June 11, 2014

Tamara Johnson ad sparks outrage

Tamara Johnson election ad 'shocks' Anishinabek Nation

Chronicle Journal defends 'business relationship' with advertisersA full page Thunder Bay newspaper ad that appears to take aim at First Nations' treaty rights is sparking some outrage.

The ad, published in the Tuesday Chronicle-Journal by Libertarian candidate Tamara Johnson, has left some questioning why the paper agreed to run it.

"When I see things like that, it's just, it's stunning,” said Anishinabek Nation communications director Maurice Switzer.

Statements in the ad include: "Crown lands are public lands. Not native lands." "Help me stop this doctrine of entitlement."
Letter to the Thunder Bay Chronicle-JournalThis morning I read the following comments from your publisher on the CBC website:

“It’s important that we inform the public what … [the candidates'] opinions are … and when it’s advertising, it’s a business relationship. They write an ad and they let the community know what it is that they believe in.”

I understand and support wanting to provide accurate information of candidate’s opinion on a variety of platforms. I also understand that the advertising component is a business. However, I feel that media organizations have a responsibility in public trust.

The OPC (Ontario Press Council: Defending principles to inspire public trust) does list the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal as a news organization/member. Earlier today I took a look at the OPC website, as it pertains to advertising. In addition to the OPC viewing media organizations as a businesses, the website notes “As it considers it appropriate for media organizations to exercise wide latitude in expressing their opinions, no matter how controversial or unpopular, it believes it is only fair to extend such latitude to individuals who may wish to exercise it through advertising provided it does not generate hatred against another a person or group.” (http://ontpress.com/)

This is where the ad hits home for me. Many of the statements in the ad do generate hatred toward another group. The statements perpetuate stereotypes that continue to cause divide in Canadian society. The ad clearly gives the general impression that it is based on factual information.
A subsequent reaction:

Mayor Keith Hobbs calls Tamara Johnson's statements 'disgusting'

Thunder Bay mayor says he categorically rejects “damaging statements" made by Libertarian candidate“We have no room for that,” Hobbs said during an interview with Superior North radio show host Lisa Laco.

When asked about Johnston's Facebook page, where she and others have posted negative comments about Aboriginal people, Hobbs said, "I'll be quite blunt. I thought it was disgusting what she said."

Hobbs said the city has "done a lot of work ... with our respect campaign, Diversity Thunder Bay, [and] our race relations. We're making great strides and then you can have one person tear that down in an ad. We have a lot more work to do in the city obviously.”

Hobbs says it's shocking Johnson received as many votes as she did, "and that people got up and left their homes in the rain and voted for that kind of platform."

Johnson received 922 votes in Thursday's provincial election. Green Party candidate Joseph LeBlanc received 993, Conservative Derek Park received 985, New Democrat Andrew Foulds received 8,144 and Liberal Michael Gravelle received 15,503.
Comment:  As always, treaty rights are concessions given by one government to another via negotiations. They're a trade--some rights for others--not a gift. And they're based on a political relationship, not race.

For more on Native "special rights," see Resisting "Special Treatment" for Indians and Non-Indians Complain About Inequalities.

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