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Quebec to give $5M in emergency funding to newspaper chain

A selection of newspapers owned by Groupe Capitales Médias (GCM) are pictured in Montreal on Monday, August 19, 2019. The group is going to file for bankruptcy protection under the Creditors Arrangement Act. .
A selection of newspapers owned by Groupe Capitales Médias (GCM) are pictured in Montreal on Monday, August 19, 2019. The group is going to file for bankruptcy protection under the Creditors Arrangement Act. . Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press

The Quebec government is stepping in to help an ailing newspaper chain that filed for creditor protection.

Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon and Minister of Culture and Communications Nathalie Roy announced on Monday it will provide up to $5 million in temporary financing for Groupe Capitales Médias (GCM).

“It is impossible to imagine the closure of six newspapers,” said Fitzgibbon.

READ MORE: Vice Media to shut down operations in Montreal

The emergency measure comes after the company, which publishes several daily newspapers including Le Soleil de Québec and Le Droit in Ottawa, reportedly filed for creditor protection.

Martin Couchon, the former federal cabinet minister who founded the chain, has also stepped down as president of the organization. He will remain until the arrival of an acting executive chairman.

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The newspaper chain, which was founded in 2015, was experiencing liquidity problems. The province says it is important to protect access to information as the media industry is in the midst of transformation.

“The government is very aware of the situation,” said Fitzgibbon.

In a statement, the company says its publications will continue normally and that there will be no impact for readers.

In addition to Le Soleil and Le Droit, the company owns Le Nouvelliste of Trois-Rivières, La Tribune of Sherbrooke, La Voix de l’Est of Granby, Le Quotidien and Le Progrès week-end in Saguenay.

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— With files from The Canadian Press