Wednesday, 20 March 2019
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Open Letter to the Halifax Public Libraries about the Chronicle Herald

Dear CEO of Halifax Public Libraries,

As I walked to the Library this morning,I stopped at Duggers on Spring Garden Road because  I saw a picket line of striking Chronicle Herald workers were outside the clothing store, handing out leaflets about why they were on strike. After talking to the strikers, I came into the library and noticed that at some information desks there was the Herald, there for the public to peruse.

 

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Photo Robert Devet

 

I am a prof at Saint Mary’s University. I teach industrial relations in the Sobey School of Business. While I agree with the axiom “freedom to read”, I do NOT think that means that the public library should display the Herald. In fact I think the library should stop its subscription until the strike is over.

Workers — such as writers, columnists and editors — have been on strike for more than 9 months now. There is no end in sight. Part of the reason for this is that stores, including Duggers, continue to advertise in the Herald, and subscribers, such as the Library, continue to have it delivered.

The Herald is no longer a newspaper “of record” as once could be said. Staffed by scabs, who do not even use their own bylines because of their weak journalism, or fear of being “black listed” in the wider media world — the newspaper is a shadow of its former self. I’m quite sure that the Metro (which now supercedes the Herald in readership), CBC online and other sources can deliver the news.

What we all can do is honour the people who have had little money and little joy in nine months. We can honour the fact that they are making a sacrifice and taking a stand so we all don’t suffer from the exploitation that the Herald’s CEO and its publisher are meting out.

I understand the ‘right to read’. I think at this stage, however, that axiom has to give way to common sense. And a sense that we are all in a common struggle to save good jobs, keep wages respectable, and ensure professional and trained journalists deliver our news and commentary. Many times I’ve commented to front line staff at the Library and some agree with me. Now it’s up to you to stop subscribing to the Herald.

Judy Haiven is a professor in the Management Department of St. Mary’s University and a social activist.

3 Comments

  1. Indeed, I’m quite disgusted I see the C H at the info desk of the North Branch library. Get rid of it till the strike is over? Just get rid of it, period. It always was a very bad newspaper just pimping up the status quo. Entitled and establishment, never caring about people and social progress in Nova Scotia.

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  2. I would like to remind people that the Chronicle Herald is a voice for people to express their opinion. There should be freedom to express an opinion and the Herald is one of those venues.

    Also, what are the issues involved in the strike?

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  3. Access to information is the guiding force for libraries and it is a slippery slope to start restricting access due to a particular political or social belief you have.

    Also job-seekers and others who use the Herald for things other than the news would be shut out of those services for next to no benefit to striking workers.

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