Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Compressions &agrave ; Radio-Canada: silence on the subject of bonuses

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Like several federal crown corporations, CBC/Radio- Canada must make budget cuts.

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CBC/Radio-Canada, which must reduce its budget by $125 million, announced Monday the elimination of 800 positions, but the CEO of the public broadcaster is not saying, for the moment, what will happen to the bonuses paid to certain employees.

This is what emerges from an interview given by Catherine Tait to the presenter of the CBC newscast, Adrienne Arsenault, Monday evening , following the announcement of the extent of the cuts awaiting the state corporation. One 34-second exchange, in particular, was widely commented on on social media.

Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation under the Access to Information Act show $16 million in bonuses paid in 2022 Can we establish that this will not happen this year? the National presenter asked Ms Tait.

It is too early to say where we are this year. We will look at this as we do for all our operations in the coming months, replied the CEO of the public broadcaster to the CBC journalist.

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Catherine Tait explained herself in an interview with CBC and Radio-Canada on Monday.

So, there is a chance that bonuses will be paid while jobs will have been eliminated?, added Adrienne Arsenault. Again, I cannot comment on something that has not yet been discussed, replied Catherine Tait.

The $16 million paid in bonuses in 2022 represents the equivalent on average of $14,056 paid to 1,142 employees, according to calculations from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CCF) revealed in the spring.

Questioned in a press scrum on Tuesday, the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, head of the ministry on which CBC/Radio-Canada depends, remained evasive. CBC/Radio-Canada must be accountable to the general public who own the corporation. You should redirect this question to them, replied the minister who later added that as a government, we do not have to get involved in their internal management.

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Regarding the 3% cuts requested from all Crown corporations (i.e. $38 million for CBC/Radio-Canada), Minister St-Onge left a door open. It's not necessarily something that will be applied without taking into consideration the impacts it may have, so the decision has not been made, she said.

In Quebec as in Ottawa, the announcement of these cuts caused a reaction. Quebec Minister of the French Language, Jean-François Roberge, deplored that the scale of the cuts was identical to Radio-Canada and CBC.

The right to be informed and entertained in French is important. […] Cuts like that don't make sense: we're making Radio-Canada French pay for the CBC's setbacks.

A quote from Jean-François Roberge, Quebec Minister of the French Language

An opinion shared by the leader of the Parti Québécois (PQ), Paul St-Pierre Plamondon. ICI Télé has an audience of 25%, while it is 6% at the CBC. The CBC is not breaking through… It is not up to Radio-Canada to pay, said the leader of the PQ, who believes that no amount obtained from Google should be paid to the state corporation.

< p class="StyledImageCaptionLegend-sc-57496c44-2 sbxsP">Cuts at CBC/Radio-Canada: the view of policy wonks

For his part, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Pierre Poilievre, who promised, if elected, to put an end to the state corporation – more at CBC than at Radio – Canada -, did not fail to comment on the announcement of the cuts.

CBC says it is bankrupt again and dismissal of staff. And that’s after paying $99 million in bonuses to incompetent executives and liberal spokespeople. I bet none of Trudeau's favorite spokespersons will be abandoned: they will receive more bonuses, he wrote on X (ex-Twitter) on Monday.

This sum of $99 million corresponds to bonuses paid between 2015 and 2022 by CBC/Radio-Canada, according to FCC calculations.

Quebec Minister of Culture and Communications Mathieu Lacombe is working on a new media rescue plan, judging by the documents he carried with him Tuesday to the National Assembly.

When a journalist asked him why he was holding in his arms, in plain sight, a document entitled: Proposing a temporary plan to aid the media , he replied slightly embarrassed: You have good eyesight. I'll hide this.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Minister Lacombe subsequently stressed that the telecommunications sector, which traditionally falls under the jurisdiction of Ottawa, was going through dark times and that Quebec was ready to take over – condition, of course, that federal transfers are there.

It's not a hiding place, I said it publicly: we must better coordinate with Ottawa, because indeed, at the moment, there is a hole, he repeated.

This plan rescue, whose fate is unknown for the moment, would likely be added to the aid measures for the written press decreed in recent years by the Coalition Avenir Québec government to help traditional media whose advertising revenues are falling .

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