Lisa Djevahirdjian | CUPE Communications

Like many journalists, Anne Leclair chose reporting as a way to make a positive impact on the world. In time, her chosen trade would lead her to the labour movement, which turned out to be a powerful tool for defending not only her co-workers, but journalism itself. 

“As a working journalist and union activist, the issues that most concern me are the importance and survival of local news in an era of web giants that eat up most of the advertising dollars that used to end up in our broadcasters’ pockets,” explains Anne Leclair.

Less money for newsrooms has meant less news gathering and fertile ground for fake news.

“CUPE Quebec has led some thought-provoking campaigns promoting the importance of local news and I’m proud that we’ve also recently joined forces with other major players in the industry under the banner of the Coalition for Culture and Media (standing,” Leclair says. “We are standing up against web giants like Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Spotify, and demanding they be covered by the same fiscal, tax and regulatory conditions that all Canadian organizations are expected to follow.”

From the personal to the universal: How she got here

In 1998, Anne Leclair moved to Quebec City for a permanent reporting gig. After a couple of years, she wanted to move back to Montreal but her collective agreement didn’t recognize seniority from one location to another, despite the fact that all reporters, notwithstanding their location, were contributing to the same Montreal-based newscast.

“I thought it was so unfair. The union quickly came to my defence and eventually negotiated a clause in our collective agreement that considered us all part of the same team and location, therefore giving reporters and all employees equal opportunity.”

She wanted to give back and became a union delegate. Soon after, she was elected secretary-archivist before joining the union’s negotiating committee.

“I was a little hesitant at first since the most militant members were normally technicians (not newsroom staff) but a good friend and colleague convinced me that the newsroom staff needed more representation and that the union needed more women. So I took the leap and never looked back. Today, I’m the president of my local union, I’m the TV-radio VP for CUPE Quebec’s provincial communications council (CPSC), and I am co-chair of CUPE’s national communications council, for which we are currently planning our upcoming sector conference in November in Ottawa.”