Newspapers play role in an informed democracy

Letters to the Editor (The Guardian)
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These are indeed tough times for newspapers. They are losing at both ends of the spectrum including fewer readers and much less advertising revenue. That makes bargaining with their unionized employees very tough as well. But that is not good enough reason to walk away from discussions with your staff like the Halifax Chronicle Herald is doing, and then recruiting students and freelancers to replace them. This should be seen by all fair-minded people, not just in Halifax or Nova Scotia, but all across Canada, as a very dangerous precedent. The fact that this move is being undertaken by one of the supposed up-holders of free speech should be even more disconcerting.

This is a situation that calls out for a collective response.

It may be about one small group of newspaper workers today, but it has the potential to make a seismic shift in how we view collective rights in our society.

Not to mention the lesson we are teaching our young people if this goes ahead. That it’s okay to underbid, or undercut someone else’s right, to take their job and their livelihood because we need a few bucks ourselves.

The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the view that under the Charter or Rights and Freedoms that people have the right to associate and to bargain collectively. But unless we are willing to stand up for that right we will stand to lose the ability to practice it.

An informed democracy has to be informed, that is true. But it also has to take action to maintain its rights, and the rights of others. I urge you take whatever action you can to protest this move by the Halifax Chronicle Herald.

The rights you save may be your own.

Doug Ferguson,


Organizations: Halifax Chronicle Herald, Supreme Court of Canada, Charter

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Canada

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