Hon. Linda Frum: Honourable senators, my question is for the Leader of the Government.
In response to the question from Senator Boehm, you said in reference to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration that we in this chamber should familiarize ourselves with what is and isn’t in the compact.
Here is something that is in the compact. Subsection 33(c) states that the signatories of the compact will:
Promote independent, objective and quality reporting of media outlets, including internet-based information, including by sensitizing and educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology . . .
Signatories also agree to stop allocating public funding to media outlets that adopt certain stances on immigration.
We know the Trudeau government plans to fund media outlets and is currently studying how this will be done. Senator Harder, will Canada’s media outlets be required to attest that their editorial positions on migration issues match those of the UN and the Trudeau government in order to receive funding from the federal government?
Hon. Peter Harder (Government Representative in the Senate): I will have to take that specific question under advisement, because, frankly, I haven’t a clue.
However, I would like to put in context section 33 of the compact. I am sure we all agree that in the context of overall global migration, even that which is relatively proximate, there is a lot of distortion in the media — I will not use the words “fake news” — and ways in which the migration issue itself is firing anti-immigration and nationalist fervour in some areas; indeed, it is fomenting persecution of minorities in various areas of the world.
Senator Frum: As we know, this compact will be signed next week. Is there a plan by this government to sensitize and educate our media on immigration issues?
Senator Harder: Again, the compact is being signed. Canada being a leader in the area of migration and immigration, there are a wide variety of responses that the government has already put in place that are consistent with this. . The Government of Canada will continue to find ways of implementing the provisions of the compact.
With regard to section 33, the government is continually working with the media to ensure that there is a better understanding of migration, immigration and refugee determination issues not only here in Canada but around the world. I’m thinking, for example, of the work that was done with regard to the Rohingya issue.