News and Events
CMG Toronto survey comments
•  Posted on  May 6, 2015  
(The following are comments received in the CMG Toronto Survey that ran from April 28 to May 4, 2015, under the section “Please provide any additional comments if you wish”, reproduced here verbatim.)

Many employees have lost their jobs since I started working at CBC 20 years ago. Have the same number, in ratio, of senior managers and board of directors also lost their job?

CBC already has a great presence online – Lacroix’s ‘vision’ talks mainly about digital presence. This confuses me since if we let go most who make tv, what difference does it make digitally if there’s nothing to upload?

Seems to me that Lacroix’s first job is to shrink the CBC and make it redundant. This has little to do with budget.

It’s heartbreaking to see the dismantling of a place I love and believe in. Senior management is doing Harper’s job for him!

Hubert Lacroix under the direction of the Harper government is is systematically dismantling the CBC, making it mediocre so that a case to fund it will be lost. This is the conservative plan.

Hubert Lacroix has not explained how his 2020 plan is actually going to save the CBC. He has not explained how providing content through .ca is going to make CBC more relevant. And He has not explained how the sale of the broadcast center is actually more profitable and is in the best interest of the tax payers.”

I have worked for the CBC for 34 years and have never seen such extreme cuts to staff and resources. The constant yo yo decisions made by management have me wondering what the costs have been and will be after these next round of cuts and changes. Do they really know what Canadians want from their public broadcaster or are they just cowering to the Harper Government?

I am scared and VERY concerned about the future of the CBC. We are laying off key Technical people, locking the doors of our Production Studios and selling off vital equipment and building space. We’re doing all of this at an accelerated and alarming pace and each round of cuts is never even suggested as being the last.

I don’t understand how the CBC will be able to continue fulfilling its mandate for any length of time beyond today and I’m afraid that our infrastructure has already been destroyed beyond repair, even if the budget is restored.

The future of our once great Corporation is indeed bleak and I fear for all of us who have, so far, managed to remain on Survivor Island (There’s not a lot of torches left to extinguish).

The CBC Plan for 2020, which I think is called “A Space for Us All” could more properly be called “All of Us replaced by a Space”. Hubert’s & CBC Mgmt’s plan to severely cut the CBC will leave almost nothing for CBC to claim as it’s own; all the programming which has become part of the “brand” of the CBC will be gone. Only the shell of daily news coverage will remain – and Canadians will abandon CBC like an old building whose purpose has been forgotten. Hubert’s plan is bad all round!

I have only one comment. We need CBC as a national broadcaster. Not just another station buying American programing and spiting out to the audience

At first, I thought that Hubert Lacroix had the best interests of CBC/Radio-Canada at heart. But my view of him has changed. Now, I think he is taking apart the public broadcaster in order to ensure some personal political reward, or somehow build his personal reputation with his colleagues and associates in the business community and within elite conservative circles. What he is doing and the direction he is taking is not in the best interests the public broadcaster or for Canada.

His lack of courage against the Conservatives when they cut public funding is damning. He should have condemned their decision, especially after they promised during the last election not to make cuts at CBC . Now he spends his time making excuses for more and more cuts, and for making CBC weaker and weaker. He should leave and hand over responsibility to people who will fight for CBC and warn any government of the day against further cuts. CBC needs to be rebuilt into a stronger and better public broadcaster.

I am mostly disgusted with the lack of leadership our “president” and those in similar positions have shown towards the company. Never has there been mention of standing up for the CBC nor it’s employees. All that is told to us is “every other country is cutting costs, so that’s what we should be doing.” While I agree changes must be made as the media landscape has evolved too fast for its own good. I think it would be healthier to take a step back, and see how the company could be refocused by utilizing the resource we have. As oppose to a quick one time fix of selling off assets or resorting to instantaneous cuts. It seems irresponsible and only makes our image look cheap.

