Bill to open CBC books a 'solution in search of a problem:' Opposition by Jessica Hume

Feb 12, 2013

Source: Toronto Sun

OTTAWA - The official opposition says a private member's bill aimed at prying open the CBC's books is hypocritical and represents an ideological attack on the public broadcaster.

Tory MP Brent Rathgeber's Bill C-461 proposes to force the CBC to disclose salaries of its highest paid and would eliminate a clause - section 68.1 - in the Access to Information Act allowing it to withhold information it says could compromise its "journalistic, creative or programming activities."

Rathgeber says that clause is abused and needs to be revisited.

"I think there's a reasonable compromise between civil servants' rights to privacy and the public's right know how much it pays its senior managers."

NDP heritage critic Pierre Nantel said the bill would curb the broadcaster's independence and that employee pay scales are already available on request.

"This bill attacks the public broadcaster and is a solution in search of a problem," he said.

The Information Commissioner has in the past given the CBC an "F" grade for transparency and its handling of access to information requests. In December the Commissioner gave the CBC an "A".

Green Party leader Elizabeth May says she is sympathetic to Rathgeber's concerns and his motivation, but added that she would not support the bill because she believes the situation has changed since he tabled it in early 2012.

"They have new policies and they seem to be working," she said. "I might have supported it if the Information Commissioner was still giving it a failing grade."

She also said CBC employees are not public servants.

© Toronto Sun