Re: Colonial Resistence

Michael John Evans (g8726246@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Sun, 5 Dec 1993 10:45:15 -0500

In reply to comments/questions from both Bauser and Ponech. Bauser queries
about 'Canadian Responsibilities' and suggests that a number of Canadians
are asserting their 'right to know'. I live in Hamilton which is an hour
and a half (or less, depending on how seriously you take the official
speed limit) from the Peace Bridge and Niagara Falls New York. No one I
know *here* has made the drive to get a copy of an over the border
newspaper in order to read the details about the Teale-Bernardo/Holmolka
case. I used to spend a lot of time in Fort Erie (accross the river from
Buffalo) and have friends who live in Niagara Falls Ontario. It is very
common practice in both of those cities to "cross the river" for a number
of reasons, within a week: for entertainment (esp. bars and restaurants),
shopping (the malls, the liquor outlets, gas stations and the grocers), and
even for work. This aspect of the economy has been pervasive for as long
as there have been communities on both sides of the river. U.S. citizens
do the same thing, coming to Ontario to buy things like 222's (aspirins
with 22 mg of Codiene which are sold over the counter here). My point is,
you *cannot* interpret scenes of Canadians being relieved of extra copies
of a newspaper as indicative of them being thwarted in their
expression of their 'right to know'. It cannot be constructed as hordes of
Canadians flocking to the border to get bootleg papers and to avoid
censorship laws. Certainly people are curious, and certainly the media
coverage of the news blackout (postponement really) stirs up the intensity
of the interest, but this is not a 'censorship revolt'. It is very
interesting to me that none of the emphasis to date on the reportage
postponement has paid attention to the length of time of the publication
delay: a focus on the time involved would lead to other questions, like,
why has it taken so long for Paul Bernardo/Teale to *get* to trial? Now
that could be a real news story, one leading to an analysis of the
current state of the leagal system here in Ontario. Focussing on their
inability to report on this story, and on the antics required to prevent
below the border media from broadcasting the story here seems another case of
the Media Creating Its Own Copy. Perhaps it is a comment of the quality and
ideology of most reportage: get the story out *first* (rather than best?)
Another minor point is that this publication postponement is *not* a
governmental action: this slight 'mis-speaking' has crept in to the
discussion, and should not be there. The news delay is an order of the
Judicial System, which, while tending to be one of those institutions
associated with 'government' is in fact very separate from the elected
Government of the Country (if not the People).
Certainly government employees (customs officers, RCMP) have been involved
in enforcing the legal order, but that does not mean that the Government
is censoring Canadians (or even Ontarians).
Final point: Lets not forget *why* the judge imposed the
publication postponement: So that Bernardo/Teale cannot claim a mistrial
or biased jury. It seems very clear, from Holmolka's conviction for
Manslaughter (which was permitted to be reported), that her husband was
involved in the same deaths. If *any* of the rumors or suppositions are
true, the last thing we want is for him to get aquitted, or even to an
appeal. I, for one, can wait to read the grisly details.
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Mike Evans, Anthropology &/ Heather Young-Leslie, Anthropology
McMaster University, Hamilton /or: York University, North York,
Ontario. (905) 525 9140 x23907 Ontario Canada (416) 736 5261
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