A welcome win for “The M Word”

Dr. Henry Bishop,  president of Black Cultural Centre of Nova Scotia who appears in the film, with Lalita Krishna and Ben Viccari

(Canscene) — Last month, the following release from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters was issued and makes me proud to have been part of the team that produced The M Word.

“The Canadian Association of Broadcasters (CAB) today paid tribute to its members’ outstanding productions in four categories, including News, Documentaries, Information and Diversity in News and Information Programming. This group of winners was recognized during the Gold Ribbon Awards Luncheon during the 82nd annual CAB Convention, being held November 2-4 at the Westin Hotel, Ottawa.

“Diversity in News and Information Programming: CFMT-TV, OMNI-TV, Rogers Broadcasting Limited, Toronto (The M Word – Canada’s Multiculturalism: a Work In Progress).’

The 60 minute documentary was made possible through 100 percent funding by Rogers’ Independent Producers’ Initiative through which documentaries are produced in an official language and at least one other language, in this case Ukrainian.

Lalita Krishna,  one of Canada’s most prolific and successful directors of documentary films, was at the helm of this production, with a team that included Zoe Dirse, principal photography, Arlene Moscovitch, story development, and Charles Chinn, editor I was honoured to be on the team as producer and co-writer with Lalita of a script that showed the many sides of the argument for multiculturalism.

The origin of the term ”multiculturalism” dates back to the late 1960s when Senator Paul Yuzyk and fellow members urged the Liberal government to aid the preservation of Ukrainian language and culture, banned in their naive country by the Soviet regime. Through the courtesy of the Yuzyk family, we were able to incorporate actual footage of the senator’s campaign.

Alan Gregg, one of Canada’s leading pollsters makes some dour remarks about multiculturalism e encouraging a loss of “”Canadian identity”  whatever that may may mean to him butt is ably countered by Haroun Siddiqui, popular Toronto Star Columnist, who sees a promising future for a multicultural Canada that permits dialogue between ethnic groups

And so the argument rocks back and forth. While Canada’s aboriginals insist they are not “multicultural” since they were here first, we felt we needed them in the documentary in order to give a clear picture of Canada’s diversity.

On a personal “fun” note, I enjoyed playing the voice of Sir John A. Macdonald with Scottish burr and an anti-immigrant functionary  for whom I borrowed the irritating, boring drawl of former British prime minister Harold Macmillan.

Lawyer Rocco Galati, a sceptic is answered by youth seminars organized by Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association of Canadian Studies. Canadian citizenship ceremonies and archival footage bring old and new perspectives to this study of multiculturalism subtitled “Canada’s Multiculturalism — A Work in Progress.”

Uzmar Shakir, president of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI) has a final remark on the splendid position Canadian ethnic groups experiencing rivalry at home are in to act as peacemakers and facilitators of dialogue as a means of showing Old Country peoples that co-existence is attainable.

One Response to “A welcome win for “The M Word””

  1. Bill Andersen Says:

    Congratulations on well-deserved recognition. I watched The M Word some months ago on OMNI and found it to be an honest, intelligent documentary. You didn’t gloss over problem areas and I appreciated that frankness.