Skip to main content

Critics have noted that the current CBC board boasts little outside broadcast industry experience, and does not reflect Canada’s diversity.

Brian B. Bettencourt/The Globe and Mail

The Liberal government is overhauling the process by which members of the board of directors of CBC/Radio-Canada are selected, in hopes of ending decades of allegations of political interference in the public broadcaster's operations.

The Globe and Mail has learned the Minister of Canadian Heritage, Mélanie Joly, will announce on Tuesday the creation of the Independent Advisory Committee for Appointments to the CBC/Radio-Canada Board of Directors. A government source said the board would comprise nine "experts in broadcasting and digital technology, representatives of cultural sectors from across Canada," as well as "Indigenous peoples, official-language communities and youth," who will be charged with compiling a list of candidates whose names will be submitted to the government.

The move goes some distance to fulfilling a commitment Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made while running in the 2015 election, for the CBC to embrace "merit-based and independent appointments."

Story continues below advertisement

Denise Balkissoon: Can mainstream journalism survive identity politics?

It will likely please many who have called for non-partisan appointments to the board, including the Canadian Media Guild, the union that represents most English-language CBC staff. The advocacy organization Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has regularly hammered the board for being stocked with contributors to the Conservative Party of Canada. Last summer, Friends launched a campaign calling for the CBC to "be allowed to operate freely from political appearance that comes from partisan political appointments" to the board.

Still, the ultimate decision on the board members will rest with the Heritage Minister.

In a mandate letter given to members of the Advisory Committee, who will serve a six-month term, Ms. Joly said the assessment criteria for potential board members would soon be published on the Governor in Council website. Previously, no criteria were publicly known.

Ms. Joly also asked committee members to consider seven criteria: Whether potential candidates "contribute to the development of a shared national consciousness and identity; reflect the regional and cultural diversity of Canada, including Indigenous communities; understand the need to offer local, national and international information and analysis from a Canadian point of view; have contributed to the development of Canadian talent and culture; understand the impact of the digital shift on broadcasting and on Canadians' consumption of news and entertainment content; see the opportunity for Canada's public broadcaster to use multiple platforms to connect Canadians to the best of Canadian content; and understand the crucial role the CBC/Radio-Canada plays in promoting the vitality of official-languages minority communities across Canada."

Critics have noted that the current CBC board boasts little outside broadcast industry experience, and does not reflect Canada's diversity.

The term of the current CBC chair, Rémi Racine, expires Tuesday; the term of the CBC's president, Hubert Lacroix, expires at the end of the year. While each man may reapply for another term, the government source noted that both would need to submit to the same new Advisory Committee process as all other candidates who wish to be considered.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter