MASSE CALLS ON MINISTER OF HERITAGE TO TAKE NECESSARY STEPS TO SAVE CBC: NDP Demands Answers on Failure of Government to Aid CBC

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MARCH 26, 2009

MASSE CALLS ON MINISTER OF HERITAGE TO TAKE NECESSARY STEPS TO SAVE CBC: NDP Demands Answers on Failure of Government to Aid CBC

OTTAWA, ON – Brian Masse (NDP – Windsor West) wrote the Minister of Heritage and Official Languages today to demand that he reconsider his decision to not help the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) in their plea for bridge funding to help them weather the economic storm and save hundreds of workers from job loss.

“Minister Moore has completely ignored the request of the CBC for bridge financing which would have saved 800 jobs with more jobs to be cut in the future. In these difficult times, the government has the responsibility to protect Canadian workers and public institutions from losing their jobs and livelihoods. Our local broadcast programming is disappearing at an alarming rate and we cannot just sit idly by and let this happen,” stated Masse.

“Our community needs local programming more than ever and this is just one more step in the wrong direction, one more attack on our public institutions, and another lost chance to save jobs when so many Canadians – especially Windsorites – are in need of employment,” said Joe Comartin MP (Windsor-Tecumseh).

In response to NDP Heritage Critic Charlie Angus MP’s (Timmons-James Bay) repeated requests that the Minister respect the House of Commons Heritage Committee’s 2008 Report on the CBC mandate, the Minister’s blatant indifference to the future of the public broadcaster, and the announced loss of Windsor’s French-language programming and jobs, Masse called on the Minister to respect the recommendations Committee’s report which requested that the Minister: develop a plan for the long-term viability of the CBC and immediately get the CBC’s request for bridge financing approved. (A copy of the letter is attached).

Angus said yesterday, “The Minister has a chance to save 800 jobs, defend programming, and defend the publicly financed assets of the CBC, at no overall cost to the taxpayer. Instead he has let his party’s anti-CBC ideological roots prevail by forcing our cherished public broadcaster eat itself alive.”

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March 26, 2009

Honourable James Moore
Minister of Canadian Heritage & Official Languages
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Moore,

I am writing today to request that you give urgent attention to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s request for financial aid in these difficult economic times. In light of the 800 job cuts announced yesterday by the public broadcaster, it is imperative that you take stop ignoring their pleas for bridge financing, and take the necessary steps to develop a viable strategy for the CBC’s future success.

My colleague and NDP Heritage Critic, Charlie Angus MP, has called for you to make appropriate reforms at the CBC allowing them to mitigate years of budget crisis like the one we are facing; including a 7 to 10-year mandate with predetermined funding levels and performance objectives – all as recommended by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage recommended in their report on the CBC mandate last February 2008.

My own community of Windsor, Ontario, is facing severe cuts to our CBC programming with the loss of our French TV and radio programming, and possible further cuts to be announced regarding our English language programming. Compounded with the loss of our A-Channel news announced for this upcoming August 2009, Windsorites will have very few options for obtaining their Canadian news and will have to rely on the American Programming we receive from neighbouring Detroit, Michigan, as an alternative for receiving local news and weather. This is unacceptable.

Canadians need to have local news outlets in both official languages and the CBC has delivered reliable and Canadian and local news to our community, in both official languages, for many years. I am urging you to take immediate action by approving the CBC request for bridge financing, following the recommendations of the Heritage Committee on their 2008 report on the CBC, and delivering to Canadians the news and services that they rely on and should not have to go without.

I thank you in advance for your immediate attention to this letter. I look forward to your positive response.

Yours truly,

Brian Masse M.P.
Windsor West

CC: Charlie Angus MP – NDP Heritage Critic
John Rafferty MP – NDP Deputy Heritage Critic
Joe Comartin MP (Windsor Tecumseh)