CWA Canada President Martin O’Hanlon has sent an open letter urging Hubert Lacroix to reverse job cuts at CBC and speak up for public broadcasting.
April 27, 2015
Mr. Hubert Lacroix
President & CEO, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Dear Mr. Lacroix,
I’m writing as president of the national union representing most CBC employees to urge you to reverse the devastating cuts at the public broadcaster and take a new course of action.
With the latest round of job reductions, it’s now clearer than ever that the CBC cannot fulfill its federally legislated mandate. As president and as a board member, it’s your duty to uphold that mandate and to advocate on behalf of public broadcasting.
I have seen many public statements in which you have explained, promoted and defended the corporation’s five-year plan, which includes the loss of a staggering 1,500 employees (in addition to the 3,000 positions lost since you took office.)
What I have not heard is you publicly calling on the federal government to restore the $115 million it cut, and speaking out about why the CBC needs proper, stable funding to meet its mandate.
You have said you have been advocating for the CBC behind the scenes. If that is true, it has not worked. That is evident in last week’s federal budget which didn’t have a penny for the CBC, despite the fact that with less than one-tenth of its surplus the government could have reversed the cuts.
Instead, a vital national institution is being left to hemorrhage, including the loss of hundreds of journalists who act as watchdogs on power and tell the stories of Canadians and our communities. Does anyone think that’s good for democracy? For society? For the economy?
Amid this carnage, a chorus of voices from across the country has cried out for proper funding. But the most important voices have been deafeningly silent – those of you and the rest of the CBC board.
I believe that you care about the CBC, about journalism, about culture, about democracy. And I’m sure you feel you have been doing your best with the resources provided. But at a certain point, one must recognize that the organization cannot meet its mandate with those resources. We have reached that point.
It is now time to change course, stanch the bleeding, and tell the government – publicly – that the CBC must have more funding. If you will do that, I assure you that we at CWA/SCA Canada and at the Canadian Media Guild, our biggest local, will work constructively with you and the board to achieve the common goal of a robust CBC.
You have an historic choice. You can be remembered as the man who coolly presided over the slow demise of a cherished national institution, or you can speak up and be lauded as a champion of public broadcasting.
History remembers the brave.
President, CWA/SCA Canada