Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CBC Execs invited to House Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting, May 1 2008

Apparently there will be a meeting of the House Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Thursday, May 1 2008. The meeting will take place as follows:

Thursday, May 1, 2008
3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m
Room 237-C, Centre Block
Ottawa, ON

The topic of the meeting is “Study of plans and priorities of CBC Radio/Canada”. As I do not follow the workings of Parliament on a regular basis, your guess is as good as mine as to what this is all about.

The witnesses scheduled for this meeting are:

Mr. Hubert Lacroix, President and Chief Executive Officer

Mr. Sylvain Lafrance, Executive Vice-President, French Services

Mr. Richard Stursberg, Executive Vice-President, English Services

This would be an opportune time for the House Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to exercise their mandate and ask these executives: just what the hell do they think they’re doing over there at CBC Radio? Trying to drive it into the ground? Develop radio programs that only the terminally bored would find interesting? Find quicker and more efficient means of wasting taxpayers money? But questions such as this, coming from the heart, would be rude. So more diplomatic questioning should be the order of the day.

So, I suggest that you write to the members of the House Standing Committee with some suggestions of questions that they ask the witnesses. Questions such as:

Q: Could you please tell the committee, Mr. Lacroix, who you believe are the owners of the CBC?

Q: As a follow-up question, Mr. Lacroix, could you please tell the committee how you ensure that your operation of the CBC continues to reflect the wishes of the owners, who happen also to be the taxpayers of Canada?

Q: Could you please tell the committee, Mr. Stursberg, what is your vision for CBC Radio Two? And how do you intend to implement that vision?

Q: As a follow-up question, Mr. Stursberg, could you please tell the committee how you intend to measure the success your implementation of your vision for CBC Radio Two? Is it measured by market share? If so, do you have a target market share for each Canadian city? Could you please tell us what that target market share is, for each Canadian city? If it is not market share, then what do you feel is the appropriate measure of success?

Q: Mr. Stursberg, could you also please tell the committee what steps you have taken in the past year to solicit listener feedback on your proposed programming changes prior to their implementation and, after the implementation of those changes, how you have measured listener satisfaction?

Q: Mr. Stursberg, assuming that you have in fact attempted to solicit listener feedback on the recent programming changes and that the feedback has been positive, could you please tell the committee why you believe so many listeners are outraged over the programming changes, to the extent that they are protesting in the streets?

Q: As a follow-up question, Mr. Stursberg, could you please tell the committee why you do not believe that protests in the street by senior citizens, middle-aged individuals and students does not reflect badly on the current government, and why Canadians should not vote against the Conservative candidates in their ridings in the next election since the evisceration of CBC Radio Two has occurred under the current Conservative minority government? (Of course, this question would be best asked by a member of the New Democratic Party or the Liberal party.)

Well, I could go on like this, but space (and my time, and your time) is limited. So I’ll leave it to all of you to think of other interesting questions that the House Standing Committee can ask the witnesses on May 1, 2008 and to send them to the members, who are:

Bill Siksay, NDP culture critic Siksay.B@parl.gc.ca
Denis Coderre, Liberal Heritage Critic Coderre.D@parl.gc.ca
John Godfrey, Liberal Godfrey.J@parl.gc.ca
Olivia Chow, NDP MP sympathetic to the cause Chow.O@parl.gc.ca
Jim Abbott, Parliamentary Secretary for Heritage Abbott.J@parl.gc.ca
Josee Verner, Minister of Heritage Verner.J@parl.gc.ca
Gary Schellenberger, Chair Schellenberger.G@parl.gc.ca Conservative
Maria Mourani, Vice chair Mourani.M@parl.gc.ca Bloc
Andy Scott Vice Chair Scott.A@parl.gc.ca Liberal
Michael D. Chong Chong.M@parl.gc.ca Conservative
Dean Del Mastro DelMastro.D@parl.gc.ca Conservative
Ed Fast Fast.E@parl.gc.ca Conservative
Hedy Fry Fry.H@parl.gc.ca Liberal
Luc Malo Malo.L@parl.gc.ca Bloc
Francis Scarpaleggia Scarpaleggia.F@parl.gc.ca Liberal

(I shamelessly copied this list from the Stand on Guard for CBC web site. Any errors or omissions are, of course, their fault.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

All good questions. It is unfortunate that by at least feeling it needs to maintain a somewhat bloated budget, CBC has decided to try to rationalize its service based on those budgets, rather than maintaning its identity as a "public" broadcaster and accepting the appropriate budget allocation to sustain "that". The result is a "public" broadcaster that trumpets the fact it's beating private sector broadcasters in the ratings wars in various Canadian markets, using their own money to do so. Now there's a strategy! A friend of mine who is an astute thinker looks at CBC's triumphant media releases proclaiming their ratings victories and says dryly: "It is the purest evidence yet of CBC's abject failure of mandate and purpose". There are however, other Canadian sources of classical music - one of them being CKUA Radio Network in Alberta (www.ckua.com )As Canada's first public broadcaster, (founded in 1927) CKUA devotes more than 15 hours per week to professionally produced and very high quality classical music programming. Unlike CBC perhaps, CKUA "is" responsive to its audience, because it derives two-thirds of its revenue directly from
"voluntary" listener donations.