Archive forMay 2013 - Peter Sibbald's Blog About Photography and Filmmaking

A tribute to the late Josef Riche

I am just catching up on the terrible news of the tragic loss of my old friend Josef Riche, former Grand Chief of the Innu Nation, by drowning hypothermia a couple of days ago. Back in the 1980s and 90s, as I struggled to make images of his even more struggling community, Josef often had kind words of encouragement, advice and  humour. His kitchen could be a place of refuge.

While it has been many years since we spoke, it was clear even twenty years ago when I photographed his wedding (on what was then a very happy day-above) that he might very well someday become the wise and great leader for his people that he is now being recognized  to have become by such notable admirers,  as Newfoundland’s Premier, Kathy Dunderdale.  One can hear one of Josef’s historic speeches on CBC’s Labrador Morning tribute to Josef. If you know anything about Innu history, or indeed that of the First Peoples of this land, it should break your heart.

To Josef’s family and the people of the Innu Nation, my heart goes out to you all. I will remember Josef for his kind and generous spirit.


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CBC in Crisis? Well certainly under clear and present threat… AND in Need of a Deserving Shout Out

I am no expert on public broadcasting, but like many Canadian citizens  disgruntled with the gradual erosion of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s offerings over the past decade or more  (with its increasing repetitiveness in programming and scaled-back budgets for foreign bureaus and investigative journalism), as a regular CBC listener certainly for me this has felt like a “crisis” for some time. But notwithstanding that arguably hyperbolic designation, LeadNow,  Friends of Public Broadcasting and have been scrambling to bring an important PUBLIC NOTICE to Canadians this past week or so which cannot be disputed: that the CBC is under clear and present threat of imminent takeover by the PMO through a hidden clause in one of the Harper government’s latest (if before he was elected scorned) omnibus bills, Bill C-60, their most recent omnibus budget bill.

This is a critical issue. Consider many of the—hmmm, how shall I put this—less than Canadian manoeuvres of the Harper government continuing to be catalogued on blogs such as Tracking Harper as this man systematically dismantles our ‘just society’ and makes Canada the laughing stock of people of good conscience across the globe:  on a quick, random check, most of those stories were at least reported, if not broken or indeed further investigated by Canada’s public broadcaster. How many of those important stories would Canadians have any inkling of had the CBC already been under the direct control of the government? Or to put the shoe on the other foot: what would we know of the Liberal government sponsorship scandal or the corruption surrounding Montreal politics and on and on?

Regardless of which party one votes for—for indeed every political party in every province and territory has been put under CBC’s microscope at some point— if it is not the first and foremost job of journalism, and in particular public broadcast journalism, to hold power to account, what relevance if any could the CBC hold once this bill is fully implemented?

OR aaahhhhh… is that Harper’s secret strategy: not so much an agenda to take over control over who is hired and what is said by each and every host and news anchor  of the CBC which might overwhelm even his allegedly superior micro-management capabilities, but to fast-track the apparent irrelevance of the CBC in its core role so that even this country’s business, academic and culture communities turn away in disgust? Harper has made no secret of his disdain for the public broadcaster since before he was elected, not to mention at least the latter two of those constituencies. (And with bloopers like CASL, Bill C-28, his recent bludgeon bill—which on its surface presented the wholesome and honourable aspiration of eliminating SPAM and egregious telemarketers—even thoughtful members of Canada’s  business and legal communities must be wondering about a government that would write legislation that (in)advertantly also outlaws future outreach to new clients/customers, including by businesses yet to be created, and possibly even curtails any new B2B e-communications. ) But I digress.

Today’s post is prompted by rather excellent radio of CBC’s The Current this morning in which journalist and guest host Anthony Germain managed in a mere 90 minutes or less to provide interesting and balanced coverage about:

  • the story of former Harper cabinet minister and former Innu Nation President Peter Penashue (and my friend) and his potential (or not) re-election in Monday’s by-election
  • the issues of safe water supply, environment and the power of the people versus over-bearing government in China, and the implications of water shortages for world peace…
  • in this sad old world of ours, the meaning and mission of Art and film


The mere association of these stories in one show can only provoke the kinds of interconnectedness of ideas that this small offering of a blog strives to do on many of the same subjects.

Congratulations Anthony Germain, Anna Maria Tremonti and team. Also a shout-out to CBC Q‘s Jian Ghomeshi’s for 2013/05/10 CBC pride-filled prologue today about CBC content (which further spurred this blogpost) and his rant last Friday  2013/05/03 underscoring my peeve about the recent dismissal of we “citizens” (who consider that the intrinsic privilege of our nationality bears far more responsibility than merely voting or paying taxes) as “taxpayers” or “voters”.



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