Martin Collacott column is more of the same

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      This week, nonwhite friends of mine have been hopping mad about a recent Vancouver Sun column by immigration agitator Martin Collacott.

      The former Canadian ambassador was eager to let readers know that within two generations, seven in 10 British Columbians would not be white. It followed a Douglas Todd column citing the same statistic.

      Collacott has been trying to make British Columbians fearful of Canadian immigration policies for many years. I wasn't surprised in the least that Postmedia would run one of his columns.

      The focus on race had the effect of angering B.C.-born readers of colour, which may not help Postmedia in the long run.

      In recent years, a drumbeat of other Postmedia stories and columns have been whipping up fears of the other, whether these pieces have been about immigrants who supposedly won't fit into Canadian society, so-called birth tourists, Muslim extremists, or white-collar criminals from China. Meanwhile, a litany of real estate articles have underplayed such factors as interprovincial migration, lack of supply, quantitative easing, and low interest rates in pushing up housing prices.

      It's why I only scan Postmedia papers nowadays. I'll check if there's a Kim Bolan article or if Vaughn Palmer has some insights on provincial politics that I need to know to do my job. But the reality is that long ago, these publications ceased being an important part of my life.

      The primary reason hasn't been the work of the young journalists, many of whom are exceptionally talented and some of whom have lost their jobs. It's because I've been troubled by these newspapers' consistent efforts to undermine public confidence in multiculturalism, immigration, and diversity. That quite possibly comes from the top.

      It's also laughable to read these newspapers' predictable pre-election editorials endorsing the B.C. Liberals or the federal Conservatives. That can only come from the top. 

      Paul Godfrey is president and CEO of Postmedia Network.

      My biggest concern, however, has been the Postmedia chain's adamant refusal to treat climate change with the seriousness that it deserves. 

      The Collacott column is only the latest of many examples of articles that have fuelled fears of the other. When it appeared and the Twitterverse erupted, I just shrugged my shoulders and said to myself, "more of the same".

      If people click the link to his article, Postmedia editors will look at the traffic counter and think that it's struck a chord. Then they might even ask him to write more articles along these lines. That's because their bosses are seeking more page views to monetize.

      The same principle applies to other columnists who specialize in triggering outrage, whether it's Rex Murphy, Christie Blatchford, or the Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente.

      I hate to say it, but sometimes that's how this industry operates.

      So if you really loathe what Collacott has said or written in the past, the best approach might be not to click the link when it's sent to you by one of your outraged friends. Otherwise, you're just going to encourage the appearance of similar articles in the future.