May 21st, 2024

Head of CBC/Radio-Canada defends the public broadcaster’s role in testimony to MPs

By The Canadian Press on May 7, 2024.

CEO and president Catherine Tait will appear before the Heritage committee alongside Marco Dubé, the company's chief transformation officer. Tait waits to appear at the Heritage Committee, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA – The head of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. told members of Parliament that the public broadcaster is there to keep people informed, build trust, strengthen democracy and promote local culture.

CEO and president Catherine Tait and Marco Dubé, CBC’s chief transformation officer, are testifying at the House of Commons heritage committee this afternoon.

This is Tait’s second time in the hot seat this year.

The committee is studying job cuts at CBC/Radio-Canada, after the organization said it is facing a projected $100-million deficit for the 2024-25 fiscal year.

Tait says CBC has so far eliminated 205 vacant positions and laid off 141 employees.

The federal government gave another $42 million to the public broadcaster in its recent budget, which Tait says will help manage this year without further job cuts.

“But to be clear, we are not out of the woods,” Tait said in her opening statement to the committee.

“You have heard it from other witnesses. All Canadian media organizations face serious challenges from a digital world ruled by global players who simply do not share the same commitment to our country’s interests.”

Before Tait’s appearance, the public broadcaster published a letter it had sent to the committee chair in March, outlining its financial position and accusing Conservative MPs of spreading deliberate false accusations over executive bonuses.

The letter said the “deliberately false accusations” are damaging to Tait’s reputation and that of the CBC.

Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge has said she wants the public broadcaster’s role redefined before the next federal election, and has tapped a committee of experts to help with that.

Tait is set to remain in her role until January.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 7, 2024.

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