Cuts to Omni TV news services need to be reconsidered: NDP

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Harry Bains NDP MLA
Harry Bains NDP MLA
Bruce Ralston
Bruce Ralston

VICTORIA:  Bruce Ralston, New Democrat multiculturalism spokesperson and MLA for Surrey-Whalley, and Harry Bains, MLA for Surrey-Newton, made the following joint statement on the recently announced cuts to Omni TV’s  Mandarin, Cantonese and Punjabi language news services.

“In the month that we celebrate Asian Heritage Month, it sad to learn about cuts that will severely impact the way Asian and South Asian communities access news in their own language,” said Ralston. “These news broadcasts are a vital link to Punjabi, Mandarin and Cantonese elders who do not speak English as a first language. They are also important for young people who are learning the language. News is the glue that binds communities and Omni TV’s services have been an essential and vital service for many years.”

“The decision by Rogers to cut Omni TV’s ethnic news service has drawn criticism from the communities affected,” said Bains. “This is a worrying concern. Many non-English speakers watch Omni news for coverage of local and international issues in their own language. Also important is the fact that many follow local and federal politics through these news services. It is in the public interest to ensure we have these services continued.”

“The CRTC originally licensed the Omni TV stations to ensure Canadians of linguistic diversity and different cultural backgrounds have full access to programming and news. The lack of coverage will have a negative effect on Canada’s multicultural communities, particularly as they begin to get cut off from what is happening in local, provincial, and national level news,” said Bains.

“Canadians need answers about the cutting of local news production, the loss of jobs and a valuable service to all communities. I hope Rogers will reconsider this decision and find a way to restore these services,” said Ralston.