Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hands off CBC, Mr. Harper

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CBC can broadcast what it wants, but Ottawa wants more control over collective bargaining.

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CBC can broadcast what it wants, but Ottawa wants more control over collective bargaining.

The Harper government's flagrant efforts to control the CBC/Radio Canada through quick passage of Bill C60, the federal government's budget bill, is appalling. Buried in the 111-page document is a clause that would give the prime minister and his cabinet the power to dictate collective bargaining and terms for salaries and working conditions at the CBC and three other cultural or scientific Crown corporations.

The CBC's budget was cut by $115 million in 2012, a trend during the last few years that has led to the loss of 1,450 jobs. CBC/Radio Canada also notes: "Salary increases at the corporation have averaged 1.9 per cent over the past seven years. Salaries in the private sector have increased an average of three per cent over the same period."

Just two months ago, the auditor general confirmed in a special examination that CBC/Radio-Canada manages its assets efficiently and economically. That's more than the Harper government can say with its inability to account for the missing $3.1 billion in public safety and anti-terrorism funding.

CBC/Radio Canada is already accountable to Canadian taxpayers. There is no need for the federal government's proposal to change the collective-bargaining process for Crown Corporations and CBC/Radio Canada in particular. The one thing our prime minister is transparent about is his muzzling or dismantling of organizations/corporations that may not share his ideology. Shame!

Gerri Thorsteinson

Winnipeg

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 8, 2013 A9

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