Russell Mills – Chair – Michener Awards Foundation Board of Directors
Remarks at Michener Awards Ceremony – June 18, 2015
Your Excellencies, Parliamentarians, Recipients and Finalists, 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 45th annual Michener Award and the 29th 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 so strongly and that it is now in its 45th year of honouring journalism that serves the public interest.
You have helped to make the Michener Award Canada’s most prestigious honour for excellence in journalism. Merci beaucoup.
The Michener Foundation would also like to join His Excellency in extending a special welcome to Diana Michener Schatz, daughter of Roland Michener, and her husband Roy. Diana, some of us old-timers on the Foundation had the honour to get know your father and mother through this award. That was a treat we won’t forget.
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 la dernière année.
The outstanding work of all of 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.
We will begin the presentations this evening by awarding the Michener-Deacon Fellowships.
For the past 29 years, the Michener-Deacon Fellowship has been Canada’s premier award to encourage excellence in investigative journalism that serves the public interest.
Depuis 29 ans, la bourse Michener-Deacon a permis de réaliser des projets de grande qualité.
La Bourse Michener-Deacon pour le journalisme d’enquête est décerné à la journaliste montréalaise Marie-France Bélanger, une employée de Radio-Canada, pour son projet portant sur un programme de tableaux numériques interactifs au Québec.
She will use the four-month Michener-Deacon Fellowship to examine the use of technology in the classroom.
Le jury a noté l’excellente préparation de son dossier, la clarté de son processus et aussi le travail effectué par la candidate en matière d’éducation.
Your Excellency, I’m pleased to present Radio-Canada’s Marie-France Bélanger.
The Foundation is pleased that three years ago 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 Robert Cribb, an investigative reporter at the Toronto Star, for his proposal for a “National Student Investigative Reporting Project”.
He will use the fellowship to develop a detailed plan to connect the country’s major journalism programs from coast to coast to research, report and publish stories of national scope on matters of public interest in partnership with major media outlets.
Your Excellency, I’m pleased to present Robert Cribb of the Toronto Star.
Maintenant, nous allons nous concentrer sur le Prix Michener.
For this award we received 29 entries from publications and broadcasters across Canada, eight more than last year. The five-person panel of judges that selects the winner of the Award is independent of the board of the Michener Foundation. The judges believe that the quality of this year’s entries was excellent.
Now it’s my pleasure to introduce the finalists for the Michener Award.
L’actualité : Crimes sexuels dans l’armée
Cette enquête de huit mois a révélé des ratés dans la chaîne de commandement concernant la façon dont l’appareil militaire traitait les plaintes d’agression sexuelle et de harcèlement. Les victimes ont indiqué de manière détaillée comment leurs supérieurs les ont incitées à passer l’éponge. Celles qui ont refusé ont subi des représailles. L’actualité a démontré qu’en raison de la culture d’inhibition au sein des Forces armées, les incidents à cet égard n’étaient rapportés qu’une fois sur dix. Le reportage a entraîné une réponse rapide de la part du gouvernement et des autorités militaires. Le chef d’état-major a annoncé une enquête indépendante, puis a accordé réparation et présenté des excuses à l’une des victimes qui avait été congédiée après avoir porté plainte.
J’invite les journalistes Noémie Mercier et Alec Castonguay à vous parler.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Temporary Foreign Workers
The CBC’s reporting illustrated how a decades-old government program designed largely to import those with specific technical and scientific training had become a way for employers to find foreign workers to fill low-skilled minimum wage jobs. It became clear that the temporary foreign workers program was full of abuses. The stories generated criticism across the country, and forced the federal government to change the program. But the issue is far from resolved as the problems and complaints related to labour shortages in selected regions of the country remain.
