Cuts hurt CBC's language mandate: Senate report by Jordan Press

Apr 9, 2014

Cuts hurt CBC's language mandate: Senate report by Jordan Press

Source: Regina Leader Post

Looming budget and job cuts at Canada's public broadcaster may hinder the vitality and survival of minority official language communities across the country, a Senate report says.

A two-year study by the Senate's official languages committee has found that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and its French-language arm, Radio-Canada, fall short of meeting obligations to provide content in both official languages. The committee's report, released Tuesday, noted that CBC/Radio-Canada didn't believe the Official Languages Act applied to programming activities.

The committee felt otherwise, saying CBC/Radio-Canada "cannot evade its responsibilities." Those responsibilities, the committee said, includes providing programming for francophone communities outside of Quebec so they can see, hear and read about themselves.

But meeting those needs in the future is murky, the committee said, given looming job cuts that will be announced Thursday by the CBC. Corporation president Hubert Lacroix is to outline the overall plan for the CBC going forward without the revenue it is about to lose from National Hockey League broadcast rights.

"Given the uncertain budgetary context in which the corporation has been operating for some time, many representatives from English and French linguistic minority communities wonder what the future holds for them," the report said.

"Many of them feel that these financial requirements should not distract the public broadcaster from its primary mission, which is to be at the heart of their development and to advance both official languages across the country."

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