Deaf Canadians fear loss of televised, captioned election debates
The Canadian Press
May 27, 2015
OTTAWA – Deaf and hard-of-hearing Canadians fear their needs as voting citizens might be lost in the shuffle in the coming election campaign as the federal parties squabble over the formats and hosts of the leaders’ debates.
The proposal by the major TV networks, put to the federal parties, includes closed captioning in both French and English — as has been the case in previous debates.
However, the Conservative Party of Canada has rejected the proposal from the so-called broadcast consortium, which includes CBC/Radio-Canada, Global News and CTV.
As a result, the televised debates are in limbo; it’s not clear whether the opposition parties would bother with a faceoff that doesn’t include the prime minister.
The Conservatives have emphasized their desire for different formats, citing the fact many Canadians no longer watch traditional TV. But broadcasters are required by regulation to include closed captioning with their programming, even during commercials.
Will new debate proposals from Maclean’s magazine, the Globe and Mail/Google Canada, the Munk Debates and others include services for the hearing impaired?