Commentary  Bonne fête!

Le Devoir, Quebec’s only independent news daily, celebrated its hundredth birthday on January 10. This is an occasion to celebrate: Le Devoir’s mission, its history of taking principled, intelligent stances on the issues of the day, and its in-depth, responsible journalism – particularly its international coverage – make it a paper to respect and admire. From its denunciation of British imperialism and Quebec premier Maurice Duplessis in its early years to its continued defence of French language and culture in North America, the newspaper has been unafraid to challenge political orthodoxy. Funded in part by the taxpayers of Quebec, the paper takes its responsibility to the people of this province seriously: as a purveyor of information, as a forum for reflective debate, as a promoter of artwork made in Quebec. Though Le Devoir is not perfect – its unabashedly high-brow attitude and its occasional failures to contest the power of elites make it important to keep reading with a critical eye – it’s a Quebec institution, and a key voice of dissent, providing an alternative to the corporate media that dominate this province. Its continued economic success – subscriptions have been increasing for the past 10 years and this past year was the paper’s best, financially, in 30 – is a testament to the viability of independent, publicly-funded press. Here’s to another hundred years.