Tuesday was the day the CBC was supposed to announce which of its employees it was going to lay off. The SCRC, which represents CBC and Radio-Canada employees in Quebec and Moncton, planned for a day of mourning at noon to draw attention to those names.
Unfortunately, the CBC made no such announcement, and the people who turned out still don’t know who’s being fired and who’s being kept on, even though the corporation has already started the process of laying people off.
One would like to think union solidarity was the primary motivation behind the crowd, but there was a really long lineup for the free hot dogs and cheeseburgers. It made me want to work there, until someone reminded me what they pay in union dues.
Soon, after some socializing, it was time for the speeches from union leaders.
This is Alex Levasseur. He gave a strong speech about how the Conservative government is attacking culture, specifically francophone culture in Canada. I found that statement odd for two reasons: first, the cuts were made by the CBC, not the government, and second, the cuts affect English services as much as they do French services.
True, the government did refuse the CBC’s request for additional “bridge” financing to make up for plummeting advertising revenue, but it’s spin to turn that into a government decree of hundreds of layoffs.
Sadly, not a single word of the speeches was in English. The SCRC union is usually labelled somewhat inaccurately as the “French” CBC union because it represents Quebec and Moncton, but it also represents anglos in those areas. Montreal is also Radio-Canada’s headquarters, where most of its network programming originates.
I had a little game of “spot the anglo” going. With help of some insiders, we could name about 10.
Despite not really having any news to deliver, the event got quite a bit of media attention…
… even from some of the CBC’s competitors.
After the speeches, a fake coffin was carried at the head of a procession a few feet down the street …
…and then carried back. I guess it made sense to them.
There’s an anglo. I get 10 points!
(The hot dog wasn’t actually for her, it was for newsreader Joanne Bayly, who like many of the anglos at CBC Radio had to stay inside to deal with a live broadcast.)
Ange-Aimée Woods, who works on the Daybreak team, doesn’t know if she’s on that list the CBC doesn’t want to share. She was one of the last people hired permanently in the department (even though she’s been there for half a decade), which would theoretically mean she’d be one of the first to get a pink slip.
The CBC says those notices will come by the end of next week. At that point we’ll have some bodies to put in that casket.