History:  Background on the origins and fate of L’Illustration Nouvelle, once edited by Adrien Arcand

L'Illustration Nouvelle, group of editors

Photo of a group of editors from the newspaper L’Illustration Nouvelle, from Montreal (Quebec, Canada).  Sitting, from left to right:  Medjé Vézina (women’s pages), Fernand Bilodeau (various events), Jean Bohémier (sports), Adrien Arcand (editor-in-chief), Joseph Bourdon (director of information), Émile Délāge (director-manager), Jovette-Alice Bernier (women’s pages). Standing, from left to right:  M. Pommier, J.-E.-A. Pin (labor column), Gérard Dagenais, Roger Meloche (sports), Armand Jokisch (sports), Marc Thibeault (theater and cinema), Albert Massicotte (general information), Mario Duliani (foreign information and culture), Marcel Laliberté (general information ), Alphonse Loiselle (municipal information), Louis Le Marchand (cartoonist and courts).
 
Photo d’un groupe de rédacteurs du journal L’Illustration Nouvelle, de Montréal (Québec, Canada). Assis, de gauche à droite : Medjé Vézina (pages féminines), Fernand Bilodeau (faits divers), Jean Bohémier (sports), Adrien Arcand (rédacteur en chef), Joseph Bourdon (directeur de l’information), Émile Délâge (directeur-gérant), Jovette-Alice Bernier (pages féminines). Debout, de gauche à droite : M. Pommier, J.-E.-A. Pin (chronique ouvrière), Gérard Dagenais, Roger Meloche (sports), Armand Jokisch (sports), Marc Thibeault (théâtre et cinéma), Albert Massicotte (information générale), Mario Duliani (information étrangère et culture), Marcel Laliberté (information générale), Alphonse Loiselle (information municipale), Louis Le Marchand (caricaturiste et tribunaux).


Source, first story:  “Even astrologer missed death of tabloid” , The Sherbrooke Record, Tuesday, January 2, 1979, page 5.  Download a free PDF of the article.

Source, second story:  “Il y a 40 ans disparaissait le quotidien Montréal-Matin”, Radio-Canada.  Published on 27 December 2018.  English by Adrien Arcand Books.

FOREWORD:  Not only do we have a little bit of useful history about L’Illustration Nouvelle in these two articles, but Mr. Joseph Bourdon, who wrote the history, was interviewed in 1983 by the National Unity Party of Canada for a Biographical Sketch on Adrien Arcand.  Adrien Arcand Books produced that sketch in English on September 25, 2018 as A Short Study of the Life of Adrien Arcand.


Even astrologer missed death of tabloid

QUEBEC (CP) — Montréal-Matin is dead and if Joseph Bourdon had really been an astrologer, maybe he could have forecast the end of the French-language morning news tabloid.

“Even though I knew nothing about astrology, I wrote the daily horoscope for about 30 years,” wrote Bourdon in his history of the newspaper published just this fall.1

Joseph Bourdon

Joseph Bourdon, journalist.  He worked with Adrien Arcand.  In 1983, Bourdon contributed to the Biographical Sketch of Arcand by the National Unity Party of Canada. / Joseph Bourdon, journaliste.  il a travaillé avec Adrien Arcand.  En 1983, Bourdon a contribué à l’esquisse biographique d’Arcand par le Parti de l’unité nationale du Canada.

Bourdon, who joined the paper a week after its launching July 4, 1930, and who retired at the end of 1977 to finish his history, did not realize that the end of his career would practically coincide with the end of the publication to which he devoted his entire working life.

Montréal-Matin, son histoire, ses histoires by Joseph Bourdon.  Published by La Presse 1 January 1978.“May Montréal-Matin, even through the stormiest weather, continue on its way to new achievements for a long time yet,” he writes in the final paragraph of his 283-page chronicle.

The axe fell suddenly on Wednesday when Fernand Roy, executive vice-president of both Montréal-Matin and the large afternoon daily, La Presse, announced that a seven-month strike in 1977-78 had “killed” the paper.  Faced with an operating deficit of $3 million for the year, the owners had no choice but to make Wednesday’s issue the last.

Now that the deed is done, the reader of Bourdon’s history would be sorely tempted to conclude that the paper’s fate was in the cards practically from the beginning.

Born as a result of a family quarrel over ownership of La Presse, Montréal-Matin‘s doom seems in retrospect, especially for those who pay attention to omens, to have been a foregone conclusion from Aug. 10, 1973, when it was announced that La Presse Ltée had bought the paper.

Both newspapers were owned by Gesca Ltd., which is controlled by financier Paul Desmarais, head of the giant Power Corp.2

Montréal-Matin was launched during the Depression by a group of Conservatives including Camilien Houde, then leader of the Quebec Conservative party and mayor of Montreal, and largely financed by Eugène Berthiaume, son of the founder of La Presse, Treffle Berthiaume.

