Justin Trudeau has an interesting collection of old and new faces in his majority Liberal caucus that now sits in the House of Commons, and finding things to keep everybody busy is an ongoing challenge. Take the case of 74 year old Dr. Hedy Fry who has been the Liberal MP for Vancouver Centre since 1993.
Born and raised in Trinidad, she was a family physician for 20 years, and once served as president of the BC Medical Association. 15 years ago, when Jean Chretien was the boss, Fry was Secretary of State for Multiculturalism – a junior cabinet post. She stood up in the house and astounded everyone, particularly the Prime Minister, when she declared that at that very moment, “crosses were being burned on front lawns in Prince George BC”.
To this day, no one has any idea what she was talking about, but the damage was sufficient that she has not really been taken seriously since that moment. Never-the-less Hedy Fry has continued to be elected in Vancouver Centre, and she is now chair of the Heritage Committee in parliament. Under her leadership, the committee is embarking on a cross country tour to find out how Canadian communities get their news from the mainstream media.
She invoked the names of Keith Davey and Tom Kent, declaring that real change is possible, despite the fact that the communications revolution is continuing and gaining speed. Many mainstream media operations are becoming ‘endangered species’. Thousands of journalists and others who work in the media are losing their jobs, and many local newspapers and TV stations may be out of business relatively soon.
Aside from the obvious economic implications, the very health of our democracy is threatened to some degree. Faced with that, our Liberal government in Ottawa puts the issue in the hands of Hedy Fry?
I respectfully suggest that the bar has been set quite low.
I’m Roger Currie