Liberal Heritage critic Scott Simms has slammed cuts to the CBC introduced in the budget delivered by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty last week, which knocked the public broadcaster’s budget down by $115 million for the coming fiscal year. CBC has announced plans to shed 650 jobs over three years, with 475 coming this year.
“When we add up the reduction to our appropriation, unavoidable cost increases, and the investments that CBC/Radio-Canada needs to make to ensure its continued transformation into a modern public broadcaster, we actually face financial pressures amounting to $200 million over the next three years,” Hubert T. Lacroix, president and CEO of CBC, said in a statement.
Simms was sharply critical of the cuts. “These Conservative cuts will kill plans for new Canadian programming and will force the CBC off the air in many communities. The effects will be felt most acutely in our rural, minority language, and Aboriginal communities where CBC is the only source of broadcast programming,” he said.
CBC will try to make up some of the lost revenue by adding advertising to its two national music radio networks, CBC Radio 2 and Espace musique. The broadcaster will also sell some of its buildings and rent cheaper space, shrinking its total office space by 800,000 square feet by 2017.