How will budget cuts affect the CBC?
The cutbacks have come at the behest of the newly elected Progressive Conservative government, which is keen to tighten its belt. In an announcement over closed-circuit television, CBC president Pierre Juneau told employees radio and TV programming would be cut by $15.5 million and capital expenditures will fall by $13 million. Some regional jobs will be cut, but workers in Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto will be most affected.
• At the time of the cuts there were about 12,000 CBC employees.
• There were further rounds of budget cutbacks at CBC in 1989 and the early 1990s.
• According to Knowlton Nash's book The Microphone Wars, the 1984 cuts to CBC were "proportionately far heavier than to other areas of government spending." There was "prolonged, loud cheering" in the House of Commons when the cuts were announced.
• CBC President Pierre Juneau described the decision as "a catastrophe." But, he felt, "there was no way we would win with public opinion at that stage…we wouldn't really protest against the cuts."
• A Toronto Star editorial on Dec. 13, 1984, echoed this clip's first caller to Radio Noon. "[Prime Minister] Brian Mulroney campaigned… saying his first priority would be to create new jobs for Canadians. Yet now, without having created a single identifiable new job, he's throwing at least 750 Canadians out of work by chopping the CBC's budget." The editorial concluded: "Who gains? Not the CBC…and certainly Canadians won't."
• On its editorial page the same day, the Globe and Mail said: "All right: the CBC had to share the general financial pain… but [Communications Minister Marcel] Masse should lay off the CBC before they chew off so much bark that the trunk withers and dies… There are many ways to kill an independent voice of national interest, and whittling away its funding is only one of them."
Program: Radio Noon
Broadcast Date: Dec. 12, 1984
Guest(s): Kel Lack, Margaret Lyons
Host: David Schatzky
Last updated: April 12, 2012
Page consulted on August 22, 2012
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