Le Carnet de Karine: Gisèle Gallichan learned the basics of being a journalist at a very young age

Every week, columnist and journalist Karine Gagnon invites you to a major interview with a notable personality from the Capitale-Nationale.

A pioneer in the world of journalism, Gisèle Gallichan was the first female parliamentary correspondent for an electronic media at the Assembly, where she worked from 1967 to 1996, paving the way for many others since.

Then a journalist at CKCV, Gisèle Gallichan took up her position in the famous year of Expo 67, when many heads of state showed up in Quebec.

Initially, it was also supposed to cover news items and general news. The first major event she was called upon to cover as a parliamentary correspondent was the visit of General de Gaulle. She followed him from Quebec to , where he gave his speech ending with the famous: “Long live free Quebec!”

“I had to demonstrate to my bosses that I didn’t need a technician,” she remembers, referring to the very heavy equipment she had to transport at the time.

The history of the first

The first parliamentary correspondent journalist in Quebec, Evelyn Dumas, of the written press, took in 1961, a few months before the election of a first MP, Claire Kirkland-Casgrain.

Mme Gallichan did not meet Mme Dumas, but even in 1967, there were still very few female correspondents in Quebec: she cites Lisa Balfour, Renée Lacoursière, Françoise Côté, Susan Altschul, in particular.

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

“The oldest journalists in the column, who had been there for sometimes a few decades, saw women arriving in writing first, and considered them as temporary curiosities, who were not going to last.”

It also took several years before these first female figures were found on the journalists’ paintings adorning the walls of the National Assembly, she points out.

In the footsteps of his father

Daughter of the journalist Lionel Gallichan, who will also be a legal columnist at Quebec Journal, young Gisèle learned the basics of the profession at a very young age.

From the age of 14, she followed her father to the CKCV radio station, where he worked. “I prepared the reports, I saw a little how things worked in the CKCV news service, and I learned on the job. The passion was already there, while I was still studying,” she says.

Mme Gallichan also shared his passion for theater with his father. “My father did theater in the 1940s […]. high school, I entered the Conservatoire de Québec.”

The young girl then had two idols in her life: the actress Denise Pelletier and the journalist Judith Jasmin. She remembers attending plays in which Mme Pelletier played in order to observe his technique, to listen to his diction. “I thought she was magnificent!”

Torn between these two passions, for theater and journalism, she had to make a choice. “I arrived at a Y-shaped crossroads. Fortunately, there was summer theater,” says the woman who combined the two professions for several years, in the summer, until journalism kept her too busy and forces him to choose. It was Judith Jasmin who won, she says, smiling.

“You can’t be a good tired journalist and a good tired actress,” she says.

Importance of history

Coming back to his career as a journalist, over the years, Mme Gallichan worked successively for Radiomutuel, Radio-Canada, TVA and Radio-Québec.

In 1996, she served as chief of staff in the Bouchard government. She then acted as a commissioner for the Office of Hearings on the Environment, before returning to her first love in 2003.

“I went to graze from time to time on the other side of the fence, but I got so bored of the job that I didn’t stay there long,” she says.


Photo Stevens LeBlanc

In recent years, she has completed numerous mandates as a host and narrator for private and public producers. She also presented information capsules on the National Assembly channel.

“I really like making documentaries,” she says, having discovered a passion for research, particularly in history. “We don’t know our history,” laments the woman who is also the sister of the historian Gilles Gallichan.

Last summer, Mme Gallichan lost his great accomplice of the last 35 years, Gilles Normand, retired journalist from The Press. “We met when I was at TVA, and I had decided to give up on love, because it was complicated with the job and the schedules. But fate played the best trick on me. It was a life of complicity, with a lot of humor,” she says.

The journalist at heart, who received the National Assembly medal in 1993, remains passionate about this profession. She continues to follow the news closely, and watches and listens to the bulletins on the radio and TV, as one can guess, with a keen and critical eye.

Not to be missed, evening at 8:30 p.m., on MAtv (channel 9 [Hélix et illico]609HD [illico]), the show Karine’s Notebook about Gisèle Gallichan.

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