Media union welcomes choice of Tait, industry veteran, 1st woman to lead CBC

2018.04.03 | CWA Canada Local 30213 - Canadian Media Guild

Catherine Tait Catherine Tait named new CEO and President of CBC. (Credit: ICI / Radio-Canada)

The announcement today that television and film industry veteran Catherine Tait will lead the CBC was welcomed by the public broadcaster’s main union.

The Canadian Media Guild (CMG) — CWA Canada’s largest Local, which represents thousands of CBC workers — recognized Tait’s historic appointment as the first woman President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada.

Jonathan Spence, president of the CBC Branch of the CMG, said the union was “encouraged” that Tait, along with Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, expressed their “support for key pillars of the (CBC’s) services and function, including local news and programming, Canadian stories and content, digital services and Canadian talent.”

“Our union,” said Spence, “has been raising concerns with the CBC/Radio-Canada leadership about the lack of investment in local news … and the abandonment of in-house production. For example, the CBC has directed very little of the $675 million re-investment to news — a fact it does not deny.

“In addition, the CBC’s own breakdown shows two-thirds of the new money ($92 million out of $150 million per year) went to outside productions for prime-time television shows in 2017-18 and are similarly earmarked in subsequent fiscal years. This isn’t a re-investment in CBC/Radio-Canada.”

Tait, 60, who called it her “dream job,” will take over in July from Montreal lawyer Hubert Lacroix, a Harper government appointee who presided over CBC budget and staff cuts from 2008 to 2014.

Joly described Tait, who has worked in the industry for more than 30 years, as a “champion for Canadian content” who has “successfully navigated the sea of change from traditional media and communications through to today’s digital world.”

The minister also announced appointments to the CBC Board, including Chair Michael Goldbloom, a former publisher of the Montreal Gazette and Toronto Star, Suzanne Guèvremont, Guillaume Aniortee and Sandra B. Singh. The new board members were selected in a non-partisan, merit-based process established by the Liberal government.

Noting that staff morale had been hurt by all of the staff and budget cuts during Lacroix’s tenure, Spence told The Canadian Press the new board members and CEO would affect the “operation, the quality and faith in leadership.”

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