lundi 27 avril 2009

The modern crimes

The police in Quebec is very proud of their recent arrests of a hundred criminals belonging to motorcycle gangs like the Hells Angels. But in fact, this action is a very superficial cleaning and unfortunately more serious dangers are still at large.
One might compare the recent arrests to a scraping of the leaves or mowing grass. The outlaws arrested were very predictable because their activities are normally held in a specific sector. Simply identify the sector and to avoid it make you to be more or less safe. Police have not made their arrests following a "discovery" but rather by the preparation of legal proof.
The most dangerous criminals, however, are those who are unknown and whose activities are only detected after the event.
Those crimes are mainly of two kinds: those economic and terrorism. On the economic front, Bernard Madoff and Vincent Lacroix are among the most damaging because they are often put on a pedestal and it never occurs to us that they are the author of any wrongdoing. In terms of terrorism, the worst event was undoubtedly the September 11, 2001 but there have been several others since, some international in scope and other more localized. The shootings at Dawson or Columbine are not acts of terrorism as such but their unpredictability makes these events just as dangerous to society as the wars of religion or political conflicts. And what about crime as the murder in Rivière-Ouelle of a young political assistant by a resident of the village ? Less significant than a shooting spreebut just as incredible and dramatic.
The real challenge for police is to fight against all these unpredictable crimes. Is this possible? Fans of Jack Bauer knows that the fight against terrorism is a battle reaction rather than prevention. How to guard against an act which does not exist until his doing. The former director of aviation safety in Canada and former Police Chief of Montreal, Jacques Duchesneau, has confessed: terrorists have an edge. They are like a virus changing before the obstacles and you never know what direction they will attack. The authority must always try to play one move ahead.
A new book on military technology has also demonstrated that the protection of society is about to cross another border with the arrival of the war by remote robotics and computers. How to kill a soldier who is a robot? Reality has joined the science-fiction and it became possible for an army (friendly or enemy) to be composed of robots such as the famous white soldiers in Star War ... Some airplanes and helicopters from the U.S. Army are already remotely controlled at distance safely behind enemy lines.
There is only one solution against the war and crime and it is the instinct survival. The challenge has never been so high and difficult to win! That is why we must continue the battle because the victory is not there yet. As Jack Bauer would say, the enemy is not always the one we believed ...
Bernard Bujold
Photo 1: Don Corleone ( Le Parrain 1)
Photo 2: Couverture du livre Wired for War - Jack Bauer

mardi 21 avril 2009

The future of the Media - The State of the News Media 2009

The future of the media belongs to the people!
It's a bit like at the time of Marie Antoinette, while the peasants had invaded the palace of Versailles! Starvation (economic crisis) was the trigger for the rebellion. Today, in terms of modern media, the economic crisis is also at the center of the revolution.
A few years ago, none of the major media did take seriously the Internet and everyone felt very solid behind the doors of the palace. is the example and when the project was started in 2005, very few large media groups did have a website with a few exceptions such as Le Devoir in Quebec. team had approached leaders of several media groups to try to collaborate and develop the territory. Most have responded that the Internet would not survive and that they were not interested in an association. At the level of journalists, it was the same reaction and the leaders of the Quebec Federation of professional journalists were the first (and rare) to ask to be removed from the mailing list of our Internet magazine... They saw the Internet as a game for amateurs!
Today in 2009, all media groups and journalists have jumped on board the Internet train, and they have developed similar sites to the one that we proposed and several professional journalists started individual blogs.
The emperors and their court understood now but is it too late for them?
The economic crisis has change the game plan of the mainstream media who had not expected that the economy would collapse and that the free Internet would appeal to citizens to the point of no return. The consequence is of course the closure of media and the dismissal of professional journalists. It's roughly the conclusion of the annual report: The State of the News Media 2009. From U.S. President Barack Obama to the singer Susan Boyle, the Internet has become their passeport to the glory and power, without being dependent of media groups and journalists.
As the artists from the Star Academy sing: "It's not finished, there is only the beginning ..."
Bernard Bujold -
Picture 1: Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama in Strasbourg - France
(Picture by Pete Souza - The White House)
Picture 2: Susan Boyle
Picture 3: The State of the News Media 2009

