The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) is encouraged to see that the new government has reaffirmed support for CBC/Radio-Canada among its top priorities in today’s Throne Speech. The CMG, the largest union representing CBC/Radio-Canada employees, urges the government to turn words into action by allocating immediate bridge funding to stop the ongoing dismantling of the national public broadcaster.
In today’s Throne Speech, the Liberal government reiterated the commitment made during the recent election campaign to support CBC/Radio-Canada. Other commitments made by the Liberal party to CMG during the federal election include reversing the funding cuts made by the Conservative government to CBC’s budget, re-investing in CBC with stable and predictable multi-year funding – for additional new annual investments of $150 million – and reviewing the appointment procedure for CBC Board Directors and CEO to ensure their independence and competence.
“Over the past year, as the Harper government, CBC/Radio-Canada Board members and President Hubert Lacroix fast-tracked the thousand cuts to the national broadcaster, Canadians fought back and spoke out clearly about the need to restore CBC/Radio-Canada,” said Carmel Smyth, National President for CMG. “With today’s Throne speech, the government has reaffirmed its commitment to provide the much-needed support .”
However, given that CBC senior management are poised to cut between 400 and 900 more positions if they complete their ‘Strategy 2020’ plan, CMG has urged for bridge funding and an early dedication of the promised $150 million to help relieve the pressure. The ideological funding cuts of the past eight years and the strategic direction taken by the members of the board and senior management have combined to seriously undermine CBC/Radio-Canada’s ability to meet its mandate of producing and promoting original Canadian news, information as well as programming and production in areas such as arts and culture, sports and science and technology.
“We are particularly concerned about cuts to local news and regional programming, cuts in in-house production capacity, as well as plans to sell production assets and studios, all part of Lacroix’s strategy,” Smyth said.
The CBC is one of the most poorly funded public broadcasters in the world. Its parliamentary appropriation works out to about $29 per capita — while the average among developed countries is $82 per capita.