Reports on exec spending “distorted attacks”, says CBC chairman

The CBC has responded to reports about its executive spending by saying that it is the victim of “distorted attacks” by Quebecor Inc., a media competitor.

Heritage Minister James Moore recently wrote a letter to CBC executives asking them to curb spending habits in light of the recent economic crisis. The letter came after a Sun Media news report used Access to Information documents to detail the expense spending of Sylvain Lafrance, executive vice-president for French services at the CBC.

Tim Casgrain, chairman of the board at CBC responded with his own letter to the minister. He wrote:

“We accept that as a public broadcaster, we are vulnerable to our competitors using our accountability against us in a way that distorts our actual behaviour..

…That openness also leaves the corporation vulnerable to distorted attacks by our media competitors, notably the recent spate of articles in The Sun (Media chain) and Le Journal de Montreal, owned by Quebecor Inc., our most important competitor in the Quebec market where its subsidiary TVA is the largest conventional television network.”

The CBC was brought under the Access to Information (ATI) law in 2006 under the Federal Accountability Act, which aims to ensure government agencies and Crown corporations spend money prudently.

Casgrain said the CBC has received 150 ATI requests this year, significantly more than all other Crown corporations.