Candidacy of Martine Biron: “It creates discomfort” | Elections Quebec 2022

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Candidacy of Martine Biron : “ Ç created unease” | Élections Quebec 2022

The candidacy of Martine Biron, journalist and political analyst, is creating unease, says Alain Saulnier (archives).

“A malaise” is how former Radio-Canada news director Alain Saulnier describes journalist Martine Biron’s leap into politics under the colors of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ). A finding shared by the Professional Federation of Journalists of Quebec (FPJQ).

The announcement of the analyst's candidacy for the National Assembly in the riding de Chutes-de-la-Chaudière disappoints former Radio-Canada news director Alain Saulnier.

“It creates discomfort. »

— Alain Saulnier, former director general of information at Radio-Canada

Martine Biron becomes the fifth person from the media to be recruited by the CAQ for the upcoming provincial elections, after Bernard Drainville in Lévis, Pascale Déry in Repentigny, Caroline St-Hilaire in Sherbrooke and Kariane Bourassa in Charlevoix–Côte-de-Beaupré.

The FPJQ understands the discomfort and the risk of confusion among the public, says Julien Renaud, administrator on the organization's board of directors.

The disappointment does not, however, leave no room for amazement, says Alain Saulnier. For a long time, political parties have drawn candidates from the media.

She's not the first to do so. When I was head of information [for Radio-Canada], there was Christine St-Pierre, Pierre Duchesne, there was also Bernard Drainville, so it's not new. Of all generations, the media community has always provided candidates: Jean-Pierre Charbonneau, René Lévesque, Jeanne Sauvé, lists Mr. Saulnier.

If members of the media are targets favored by political parties, it is above all for reasons of visibility and ease.

Alain Saulnier even speaks of a natural link between the media and the political environment.

It's less difficult than making known a local candidate, or a local candidate, who is very little known in his riding, he mentions.

D' according to Julien Renaud, the similar motivations that lead someone to become a journalist or a politician can explain why some make the transition to politics.

The characteristics of the function are very similar: the communication, political sense, democratic sense, public duty, explains Mr. Renaud.

According to Alain Saulnier, the candidacies of journalists are not very good for the perception that the public can have of our journalists and our media.

Julien Renaud abounds in the same meaning as the former director general of information: the function of journalist must be completely dissociated from that of the politician.

There is a total incompatibility between the two functions, adds Mr. Renaud.

To do this, Mr. Saulnier is asking for more transparency from journalists and the media.

What should be done, in my view, is for the media and the journalists themselves to be as transparent as possible from the moment they are approached by a political party, let their bosses know and maybe their bosses can decide to remove them completely from the sector where they work, he says.

With information from Marie-Pier Mercier

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