I was a bit curious why, on a bus at 2 a.m., a woman would be carrying a poster with pictures of Guy A. Lepage tied to it with white paper clips. I’d even considered asking her.
But I fear any rational explanation for this, and so I kind of prefer it to remain a mystery.
Like the Canadiens, the locked-out workers at the Journal de Montréal are counting the moral victories while their actual ones are few and far between.
On Friday, the Commission des relations du travail denied a request from the Syndicat des travailleurs de l’information du Journal de Montréal to order the paper to stop using content from Quebecor’s new Agence QMI. The union argued that it’s being used to replace the work of locked-out workers with the work of journalists at other Quebecor-owned news outlets. The employer countered that they’re playing by the rules – all the content is published elsewhere in the Quebecor empire before it’s printed in the Journal.
The truth, of course, is in the middle. Many other Quebecor outlets have ramped up their journalism production to feed the Journal.
Still, even with that small setback (other issues are still on the table and will be discussed at other hearings in the coming weeks), the STIJM is heralding its new avenues of moral support.
The Bloc + 3 = 70%
On Sunday night, Rue Frontenac released a survey of Quebec MPs that headlined the fact that 70% of them support the locked-out workers and would support a boycott of advertising in the Journal de Montréal by the federal government. It combined that with a somewhat conspiracy-theory piece about why the Conservatives didn’t support them, suggesting it had to do with Brian Mulroney’s ties to Quebecor, ignoring the more obvious explanation that Conservatives don’t tend to take the union’s side in labour disputes.
More interesting is the fact that 12 of 14 Quebec Liberal MPs (including Stéphane Dion) chose not to support the workers (or more accurately, didn’t respond to Rue Frontenac’s survey). But Quebecor can’t be in bed with the Liberals since La Presse and Radio-Canada already are.
Guy! Guy! Guy!
But more important than federal politicians are entertainment galas, and Guy A. Lepage made a few headlines when he appeared on stage to accept an Artis award sporting a Rue Frontenac sticker and declaring solidarity with the locked-out workers (along with 800 people let go by CBC/Radio-Canada, which airs his show Tout le monde en parle).
Lepage was the only winner from Radio-Canada (RadCan swept the nominations in the talk show category) in the Quebecor-dominated Artis. So if anyone was going to say something, it had to be him, especially since he had paid Rue Frontenac a visit just days before to give them an exclusive interview.
Outside, locked-out workers were demonstrating, keeping their cause in the news (well, on Rue Frontenac anyway, and as a throw-away mention in a piece about the more important issue of who people were wearing).
And to those of you who don’t think Rue Frontenac is doing enough investigative journalism, I give you an exclusive report on the fact that electronics store flyers have errors in them.