March 17, 2023

What We Are Learning This Week with Instructor Meagan Cloutier

The media’s role in Canadian politics.
assorted newpapers

March 13, 2023 in POLI 321 Politics and Government in Canada

Instructor Meagan Cloutier is exploring the role of Media in Canada Politics with invited Guest Speakers!


Can you tell us a little more about this topic?

My dad is in town for a visit, so I thought this week would be a perfect opportunity to do a “Take Your Parent to Work” day. Growing up with a journalist dad and seeing him moderate election debates and cover election night results, I saw media’s important role in Canadian politics first-hand. Whether this is reporting up-to-date information for citizens or holding political executives accountable for their actions, media is crucial to Canadian democracy. Journalists also rely on academic experts to help explain what is happening in Canadian politics; Richard Cloutier often relies on Lisa Young as his go-to expert on Albertan and national politics. I learned that the two of them met during their undergraduate days, many (many) moons ago. I thought it would be engaging and exciting to host a conversation to get an insider’s view of what it’s like to work in journalism and what it’s like to be an academic expert in the media, and to see if media is keeping up with all the social media trends.

Richard Cloutier

Richard Cloutier

What else do you cover in your course?

The course introduces students to a variety of topics relating to Canadian politics. We begin by overviewing the ongoing role of colonialism, racism, sexism, and hetero-patriarchy in the foundations of Canadian politics and government. Woven throughout our weeks about the constitution, parliament, elections, and political parties are conversations about how Canadian politics historically was exclusionary for most folks. The course includes diverse voices throughout its material. This is to show that while Canadian politics may have been historically exclusionary, that doesn’t mean it is not for everyone today!

What did you find most challenging in developing your course?

I debated initially about whether to include a textbook for this class, especially as Erin Tolley (2020) finds Canadian politics textbooks often silo racialized folks to the diversity chapters instead of being key political actors in their own right. Using a textbook, however, does allow for students to get clear definitions of key concepts and historical context that might not be as accessible in journal articles or book chapters. To resolve this tension, I have paired the textbook readings with research from diverse scholars. As well, the final assignment is a letter to the editors of the textbook where students must provide a rationale for what content they would update and why. This assignment encourages students to use their research skills, critically reflect on the textbook readings, and demonstrate their role as participants in Canadian politics.

Meagen Cloutier

Finally, what other courses would you recommend for students interested this topic?

There are so many! Next year, I would recommend POLI 408 Indigenous Governance; POLI 431 Canadian Political Parties; POLI 338 Indigenous Politics in Canada; POLI 429 Electoral Behaviour; and POLI 453 Women and Public Policy.

Our Thanks to Instructor Meagan Cloutier for sharing your course with us!

Follow Instructor Cloutier on Twitter @meagancloutier