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Canada now a ‘less-informed nation’: CBC cuts 657 jobs by Sam Smith For Metro

Apr 10, 2014

Source: Metro News

CBC, the nation’s sole public broadcaster, is losing 657 of its staff over the next two years and will no longer be pursuing national sports broadcasting rights.

CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix said the move is intended to make up for a $130 million funding shortfall caused in large part by the loss of their NHL broadcasting rights to Rogers, as well as a drop in ad revenue.

The exact number of staff in Vancouver being cut was unknown to Marc-Phillipe Laurin, president of the Canadian Media Guild at CBC, but he said it’s not as bad as other markets around the country.

Yet even so overall the damage will be felt.

“The impact is starting to be felt and soon the CBC will start systematically being dismantled by the simple fact the government is ignoring it and ignoring its importance,” Laurin said.

This is the third major downsize  for CBC since 2009, Laurin said, adding up to more than 2,000 lost jobs in the past five years.

All in all the cuts make for a less-informed public and a weaker watchdog, he added.

Addressing CBC staff Lacroix said CBC and Radio-Canada would no longer compete with private broadcasters for professional sports broadcasting rights.

“We will also cover fewer events and fewer sports,” he said. “In addition, our involvement in amateur sports will be reduced. We will only broadcast events that allow us to break even.”

The company will however commit to signature events such as the Olympics, but they will “approach these events in new ways.”

Planned expansion into London, Ontario was also cancelled.

Ian Morrison, spokesperson with the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, said it’s all part of the federal government’s plan to bleed out the CBC.

“(Prime Minister Stephen) Harper knows public broadcasting is popular in this country, so instead of coming along and cutting the CBC’s aorta, it kind of gets an attack by a thousand cuts,” he said.

According to his calculations, it costs 9 cents per Canadian per day to subsidize CBC, an investment well worth it, in his opinion.

“If you go to Starbucks and take a good sip of your coffee that sip costs you more than subsidizing CBC,” he said.

© Metro News