I want all of you to know that this Bill, and its potential direct and indirect consequences on our Corporation, is the most important matter on my desk. I (and many members of our team) have had numerous conversations with government officials on this piece of legislation.
We have clearly stated that legislation which would require us to seek a "negotiating mandate" from Treasury Board Ministers, allow Treasury Board Ministers to "determine the terms and conditions of employment" of journalists, anchors or senior executives, and/or require a Treasury Board employee to attend negotiations, may give rise to conflicts with the Broadcasting Act and the Charter, and compromise our independence. This could potentially embroil the government, CBC/Radio-Canada and its unions in litigation–not necessarily added value to Canadians.
We’ve suggested to officials that an amendment to protect our independence (perhaps something similar to that which already exists in other legislation) could avoid these conflicts.
But I don't, and won't, fight our battles on the front pages of newspapers. I don't see that as being useful in the pursuit of solutions. Might make some feel better (particularly the venting part!) but not conducive to level-headed conversations.
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