89% of CBC appointees affiliated to governing party: report
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ottawa – As the final days of CBC President Rabinovitch’s 5-year appointment wind down, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting today called on Prime Minister Paul Martin to end political patronage appointments to the positions of CBC President and members of the Board of Directors.
“For too long, appointments to Canada’s most important cultural institution – the CBC – have often been made based on political affiliation rather than merit,” said FRIENDS' spokesperson Ian Morrison, commenting on a new report that examines government appointments to the CBC.
Commissioned by the media watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, the report, Process and Criteria in Public Broadcasting Governance: Appointments to CBC and CRTC, examines the 152 appointments past Prime Ministers have made to the CBC Board of Directors since 1936. Based on available information, the report finds:
- 89% of appointees have been affiliated with the governing political party
- 21% of appointees have been women
- 3 of 152 appointees have been visible minorities or aboriginal people
The current CBC President, Robert Rabinovitch is in the final year of a five-year appointment. His term expires on November 15th.
“Over the next seven weeks, the Prime Minister must decide if he will follow in the footsteps of his predecessors, or if he will end patronage appointments to the CBC Board of Directors. The next CBC President should be selected by the CBC Board of Directors, not the Prime Minister,” said FRIENDS’ spokesperson Ian Morrison.
FRIENDS is calling on the Prime Minister to commit to genuine reform of the process of appointments to the CBC in time for selection of the next CBC President. The reforms should include:
- make the CBC President accountable to the CBC Board of Directors;
- empower the CBC’s Board of Directors to appoint the President from amongst the best and brightest Canadians;
- implement the multi-partisan, unanimous recommendations of the Lincoln Committee including key changes to the appointments process for CBC and the CRTC.
Introduction of these reforms would place the CBC in the company of leading public broadcasters in the major industrial nations such as the BBC, NHK (Japan), and leading European public broadcasters.
Political patronage at the CBC is so deeply entrenched almost all current CBC Board members have affiliations to the Liberal government. "As Canada’s most important cultural institution, CBC’s Board should be drawn from the best and brightest talent in the land," Morrison said.
“Past Prime Ministers have had too much sway over CBC because the Prime Minister appoints the members of CBC’s Board of Directors and the CBC President. Robert Rabinovitch should be the last CBC President chosen by a Prime Minister,” Morrison said.
The report also examined the 83 appointments made to the CRTC since 1968 and found that, based on available information:
- 87% of appointees to the CRTC were affiliated with the governing party
- 24% of appointees to the CRTC have been women
- two appointees have been visible minorities and none have been aboriginal
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is a non-partisan watchdog for more and better Canadian programming in the broadcasting system. More than 60,000 Canadian families support Friends’ work.
For more information: Jim Thompson 613-567-9592 or 613-447-9592 cell
Process and Criteria in Public Broadcasting Governance: Appointments to CBC and CRTC is available at: www.friends.ca/Resource/Publications/publications09230401.asp
The unanimous recommendations of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage (Chaired by Clifford Lincoln) on appointments to the CBC and CRTC can be found at www.parl.gc.ca/InfoComDoc/37/2/HERI/Studies/Reports/herirp02/01a-cov2-e.htm
September 23, 2004
- Fact Sheet: Patronage Appointments to the CBC
Compilation of comments from former Parliamentary Committees, Commissions and Prime Minister Paul Martin, showing that all agree patronage should be removed from the CBC appointments process.
September 23, 2004 - Research Report: Process and Criteria in Public Broadcasting Governance: Appointments to CBC and CRTC
Using public sources, including biographical directories, media archives, government reports and legal statutes, this report examines a wide variety of characteristics, including political affiliation, gender, education, and experience, of the individuals who have been appointed to the CBC and CRTC during their histories.