A senate committee reviewing the challenges CBC faces continued its study after a brief summer hiatus.
CMG National president Carmel Smyth and CBC branch president Marc-Philippe Laurin were invited to speak.
The union stressed the immense damage caused by the recently announced cuts, the risks to local programming, the short-sighted diminishing of documentary production and the inability of CBC to meet its public service mandate as it suffers repeated, significant financial cuts.
CMG also emphasized the increase in support for public broadcasting as evidenced by several recent polls.
“Neither commercial nor State-controlled, public broadcasting’s only raison d’être is public service.
It is the public’s broadcasting organization; it speaks to everyone as a citizen. Public broadcasters encourage access to and participation in public life. They develop knowledge, broaden horizons and enable people to better understand themselves by better understanding the world and others.
Because it is not subject to the dictates of profitability, public broadcasting must be daring, innovative, and take risks.”
From UNESCO’s definition of public broadcasting
In addition, CMG urged the committee to accept the following recommendations to ensure a strong, independent and financially stable CBC.
1. Reverse the $115-million Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP) cut .
2. Increase CBC funding to about half the average of what other developed countries invest in their public broadcaster. ($43.50 per capita annually, phased in over several years .
3. Require the CRTC to establish a Fund dedicated to public service media programming – including local news.
4. Repeal Clause 17 of omnibus budget bill C-60 – to remove any possibility of government interference in CBC’s day-to-day operations.
5. Protect CBC/Radio-Canada’s independence by instituting a non-partisan public process for selecting the President and Board.
(L to R) Marc-Philippe Laurin, Carmel Smyth, et Jeanne d’Arc Umurungi, CMG Communications Director