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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

CBC to make major job cuts today

Seeing people lose their jobs is always awful. But there is a bright light at the end of the "serious" cuts at the CBC tunnel -- a slightly greater possibility that our government-provided news and other entertainment will finally, finally be cut loose from government altogether.

This afternoon, CBC types will get together for a town hall, and will announce major layoffs. That's according to Prince Edward Island's The Guardian. Up to 1,200 employees may see their jobs go the way of auto sector jobs:

Brendan Elliott, president of the Canadian Media Guild’s Prince Edward Island local, describes the impending layoff as a “disaster.”

“There is no question we’re looking at a major reduction in the workforce,” said Elliott, who is also a political reporter for CBC Radio in Charlottetown.

“It’s going to be serious. Instead of cutting off fingers, we’re cutting off arms. This is a serious cut coming.”

I want to be clear; it's bad news that these people are going to lose their jobs. What's good news is that these folks can move from being civil service entertainers and journalists, to full-fledged, honest-to-goodness entertainers and journalists. What's good news is that maybe, just maybe, this portends of a step away from a ridiculous model of news delivery where the primary funder of the news is the government.

Posted by P.M. Jaworski on March 25, 2009 in Media | Permalink


CBC employees are not civil servants. This is why good journalism is necessary.

Posted by: Barry | 2009-03-25 10:17:07 AM

"Up to 1,200" is not major. They all must go, every single one of them.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-03-25 11:11:49 AM

There used to be "safe" jobs in Canada, civil servant, undertaker, farmer. I noticed that began to change around 25 years ago. If there's a safe job anymore, I'd like to see it.

Posted by: dp | 2009-03-25 11:33:13 AM

Anyone who is paid by the government is a civil servant in my books.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-03-25 11:34:49 AM


Everyone in Canada is paid by the government. DOn't you see how it works? The government, which is the ultimate owner of everything in Canada, merely allows some of us to keep some of what we earn, rather than taxing it away for the benefit of the greater good. We all work for the government, some more directly than others.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2009-03-25 11:47:33 AM

Good point, Grant.

Let me adjust my earlier comment by saying: Anyone who is directly paid by the government is a civil servant in my books.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2009-03-25 11:52:27 AM

I wonder about the term "civil servant"? It seems to imply service to the public. That would include police, sanitation workers, transit drivers, snowplow operators(except AB), and so on.

Some others collecting government cheques might not fit this category, such as those on social assistance, medical professionals, and agencies that operate on government grants.

CBC employees fit into neither of those categories. They operate on money that's extorted from the government of the day, in exchange for favourable coverage. It has to be stopped, and those who lose their jobs deserve no more sympathy than those who are the victims of poor business decisions.

Posted by: dp | 2009-03-25 11:55:49 AM

That's one way of looking at it, Grant. You might also take the view that government works for corporations, and simply keeps their workforce in good condition.

You could also substitute corporations, with royal families, or criminal organizations, in many cases. In Africa, or South America, it could be warlords, or military groups.

I believe democratically elected governments are low on the list of real power brokers.

Posted by: dp | 2009-03-25 12:05:36 PM

Barry, if CBC employees are on the government payroll, then they are civil servants.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-25 12:14:56 PM

If there is a Canadian flag or other Royal Corporation logo on your paycheque and special headsup if its issued in both English & French- this is your signal that you are indeed a Canadian government employee..

Hooray CBC maybe now we will allow Tim Hortons to advertise on the radio--hourly updates on which batch of donuts is coming out of which Tims location oven ..

Posted by: 419 | 2009-03-25 12:18:03 PM

Suppose Alberta had to secede to protect itself from the fascist Ontarians. Where do CBC employees fit? Are they the media, and protected by international law, or are they spies and can be executed on sight?

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-03-25 12:19:44 PM

Actually, Zeb, I think that a charge of espionage requires, well, espionage. Garden-variety reporters don't make the cut. Maybe in wartime.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-25 2:48:53 PM

Zeb- I'm not sure how long it's been, since you've been to Alberta, but it ain't what it used to be. You have to look long and hard to find a cowboy in Calgary, except during stampede. We're not much different than Ontario was 50 years ago. The decline is already under way.

Posted by: dp | 2009-03-25 5:38:46 PM

The laid off CBC employees will probably be snapped up by the employment insurance dept. They are on a hiring binge to process the hundreds of thousands of new unemployment claims. Good to have a growth industry. No ???.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-03-25 5:51:31 PM

Where do CBC employees fit?
Posted by: Zebulon Punk | 2009-03-25 12:19:44 PM

I'm quite sure Alberta would welcome former CBC personnel that were involved in production. That way Alberta wouldn't have to rely on Hollywood to show what the world what the province is really like. Just think of all the Brokeback Mountain sequels you could make.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-03-25 5:52:18 PM

If 800 CBC employees lose their jobs, will Albertans care? Hell no.

Will Easterners care? Of course, because they revere the CBC so much they're willing to close hospitals to pay for it. Shows their priorities.

Will one of those 800 be Heather Mallick? I hope so.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-03-25 6:24:45 PM

We're not much different than Ontario was 50 years ago. The decline is already under way. - Then we have a 50-year head start on the way to undeclining. At this rate we'll also have the money. If Ontario continues to lose manufacturing jobs the way it is, it'll end up like Newfoundland after the cod stocks collapsed. Only their would-be saviours have a long history of grudges to nurse.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-03-25 7:09:03 PM

The refusal of government to privatise the CBC (English and French) cannot be justified when the same government is claiming economic hard-times. Let the new private owner decide who is worth keeping and who is not.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-03-25 7:49:07 PM

I mentioned on another thread that is puzzles me that liberals and leftist would support a state broadcaster. Do they support Soviet-style, state propaganda programs, or just hate the diversity of ideas generated in the free market?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-03-26 9:43:40 PM

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