I invite national reporters Kathy Tomlinson and Raj Ahluwalia to speak about the entry of the CBC.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC North: Cape Dorset
CBC North examined the death of an infant in the remote Nunavut hamlet of Cape Dorset to highlight the unique health-care challenges facing Canada’s northern communities. A chronic shortage of nurses, who provide most of the health care in isolated communities, makes it difficult for residents to speak out when they have serious concerns. It took the death of a three-month-old boy, the courage of a young Inuit mother to speak out, and the persistence of CBC North to shine a light on a problem that the government preferred to ignore. Through interviews and access-to-information requests, CBC North revealed that the nurse in question was the subject of official complaints and had conditions placed on her nursing licence. Yet she was kept on the job and promoted. The CBC stories, broadcast and published in both Inuktitut and English, prompted the Nunavut government to launch an independent review of the case.
I invite Patricia Bell to speak about the entry of CBC North.
The Canadian Press: Fair Elections Act
When the Conservative government introduced its “Fair Elections Act” to address problems highlighted after the 2011 election, The Canadian Press began an intensive examination of the proposed legislation. Committed to exploring and explaining the new and complicated rules, CP found the Act was anything but fair. Through its in-depth continuing coverage CP exposed government manipulation of expert evidence, and showed Canadians how the new bill advantaged the government at the expense of its opponents. The result was national protest and ultimately amendments to the Act to remove some of the government’s attempts to manipulate the new voting system to its advantage.
I invite reporter Joan Bryden to speak about the entry of The Canadian Press.
The Globe and Mail: Thalidomide
This compelling series chronicled the devastating legacy of the drug thalidomide whose victims were marked by a lapse in public policy in the 1950s-60s and were all but forgotten. The Globe and Mail gave survivors and their families a national voice as they spoke of the growing physical, mental and financial toll. The public and political response was immediate. Within nine days the Thalidomide Victims Association met with the government and that evening MPs voted unanimously to support fair compensation for survivors. In March the government announced survivors would receive a lump sum payment of $125,000 and the creation of a $168-million fund to cover ongoing medical assistance.
I invite journalist Ingrid Peritz to speak about the entry of The Globe and Mail.
The Vancouver Sun: Foster Children
The series, ‘From Care to Where?’ documents the plight of foster children when they turn 19 and leave the care of the province of British Columbia. Through personal narratives and official data, the Vancouver Sun’s two-month investigation examined the dire outcomes of “aging-out”, including homelessness, unemployment, jail, drug abuse and poverty. A cost-benefit analysis showed that taxpayers would save money if B.C. extended foster care support for 19- to 24-year olds. The series spurred further action from various community groups, as well as tuition waivers at eight universities and colleges, and a provincial trust fund for post-secondary education for foster children past 19.
I invite reporters Lori Culbert and Tracy Sherlock to speak about the entry by The Vancouver Sun.
I am sure you can imagine the very difficult time the judges had in assessing and ranking these superb projects in public service journalism. They are all inspiring examples of the best work in our field. It’s encouraging that in these difficult times for traditional mass media, so much great journalism continues to be done each year. But a choice had to be made and now comes the moment we have been waiting for.
Je demande à Monsieur Clyde MacLellan, vérificateur général adjoint du Canada, de nous présenter l’enveloppe qui contient la décision des juges pour l’obtention du Prix Michener 2014.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the winner of the 2014 Michener Award is The Globe and Mail.
I invite David Walmsley, editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail, to please come forward to accept the award on behalf of his newspaper.
The judges also awarded Michener Citations of Merit to the other five finalists whose entries were described a few minutes ago.
Je demande à Carole Beaulieu, rédactrice en chef de L’actualité, de venir recevoir la mention d’honneur du Prix Michener.
Now I invite executive producer Alison Broddie to come forward to receive the Michener Citation of Merit on behalf of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Now I invite Marissa Nelson, senior director of digital media, to come forward to receive the Michener Citation of Merit on behalf of CBC North.
Now I invite Stephen Meurice, Editor in chief, to come forward to receive the Michener Citation of Merit on behalf of The Canadian Press.
Now I invite Editor Harold Munro to come forward to receive the Michener Citation of Merit on behalf of The Vancouver Sun.