MP Shaun Chen responds to CEMA’s open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau

April 30, 2020

In response to the Canadian Ethnic Media Association’s open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, CEMA has also forwarded the initiative to representatives in the Canadian government. CEMA board member, Pauline Tong, recently received this encouraging letter from Shaun Chen, (MP-Scarborough North).

Please note: The following has been published with the permission from the office of Shaun Chen.

Dear Ms. Tong,

Thank you for your e-mail and sharing the letter from the Canadian Ethnic Media Association (CEMA) to the Prime Minister regarding the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on diverse communities, and particularly the need to support ethnic media and multilingual producers.

I know that this public health crisis has affected each and every Canadian, business, faith group, non-profit, charity, and organization including the CEMA. Indeed, the CEMA has long supported diverse broadcasters across the country in serving a vital function, which is to inform, enlighten, and entertain Canada’s ethnocultural communities. In light of the unprecedented public health crisis we are faced with, the role of CEMA and its members is even more important. Supporting its broadcasters is a role that the CEMA has so ably performed. I fully agree with you that diverse broadcasters deserve support during this pandemic.

In your letter, you note in particular that ethnic media has largely felt excluded from the $30 million awareness advertising campaign announced earlier this month. Your feedback is invaluable, and I am taking the liberty of bringing your letter and your concerns to the attention of the Prime Minister’s Office and the office of the Minister of Canadian Heritage for their immediate review and consideration. Please know that our government is continuing to develop its response, and is working on additional measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, our government recently announced the Emergency Support Fund for Cultural, Heritage and Sport Organizations. This new $500 million in 2020-21 is allocated to help address the complex financial needs of organizations that do not qualify for the existing Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS), because of the lumpy or irregular nature of their revenues, as well as to cover contract workers. The Fund will also provide advances on future grants and contributions to help maintain liquidity as well as small subsidies to cover some fixed costs. I can speak from my own experience, that as an MP I shared this valuable opportunity with diverse organizations within my riding, and I know that my fellow colleagues have done the same in their communities.

We must all continue working during these unprecedented times, not only to defeat COVID-19, but also to support organizations like the CEMA and its membership of local, independent, ethnic media, who are doing such critical work in communicating valuable, timely, accurate and important information to Canada’s diverse communities. Please know that you have my full support.

Thank you again for your tireless advocacy on behalf of our ethnic media and diverse communities. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.



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