An in­formed democ­racy

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

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, Strat­ford

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.