Bitter Dispute

From the time of his father’s death in 1915 to his own in August 1946, Eugène engaged in a bitter legal and political battle with his brother-in-law, Pamphile Du Tremblay, over control of La Presse which fell into the latter’s hands through provincial legislation in 1922.

Bourdon cannot explain what brought Eugène to launch L’Illustration, the name under which Montréal-Matin was known at the start, when he was co-owner of La Presse.

Provincially and federally, the paper supported the Conservative cause in opposition to its competitor, Le Canada, a morning paper run by Liberals.

After Maurice Duplessis had taken over the leadership of the Quebec Conservative party from Houde and transformed it into the Union Nationale, L’Illustration became L’Illustration Nouvelle and a staunch supporter of the new party elected to power in 1936.

Operated on a shoe string, moving from one building to another and even cut back to a weekly for seven months in 1931-32, the paper’s fortunes seemed to rise and fall to the rhythm of Conservative and Union Nationale electoral successes and defeats.

Upon Duplessis’s defeat in 1939 and the outbreak of war in Europe, Eugène Berthiaume, living the life of a well-heeled expatriate, wrote from Paris suggesting suspending publication in 1940.

Biographical Sketch of Adrien Arcand (1983)

Joseph Bourdon contributed to the Biographical Sketch of Adrien Arcand (1983)

But the paper plodded on through pay cuts and by the skin of its teeth.  The name Montréal-Matin first appeared on the masthead in 1941.  Houde and Adrien Arcand, the editor in chief who founded a fascist political party, were among those interned during the second World War.

Duplessis returned to power in 1944, the first year that Montréal-Matin showed a profit, and in June 1947, the tie binding party and paper became official with the Union Nationale’s purchase of Montréal-Matin for $250,000.

Le Canada Folded

In 1953 came a bit of prophetic irony — Montréal-Matin‘s Liberal competitor, Le Canada, folded.

“That newspaper tried everything to survive:  They adopted the tabloid format, moved from St. James Street to De Gaspé Street, but the changes did not bring happy results,” Bourdon wrote.  The end came after 50 years as it was to come 25 years later for Montreal-Matin.

– 30 –

__________
1.  Montréal-Matin, son histoire, ses histoires by Joseph Bourdon.  Published by La Presse 1 January 1978.

2.  Power Corporation, in 1967, became the headquarters of a “secret committee” of communists in the federal government of Soviet agent Lester Bowles Pearson, who ordered the founding of the Parti Québécois to dismantle Canada into city-states under a planned world government.  You heard it here first.  Subscribe if you want more.


Pour mes lecteurs francophones, vous pouvez apprécier cette petite revue de l’histoire de L’Illustration (Nouvelle) / Montréal-Matin de Joseph Bourdon.  Écoutez également ici M. Bourdon, interviewé en français par Madeleine Poulin pour Le point médiasÀ 8 minutes et 6 secondes de la vidéo, Madame Poulin et Monsieur Bourdon parlent d’Adrien Arcand.  J’ai réussi à copier ce petit segment, vous pouvez le télécharger ici.


Il y a 40 ans …

There’s a great French video in the middle of my second story for this post.  At 8 minutes and 6 seconds into the clip, Madam Poulin of Radio-Canada/CBC and Monsieur Bourdon talk about Adrien Arcand.

I managed to copy that segment, you can download it in French.  But, it doesn’t have English subtitles.  I just found the clip today as I was ready to put this post up with just the Sherbrooke Record item.  I have quickly translated the Radio-Canada article; but I will have to add subtitles to the video another day, that’s a very big job.

Basically, you can enjoy the clip, knowing that the conversation goes like this:

Madeleine Poulin says that in the history of the newspaper (Montréal-Matin, originally called L’Illustration and then L’Illustration Nouvelle), we find a pre-war figure, Adrien Arcand, leader of a fascist party, National Unity.

Bourdon describes the salute of Major Scott, Arcands bodyguard

Bourdon describes the salute of Major Scott, Adrien Arcand’s bodyguard.

Joseph Bourdon says that Adrien Arcand wrote editorials and a column, the name of which he can’t quite recall, but “never, never, you know, did we feel a fascist influence on his part, either towards us, the journalists, or in the newspaper: no.  He wrote the best articles in favor of Duplessis.  You know.  There was no question of … the fascist party.  But, it happened on occasion, he held public meetings, and he arrived (at work) in his party shirt” (Bourdon thought it was a black shirt; but the uniforms were blue).  And even his wife wore her uniform, says Bourdon.  “She came to see him from time to time, and she wore a uniform.  And around 5:00 PM, or 5:30, we always saw Major Scott arrive, who was the bodyguard of Adrien Arcand.  Oh, he was a Colossus of a man!” says Bourdon, beaming with pleasure.  “And he wore a uniform,” says Bourdon, who imitates the salute of Major Scott and smiles.


40 years ago, the Montréal-Matin daily disappeared.

