Speaking Notes for Timothy W. Casgrain, Chair of the Board of Directors, at the 2010 CBC/Radio-Canada Annual Public Meeting

October 20, 2010

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Good morning. To all of you who have joined us here in Ottawa today, and to the many more attending via webcast and following us on Twitter, welcome to CBC/Radio-Canada’s second annual public meeting. It is a pleasure to be here.

As Chair of the Board of Directors, it is my great honour to speak to you today on behalf of the Board and all the people at CBC/Radio-Canada.

I would like to begin this morning by introducing the 10 members of the Board whom I am here to represent.

This year, in keeping with the times and with the spirit of our “virtual” meeting, we have asked our members to join us via webcast instead of travelling to Ottawa. Our Board members, from East to West, are:

  • Edna Turpin, from St. John’s;
  • George Cooper, from Halifax;
  • Brian Mitchell, from Montreal;
  • Rémi Racine, from Montreal;
  • Peter Charbonneau, from Ottawa;
  • Edward Boyd, from Toronto;
  • Linda Black, from Calgary;
  • Patricia McIver, from Vancouver; and,
  • John Young, from Prince George.
  • Last, but not least, CBC/Radio-Canada’s President and CEO, Hubert T. Lacroix, from Montreal, here with us in Ottawa to address you in just a few minutes.

The Board is responsible for governing the Corporation and holding it accountable to the people of Canada. That means reviewing and approving senior management’s strategic plan, business plans and budgets, the financial statements and the annual report. Our role is one of oversight. More specifically, according to a corporate governance specialist, it is one of “nose in, fingers out.”

Fiscal 2009-2010 was a very difficult year. The overarching theme was a very weak economy that dried up the advertising dollars the Corporation depends on to deliver its services. We also watched the continued development of new technologies transform the way we serve Canadians. And we had to keep our eye on the Canadian media industry as it continued to change at breakneck speed.

The Board of Directors played a key role in seeing CBC/Radio-Canada through this very difficult period. We successfully overcame many challenges and managed to come out of the year stronger, more focused and more financially sound than we were at the outset.

The Board, together with the Senior Executive Team, is now focused on helping to shape the future of the Corporation. The future well-being and success of Canada’s public broadcaster depends on the plans and decisions that we make today.

The Corporation is now in the midst of developing a new five-year strategic plan that Hubert will outline shortly.

Ultimately, CBC/Radio-Canada is about delivering content. In that respect, the Board has been pleased to see the strong endorsement of CBC/Radio-Canada’s programming by Canadians. Audience numbers confirm that we are providing our audiences with content that they want on the platforms of their choice. The numbers do not lie. Canadians believe that their national public broadcaster plays a unique and essential role in the social and cultural life of Canada.

Before I make way for CBC/Radio-Canada’s President and CEO, I would like to express gratitude to my colleagues for their valuable contributions and for their enduring commitment to the national public broadcaster. I would also like to thank employees for staying true to the Corporation’s mission of delivering great content during what was a particularly tough year.

Lastly, I would like to thank Canadians for their continuing and encouraging support of CBC/Radio-Canada. The Corporation exists to serve you, to tell your stories and to make sure that you have a place in the media landscape that you can proudly call your own. It is very encouraging to know that our services continue to touch and help shape the lives of Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

And now it is my great pleasure to introduce CBC/Radio-Canada’s President and CEO, Hubert T. Lacroix.

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