CBC fades to black during lockout. Express your views.
UPDATE: The CBC lockout has concluded!
October 9, 2005 - Canadian Press: CBC employees accept tentative deal officially ending labour dispute
CBC employees accept new collective agreement, officially ending lockout; but programming may take days or weeks to return to normal.
Other news coverage is available in the Media Monitor portion of FRIENDS' website.
View FRIENDS' comments on the CBC lockout here: October 4, 2005
- News Release: Make the CBC President Accountable
FRIENDS calls for reform of patronage process used to appoint CBC president, additional funding for CBC local and regional programming.
October 4, 2005 - Speech: Notes for Remarks by Ian Morrison to the Calgary Rotary Club, Fairmont Palliser Hotel, Calgary
FRIENDS spokesperson addresses need for CBC governance reform, increased funding of local and regional programming in aftermath of CBC lockout.
Below is an archived record of initiatives undertaken by FRIENDS and FRIENDS' public statements during the period of the lockout.
Campaign: End the CBC Lockout!
The CBC lockout must end. Click here to send a message to CBC president Robert Rabinovitch right now. [NOTE: This campaign has now concluded]
Since CBC locked out its employees on Monday, August 15th, television, radio and web services have been cancelled and replaced by repeat and distant programs, leaving many listeners and viewers feeling isolated and cut off from their community and country.
Many have written to express their views and to ask what they can do to bring CBC back.
FRIENDS encourages you to make your views know to both sides in the dispute – CBC President Robert Rabinovitch and Canadian Media Guild President Lise Lareau. We also suggest that copies be sent to Prime Minister Martin, as his government has continued the pattern of neglecting CBC viewers and listeners.
Contact information for each is as follows:
Mr. Robert Rabinovitch
Canadian Media Guild
Right Honourable Paul Martin, PC
Prime Minister of Canada
The lockout has turned CBC into a "Toronto Broadcasting Corporation". FRIENDS has not taken a position between the union and management sides. We speak from the point of view of listeners and viewers. In public statements, we have called on both parties to put the public interest first. In a long service interruption, the CBC, its employees, and its audience all lose. The parties should compromise in the national interest.
FRIENDS has been quoted extensively in the media about the lockout. Here is a selection of media reports on the issue:
October 2, 2005 - Toronto Star: Polls consistently report that Canadians trust CBC above other broadcasters, says Ian Morrison
FRIENDS spokesperson writes that based on poll results, Canadians consistently trust CBC more than other broadcasters, and want it funded properly.
October 2, 2005 - Toronto Star: The price of our ambivalence by Douglas Bell
Not increasing CBC's funding will be politically expedient so long as there are polls to suggest vocal CBC supporters are in the minority.
October 1, 2005 - Ottawa Citizen: Rabinovitch feels the heat of CBC lockout by Chris Cobb
CBC president given rough ride by MPs, ministers, CBC board of directors over lockout; FRIENDS says president is wearing the lockout decision personally, expects he will have less freedom over remainder of his two-year term.
September 23, 2005 - Canadian Press: Minister to meet with both sides in CBC dispute
CBC management, union to attend meeting with federal Minister of Labour to discuss lockout; FRIENDS views meeting as positive development that will focus more public attention on CBC president.
September 22, 2005 - NowToronto.com: CBC damage done by Andrew Cash
Private broadcasters benefit from CBC lockout, reflected in minimal news coverage of lockout on private networks; FRIENDS understands that savings from CBC lockout may be sufficient to offset revenues lost during NHL lockout.
September 21, 2005 - CBCUnlocked.com: Lockout economics: Is there a link between the CBC's labour dispute and the hockey season that wasn't? by CBCUnlocked
FRIENDS calls theory that savings from CBC lockout are being used to offset losses resulting from NHL lockout "plausible".
September 21, 2005 - Canadian Press: U.S. frontier saga replaces Trudeau miniseries by John McKay
Famous Canadians deliver single message at Massey Hall event in support of public broadcasting: "Bring back the CBC".
September 21, 2005 - Globe & Mail: CBC board backs management by Peter Rakobowchuk
CBC Board of Directors announces support for management decision to lock out workers; FRIENDS says next step is for Parliament to become involved.
September 21, 2005 - Official Programme: End the CBC Lockout - An Evening in Support of Public Broadcasting
Text of the official programme of a Toronto concert organized by FRIENDS, ACTRA and others to rally support for public broadcasting and call for an end to the CBC lockout.
September 21, 2005 - Globe & Mail: Free Toronto concert in support of CBC workers
FRIENDS co-sponsors evening in support of public broadcasting, Wednesday, September 21, 8 p.m., at Massey Hall in Toronto.