Il y a 40 ans disparaissait le quotidien Montréal-Matin

RADIO-CANADA (CBC), DECEMBER 27, 2018


In the history of the newspaper, we find a pre-war figure, Adrien Arcand, leader of a fascist party, National Unity

Madeleine Poulin:  “In the history of the newspaper, we find a pre-war figure, Adrien Arcand, leader of a fascist party, National Unity.”

Le 27 décembre 1978, les presses du quotidien Montréal-Matin cessaient de rouler. Avec la disparition de ce quotidien, comme le montrent nos archives, c’est un chapitre de l’histoire du journalisme qui se refermait au Québec.

On December 27th, 1978, the presses of the daily newspaper, the Montréal-Matin, stopped rolling.  With the disappearance of the daily, as our archives show, a chapter in the history of Quebec journalism came to a close.

Joseph Bourdon, journaliste

Joseph Bourdon, journalist

Le mois de juillet 1930 allait changer le cours du journalisme au Québec et la vie de Joseph Bourdon.

The month of July 1930 would change the course of journalism in Quebec and the life of Joseph Bourdon.

En 1930, Joseph Bourdon, alors âgé de 17 ans, veut travailler dans le monde de la presse.

In 1930, Joseph Bourdon, 17 years old at the time, wanted to work in the world of the press.

Le 10 juillet, il frappe à la porte du petit nouveau des quotidiens de Montréal, né six jours plus tôt. Il est engagé à L’illustration qui deviendra plus tard le Montréal-Matin.

On July 10th, he knocked on the door of the new kid among Montreal dailies, born six days earlier.  He was hired at L’illustration which later became Montréal-Matin.

Joseph Bourdon demeurera en fonction jusqu’à la fermeture du quotidien le 27 décembre 1978.

Joseph Bourdon served at the paper until the daily closed its doors on December 27th, 1978.

Le 3 décembre 1993, l’ancien journaliste est interviewé par l’animatrice Madeleine Poulin pour Le point médias.

On December 3rd, 1993, the former journalist was interviewed by host Madeleine Poulin for Le Point Médias.

Joseph Bourdon raconte plusieurs anecdotes sur le métier tel que pratiqué à cette époque-là dans les murs de L’illustration puis de L’illustration nouvelle et enfin du Montréal-Matin.

Joseph Bourdon recalled a few anecdotes about the profession as practiced at that time within the walls of L’illustration, then L’illustration nouvelle and finally, Montréal-Matin.

Le monde de la presse écrite à cette époque au Québec, comme il le relate, est très partisan en ce qui a trait à la politique.

The world of the written press at that time in Quebec, as he relates, was very partisan with regard to politics.

Le Montréal-Matin est d’orientation résolument conservatrice.  Il soutient Camilien Houde qui est à la fois maire de Montréal, chef du Parti conservateur du Québec et, en partie, propriétaire du journal.

Montréal-Matin was resolutely conservative in orientation.  It supported Camilien Houde who was both the mayor of Montreal and leader of the Conservative Party of Quebec; and a part-owner of the newspaper.

Montréal-Matin sera également très proche de l’Union nationale et de son chef Maurice Duplessis qui sera premier ministre du Québec jusqu’en 1959.

Montréal-Matin would also be very close to the Union Nationale and its leader, Maurice Duplessis, who was Premier of Quebec until 1959.

De fait, les chefs de l’Union nationale seront successivement, de Maurice Duplessis à Daniel Johnson, propriétaires du journal.

In fact, the leaders of the Union nationale, successively, from Maurice Duplessis to Daniel Johnson, were the owners owners of the newspaper.

Apogée et déclin du Montréal-Matin

The heyday and decline of Montréal-Matin

Au milieu des années 1960, Montréal-Matin connaît son âge d’or.

In the mid-1960s, Montréal-Matin was at its height.

Profitant des grèves successives de son concurrent La Presse, le journal consolide sa place comme chef de file des quotidiens du matin à Montréal.

Taking advantage of the successive strikes at its competitor La Presse, the newspaper consolidated its place as leader of morning dailies in Montreal.

Mais cette prépondérance sera de courte durée.

But this domination would be short-lived.

L’arrivée sur le marché du Journal de Montréal que dirige Pierre Péladeau provoque une guerre féroce.

The arrival on the market of the Journal de Montréal, led by Pierre Péladeau, touched off a cut-throat war.

Dans les années 1970, l’augmentation des frais de production et la mise en place de conventions collectives coûteuses fragilisent la situation du journal.

In the 1970s, the increase in production costs and the implementation of costly collective agreements weakened the situation of the newspaper.

À l’automne 1977, un conflit de travail entre le dernier clou dans le cercueil du quotidien.

In the fall of 1977, a labor dispute drove the last nail into the daily’s coffin.

Montréal-Matin ferme ses portes deux jours après Noël, licenciant ou poussant à la retraite plusieurs employés, dont Joseph Bourdon.

Montréal-Matin closed its doors two days after Christmas, dismissing or pushing a number of employees into retirement, including Joseph Bourdon.

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