November 1, 1976 (30th Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Mercer Reid


Mr. John M. Reid (Kenora-Rainy River):

Mr. Speaker, I just want to say in the few moments left that the House of Commons has reached a point in its development in Canada where it will have to make some difficult choices in the direction it wants to take. The hon. member who has just taken his place said that the media distorts. I would submit that any medium of communication distorts. The dilemma facing us in the House of Commons is that we exist in a vast chamber very seldom heavily populated, and our words of wisdom are filtered out through the medium of print.
If we look at statistics of how people obtain their news in our society, unfortunately for those in the written press who sit up and smile down at us, it is television from which most people obtain their understanding of the world. What do we do as politicians who seek to communicate with as many people as we can? We sit here and say that that medium which is declining in influence, the written press, is the medium we

choose to communicate with the Canadian people. That is obviously a foolish proposition.
The idea of having television in the House of Commons is to try to reach the community we seek to represent in a way which is important and meaningful. I recall in the good old days when all we had were our lungs to reach an audience, and great speakers were developed with tremendous voices that could carry over thousands of acres. But radio came along and a different kind of voice was required. The great orator of the nineteenth century disappeared and a new kind of voice, such as that developed by the hon. member for Assiniboia (Mr. Goodale), emerged.

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