CBC lockout drags on

Canadian Media Guild asks government to keep the broadcaster’s public funds in trust

As the CBC’s lockout of 5,500 unionized employees entered its second week, the Canadian Media Guild asked the federal government to withhold the broadcaster’s public funds for as long as the lockout continues.

The guild placed an advertisement in Monday’s edition of Ottawa’s Hill Times questioning whether a Crown corporation that locks out its employees should get its full parliamentary appropriation.

Guild president Lise Lareau said Canadians shouldn’t have to pay for the sub-standard programming available on CBC right now.

Toronto Argonaut president Keith Pelley told the Globe and Mail that the CBC’s Saturday broadcast of the team’s game against the Edmonton Eskimos — with shaky pictures, incoherent sound and no replays — was “horrific.”

Since the lockout began last Monday, the CBC has received about $11 million to run its services outside Quebec. In the ad, the guild claims that the CBC is profiting from the lockout and asks that the government hold the money in trust until unionized workers are back on the job.

At the heart of the dispute is the CBC’s desire to hire more contract workers. Neither side has given any indication as to when contract negotiations will resume.

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