mardi 14 avril 2009

The art of seduction

Barack Obama and his wife Michelle are now more popular than anyone anywhere in the world! No star, from Brad Pitt to Bono, or any other public figures, like Nicolas Sarkozy or the Dalai Lama, can compete with Obama.
Why this phenomenon? Barack Obama has still done nothing except to win the U.S. presidential election and even then it was a very divided because we must not forget that his opponents, both Hillary Clinton and John McCain, were very close. If we make the addition and we remove the 50% in favor of McCain and the 50% in favor of Hillary, it remains a total of 25% in favor Obama. In fact, this is what happens because if the U.S. President is considered a star anywhere in the world, he is less so in his own country and we see that more and more Americans are beginning to criticize their leader. It remains, however, that anywhere else on the planet, Barack Obama is like a god. You should have seen the G-20 to note that all other heads of state were seduced by the popularity of the first black U.S. president.
Charisma is never explainable, and Barack Obama is the proof. We can compare that situation with the one of Brian Mulroney and Mila in 1984. The Canadian couple was like two rock stars. Everywhere, where Brian and Mila were going , people gathered and they wanted to welcome the beautiful Mila and the dynamic Brian. The outcome of the election had confirmed this popularity and the Conservative Party won 212 districts on the 282 seats, an almost complete sweep across the country. I remember the moods in Ottawa when I was a communications assistant for Brian. People across the country admired us and they were all saying that we were lucky to be with a "winner" of the quality of Mulroney. He was the Barack Obama of the time! To understand the power of charisma and its effect on people, one can also look at the situation in the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II was adored and was even nicknamed "JP2". His current successor, Benedict XVI is the opposite and his friction with the public only accelerate. For exemple: the declaration against condoms in Africa, the excommunication in Brazil and now the event of L'Aquila where some criticize his decision not to have visited the scene of the tragedy during the Easter holiday. The pope probably have very good reasons for all decisions, but the point is that the world is run by the charisma and people want to be inspired by leaders who demonstrate some sort of winning but more important, we must love and be seduced by them. The dividing line is sometimes very thin or even invisible.
The pilot in New York (Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger), the captain held hostage on the Indian Ocean (Richard Phillips), Ingrid Betancourt in Colombia, etc. Those are some of the people who have charisma, and often despite themselves. The conclusion: you cannot choose to be a leader. The fate, events and love choose us! Congratulations to the selected and good luck to the aspiring
Bernard Bujold -
Photo 1: Barack Obama, Elizabeth II et Michelle Obama;
Photo 2: Brian Mulroney et le livre Blue Thinder;
Photo 3: Pape Benoit XVI et Fontaine de l'Aquila;
Photo 4: Le chien BO et Barack Obama.

lundi 6 avril 2009

The firearms and the law!

