Hubert T. Lacroix's letter to the National Post

September 28, 2015

You may have seen this National Post article suggesting our journalists can't report on elections if CBC/Radio-Canada is mentioned. Hubert T. Lacroix sent the following response to the National Post on September 24th.

I have been with CBC/Radio-Canada long enough that I'm used to the general tone of snark from private media when it comes to reporting anything related to the public broadcaster, but Tristin Hopper's contribution, "CBC tries to hide its happy face..." warrants a response.

The idea that CBC/Radio-Canada journalists, frankly that any self-respecting journalist, would change their reporting based on what a political party is promising to do with the company they work for is ridiculous.

Our journalists hold themselves to a brutally rigorous standard when it comes to the work they do, regardless of the story, because their commitment is to the story, to getting it right, and to the right of the public to get the facts. They are guided by the Corporation's own journalistic policies. We also have two independent ombudsmen who investigate complaints from the public. The rest of us, and most Canadians, are simply, incredibly proud of what they offer, every day, on every platform.

We are all however, familiar with the tired accusation that our coverage is "biased" against one side (usually the side of the person making the accusation), particularly during election campaigns. That is one reason why, for every federal election, the Corporation hires independent monitors to track the tone and content of its coverage and provide an outside view of its fairness. You can read more about those monitors here.

As to Tristin's claim that a particular political party is "good" for CBC/Radio-Canada, what is important is that all parties understand the challenges all Canadian media are facing at the moment.

The fact is, and what we and the heads of many private media companies have been saying for months, is that the current Canadian broadcasting system is broken. The advertising revenue we all depend on is being siphoned off by Facebook and Google (The National Post may have noticed this too). In the case of television, there is much less money available to make quality Canadian programs. That's a problem if you believe that stories about your country are an important part of your culture. That's not a CBC/Radio-Canada problem, it's a Canada problem.

That is why I have been calling for a public discussion about the future of broadcasting in Canada. What do Canadians want? What do they think that's worth? What can government do to make sure the country's public policy objectives are met? I hope you would agree that Canadians benefit when media operate in an environment where their business models support the quality programming and quality journalism that Canadians expect of them.

In the meantime, our journalists will keep doing the incredible work they do, setting the highest standard for quality reporting and analysis. We are all lucky to have them.

Hubert T. Lacroix
President and CEO
CBC/Radio-Canada

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