September 19, 2005 - FRIENDS Letter to CBC Board requesting meeting to discuss CBC Lockout
FRIENDS writes to CBC Board to request meeting on CBC lockout, forwards policy suggestion that Board overturn management decision to lock out employees; Acting Chair of CBC Board, who is also CBC President and CEO, denies request; proposed Chair comments on Board decision to support management.
September 19, 2005 - Globe & Mail: Letter to the Editor: Public suffering in CBC lockout by Frank Peers
FRIENDS advisory council member calls on CBC board to reverse management decision to lock out employees.
September 16, 2005 - Broadcaster Magazine: CBC Lockout in Second Month; Talks Continue, Support Concert Planned
FRIENDS co-sponsors event to support public broadcasting, September 21, 8 p.m. at Massey Hall in Toronto.
September 9, 2005 - Toronto Star: New CBC chairman lifts hopes in worker lock-out by Sean Gordon
FRIENDS says the fact CBC's president is not accountable to its board means the appointment of a new chairperson is unlikely to bring an end to the current labour dispute.
August 29, 2005 - Canadian Press: Canadians shrugging off CBC lockout: poll
FRIENDS believes CBC management chose late summer lockout date to ensure the least public reaction.
August 29, 2005 - Playback: Is CBC profiting from lockout? by Sean Davidson
FRIENDS notes that CBC television viewers typically switch to other channels when CBC goes off the air, and are slow to return.
August 24, 2005 - Globe & Mail: 'Don't you guys realize what's at stake?' by Knowlton Nash
Knowlton Nash notes both management and unions to blame for CBC lockout, but real cause is political leaders who lack a deep commitment to public broadcasting.
August 22, 2005 - Montreal Gazette: What of the CBC? by Chris Cobb
Former CBC anchor Knowlton Nash, former Heritage Committee Chair and Our Cultural Sovereignty author Clifford Lincoln lament impact of lockout on CBC's future.
August 18, 2005 - Globe & Mail: Locked-out CBC throws bone to advertisers by Keith McArthur
FRIENDS says CBC management decision to deliver CBC newscasts to Air Canada, but rebroadcast BBC news on air, shows where priorities lie.
August 17, 2005 - Globe & Mail: With lockout, depleted CBC struggling to stay timely by Gayle MacDonald and Guy Dixon
FRIENDS calls CBC lockout programming crude and unimaginative; viewers and listeners in remote areas say they feel cut off from the rest of the country.
August 16, 2005 - Canadian Press: No news is bad news for lockout CBC by John McKay
FRIENDS blames both management and union for CBC lockout, notes negative consequences of successful Canadian Media Guild efforts in 2004 to amalgamate both technicians and journalists into the same bargaining unit.
August 15, 2005 - CTV News: Scaled down service for CBC in wake of a strike by Scott Laurie
FRIENDS says the people of Canada, CBC's shareholders, will unfairly suffer from CBC lockout.
August 13, 2005 - Globe & Mail: Repeats galore and no Peter by Guy Dixon
FRIENDS expects the quality of CBC news and other programming to deteriorate badly in the event of a lockout; lost viewers and listeners may be hard to win back.
What the CBC lockout means to you
Here is a selection of excerpts from the several articulate and poignant messages FRIENDS has received about the disappearance of CBC services due to the lockout. We will continue to post selected comments from messages we receive.
- “I am extremely concerned about the current lock out of CBC employees. I live in the Northwest Territories where CBC is my primary source of daily local news and information. It is in remote regions that CBC has the most impact. We have been without the CBC for less than 3 days and I'm already feeling cut off from the rest of the north and the rest of the country.”
- “I am trying to finish my dissertation and rely on CBC radio's regional news updates to feel at least a little connected to my community as I sit all alone in front of my computer and today has been difficult. If this is a long lockout I am not sure what I will do.”
- “...CBC is more than a broadcasting network. It is part of the glue that holds our country together. The programming is not necessarily better than that offered by other networks but it is distinct and offers a programming schedule that private broadcasters simply would not support....The CBC brings to Canadian journalism a unique perspective that is important to our national character. I would hope that the government did not appoint Mr. Rabinovitch with the aim to 'create such a crisis' so as to undermine the public broadcaster.”
- "....Whenever a new controversy brings the status of the CBC back to the
forefront, there are always those who complain nationalized media has become irrelevant and too expensive. These voices always proclaim how little they use CBC, how poor the programming is, and again, how dearly all this "third-rate" broadcasting hits the taxpayers' wallet. This always frustrates me, because the existence of national media is not just about personal experience, not just about the audience. Even if I don't religiously watch or listen to anything on CBC, this does not mean I find it worthless, useless, or unimportant....Consider the significance of my opinions, given my membership in the famously desirable 18-35 year old demographic. A visit to cbckeydemo.blogspot.com will demonstrate how many of my fellow constituents likewise believe in the importance of the CBC...."
