Your Excellencies, Madame Chief Justice, Parliamentarians, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
Au nom de la Fondation des Prix Michener, j’aimerais d’abord remercier votre Excellence pour l’appui que vous nous apportez, ainsi que votre accueil si généreux. Pour nous tous, cette soirée sera inoubliable.
I join in your welcome for the presentation of the 43rd annual Michener Award and the 26th annual Michener-Deacon Fellowship.
Your Excellency, on behalf of the Foundation board I would also like to thank you for your continuing strong support for the Award and this ceremony. Governor General Roland Michener would be delighted that all of his successors have supported the Award strongly and that it is now in its 42nd year.
You have helped to make the Michener Award Canada’s most prestigious honour for excellence in journalism. Merci beaucoup.
In a few minutes, we will honour one winner of the Michener Award.
Je peux vous affirmer que les six finalistes de ce concours sont tous des concurrents de grand mérite. Tous représentent ce qui s’est fait de mieux en journalisme d’enquête durant cette année
The outstanding work of all our finalists deserves to be known as widely as possible. It was former Governor General Roland Michener’s intent in establishing this award that it should become a continuing source of motivation for public service journalism across Canada.
To help promote the Award, we are pleased that CPAC, the Cable Public Affairs Channel, will again be broadcasting a program about the finalists on its national network. This year the Michener Foundation is also filming the ceremony and will produce a short video that will be made available to Canada’s Journalism schools to inspire the next generation of public service journalists.
We will begin the presentations this evening by awarding the Michener-Deacon Fellowships.
The Foundation is pleased that last year a second Fellowship was added to support Journalism Education. This is made possible through the generosity of the BMO Financial Group which has provided support for the Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Investigative Reporting. Because of this generosity a new fellowship was added to enable a senior journalist to spend four months in residence at one of Canada’s Journalism schools. This fellowship is supported by the Foundation and the family of the late Paul S. Deacon.
The judges have awarded the Fellowship for Journalism Education to CBC Radio journalist Julie Ireton. Ms. Ireton is also a past winner of the Michener-Deacon Fellowship for Investigative Journalism. Her plan is to use the Fellowship to develop a workshop on entrepreneurial Journalism. This would eventually link Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business with the University’s School of Journalism. Ms. Ireton will create a new course mode! in Journalism education and mentor students who wish to apply their writing and critical thinking skills as self-employed journalists or business operators. This is timely in an era of less certain and permanent employment for journalists.
For the past 26 years, the Michener-Deacon Fellowship has been Canada’s premier award to encourage excellence in investigative Journalism that serves the public interest.
Depuis vingt-six ans, la bourse Michener-Deacon a permis de réaliser des projets de grande qualité.
The judges have awarded this year’s Fellowship for Investigative Reporting to photojournalist Roger LeMoyne. Mr. LeMoyne has won national and international awards for his photo documentaries of human conflict and turmoil in Kosovo, Africa, Asia and South America. His work has appeared in many publications, including Paris Match, Time, Maclean’s and The Globe and Mail. His project, as the Fellowship winner, will be an investigation, in words and photos, of the operations of Canadian mining companies in other countries including their environmental impact and civic conduct.
This year the Michener Foundation board also decided to award the Michener-Baxter Special Award to one of the unsung heroes of Canada’s newspaper industry, Bryan Cantley. Mr. Cantley was vice-president of the Canadian Newspaper Association for more than 25 years. He was also secretary of the National Newspaper Awards and executive director of the Commonwealth Journalists Association.
Under his guidance the National Newspaper Awards became a key source of inspiration and recognition for excellent journalism Canada. Mr. Cantley earned the respect and admiration of everyone in the industry, from reporters to newspaper publishers. Unfortunately Mr. Cantley’s health prevents him from attending the ceremony tonight. He has requested that former close colleague and member of the Michener Foundation board Pierre Bergeron accept the award on his behalf.
This year we received 30 excellent entries from newspapers and broadcasters across Canada, five more than last year.
The five-person panel of judges for the Award is independent of the Michener Foundation.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Société Radio-Canada’s Enquête “Fatal Deception” revealed links between asbestos industry funding and “independent” research at McGill University. The research findings had downplayed the health risks of asbestos mining, which supported Ottawa’s “safe use” policy of continued exports to Third World countries. This compelling series forced federal and provincial governments to act on a serious public health issue that has killed thousands across Canada and threatened the well-being of many more in Asia.
