Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Cutbacks at CBC/Radio-Canada are “premature », judge Ottawa

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CBC/Radio-Canada announced in a press release on Monday that it intended to eliminate 600 unionized and non-unionized jobs across the country over the next 12 months. (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

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The decision of CBC/Radio-Canada to announce on Monday the elimination of 600 jobs and the elimination of 200 vacant positions, or nearly 10% of its workforce, is “premature”, the federal government judges.

Two government sources associated with different ministries used the word to describe the situation. The Canadian Press granted them anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

The The announcement is a bit ridiculous, confides one of them on the line. And the president and CEO, Catherine Tait, she didn't understand the exercise we're doing at all.

This same source also emphasizes that in addition to the $100 million agreement with Google concluded last week with Ottawa, it will allow CBC/Radio-Canada to generate revenue.

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ELSE ON INFO: The CAQ wishes to extend the session to pass Bill 15

In announcing its $125 million in cuts, the broadcaster's senior management said it took into account that its public funding would be cut by 3%, approximately the savings that Ottawa said it was aiming for in its latest budget.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">We received directives like all ministries and state corporations. The figure is within our forecasts, confirmed Ms. Tait in an interview.

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Catherine Tait, President and CEO of the CBC/Société Radio-Canada (Archive photo)

However, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, seems to be multiplying the signals since the beginning of the week regarding the idea that CBC/Radio-Canada could be exempted, or even partially, from the budgetary effort federal.

We're looking. This is not something that will be applied without taking into consideration the impacts it may have. So, the decision has not been taken, she declared again on Tuesday upon her arrival at the cabinet meeting.

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Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage (Archive photo)

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">But behind the scenes, we don't beat around the bush. What we said was: “send us a submission [of cuts], we will evaluate it, then we will tell you if we approve it or no. Then everyone does that, except Radio-Canada which doesn't seem to understand, sighs a source.

L& #x27;another source also insists on the fact that they [CBC/Radio-Canada] have no indication actually that the exercise will apply to them.

If the public broadcaster is exempt from the budgetary exercise, the number of job losses could be less significant, according to the head of CBC /Radio-Canada.

According to calculations by the Radio-Canada Workers' Union, which is affiliated with the CSN, the reduction in spending on 3% is about $38 million per year.

We also note that it is in fact 60 million dollars which are associated with the 800 positions cut, since 25 million of savings come from discretionary spending and 40 million independent productions.

However, CBC/Radio-Canada management indicated in an email that the 3.3% cuts requested by the federal government represent $11 million starting next year and that the target will rise to $38 million in three years.

In the office of the President of the Treasury Board, Anita Anand, it is explained that the government seeks on average approximately to refocus by 3% per year. ministry.

A spokesperson for Ms. Anand, Ronny Al-Nosir, said that the Treasury Board does not have authority over Crown corporations, but rather the departments to which they report.

And since CBC/Radio-Canada comes under the Department of Canadian Heritage, it is Heritage which will have to consult with all the Crown corporations to determine who what does he put into this exercise, he explained.

Both the Bloc Québécois and the New Democratic Party (NDP) indicated Tuesday that they believe the public broadcaster should be exempt from the 3% cuts.

I am not a supporter of cuts or financial restrictions at Radio-Canada, especially in a crisis context. There is no question of the State rejecting the essential information mandate, particularly in the regions, and much in French, of Radio-Canada.

A quote from Yves-François Blanchet , leader of the Bloc Québécois

Moreover, Mr. Blanchet asks the state-owned company to immediately suspend any program or any suggestion of job cuts and for its CEO to appear before a parliamentary committee .

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The leader of the Bloc Québécois, Yves-François Blanchet (Archive photo)

New Democrat Canadian heritage critic Peter Julian said an exemption means CBC/Radio-Canada must invest in local news. He considers that bonuses for senior executives have no place in a context of cutbacks, something that CEO Catherine Tait did not renounce in an interview widely shared on social networks. p>

The deputy leader of the NDP, Alexandre Boulerice, added that his party is in favor of an emergency fund to save furniture. He then went on the attack by accusing Minister St-Onge of turning a blind eye to the cuts, which contrasts with her comments from the time when she was president of the National Federation of Communications and culture, a union organization affiliated with the CSN.

To the Conservative Party of Canada, whose leader Pierre Poilievre promises to “defund” CBC. he becomes prime minister, a spokesperson declared that the formation always intends to protect Radio-Canada, the French service of the public broadcaster.

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