Retired Radio-Canada journalist Pierre-Léon Lafrance published the following article, in French, in the Lambert Express, a local community newspaper in the Montréal. region. (Translated by Gérard Malo, national vice-chair of CWA/ Canada Retirees Council.)
After enduring countless painful stomach cramps while doing long and hard thinking, I will do here what I’ve never done during a 40-year-long career in journalism. I will speak in the first person
to publicly discuss the situation at Radio-Canada/CBC. I have spent 37 years at Radio-Canada as a local journalist, parliamentary and international correspondent, columnist, and with Radio-Canada International, as Chief Editor.
As we know, our national public broadcaster is now in the eye of the storm, and will come out of it seriously disfigured and wounded to the core. Many things have been said in the last few months about the long series of budgetary cutbacks at Radio-Canada/CBC. It all began, let’s not forget in the 1980s under the Brian Mulroney government. But I will focus on three points : Public service, the shift to digital media, and what happens next. Continue reading CBC – Enough is enough, a first-person account→
I have been aware and concerned about democratic and social-justice values ever since I first voted, a very long time ago. It was in the 1966 Québec provincial election. I’ve been defining myself as a “social democrat” since my young-adult years, which saw me canvassing for a then new Québec political party where most progressive people could be found. Of course in 1976, when I became a broadcast journalist, I had to end my involvement in partisan politics. But throughout my 37 working years, 33 at Radio-Canada, I would dream about getting back into active politics once I retired. Well, the dream finally came true on Aug. 2, 2012, the day after I officially retired from CBC/Radio-Canada. That is when I first joined the New Democratic Party.
In my 33-year stint at the CBC I managed to survive at least a dozen cuts, down-sizings or re-visioning. And the survivors were all led to believe, every time, that THIS one, was the fix. The attrition war to end all attrition wars.
Yesterday’s news about the latest round of deep cuts has left me thinking about what it must be like for those still working for the public broadcaster. I could be off-base here, but I can’t recall any other workforce that has had to live with such uncertainty for so long.
Easing into retirement could be compared to moving to another country.
Matthew Radz has been easing into retirement since he quit working seven years ago after 40 years in the newspaper business. He was an editor and arts writer on half a dozen publications, including The Toronto Telegram, the Montreal Star, Harrowsmith magazine and, since 1980, The Montreal Gazette. Post-retirement passions include nature/urban photography, long 19th-century novels, and he still dabbles in writing. He took time out from his busy retirement life to write this piece.
No visa or passport required, but there is the paperwork and the hundred and one details, to say nothing of the nagging questions. Will I have enough money to live on? – the most pressing and immediate.