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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Toronto chapter.

Ever realize how much we cover U.S politics, especially compared to the lack of coverage we give to our own Canadian politics?

Looking at networks like the CBC, many of the headlines are about Trump’s latest shenanigans, with barely any of them ever looking at what’s going on in our own nation.

What’s the obsession we have with U.S politics?

But, does it seem better to dedicate a lot of headlines to poor quality news about our own politics, or keep the status quo?  We eat up the same poor-quality news the U.S throws out about its own politics and don’t have any coverage about our own which tends to make it doubly worse. 

Interest in Comedy and the Digesting of Poor-Quality News

American politics does provide a humour that Canadian politics doesn’t really have based on the candidates themselves.

U.S politicians are media figures as well as just politicians. Elections are designed to be a show and whoever spends the most money tends to be the most effective because it’s designed to be a media spectacle – it’s engaging and funny. Even Americans get sick about their low quality coverage about what’s happening, especially since it’s so redundant.

It should be a good thing, then that we have less media coverage in the sense that our politics are less superficial, and whatever media coverage we do have is generally more accurate. However, this can also be a bad thing. Why?

Some attention is better than no attention. How exactly are citizens meant to vote if they’re not educated on what’s going on? There’s a middle ground between basic coverage in mainstream media to turning politics into a reality television show.

Young Voters in the 2015 Canadian Federal Election

Young Canadians have been described as politically disengaged because a lot of them don’t vote. Let’s look at the 2015 Canadian federal election and its non-voters to see why.

In the 2015 federal election, one third of young voters thought they didn’t know enough to have confidence voting for a party 26% indicated not having time, while 11% said they didn’t really care for any of the political parties.

Only 4% said they didn’t vote because they felt their vote would not count.

A large percentage of Canadian voters aren’t voting because they feel that they don’t know enough about what’s going on. The 11% who don’t really care for the political parties could simply not care because the media doesn’t exactly help us know what’s going on. The one third confesses to total ignorance. And that 26% couldn’t care less, partially because there’s barely any media attention and some change feels like no change without that media coverage.

Recent Canadian News

When talking about what’s going on in recent Canadian politics, we can think about Prime Minister Trudeau’s “family” vacation. Trudeau accepted a trip to a private property in the Bahamas owned by the Aga Khan, the wealthy philanthropist and spiritual leader; though, it wasn’t exactly a family vacation despite Trudeau’s insistence on it, since the Aga Khan isn’t a close family friend. He took along a fellow MP and his husband as well as the Liberal Party President, even though he’s not allowed to accept trips on private means. It seems more like someone trying to get something out of the liberal government, and there’s a conflict of interest.

It was covered a bit on the CBC, but the amount of headlines covering Trump’s latest actions were noticeably greater in number, no matter how insignificant what he actually did was. It’s a little more tiring to hear about him all the time.

American “News”

Although, the news we’ve been hearing about the U.S currently has been no more than garbage that people tend to eat up just because it’s there. There is a lack of journalistic integrity in the U.S that allows meaningless news to circulate quite rapidly.

From Russia meddling in the elections (never mind that U.S technology is far superior and would see it coming, especially from a waning power like Russia), and now to the fact that apparently Russia has “compromising” material on Trump – the latter information circulated from an “unverified” dossier given by a former spy.

One of the individuals who want to encourage this Russia nonsense is none other than James Clapper, who said that the dossier is “unverified” but he decided to give it to policy makers to give them, “the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.” For those with no knowledge on James Clapper, he worked with Rumsfeld in the invasion of Iraq, which had flawed evidence, and then claimed that the CIA and NSA weren’t spying on average Americans when, in reality, they were; somehow he hasn’t been jailed yet. 

Needless to say, we’re trusting this guy, and if it’s still unverified information, what’s the point of sending it out to the public and cause havoc? Not to mention, United States intelligence doesn’t exactly have the best track record on being trustworthy, with the Iraq War being a prime example why.

What’s Better?

Should we deal with getting garbage news or no news at all? Both scenarios are bad, but some Canadian political news coverage is better than nothing, especially since we do seem to be more aware of American politics compared to our own country.

It’s a lot harder to teach people to be politically informed.

Come election time, if we don’t know what’s happening, what’s meant to change? We pick our leaders based on the limited media attention they get. We’re also unable to hold anyone accountable because no one bothers to cover it. Instead we get American politics shoved in our faces because we pay too much attention to entertaining news.

While that’s unlikely to change, especially since American politics is indeed funny (in a sort of disastrous way, sometimes), we should bother to seek out Canadian politics. It’s our job to know what’s happening in our nation.


Image Sources

1.  https://aos.iacpublishinglabs.com/question/aq/1400px-788px/media-influence-politics_cf078c31-6f65-4e6a-9e1c-230f9dd0d5fc.jpg?domain=cx.aos.ask.com

2.  https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/7e/0b/5d/7e0b5dccafae81ef058f9cfa1caa0844.jpg

3.  http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/04/16/635964387128312182-2021259317_voter-apathy-1.jpg

4.  http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bWyU7tHN8Jw/TVTDJlxUlVI/AAAAAAAAAyQ/1EWgOgtwIxc/s1600/Lobbyist%252520vs_%252520Voter%255B2%255D.jpg

5.  https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CsFlU2JWIAAKeIQ.jpg

6.  http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/grandpa_simpson_yelling_at_cloud10.jpg

7.  http://i2.cdn.turner.com/money/dam/assets/150812151505-teach-for-america-illustration-780×439.jpg