Ryan Remiorz The Canadian Press Prime Minister François Legault delivered his plea for the protection of Quebec information and cultural production on Friday, after receiving his influenza vaccine and the latest version of the one against COVID-19 in a Montreal vaccination clinic.
François Legault delivered a real plea on Friday for the protection of information and Quebec cultural production, the day after the announcement of massive staff cuts at the TVA Group, which plans to lay off 547 people, or a third of its staff.
“We need information, we need regional information, we need Quebec cultural products. This is non-negotiable. We have a duty to find solutions. »
The Prime Minister first wanted to share his dismay over the fate of the dismissed TVA employees, emphasizing how “it can be stressful for someone who loses their job, stressful for the people concerned, but also for their families.”
But he was quick to move on, emphasizing that “there are several problems, several issues in the world of media”, notably the migration of advertising revenues to web giants and the decline in TV viewing. traditional general practitioner.
Already at work
He affirms that his Minister of Culture and Communications, Mathieu Lacombe, is already working to try to find solutions, but did not want to give any indications on what these solutions could be. “It’s not simple, it’s complex, and there’s a lot at stake, so I don’t want to come up with a magic recipe tomorrow morning either. It's not true, it doesn't exist. »
François Legault knows full well that he cannot act alone in the television sector, since it is an industry under federal jurisdiction. He also expects to discuss the file with Ottawa, “but I do not want to delay solutions by waiting for the federal government”, he said, specifying that Minister Lacombe has been working on the file “for month.”
Although often mistreated in the media, François Legault believes that information “is essential, it is non-negotiable: if we want a good democracy, it takes a lot of journalists , many sources of information for the population. »
Information in threatened regions
He says he is particularly worried about information in the regions, not only because TVA plans to make a good part of its cuts there, but also by the disappearance of Publisac, the only distribution vehicle available at low cost for regional weeklies, including TC Transcontinental announced the replacement with a small advertising leaflet.
“For me, it is essential, the small media, the small weekly newspapers which are distributed in the different localities. This is important for Quebecers. They care about it. We helped them, then we will look at what we can do to help them even better,” he promises, while recognizing that the disappearance of Publisac is a real threat to these publications.
Quant TVA's decision to cease all in-house cultural production worries her. “We want a strong Quebec culture. […] It’s incredible how Quebecers love and watch their cultural programs and it’s important for the cohesion of the Quebec nation. »
Even if TVA abandons the production of its shows to turn to subcontracting to external production houses, “currently, it is hard for companies that produce, produce series or cultural shows” , recalls the Prime Minister.
He even suggests that his government would be ready to give a helping hand across the spectrum cultural.
“These companies cannot make a profit even if they produce exceptional series, so it is our responsibility. In Quebec, we cannot deprive ourselves of these Quebec productions.
“It’s a lot of problems to watch at the same time. That's why I'm going to be here. The goal is not to help a particular company, it is to look at all the problems and then come up with solutions. »
Certainly, he leaves it to Ottawa to take steps with the web giants to get them to share part of the pie that they have taken from the media and the cultural sector in general.
< p>François Legault says he is ready “to act quickly between now and spring”. While we shouldn't expect specific measures for the media and cultural sector in next week's economic update, he promises “discussions with (Finance Minister) Eric Girard” in anticipation of the “real budget, the big budget, in March.”
Vaccinated by an acupuncturist
François Legault made these remarks after leaving a vaccination clinic in Montreal, after receiving the influenza vaccine and the latest version of the COVID-19 vaccine. The Prime Minister could hardly have asked for a better needle expert since the man who administered the two doses to him, Jean-Philippe Major, is an acupuncturist. Mr. Legault also complimented him on his technique. “It seems you’re used to planting needles. It seems to me that it hurts less than usual,” he said.
Mr. Legault took the opportunity to encourage Quebecers to get vaccinated, a service that is offered free of charge to the population, while saying he was pleasantly surprised by the public response. To date, more than 1.46 million appointments have been made by Quebecers and approximately 672,000 doses of COVID vaccine and 807,000 doses of influenza vaccine have been administered since the start of the campaign more early this fall.