, United and Roman Catholic churches that educational broadcasting must extend beyond instructional television to include cultural and informational programming for all age levels.
The brief urges that all unused VHF (Very High Frequency) channels be reserved immediately for the development of educational television for a period of at least five years. It also suggests legislation be passed requiring all new television set to be equipped with the UHF (Ultra High Frequency) band.
The brief is endorsed by the Anglican Church National Executive Council, the United Church General Council and the Commissions on Education and Communication of the Roman Catholic Church.
Joining in the presentation were Rev. Peter Meggs, communications director and Mrs. Nancy MacNeill, executive television producer, both of the Anglican Church of Canada; Rev. Keith Woollard, director of broadcasting and Dr. Frank Fidler, associate secretary of the board of Christian education, both of the United Church of Canada and Rev. Edmond J. Roche, director of the national education office of the Canadian Catholic Conference.
Miss Judy LaMarsh stressed that provincial educational authorities should have absolute priority on the transmitting facilities of ETV. The brief by the three churches urges that community interests be strongly represented in ETV administrative organizations by volunteer agencies and community bodies, as well as departments of education, colleges and universities.
The churches' brief also urges that educational broadcasting include general cultural and informational programming in addition to instructional material. Miss LaMarsh said that the objective of ETV programming is "the systematic acquisition or improvement of knowledge" with the participants' results ascertained by examinations, supervision or checking.
Representatives of the churches told the committee that persons at home, as well as children in school, should have access to educational programming and recommended VHF channels should be included in educational programming. Most of the television broadcasting in Canada has been confined to the VHF band of channels.
Miss LaMarsh said the federal government believes ETV facilities should be developed on the UHF band, although this would not mean that UHF bands would all be devoted to educational television.
At present, existing television sets can be modified to receive UHF bands at cost ranging from $25 to $50. In the churches' brief, it is suggested that consideration be given to converting present sets at public expense and to a temporary reduction in the federal tax on UHF sets.
The General Secretary read the following letter received from Mr. W. John Dunlop, Network Supervisor, Religious Programs of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:
"I am writing to ask if the Anglican Church of Canada would be interested in the televising of a 90-minute 'Teach-in' on the Principles of Union between the Anglican Church of Canada and the United Church of Canada.
The CBC would be prepared to assume all the costs of bringing together a panel of persons to explain the Principles of Union and sketch future developments as they see them.
The proposed date of the 'Teach-in' is October or November. In return for the production of the 'Teach-in,' the CBC would expect that the churches concerned would organize groups to meet in many communities. These groups would watch the program and go on to their own discussion sessions.
The CBC has already scheduled a 'Teach-in' for May on the Vatican Council. We have been given to understand that programs of this nature help communities to plan ecumenical meetings, so that concerned Christian folk meet to know the problems and opportunities of their neighbours.
Could I have some expression of interest and willingness to work towards the production of such a 'Teach-in'?"
That we warmly approve of this 'teach-in.' CARRIED
That the Council of General Synod take appropriate steps to ensure that costs for General Synod 1998, particularly video broadcasting, be limited to the budgeted amount and, if cost overruns appear likely, the FMD Committee's Chair's Advisory Committee must be consulted. CARRIED #10-11-97
Bishop Don Harvey presented the budget resolutions.
That COGS revisit its decision on broadcasting General Synod 2001, and that in light of escalating costs for that event, as well as the over-all financial situation depicted in the 2001 budget, that one of the other options be considered. CARRIED #10-11-00
That the Council of the General Synod adopt Scenario "B" as outlined in #007-14-00-11 for broadcasting at Synod 2001.
Motion To Refer (Subsequently withdrawn)
Moved by: Dean Peter Elliott
Seconded by: Dean Nicholas Parker
That the motion be referred to the General Synod Planning Committee with authority to make decision.
The motion to refer was withdrawn.
Mover Canon Michael Iveson and Seconder Bishop Bruce Howe withdrew the motion regarding the General Synod Broadcast Budget.
2001 Budget (#007-12-00-11)
Moved by: Bishop Donald Harvey
Seconded by: Canon Michael Iveson
That the Council of General synod approve the draft budget for the year 2001 submitted by Financial Management and Development Committee.
After discussion,, the following amendment was made.
Move by: Canon Allen Box
Seconded by: Ms. Sally Tuckey
That the General Synod Budget 2001 budget be adjusted: "General Synod Broadcasts" line to read $124,200 and the "Reduction in costs..." line to be eliminated. The total budget to be $450,000. DEFEATED #11-11-00
That the line details of the "`Draft' General Synod Budget 2001" on page 3 "General Synod-2001" be totally left to the GS2001 Planning Committee to decide as to how the monies are to be divided and spent, as the total expenditure does not exceed $450,000 and that a detailed budget be brought to the Council of the General Synod meeting in March 2001 COGS for information. CARRIED #12-11-00
That the broadcasts continue in 1998 with terms, goal, budget and evaluation as outlined.
