Montreal Gazette: emotional departure for dismissed journalists

Montreal Gazette: emotional departure for dismissed journalists

The English-language daily Montreal Gazette is also suffering from the media crisis.

Times are tough for the world of the press. In Montreal, nearly a dozen journalists from the English-language daily theMontreal Gazette learned last month that, due to a lack of budget, their posts were going to be eliminated.

The cleaver has fallen. Yesterday, Friday February 24, several journalists and managers were forced to say goodbye to the newspaper's newsroom. Among them is the monument of sports journalism, mainly assigned to the coverage of hockey, Pat Hickey, with a career of 60 years.

A hand on heart departure for Pat Hickey

Faced with the news of imminent job cuts within the company, Pat Hickey, who was not targeted by the cuts in particular because of his seniority, had voluntarily agreed to retire in order to leave his place to younger colleagues, whose professional future was threatened.

“I wanted to stay, but we got a Zoom call.with 25-30 people and there were people crying, says Hickey. Six months ago, the youngest on the seniority list finally felt comfortable enough to buy a house, and there she found herself without a job. I said to myself that giving up my seat was the right thing to do,” he told the newspaper La Presse.

The 78-year-old man draws his reverence of the media universe with a gesture of the heart, after more than thirty years of loyal service for the Montreal Gazette. Pat Hickey arrived there in 1987, after a stint at the Toronto Sun. During his long career, he notably had the opportunity to cover the exploits of legendary CH player Jean Béliveau, but also his death in 2014.

Pat Hickey will present his last column next Friday, and will attend a Canadian game for the last time as a journalist next Saturday.


The former journalistMontreal Gazette Christopher Curtis, who decided to leave the newspaper in 2020 to pursue freelance journalism, wanted to express his support for his former office colleagues, affected by the company’s budget cuts. On Twitter, he claimed that these people “could not be reduced to mere names in the logbook”.

Afterwards, he shared small anecdotes, adding a human dimension and allowing to learn more about the journalists who lost their jobs.

Christopher Curtis mentions several names, including that of the essential Pat Hickey, but also, Allan McInnis, Katherine Wilton, Edie Austin, among others.

“Edie Austin. Once she let me post an open letter from my cat to the mayor. Seriously. An excellent columnist who already covered First Nations issues, before the Oka Crisis,” he recalls.

Christopher Curtis also winks at journalist John Meagher, whom he calls “a stand-up comedian who should have had a column”.

Finally, the freelance journalist greets photographer Allan McInnis, advising people who might rubbing shoulders with him to “never get in a car with him. He has a PDF file of the Highway Safety Code with him so he can confront the police when he gets pulled over. A true adventurer. He also took one of the most important photos in Canadian history,” said Christopher Curtis.

Note that this wave of cuts within the newspaper of the Montreal Gazette hits a quarter of the newsroom workforce.

“Eleven percent was one thing, but here, 25%, we are all very surprised. It is already very difficult to take out a newspaper with the number that we are. It's going to get complicated,” a journalist testified anonymously to La Presse in January.

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