July 21st, 2024

MP Thomas critical of CBC bonus comment

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on February 1, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

Lethbridge Member of Parliament and Shadow Minister for Canadian Heritage Rachael Thomas has issued a swift response after CBC president Catherine Tait said she and other executives deserve a bonus.

Tait on Tuesday told the House of Commons heritage committee that incentive pay hasn’t been ruled out for herself and network executives. She said the board of directors of the CBC determines who gets bonuses and she will recommend they be handed out.

In a joint statement with Conservative Deputy House Leader Luc Berthold, Thomas stated “as a direct result of Tait’s incompetence, the CBC’s viewership has been cut in half since she took over as CEO in 2018. They have failed to produce the content Canadians want to consume, forcing the broadcaster to fire 600 people in December and leave another 200 positions vacant.

“The CBC’s dramatic drop in ratings has occurred in spite of the $1.27 billion they received from taxpayers in the 2023 fiscal year. Now the CBC is dropping even more programming, becoming less relevant to Canadians every passing day.

“Despite this abysmal performance, Tait refused to be straightforward with Canadians and clarify whether she, and other executives, will receive massive taxpayer-funded bonuses in March, conveniently telling the Heritage Committee that ‘I don’t think I or anybody on the management team should be evaluated based on market trends,'” said the statement.

The two MPs say Tait and the CBC are out of touch with Canadians. They also say the Liberal-NDP coalition is covering for Tait “while she slashes 800 jobs.”

The network is planning to slash about 600 jobs and leave 200 vacancies unfilled due to a budget shortfall of $125 million.

On Tuesday, according to a Canadian Press story, when Thomas asked Tait if she would recommend bonuses to the board, the CBC president said “she would if employees ‘achieve their targets’ for the current fiscal year, when no deficit was posted.”

The CBC last year gave $15 million in bonuses, which Tait told the committee was small compared to the network’s payroll of $950 million.

In the 2022-23 fiscal year, the CBC got almost $1.3 billion in funding from Ottawa.

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