CBC cuts not impacting staff, programming in Charlottetown

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on April 10, 2014

CBC Prince Edward Island, shown here April 10, 2014.

©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

Cuts announced Thursday by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation are not expected to impact staff or programming in Charlottetown.

Funding shortfalls and revenue losses have forced CBC/Radio Canada to cut $130 million from its budget this year, a move that will eliminate 657 jobs over the next two years and take the network out of competing for the rights to broadcast professional sports.

Marc-Philippe Laurin, president of the CBC branch of the Canadian Media Guild, told The Guardian that the Charlottetown station will not be impacted.

"Charlottetown is not, according to what we understand, directly impacted as a local station,'' Laurin said.

The Guardian has learned that 15 positions will be cut in the Maritimes, 13 of those in Halifax but that there will be no changes to any programming in either television or radio, in Charlottetown.

CBC president Hubert Lacroix outlined details for staff at a town hall meeting early Thursday afternoon.

The CBC recently lost the rights to broascast Hockey Night in Canada to Rogers Media.

The public broadcaster is also grappling with a softened ad market and a loss of $115 million in federal government funding that was announced in the 2012 federal budget.

Lacroix indicated that CBC is still committed to events like the Olympics.

Laurin added that programs like Republic of Doyle, Dragons Den, Murdoch Mysteries and Marketplace aren't affected although the way they are delivered might be.

Two-thirds of the impact will be felt in Toronto while the news program Late Night News North has been cancelled.

It was a rough day for employees across the country, with one provincial affairs reporter tweeting "Our newsroom is like a morgue''.

The Guardian attempted to reach Andrew Cochran, managing director of CBC in Atlantic Canada, but was told he was busy speaking with staff most of the day.

Laurin said in the briefing he was given Thursday morning there were going to be no cuts in Charlottetown.

"We have not been told that Charlottetown was going to get any hit of any kind,'' Laurin said.

Carmel Smyth, president of the Canadian Media Guild, said she is furious over the constant cutting, calling it short-sighted.

"If we don't stand up and fund the CBC better then next year it will be Charlottetown (that gets hit),'' Smyth said.