An fired-up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday slammed Bell’s move to lay off thousands of employees, including hundreds of journalists, as a “rubbish decision.”
“I’m pretty upset about what just happened,” Trudeau said at a news conference in Toronto.
“This is eroding quality local journalism, not just journalism, but at a time when people need quality local journalism now more than ever in light of misinformation and disinformation. , is eroding our very democracy, our very ability to tell each other’s stories.”
- What do you think about Bell Media’s cuts? Will this change how you get news? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The media company, which owns CTV and BNN Bloomberg, announced Thursday that it will cut 4,800 jobs “at all levels of the company.” Bell said the cuts are the largest in nearly 30 years.
This is also the second major layoff at the media and communications giant since last spring, when 6 percent of Bell Media’s jobs were cut and nine radio stations were closed or sold.
Bell also announced it would end several TV newscasts and cut other programming after its parent company announced widespread layoffs and the sale of 45 of its 103 local radio stations.
Stations for sale are British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada.
‘I’m furious’: Prime Minister Trudeau
After announcing the job cuts, Bell said it would push for a more generous dividend to shareholders.
“I’m furious. This is a stupid decision by a company that should know better,” Trudeau said.
“We need these local voices. And over the past few years, corporate Canada – and there are many culprits in this regard – has abdicated their responsibility to the communities they have always profited from in a variety of ways.” I have done so.”
On Thursday, Robert Malcomson, Bell’s legal and regulatory director, blamed the federal government for the cuts. He said it would take too long for Ottawa to grant relief to media companies and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. [CRTC] Reactions to “imminent crises” are too slow.
“We’ve been advocating for reform for years, but it’s not happening fast enough, and even if it does happen, it won’t provide meaningful support,” he said.
Malcolmson also said the job losses are directly related to the regulator’s direction on Bill C-11, which updates the Broadcasting Act to require digital platforms such as Netflix, YouTube and TikTok to contribute and promote Canadian content. He said there was.
The bill was passed by Parliament last year, and it is now up to the CRTC to decide how much foreign streaming giants should pay to support Canadian content and production.
On Thursday, Federal Heritage Minister Pascal St-Onge accused Mr Bell of breaking his long-standing promise to deliver quality local news.
“They’re still making billions of dollars. They’re still a very profitable company and they still have the ability and the means to maintain their end business of distributing news reports,” she said. Stated.
Poièvre vows to defeat C-11
Conservative Leader Pierre Poièvre, one of C-11’s chief critics, called the bill censorship because it would give the CRTC the power to regulate more platforms and the content they spread. It is called a type of
He blamed Bell’s cuts on a poor business environment caused by high taxes, red tape and uncompetitive policies.
“I will act quickly in the first half of my term to overturn C-11 and other censorship and put Canadians in control of what they see and say online,” Poièvre said Thursday.
On Friday, Prime Minister Trudeau blasted Conservatives and other critics who have accused the government of putting oil into the hands of news organizations.
“We’ve spent the last few years fighting for local journalism, fighting for the investment that we can make, and hearing from the Conservative Party and others, ‘No, no, no, you’re going to do that.’ “It has strengthened in recent years while fending off attacks: buying journalists,” he said.
Prime Minister Trudeau has suggested the government will make better “demands” from companies like Bell, but it’s not yet clear what those will be.