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Exploring the dynamism of politics through the Bachand Internship

Written by: Gabrielle Liu (Bachand intern in Fall 2022). She speaks about her experience as an intern to provide some insight for perspective student interns

In an age where I thought radio may seem obsolete, the Bachand internship taught me how wrong I was.

The Nicholas Bachand Canadian Civil Society Internship is a semester-long experience offered by the Politics and International Studies Department. Interns work with the wonderful David and Maureen Teasdale at the QUBE 88.9fm, a local radio station in Lennoxville, to produce weekly shows with commentary on political news relevant to the English-speaking population of the Eastern Townships. Interns are responsible for their show from start to finish, researching, writing, recording, and editing their broadcasts.

In Fall 2022, I was incredibly lucky to be able to participate in this internship. My show Movements took stories in Canadian news and analyzed them through three lenses: the effects of colonialism, democracy serving a diverse population, and international development. I selected news for each episode based on how deeply we could delve into the lenses, and their ability to be relevant to the Townships. The goal was to craft relationships between listeners to these issues, to prove that we can care about what is happening near and far – and that power, inequality, and privilege dictate the way our political economy is run.

Some of my favourite episodes include connecting bus driver shortages in the Townships and expected future challenges as Quebec’s plan to electrify their school bus fleet, to Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy to source minerals for a green and digital economy from home, a decision that can be unpopular for Indigenous and environmental activities. As its appeals process began at the Quebec Superior Court, I examined perspectives on Bill 21, the province’s secularism law that bars some public servants from wearing religious symbols – a law that has drawn sharp criticism from several English-speaking associations. Given that the case would likely reach Canada’s Supreme Court, I compared the power of courts in Canada to those in the U.S., where midterm elections were underway in a fervour that some analysts said was a reaction to the overturn of Roe v. Wade. In an interview, Amie Godward from the Sexual Culture Committee (SCC) at Bishop’s was so gracious to share the origins of Take Back the Night and explain the SCC’s decision to use a red handprint, a symbol of MMIWG2SI, on promotional material. I also loved highlighting organizations in the Townships preserving biodiversity during the COP15 conference in Montreal.

Each week’s research process demonstrated the importance of preserving local news coverage. Without La Tribune, The Sherbrooke Record, Le Reflet du Lac, and Radio Canada’s Ici Estrie, finding specific issues that affect the Townships would have been impossible. The Montreal Gazette was great for political analysis and commentary on language issues that some in the Townships might find relevant, but overall, it’s hard to see your local area reflected in larger news outlets.

Bachand reads like an independent study with the agency you have you explore such a vast range of news and themes. As an intern, you add to that local voice that seeks to inform and reflect a community. If you’re looking for a creative vehicle to channel your studies and serve in a non-profit while you’re at it, the Bachand may be for you.

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