Editorial

Gertrude J. Robinson (McGill University)

As in so much of Canada in 1992, the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) was drawn into the constitutional debate. It sponsored a session on aspects of the Charlottetown Accord, during its annual convention, just a month before this accord took on its final shape. Much has already been written about this attempt at compromise and more is still to come as the Canadian public gains distance from these momentous events. The Canadian Journal of Communication brings together a series of four articles under the heading of "Communication, the Media, and the Canadian Constitutional Debate" to commemorate the period. The title signals that the ongoing tensions and negotiations between government and the media in all democracies is a tension which is virtually inevitable because the public's right to know and the government's need to hammer out political accommodation away from the limelight constitute a symbolic ground which is contested. This contested ground is where media interpretations of events collide with "what really happened" according to the political elites and where the public itself brings its own understandings to bear on what the other two contestants are arguing about.

While we look forward to more detailed accounts of the ebb and flow of the 1992 constitutional conversation, David Taras (University of Calgary) provides a first glimpse into the major issues which constituted the Charlottetown accord. The Quebec view of the debate is ably recorded in a Commentary by Gaëtan Tremblay of the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). The other articles address more general issues in the study of political communication. Matthew Mendelsohn (Université de Montréal) analyzes the televisual frames provided for the reporting of the 1988 Canadian election and the ways in which these structured political discourse. Jonathan Rose of Queen's University traces recurrent themes in the referendum debates of 1980 and 1992. Karim H. Karim (McGill University) deals with the increasingly important issue of Canada's ethnic populations. His article "Constructions, Deconstructions, and Reconstructions" traces how a country which, for over a hundred years defined itself as "bi-ethnic," is coping with the demographic facts of multi-ethnicity. And finally, two colleagues from the University of Alberta, Professors Hoskins and McFadyen, share their ongoing concern with analyzing the globalization of international entertainment markets and Canada's participation and successes in these developments. We hope you will enjoy reading this issue.



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