OTTAWA, May 3, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Association of Journalists is
deeply concerned over the federal government's decision to set the
mandate for and give itself an observer seat at contract negotiations
between the CBC and its employee groups.
The government's intentions were released Monday as part of Bill C-60,
the first piece of legislation to implement the March 21 federal
budget. Parts of the bill, if passed into law without changes, would
give powers to the federal treasury board in any CBC contract
negotiations with its employees it's never had.
The bill allows the federal cabinet, through the Treasury Board
Secretariat, to set the negotiating mandate for CBC's board of
directors and management. It also gives the board the right to require
a Treasury Board employee who reports directly to a cabinet minister to
observe negotiations and makes agreements potentially subject to
treasury board approval.
"As the primary source of funding for Canada's public broadcaster, the
federal government's stated mandate to rein in spending across all
federal programs and services is understood. There's a better way to do
that with the CBC than what this bill proposes," CAJ president Hugo
Rodrigues said. "The government's relationship with a public
broadcaster must remain at arm's length in order to protect the CBC's
independence. This bill threatens that independence.
"Bill C-60 shows a shocking lack of confidence in the CBC's board of
directors and president - all of whom are appointed by government - to
manage the public dollars they're entrusted with. It puts the
independence and reputation of CBC journalists at risk."
The deeper worry is once government has a seat at the bargaining table
for Canada's public broadcaster, the distance between it and the arm's
length existence of the CBC as a Crown corporation becomes markedly
shorter. The CBC's independence - or the perception of its independence
- will take a hit, only lending some credence to those who already name
it something other than a publicly funded broadcaster.
The CAJ is Canada's largest national professional organization for
journalists from all media, representing over 500 members across the
country. The CAJ's primary roles are to provide high-quality
professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.
SOURCE: Canadian Association of Journalists
For further information:
Hugo Rodrigues, CAJ president - 519-535-8680 cell, firstname.lastname@example.org
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