Editorial

Gertrude J. Robinson (McGill University)

The Canadian Communication Association's tenth conference in Charlottetown was a great success even though participation was not as strong as it is during those years when the Learneds meet in the centre of the country. However, it is exactly these east- and west-coast venues which draw our attention to geography as an important factor in the theorizing about and the practice of Canadian communication studies. The meeting was poignant as well because it focused on the issue of "Nation and Community," a debate which has not only preoccupied all of us throughout the past year, but which has yielded a number of interesting papers which we look forward to publishing in future issues.

During my sabbatical semester at UBC's Centre for Research in Women's Studies and Gender Relations, I had the opportunity to participate in another constitution-related activity, the May 2, 1992 workshop: "Designing a Future: B.C. Women's Perspectives on the Constitution." The day-long meeting was organized by the Centre's director Veronica Strong Boag, a historian, and Lynn Smith, dean of the Faculty of Law. The morning plenary featured Jeanette Hermes, Executive Director, West Coast LEAF, and Joy MacPhail, MLA from Vancouver, who participated in constitutional town-hall meetings. All of these speakers stressed the need for women to get involved in the constitution-making process. More than 50 women from a large number of community action and native women's groups participated and collectively formulated a series of recommendations on five issues: the status of aboriginal women; economics and property rights; the Canada clause and Social Charter; devolution/decentralization; and institutions: Senate and the Courts. I was particularly impressed by Teressa Nahanee of the Native Women's Association of Canada who pleaded eloquently for the precedence of the Charter of Rights (1985) over any newly formulated native government rights in order to protect native women from the total control male leaders presently wield over them. Subsequent constitutional discussions seem to have recognized this precedence which should begin to help protect women's rights regarding clan membership, their homes, and their bodies. Proposals for Senate reform included the call for a Senate with equal gender representation, while it was generally felt that property rights should not be entrenched in the new constitution. About 20 recommendations were forwarded to Harcourt's NDP government in Victoria.

To draw attention to the fact that the electronic media are following a 1970s print trend from a "broad" to a "narrow" audience focus, we have called this issue "Narrowcasting in Canada." In it, a number of well- and less-well-known authors pursue the implications of this development. The first paper raises questions about what I believe will become the twenty-first century's major global issue: the proper representation of diverse ethnic groups in the North American and European media systems. This paper, from Eric Thomas (Concordia), assesses the CBC's programming for the growing number of ethnic groups which are diversifying Canadian culture. Stuart Adam of Carleton addresses the importance of the legal right of free expression in our changing cultural setting, while Richard P. Cavanagh (Canadian Conference of the Arts) and Robert Sparks (University of British Columbia) both look at specialty channels and the changing formats of Canadian sports programming. The remainder of the issue is devoted to Commentaries and Research in Brief articles from French- and English-language contributors who reflect the variety of communication-related interests and research initiatives undertaken across the country. Enjoy the reading and invite students at your institution to subscribe to the Journal for the coming year.

Finally, on a sadder note, I regret to inform our readers of the death of the Journal's founder and first editor, Earle J. Beattie. After a successful career as a journalist in Canada and abroad, Professor Beattie taught at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, the University of Western Ontario, and York University. He retired from York University in 1982. It was Earle Beattie's vision and enthusiasm for the field of communication studies that got this Journal started in the mid-1970s and kept it going in the difficult early years. The best tribute I believe we can pay to Earle is to keep the Journal alive and growing to serve the needs and interests of the Canadian communication studies community into the future.



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We wish to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council for their financial support through theAid to Scholarly Journals Program.

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