Peace in my time

Incredibly, Alan Johnston was freed this week and I was briefly reminded of the rally in Simcoe Park we held for him in May.

The sun, the camaraderie, the invective, the righteousness, the pregnant women, you know what it reminded you of. Do I have to spell it out? Even Mansbridge was talking about it, and he wasn’t exactly a permanent fixture on the line.

How many babies were conceived during the lockout anyway?

While many were basking in this moment of solidarity, I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. It took me a while to place it. Dread.

CBC Drone called the lockout a “war.” I thought he was just being melodramatic.

But I just might have post-traumatic stress disorder, with nary an EAP fridge magnet in sight. I can’t live through another one of these things.

Maybe I’m weak. Maybe I don’t have the stomach for it.

Because it’s a war all right, one that has raged at the CBC for more than 50 years. And we’re killing ourselves with it. Live long enough in this kind of adversarial environment and you go a little nuts. They hired some of the best psychologists in the country to analyse us, and do you know what they said?

“You guys are a little nuts.”

I’m tired of the toxicity and the discord and especially the dirty tricks. If you don’t know what dirty tricks I’m talking about, then consider yourself lucky. The rest of you know exactly what I’m talking about. What are we doing?

All these years CBC management has been hammering away at its unions, and the unions have been hammering away at management, and it hasn’t solved much of anything at all. We’ve been at it for so long that we still don’t get that the real enemy is not each other. The real enemy is not internal. It’s external.

The public generally wants us to be successful. So does the media. OK, pretty much all of Canada has a soft spot for the CBC. But so much of it is nostalgia, I wonder how much longer we can coast on memories of that tickle trunk.

The whole thing has lasted so long that it’s become dogma that union and management can’t get along. “That’s just the way it is in a union shop.” But what about Sylvain Lafrance?

He had a difficult job, merging the media lines of the French networks. He had a cantankerous union. Yet somehow he pulled it all together and his employees are generally satisfied, the man well-liked, and Radio-Canada is doing well.

Sometimes I wonder if the answer to some of our problems can be found in our own company.

And now, with a president on the way out, will they find us a new one with a positive vision of hope and change that can lead us of out this quagmire?

And not just for my sake, or for yours, but for everyone’s.


  1. Mike
    Posted July 9, 2007 at 6:22 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    “And now, with a president on the way out, will they find us a new one with a positive vision of hope and change that can lead us of out this quagmire?”

    Don’t hold your breath on that one Q.

    CBC is about to be on the receiving end of some political payoff ( largesse ) to a Party faithfull.

    Mother Corp is going to be burdened with the weight of some Connie hack who no doubt feels the CBC is an unnecessary and bloated waste of taxpayer money.

    Said appointee will no doubt believe the ” free market privateers” can deliver most of what CBC does and do it better and cheaper.

    Great, just what we needed, radio and television manufactured in China or some other cheap labour market.

    The Connies are not big supporters of the CBC. Never have been and never will be.

    Tighten up those belts folks. Hard times are coming to the CBC!

  2. Tessa
    Posted July 6, 2007 at 12:17 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I know of at least one baby conceived during the lockout.

    Fun times.

    We almost named him Pedro, but my mother-in-law would have none of it.

  3. Anonymous
    Posted July 6, 2007 at 7:01 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    A friend once described the environment at the CBC this way:

    In times of crisis, management circles the wagons and shoots within…

    … oblivious to the fact that Stephen Harper is making a bigger circle from the outside. :)

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