- "Opponents to public financing of the CBC should look south for a sobering realization. American television coverage of the New Orleans disaster has exposed a critical failure of an essential service to the public....[T]he complete collapse of a reliable channel between the authorities and the public is shocking. Most commercial networks continued to broadcast their regular entertainment schedule and those like CNN that devoted time to the “story” were very short of hard information. It shouldn’t be up to “Larry King Live” or reporters who are not trained in crisis management to provide facts that determine what actions people can or should take. A public network is crucial during an emergency and people must be able to rely on the veracity of the information. That is just one of the purposes of the CBC and we are in peril if we forget it."
- "...This is likely doing substantial damage to the CBC - moreover the goal of increasing the use of temporary contract employees is unjustified....I do not think that the public sector (including Crown Corporations) should be pursuing these sorts of employment policies. I would question the benefits of contract employment, particularly in an industry such as broadcasting, where considerable skill and experience are required to put together programs for broadcast....I have worked in the public sector for over 20 years and the use of contract employees has rarely been to meet the needs for flexibility but primarily to reduce costs. In fact most contract employees ended up working for years under contract in the same positions..."
- "I am deeply concerned about the CBC lock-out (and continual cuts during the 1990s) which I think underscore the more significant erosion and/or loss of many civil society voices in Canada during the 1990s....Whether you watch or listen to CBC is irrelevant. Without the CBC, many stories and issues would never surface (or be reported by private broadcasters or the print media ) - and neither would Canadian culture. Despite new challenges and costs related to new technologies and formats...CBC receives less public dollars than it did in 1990...."
- "...As someone who has often been contacted by the media for background information or comment on a wide range of issues over the past 15 years as well as someone who has pitched stories to the media, I can attest to the fact that while a small amount of contracting has merit, over-reliance on contracted short term workers and the accompanying lack of local knowledge or background (and often motivation) can have a profound effect on the quality and scope of programming and news coverage. The lack of money or commitment by the CBC Board for regional programming and production in recent years has also limited the role of the CBC in interpreting and sharing the stories and experiences of Canadians from coast to coast. This has been a source of frustration in Alberta - as well as other smaller regions of Canada. The lack of funds regionally has also resulted in far less coverage of important stories outside major centres even within Alberta due to lack of travel time or budgets...."
- "....An independent public broadcaster is one of the linchpins in a civil society. It's not just another entertainment choice. Indeed, I believe one of the greatest challenges facing Canada today is the loss of many of the important civil society voices over the past decade: civil liberties, public interest, human rights, consumers and a watchful fifth estate. Indeed, Canada is now a poor or underdeveloped country in this area...."
- "...I was shocked to learn that all but two of the CBC Board of Directors were appointed in 2005 - and one of these is due to retire this month! How could any board function with any shred of continuity or responsible commitment to their 'shareholders' by such a novice Board?....I intend to write to those responsible in the Parliament of Canada -- and merely 'copy' Mr. Rabinovitch. I have, on at least 2 occasions, written Mr. Rabinovitch -- and have personally contacted his office -- all with no response! Over the past decades, the CBC has been underfunded, maimed and watered down that its original mandate is barely recognizable. Even its flag-ship programs are using Fraser Institute representatives as 'experts'. Sadly, I am finding very little difference between the CBC and the corporate-owned media on the major issues of the day...."
Statements to FRIENDS supporters by members of the CBC Board of Directors
Thanks for your note about the CBC lockout.
The Board very much shares your concern about getting the CBC back on air and, having encouraged both union and management representatives to resume negotiations, we are pleased to see that they are back at the table. While the issues are complicated, I'm confident that the two sides can work together to craft a new agreement.
I want to thank you again for writing. Everyone on the Board fervently shares your desire that the CBC remain a vibrant and relevant part of Canadian society. We hope that the two sides can work through the issues at the bargaining table, and that we get our CBC radio and television services back as soon as possible.
Peter A. Herrndorf
Director, CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors
Thanks for writing about the CBC lockout. I'm happy to tell you that negotiations are going on but progress is slow. The issues are complex. I believe that the best solution is for union leaders and management to craft a contract that each side believes in and can live with for many years. To do that, both sides, both sides will have to (as Mayor Miller put it about another negotiation) find ways to say "yes" to each other.
Although it is not appropriate for me as an individual member of the Board to give my own opinions on the negotiations, I can, I think, mention some facts. Contract employees have limited job security at the CBC. But these employees are union members and have union protection. They are paid at union rates (or more...you may have read in the paper that contract sports announcer Chris Cuthburt made $300,000 per year). Long term contract employees either have benefits or are paid an amount in lieu of benefits. You will, of course, still have your own opinions as to whether contract employment is a good thing or a bad thing, but I thought you might be interested in some further information.
Sincerely, Trina McQueen