Communications Communique #6

National Chairperson of Communications, Shari Guinta, January 29, 2018


“It is said that we are ‘children of information and orphans of communication.’”
A Year with Pope Francis, Daily Reflections from His Writings

I and communications committee members have previously written about the positives and negatives of social media and internet postings. Over Christmas, you may have seen a photograph of the prime minister and his brother wearing matching sweaters with a cartoon depiction of the Last Supper. There was some kick back in the media about it, but by and large, it came and went. To say that the action of the prime minister was insensitive, I think, is an accurate description. Wearing a T-shirt of Santa with a cartoon cupcake face is one thing. A cartoon cupcake face of Jesus Christ? Not funny. If you Google “Justin Trudeau Christmas Sweater” you can view it. I hope members will remember his insensitive action and perhaps mention it in dealings with his and their member of parliament’s office.

There has been discussion from members, during my term as chairperson of the standing committee of communications, as to whether postcards, particularly the Pornography Hurts postcards, are effective. I do not have an answer. Some members of parliament, both provincial and federal, have said they are effective, more effective than emails but not as effective as a letter or telephone call. Others say they are ineffective and in fact have returned them to senders when received.

A recent article in The Catholic Register by Luke Stocking spoke about a long term postcard campaign that was launched by the Canadian Catholic Organization of Development and Peace on the violence and lack of oversight on Canadian mining companies in other countries. Mr. Stocking mentioned that approximately 500,000 postcards had been sent over the years asking for mining justice, including the establishment of an independent ombudsperson. It was interesting to read that the federal government has set up “a Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprise” who will investigate human rights abuses and environmental damage associated with Canadian-owned or operated mines abroad. Members might remember that the League had a resolution about this issue Resolution 2007.03: Global Accountability for Canadian Registered Mining Companies. The previous federal government had set up a similar office that was apparently ineffective according to reports, but this new office is welcomed by those in areas such as Latin America and the Philippines where violence, rape and other unlawful activity is common place, not to mention damage to the environment. I invite you to invite members to watch the development of this office and perhaps read a #1 national bestselling book by Samantha Nutt, M.D. entitled Damned Nations. Maybe the postcards do work!

A January 27, 2018 article in the Toronto Star, entitled “Give users control over social media, feds suggest” reports that the federal privacy commissioner says Canadians need better tools to protect their online reputations. The article goes on to say that Canadians should have the right to “easily delete information they’ve posted about themselves on social media and have the right to challenge information that’s illegal, inaccurate, incomplete or out of date.” I encourage you to encourage members to send and express their views to the privacy commissioner on personal privacy and freedom of information.

Communication is necessary and important, but it should be informed and correct.

Shari Guinta
National Chairperson of Communications