These research papers were completed as part of one of Mount Royal University’s third-year public relations classes, which focuses on government public relations and Canadian political communication (currently PUBR 3860). The papers are among the first full research papers that the PR students complete during their degree, taking over a month to individually select a topic upon which to write, research, edit and review prior to submission.
Unfriending the Facts by Matt Traynor (FIRST PLACE)
The most critical issue today relates to the world’s most valuable commodity: information. Peter Dahlgren (2018) says that “Democracy is embattled, and while some of the dangers embody direct and visible assailants such as neoliberalism, authoritarian measures, and corruption, others are less immediate and obvious” (p. 20). Dahlgren is referring to the threat that the post-truth era poses to our democratic ideologies and systems that must be carefully considered. The post-truth era has been brought about by the speed at which information is received, the platforms on which data is consumed and the automation of information dissemination. This paper examines and analyzes current literature that discusses the implications of fake news, the role of social media and use of social bots to expedite the spread of false information, with the purpose of formulating strategic and ethical considerations for Canadian public relations practitioners to contemplate when operating in the post-truth era.
The Indigenous Homelessness Crisis in Canada by Celine Copeland (SECOND PLACE)
Today, “[one] in 15 Aboriginal people in urban centres experience homelessness, compared to [one] in 128 for the general population” (Patrick, 2014, p. 22). The term Indigenous encompasses Metis, First Nations and Inuit (Kidd, Thistle, Beaulieu, O’Grady, & Gaetz, 2018, p. 2). According to Stewart (2007), the Canadian Government currently has “comprehensive national policies aimed at ending homelessness,” but these policies were not created with the intention of helping end Indigenous homelessness (as cited in Belanger, Weasel Head, & Awosoga, 2012, p. 13). I argue that Indigenous homelessness is one of the biggest issues facing Canadians today due to the lack of a clear strategy for Indigenous homelessness from the Government of Canada. I examine in this essay the factors that have led to Indigenous homelessness. Finally, through a comparison between international, national, and municipal homelessness in New Zealand, Canada and Calgary I identify recommendations for the Government of Canada.
The Canadian Stance on Gender Inclusivity in School Curriculum by Brittany Ross (THIRD PLACE)
Recently, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights have become one of the most talked about social topics in Canada. Focus on the legalization of gay marriage, the rules for same-sex adoption and creating more openness in work environments have all been forefront in discussions; it is clear that Canada is trying to remain true to its roots of inclusiveness. In 2016, the public school board began to make changes to the rules that dictate how the school should be run and what should be taught (CBC, 2016). However, the extent to which Canada supports gay rights among adolescents is still a controversial issue.
The Implications on Canada of Trump’s Presidency Relative to Government Public Relations by Karlierae Lipsit (FOURTH PLACE)
Simply looking next door to our U.S. neighbours shows what some might argue is the largest threat to Canada in