Saturday, September 24, 2005

Good words, little action

There are contrasting views in the Liberal party about how to handle the CBC lockout. While Joe Fontana merely wants to ask both sides for plans to end the lockout, Sarmite Bulte is rightly making noise about forcing the CBC to account for government money received during the lockout:
Bulte asked Treasury Board officials yesterday whether dollars directed to the CBC during the lockout could be put into a trust or something similar, to ensure the corporation wasn't using the dispute merely to save money. But she was told the CBC's financing was part of the June budget and no one can simply revoke measures in it.

What she can do, she was told, is ask for a Heritage Department audit of how the CBC used government money during this lockout. Bulte says she intends to ask for that.

"They may have to give some of it back," Bulte said, especially if an audit reveals the CBC is using these savings from the lockout to cover other losses. She said she would also be annoyed if the corporation used those savings to beef up its resources after the lockout, as a way of regaining stature and goodwill.

"You can't buy back the public," Bulte said.

While any need to save money can be readily traced back to the Liberals in the first place, Bulte deserves credit for at least pointing out that there's no reason for management to be able to profit at the expense of its locked-out workers. But that does leave the question of what to do next. And despite some momentary appeal to back-to-work legislation (another Bulte-backed solution), it's not going to solve the underlying problems of the CBC unless it's accompanied by enough future funding to let the network function.

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