CBC President Hubert Lacroix: Public Broadcasters ‘Risk Being Boiled To Death'

By The Huffington Post Canada, 18 September 2015

The president of CBC/Radio-Canada says public broadcasters are caught in a “vicious circle” of budget cuts and service reductions that threaten their continued existence.

“First, we struggle with cuts to our funding,” Hubert Lacroix told an audience at an international public broadcasters’ conference in Munich, Germany, last week. (...)

Lacroix said public broadcasters are facing budget cuts throughout the world that have “meant huge job losses and a reduced ability to do the very things that we have been mandated to do. It’s happening in Australia, in France, in the U.K., in Brazil and in virtually every service represented in this room. And I can say with considerable sadness, it’s been happening in Canada.” (...)

The Conservative government slashed the CBC’s public subsidy starting with the 2012 budget, reducing the broadcaster’s $1-billion annual subsidy by $115 million.

The Canadian Media Guild estimates the CBC has cut some 2,000 staff in the past five years, a reduction of about one quarter. It slashed more than 600 jobs just last year, to plug a $130-million budget shortfall.

The Liberals and the NDP have both vowed to reverse the $115-million budget cut to the CBC. Both parties have also vowed to restore a greater measure of independence to the CBC, after the Conservative government took control of collective bargaining, salaries and other budgetary issues at the broadcaster in 2013. (...)

In a press statement, Isabelle Montpetit, president of Syndicat des communications de Radio-Canada (SCRC), wondered if Lacroix’s silence was due to a “careful” relationship with Conservative leader Stephen Harper, given “the CBC president is hand-picked by the prime minister for the coveted job.” (...)

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