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Journalism association's Montreal chapter votes to disband

The country’s only journalism organization has virtually shut down its Montreal chapter.

In an Aug. 11 meeting, the executive committee of the Canadian Association of Journalists’ (CAJ) Montreal Chapter discussed a number of issues then voted to disband the executive committee immediately. As it stands now, the executive committee of the CAJ’s Montreal chapter is disbanded — but that doesn’t mean the chapter is necessarily closed.

“Certainly if there were a group of members what wished to gather in the Montreal area and hold another organizational meeting and select a new executive, under our bylaws, that would all be acceptable. In fact, we would encourage that,” says CAJ president Hugo Rodrigues.

The minutes of the Aug. 11 meeting give an idea of what happened. They are written in French and when translated into English using Google Translate, become somewhat convoluted. Rodrigues explains that a member of the executive put forward “a number of different opinions” on the chapter’s relationship with the association at large and with Rodrigues himself.

This is not the first time the local chapter has taken issue with the association. In August of last year, Roger-Luc Chayer — the president of the Montreal chapter at the time — resigned, partly blaming a CAJ press release responding to the issue of the “professional journalist” in Quebec.

Although Rodrigues would not comment on the content of the remarks outlined in the Aug. 11 minutes, he did say “there are a number of them [comments] that are inaccurate and misleading.”

“It’s unfortunate,” Rodrigues says of the disbanding of the executive. “I think this is probably the third attempt in the last two years to get an executive together in the Montreal chapter that can organize some events, increase the profile of the association in the Montreal region and help those people who are CAJ members in Montreal participate more actively in the association.”

The CAJ is the largest national organization for Canadian journalists and the Montreal chapter is one of the organization’s three chapters, with the other two being based in Ottawa and Toronto. As of June 2012, the CAJ had 450 members, which is down from the 800 it had in August 2011.

This article originally appeared on the Canadian Journalism Project's website.

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