From Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi:

April 1, 2015

Dear M. Lacroix,

I was sorry to hear of the recent cuts to CBC. I recognize this was a very difficult choice for you to make. However, I am confused by the decision to cut positions so dramatically in Calgary and across Western Canada. I am writing this letter to urge you to reconsider.

As you well know, CBC Calgary, which I understand is one of the network’s most successful stations, will be losing nearly 25 per cent of its staff as a result of this restructuring. It is my understanding that a loss of 20 positions in Calgary would put its staff size on par with that of CBC Newfoundland and Labrador. For a news station serving a population of roughly 2 million people to have as many staff as a station serving less than 600,000 people does not make sense to me.

I read a recent blog of yours which stated: “We will be more local, at less cost. And that’s crucial. Regions have been and remain an essential priority. If we want to truly serve Canadian communities, we need to do it in a way that is sustainable over the long-term.” I don’t understand how a 25 per cent reduction in staff in one market will improve the coverage of local stories.

As the public broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada should deliver content that reflects Canada and its regions. These cuts are a breach of CBC’s mandate and will very seriously limit the ability of CBC Calgary to tell the stories of Albertans, which it has done so well for so many years. I strongly believe that CBC Calgary losing one-quarter of its staff, including several journalists, will impact CBC/Radio-Canada’s ability to accurately and equitably tell Canada’s story.

As a politician, I may not always like the stories being told, but I respect the coverage and recognize the critical role media plays in accountability, as well as community building. I fear those important stories of the city and people I represent will no longer be told, or told well.

I know you face an incredibly difficult financial situation. However, I implore you to reconsider redistributing the cuts evenly across Canada rather than targeting one area of the country.

Naheed K. Nenshi

Cc: Rémi Racine, Chair of CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors
Hon. Shelly Glover, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
Hon. James Moore, Minister of Industry
Calgary Members of Parliament

 From St. John’s City Councillor Tom Hann: