Q&A on various topics covered in Alain Saulnier's comments

  1. 1. Was Alain Saulnier fired as a result of political pressure? If not, what were the reasons for his dismissal?

    No, there was no political pressure. Senior executives are frequently replaced when a new vice-president is appointed. This has happened on numerous occasions in the past. In this case, there was an urgent need to transform newsroom production methods.

  2. 2. Alain Saulnier was a free thinker who staunchly defended his department’s independence. Was this what led to his downfall?

    Not at all. French Services News and Current Affairs, particularly its investigative unit, continues to report on potentially controversial topics for the government, just as it did before Alain Saulnier’s departure. Our news teams enjoy the same editorial freedom as before.
  3. 3. CBC/Radio-Canada is governed by a President and Board of Directors almost entirely appointed by the Conservative Party. How can you claim that there’s no political meddling in the news department?

    The Board of Directors and Hubert T. Lacroix do not interfere with programming decisions of any kind, much less those made by newsroom management.
  4. 4. But what about Gilles Duceppe and Médium large? Didn’t Minister Moore intervene in that case?

    The Minister’s intervention has nothing to do with what actually happened. Mr. Duceppe declined our offer when he found out that he wouldn’t be able to discuss politics on Médium large because it violated CBC/Radio-Canada journalistic policies.

    Mr. Duceppe was later approached about joining the Club des ex on ICI RDI, but had to decline once again because his pension plan’s rules forbade him from working for a Crown corporation above a certain salary.

  5. 5. Since Hubert T. Lacroix was appointed president, has there been any political interference in editorial decisions at Radio-Canada?

    No. It is common for individuals, organizations, government departments or other lobby groups to apply pressure, sometimes through the courts, to prevent the broadcast of reports or segments that they see as detrimental to their interests. Provided that Radio-Canada executives do not give into this pressure, it can’t be called political interference.

  6. 6. Isn’t your strategic plan simply a cover for dismantling CBC/Radio-Canada, which the Harper government has been trying to accomplish by cutting the public broadcaster’s funding?

    The changes associated with the A space for us all plan are needed to ensure that CBC/Radio-Canada will be better positioned to meet the evolving needs of Canadians and the fundamental shifts transforming the media landscape. A space for us all aims to modernize the public broadcaster and ensure that it continues to fulfill its mandate for current and future generations of French-speaking Canadians, by delivering programming that’s varied, relevant, as well as more targeted.

  7. 7. Isn’t the closing of the Costume Shop in Montreal a perfect example of what Alain Saulnier means by the dismantling of Radio-Canada?

    No. A department like the Costume Shop is no longer needed in the current TV production context. Our in-house productions already have their own wardrobes and rarely use the Costume Shop. Although some external productions still rely on our services, the demand isn’t high enough to justify keeping the department open.

  8. 8. What are you doing to stand up for the public broadcaster in the face of budget constraints?

    We never miss an opportunity to remind policy makers of the issues we face due to the rapid evolution of the global media industry. Our strategy will help us cope with changes in the industry and make us viable.

    On these and other issues, we are in contact with Government everyday – both with elected officials and with people in government departments like Canadian Heritage, the Treasury Board Secretariat and the Privy Council Office. We also use public forums to address Canadians directly about our financial situation and its implications for our future.

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