Stéphan Bureau hadn’t set foot on TVA since he briefly hosted the show The Exchanger 2006, when he started preparing for the next big public affairs meeting on Friday evening in the spring, The world turned upside down. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but to his astonishment, he quickly got the feeling that everyone was happy that he was coming home.
• Also read: Stéphan Bureau’s new show starts on September 16th
• Also read: Debate to feed the spirits
“I have the impression at the moment, and it’s a bit cheesy as a formula, to go home, which has rarely happened to me because I find people I’ve worked with there who are 25 years old who are there and the detours made to visit me when we were working on the pilot project. They gave me a really warm welcome. It hasn’t happened often and I’m very moved by it. I didn’t think they would remember us working together,” says the 58-year-old innkeeper.
Although he’s spent most of his career as a journalist and presenter at Radio-Canada, TVA is truly at home, notes the man who was the station’s first Washington correspondent and hosted the last Bulletin evening from 1990-1997.
Two companies, two different cultures, he emphasizes.
“I had extraordinary memories and I worked with people I really liked [à Radio-Canada], but when I returned to radio, for example, after a 12-year absence, I never felt like coming home. I don’t think it’s personal, I think Radio-Canada is a Spanish inn, which means we always find what we bring or bring there.
After five years on the radio, however, his most recent departure from the Crown Corporation was not a moving farewell with tremolos in his voice.
Let’s summarize the facts. Last summer, following a complaint, Radio-Canada’s Ombudsman ruled that Stéphan Bureau should have corrected or rephrased the statements made by his guest, controversial French doctor Didier Raoult. Far from apologizing, Stéphan Bureau had replied angrily: “I leave it to others to grovel and ask for forgiveness”.
A few months later, he affirms that he harbors no resentment and that “99.9%” of the time he has had the freedom to do whatever he wants. He emphasizes that the ombudsman is a parallel institution detached from the SRC.
As for his new TVA bosses, he says he received assurances from them that he was free to invite whoever he wanted to his studio.
“One of our goals is to ensure that the antenna or the group is not distorted, but to ensure that our people’s ecosystem is not just Quebecor’s ecosystem. Not only did they agree, but it was part of their intentions.
“The public will play their part”
So let’s talk about this famous show, whose creation was anything but a long calm river.
Initially dubbed Sit down, this “debate and news platform” was scheduled to go on the air on Sunday evenings in April in direct competition with “Everyone speaks about it”.
However, after capturing the pilot emissions, its craftsmen estimated that the deck would need to be reshuffled. The grand premiere has been pushed back to September 16, the time to refine the concept.
Four months later, the program is now called Le monde à l’envers, it will be broadcast on Friday evenings in a 90-minute format, “so as not to be in a hurry,” the moderator rejoices, where “all opinions will be allowed” and above all presented to an audience present in the studio.
Stéphan Bureau is particularly pleased about the presence of spectators, especially since the audience will not only deliver applause on command.
“The public will do their part. Occasionally he is occupied. We will ensure that there are representatives or individuals who will be directly challenged by the topics we are likely to be speaking about, so that we can occasionally reach out to that audience to add to or reinvigorate the conversation.
Of course, we suspect that this news fanatic will never jump into the arena of debate soon enough, given that he’s currently watching behind-the-scenes topics scrolling by in the news that would turn his world’s golden stuff upside down.
Instinctively, he alludes to the CRTC’s recent decision to demand an apology from Radio-Canada for its use of the “N-word.” “That would have been an issue. Not because it’s Radio Canada, but because I’m interested in free speech issues. »
While Quebec and Canadian issues are plentiful enough to fill his show, international news isn’t left out. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan, which angered China, is a good example.
“You would have to be very naive to believe that it doesn’t affect us,” says Stéphan Bureau.
In short, strong on September 16th. “I can’t wait,” he concludes.
Jacques Parizeau: “The interview that changed my life»
Photo Jocelyn Michel, byconsulate.com
The interview he received with Jacques Parizeau on the day of the 1995 referendum changed Stéphan Bureau’s life, and not because of the exclusive revelations Jacques Parizeau made to him in the event of the victory or defeat of the Yes camp.
No, what had shaped the then 31-year-old host, who was conducting this potentially historic interview on behalf of TVA, was the feverishness of the statesman sitting across from him.
“There were emotions, remembers Stéphan Bureau. It changed my life, not in the sense that it’s a hunting trophy, but because it impacted my practice. I discovered and understood things that were very useful to me. Louder than any shovel what I remember is the confidence and emotions that erupt. It’s a great lesson of things.”
Ask any questions
Stéphan Bureau wants to continue to apply this life lesson on the set of his new show Le monde à l’envers, but be careful: Emotions must not give way to complacency or a certain censorship.
The media, which forms the fourth estate, has a serious responsibility in a democratic space to “pose questions, including uncomfortable questions, to those who influence our lives.”
He regrets that in Quebec, but elsewhere, we have accepted the need to avoid questions, which he sees as a form of upstream censorship.
“Maybe I’m a dinosaur monument, but I refuse to believe that there are any unanswered questions, firstly, because it would be very patronizing to assume that the person being asked would not be able to answer them to answer.”
Drooling with Christian
Throughout his career, in which he has never hesitated to rouse the politicians who have marched before him – talk to Jean Charest about it on the eve of the 2003 elections – Stéphan Bureau has only one question that Jean Chrétien was asked on his return with regrets, one Economic mission to China.
“TVA had not sent a correspondent. Proud of the results, they offered me an exclusive interview with the Prime Minister when I returned. It’s rare that they run after journalists. So I started by saying, “Mr. Christian, you must be very lucky because you never call me or call the journalists to do an interview.” It was awkward. Not in terms of impact, because it went off the rails and there was a television moment, but I understand he was in crisis. Awkward is actually not the right word. It was liquid.”