Two small French-language newspapers in New Brunswick are now struggling for survival after merger discussions collapsed earlier this month. The new publisher of Le Matin, Conservative Senator Jean-Maurice Simard, has chosen to prolong the battle between the Moncton-based daily and L’Acadie Nouvelle. That tabloid, which predominantly Liberal supporters founded in 1984, is published in Caraquet, 270 km to the north. Still, most francophone observers say that New Brunswick’s 300,000-member Acadian community cannot support two dailies.
Simard, a former provincial cabinet minister, has worked hard to
ensure Le Matin’s survival. In 1984 he helped to create a $4-million trust fund for Le Matin. Two years later Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s government added $2 million to the provincial contribution. Despite that infusion of government funds, however, Le Matin has lost about $50,000 each month since it began publishing in August, 1986.
By contrast, the privately funded L Acadie Nouvelle achieved a twoyear head start on its rival—and the newspaper now makes a small profit on its daily paid circulation of 8,400. L’Acadie Nouvelle president Maurice Mourant said that he is ready to continue the rivalry— but he expressed regret that Le Matin officials rejected an opportunity to end the competition for Acadian subscribers.
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