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“Anglophone Canadians also have their own culture,” says Catherine Tait

Photo: Patrick Doyle The Canadian Press The CEO from CBC/Radio-Canada, Catherine Tait, before members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, May 7, 2024

English Canada also has its stories to tell, assured the big boss of CBC/Radio-Canada, Catherine Tait, in her demonstration aimed at reassuring federal elected officials that no merger between the French services and English is not in the cards despite a “reconciliation plan” between the two services.

“English-speaking Canadians have enormous loyalty to our content! We talk about our communities, we talk about our indigenous realities, the Far North, we talk about the realities of the west of the country, we talk about all that kind of thing,” said Ms. Tait on Tuesday, in front of the members of the Standing Committee of Canadian heritage.

The CEO of the public broadcaster was stung by a question from Conservative MP Jacques Gourde, who asked whether CBC had “Americanized” itself, among other comments that called into question the public's support for English network television. Her party proposes to dissolve the English-speaking CBC network, but to maintain its French-speaking counterpart Radio-Canada — an operation “almost impossible,” according to Ms. Tait.

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She promised that “the editorial independence of CBC and Radio-Canada remains a fundamental principle” of the state corporation. “I swear to you that the strength of Radio-Canada, the importance of Radio-Canada for the French fact and the French language remains at the heart of all our reflections.”

The public broadcaster is currently considering carrying out a “reconciliation” between its French-speaking and English-speaking branches, reported La Presse last week. CBC/Radio-Canada responded that this “did not necessarily” mean combining the two programs.

Speculations on the merger

Catherine Tait and her senior vice-president, Marco Dubé, gave a little more detail on the purpose of this “reconciliation”, while trying to reassure elected officials that it is in no way a question of 'a merger project.

It is rather a question of “organizing [the] resources, continuing the digital transition in a universe where […] audiences go to digital giants,” said Mr. Dubé. All to “prepare options, ideas, for the next CEO. “, indicated Ms. Tait, whose functions are due to end in January 2025.

“These are not things that we are going to decide today,” said -she added.

She presented the example of different software used by journalists of each language in newsrooms. “Could CBC and Radio-Canada have the same platform to broadcast [their reports on their respective websites] ? This is the kind of rapprochement we are talking about. »

Bloc Québécois MP Martin Champoux multiplied questions in the House about a rapprochement plan between the French-speaking and English-speaking divisions which “looks more like a rescue plan for the CBC at the back of Radio-Canada,” according to him. .

“The Bloc Québécois […] adopts approximately the same position as the Conservatives, according to which the CBC and Radio-Canada should be completely separated and, as long as to be there, completely defund CBC,” replied Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge on Monday. She reiterated Tuesday that “French-language programming and content will never be paired with CBC.”

Finished the cuts

Furthermore, the head of CBC/Radio-Canada announced to elected officials that the financial situation of the institution has improved thanks to an increase in its public funding of $42 million, the elimination of 205 vacant positions and the layoff of 141 employees.

“And we can say that there were a little more on the CBC side than on Radio-Canada,” said said the senior vice-president of the public broadcaster, Marco Dubé, echoing criticism that equal cuts would have greater consequences for the French service.

These 346 positions abolished should put an end to job losses at the public broadcaster in the short term, she said, since the anticipated deficit of $125 million for 2024-2025 has dwindled to a shortfall of around 20 millions of dollars. Last December, the public broadcaster instead planned to cut 800 positions.

Last January, Catherine Tait had difficulty justifying to elected officials the fact that the “incentive remuneration” of her executives could remain intact despite the significant cuts then announced. She was invited again before a parliamentary committee to explore this issue further. However, the amounts of these bonuses for last year must be determined in June, she said on Tuesday. She was therefore not yet able to say whether she herself would be able to receive a bonus.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116