Monday, August 15, 2005

I've got no future, but oh, what a past

Heavens. Let's hope this doesn't go on for weeks...or months...or indefinitely... The CBC has locked out the 5,500 members of the Canadian Media Guild after last-minute bargaining went nowhere. "We are now officially locked out," said a message posted at 12:05 a.m. EDT Monday on the union's hotline. "There are no plans at this time for any further talks with the corporation." While the bargaining committee will stay in Toronto for a few days to see if negotiations can be restarted, "given the aggressive position management has taken at the table, however, we think it's unlikely we'll hear from them," it said. "This is not a good day for Canadian broadcasting," said Lise Lareau, president of the union, which represents producers, newsroom staff and technicians at the public broadcaster. Bravo, Ms. Lareau! Keep on speaking truth to power! Cripple their operations until your union gets the guaranteed impossible-to-fire European-style sinecure positions you so rightly deserve! Why, without the CBC, how would we know that Americans are evil and stupid? Without CBC News, who would tell Canadians that our health care system is the best in the world? Without the CBC's extensive subsidization of Canadian comics, where would we turn for subtle and understated dry wit in the Royal Canadian Air Farce mould, or gentle good-natured ribbing à la Rick Mercer? Without the CBC, who'd fill the void of self-consciously condescending non-commercial radio? Without the CBC, who'd be the most enthusiastic media boosters of federal Liberals? And, most importantly, where would I watch new episodes of Doctor Who? (Alas, I think I can make the sacrifice, if we're lucky enough to see employees and management still at each others' throats, stretching into January.)

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