Who is calling the shots in today's newsrooms. A Quebec survey has some answers. (Photograph by

Who is calling the shots in today’s newsrooms? A Quebec survey has some potential answers. (Photograph by

• A survey of 397 Quebec journalists, commissioned by Quebec’s press council and obtained by Le Devoir, raises troubling questions about the state of journalism in Quebec. It found that 32 percent of respondents believe that advertising influences journalistic content. A quarter believe that some of their colleagues have censored themselves in recent months. But 57.5 percent of respondents felt otherwise. Twenty percent of respondents from Quebecor Inc. said advertising sales staff are regularly or are often involved in newsroom decisions. Thirty percent of respondents from Transcontinental Inc. said the same thing.

• Tory backbencher Michael Chong has said the second reading of his Reform Act will happen in early June. It’s still uncertain whether that private members bill — which is meant to curb the power of party leaders — will pass. But, between now and then, public and press support for its passing could increase thanks to the publication of Tragedy in the Commons: Former Members of Parliament Speak Out About Canada’s Failing Democracy.

The book, co-written by Samara founders Alison Loat and Michael MacMillan, draws upon exit interviews with 80 former MPs to “unearth surprising observations about the practice of politics in Canada.” Among those observations was “how decisions from their parties’ leadership were often viewed as opaque, arbitrary and even unprofessional.” A tour supporting the book will take place between April 7 and June 16.

• The Canadian Political Science Association’s annual conference includes a number of sessions and workshops that could be of interest to those concerned about the democracy in this country. Topics under discussion will include the “uncivil behaviour” of MPs in the Canadian and British Parliaments, how to hold political advisors accountable and the ways in which federal elected officials represent the needs and wishes of their constituents. The conference will take place at Brock University between May 27-29.

Have a news tip about about the state of democracy, openness and accountability in Canada? You can email me at this address.

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