Statement made on 17 November 2011 by Senator Maria Chaput
Hon. Maria Chaput:
Honourable senators, I believe it would be a good idea to give you some explanations as to why the Standing Senate Committee on Official Languages, after due consideration, has decided to address this issue.
There are a number of aspects to the mandate the committee has chosen and I would like to present a few to you. Why undertake this study now? First, because CBC/Radio-Canada is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year and it is a good opportunity to assess its performance with regard to official languages.
Second, CBC/Radio-Canada is facing many challenges, ranging from demographic changes to emerging new technologies and competitive market conditions. This presents an ideal opportunity to determine how it is handling these challenges and the repercussions in terms of official languages.
Third, many interested parties, including some committee members, are concerned about language requirements and the need to reflect regional diversity.
In June 2012, the public broadcaster will come before the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to renew its licences for its French- and English-language services.
The committee's goals are to determine whether CBC/ Radio-Canada is meeting the requirements of the Broadcasting Act, specifically regarding offer of services in both official languages, equivalent quality, reflection of regional diversity; and to determine whether CBC/Radio-Canada is meeting the requirements of the Official Languages Act, specifically regarding communications with and services to the public, vitality of the official-language minority communities and advancement of linguistic duality.