Après la diffusion de ces émissions, le gouvernement nouvellement élu du Parti québécois a annulé un prêt garanti de 58 (cinquante-huit) millions de $ pour la réouverture de la dernière mine d’amiante au Québec, mettant ainsi fin à 130 (cent trente) ans d’exploitation de l’amiante au Canada. Le lobby de l’amiante, connu sous le nom d’Institut du chrysotile, a fermé ses portes. Ottawa a fait volte-face et convenu de permettre que l’amiante chrysotile canadien figure dans la liste mondiale des produits dangereux de l’OIMU.
In the lead up to the 2012 municipal election, the investigation by The Coast, an independent alternative weekly newspaper, revealed that Halifax’s popular three-term mayor had taken more than $160,000 from an estate of which he was the executor. “A Trust Betrayed” revealed how more than seven years after the death of Mary Thibault, her heirs were still waiting for Peter Kelly to disperse hundreds of thousands of dollars; some charities didn’t even know they had been named in her will.
The impact of this exemplary reporting was immediate: within a week Mayor Kelly announced that he would not seek a fourth term, which changed the focus of the election campaign from a referendum on Kelly’s performance to choosing the best candidate for Halifax. And within a year, Thibault’s heirs had reached an out of court settlement with Kelly.
The detailed and sustained reporting by Postmedia and the Ottawa Citizen exposed the use of “robocalls” to mislead and harass voters during the 2011 federal election campaign. After an election-day incident in Guelph in which a fraudulent “robocall” about a polling-station change went to 6,738 homes, Postmedia and The Ottawa Citizen compiled a database of ail reported incidents in Canada. A pattern emerged: the calls seemed to target opposition voters in ridings across the country. The investigation shed light on how technology can subvert our most fundamental democratic value: the right to vote in a fairly run election.
The impact of this coverage has been resounding. Charges were laid against a campaign worker. And in a decision last month, Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley did not overturn election results in six contested ridings but he ruled that voting fraud took place in ridings across the country, confirming the findings of the Postmedia and Citizen journalists.
Le décès d’une jeune femme qui s’était laissé envelopper de pellicule de plastique et enfermer dans une boîte par un gourou de l’épanouissement personnel a été à l’origine de cette enquête sur le marché des guérisons miracles au Québec. La Presse a découvert des charlatans armés d’appareils bidon et de «fréquences invisibles» prétendant être capables de guérir tous les maux, du mal de vivre au cancer. Le reportage multimédia lève le voile sur les tentacules de ces guérisseurs dans les hôpitaux et les écoles, expose leurs pratiques frauduleuses d’émission de reçus pour les assurances et le fisc et constate la rareté des poursuites dont ils font l’objet.
La série a pressé la communauté médicale à agir. L’Ordre des psychologues et le Collège des médecins du Québec ont déclenché des enquêtes sur ces imposteurs. Le Collège des médecins a demandé au ministre de la Justice de prendre des mesures afin de poursuivre plus facilement de tels charlatans.
The Toronto Star’s heartbreaking stories of people with autism, homeless or in jail, turned the spotlight on the failure of Ontario’s health and social policies to address the challenges faced at different stages of life by those with autism. The comprehensive series looked at all facets of the issue – from groundbreaking scientific research to the severe shortage of services and funding, particularly for young adults. It documented how families spend their life savings to pay for expensive treatment and suffer in silence in the face of government neglect.
The autism project sparked an intense debate and put questions about policy and treatment squarely on the political agenda. The Ontario Ombudsman has launched an investigation into gaps in services for young adults with autism. The provincial government appointed a panel to look into policy development and services with an eye to helping children.
Catastrophic explosions that killed four people and injured another 42 workers at two northern B.C. sawmills led The Vancouver Sun to investigate gaps in public safety concerning the risk of wood-dust explosions. Using inspection records from WorkSafeBC, the provincial fire commissioner and local fire departments, The Vancouver Sun created databases to analyze the documents. They found that wood dust was frequently involved in fires, and that despite knowledge of this and previous warnings about the risks, fire-code inspections were not being carried out at some sawmills.
The impact following these stories was swift. The B.C. government invested $1 million for a Fire Inspection and Prevention program to reduce the risk of dust explosions, and major forest companies promised an independent audit of dust levels to increase safety at their sawmills.
I am sure you can imagine the very difficult time the judges had in assessing these superb projects in public service journalism. They are all inspiring examples of the best work in our field. But a choice had to be made and now comes the moment we have been waiting for.
Je demande à Monsieur Michael Ferguson, Vérificateur général du Canada, de nous présenter l’enveloppe qui contient la décision des juges pour l’obtention du Prix Michener.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the Michener Award is Postmedia News and the Ottawa Citizen.
President, Michener Awards Foundation
Rideau Hall, Ottawa
June 18, 2013