CBC news reports in this story that Scott Vaughan, the environment Commissioner, is not happy with the manner in which companies mining minerals in the Northern part of Canada are conducting their business. As per the findings of the commission which Vaughan chairs, companies are not putting aside sufficient sums of money so as to be able to carry out proper environmental reclamation after the mining activities. As per the CBC news report, Vaughan is particularly concerned that the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada, the agency that is responsible for monitoring the mining activities and subsequent clean-up, is not doing its work with 70% going undone. The resultant condition is that some companies are not bothered to set aside the required clean-up money with three of the eleven companies in Nunavut not setting aside the clean-up money.
The above CB story gives a glimpse of Commissioner Scott Vaughan’s work, where he is doing it, and what he has come up with, which is, a report that accuses the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada of not doing its work and mining companies failing to honor their promises. This story has a remarkable strength which also happens to be a major weakness.
Starting with the strength, the story makes use of summary skills whereby a small number of words convey nearly all the crucial elements of the story. In just two hundred words, a reader gets to understand that the Environment Commissioner is Scott Vaughan, he works for the Canadian federal government, and he was conducting a form of study or inquiry into the manner in which the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada has been doing its work and his report is out. The short and precise story further reveals that Vaughan is not happy with the way in which the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada is doing its work, and examples of its failures are given. One of them is that three out of eleven Nunavut-based mining companies had not obeyed the law by putting aside cleaning money. Another failure on the side of the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada is that 70% of inspections it is supposed to do on company activities remains undone. The end of the story shed light on the recommendations and a response from the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada, which happens to have agreed with Vaughan’s verdict on its work. The reference to the response to the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada gives the story balance whereby the reader is informed that attention was also given to the blamed department for purpose of defending its actions if it felt so. In this case, the story shows that the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada did not defend itself against the accusations, which gives the reader a good ground to conclude that indeed the mining companies are endangering the lives of the people who live in the Northern part of Canada where they are conducting their mining activities.
Despite the above strength to the story about Northern Canada and the mining industry, there is a weakness that is apparent. This is the omission of other significant details that might be useful to other readers. For instance a reader may wonder the time within which mining has been going on in Northern Canada, how long the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada has been overseeing the mining companies’ activities. One may also wonder the time Vaughan has been in office because if he was in office for all the time that the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada has made the mistakes he points out in his report, then he has been sleeping on the job. Such an inquiry should have been carried out at the beginning of his tenure so that the correct things would be done by both the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development-Canada and the companies mining in Nunavut and other Northern territories. Heather Scoffield of the Edmonton Journal has done a comprehensive story on the same subject that has most of the information that CBC news omits. For example Scoffield informs readers that Scott Vaughan has held the job for five years and his report has been released when he is leaving office. This is important for environmental activists who may want to find out the next holder of the office so as to work with him to keep the mining companies on their toes as far as environmental protection is concerned. Scoffield also discloses that Canada’s federal government is planning to invest $ 650 billion on mining, which is important in emphasizing the significance of the industry and the necessity for good oversight. Additional information that Scoffield of the Edmonton Journal gives that is missing in the CBC news story includes the relevant legislation that Scott Vaughan used in his report. For example there is the Ocean Act and the Fisheries Act. This can be useful for people thinking of legal action against some of these companies. Also, Scoffield uses direct quotes from the Vaughan report thus making the story more authentic and includes examples of disasters of improper oversight whereby the 2010 US oil spill in the gulf is mentioned including the amount of money, $ 40 billion, used for the subsequent clean up. Scoffield even quotes Vaughan arguing that the two Atlantic boards are unprepared for environmental disasters such as an oil spill.
For a person reading the report from CBC news as the only source of the mining information and the reaction and findings of Commissioner Scott Vaughan, he or she might think that it is comprehensive. But this is not the case when compared to other sources.
Beckley (2000) emphasizes the significance of conservation of the environment as a necessity for communities that depend on it. According to Helm (2000), Native Americans are the ones who predominantly rely on these habitats and destroying them will attract some controversy in future. This makes more information on this story a necessity. Some news on the same story on the Red Beer Beacon is slightly more detailed than the CBC news story although less detailed compared to the Edmonton Journal coverage of the same story. Environmental concerns happen to be hot issues all over the globe with the threat of hostile climate due to pollution. Therefore, the necessity to make such reports as comprehensive as possible even for non-Canadians is useful. A researcher who reads the CBC news story first will have to do further research to get more information whereas the one who reads the Edmonton Journal story first may be able to make an informed argument without doing further research.
In conclusion, CBC news reports the story in brief, a strategy that is good for readers who are already aware of the subject. On the flip side, this is arguably a weakness since more information on such an important issue is necessary especially for people outside of Canada and ordinary citizens who may need to understand the laws that mining companies in the North need to obey.
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