Liberal MPs shut down committee meeting after CBC CEO refuses to disclose bonus
Liberal MPs shut down committee meeting after CBC CEO refuses to disclose bonus

A House of Commons heritage committee meeting was abruptly halted by Liberal MPs after CBC CEO Catherine Tait refused to disclose her taxpayer-funded performance bonus, sparking a heated exchange with Conservative MP Rachael Thomas.

Tait’s refusal to divulge details about her bonus came under intense scrutiny during Tuesday’s committee session, with Thomas pressing the CBC CEO for transparency regarding executive payoffs. 

“As of the end of March of 2024, what is the recommendation for your 2023 bonus?” asked Thomas. 

“As I’ve said previously, these conversations are subject to internal deliberations by the management team to the board of directors. We have not had that conversation with the board that is scheduled for June 12 and 13th,” said Tait. 

“We will have that conversation, at which point, the final results will have been audited and reviewed by the auditor general, we don’t simply precipitously pre-announce results when we haven’t had the privilege of the auditor and our internal audit process.”

Thomas then highlighted Tait’s influential role within CBC’s Board of Directors, particularly in discussions concerning executive bonuses.

During the committee session, Tait said Canadian media needs even more “long-term funding” due to an ongoing crisis in the sector. 

“Canada’s domestic media industry is facing an unprecedented crisis, with job losses and company closures,” said Tait.  

“(We’re) proposing sustainable long-term funding as a potential solution.”

However, as the dialogue intensified, Liberal MP and Committee Chair Hedy Fry abruptly adjourned the meeting following a point of order raised by Liberal MP Taleeb Noormohamed against Thomas.

During the ongoing debate, Fry accused Thomas of a “penchant for arguing with everyone,” leading to a contentious exchange between the MPs.

“Thomas. You seem to have this penchant for arguing with everyone who makes any suggestion,” alleged Fry. 

“You accused me and I’ll use your words of ‘interrupting everyone.’ That’s a superlative, ‘interrupting everyone,’ which is unparliamentary. So Madam Chair, I would bring that to your attention and I would ask you to make a ruling as to whether or not that should be withdrawn,” responded Thomas. 

The contentious exchange unfolded against a backdrop of mounting concerns over potential layoffs at the state broadcaster. Recent reports suggested that hundreds of CBC employees nationwide were facing job cuts at the same time executives were awarding themselves generous bonuses. 

In a statement put out by Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre’s office, Poilievre accused Tait of presiding over the network’s “rock bottom.” 

“Under Tait’s leadership, the CBC has also begun cutting even more news programming. The CBC is no longer relevant to Canadians,” the statement reads.

“The last thing that Catherine Tait deserves is a bonus. She has presided over the CBC’s rock bottom, which resulted in her having to fire 600 of her employees. But this last summer, Tait awarded herself a $60,000 bonus anyway – more than most Canadians see in an entire year.”

In the 2024 federal budget, CBC was awarded an additional $42 million in taxpayer funding, on top of the $1.2 billion it receives each year to offset the layoffs.

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