Government threatens CBC with a further $50 million cut

    OTTAWA, May 11 /CNW/ - The Canadian Media Guild has learned that CBC
faces a new cut of more than $50 million to its Parliamentary appropriation.
Even before this government cut, the public broadcaster is dealing with a
budget shortfall that is forcing 800 job cuts this spring.
    The CMG will appear before Heritage Committee in Ottawa this afternoon to
call on Parliament to take steps to restore CBC's budget and prevent job and
service cuts.
    "We found out late Friday that CBC is on the chopping block again and we
know a further cut would be devastating to programming," says Lise Lareau,
president of the Canadian Media Guild. "It is outrageous that the government
would consider cutting funding at a time when Parliament is grappling with a
major crisis in the media industry. It's also happening just as the CBC is
trying to find ways to reinstate some local services affected by this spring's
    The new threat comes via the government's Strategic Review program, which
calls on government departments to identify up to 5% of spending that may be
cut. The CBC informed staff on Friday that the public broadcaster will have to
take part in the program this year.
    "This is especially shocking since it came only a week after Heritage
Minister James Moore told the parliamentary Heritage committee that CBC's
funding would not be cut," adds Lareau. "Funding for CBC is already well below
international standards and is in no way adequate to cover the 29 different
services provided on radio, TV and the internet in both official languages and
in eight Aboriginal languages in the North."
    The government will review the CBC's submission and could decide to take
some $50 million out of the broadcaster's funding in the next federal budget.
The cut would be on top of the nearly $200 million in budget pressures the CBC
is facing because government funding has not kept pace with inflation over the
last decade and because of a sudden drop in advertising revenue.
    The CMG is urging Parliament to implement the key recommendations of the
Heritage Committee report on the CBC, which was released in February 2008.
    Among other things, the all-party report recommended the signing of a
seven- year contract with the CBC outlining expectations for the public
broadcaster and providing adequate funding indexed to inflation. The CBC's
annual per capita funding stands at $34 per Canadian; the average among the
OECD countries is $80.

    The Canadian Media Guild is a national union representing 6,000 workers
at CBC/Radio-Canada and other media organizations.

For further information:

For further information: CMG national president, Lise Lareau, at (416)
524-5473; or communications co-ordinator, Karen Wirsig, at (416) 578-1651

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