The Honourable Jim Munson, Senator (Ottawa – Rideau Canal) delivered the following remarks today on Parliament Hill to locked-out CBC employees:

“I am here today because I believe in public broadcasting.  This broadcasting institution binds together a very large and diverse population.

In the face of powerful private broadcasting influences, we risk losing what others view around the world as a treasure, a highly successful institution at the heart of our Canadian identity.  It is the motor that helps us explain the world, make sense of the issues that bind us and divide us, let’s us talk to one another.

I am here today to show support for colleagues in broadcasting.  As a reporter for many years, I have worked alongside many of the fine broadcasting professionals that the CBC developed and nurtured.  I have observed them working side by side with media from around the world.  C.B.C. employees are not only world class, but they are very often the best.

I am here today to express concern over the decision to lockout very critical players in the Canadian world of information and culture.  I am perplexed at the lack of information Canadians have to help them understand why such a treasured institution has locked out its strongest asset, its dedicated people.

I am here today to urge all involved to bring a breakthrough in the negotiations before more damage is done and irreparable tears in the relationship between management and employees.

The human drama unfolding in Louisiana highlights how much Canadians depend on a variety of sources of information to understand fully the dimensions of such a human crisis and to understand it with a Canadian sensibility.

As much as the private broadcasters are doing a great job of covering this tragedy, I know that all of the C.B.C.’s regular audience is missing terribly the quality of information of the journalists.

To those of you here on the picket line, I understand and empathize with you.   It is cruel and unfair to be paralyzed at a time when the biggest story is developing here in North America and you can’t be there to be the high quality witnesses that you are.

I understand talks are taking place, but if they fail, it is urgent that a mediator be identified and that both sides come to an agreement.”