Departing CBC president asks parliament for more money
After eight years in the job, and days from leaving it, CBC president Robert Rabinovitch told members of the parliamentary Heritage Committee what kind of new money CBC/Radio-Canada needs to do a proper job for Canadians. The committee met November 27 to hear from CBC brass before it finalizes its recommendations on a new mandate for the public broadcaster.
Rabinovitch said the CBC needs another $150-200 million per year in base funding to provide the programming that Canadians deserve, especially drama and local programming. He also said the CBC needs about $150 million in one-time money to pay for new radio stations in urban areas that don’t currently have one and to upgrade transmitters, among other things.
The call for new government money is almost revolutionary for a man who has long appeared most attached to “monetizing” the CBC’s real estate assets as a strategy for raising money.
For years, it seemed that Rabinovitch went out of his way not to make a public case for more money from government. Nothing (aside from the five work stoppages under his tenure) is more clear about the failure of the say-nothing strategy than the figures the CBC itself commissioned about how Canada compares to other industrialized countries: we’re practically at the bottom of the pile for per capita spending, slightly above the US and New Zealand. And, at $33 per Canadian per year, we’re at less than half of the $80 average spent by the 18 countries.
This is also the guy who reintroduced full-hour suppertime TV newscasts earlier this year. Let’s not forget that killing supperhour news was one of Rabinovitch’s first defiant acts as president. It was only the intervention of the CMG, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting and, ultimately, MPs and members of the CBC board that managed to preserve local TV news in a reduced form through the first part of this millenium.
It’s almost like he’s becoming one of us. We only hope that Hubert Lacroix, who takes over as President on January 1, follows the lead of the recent Mr. Rabinovitch.
Dennis Bueckert Memorial Scholarship fund growing
The scholarship in environmental journalism established earlier this year to commemorate Dennis Bueckert, a reporter at The Canadian Press in Ottawa and CMG member who passed away during the summer, has collected $26,220 in donations so far.
“The response to the scholarship has been overwhelming,” says Martin O’Hanlon, vice president of The Canadian Press branch of the CMG. “Thanks to the generosity of the Guild, other groups, and Dennis’s many friends, we surpassed our goal of raising $20,000. It’s a fitting tribute to a truly gentle man who touched so many people with his warmth and sincerity.”
The CMG and parent union CWA/SCA Canada donated a total of more than $5,000 to the fund, not including the dozens of donations made by individual members.
“Over the years, staff and elected leaders in our national office had contact with Dennis as a Canadian Press reporter,” wrote CUPE national president Paul Moist in a letter accompanying his union’s $1,000 donation. “He was a journalist dedicated to his craft, and a kind man who took the time to listen. He left a lasting impression as a man with a strong commitment to telling stories about environmental and social issues.”
The scholarship will be awarded annually to a student with a strong interest in the environment proceeding from third to fourth year in the Bachelor of Journalism program at Carleton University. The winning student will receive 4.5% of the balance of the fund at the beginning of the school year.
Large crowd celebrates Dan Zeidler’s life
A large crowd gathered in Winnipeg on November 5 to celebrate the life of Dan Zeidler, who passed away on October 29 at the age of 56. Dan was a staff representative with CMG’s parent union CWA/SCA Canada who worked most recently with CMG members in the Prairies.
Several hundred people crammed into two rooms and an adjoining hallway at the Thomson Funeral Home to hear tributes to Dan. Speakers included his two sisters, a niece, a friend, CWA/SCA director Arnold Amber, and friend and colleague Dan Oldfield, the CMG’s senior staff representative. Members from CBC and APTN in Winnipeg were also among the attendees.
While the recurring theme of the ceremony was that Dan Zeidler was a gentle, good-humoured person, there were also revelations, for he had an assortment of interests and passions outside of union activism: avid gardener, wine connoisseur, musician, aspiring chef and animal lover.
Workers call for action to end violence against women Canadian Labour Congress
On December 6th we mourn the fourteen women killed in Montreal in 1989. On that day, we also turn our thoughts to all women who are murdered or experience violence at the hands of their partners, family members and strangers throughout this country. Then, we recommit ourselves to taking action to end all forms of violence against women in our society.
Women, indeed all those singled out for abuse, discrimination and violence, are victimized because they are not seen as equals. Goverments must focus their efforts on promoting women’s equality, socially and economically by ensuring: affordable and safe housing; a living wage; pay equity to close the wage gap; public child care and early learning program; equal access to EI; access to justice and legal aid; support for women’s centres, shelters, rape crisis centres and front-line advocacy and support; and support and protection in law for women who report sexual assault.
But instead of promoting our equality, the federal government promotes crime-and-punishment measures that actually rely on women becoming the victims of violence, harassment and discrimination in the first place.
At the same time, long-standing women’s organizations with proven records of making a difference in the lives of women and their families have had their resources taken away. Women’s voices are being silenced, and our perspectives dismissed as strange, even dangerous.
We call on the federal government to reverse its policy decisions on child care, pay equity, the Court Challenges Program, Status of Women Canada, and to restore advocacy and research funds to the Women’s program. We call on the federal government to adopt an integrated approach to women’s equality.