SATURDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — Will the CBC’s pain ever end, or will it quietly bleed out and fade away?
This week, CBC president and CEO Hubert Lacroix announced a five-year plan that will cut between 1,000 and 1,500 more jobs by 2020.
But that’s good news, he said, because it will provide CBC with the stability it needs in order to survive. It’s part of a shift toward a leaner, meaner Mother Corp that will focus on a mobile-device audience.
“You’re going to see us lead with mobility and digital,” Lacroix was reported as saying.
This will sound familiar to anyone who has lived through corporate job cuts clothed in redesigned strategic plans. The common line is that job cuts are good because they preserve the jobs that remain.
It was only in April that the CBC cut 657 jobs. Anyone working for the CBC must surely wonder from day to day whether he or she will have a job by tomorrow.
Maybe Lacroix is right. Maybe the CBC is in need of some serious changes. The many nightly news television shows are valued by news junkies in order to get regional perspectives, but maybe we can’t afford them any more, at least not all of them.
And, maybe we can do with fewer documentaries.
Sure we can. But are these cuts really being driven by a loss of loyalty from the CBC’s traditional audiences, or by the federal government’s determination to reduce funding?
Last year, the feds decided to take away $115 million in funding over three years. The April job cuts were an attempt to cut $130 million this year in order to keep the CBC’s head above water.
If Canadians truly don’t want to pay for the CBC any more, if they’d rather put their tax dollars into other things, OK. But the Harper government has been hitting the CBC particularly hard.
Whether that reflects the wishes of Canadians is very much open to question.