The Aliant Phone Book Cover

Here is the cover of the Aliant local telephone directory for Prince Edward Island released this week:

There are 62 babies pictured on the cover; there’s a note on the back of the book that says “All of the babies proudly shown here are children or grandchildren of Aliant employees or retirees.

Of the 62 babies, there are 3 or 4 that could be seen to be “visible minorities,” which Statistics Canada defines as:

The concept of visible minority applies to persons who are identified according to the Employment Equity Act as being non-Caucasian in race or non-white in colour. Under the Act, Aboriginal persons are not considered to be members of visible minority groups.

Four of 62 babies is 6.45%.

The report Visible minority population, by provinces and territories (2001 Census) from Statistics Canada says that the “Total visible minority population” of Canada is 13.44% and of the four Atlantic provinces it’s 2.16%. Prince Edward Island has the smallest percentage of the four provinces with 0.88% (1,180 people of 133,385 residents).

On the face of it, then, Aliant’s representation of the babies of Atlantic Canada is a roughly accurate portrayal of the colour of the population in general.

I’m interested in what others think about this. I’ve asked Aliant for comment on the actual makeup of their workforce.


Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on May 18, 2005 - 19:11 Permalink

I wondered about these numbers. I’ve heard a few people complain about “all the white babies”, but I figured, as you’ve gone on to investigate, that it was a fairly generous representation of visible minorities on Prince Edward Island.

Ken Williams's picture
Ken Williams on May 18, 2005 - 19:42 Permalink

Whats old in new again. IslandTel phonebook cover from around 1989 had a montage of kids which were all palefaces. Letters to the editor ensued, and I can’t remember the outcome if any.

It’s strange to think we are so caucasian and so bland in skintones here.

As a former employee of MT&T (Aliant) I remember it being called ‘the family company’ because so many new hires were relatives of employees.

How strange it must be to have dark skin in PEI and stand out so much compared to everyone else!

Our visible minorities are hyper-visible given their small numbers. I wonder how many french speaking mothers those babies have? Or how many of them will be future Aliant employees?

They sure are cute though, who doesn’t love babies, no matter what colour?

Ken Williams's picture
Ken Williams on May 18, 2005 - 19:46 Permalink

What is the actual makeup of the workforce at Reinvented? Good luck changing it.

Daniel's picture
Daniel on May 18, 2005 - 20:10 Permalink

I think the statistic should be judged on the percentage of cuteness… ‘cause the baby second from the right at the top is awfully freakin’ cute. You can just see their markerters sitting around the table thinking “hm… everyone loves babies, right?” and they’re right. Are there puppies on the back cover?

oliver's picture
oliver on May 18, 2005 - 21:48 Permalink

Sorry, I think I missed something: What do babies have to do with phone numbers?

Pete Prodoehl's picture
Pete Prodoehl on May 18, 2005 - 23:37 Permalink

Never mind the statistics, that cover sort of creeps me out…

Cyn's picture
Cyn on May 19, 2005 - 02:23 Permalink

There is something exploitive about it. Kind of like ads that feature animals dressed up in human clothes. I don’t find it cute or funny. And as Oliver said, what do babies have to do with phone numbers anyway?

Greg's picture
Greg on May 19, 2005 - 12:38 Permalink

Is it really that big a deal? You actually took the time out of your day to investigate this further, as to contact Aliant? Did you have an end goal in mind when you did this? Or was this just something you found interesting? Just wondering why and how much time you spent on this?

Aliant Worker's picture
Aliant Worker on May 19, 2005 - 13:30 Permalink

This is a book and it has pictures of babies!!! who cares if it has one more chinese, hispanic, black, white kid than the other!!! Can you still open the book and get a phone number? Does it still contain phone numbers? Get over it. If you call in and wait for 5-10 mins on hold to speak to someone to complain you should find a hobby.

Ken Williams's picture
Ken Williams on May 19, 2005 - 14:16 Permalink

The phone book cover is a keystone piece of Aliant’s marketing and the company’s image. If these baby faces were anything other than those of the employees of Aliant it would be too crass — the kind of thing Michelin or Quiznos would do. Here in the Maritimes, knowing that these are children of the company makes it all down homey and proud. Aliant — the family company. ‘Please don’t strike again, so the baby’s don’t go hungry!’ ‘My phone bills are too high, but I understand you have baby’s to feed’

Humanizing copper cables and billing machine printers with baby faces is clever marketing, the result of highly educated marketers meeting and deciding how best to project a corporate image.

To the Aliant worker: I’ll take all the time I want to complain about whatever I want and I’m sure you’ll match it complaining back.

Aliant babys — exploited from birth — sold out by their sucker parents pride as corporate icons. Nice.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on May 23, 2005 - 15:51 Permalink

Can’t agree with “aliant worker”… any form of corporate communications (‘specially a public corporation) is fair ball for discussion and besides that, FWIW, the opening comment could be said to be quite positive.

