The Montreal News Group

Over the Christmas holidays, I found myself in a Facebook conversation with some like-minded people. We were expressing our concern about the direction of our country's government and our feelings of powerlessness. Our leader has a majority government, and he appears to be forging ahead with his own conservative agenda, regardless of  opposition. To make matters worse, our corporate mainstream media appear to be in the pocket of our leader and have seemingly failed in their duties as the fourth estate. As a result of this conversation, I contacted two Facebook friends who continually post interesting articles and asked them to assist me in curating news stories from alternative and mainstream media that shed light on our Prime Minister's daily deeds, particularly with respect to the environment. And to keep things positive, we could post stories about the Occupy movement and other non-violent ways of protesting. My favourite thus far has been singing in Brooklyn to prevent home foreclosures. See video below.

After just one month of curating the Montreal News Group, I no longer feel all the doom and gloom I felt over the holidays. I've learned the following:

1. Canadian mainstream media still cover what the Prime Minister is doing. You just have to dig a little.

2. The alternative media outlet that continually covers what is actually going on with great editorial is the Vancouver-based

3. The French media in Quebec cover many stories that are completely ignored in the rest of Canada. For this we need a French-language curator who can also make some comments about the stories s/he is posting. You can contact me by clicking here.

4. Facebook and Twitter are forces to be reckoned with. Just ask the Texas-based Susan G. Komen Foundation. It announced it would no longer fund clinical breast examinations and mammograms through Planned Parenthood, an organization that is constantly under threat of closing. The annual $680,000 that was going to Planned Parenthood helped provide breast exams for some 170,000 low income women. There were over 100,000 tweets from January 31 to February 2. As a result, the Foundation's Board of Directors reversed its decision. The success had to do with a broad-based network of journalists, organizations and feminists. For further reading on the Twitter tidal wave click here.

5. A little closer to home, has shown just how powerful a petition can be. At the beginning of January, the organization began circulating a petition to stop the Harper government from privatizing a portion of Jasper National Park to put in a 300-metre metal walkway. Within three weeks, over 180,000 signatures were collected, and on January 31, Parks Canada announced that it was delaying its decision. For further reading, it's covered here in the Globe and Mail.

Molly Katchpole, a 22-year-old Washington, DC resident, was offended when Verizon tried to charge her $2.00 to pay her bills online. Through she started a petition, which soon had 165,000 signatures. Verizon backed down within just a few hours. Katchpole was also behind the petition to stop Bank of America from charging its customers a $5.00 debit card user fee, which garnered 300,000 signatures. The fee was subsequently dropped. For further reading about the force of viral petitions click here.

All this to say, social media and petitions are very powerful means to make our voices heard. We just need to establish a network to have a broad enough base to get our message out and work together in sharing targeted messages.

As you know, the upcoming federal budget will largely decide the fate of our national news network, CBC-Radio Canada, which continues to cover, albeit timidly, the national political scene. We have a plan to mobilize. We just need your support. Please "like" the Montreal News Group and "share" it with your friends.

All the best, Montreal News Group, Curator

Please sign the petition below. There are already over 156,000 signatures. Cheers.


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