Could the CBC Lockout be near an end?
OTTAWA -- Business as usual is not an option, media watchers said yesterday as the CBC showed signs of emerging from a seven-week lockout that has fractured its television and radio audiences.
Heritage Minister Liza Frulla suggested the public broadcaster has suffered "collateral damage" and it's time to reassess where the CBC is headed.
"Because after seven weeks, I would say to relaunch the CBC."
The Crown corporation reached a memorandum of agreement late Sunday with about 5,500 employees who've been locked out since Aug. 15.
Negotiating the fine print of the tentative agreement continued yesterday, with ratification votes expected to start Thursday and be completed by Sunday afternoon. It could be up to a week after ratification before regular programming hits the airwaves.
But the hard slog will continue for months, if not years, for a public broadcaster that had seen an erosion in market share even before the latest meltdown.
"We've been out for so long, now I'm afraid that they have lost the habit of listening to and watching us," said Denis-Martin Chabot, a national TV correspondent for Radio-Canada in Atlantic Canada.
"We'll have to work extra hard to gain them back."
The lockout attracted international attention -- it was a virtually unprecedented spectacle of a large broadcaster shutting down its entire workforce, said Suanne Kelman, associate chairperson of journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto.