Photo: Ryan Remiorz The Canadian Press The Bloc's heritage spokesperson, Martin Champoux, has made it a priority to ensure, during the review of the public broadcaster's mandate, better protection of regional information.
Émilie Bergeron – The Canadian Press in Saguenay
Having completed the review of the mandate of CBC and Radio-Canada between now and the next federal election is a bold deadline in the eyes of the MP responsible for this file in the Bloc ranks, Martin Champoux.
“It’s bold to think this is going to be done easily. It won't happen easily,” the elected official told The Canadian Press during an interview given on the sidelines of the Bloc Québécois caucus retreat in Saguenay.
In an end-of-year interview, the Minister of Heritage, Pascale St-Onge, said she was aiming for this deadline in order to protect the public broadcaster against a possible change of government in Ottawa.< /p>
Mr. Champoux also appears determined that the matter will be “settled” by the time Canadians are called back to the polls, but he does not believe that this will be an easy task.
“Because if the Conservatives take power, I don't think that the decisions of this government will go in the direction of what we see as the need to have a healthy public broadcaster “, he continued.
- Pascale St-Onge wants the mandate of CBC/Radio-Canada to be redefined
- Radio-Canada will eliminate 800 positions, or around 10% of its workforce
- Ottawa will form a committee of experts on the future of CBC/Radio-Canada
However, he expects that the vision of the Conservatives, which he presents as being at odds with that of the Bloc, will hinder the achievement of this deadline. He gives as an example the way in which Pierre Poilievre's troops expressed their opposition to C-11, the adoption of which aims to reform the Broadcasting Act.
“All possible maneuvers to stretch time, to block the work, to “filibuster” in committee, the multiple amendments that we had to debate for more or less time,” he said. listed.
The Conservatives promised to defund the CBC and turn its Toronto headquarters into housing. The Conservatives also promise to maintain French programming on Radio-Canada.
Mr. Champoux suggests that it cannot be taken for granted that the next federal election will necessarily take place in the fall of 2025.
“I find that it’s a fairly daring bet to set the objective of resolving the question of Radio-Canada’s mandate in such an uncertain future. »
The Bloc heritage spokesperson makes it a priority to ensure, during the review of the public broadcaster's mandate, better protection of regional information.
“Because, currently, I have the impression that everything that is done in terms of budgetary restrictions or budget cuts is done to the detriment of information in the region,” he said. Media coverage is increasingly coming from areas larger than regions. »
He also believes that the question of financing the state corporation must be part of the discussion.
“Are we still allowing Radio-Canada to participate so much in sharing the advertising pie ? Are we letting Radio-Canada continue to charge subscriptions for services for which people have the impression of already paying through their taxes?” he wondered aloud.
CBC/Radio-Canada's annual report for the 2022-2023 fiscal year shows the public broadcaster received nearly $1.3 billion in government funding, and earned $515 million in other revenue such as advertising.
In early December, the president and CEO of the public broadcaster, Catherine Tait, announced the upcoming cuts of 600 jobs and the elimination of 200 vacant positions, or nearly 10% of the workforce.
Ms. Tait is expected next Tuesday before the elected representatives of the Heritage Committee, of which Mr. Champoux is a member.
In announcing its cuts, the broadcaster's senior management said it took into account that its public funding would be cut by 3%, or approximately the savings that Ottawa said it was aiming for in its last budget from certain ministries and state corporations.
Minister St-Onge clarified that there has not yet been a decision as to whether such a budgetary effort will be requested from CBC and Radio-Canada.
Mr. Champoux said he was open to an exemption for them, but he believes that “in return,” the public broadcaster should be willing to compromise, such as giving up its share of the $100 million promised by Google to a media collective, capped at 7%.
“I would like Radio-Canada Canada to arrive and say “well, look, we understand that the reality is much more serious in smaller media which would need to share the seven million which do not won’t do much for us,” he argued.
The $100 million to be paid by Google to media outlets under the Online News Act.