For the record: Committee request to testify at CRTC hearings

On December 29, 2020, the RCI Action Committee sent a request to Canada’s broadcasting regulatory body the CRTC. It requested that we be able to testify at the licence hearings of CBC/Radio-Canada (which administers RCI) about the public broadcaster’s violation of Article 46 (2) of the Broadcasting Act. The request was refused for deadline reasons. “Unfortunately, your request was sent very late in the process.

In our request we had pointed out “We know this is extremely, almost impossibly, short notice. But we could not have predicted the December 3rd announcement, which will be implemented April 1, 2021″

On February 4, 2021, the CRTC confirmed that our request would not be put on the record by the CRTC.

Here is the text of our request to the CRTC Secretary General:

Secretary General Doucet,

On December 3, 2020, CBC/Radio-Canada announced a new policy that ignores its licence requirements. It violates article 46(2) of the Broadcasting Act and the Order in Council 2012-0775. And in so doing, it puts into question the survival of the Voice of Canada, Radio Canada International (RCI), after 75 years of existence.

I write to you as the spokesperson of the RCI Action Committee, a union supported committee that represents employees at RCI, and as someone who has testified, as the Committee’s spokesperson, before House of Commons and Senate committees since 1991. I was an announcer-producer with the service for 35 years, and retired five years ago.

We are appealing to CRTC commissioners to oblige the CBC to obey the conditions of its licence to have an international service with programming for an external audience, Article 46(2) of the Broadcasting Act.

In 1945, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King inaugurated the international service saying the international service was to extend Canadian ideals of equality and freedom to the world. Since then the policy has never been so overtly challenged.

The decision of whether the Voice of Canada should serve an external audience belongs only to Parliament, and not the domestic public broadcaster, which has been entrusted with facilitating the work of the international service., not destroying it.

We at the committee ask you to let us present more fully the facts and our concerns to the panel of commissioners holding hearings into the CBC/Radio-Canada licence.

We know this is extremely, almost impossibly, short notice. But we could not have predicted the December 3rd announcement, which will be implemented April 1, 2021.

We can provide documentation of CBC/Radio-Canada’s failure to respect its obligations in this case and others.

For instance in 2012, CBC/Radio-Canada banned RCI from broadcasting on shortwave (its key way of communicating to the world since 1945) and it stopped consultations with the Department of Foreign Affairs, both in contravention of Order in Council 2003-0358. It destroyed our shortwave transmitters in Sackville, New Brunswick, the only transmitter site in Canada that allowed us to broadcast to the world.

We cannot overemphasize the disastrous impact of the CRTC not reacting to the CBC/Radio-Canada’s disregard of its obligations.

We leave you with this one thought:

Imagine the BBC World Service being told it should stop being a “world service.”

That is what CBC is doing to Radio Canada International (RCI).

Yours truly,

Wojtek Gwiazda

Spokesperson, RCI Action Committee


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Article by Admin RCI Action Committee Website

Wojtek Gwiazda has been the spokesperson for the RCI Action Committee since 1991. The Committee is supported and funded by the union that represents almost all RCI employees: the Syndicat des travailleuses et travailleurs de Radio-Canada (STTRC formerly SCRC). E-mail: Read 111 articles by Admin RCI Action Committee Website
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