Saturday, June 30, 2012

Chantal Hebert

I used to think of Chantal Hebert as just another separatist Quebec journalist. I must say that I have grown to respect her opinion. I don"t always agree with her, but I do think she tries to be fair unlike many of here MSM colleagues. I was quite happy with this piece. I congratulate her on her Order of Canada.

MONTREAL—As midnight tolled on Parliament Hill on the 1987 night when the pieces of the Meech Lake constitutional accord were stitched together, the First Ministers negotiating inside the Langevin building and the journalists waiting for them on the sidewalk fell off the radar together. With radio and television stations signing off for the night, with newspapers about to be put to bed across the country, little of the talks would transpire until the next morning. In those days, the media cycle still came with a pause button. As it happened, the marathon meeting did not break until sunrise. In its aftermath, that would be one of the few things those who participated in the fiery Meech Lake debate would continue to agree about. Over the next three years, the same set of basic facts evolved into one of the most divisive stories ever put to the country. It haunts us still. Whenever I contemplate the proposition that the 24/7 news environment and the chatter of the social media have shattered any hope of a constructive national conversation, I remind myself of the dialogue of the deaf that took place between the 1987 negotiation and demise of Meech.

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