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Opinion: In a democracy, the government shouldn't fund the media – Financial Post

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Scrap this Ministry of Truth-type $600-million bailout and eliminate any perception of a conflict of interest in our media’s reporting of the government

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When I was training to become a Chartered Accountant (now Chartered Professional Accountant or CPA) one of the most important lessons they drilled into us was the notion of independence. When conducting an audit, the auditor signing off on the auditor’s report cannot be related to or best friends with the owner of the company being audited or be heavily invested as a shareholder.

This is for a good reason. To maintain trust in the audit process, users of the audited financial statements must know the auditors have not been influenced by any conflict of interest, real or perceived. Of course, the vast majority of auditors are honest and understand their reputation is on the line should there be any questions as to the quality of their audit, for whatever reason.

But imagine the following scenario. Rogers and Shaw announce a potential merger deal. Many Canadians become worried about a reduction in competition, increase in prices, and decrease in the quality of customer service. The Competition Bureau is responsible for making a decision on the merger. Suppose Rogers and Shaw start paying a portion of the salaries of the employees of the Competition Bureau, up to a maximum credit of $13,750 per employee.

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Would Canadians accept that? Could the Competition Bureau be said to be independent and free of any perception of or actual conflict-of-interest in ruling on the Rogers and Shaw merger if Rogers and Shaw were paying part of the salaries of each Competition Bureau employee? It’s obviously possible that the Competition Bureau employees would act objectively. As with auditors, their reputations would be at stake. But there would definitely be an appearance of a conflict of interest and that could cause Canadians to lose trust in the objectivity of the proceedings.

That is exactly the situation we now have in Canada with the media. I’m not referring to the CBC, which we all know is government-funded, for better or worse — in my opinion, worse! I’m referring to the federal government’s $600-million bailout of “qualified Canadian journalism organizations.” Ottawa actually now has a list of approved media organizations that may be eligible for government funding of a portion of the salaries of their reporters and journalists. Granted, the list is determined largely by formula and is administered by an arm’s length board. Moreover, the media organizations that receive government funding may well continue to report on the federal government in an unbiased fashion. The newspapers I read, including this one, certainly do not go easy on the current government. Even so, the appearance of a conflict of interest may cause Canadians to lose trust in the objectivity of the media. Shouldn’t we expect the media to avoid even the perception of a conflict of interest? Isn’t that the standard the media insists governments hold to?

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Part of the $600-million funding is a tax credit that individual Canadians can claim, known as the digital news subscription expenses tax credit. The Liberals complained when Stephen Harper’s Conservatives created the child fitness and arts tax credits and the family tax cut (a.k.a., income-splitting). They said it was an attempt to buy votes from suburban families. But now the Liberals are doing the same thing. They have enacted the educator school supply tax credit, the climate action incentive and now this new digital news subscription credit.

Each individual can claim up to $500 and receive a 15 per cent credit of the $500 ($75). For an extra $75 on your tax refund, is this really worth it? To claim the credit, you have to keep receipts for six years, you may have to submit the receipts to the CRA, and of course the CRA will need to ensure it has enough staff — on top of the 44,000 who already work there at an annual cost of nearly $5 billion — to review proper compliance.

Like any accountant in tax season, I’m grateful for the extra business as the federal government makes our income tax system even more complicated. And as a reader of newspapers I’m happy to get my $75 for subscriptions I was going to buy anyway. But as a citizen I’m concerned to see the government fund what is supposed to be, in appearance as well as fact, a free and independent media.

In a democratic society, a free and independent media is critical to keeping the government in check. Canadians should not accept a situation in which the government funds the media. It’s time to scrap this Ministry of Truth-type $600-million bailout and eliminate any perception of a conflict of interest in our media’s reporting of the government.

Neal Winokur, CPA, is author of The Grumpy Accountant.

In-depth reporting on the innovation economy from The Logic, brought to you in partnership with the Financial Post.

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GLAAD Media Awards presenters support transgender athletes – Coast Reporter

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LOS ANGELES — “Schitt’s Creek” and “The Boys in the Band” were winners at the GLAAD Media Awards, which included soccer’s Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger calling for transgender students to be accepted as “part of the team” in sports.

Harris and Krieger, spouses who play for the Orlando Pride and were on the 2019 World Cup-winning U.S. women’s national team, presented an award in Thursday’s virtual ceremony to the film “Happiest Season,” about a lesbian romance.

The couple drew attention to transgender athletes amid widespread efforts to restrict their participation, including a recently signed Mississippi bill that bans them from competing on girls or women’s sports teams. It becomes law July 1.

“Trans students want the opportunity to play sports for the same reason other kids do: to be a part of a team where they feel like they belong,” Krieger said.

Added Harris: “We shouldn’t discriminate against kids and ban them from playing because they’re transgender.”

“Star Trek: Discovery,” “I May Destroy You” and “A Little Late with Lilly Singh” were among the other projects honoured in the pre-taped ceremony hosted by Niecy Nash. It’s available on Hulu through June.

