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Op-ed: No tax money for Chronicle Herald until strike is settled

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – An association of Canadian newspapers is turning to the federal government for some serious help. 

News Media Canada is asking that $350 million per year of public funding be allocated for the creation of a Canadian journalism fund that would finance 35 percent of newsroom costs, based on the number of journalists employed there, and with some qualifiers applied.

Striking Chronicle Herald newsroom workers and supporters at a support rally earlier this month. Photo Robert Devet

Some people don’t like it at all. If this goes through Canadians will be forced to pay for awful writers like Margaret Wente or Christie Blatchford, who are overtly hostile to many of them, tweets Canadaland’s Jesse Brown.   

As well, critics point out that News Media Canada is rather an exclusive club. Digital-only news providers such as iPolitics, the National Observer, Ricochet, the Newfoundland and Labrador Independent and our own Halifax Examiner and the excellent Kukukwes are not included.

Also excluded would be the Local Xpress, the digital-only newspaper produced and owned by the Chronicle Herald reporters who have been on a defensive strike for 521 days now.

But you know who’s in? Mark Lever, owner of that same Chronicle Herald, and as of late an entire chain of local newspapers in the Atlantic Provinces, would stand to benefit from the subsidy. Lever is on the News Media Canada Board of Directors.  

This is not a done deal at this time, it is merely an ask. But News Media Canada is an influential group, and with journalism jobs disappearing the government may well decide it cannot stand idly by. Unifor National president Jerry Dias has expressed unqualified support for the proposal.  

But scumbag of the year Mark Lever shouldn’t get a penny until the strike is settled and the Herald workers are back in the newsroom where they belong.

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