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Q&A

‘The opportunity to move toward prosperity’: Gerry Rogers

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A Stephen Harper rally “catapulted” Gerry Rogers into politics back in 2011. In April this year she became Newfoundland and Labrador’s first openly gay leader of a political party. Still, she says it “doesn’t roll off my tongue very easily to say I’m a politician.”  I wanted to know how she made the transition from filmmaking to politics and what her plans are as leader. Here’s what she had to say.  Q: When did you know you wanted to get involved in politics? I never knew that I wanted to get involved in politics. Did I ever think that I would do this? No. I’ve always been on the margins pushing from that space. But I was a breech birth, so I always knew that there was always more than one way of doing things. Q: How did you make the decision?  So in 2011, just before the federal election, Kathey Dunderdale was…

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‘I don’t consider myself an activist… I feel responsible’: Beatrice Hunter

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Beatrice Hunter is one of about fifty Labradorians who occupied Muskrat Falls in 2016. The Inuk grandmother continues to fight the resulting civil and criminal charges that were laid against her (and other land protectors) in court. In light of the recent provincial court ruling that allowed criminal charges to go ahead against Justin Brake, the former editor of The Independent who entered the Muskrat Falls site to report about the actions of the land protectors, I asked Hunter if she would talk with me. I asked her about the status of the charges she is facing, her thoughts on the charges against Justin Brake, and what the future of Labrador might look like for herself and for her children. Hunter says that “the more the people know about the situation here in Labrador, the better.” She believes that Justin Brake’s coverage of the events changed the way the rest of the…

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‘What we can learn for the future’: David Vardy on the Muskrat Falls inquiry

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The name David Vardy has been linked with criticism of the Muskrat Falls project since its earliest days, when he had already retired from public service. Vardy, a former Clerk of the Executive Council and Secretary to Cabinet and chairman of the Public Utilities Board, says the questions we really need to answer are about democracy and how we as a society are going to respond to Muskrat Falls. I sat down for an interview with him before he left for the Muskrat Falls symposium in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. Q: What makes you happy about what’s going on with the Muskrat Falls issue right now? Anything? So what makes me happy is that we finally have a public inquiry. And this is not the public inquiry that I asked for: what I wanted was a panel of people that were very knowledgeable about construction projects. And what do we end up…

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‘The courage to come forward’: Amelia Reimer talks about the upcoming MMIWG hearings

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The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry will be in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in the first week of March, reported APTN Wednesday afternoon. Amelia Reimer has been sitting on a provincial planning committee for the hearings. We asked her what to expect. Q: Who are the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls In Newfoundland and Labrador? A: It’s all walks of life. There’s some people on the list that we don’t know their names because that was always hidden from the media. Their names were always withheld, so some of those I can’t really speak to. But for the ones whose families have decided to let the names be public it’s–I guess the stereotype with this type of violence across the country is that it’s sex workers, not that that should make any difference whatsoever. But here, it’s mostly domestic violence. The unsolved cases clearly we don’t know…

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“If 50 per cent of the candidates were women:” talking with Elizabeth May

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There are stories women tell themselves about running for politics, the stories women hear from other people, and the stories the media tell: all these play a part in whether or not a woman decides to run for political office. The leader of the Green Party, Elizabeth May, talked about all these kinds of stories when we sat down in the hour before she was scheduled to speak at a recent Equal Voice event in St. John’s. We talked about running for political office as a woman in Canada in the 21st century. “We won’t get the kind of government we deserve until we get more women elected,” she said to a full room in City Hall after our conversation. The fourth woman to lead a federal party in Canada, May talked about what holds women back, what it takes to win, and how to help a woman imagine that…

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“Budget decisions can lead us to a more hopeful future:” David Thompson

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Like the rest of us, you’ve been hearing about the economic troubles here in Newfoundland and Labrador. The story goes that we have no choice but to cut budgets and jobs and increase fees. But economist David Thompson says we can tell a different kind of story about the economy here in Newfoundland and Labrador. In fact, he believes that if we told different stories about our economy, we would be able to find different solutions than the ones that are commonly offered up. He said that “doom and gloom” stories prevent us from seeing the real, viable solutions in front of us. We don’t have to run ourselves off a “fiscal cliff.”: we can turn ourselves around at any point. Thompson is an economist and a founder of PolicyLink Research Consulting, a B.C. organization providing advice to governments, labour organizations, and the private sector on economic and resource management issues. Thompson came…

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