Thursday, March 11, 2010

VERITAS: VIDEO REVIEW - O CANADA REWRITE DOST BAFFLE

This week's perspective from Bob Reid:

I think this story got more ink and airtime than anything else this week, and yet I still can’t make a call on it at this point. Columnists and talk radio hosts (like me – well, today anyway – I’m subbing for John Tory on NewsTalk 1010 from 4 to 7 PM!) got tremendous mileage out of that curious component of the Harper government’s Speech From The Throne regarding O Canada. At issue is the gender inclusiveness – or lack thereof – in one line of our national anthem, “in all our sons command.” Some of “our daughters” apparently take issue with the old-school verbiage, so the feds are saying they’re going to put the matter to a parliamentary committee for review. It’s an irresistible water cooler debate, so the amount of media coverage it generated wasn’t surprising in the least. But what’s less than clear is the strategy and message behind it. Was it designed to be some sort of diversionary tactic to shift focus away from the rest of the somewhat same-old, same-old speech content/agenda? Is the government’s desired message that the Conservatives care about equality and inclusiveness, and are listening to the at least one Canadian woman who wrote in about it? Some kind of attempt to capitalize on the outpouring of patriotism throughout the Vancouver Olympics? Could be one, some or all of the above. Trouble for the feds is, the overall response seems to be one of annoyance that an issue of this nature is even being stirred up in the first place. In the absence of a clear sense of message, motive and strategy, it’s hard to make a call. Tons of media is cool and all, but unless it accomplishes something strategic, it’s just noise.

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