By Mary Montserrat-Howlett
MONTREAL(RushPRnews)3/11/2008–Readers of the Montreal Gazette may have gotten their first glance into the newspaperâ€™s fate, as pages produced by the Financial Post (a part of the National Post newspaper), were inserted into The Gazetteâ€™s business section and into all ten Canwest-owned daily newspapers this Saturday. The Montreal Gazette has been in a fragile position, as parent company Canwest Publishing Inc. refuses to back down on its outsourcing demands or its forward attempts at centralizing Canadian news. RushPRnews contacted Director of Communications of Canwest Publishing, Phyllise Gelfand, hoping to interview her for further details into the company’s actions. Gelfand responded to an initial phone message with an inquiry about what information this reporter was seeking.Â Subsequent requests were not answered.
Not only putting the job security of many Gazette workers at high risk, but also greatly minimizing the production and quality of local content, Saturdayâ€™s business page was just the tip of the iceberg as to what could become of the sanctity of Canadian journalism as a whole. In order to fit these Financial Post pages in the Gazetteâ€™s Saturday Business section, the amount of locally-produced content shrunk from five pages to less than three. Some of the cuts included bond listings, TSX industry indexes and mutual fund listings. Even the number of foreign currencies listed, dropped from 40 to 10.
Weeks of negotiation and bargaining between the Montreal Newspaper Guild (MNG) and the Winnipeg-based employer have resulted in little, to no agreements. The Gazette management staff and the Guild met with a Quebec government conciliator early last week to try and resolve their ongoing dispute, but the MNGâ€™s bargaining committee left the table frustrated.
â€œMr. Tremblay tabled an offer which, like previous versions, would gut our jurisdiction clause and allow the company to outsource our jobs outside Quebec,â€ the MNGâ€™s bargaining committee reported on the Guildâ€™s website. â€œMr. Tremblay said of the companyâ€™s position on jurisdiction, â€œAs far as Iâ€™m concerned, thatâ€™s it. Itâ€™s over.â€ He said several times that there is nothing more to discuss.â€
The Guild will continue to fight for the Montreal newspaperâ€™s work to remain in Montreal. Petitions circulating are asking concerned citizens to sign in show of their support of Union efforts to stop outsourcing. Guild representatives argue the proposed practice would lead to more layoffs and buyouts. The newspaper now calls on Montreal citizens to defend their right to information, stepping-in to draw the line on what Canwest can take away from their daily local newspaper.