News and Events
Multiple protests across Canada against cuts to CBC/Radio-Canada
•  Posted on  November 17, 2014  

Photo: Guy Lepage @guyalepage

CBC/Radio-Canada supporters gathered in Montreal, Matane, Sept-Îles, Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Rimouski, Gaspé and Moncton in New Brunswick to protest against deep cuts and job losses at the Crown corporation.


Photo: Louis Blouin @ICILouisBlouin

A sea of blue flags emblazoned with the CBC logo – also known as the CBC pizza – rolled down René-Lévesque Boulevard in Montreal Sunday afternoon.


Moncton, NB. Photo: Nicolas Steinbach @NSteinbach_RC

The protests across Quebec and in Moncton were organized by CBC/Radio-Canada’s main unions for the French-language service, along with other supporters operating under the banner Tous Amis de Radio-Canada (Friends of CBC.)


Photo: Fanny Lacasse, La Presse

Protesters assembled at Montreal’s Square-Victoria and headed to the CBC headquarters in Quebec, Maison Radio-Canada, where organizers decried the cuts to Canada’s public broadcaster.

1117 city manifCBC

Photo: Phil Carpenter / Montreal Gazette

Last summer, CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix announced his plans to trim staff, cutting 1,500 employees by 2020.


Photo: Simon Dessureault / Agence QMI

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said he is worried what the cuts to CBC/Radio-Canada mean for people who do not live in major metropolitan regions.

“I live in the regions, and I want quality regional news. I also want francophones in Quebec to continue to have information in our language. These elements for me are very important,” Couillard said.

He said he has no words of advice for the administration of CBC/Radio-Canada.


Photo: Laurent Therrien @LaurentTherrien

The Canadian Media Guild has called for a moratorium on job cuts at the public broadcaster.

There was an outpouring of support for the CBC/Radio-Canada as thousands of people took to the streets on a wintry Sunday afternoon to protest ongoing budget and job cuts at the Crown corporation.


Photo: Anne-Marie Dussault @AMarieDussault

Waving blue flags decorated with the CBC/Radio-Canada logo, thousands of “friends” of the CBC/Radio-Canada marched from Victoria Square to the CBC headquarters on René Lévesque Blvd., calmly but loudly denouncing the cuts, which many believe constitute an assault on the broadcaster.

Many spoke of Radio-Canada’s role in Quebec as being more than a provider of news and entertainment, but as preserving the francophone culture.

“If something isn’t done, these cuts may mean that Radio-Canada’s mandate to protect the French culture won’t be fulfilled,” said Lisa Djevahirdjian, one of the organizers of the Montreal protest.


Saguenay, PQ. Photo: Mélissa S. Soulières @mssoulieres


Trois-Rivieres, PQ. Photo: Marie-Ève Trudel @MarieEveTrudel1


Rimouski, PQ. Photo: Luc Tremblay @Trembluc

Matane. Photo: M-F Tremblay ?@mftremblay

Matane, PQ. Photo: M-F Tremblay ?@mftremblay

Moncton, NB. Photo: Catherine Allard

Moncton, NB. Photo: Catherine Allard

Sherbrooke, PQ. Photo: IMACOM, Julien Chamberland

Sherbrooke, PQ. Photo: IMACOM, Julien Chamberland

Similar protests were held in Matane, Sept-Îles, Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières, Rimouski, Gaspé and Moncton, N.B. They were organized with the help of some of Radio-Canada’s main unions, but as a result of support for a grassroots organization called I Love CBC/Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

That organization was launched when Nicolas Bédard started a Facebook page lamenting the decimation of the CBC/Radio-Canada. He got thousands of responses and a citizen’s movement was born.


Photo: Marie-Eve Maheu @memaheu

CBC/Radio-Canada president Hubert Lacroix has announced plans to cuts 1,500 jobs (almost 20 per cent of the work force) by 2020 — and some at Sunday’s demonstration were calling for him to resign. He has been accused of aiding and abetting the Conservatives’ agenda to slowly demolish the company.

“Taking away that many jobs is an insult,” said Pierre Desautels, one of the protesters and a sound mixer for Radio-Canada. “Radio-Canada is important for Quebec culture, it is necessary for the cultural identity of Quebecers.”

Djevahirdjian said the I Love CBC movement is trying to lobby politicians and turn the tide against the ongoing dismantling of the CBC/Radio-Canada.

“We are losing our costume department, we are losing studios, we are losing so much,” she said in an interview.


Photo: Alexandra Szacka @szackaa

CBC/Radio-Canada’s five year plan, outlined last summer, includes scaling back supper hour newscasts to 30 minutes and aggressively seeking revenue from mobile phones. Last week, staff in the Radio-Canada Sherbrooke newsroom refused the President’s Award to protest ongoing job losses at the public broadcaster.

The Sherbrooke newsroom was to receive the award for its coverage of the Lac-Mégantic disaster.

Desautels said there is incredible frustration as the government tries to shut down Radio-Canada “piece by piece.”


CMG members in Ottawa joined an Ottawa/Gatineau contingent at the Montreal protest

Protester Diane Potvin, a retired teacher, said she felt it was important to participate in the demonstration because the current wave of austerity measures are having a profound effect on Quebec society.

“The government has an obligation to conserve Radio-Canada, but that’s not happening,” she said. “All these people coming out today sends a very strong message that something needs to change.”



Ottawa Citizens Group for CBC/SRC (Facebook page with photos):