OTTAWA – The NDP welcomes the recognition of the power of investigation of the Official Languages Commissioner from CBC/Radio-Canada in a judgment rendered by the Federal Court in the case of Official Languages Commissioner and Amellal c. CBC/Radio-Canada.
“CBC/Radio-Canada challenged certain concerns related to programming, arguing that the CRTC had the exclusive jurisdiction in the matter,” explained the NDP Official Languages Critic, Yvon Godin (Acadie-Bathurst), “the CBC/Radio-Canada had refused to cooperate in investigations led by the Commissioner in terms of implementing his recommendations. This position is unacceptable. I hope that the CBC/Radio-Canada will accept the decision of the Court”.
The Court held that there was no conflict between the Official Languages Act and the Broadcasting Act and recognized the Commissioner’s investigative powers with regard to CBC/Radio-Canada, which includes its national and regional programming.
By way of background, the Commissioner’s case originated after his office received some 876 complaints from Francophone residents in Windsor, ON, in 2010. The complaints outlined the residents’ discontent with the loss of French radio programming in the region, since cuts to the CBEF station began in 1996.
“We are pleased with Justice Martineau’s ruling on this case. We trust that CBC/Radio Canada recognizes that budgetary constraints are not a justifiable means for the erosion of minority language rights, particularly in our community where the American media market remains prevalent. As with Mr. Godin, it is our hope that CBC/Radio Canada will not appeal this decision to the Federal Court of Appeal and instead respect this ruling,” said MPs Joe Comartin (Windsor-Tecumseh) and Brian Masse (Windsor-West).