CMG Presidents endorse campaign and call on Senior Management and Board of Directors to fight along with CMG for CBC/Radio-Canada
Over the past weekend, delegates to the Presidents Council of the CBC Branch unanimously adopted a resolution to endorse the CMG campaign to reverse the cuts and restore sustainable funding for CBC/Radio-Canada. The Presidents Council, comprised of all the Presidents of the Location Units of the CBC Branch of the Canadian Media Guild, also strongly denounced the 2020 plan. The CMG leaders at CBC do not think the move to mobile and digital platforms should be done at the expense of other valuable services.
(See motion at bottom of communique)
Presidents Council delegates called on Hubert Lacroix and the CBC Board of Directors to alter the 2020 plan and to fight publicly along with the Guild to champion our national public broadcaster.
CBC Branch Executive meets with Hubert Lacroix and several CBC top executives On Friday, May 22, the meeting between the Guild’s CBC Branch Executive Council (BEC) and CBC President Hubert Lacroix, included EVP English Services, Heather Conway, the EVP French Services, Louis Lalande and 6 other senior managers. Also in attendance were CMG National President Carmel Smith and VP Lise Lareau, as well as “Champion Public Broadcasting” campaign director Kam Rao. It was an opportunity for both parties to discuss current issues. CMG voiced its concerns about the future of CBC/Radio-Canada and challenged management on its decisions. CMG leaders also pressed CBC executives on questions submitted by members from across the country.
On the 2020 Plan
Senior CBC/SRC executives say the direction taken under the 2020 Plan and the related layoffs are going ahead – even if funding is ever restored. “Tough choices had to be made in order to get to CBC’s mobile strategy,” said Hubert Lacroix. When asked why the CBC could not suspend the cuts until after the federal elections, he said these measures were necessary to balance the books and meet CBC’s payroll obligations this fiscal year. “We have no interest in hiding the fact that the CBC is making cuts and are happy to say that there are consequences to these cuts,” said Heather Conway.
Heather Conway, defended the reductions in programming produced by CBC and its employees, including the closure of the documentary unit: “We are Canada’s public broadcaster not necessarily Canada’s public producer (…) We want the best Canadian content we can have – that is why we are buying docs.” She added that she was not philosophically opposed to in-house production, and she would consider it, depending on the financials.
Hubert Lacroix said that decisions regarding the outsourcing of weather to The Weather Network, and the sale of real estate were based on perceived cost savings.
On the Rubin Report
Senior Management will meet with unions this week on how the CBC intends to deal with the recommendations of the Rubin report following the Ghomeshi scandal. They added that some of this work would be done in collaboration with the unions.
On a related topic of harassment, the union asked what was being done about reporters facing so-called ‘FHRITP’ assaults in the field, and expressed concerns about sending CBC employees alone to cover stories. The head of CBC News, Jennifer Mcguire and others said that they were looking into this and work was in progress.
On Radio-Canada services to Francophones outside Québec; EVP Louis Lalande spoke about the Ontario and Quebec Governments’ recent report titled “CBC/Radio-Canada Funding – Status report Possible solutions.” He noted that Management has been calling for some of the same recommendations for a number of years. Management welcomed the recommendations put forth in the report.
The union again raised the issue of the Senior Management Team not reflecting Canada, and its diverse populations: Aboriginal people, people with disabilities and visible minorities. The union noted that it has been raising these issues for many years now, and flagged that the corporation was losing diversity through the cuts. The CBC said that they are working on some new initiatives to recruit from minority and diversity groups.
In a discussion about members’participation in a campaign to save the CBC during the upcoming election, Jennifer McGuire, CBC News Head, said that CBC employees “are allowed to be advocates for public broadcasting but not be partisan.” Both sides agreed to work on a clarifying note in order for all employees, especially those in News, to better understand what is acceptable.
Champion Public Broadcasting
Your union will hold several events over the next few months as part of its “Champion CBC/Radio-Canada Campaign”. We urge you to get involved as much as you can to help convince Canadians to VOTE for a political party that has vowed to restore and fund CBC/Radio-Canada in a sustainable way in order to permit the national public broadcaster to adequately reflect the stories, the culture and the diversity of our great country, coast-to-coast, in 2 official languages and 8 aboriginal languages.
UNITED WE WILL SAVE THE CBC/RADIO-CANADA!
Motion by CBC Branch Presidents Council – May 23rd, 2015
WHEREAS the 2020 plan calls for a leaner, smaller CBC/Radio-Canada, the result of a massive downsizing of its material and human resources, that is incompatible with the structure required to deliver its mandate under the Broadcasting Act, coast to coast, in 2 official languages and 8 aboriginal languages;
WHEREAS the 2020 plan significantly reduces CBC/Radio-Canada’s capacity to do in-house production of cultural and arts and entertainment productions, dramas, news and documentaries, by largely abandoning its role of producer of content to broadcaster of content acquired in the private sector;
WHEREAS the 2020 plan is eliminating CBC/Radio-Canada’s capacity to deliver television programming and its ability to create quality video productions;
WHEREAS the 2020 plan introduces the concept of local services tailored to “needs” and commercial criteria such as “ratings”, abandoning the traditional and legal notion of a quality public service for all;
WHEREAS the 2020 plan is in fact a strategy without a plan that looks more and more like a cost-cutting exercise;
WHEREAS we are concerned the 2020 plan is being implemented at an accelerated pace so that it will soon be nearly impossible to reverse the course in order to make CBC/Radio-Canada whole again;
WHEREAS the CBC Board of Directors and its CEO are morally obligated under the Broadcasting Act to defend and promote the National Public Broadcaster;
WHEREAS the current Federal Government won’t recognize the financial strain numerous budgets cuts are having on the CBC/Radio-Canada.
BE IT RESOLVED -That the CBC Branch of the Canadian Media Guild engage in a national campaign to encourage the Canadian Public to vote in the next Federal Election for a political party that has vowed to restore sustainable funding for CBC/Radio-Canada;
-That the CBC Branch of the Canadian Media Guild denounce in the firmest terms possible the 2020 plan and lobby the CBC Board and Management to modify it so the transitioning to mobile platforms is not done at the expense of other valuable services;
-And BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CBC Branch of the Canadian Media Guild strongly urge the CBC Board and CEO to abide by their obligation under Article 1 of the CBC/CMG Collective Agreement and the Broadcasting Act and publicly fight for more funding.
CBC Branch President, CMG
On behalf of the CBC Branch Executive and the Presidents Council