2012 04 11
Programming and news severely affected by Conservative cuts to CBC

OTTAWA — NDP Heritage Critic Tyrone Benskin says it’s appalling that information and programming at CBC and Radio Canada are footing the bill for Conservative government cuts to the public broadcaster’s budget.

CBC/SRC management revealed the actual impacts of cuts on the public broadcaster, which will stop the production of several programs and slash its news service. “We already knew that 650 people would lose their jobs, but the more we learn about the $115 million cut from CBC, the more disastrous it is,” said Benskin. “The devil is in the details.” 

CBC News will see the elimination of bureaus in Africa, South America and Los Angeles. “It’s like we are turning our attention away from these important parts of the world,” said Benskin. “Foreign bureaus are what distinguish news from CBC from other outlets. Their closure does not bode well.”

“French services could see cuts of up to ten million dollars to next year’s programming schedule on the main network. On the radio, we’re seeing the end of programs like L’après-midi porte conseil. That’s huge,” said NDP Deputy Heritage Critic, Pierre Nantel. “The expression of Canada’s francophone culture is at stake.”

CBC isn’t the only victim of the Conservative’s austerity budget. The Harper government decided to recklessly cut several Canadian cultural institutions, including the National Film Board ($7M cut), Telefilm Canada ($10M cut), Library and Archives Canada ($10M cut), the National Art Centre ($2M cut), pointing to further surprises in store for Canada’s cultural communities.

“As well as being a creative and dynamic sector, the arts community is an important engine of our economy. The Conservative government should be an ally of the arts, not an enemy. Culture is part of our identity and our history,” added Benskin, who participated this morning in a demonstration in front of the CinéRobothèque, which will close its doors next September.

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