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Lister Sinclair: broadcaster and activist

Members of the Canadian Media Guild were saddened by the news of the death today of broadcasting icon and respected colleague Lister Sinclair, who was 85.

Click here to read tributes to Lister.

Lister joined the CBC in 1944 and worked in both radio and television. He was a founding member of ACTRA, the media performers union, and a committed member of the Canadian Media Guild.

Lister strategizes in the Guild office to end the lockout, August 2005.

“Many people will remember Lister’s outstanding broadcasting skills, but it is also important to remember that he is responsible for one of the defining moments in the Guild’s history,” says Lise Lareau, national president of the CMG. “I will never forget the Guild’s first ever strike vote meeting in 1996. Hundreds of people came out and the mood in the room was divided until Lister got up to the mic. The room went silent and Lister reminded his colleagues that he had worked in senior management and explained that, no matter what you think, the interests of management are not the same as the interests of employees. The message took a moment to sink in and then the applause overtook the room.

“Needless to say, we got a strong bargaining mandate that day. And, more importantly, he helped people understand the necessity of working together as a union,” Lareau adds.

Lister at the mic during the 1999 CEP strike.

His union activism didn’t end there. In 1999, he stood up to defend his striking CEP colleagues and, during the 2005 lockout, he joined the picket line and wrote an open letter to the CBC board urging them to get the employees’ side of the story and to “take an active role in resolving the labour dispute.”

To share a memory of Lister Sinclair for CMG’s website, send it to karen@cmg.ca

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