The GLAAD awards, in their 32nd year, recognize what the media advocacy organization calls “fair, accurate, and inclusive” depictions of LGBTQ people and issues. Presenters and winners in this year’s event highlighted priorities including the importance of solidarity and self-respect.

“Friends, I’m so proud to stand with the LGBTQ community tonight, just as the LGBTQ community stands with Black and diverse communities,” said Sterling K. Brown, who presented the outstanding documentary award to “Disclosure.”

The “This Is Us” star, citing the Black Lives Matter and Black Trans Lives Matter movements, said that “we’re going to keep spreading that message of unity and justice until every one of us is safe to live the lives we love.”

JoJo Siwa, the teenage YouTube personality and performer, presented the award for outstanding children’s programming to “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo.” She said in January that she’s part of the LGBTQ community.

“I have the best, most amazing, wonderful girlfriend in the entire world who makes me so, so, so happy and that’s all that matters,” Siwa said. ”It’s really cool that kids all around the world who look up to me can now see that loving who you want to love is totally awesome” and should be celebrated.

Other awards went to Sam Smith, who was honoured as outstanding music artist for the album “Love Goes”; Chika, named breakthrough music artist for “Industry Games,” and “We’re Here” won outstanding reality program.

Cast members from “Glee,” including Chris Colfer, Amber Riley and Jane Lynch, paid tribute to Naya Rivera and her character in the series, gay cheerleader Santana Lopez. Rivera, 33, died in an accidental drowning in July 2020.

___

Online:

https://www.glaad.org/

Lynn Elber, The Associated Press







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Social Media Etiquette Review – The New York Times

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Despite your best efforts, you may cause someone pain with that Tweet or Facebook post. Here’s a refresher on social media best practices, along with advice for some pandemic-only dilemmas.

In an ideal world, your followers would think every photo, video or thought you post on social media is like a little gift to them. In reality, it’s hard to predict how posts on Instagram, Facebook and other social media will land, especially during the pandemic. After so much loss and isolation over the past year, people are on edge. That vaccine selfie may feel joyous and hopeful to you, but it could be a digital slap in the face to someone who hasn’t received a vaccine shot or who has suffered a grave loss.

“Someone could be experiencing loss in such a way that there’s no way someone else won’t post something that compounds their grief,” said Catherine Newman, who has written the Modern Manners etiquette column for Real Simple magazine for 10 years. “That’s how grief is.”

Still, it’s hard not to overthink things — and to worry that despite your best efforts, you may cause someone pain. Some social media experts say you should review your sharing practices periodically, so here’s a refresher on social media etiquette, along with advice for some pandemic-only situations.

First, identify your motivations. Are you sharing that picture of the exquisite cake you baked because you want praise, or do you want people to feel bad that what they made themselves wasn’t as good? If it is to receive affirmation, that’s OK. But if you find yourself trying to get all your needs met by social media likes, it might be time to think about what else is missing in your life.

Second, focus on your friends. If you tried to consider every possible person who might be hurt by a post — your seemingly unobjectionable photo of tulips could very well remind a follower of someone they have lost — you might never post anything on social media. But absolutely think about your inner circle carefully.

Ms. Newman, for one, hasn’t posted about her own post-vaccination visits with family because so many in her immediate friend group have lost a parent in the past year. If you’re in a similar situation and you still want to post your vaccine selfie or the first time you’ve hugged your father in a year, consider acknowledging your own good fortune.

“I still appreciate it when people say, ‘We’re so lucky and there’s been so much loss and I’m sorry if you’re experiencing loss,’” said Ms. Newman, whose best friend died of cancer five years ago.

Before you hit “share,” read your words in multiple tones of voice, as different people can interpret the text differently, suggested Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert and the founder of the Protocol School of Texas, a San Antonio company specializing in corporate etiquette training. If there’s any doubt, add a cue, such as an emoticon, about your tone.

If you want to post something negative, keep in mind that what you say or share often says more about you. Disagree (respectfully), but avoid sweeping generalizations about entire groups of people — or about one business based on your interaction with a single employee.

Additionally, remember that any message you share, even with close family members, will be amplified to your entire online community. (The tension may also be amplified around vaccines, health measures and the stress of a not-normal year.) If you are replying to your sister online about something, that doesn’t mean you can speak to her as harshly as you might privately. Ms. Gottsman advises taking a heated family debate offline.

“Don’t start a family feud on social media,” Ms. Gottsman said. “It can affect the next family holiday.”

If you are soliciting donations for a particular cause or charity, or asking for money to pay someone’s rent or medical bills with a GoFundMe campaign, recognize that the financial situations of many people have changed this past year and there may be many other appeals compared to times past. Skip shaming phrases, like “How can you not help this person?” Instead, Ms. Gottsman said, use ones like “If your heart moves you, I’m sharing this.”

Think less vigilance is needed, because your text group is small or your settings have been changed to private? Think again. When Heidi Cruz, the wife of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, shared her family’s plans to flee a devastating winter storm in Texas for a vacation in Mexico, she texted only a small group of neighbors and friends. Screenshots of the messages ended up with journalists. Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and founder of the School of Protocol in Carlsbad, Calif., points out that it wasn’t just one person who shared the chat with The New York Times; there were others who confirmed it.

