Québec City, May 21, 2015 – As part of their joint action to the budget cuts at Radio-Canada, Québec’s Minister responsible for Canadian Intergovernmental Affairs and the Canadian Francophonie, Jean-Marc Fournier, and Ontario’s Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, Madeleine Meilleur, today released the report by consultant Michel Houle.
The report, entitled Radio-Canada Funding: Status report and possible solutions paints a picture of the situation in which Radio-Canada is currently operating and identifies various options that would enable the public broadcaster to fulfil its mandate toward Francophone and Acadian communities.
“The findings in Mr. Houle’s report are striking,” stated Minister Fournier. “They confirm that Radio-Canada is no longer able to fulfil its basic mission. From 1990 to 2014, its appropriations increased by 0.5% while the Consumer Price Index rose by 51% and government expenditures jumped 74%. Although the corporation’s revenue, including advertising proceeds, climbed 18% or double the CPI’s rate of growth between 2005 and 2014, it doesn’t make up for the reduction in parliamentary appropriations. The report puts forward concrete solutions that would give Radio-Canada the funding it needs to continue fulfilling its mandate as a catalyst for the growth and development of Francophone and Acadian communities.”
It is the federal government’s responsibility to ensure Radio-Canada has the resources it needs to carry out its mandate under the Broadcasting Act. Pursuant to the Act, Radio-Canada must reflect the country’s regional diversity and respond to the specific needs of Canada’s Francophone and Acadian communities. For nearly 2.6 million canadian Francophones and francophiles living outside Québec, Radio-Canada is often the only French-language broadcaster to which they have access.
Since last October, Québec and Ontario have been working together to support Radio-Canada. They have met with Graham Fraser, Canada’s Commissioner of Official Languages, representatives of the group “Les amis de Radio-Canada,” including Pierre Maisonneuve, the heads of CBC/Radio-Canada, including President and CEO Hubert Lacroix, and two members of the Senate Standing Committee on Official Languages, Senators Maria Chaput and Claudette Tardif.
Last November 21, the two governments also signed a statement on the Canadian Francophonie in which they identified Radio-Canada as one of the main factors ensuring the long-term survival of the French fact in Canada.
Mr. Houle has worked as a consultant in the culture and communications industry for some 20 years. He has contributed to many studies on film production, distribution and operations, on television production and on the Canadian broadcasting system.
The five possible solutions selected by the Ministers are the following:
“CBC/Radio Canada plays a central, unifying role by promoting a better understanding of the local, regional and national realities of the two official language communities in Canada, as well as by increasing the visibility of these communities across the country,” said Minister Meilleur. “The Canadian Francophonie can only reach its full potential if our national broadcaster has the capacity to properly represent all Francophone communities in the country. The waves of funding cuts at CBC/Radio Canada have had a destructive impact on the French-language services it provides as well as on the working environment for artisans here in Ontario and across the country. The report released today demonstrates that it is high time that Francophones and Francophiles from coast to coast join forces to ensure that CBC/Radio Canada becomes a priority for the current federal government and that the corporation acquires the financial and human resources necessary to properly fulfill its mandate.”
Ministers Fournier and Meilleur have requested meetings with the federal political party caucuses to present the report and envisaged solutions. On May 25, they will meet with representatives of the Liberal Party of Canada and New Democratic Party. For the Canadian Francophonie, the situation is of great concern and certain to be an election issue this fall.
La Procureure générale et ministre déléguée aux Affaires francophones de l’Ontario, Madeleine Meilleur et le ministre québécois responsable des Affaires intergouvernementales canadiennes et de la Francophonie canadienne, Jean-Marc Fournier, dévoilent des pistes de solution qui permettraient à SRC/Radio-Canada de remplir pleinement son mandat auprès des communautés francophones et acadiennes.