DAILY NEWS Apr 30, 2013 3:32 PM - 9 comments

CBC-Conservative Broadcasting Corporation Says Friends

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2013-04-30

 In the wake of yesterday's announcement of new measures that will further undermine the CBC's independence from government, newly assembled data from Elections Canada show that more than half of the CBC's directors are or have been financial supporters of the Conservative Party.

Eight of the eleven current members of the CBC's Board of Directors have contributed to the Conservative Party, including Rémi Racine, the Board chair, who gave the Conservative Party of Canada $1,200.00 last year while sitting on the Board.

Bill C-60, the government's legislation to implement its March 21st budget, gives political control to the Cabinet over how much CBC pays its union and non-union staff and all other terms and conditions of employment.

"CBC is not just another crown corporation. The financial decision-making the government plans to take over will affect CBC's editorial independence," said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

"If this Bill becomes law, the government will have one more lever to control what the CBC does, the programs it presents and the editorial content of the news. Our national public broadcaster will take one step closer to becoming a state broadcaster," Morrison said.

In addition to stacking the Board with Conservative supporters, the Harper government, for the first time, has required the CBC Chair to maintain "good relations" with Heritage Minister Moore and his staff as a condition of appointment. The government is also supporting a private member's Bill (C-471) that would undermine the CBC's competitive position, while some of its MPs have openly mused about ending CBC funding altogether.

"Any director of a public broadcaster worth its salt would object to this political interference. Unfortunately, we have heard nothing but silence from the CBC's directors thus far," said Morrison.


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