As for the cover, besides being a wonderful idea and easy to look at, it contrasts with other book covers which can’t hold up to the same scruitny. And this year they were actually delivered to _every_ office in my building by a courteous and competent individual.

Things are looking good!

Allan Carver's picture
Allan Carver on May 26, 2005 - 14:34 Permalink

Aliant’s marketing sucks. Their television ads don’t make any sense. Their phone book covers are completely irrelevant to their business. Their head office and image relations people have gone off the deep end…. They’re a lousy phone company for crying out loud. They are no different than Bell Canada, Verizon, AT&T, BellSouth, Telus, whatever. Oh yeah — I don’t use the telephone or a cellphone and I steal wi-fi whenever I feel the (continually declining) urge to go on “the information super highway”. You won’t get any money out of me — so go down in flames Aliant, and all your corporate ilk!

Alan's picture
Alan on May 26, 2005 - 17:55 Permalink

It looks to me like there are repeats which skews the stats. Aren’t D-7 and H-6 the same photo? G-2 and B-7 as well. A-3 and A-6 seem to be the same baby but different photos. What the heck does that mean?

Tracy's picture
Tracy on May 27, 2005 - 15:22 Permalink

D7 and B7 are duplicates, probably because the picture is cropped. A3 and A6 don’t look to be the same baby to me. Heck, if you look at this cover for too long, they all start to look alike ;) So it did skew the stats…there are only 60 beautiful babies on the cover.

Alan's picture
Alan on May 28, 2005 - 12:14 Permalink

A-1 is using mind control powers on you, Tracy.

Mandy's picture
Mandy on May 28, 2005 - 23:05 Permalink

this cover is also the same cover on the new phone book in Halifax.

Amanda Rouse's picture
Amanda Rouse on June 15, 2005 - 18:32 Permalink

I have to take a bit of offence at the comments made by one of the individuals on this site….I am very proud to say that my daughter is on the phone book cover. We entered her into the “face of Aliant” contest that was basically a chance for parents and grandparents who also happen to be Aliant employees to show off their beautiful children. My daughter was no “exploited” or “sold out”, I am proud of her….end of story.

J.L.'s picture
J.L. on August 26, 2005 - 00:34 Permalink

Why don’t we try to promote tourism in NB.
Please not the rocks again! Lets try promoting the North for a change, perhaps some little Gem that doesn’t get much attention but deserves it. How about French Fort Cove or Beaubears Island. Didn’t think you knew where they are.
They are both in the same area and absolutely beautiful. Many an artist have captured their quite elegance.
The babies are cute but do nothing to give back to the local business’s that pay large $$$ to pay for ads in your phone book.

tammy's picture
tammy on February 5, 2006 - 04:10 Permalink

Here in Newfoundland Aliant used the babies on the cover as well. I do not believe babies have much to do with a telephone company but oh well i guess the marketing geniuses at aliant have held their cellphones too close to their heads and have come away burnt. Lets hope this years issue has a better cover. Then again it cant possibly get worse can it?

Kim Harris's picture
Kim Harris on April 25, 2008 - 14:49 Permalink

Here in Nova Scotia, the cover is dedicated to the many volunteers that help us. The winning cover design (drawn by a kid) has about 30 kids standing in a group and they are very diverse in that they seemingly are all different from each other except for the fact that every single one of them has red hair (with the exception of the bald RCMP officer and one bald child)and white skin of course….thats comedy…but sad as well. Maybe the kid is Irish and its just a picture of his immediate family

Kevin O'Brien's picture
Kevin O'Brien on February 13, 2023 - 19:22 Permalink

It is interesting now that 18 years has passed that this issue of skin colour is now front-and-center in every part of life and is being pushed well beyond any rational limit on where it might be a useful discussion. Children of visible minorities are being taught every day that "white" people are the cause of their problems. Children are being taught that only white people can be racist. Children are taught that all white people are racist.
Teaching these things to children burns up the time they ought to be learning self reliance and industriousness, not victimhood, externalization, and blaming.

Instead of things progressing to a better future (with the left fully in control) since this post was made, we've become obsessed with and apologists for the fascistic racial hatred of identity politics and in particular this vile double-stench of intersectional politics and critical race theory.

There has not yet been, and there never will be, a product of those two brain-rotting disciplines which produces anything with an iota of redeeming social value. Since the publication of that cover there has been a steady increase in blatant open racism around the world, including all over the CBC, and virtually all of it (the new stuff) is directed squarely at so-called "white" people (who've never been defined as a species to my knowledge), men in particular, and (where ever possible) heterosexuals.

Expect blowback. Expect blowback with no upper limit when mainstream media defends the "right" of perverse thrill-seeking sexual deviants to expose their fetishes in public spaces, not in front of children, to children. Yeah, expect blowback. Expect a lot of it.

And, just btw, the most paired-down definition of racism is the mere belief that there is more than one (human) race. Which of course there is not. One cannot be a racist if one believes in one human race the way Bob Marley (alleged that he) did (among others).