Here is one such story from a reader who wishes to remain anonymous. As usual, feedback is welcome at cbcExposed@gmail.com
Recently, the CBC conducted a search for a new General Manager of Programming. The newly-minted (2014) CBC English TV Head, Heather Conway, (a very nice industrial relations major with little or no prior experience working with a broadcaster) went out of her way to try to make the hiring process appear fair by hiring a private sector head-hunting firm to assemble a list of potential candidates for the job.
After having searched all across Canada and around the world, surprise! Long-time CBC insider Sally Catto got the job. The fix was in from the start, and putting the job out to public tender, merely a pretence of ‘fairness’ on Conway’s part. At least Stursberg didn`t pretend.
What Conway might have done, before going back to the ‘old CBC’ way of doing things, was to advertise the job in good faith, rather than just for show. She could have dared to hire someone from outside the organization. Sending a message that it’s no longer business as usual at the CBC, no longer CBC insiders hiring CBC insiders. Unfortunately, all those recent CBC firings will use up a lot of her newcomer`s goodwill. So she needs to keep her co-managers onside. She also needs them because what does she know about how to run a broadcaster?
The question is: what will Conway do about internal malfeasance in her department? Will she adopt the CBC habit of turning a blind eye to her colleagues’ transgressions in order to retain a star executive - in order to ingratiate herself with her staff? Will she even try to put an end to the self-serving rule of CBC-insider culture? How will she address the conflict of interest surrounding Catto, Fraser, Platt and Moss? Will she go into damage control and try to cover it up?
Or will she act in the interests of Canadian taxpayers, and begin the unpleasant job of rooting out the bad apples and giving them the heave ho? Can Heather Conway be counted on to bring meaningful reform to the CBC? Or will she keep her head down to give herself a lighter ride?
TIME FOR A CHANGE
CBC corporate culture is suffocating our national network under mediocre leadership at a time when innovative, exemplary leadership is needed. Wouldn`t someone (anyone) with demonstrated private sector broadcast industry talent have been a better choice than Catto, Conway or Lacroix? Someone with a background which is actually suited to the job requirements - rather than a proven follower who was never a filmmaker, programmer, or broadcaster to begin with. Someone capable of revitalizing and leading the broadcaster out of the wilderness.
In the private sector, a corrupt, biased, or mediocre manager is eventually shown the door. At the CBC, they get a promotion and a pay raise. But in times of crisis, a true management turn-around artist is required. How will the CBC get rid of the dead wood to make room for superior talent when the union rulebook makes it so difficult to fire non-performing ‘lifers’? The CBC needs fresh talent drawn from outside the CBC ranks, not internal reshuffling of the same marginal lights who led this spectacularly unresponsive network into its current moribund state.
Sadly, the Conway hire and Catto`s promotion tell us it’s `back to business as usual` at the Mothercorp. No more ‘outside hires’ at the Spoke Club. But a great day for Angus Fraser’s company Gangof2 Productions! With Sally Catto in charge of programming, perhaps one of her husband’s series - one of the 5 that her drama department funded - will now get a production order. The optics may be disgusting, but if her predecessor could get away with it, why can`t she?
The whistle may be screaming, but does anyone in Ottawa notice or care? At today’s CBC - where unqualified insiders with union seniority hire unqualified friends of friends, led by a marginally qualified CEO hired by patronage appointment, who hired a new Head of Programming with no programming or producing experience, under a new head of English TV with no prior experience in broadcasting. On top of this add the burden of a rigid union hierarchy preserving the status quo - is it any wonder that, with the exception of The Mercer Report and Hockey Night in Canada, so few Canadians tune in to the CBC?
Wouldn`t the CBC be a better place if CBC insiders loosened their death-grip on the wheel and allowed a new group of people – possibly with a more professional and less partisan philosophy - to run the show for a while?
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Before our segment runs out of time, a few final questions for the CBC Ombudsman, The Public Service Integrity Commissioner, The Minister of Heritage, The Privy Council, and the PM’s office: Does everyone agree that the CBC Board of Directors - in order to restore confidence in the Code of Conduct – must mete out consequences to its CBC violators, whatever their status may be?
Will Hubert Lacroix, Heather Conway, and the CBC Board of Directors turn a blind eye, just as CBC management did to the Jian Ghomeshi complaints for so many years? Will they call for an investigation into CBC conflict of interest and code of conduct violations? A Senate Committee perhaps?
How about a clause in the Broadcast Act and Code of Conduct that says spouses of CBC employees cannot be awarded contracts while their CBC-insider partners and spouses are working for the network?
Most important of all:
- Who will enforce the CBC Codes of Conduct and Conflict of Interest guidelines?
Surely not Hubert Lacroix, Sally Catto, Kirsten Layfield-Stewart, or Phyllis Platt.
They are CBC family.
But for the rest of us, the CBC’s incompetence, corruption and lack of accountability is just another public sector horror show in desperate need of an ending.