Letter to the Editor of the Calgary Herald

November 3, 2011

Re: "CBC plays starring role in enjoying double standard," October 28, 2011

We would respectfully submit that columnist Susan Martinuk has erred in her recent column about CBC/Radio-Canada (“CBC plays starring role in enjoying double standards,” Oct. 28).

In fact, audiences for CBC News:The National have increased significantly. Its viewership on CBC Television is up eight percent over last season, while its audience on CBC News Network, Canada’s premier all-news channel, is up about 30 percent. Including all platforms, The National's audience is usually about a million viewers nightly; comparable to the 11pm broadcasts of other networks.

Second, CBC has not “begged for more money” while in front of a recent Parliamentary committee. In fact, we have said repeatedly that our strategic plan, Everyone, Every Way, which commits us to more Canadian programming, more local service and an expanded digital platform, will be accomplished within our existing financial framework.

Third, we are not “deliberately denying access of information (sic) requests in an effort to keep (our) financial expenditures private.” We are both accountable and transparent with our finances. We issue detailed public reports, annually and quarterly. We are subject to regular and special audits by the Auditor General. We publish our executives’ expenses and our website contains more than 27,000 pages of information proactively released under Access to Information (available to the public here) along with our guidelines for release and an independent legal opinion to verify the soundness of our approach. We have made significant gains at reducing the large backlog of ATI requests received since 2007, many of which our competitor Quebecor has admitted filing. We are clarifying in the appropriate venue, the Federal Court of Appeal, who should have access to documents defined by Section 68.1, which excludes information related to our journalism, programming and creative activities.

While Quebecor may have an agenda when it comes to CBC/Radio-Canada, it is important that their claims are placed in relevant context for Calgary Herald readers.

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