Victoria Times-Colonist and Edmonton Journal receive honourable mentions
TORONTO, March 18, 2013 /CNW/ - The Sidney Hillman Foundation judges
have awarded the 2013 Canadian Hillman Prize to Glen McGregor (Ottawa
Citizen) and Stephen Maher (Postmedia News) for their investigative
reporting on the use of robocalls to disrupt and suppress voting during
the 2011 federal election.
These two reporters followed up on reports that on and before Election
Day, voters across Canada received misleading telephone calls, some
that rudely impersonated Liberal callers, others telling them to go to
the wrong polling station. They conducted hundreds of interviews with
candidates, campaign workers, and election officials about their
experiences and compiled the results. They discovered that Elections
Canada was investigating a call in Guelph, Ont. Taken together, their
research and analysis produced a pattern that suggested there was an
attempt to suppress votes by denying voters their most fundamental
right in a democracy, their franchise.
The reporting by McGregor and Maher led to investigations by other
reporters. More than 40,000 people contacted Elections Canada to
express concern about the calls; others took to the streets to protest
what they saw as interference with their vote. Elections Canada
continues to investigate the calls and a citizen-advocacy group, The
Council of Canadians, is asking a Federal Court judge to overturn the
results in six closely contested ridings. Legislation has been promised
(but not introduced) that would control dirty political calls.
"This was reporting that spoke to the very heart of our democracy," said
Jim Stanford, one of the Canadian Hillman Prize judges. "The
persistence of these two investigative reporters, in the face of
stonewalling by both political operatives and Elections Canada, was
exceptional. This was a story that those involved never wanted to come
to light - yet it did."
The 2013 Canadian Hillman Prize is given to one reported piece or series
produced, published, broadcast or exhibited in 2012. The prize honours
journalists who seek out stories that change lives, whose work
identifies important social and economic issues and helps bring about
change for the better, even as support for serious journalism declines.
This year the judges also recognized with an Honourable Mention two
other journalists: the Times Colonist's, Katie DeRosa and her Special
Report: An investigation of Canada's refugee policy, seen through the
experience of Tamils, and the Edmonton Journal's Elise Stolte who
produced Why aren't First Nations kids in schools?, a series that adds
up for the first time how many "ghost children" on the reserves have
fallen through the cracks, missing out on the advantages that education
The submissions were judged by a distinguished panel of Canadian judges: Jim Stanford, Economist with the Canadian Auto Workers, Canada's
largest private-sector trade union and columnist for the Globe and Mail; Bronwyn Drainie, editor-in-chief of the Literary Review of Canada; and
Brian Topp, partner in Kool, Topp & Guy Public Affairs and until
recently Executive Director and CEO of ACTRA Toronto, a professional
union representing performers in the film and television industry.
Since 1950, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has honoured journalists,
writers and public figures who pursue social justice and public policy
for the common good. Sidney Hillman was the founding president of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers Union, a
predecessor union of Workers United, SEIU. Sidney Hillman, an architect
of the New Deal, fought to build a vibrant union movement extending
beyond the shop floor to all aspects of working peoples' lives.
"This year we exceeded our expectations, receiving 46 amazing entries
from media outlets large and small across the country," said Alex Dagg,
Director of Operations at the National Hockey League Players
Association, and a Director of the Hillman Foundation. "While there can
only be one winner, Canadians are well served by the excellent quality
of investigative reporting that abounds in this country."
The exceptional investigative work submitted covered a wide range of
important subjects from the explosive reporting on corruption in the
Quebec construction sector, to an exposé of abuse in BC of the federal
temporary foreign workers program, to a series about the lawyers who
mishandled compensation claims by residential school survivors. Links
to these and other stories reviewed by the judges can be found here.
The awards ceremony will be held in Toronto on March 19. They will share
$5,000 and travel to New York City to participate in the U.S. Hillman
Prizes ceremony to be held May 7, 2013.
For more information, and to see past winners, please visit the website
SOURCE: Sidney Hillman Foundation
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