2. Terms: That there be five 30-minute broadcasts in prime time, Monday through Friday, May 25 to May 29, on Vision TV.
a) Primary audience: active Anglicans
- Inform viewers about the ministry of General Synod
- Showcase the life and ministry of the host diocese
- Offer opportunities for viewer involvement
b) Secondary audience: other viewers
- Raise public profile of Anglican Church
- Portray the church in an engaging way to seekers
a) Based on our consideration of goals, audiences, survey results and other factors, we recommend a budget of $171,000 for the broadcasts and audio-visual meeting facilities, and a further $15,000 for promotion to ensure reaching our primary audience. We believe this budget is necessary in order to attain the above goals. We also believe it is a realistic budget which can be met.
b) We recommend that aggressive efforts be made to attract revenue through advertising or sponsorships, such efforts to be conducted by the General Secretary, the Director or Information Resources and other staff as assigned. The task force believes there are significant opportunities that have not previously been explored.
That Council approve in principle item 4 a) of the report and that this item, relative to budget be referred to the Officers of General Synod for scrutiny and decision in June 1997.
The motion as amended was put and CARRIED #27-05-97
[Toronto] April 28, 1989 -- The Anglican Church's General Synod, its highest legislative body, will meet in St. John's, Newfoundland from June 14 to June 23, 1989. Archbishop Michael Peers will preside over his first General Synod since he was elected Primate of the church in 1986.
The Synod's 300 members, including lay persons, clergy, and bishops, will come together from across Canada to make policy for the country's third-largest denomination.
The General Synod, which meets once every three years, will hold its plenary sessions in the Thomson Student Centre of Memorial University. All sessions are normally open to the public.
- resolutions related to native rights and native land claims occupy a prominent place on the agenda. The Anglican Church has the highest percentage of native members of any Canadian church. A spate of resolutions focus on support for self-government, Innu land claims, and environmental protection (in lands held or claimed by natives). One resolution says the time has come to employ civil disobedience in defence of ancestral lands. It asks General Synod "to support aboriginal people, Anglicans and others, involved in non-violent direct action, in defense of aboriginal ancestral lands and the environment."
- General Synod may consider two widely differing court cases. In one, the church is participating in a challenge to Canadian law; in the other, the church itself is being challenged.
The Anglican Church is participating with the Canadian Council of Churches in a court challenge to Canadian immigration laws. Church leaders say the law is unconstitutional because it does not guarantee refugee claimants the right to be heard.
Earlier this year, the church convened its own Supreme Court of Appeal for the first time, to hear a complaint about the experimental service book, the Book of Alternative Services (BAS). Opponents of the BAS say that only the traditional Book of Common Prayer 1962 may lawfully be used in Canadian Anglican worship. The Supreme Court is expected to deliver its verdict in mid-May.
- A task force will present recommendations to General Synod on surrogate motherhood. The task force has taken a strong stand opposing surrogate motherhood, in contrast to a recent set of recommendations from the Ontario Law Reform Commission. Task force members say the practice is offensive for several reasons, including the fact that it turns children into "commodities".
- the second draft of a pastoral guide on cults will be distributed at General Synod. The guide is intended to help parishes and individuals understand the appeal of cults and enable the church to be "a listening and upholding community of support" to the families and friends of those engaged in cult activity.
- Among the international guests at General Synod will be Ms. Vanessa MacKenzie, youth officer for the Church of the Province of South Africa. She will hear the synod deal with resolutions calling for the Canadian government to legislate complete economic sanctions against South Africa, and to provide security aid to South Africa's frontline states, particularly Angola and Mozambique.
- The General Synod will make unusually extensive use of video and computer technology to enhance the relationship between the General Synod and the church at large. Video crews will produce a daily, half-hour "highlights" program to be broadcast across Canada via satellite. An international computer network will also report regularly through the day on synod happenings, and allow computer communication users to respond.
- Although there is concern across the Anglican Communion about the ordination of women to the priesthood and to the episcopate, the issue is not expected to be prominent at General Synod. Women have been ordained in the Anglican Church of Canada since 1976, and are eligible to be elected as bishops (though none has yet been elected).
- Ecumenical guests at General Synod will include: Archbishop James Hayes, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops; Rabbi Howard Joseph, Canadian Jewish Congress; Ebrahim Sayed, Council of Muslim Communities of Canada; Bishop Donald Sjoberg, President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada and President of the Canadian Council of Churches; Dr. Anne Squire, former Moderator of the United Church.
The worldwide Anglican communion will be represented by the chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, the Venerable Yong Ping Chung; and by the Rt. Rev. Clovis E. Rodriques, Bishop of Brazil.
- 30 -
For further information, contact: Doug Tindal, Director of Communications, (416) 924-9192 ext. 286 (bus.), (416) 335-8349 (res.)