470-688 W. Hastings St, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1P1 1 604 408 0746 unifor2000@mediaunion.ca

The restructuring process, including finding a buyer(s), for Canwest newspapers gets more curious with every filing of new material to the court-appointed monitor’s website.
So far this week, a reading of the new documents reveals a nasty power struggle between important financial interests who are secured creditors and no-less important financial interests who are unsecured creditors — with Leonard Asper apparently on the losing side. There are also hints of soap-opera-like betrayals at the senior management level and other indications of dissent at the top.
While the court ruled today that secured creditors (primarily Canada’s big five banks) will not have a formal veto over bids and also added a week to the first round of the bidding process, the anger of unsecured creditors jumps off the pages of their submissions to the court. They did not want Canwest to enter CCAA and neither did Leonard Asper. For a taste of the comments by unsecured creditors see our story about developments yesterday. For the Asper angle download and read his Jan. 4, 2010 letter here [download id=”67″].
As for betrayal at the top, download and read former Ottawa Citizen publisher Russell Mills’ affidavit about how he and other retired Canwest executives had their pensions slashed here [download id=”68″].
Reading this and two other former senior executives’ affidavits must suggest to current senior managers just how far loyalty to the company gets them.
For me the whole CCAA process is yet another reminder of the importance of union solidarity. We need to look after each other as best we can, because the system can be pretty cruel.

Gary Engler