Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) President and CEO Catherine Tait is expected to soon appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Heritage – which monitors the activities and expenditures of Tait and the state broadcaster.
The committee would like to know how Tait can eliminate 600 positions at CBC while still not ruling out huge bonuses for the Crown corporation’s executives.
On Monday CBC and Radio-Canada, its French-language counterpart, revealed a massive series of programming and job cuts because of “budget pressures.” That adds up to about 600 current positions and 200 planned positions.
CBC receives $1.3 billion in taxpayer funding every year. Despite the state funding, it continues to offer paid advertising on television, though its radio presence remains ad-free.
CBC explained that it is expecting to lose $125 million in FY 2024-25 as a result of “rising production costs, declining television advertising revenue and fierce competition from the digital giants.”
“CBC/Radio-Canada is not immune to the upheaval facing the Canadian media industry,” Tait said. “We've successfully managed serious structural declines in our business for many years, but we no longer have the flexibility to do so without reductions.”
“We understand how concerning this is to the people affected and to the Canadians who depend on our programs and services,” she continued. “We will have more details in the months ahead, but we are doing everything we can to minimize the impact of these measures.”
Incredibly, Tait isn’t ruling out the usual $16 million in corporate bonuses will be withheld during the financial downturn.
“It’s too early to say,” she said.
While eliminating jobs, Tait has also ordered its still-working correspondents to never use the word “terrorist” to describe the activities of Hamas terrorists who invaded Israel on Oct. 7, 2023.
MP Rachael Thomas (CPC-Lethbridge), the Conservative critic for Canadian Heritage, said that means the CBC is “on the side of terrorists.”
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has made the public defunding of the CBC a key policy issue in his election platform. Conservative supporters have long argued that the state broadcaster should be untethered from public support and that its reporting has long been tendentious, favoring Liberal governments and left-of-center news.