The current regimes, both national and corporate, are dismantling the institutional tools any country must have in order to develop and exert its sovereignty, to protect its citizens and territory. Our current president is, understandably, a representative of that project, following orders. He can hardly be said to stand for anything other than that. He is simply being used to take the machinery apart, and sell any remaining assets for scrap.

We are hard-wired for failure in the way we’re structured. Need licensing model like BBC or others. And need to win the argument in Ottawa that public media needed more than ever. Easy argument to make. Winning it won’t be. But none of our top brass making it. Ceo and board an utter failure and need to go.

I am appalled that the CBC board consists of Conservative supporters who do nothing to champion the public broadcaster they were appointed to run. We need an elected board ASAP.

I would like Mr H. Lacroix to start championing CBC and acting like he wants to save it. Instead he is dismantling this great Public Broadcaster and selling it off piece by piece. He’s nothing more than a grocery clerk sent by the Prime MInister to collect a bill. What matters is, will he fight for us? And tell his useless Board to get on with their mandate and fight for the continued flourishing existence of this once great company. Let’s hope the election ousts this party!

The union definitely has to represent their members, and the CBC / Radio-Canada cannot interfere in the way of communication between the union’s and the members. The Branch President has to wake up and stand by his members, and protect them. His role is not protecting cbc management.

Positive communication is followed by cuts, what to believe. The plan has been poorly communicated.

Hubert has been saying he’s been fighting behind closed doors for the CBC. Where is his evidence? Why isn’t he doing this loudly and publicly? Why are all the cuts happening as scheduled and no push back? Who is our Champion if not Hubert? What is he paid? What are the board of directors each paid? What is their job description? Is not fighting to preserve the CBC any kind of breach of contract?

Senior levels of management should share the burden and help ease the financial stress the organisation is under by agreeing, even if symbolic, to taking a cut to their salaries and managerial perks. People losing their jobs ought to be the last straw.

Executives live on a different planet than the workers. We are on a need to know basis only. Apparently, we don’t need to know anything.

There is constant pressure to output commercially viable and marketable solutions/products. In my opinion this has led to decisions based solely on financial incentive rather than public service.

I also feel that Heather Conway has not done well by the CBC, nor is she really out there championing us and our cause.

It seems that Hubert T. Lacroix’s actions are to cut/hurt the CBC’s brand and quality of progamming both in news/cuurent affairs and in televsion entertainment to the point that the audience and Canadian public in general will not care about losing the CBC all together. it feels like his (Hubert T. Lacroix’s) only goal is to close the CBC for good and get a nice reward from the Conservative government.

It seems that every new decision reached by our board and senior management is designed to make the CBC less and less relevant to Canadians. We have had so many integral parts of us cut away that I wonder how long it will be before we don’t exist at all. Our new direction, cutting investigative journalism, whittling down regional representation, marginalizing our diversity, throttling unique and contrarian voices, will only make us less and less able to provide a genuine context to the social and political culture we live in. Not to mention less and less able to justify ourselves as a public broadcaster, which I am beginning to think is exactly the point.

I am sickened, as an employee but foremost as a Canadian, to see the destruction of the public broadcaster that has nurtured the intelligence and imagination of Canadians for so long. Honestly, I feel mostly hopeless and fear it is too late to save the CBC…it seems apathy is too easy, even among those of us who care deeply…but I welcome any leadership that could actually help mobilize a cohesive response to the bulldozing of this vital institution. The simple act of taking this survey is the first tiny bit of fire and hope I have felt in a long time. It can’t be easy but I hope you can find a way to channel what must be a common feeling into something constructive. Thank you.

It’s time to defend public broadcasting wherever it’s attacked. Our president and board have said nothing to defend or promote public broadcasting. Instead, they sit around and are overseeing the dismantling and slow destruction of the CBC. They all must go!

I know it is digital/mobile and that digital news is a priority over radio then TV. But it’s unclear why so many videographer’s lost their jobs in the process…we still use videographers.