The debate on firearms and violence focuses on the desire of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to scrap the gun registry. The real debate should not be there, but on finding ways to prevent the violence that it is present everywhere in the world.
I remember my adolescence in Gaspé Peninsula during 1970 while firearms were a simple tool that we could buy at the corner store or at Canadian Tire. Each family had one or more shotguns in their homes. In fact, guns were a deterrent to violence. The few bandits in the village did not come to stole in the homes of gun owners because they knew they would be greeted by a volley of lead. In addition, there were as a kind of moral code. A bandit could not buy a weapon because people would have denounced it the municipal authorities. There were, of course, occasional incidents but overall people managed the firearms pretty well.
Quietly, however, things have started changing and society became more violent. It's as if moral values were no longer to exist. What caused that change? Immigration and culture, urbanization, globalization and access to weapons smuggling, hard drugs, violence in movies and on television? Probably all these causes.
Once we were respecting the policeman and now, generally, we hate them. Why? Probably because the police themselves have ceased to act as the guardians of peace, but rather as bearers of power with an arsenal. Formerly, the police used rarely their weapons. They imposed their will with bargaining power and with ability to convince. It worked better than it work today…
A journalist from the Montreal daily The Gazette has tried the device simulator of the Montreal Police. It simulates electronically armed attacks where you play the role of a policemen who must respond. It is interesting to note the result. It is a losing situation all the way because neither of the two sides survive... (See video link below)
The gun registry is a failure but it does not mean we should stop to control the right to have firearms. The society has become too nasty, too limited and too individualistic. Nobody respects anyone ...
The return to peace may be possible with a return to the word. As stated by Ingrid Betancourt, the greatest power is that of words. She is herself evidence that one could survive a long stay in the Colombian jungle with only the power of her word to convince his jailers who were yet armed to the teeth.
We must find a way to restore respect for authority and peace. And as we know: "Respect is not given and one must deserves it ..." Currently, few people in our society deserves our admiration and our respect. Politicians are profiteers, bankers are dishonest police provocateurs, parents kill their children and finally the bandits are ruthless. This situation is probably the source of the problem.. Our society has lost all moral values!
In conclusion, we must also retain one element in the tragedies such as Rivière-Ouelle, Dawson College or Binghamton New York and it is that in each case, investigations showed that all the perpetrators of violence have been victims of ridicule, isolation and rejection from their neighborhood before they become violent. In other words, we are all a little responsible for what happens to our society. Bang! Bang! Bang!
Bernard Bujold
Photo 1: Stephen Harper au Stampede de Calgary
Photo 2: Bernard Bujold en Gaspésie (1974)

mercredi 1 avril 2009

The Dream of the CBC

The CBC is part of everyday life of Canadians since the beginnings of radio in the country. Moreover, the CBC is the oldest broadcasting service in Canada and was created on 2 November 1936.
Personally, I am a user of this network since my adolescence in Gaspé (1960) while local television CHAU-TV was affiliated with Radio-Canada. The competition was not what it is today because at the time several television stations outside Montreal were affiliated with the two main networks in Quebec, which were Radio-Canada and Télé-Métropole.
It was the same situation with many small private radio stations.
Later, when I became a parliamentary correspondent at the National Assembly in Québec in 1977, all members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery greatly envied their colleagues at CBC. The most beautiful machines, the most beautiful offices and the most beautiful reporting cars . Not to mention the higher salaries ...
The situation has however begun to change in the 1980s when that the federal government decided to advocate a form of profit for its businesses. Several state societies such as Canada Post then adopted technics from the private sector management and that was also the case at CBC. However, we can say, in the case of CBC, that this company has ceased to be the best from the time she gave away to the private sector the task to produce several of its programs including soap operas. This strategy reduced investment in equipment but it also decreased the identity of the broadcaster.
The current budget cuts ($ 171 million on a total budget of $ 1.73 billion dollars from which 1,115 billion$ came from government funding in 2008 reduced to $ 1,052 billion$ in 2009) are not caused by Stephen Harper. He simply refused to advance money to fill a lack of money until the next budget. But it is clear that the Prime Minister is not a fan of the CBC.
He is not the only one and from Pierre E. Trudeau, to Brian Mulroney then and through Jean Chrétien, every Prime Minister has always wanted to trim the wings of the public broadcaster. Especially because the reputation of the CBC (Radio-Canada) in Montreal has always been associated with a certain sympathy toward the independence movement (PQ)...
Harper therefore push in a wide open door which lead to a liquidation of the CBC started by others. However, it is clear that the current federal government gives all indications of an intention to empty the house of its last furniture and to sell the property. Why keep a house that weighs and that one no longer uses? According to me, just another small push and the CBC
will be only a memory of its golden age.
The future of CBC will be decided within the next 5 years and the Internet will be the deciding factor as well as the climate of global economic crisis. On the technological front, the "cloud computing" with its low cost of use, is the new unknown communications tool and this will influence greatly the future of broadcasters, Radio-Canada as well as the other including Videotron.
May be someone would like to get a few cameras at a discount price... To be continued!
Bernard Bujold
Picture 1: Radio-Canada Montréal - 2009
Picture 2: Logos of Radio-Canada since its beginning:1. 1940-58 / 2. 1958-66 / 3. 1966-74 / 4. 1974-86 / 5. 1986-92 / 6. 1992 until today
Picture 3: Bernard Bujold speaker at CHAU-TV -1976