“Even if you think it’s just your inner circle, there’s always somebody there who isn’t 100 percent on your team,” she said. “That’s the person who takes the screenshot before you delete whatever it is.”

Posting about food and fitness may be even more tempting than usual, given that a lot of people have changed what they eat and how much they exercise during the pandemic. But confine your commentary to how these lifestyle changes make you feel, not how they make you look. Among other things, not all people have had the luxury of more time to exercise during the pandemic — or if they did, they might not have had the energy to do so.

Dr. Lindsay Kite is a founder of Beauty Redefined, a nonprofit that promotes body image resilience, and an author of “More Than a Body.” She noted that your “before” photo — talking about how fat you look — may be someone else’s “after.”

If you really want affirmation and accountability for your fitness goals, avoid the sports-bra selfie and posts about body measurements. Instead, Dr. Kite suggested posting a picture of yourself in a blood pressure cuff, or a less body-focused snapshot of you jogging to your favorite coffee shop.

“Loving your body and improving your health doesn’t always lead to a more ideal-looking body,” she said.

There may be situations in which a post doesn’t land as you had intended. Maybe you shared a photo of a masked-up pandemic wedding, but followers pointed out that attending still involved travel. Or you posted a video of your family’s Easter egg hunt, because all the adults participating had been lucky enough to be vaccinated.

Ask yourself how many people reacted negatively. If only one follower is unhappy, it may just be that one person is raw.

“We have a genre in my family we call ‘hurting your own feelings,’” Ms. Newman said. “Where you’re looking for something to hang some pain on and you find it.”

You don’t have to own the person’s grief, but you do have to take responsibility for yourself and apologize. You can keep it simple, Ms. Newman said: I see your pain. I’m so sorry.

If you post something that is hurtful to a wider audience — you inadvertently said something offensive or you didn’t consider all the issues — it should absolutely be deleted if it’s causing people pain.

If it’s not, consider keeping the post up, Ms. Newman said, because deleting it erases the post from public view but does not address the hurt it caused. On Facebook, she suggested an “edited to add” with your heartfelt apology. This should not include the words “but” or “if,” as in, “I apologize if you were offended.” These words don’t acknowledge the hurt person’s truth and their situation, or your role in hurting them.

“If you accidentally step on someone’s foot, you don’t say, ‘I’m sorry if I stepped on your foot,’” Ms. Swann said. “You did it. It’s not a question.”

Your apology should also include a thoughtful plan about how you’ll do things differently in the future, which can be calibrated based on how grievous the offense. For lesser instances, Ms. Gottsman said, a sentence like “I’ll think twice before I post,” may be enough.

These are words all of us could live by.

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Media Advisory: Virtual Infrastructure Announcement in Brampton – Yahoo Canada Finance

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GlobeNewswire

Reneo Pharmaceuticals Announces Pricing of Initial Public Offering

SAN DIEGO, April 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reneo Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for patients with rare, genetic, mitochondrial diseases, today announced the pricing of its initial public offering of 6,250,000 shares of its common stock at a public offering price of $15.00 per share, for total gross proceeds of approximately $93.8 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. All of the shares are being offered by Reneo. The shares are expected to begin trading on the Nasdaq Global Market on April 9, 2021 under the symbol “RPHM.” In addition, Reneo has granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to an additional 937,500 shares of common stock at the public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions. The offering is expected to close on April 13, 2021, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Jefferies, SVB Leerink and Piper Sandler are acting as joint book-running managers for the offering. A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and became effective on April 8, 2021. The offering is being made only by means of a prospectus. Copies of the final prospectus relating to the offering may be obtained, when available, from: Jefferies LLC, Attention: Equity Syndicate Prospectus Department, 520 Madison Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10022, by telephone at (877) 821-7388 or by e-mail at prospectus_department@jefferies.com; SVB Leerink LLC, Attention: Syndicate Department, One Federal Street, 37th Floor, Boston, MA, 02110, by telephone at (800) 808-7525, ext. 6105 or by e-mail at syndicate@svbleerink.com; or Piper Sandler & Co., Attention: Prospectus Department, 800 Nicollet Mall, J12S03, Minneapolis, MN 55402, by telephone at (800) 747-3924 or by e-mail at prospectus@psc.com. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of, these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction. About Reneo PharmaceuticalsReneo is a clinical stage pharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of therapies for patients with rare genetic mitochondrial diseases, which are often associated with the inability of mitochondria to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Reneo is developing REN001 to modulate genes critical to metabolism and generation of ATP, which is the primary source of energy for cellular processes. REN001 has been shown to increase transcription of genes involved in mitochondrial function and increase fatty acid oxidation, and may increase production of new mitochondria. Contacts: Joyce AllaireManaging DirectorLifeSci Advisors, LLCjallaire@lifesciadvisors.com Vinny JindalChief Financial OfficerReneo Pharmaceuticals, Inc.investors@reneopharma.com

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