Monday, September 26, 2005

After The Protest: Rallying My Thoughts

OTTAWA – The rally at the Peace Tower has come and gone. I was called up to the front to M.C. with my colleague and old friend from Radio-Canada, Michel Picard, the French supper hour host for Ottawa.

Cètait un grand plaisir.

Standing on the steps leading up to the entrance to the Parliament Buildings we were looking out on an army of umbrellas. The rain was pouring. And as speaker after speaker came to the microphone, I became the official umbrella holder for the MPs lining up to talk, including the NDP's Jack Layton and Charlie Angus, a Whitehorse Liberal named Larry Bagnell (who spoke passionately about how much CBC is missed in the north), Tories Ed Komarnicki and Bev Oda, BQ leader Gilles Duceppe and, finally, Liza Frulla, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

Lise Lareau, the Guild's president, was also there (pictured above) to tell us that the Minister of Labour, Joe Fontana, met with the two negotiating teams this morning and that he had expressed his, "great concern about this."

Lise reported the Minister has had many lettes and emails. He said – according to Lise – that he wants the two sides to get focussed and find a solution. He is expected to see the both parties again this afternoon. And we are awaiting a statement from him.

Lise said it would be best for us (the picketing crowd of more than 500) to stay right here, right under the eyes of Joe Fontana.

I felt somewhat heartened by the words that came from the Heritage Minister, Liza Frulla. Frulla is a former Radio-Canada employee and she was locked out herself during a labour dispute at our sister service.

She said she understood the difference between a strike and a lockout.

To chants from the crowd of, "Rabinovitch Out! Rabinovitch Out!" she responded, "First of all, we'll try to solve this conflict. Afterward, we'll see."

She added that she will continue to watch the situation closely.

Let's hope for a quick settlement to all this.

What would we do – and who would we be – without hope?

We are now off to Fredericton. Which is fine. I am drenched head to toe, jacket to underwear. And my fingers can barely move on this keyboard. So, if you see typoes, please pardon them. They are mine alone....

I never thought we would make it to Winnipeg, let alone Frederiction....

Let's hope, even though I love the place desperately, that we don't make it all the way to Newfoundland.

- Shelagh

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Anonymous Ing wong-ward said...


It looks horribly cold and wet in Ottawa. It's the same here in Toronto, so I stayed home today.

I actually find I miss the picket line... wheeling around with people and getting updated on their lives outside of the CBC. I wonder how the curtailing of 'social time' will make me feel, back at work.

Although I love the caravan -- you know that! I do hate knowing that the further you go, it's due to the lockout continuing. But the caravan is a bright beacon of hope of the kind of public broadcasting we can all participate in. Imagine -- connecting the country with a radio signal or podcasts. Who'd have ever thunk it?!

Take good care... I hope you're all back in your respective homes by Thanksgiving and that a visit to Newfoundland will happen during summer -- on a vacation.

Much love (and a virtual dry towel)

P.S. Why hasn't the print media picked up on the fact that the current CBC senior management regime have locked out a sitting federal minister AND our new Governor-General. What does this tell anyone about their ability to manage flexible talent? I just wonder how many future Order of Canada recipients, politicians, vice-presidents et al are now hitting the pavement.

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Dwight Williams said...

A very interesting set of questions in your postscriptum.

7:16 PM  
Blogger Wayfaring Stranger said...

I heard your voice today on the radio as I habitually selected 99.1 FM in Toronto, only to realize that it was a repeat of a "pre-Lock Out" edition of "Sounds Like Canada". I started to listen but I just couldn't. I really miss you, Shelagh, and Anna Maria and Andy
. . . . and everyone else on my favorite local radio station. I hope that this will end soon so that we can all go back to normal. Hang together, our goal is within reach.

8:29 PM  
Blogger josh said...

And here's hoping that you don't make it all the way east...

9:28 PM  
Anonymous site said...

It cannot have effect in reality, that is what I think.

5:24 AM  

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