Unifor, the union invited to participate on a federal committee to determine which organizations are eligible as “Qualified Canadian Journalism Organizations (QCJO)”, has continued its assault on Andrew Scheer and the Conservative party.
Last year, Unifor explicitly pledged to work against Scheer with a tweet which indicated that the union was planning to campaign against the Conservatives.
In the most recent development of the dispute, Unifor has claimed Scheer is “unfit to lead” the country after he had brought up the union’s former comments.
The Liberal-appointed panel responsible for the distribution of a $595 million bailout package for media companies that meet the government’s qualifications was included in the 2019 budget announcement.
Since then, the federal government has selected several groups to nominate candidates for the committee, to determine which media companies are approved for funding. The government named the following groups:
- News Media Canada
- Association de la presse francophone
- Quebec Community Newspaper Association
- National Ethnic Press
- Media Council of Canada
- Canadian Association of Journalists
- Fédération professionnelle des journalistes du Québec
- Fédération nationale des communications
Since Scheer pointed out the partisan nature of the group on social media, Unifor has concentrated its attacks against the leader of the opposition bringing the federal QCJO panel’s “independent” nature to doubt.
According to the federal website, a QCJO must meet several conditions before being hand-picked to receive funding. Among those conditions are that the organization regularly produces “original news content”, it employs two or more journalists at “arms length”, and it does not promote the interests of a specific group, among other things.
Nearing the 2019 election, the federal government has implemented several measures which guarantee the government’s further involvement in the media. Since then, Trudeau has also announced a commission which is charged with organizing the federal leaders’ debates for the election and another committee intended on regulating independent media for “fake news.”