CANADIAN ETHNIC MEDIA ASSOCIATION

Voices of Canada

Calling CEMA members: Unfair tax ‘Save Our Voice’ protest set for Dec. 12 at Queen’s Park

January 26, 2015

The following is a copy of an urgent appeal sent to allmembers by CEMA President Ben Viccari: “WE need your support on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at 10 a.m. at the Media Room Queen’s Park — irrespective of whether you’re print or electronic media,and here’s why…

Ace Alvarez, Dat Nguyen and I met yesterday with a group protesting some crippling taxation measures on Ontario ethnic print media and English/French community media. Please click here to see article on this website for details. As you can see, the very life of many ethnic newspapers is threatened

We met with Daniel Brock, Guy Giorno and David Robertson of Fasken, Martineau and heard their proposal to lobby the Ontario government to rescind the taxes retroactively and issue clear guidelines.

Present were 15 members of the ethnic media and (through speakerphone) Leslie Weller, of Weller Printing, which, like Dat’s company, prints a sizeable number of ethnic newspapers. Also present was Robyn Matravers, executive director of the Ontario Community Newspapers Association (OCNA). Along with CEMA, OCNA was the only other organization with a declared representative.

Brock, Giorno and Robertson reviewed the various issues and advised the publishers of all media who’d received an unfair tax assessment to immediately file a Notice of Objection to Tax Assessment with the Ontario Minister of Revenue. This would stay any court action, and if not filed, will place the newspaper in an untenable legal position.

The target date of the coalition would be the Ontario March budget, although in my opinion, in the light of the Premier’s action in the recent “Rev Jo” license plate farce, action could come sooner.

The lawyers emphasized that the proposed coalition’s tactics should not be over aggressive and of an “attack” nature but based on a desire for reasonable dialogue with the Ontario government. It is obvious that by now, Premier McGuinty and all his cabinet are aware of the situation and may be looking at ways of extracting themselves from such a damaging media situation, especially since ethnic media are deeply involved.

I stated that the campaign must take into account the fact that so many newspapers are published on a bi-monthly and monthly basis they must be considered as newspapers, which at present, they are not. He also said emphasis should be placed on the vital role all ethnic media play in immigrant settlement.

The lawyers stated it was imperative that action be taken before the Legislature closes down for Christmas holidays and they had booked the Media room at Queen’s Park for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday December 12 to launch the SAVE OUR VOICE campaign.

The objective is to get as many representatives of ethnic and community media as possible to the meeting as well as mainstream media, and of course, members of the legislature. It is desirable to use logos such as those of OCNA and CEMA and other organizations. I have also invited the Canadian Ethnocultural Council to send a representative

PUNITIVE TAXATION OF ETHNIC PRINT MEDIA AFFECTS ALL MEMBERS OF CEMA WHOSE STATED OBJECTIVE IS TO CREATE GREATER AWARENESS OF ETHNIC MEDIA. PLEASE SHOW SOLIDARITY BY SHOWING UP ON WEDNESDAY AND PHONE ME AT (416) 944-8175 IF YOU CAN COME.”