We need to advertise our value to the public not just the government. For $28 a year nearly thousands of people had work in one form or another, for $28 a person the corporation provides a service that the general public doesn’t understand or know. We have to appreciate ourselves before we can ask others to do so, to me and to others I talk to feel the union is silent and fails in its duty in letting the public know what we do and what they get for a small percentage of cost, the public is the only remaining source of support we have and need to possible reverse the government decisions that are being made. More voices the better chance that someone in government will listen.

With all the job cuts, (due to under funding) why are only front line workers being eliminated? What about management? There are far too many managers who are surviving the cuts. This is absolutely unfair!!!!! This is a serious issue that must be addressed.

Where has the union been during all of this downsizing?
Why does Management seem to have full control?
There is no relationship between management and employees.
Why are we not being more vocal about this – it is do or die!

incompetent management!

I feel Hubert should also resign due to the Ghomeshi incident and the bad management culture he has let flourish during his time as President and CEO.

It may be cynical, but won’t they do whatever they want, regardless of how much protest we put up? Management’s track record of bowing down to the government’s whims is quite disheartening. There is solidarity amongst our union members with whom I’ve spoken in the past, but then, Opposition party members only seem to find their voice of support when they have nothing to lose. All I’ve seen since I’ve been here, since the cuts have been happening, is the management board rolling over, playing dead. However, in spite that, you will always have my support.

“Q1: Do you approve of Hubert T. Lacroix’s performance of his duties as President and CEO of CBC/Radio Canada?

Yes, but he could do better by expanding the narrow definition of his duties according to the Broadcasting Act, and making it more of a leadership position. He’s doing fine within the set definition of President is concerned, but not much more other than speaking to University students and old-style business clubs. Personally he lost the room last June during the Town Hall. He hasn’t had one since.

Q2: Would you like Hubert T. Lacroix to remain in his role as President and CEO of CBC/Radio Canada until the scheduled expiration of his term in 2017?

Yes, because the current format for choosing a President has not changed. CBC could end up with someone even less qualified than Lacroix. Be careful what you wish for.

Q3: Would you like Hubert T. Lacroix to champion CBC/Radio Canada by publicly calling on the Conservative government to immediately reverse its $115-million cut in annual public funding to the national public broadcaster?

An unqualified Yes! Lacroix doesn’t go far enough on the political front, yet he’s empowered to do so, in my opinion. Again it’s a question of leadership and how far he’s willing to go on behalf of the CBC. After 7 years on the job it’s clearly going to take more than working the inner-circle of a federal minister and government not willing to listen, support or renew the CBC.

Q4: On a scale of 1 – 10, how well do you understand what management’s 2020 plan entails? 1 – Not well at all to 10

I took the time to read it thoroughly last December and I came up with 21 questions regarding the content of the so-called plan. I submitted those questions in January only to have about two-thirds of them answered. I’m awaiting an answer on the last 7 with a follow-up meeting. The plan is full of ambiguity and assumptions without enough facts to back it up. Also it did not address the recent CRTC hearings on the future of television of which, the plan may fail.

On this question alone, I’d really like to know the overall numbers. And whether management, who co-authored the plan, is completely on board. I doubt it. If they did then why aren’t they selling it to employees?

Hubert is publicly dismantling the CBC every time he reduces the programming and the staff at the CBC. It has to STOP. I have one very important question with regard to staff at the CBC and the ability to maintain the programming we have. Why is there a budget for precarious work (less expensive) and not a budget for permanent staff. The CMG has seen a reduction in permanent staff for years now yet the percentage of precarious workers has been maintained. 22% in 2007 when a National Grievance was filed. IT REMAINS AT 22% IN 2015! How is that possible? Another National Grievance needs to be filed by the CMG IMMEDIATELY! The President of the CMG/CBC has been aware of this but has done nothing to acknowledge the problem or attempt to resolve it as many permanent staff members walk out the door. Do something now CMG!

CBC would be better served by a president not appointed by the government but selected by the employees, or at least an independent non government panel. CBC will always be saddled with a politically motivated president under this system whose interests may or may not coincide with a national broadcaster.

