Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Peladeau case rolls on

Yes, still following this one. Yesterday in court, it was all about the meaning of one word: "Proces Peladeau-Lafrance : Le mot "voyou" remis en contexte." "Voyou" is the word that the CBC executive, Sylvain Lafrance, used in respect of Pierre Karl Peladeau, saying that Peladeau "walked like a thug," essentially, in the context of interviews Lafrance gave on the topic of Quebecor having suspended payments to the Canadian Television Fund. That is what spawned this lawsuit. So the day yesterday was spent on the meaning of the word "voyou" or "thug." This was the expert witness' opinion:
Il a expliqué au tribunal la signification du mot « voyou » lors des entrevues accordées par Sylvain Lafrance en janvier 2007. Selon l'expert, « voyou » signifiait alors « qui ne respecte pas les règles d'un organisme donné », dans ce cas-ci le Fonds canadien de télévision. Le linguiste a ajouté qu'il était très clair que c'était le comportement de Pierre Karl Péladeau qui était qualifié de « voyou » et non l'individu.
In other words, the word must be placed in context. It means not respecting the rules of a given organization or regime and that it was Peladeau's behaviour or "comportement" in respect of Quebecor's suspending funds to the Canadian Television Fund that was worthy of the description "voyou." Not Peladeau himself.

Earlier, on Tuesday, a communications executive from CBC testified that there were reasons for Lafrance doing interviews on the Canadian Televsion Fund and Quebecor's move to suspend payments to it, including these:
Dans un autre ordre d’idées, «le caractère unilatéral de la décision (de Quebecor) venait débalancer quelque chose de déjà délicat», a souligné Mme Bergeron en parlant de l’univers de la télévision. M. Lafrance devait enfin insister sur le fait qu’en suspendant ses paiements, Quebecor «attaquait sans respect l’équilibre de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion».
Those points could mesh with the interpretation of "voyou" above, that the suspension of payments to the Canadian Television Fund was unilateral and upset the balance underlying the Broadcasting Act, i.e., the act created great uncertainty in the world of television production funds. Some reporting has focussed on how this use of the word "voyou" may have deviated from the communications plan, away from the conduct and toward the person, this is something to keep in mind.

Next up are Sylvain Lafrance, the defendant himself, and the president of Radio-Canada at the time, Robert Rabinovitch.

A whole day spent on the word "voyou" and a refresher in all of this material in respect of Quebecor and its recent exploits within the Canadian broadcasting system. See how educational this lawsuit is?