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For months now, Conservative Party of Canada leader Pierre Poilievre has been telling Canadians that “everything is broken”. Whether it’s delayed passports or rising food prices at the grocery store, it all comes back to the same message — and, of course, the same culprit.

But when it comes to journalism in 2023, everything is broken. Our national broadcaster is under constant attack from the official opposition, new media publications like Vice and Buzzfeed are laying off huge numbers of reporters, and CNN decided, in its infinite wisdom, to hold a glorified pep rally for Donald Trump.

This is at a moment where authoritarianism is on the march, democracy is in retreat, and values like decency and civility seem downright antiquated. “Not great, Bob”, as Pete Campbell famously said in Mad Men.

So how do we fix it?

I know that supporting our national broadcaster, and encouraging it to invest its funding in things like news coverage and public affairs programming, is part of the answer. The very fact the rage-farmers out there who trade in misinformation and fear to keep their supporters amped up — and their wallets open — want to get rid of the CBC tells me it’s very much worth keeping.

But the CBC alone can’t save us. Neither can government funding of the important work that journalists at Canada’s National Observer and other publications are doing. And while trying to squeeze out the economic value that the big social media companies like Facebook and Google have captured might help, it’s hardly a silver bullet.

In the end, it comes down to you and me. People who understand the value of good information, and want to see its creation supported, need to be willing to put their money where their eyeballs are and make a donation today. I’ve allocated an increasing portion of my household budget to supporting journalism, both here and abroad, because it’s important that I practice what I preach.

And yes, I know that I preach an awful lot about Alberta. But as we’re in the midst of an election here, it’s become even more obvious to me why supporting good journalism is so essential. In Danielle Smith we have a politician, and potential premier, who routinely trades in misinformation and indulges in conspiracy theories. If she’s re-elected, she’ll continue to have a pulpit to spread both — and divorce even more Albertans from the realities of climate change and their province’s crucial role in it.

Like Doug Ford, she hides from the press. And like Doug Ford, she’d rather answer to her own followers and supporters than the public she’s supposed to serve. I’m sure she’d love nothing more than to see organizations like Rebel Media and True North be the ones asking her questions. But that’s not journalism: that’s stenography.

If anything, it’s the politicians and pundits saying everything is broken that really want to break things. They want to damage our institutions, weaken our press, and lock Canadians in low-information silos where they only hear the opinions and stories that keep them angry.

You can help stop them. If there’s one thing that pulls this country together, it’s a democratic conversation grounded in shared facts and observable realities. Quality journalism is not easy, and it definitely isn’t free. But the cost of letting things truly fall apart is much, much higher.

So please make a donation today and support Canada’s National Observer’s spring fundraising campaign. Encourage your friends and relatives to do the same. And be proud of the fact that you’re part of the solution, not the problem.

Max Fawcett

Lead Columnist

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There has been a systematic attack on journalism and social media by the conservative party and right-wing groups since the start of the pandemic. In the case of Fox News, their disinformation campaign went a bit too far and got caught and now paying the price. The MAGA nutbars have been on a push to have Canada become part of the USA. I say, if you dislike Canada that much, move to the USA and stop the nonsense, you are no longer welcome in our country.

If anything, the conservative party is broken. They can't seem to win elections honestly and are resorting to 3rd party interference on social media and continue to spread their propaganda through these parties, including the nutbar MAGA groups. Pierre Poilievre is nothing short of a snake oil salesman and won't take a position on women's rights, climate change, education or healthcare. It seems these days, they cherry pick who shows up to their media events, so they don't have to be asked the questions they are not willing to answer.

Andrew Potter is very upset at Justin Trudeau today (May 15) in The Line for his 'perceived' - very clearly, perceived by Potter himself - "ongoing contempt for Canada", as shown by his awful passport design (I'm sure that JT did the artwork personally, as an expression of his views), his apologies to Indigenous peoples, etc.

But, really, what shows more contempt than disinformation? It's an insult to our intelligence.