Stéphan Bureau had not set foot on TVA since he briefly hosted the show The exchanger in 2006 when, in the spring, he began preparations for the next major public affairs meeting on Friday evening, The world upside down. A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but to his amazement, he was quickly made to feel that everyone is happy that he is coming home.
• Read also: Stéphan Bureau’s new show will be launched on September 16
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“I have the impression at the moment, and it’s a bit cheesy as a formula, to come home as it has rarely happened to me, because I find people with whom I worked there is 25 years old, who are there and who made detours to come see me when we were working on the pilot. They really welcomed me super warmly. It hasn’t happened often and I’m very moved by it. I didn’t think they could remember that we worked together, “says the 58-year-old host.
Even if he spent most of his career as a journalist and host at Radio-Canada, TVA is really at home, notes the one who was the network’s first correspondent in Washington and who hosted the end bulletin evening, from 1990 to 1997.
Two companies, two different cultures, he points out.
“I had exceptional memories and I collaborated with people that I liked very much [à Radio-Canada], but, for example, after a 12-year absence, when I came back to the radio, I never felt that I was coming home. I don’t think it’s personal, I think that Radio-Canada is a Spanish inn, that is to say that we always find there what we bring or bring there.
After five years on the radio, his most recent departure from the Crown Corporation, however, was not a moving goodbye with tremolos in his voice.
Let’s recap the facts. Last summer, following a complaint, the Radio-Canada ombudsman ruled that Stéphan Bureau should have corrected or reframed statements made by his guest, the controversial French doctor Didier Raoult. Far from apologizing, Stéphan Bureau had replied, angry: “I will leave it to others to crawl and ask forgiveness”.
Several months later, he assures that he harbors no resentment and that he had, “99.9%” of the time, the freedom to do what he wanted. The ombudsman, he wishes to point out, is a parallel institution detached from the SRC.
As for his new TVA bosses, he says he obtained from them the assurance that he would be free to invite whoever he wanted to his studio.
“One of our objectives is to make sure not to distort the antenna or the group, but to make sure that the ecosystem of our collaborators is not just the ecosystem of Quebecor. Not only did they agree, but it was part of their intentions.
“The public will have its role to play”
So let’s talk about this famous show whose gestation was ultimately anything but a long quiet river.
First baptized Sit downthis “debate and news set” was to go on the air in April, on Sunday evenings, in direct competition with Everybody talks about it.
However, after the recording of pilot emissions, its craftsmen estimated that the cards had to be shuffled. The big premiere has been postponed to September 16, the time to refine the concept.
Four months later, the show is now called The world upside downit will be broadcast on Friday evening in a 90-minute format, “so as not to be in a hurry”, rejoices the host, where “all opinions will be allowed” and above all, presented in front of an audience present in the studio.
The presence of spectators is particularly pleasing to Stéphan Bureau, especially since the crowd will not be a simple purveyor of applause on command.
“The public will have its part to play. Occasionally it will be caste. We are going to make sure that there are representatives or people directly challenged by the subjects we are likely to talk about in order to be able to turn to this audience on occasion to add or relaunch the conversation. .”
Freedom of expression
Of course, we suspect that this news buff will never jump into the arena of debates early enough, especially since he is currently seeing, from behind the scenes, topics scrolling by on the news that would provide golden material for his Upside-down world.
Instinctively, he alludes to the recent decision of the CRTC to demand that Radio-Canada apologize for the on-air use of the “n-word”. “That would have been a theme. Not because it’s Radio-Canada, but because questions of freedom of expression interest me. »
Even if Quebec and Canadian issues are numerous enough to fill his show, international news will not be left out. The recent visit of US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan, which angered China, is a good example.
“You would have to be very naive, advances Stéphan Bureau, to believe that it does not affect us.”
In short, strongly 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 obtained with Jacques Parizeau on the day of the 1995 referendum changed Stéphan Bureau’s life, and it was not because of the exclusive revelations that Jacques Parizeau had made to him in the event of victory or defeat of the Yes camp.
No, what had marked the then 31-year-old host, and who was leading this potentially historic interview on behalf of TVA, was the feverishness of the statesman who was seated in front of him.
“There were emotions, remembers Stéphan Bureau. It changed my life, not in the sense that it’s a hunting trophy, but because it had an impact on my practice. I discovered and understood things that were very useful to me. Stronger than all scoops, what I remember is the confidence and emotion that emerge. It’s a great lesson of things.”
Ask all questions
Stéphan Bureau intends to continue to apply this life lesson on the set of his new show The world upside downbut beware: emotion must not give way to complacency or censorship.
The media, which forms the fourth estate, has a serious responsibility in a democratic space “to ask questions, including nasty questions, of those who have an impact on our lives”.
He regrets that in Quebec, but also elsewhere, we have accepted that questions must be avoided, which he considers to be a form of upstream censorship.
“Maybe I’m a dinosaur monument, but I refuse to think that there are questions that don’t arise, firstly because it would be very condescending to assume that the person being asked would not be unable to answer it.”
Drooling with Christian
Throughout his career, during which he never hesitated to shake up the politicians who paraded in front of him – talk to Jean Charest about it on the eve of the 2003 election – Stéphan Bureau only regrets one question , posed to Jean Chrétien on his return from an economic mission to China.
“TVA had not sent a correspondent. On my return, because they were proud of the results, they offered me an exclusive interview with the Prime Minister. It’s rare that they run after journalists. So I started by saying, “Mr. Christian, you must be very happy because it never happens that you call me or that you call the journalists to give an interview”. It was clumsy. Not in terms of the effect, because it went off the rails and it gave a moment of television, but I understand that he was in crisis. Actually, clumsy isn’t the right word. It was runny.”