(Ottawa) CBC/Radio-Canada’s decision to announce Monday the elimination of 600 jobs and the elimination of 200 vacant positions, or nearly 10% of its workforce, is “premature”, the government says federal.
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 ad is “a little ridiculous,” says one of them on the line. And the president and CEO, Catherine Tait, “she doesn’t understand the exercise we’re doing at all.”
This same source also emphasizes that “in addition” the 100 million agreement with Google concluded last week with Ottawa will allow CBC/Radio-Canada to generate revenue.
In announcing its cuts of 125 million, the broadcaster’s senior management said they took into account that its public funding would be cut by 3%, or approximately the savings that Ottawa said it was aiming for in its last budget.
“We received directives like all ministries and state corporations. The figure is within our forecasts,” Ms. Tait confirmed in an interview.
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 federal budgetary effort.
” We look. This is not something that will be applied without taking into consideration the impacts it may have. So, the decision has not been made,” she declared again on Tuesday upon her arrival at the cabinet meeting.
But behind the scenes, we don’t beat around the bush. “What we said was: “send us a submission (for cuts), we will evaluate it, then we will tell you whether we approve it or not”. Then everyone does that, except Radio-Canada which doesn’t seem to understand,” sighs a source.
The other source also insists that “they (CBC/Radio-Canada) have no actual indication 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 boss of CBC/Radio-Canada.
According to calculations by the Radio-Canada Workers’ Union, which is affiliated with the CSN, the 3% reduction in spending represents approximately 38 million per year.
We also note that it is in fact 60 million that are associated with the 800 positions cut since 25 million of savings come from discretionary spending and 40 million from independent productions.
The management of CBC/Radio-Canada, however, indicated in an email that the “3.3%” cuts which are “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 department.
A spokesperson for Ms. Anand, Ronny Al-Nosir, said that the Treasury Board does not have jurisdiction over Crown corporations, but rather the departments to which they report.
And as CBC/Radio-Canada reports to the Department of Canadian Heritage, “it is Heritage which will have to consult with all the Crown corporations to determine who puts what in 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 context of crisis,” declared Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet. There is no question of the State rejecting the essential information mandate, particularly in the regions, and much in French, of Radio-Canada. »
Furthermore, 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.
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.
NDP deputy leader Alexandre Boulerice added that his party is in favor of an emergency fund to “save the furniture.” He then went on the attack, accusing the minister of “turning a blind eye” to the cuts, which contrasts with his comments from the time when she was a union leader in the communications sector.
At the Conservative Party of Canada, whose leader Pierre Poilievre promises to “defund” CBC if he becomes prime minister, a spokesperson declared that the party always intends to protect Radio-Canada, the French service of the public broadcaster.