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Democracy à la Maude

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Maude Victoria Barlow is a crusading warrior for social justice and the leader of Canada's largest citizens' rights group. This film portrays Barlow's progress from young Ottawa housewife, quietly reading Germaine Greer alone at home, to outspoken activist, locking horns with such formidable opponents as media magnate Conrad Black and Thomas D'Aquino of the Business Council on National Issues.

On the front lines in the battle against the Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), Barlow cautions against "the rise of corporate rule," arguing that such agreements enhance the international mobility of corporations at the expense of Canadian social programs and jobs. As head of the Council of Canadians, Barlow launched the recent national campaign against media concentration with a court challenge to the Hollinger Inc. takeover of Southam Newspapers--a move which placed Conrad Black's company in control of more than half of Canadian dailies. The challenge was unsuccessful, but Barlow soldiers on, firmly committed to keeping questions of media ownership and social policy on the public agenda.

Interviews with family and friends reveal Barlow's profound respect for her parents' generation, the men and women who fought in the post-war years to create a caring society. "How dare we give this up without a fight?" she asks at a public meeting with her characteristic fighting spirit. "It will probably take the rest of our lives to turn this around. But then, what else have we got to do?"

1998, 61 min 05 s

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Gold Apple Award
National Educational Media Network Competition
May 30 to 31 1999, Oakland - USA

Honorable Mention - Category: Social Issues
International Film and Video Festival
October 19 to 22 1998, Columbus - USA