We live with uncontrolled corporatism. The government of Canada is very willing to give the CBC away( piece by piece ) but this is happening North America wide. The 1%’s run the show. It’s time we all said NO!

Since CBC management seems to be taking a more adversarial approach to CMG, it’s time for CMG to be more demanding and forceful in advocating for its members. The current practice of demoting people arbitrarily in terms of seniority and pay is ruining people’s lives and has got to stop.

Admit to getting your orders from the PM. used to think he was doing a good job because of the labour peace but he was just keeping us docile.

I understand the move to digital. I don’t understand how we can continue to provide the content needed with hundreds fewer workers. The 2020 plan seems to imply we will move to independent producers to provide everything other than radio and TV news and current affairs – yet those areas too are shrinking. We can no longer provide what set us apart from private broadcasters – which is in-depth, investigative, unfettered journalism that makes a difference in the lives of Canadians. We need to lay claim again to the need for public ownership. We have seen what a world based on private ownership and the drive for profits has done to our climate – our society. I have no faith the move to more private ownership of our airwaves, as will happen with a smaller CBC dependent on privately-produced programming, will raise the broadcast game in this country . The “space for us all” Hubert Lacroix champions is an agreed-upon greater move to mobile and digital with a much-opposed decimation of the public values behind a CBC that has played a crucial role in democracy in this country. It makes me weep.

How much more production will the CBC outsource? How will the CBC produce original online audio-visual content when management is cutting the jobs of those making that content (camera operators, editors, graphic artists etc.)? The more the CBC is dismantled, the less chance it has of surviving. We need people with vision who can address programming and advertising shortfalls with imagination. Hubert was very good for a while at calming labour relations tensions, but not as effective in combating government cuts and indifference. The fact he was also the one who helped sell off Nortel scares me!

The 2020 plan is clear enough, it just doesn’t make sense for the the part of the corporation that isn’t specifically news.

There is no demonstrated leadership at the top of the Corporation. Hubert Lacroix has been MIA on a number of critical issues, including the Jian Ghomeshi debacle. Heather Conway is a) not to be trusted and b) has essentially said — not hard to read between the lines — that she has no respect for Lacroix. So we have dysfunction at the top of the food chain plus a Board of Directors that has given us no indication whatsoever that it has the best interest of the CBC at heart. If the Conservatives win the October election, we’re doomed.

Online video and content still requires content

Obviously don’t approve of the redundancies. Think they are crazy. Furthermore, the morale in the building is terrible. Would love to find a way to get rid of the negativity.

Although I don’t feel that the current president has done or is doing a good job, I’m not sure that a new president would be more effective, given that the posting is made by the federal government and it’s not clear if we’d get anyone with equal or greater access or pull. So much depends on the next election. Perhaps I’m being too cynical here. As for the question about whether or not I’d like M. Lacroix to ask the federal government to reverse the funding cut, the answer is yes, of course, but I think it’s much more realistic to ask him to work harder for a partial reversal but focus on stopping additional cuts and the further dismantling of the public broadcaster.

Hubert Lacroix and Heather Conway seem to think every problem can be solved by cutting staff and programs. They appear to have no vision for a future CBC that is not just a weaker and less useful national public broadcaster. Everywhere in the world seems to be having a new “Golden Age” of TV except here at the CBC. Between the botched NHL contract talks and the appalling handling of the Ghomeshi, Mr. Lacroix is clearly out of his depth as the head of CBC.

would like to have the 2020 plan in detail , to review and understand. if it is available now , where do I access it?

I want to see him publicly fighting for us as often as he can. We need to have a voice.

The 2020 plan seemed to make some sense when it was first mooted, but the details have become more and more opaque since. Now, I simply assume it is all about cutting CBC to oblivion.

Demanding Lacroix’s resignation will not solve this problem – what’s needed is widespread awareness and pressure on the government and the CBC’s Board of Directors. They are the decision makers – Lacroix is just their puppet.