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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Heads Will Roll

Actually managed to stop thinking about the lockout by getting outside, hitting the lakeshore, enjoying the weather. I'm sure this is a good thing, perhaps even a healthy thing, but you have to understand that I'm not trying to refrain from thinking about the lockout. I'm one of those sad, annoying people that Robin Rowland was talking about in his Fort Confusion post who feels that working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is bit of a vocation. (Not sure Robin quite meant it as a compliment, though...) Course these days it feels more like a vacation than a vocation... albeit a vacation sans pay.

So for some perverse reason I don't really mind thinking about the lockout. (I'm far from the only one...) These days, as I watch the senior managers effectively snatch defeat from the jaws of victory what with the Guild's failure to fold, and virtually all support coming down on any side other than theirs, I'm thinking about how to make it work for us. I'm thinking perhaps some good may come of this lockout after all. Course I am a damned fool optimist.

This whole lockout thing must have seemed like a great idea to senior management not all that long ago... which, of course, is precisely how such catastrophes are born: the result of a series of small decisions that all seemed like a good idea at the time. I expect they've wiped those smug smiles off their faces by now. For while I don't think it's exactly a catastrophe yet, if it continues past October it will be. A catastrophe for senior management, a catastrophe for the CBC, a catastrophe for the Canadian public. Not to mention a catastrophe --or at the very least pretty darned annoying -- to me and about 5499 other people. It's for this reason that I'll go out on a limb and suggest that shortly after the Guild's strike mandate expires (Sept 8th... thanks again to Robin Rowland for that bit of info) we should start to see some high wattage light at the end of the tunnel.

If for some bizarre reason the lockout is not ended before October (which, incidentally, would indicate certain as opposed to merely apparent madness on the part of senior management) then a catastrophe will indeed have occurred. The CBC as we know it will have become a thing of the past. Most of us staff will blow the dust off our resumes and go to work for Tim Hortons (or the equivalent), hard-core fans will sigh ruefully and learn to love Lloyd, and if there is any justice in the universe, heads will begin to roll. For surely to God somebody somewhere (and I'm not talking about someone in the capital of Botswana) will hold certain people accountable for clubbing to death a large, helpless Canadian Institution.

This is where I'm seeing some serious silver lining. Such accountability has to happen, hopefully sooner rather than later, ideally before the aforementioned clubbing. It has to happen because this management team has gambled with Canada's public broadcaster and lost. At the risk of belabouring the obvious, the single biggest natural disaster occurs in North America and Canada's public broadcaster isn't there to cover it. It's tape we're not going to get back. Somebody's got to answer for that.

Regardless of when this accountability happens, it's an opportunity to put someone in charge of the place that actually knows a little something about broadcasting. Preferably someone passionate about public broadcasting. Myself, I wouldn't mind at all if they considered it a vocation.

Just as long as it isn't some bean counter hell bent on making the place appear to run efficiently at the expense of having it actually run efficiently. And killing it in the process.

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