Shake-Up at Shaw

Shake-Up at Shaw


Arthur Topham
QC Sentinel

November 15, 2011

"Something's happening here but it just ain't exactly clear"

Stephen Stills, For What It's Worth, 1966

What do you do with a videographer who moves to a small community in the central interior of B.C. to work for a large corporate cable television company and ends up spending sixteen years dedicated to the local people, making themself available basically night and day in order to help develop a community cable news and entertainment network so that the citizens can stay informed on issues important to their city? Why after such determination and dedication and service you do the obvious thing. You just call them into your office and with no explanation whatsoever give them their walking papers and say their services are no longer required. And to make double sure that they don't do anything that could jeopardize matters you take away their keys and prevent them from ever entering the studio they once called home for the greater portion of their professional life!

Sound a bit weird to you? Well it certainly does sound strange and rather unbelievable yet that is just what happened in Quesnel on Wednesday, November 2nd when Shaw cable's well respected representative for Quesnel and area, Steve Bernard, experienced just such a scenario as described above.

Shaw's former videographer Steve Bernard filming the St. Laurent Ave. Re-opening ceremonies at
Spirit Place in downtown Quesnel on October 27th.  
When word got around of Steve's firing those who knew him were shocked and outraged; and rightly so. What in sam tarnation could have gotten into Shaw cable to suddenly dismiss an employee who has given so much of his time and energy to the community and was held in the highest regard everywhere? What grievous crime had Steve committed that would warrant such harsh, cold-hearted treatment after all these years of selfless service? The answer to that pressing question still remains a mystery but the community expects Shaw to come up with a darn good reason for firing Steve if the cable company wishes to hold its head high in Quesnel and expect to be treated as a good corporate citizen.

Some will undoubtedly say that Shaw has a right to treat its employees as it sees fit and can hire and fire at will whomever they like. Well, maybe that's the sort of boardroom behaviour that flies just fine in the larger cities where Shaw operates but here in Quesnel we don't take too kindly to such arbitrary and unruly actions when it comes to our local professionals. It's unacceptable and the community naturally feels unjustly treated.

Steve Bernard former Shaw employee fired without reason now needs from Quesnel the same
assistance and support that he's given to the community for the past sixteen years.

As one disgruntled member of the community put it, "If this is the way Shaw plans to treat their employees and the community they serve I couldn't think of a better way for them to begin taking the concept of "cummunity" out of community tv in the Cariboo." And kudos also to councillor Sushil Thapar who, when he first got wind of Shaw's abrupt and and arbitrary actions toward Steve, was one of the first people to call their head office and tear a strip off management.
If we know Sushil at all we can count on him taking this matter much further up the corporate ladder after the November 19th civic elections are over with. Possibly then more folks will be willing to stand in solidarity with the person who has been standing up for Quesnel for the past sixteen years and recording the city's ongoing, historic and cultural developments. Whatever is going on Shaw has a duty to explain themselves whether they want to or not.