May 5, 1992. CBC-TV was the winner of the 1991 Michener Award. CBC news operations in Winnipeg and Toronto collaborated on a series of investigative reports. From Toronto’s CBC at Six, a story uncovering widespread abuse of the Ontario health insurance plan by drug addicts in American treatment centres. From CBC Winnipeg, a package of six stories from the I-Team exposing Winnipeg police force corruption, furnace repair fraud, seamy immigration practices, a federal tax loophole, and abuse of Indian band funds.
The Globe and Mail received Honourable Mention and four other news operations received Citations of Merit (see below). The finalists for the 1991 competition were drawn from a record high 65 entries and represent a broad spectrum of radio, television, periodicals, and newspapers.
The presentation of the awards was made at a dinner hosted by Governor General Ramon Hnatyshyn and Her Excellency Gerda Hnatyshyn at Government House in Ottawa. Gloria Lowen, I-Team producer, CBC Winnipeg, and Susan Papp, a producer with The Journal, accepted the Award on behalf of CBC-TV.
The family of the late Roland Michener, founding patron of the annual award, were on hand to accept a special commemorative plaque from the Governor General in honour of Mr. Michener’s contribution to Canadian Journalism. His Excellency said that Roland Michener appreciated journalism that made for a better society, and he thought the Michener Awards might help promote that kind of journalism. (full text of Governor General’s award night address and presentation of commemorative plaque)
1992 Michener-Deacon Fellowships
During the award ceremony, His Excellency Ramon Hnatyshyn presented 1992 Fellowships to Ruth Teichroeb, a Winnipeg Free Press social affairs reporter and John Nowlan, a veteran Maritime Provinces journalist for the CBC.
The Michener-Deacon Fellowship is awarded annually to one or two mature journalists to advance their education in the field of journalism and serve the public interest through the promotion of values that benefit the community.
The Globe and Mail: Medical reporter Paul Taylor uncovered a significant number of sexual offences perpetrated by psychiatrists and therapists against patients in Ontario – mostly against women. His articles preceded the creation of an Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons task force on the issue. Task force reports provided the impetus for new regulations governing sexual abuse along with prescribed penalties for professional misconduct under the Regulated Health Professions Act. Mr. Taylor accepted the Michener Honourable Mention award from the Governor General on behalf of the newspaper.
Citations of merit were awarded to:
L’Actualité: Writer Michel Arseneault’s exposé called the ‘Sixty-hour Week’ touched off national scrutiny of a too-little-known fact of life: child labour and its weak regulation had escaped public attention. Quebec is a main offender because it scrapped its minimum age requirement in 1979 in the name of equal rights. The then Parti Québécois government considered that the 1974 Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms had banned discrimination on the basis of age and adopted an occupational health bill to protect all workers. Mr. Arsenault said that when he started looking into it, “I found workers under sixteen (Quebec’s traditional age limit) in factories and shops of all sorts. One 11 year-old boy interviewed had spent the summer selling ice cream fifty hours a week. The system had lost track of youth aged 16 or younger and a fully-effective national monitoring of a growing abuse is hard to find. Managing editor Jean Paré accepted the award on behalf of L’Actualité.
Prince Albert Herald: Neo-Nazi Carney Nerland got a four-year sentence after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the rifle slaying of sometimes-trapper Leo LaChance. The Herald, like LaChance’s fellow natives, was among those questioning the apparent leniency and other bizarre factors in the slaying. After The Herald’s Michener entry, based largely on the work of reporter Constance Sampson, the Saskatchewan government announced a public review of “a case that just won’t go away.” Ms Sampson accepted the Citation of Merit on behalf of the Herald.
Winnipeg Free Press: Exposure of sexual abuse and exploitation of residents at several Manitoba adolescent treatment centres has earned the Free Press its second straight finalist honour. Investigative reporter Ruth Teichroeb’s work has generated reforms, a government review and a government statement that child protection is now its No.1 priority. Representing the Free Press, city editor John Douglas accepted the award from Governor General Hnatyshyn.
CKSL-Q1O3, for twenty programs that challenged St. Thomas (Ont) city hall secrecy about meetings and documents. Reporter David Helwig opened a unique freedom-of-information advocacy service that seemed to play a role in municipal election results.
Representing the radio station, News Director George Gordon accepted the Citation of Merit from Governor General Ray Hnatyshyn.
Michener Award Night – Photo Gallery
Judges for the 1991 Michener Award:
Arch MacKenzie, Chair of the judging panel; former Ottawa bureau chief of the Canadian Press and the Toronto Star; Claudette Tougas, editorial writer, La Presse, Montreal; Cameron Bell, former reporter/editor and News Director, CHAN-TV (BCTV), Vancouver; Mimi Fullerton, President of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council; and Sylvia Sweeney, journalist, broadcaster and founder of Elitha Peterson Productions.
Judges for the 1992 Fellowship:
Senator Finlay MacDonald, chair of the judging panel, Sandy Baird, former publisher of the Kitchener-Waterloo Record; Emmanuelle Gattuso, senior vice-president for public affairs with the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, Ottawa; Huguette Laprise, executive assistant with La Presse Canadienne, Montreal; and Guy Rondeau, retired chief of the Quebec Service of La Presse Canadienne, Montreal.
Introduced in 1987, the fellowships of the Michener Award Foundation are to advance education in the field of journalism and to foster promotion of the public interest through values that benefit the community. Each year, one or two fellowships have been awarded to mature journalists who wish to use four-month study-leaves to enhance their ability to pursue public service journalism.