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CBC threatens to take Harper Government to court over budget Bill C-60

CBC LogoThe Harper government’s latest effort to impose dictatorship-style control on the CBC and other Crown corporations through Bill C-60 likely violates the Broadcasting Act. And the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

That’s the message the CBC communicated last Thursday in a letter to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

Bill C-60, an omnibus budget implementation bill, proposes amendments that would give the federal government direct control over salary negotiations at the CBC and other Crown corporations. The amendments would compromise the public broadcaster’s journalistic, creative and programming independence.

“We believe that the proposed amendments to the Financial Administration Act (the “F44″), as currently drafted in Division 17 of the Bill, may conflict with key parts of the Broadcasting Act, our Corporation’s governing legislation, and as a result, would reduce the independence that is critical to our operation,” said the CBC chief executive Hubert Lacroix in the letter to James Rajotte, the committee’s chairperson.

The legislation would require the CBC to seek a “negotiating mandate” from Treasury Board ministers, who would also be empowered to the determine the terms and conditions of employment’ of journalists, anchors or senior executives. It would require the CBC to invite a  Treasury Board official to attend negotiations between the broadcaster and unions.

“This could potentially embroil the government, our Corporation, and its unions in litigation, a result that could be avoided with an amendment that protects that independence,” said Lacroix.

Lacroix argued the the proposed amendments were unnecessary.

“The Broadcasting Act sets out our Corporation’s mandate as well as its structure and reporting relationship with Government,” his letter stated. “It ensures that the Corporation has both a comprehensive reporting structure to Parliament, and specific safeguards to guarantee arm’s-length independence of its activities.”

Meanwhile, the NDP is concerned about Bill C-60’s “impact on journalistic independence at the CBC” and other Crown corporations.

“This is a barefaced attempt by the Conservatives to control the Bank of Canada, the CBC and other Crown corporations by threatening wage and benefit cuts or termination for employees who don’t toe the government line,” said NDP Finance critic Peggy Nash.

“The implications for journalists’ freedom to publish stories critical of the government are obvious,” said NDP Heritage critic Pierre Nantel. “If the Conservatives are truly interested in improving accountability, perhaps they should start with the Senate or the PMO.”

Get the facts: CBC/Radio-Canada: Competitiveness, Efficiency and Accountability

8 thoughts on “CBC threatens to take Harper Government to court over budget Bill C-60”

  1. Thomas White says:

    The CBC is biased and should be shut down for interference in elections and being anti conservative,isn’t it ironic that the liberals cut the CBC budget more than Harper ever did.

  2. Larrie Thomson says:

    Nope, the CBC is not paid to be the voice of the government. According to its long-standing mandate, it is paid by Canadian tax payers to be the independent voice of, and to represent, all Canadians. There is nothing about it having to do with whatever the current government wants it to broadcast. This is very upsetting to the present conservatives, which is why they have continued to stack its board with Harper supporters who have little or no broadcasting experience, and slash its budget, especially in its news departments. Maybe you’re thinking of Pravda, the Russian state-owned broadcaster?

    1. Heather Dow says:

      Maybe the government you want in is already living inside you. CBC is now nothing but a propaganda machine for the likes of the Liberals (and NDP) because they are also left wing. If CBC cannot be anything but bias and totally left wing speak then it should not be a government corporation.
      Get you own damn funding. As a taxpayer I am sick and tired of hearing only left wing crap coming out of your mouths. Cruelty, lies, deceptive, brainwashing hatred spewing comes from the CBC and its affiliates.
      If you haven’t got the idea yet, then you really are that daft, because many many smart Canadians are fed up with your pompous arrogant self serving attitudes and bull and many more are being added daily, that want CBC defunded ASAP. I’d personally LOVE to the see the Rebel take your place.
      They actually report the news as it is spoken; they do not change it to what the left wants to hear.
      Burkas, terrorists, drowned baby, Syrian refugees, budgets, deficits, anything Harper talked about or YOU wanted to bastardize to make him look in the wrong – you did. Making up false accusations to get left wing voters. Maybe some are stupid enough to fall for your deception but more are waking up to your blatant lies. So CBC et al, remember what comes around goes around so you may have pushed yourselves into the ground. CNN is not fairing so well these days because of the same tactics you use. Your demise is your own going. So long!

      1. Gail Dyer says:

        I am with you Heather Dow – 100%. Very well said. The Government should either sell the damn CBC or de-fund it. Let the LIEberal Party pay for it. The CBC is a propaganda machine for the left-wing and particularly Trudeau and the LIEberals. Why should I, as a Conservative supporter, have to support the CBC? And why should we have to support their bloody court cases – they have been involved in several cases over the years. Of course, it is the Canadian taxpayers who pay for this.

        1. Gail Dyer says:

          If you don’t believe me when I say CBC has been involved in several court cases over the years, read Brian Lilley’s book – “CBC Exposed”. You will get an idea of how many $$$$$$ have been wasted on court costs. CBC is too proud to say “We are wrong. We apologize”. They just take the court case further – who cares when the Canadian taxpayer picks up the bill?

  3. Paul says:

    CBC is paid to be the voice of the government and so the government should control the CBC not Laurentian elitists.

    If CBC wants to be truly free of government interference in order to peddled their leftist agenda they need to find independent funding just like other media companies.

    1. Denise says:

      Thank you Paul, finally a voice of reason. The CBC should get off the government tit and fund their own slanted, bias new reporting!

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