Guest blogger: Hubert!

Sent to me by sadforcbc.
Enjoy.
~O

Sadforcbc here.

I haven’t weighed in for a while, not since we’ve had a fresh face or two. President Hubert! Seems ! Exclamationarily ! Excited! In his new role!

The new fellow is a breath of fresh air. No stuffy suit he. A down to earth human guy and a big part of his thing is he just wants everyone to get along. In his previous incarnations, spies tell me, he’s been able to achieve that.

Great too that Mr. Lacroix’s son is sending out frequent howdy-doos, and we can only hope that continues. What we really hope for though is that Hubert can eventually recognize he’s inherited some garbage that needs to go out on the next possible trash run, new blue box rules not withstanding.

First, Stursburg. On the plus side, Richard has revamped English prime time with his selected team. Some shows are pretty good. Others not so great, but they are all hampered by a brutal schedule and haphazard promotion. Could that have anything to do with his decision to outsource promotions?

On the negative side, there’s been colossal blunders (see The One). Oh, and the lockout too. And none of the shows (save Mosque, which was actually greenlighted by the person he replaced) launched under HIS tenure by HIS handpicked team has reached HIS stated goal of a million viewers, even during the Hollywood writers strike.

So if you are Hubert! and your top guy in English tv/radio/web is carrying the baggage of alienating all your employees by locking them out, and his appointed team has failed to meet his publicly stated goals, then don’t you have to wonder?

(By the way, Hubert, despite any spin from the executive suites, and any impressions left from our best-behavior wedding line gladhands with you, let me make it clear, we are still bitter. We will always be bitter until he is gone. This guy deprived Canadians of ten weeks of CBC programming during one of the seminal events of our lifetimes: Hurricane Katrina. Radio, TV web, all gone, with the resultant effect of having to regain viewers and listeners through our efforts, not his, in order to be judged, by him, on how well we’re doing …. in market share! Not only is he a demonstrably feeble programmer, but he cost thousands of people ten weeks of salary. I‘m not that great on math but in my accounting it kinds of adds up to fuck you, fucker, I will never forgive you, fuck you and by the way, fuck you forever. There are thousands of us who will wait six minutes for the next elevator should it open and he is on board. Thanks, we’ll take the next one. Bad enough to have to share the building with that fuck. So no Hubert, despite their reassurances, the lockout memory is alive and well in the rank and file, not forgotten and not forgiven.)

Hubert!, I know you are new, but I am already questioning the blind faith I entrusted in you based on your reputation and the nine seconds of quality time we had together in the coffee line. It’s gonna take a year to move that Stursburg fellow outta here, we don’t expect miracles, but we do expect you to be doing background on what this guy has done, how he is regarded in the industry, and who the successor is. You’re an experienced manager, so I am sure this is in your mind, but I would urge you to move this to the forefront.

Likewise George Smith and Stephen Satchel. They negotiated a contract that was a disaster in terms of what Stursburg etc wanted to achieve. Now, everything goes to expensive arbitation sessions, despite the fact the union has won every arbitration hands down since that contract, because of the litigious nature of your IR people who are desperately fighting for a tie when the whistle has already blown. Those guys are totally unemployable in the industry and know it. New blood urgently required, but not necessarily by promoting the Wal-Mart lawyer with zero experience in dealing with unions they recently hired to advise them on how to deal with the union. See what I mean?

According to your note, Hubert, you had an informal meeting with union leaders and you talked about the importance of moving forward together. I would encourage you to pursue conversations with those union leaders. That’s because your team won’t. It is tired, bitter, cynical, intransigent, and smarting from the ass-whupping of 2005. It doesn’t want what you want. It wants revenge and it can’t get work anywhere else. Get a new team.

Keep in mind that the man you are succeeding, Robert Rabinovitch, has publicly stated that it was a mistake, as a newbie, to blindly accept the recommendations of his inherited management team to cut the supper hour shows. The lesson is: don’t trust your inherited management team. The archive sales decision smells, and smells bad. This will come back to bite you. You trusted a team with a track record of bad decisions. You really oughtta look back on their record and determine whether this is the cabal that you want to be tied too. You really oughtta think about how it is you are going to challenge their self-serving recommendations and focus instead on how we are going to replace the clowns with competence — and answer the bigger question about what public broadcasting is.

Your top English guy maintains it is about ratings. He has cancelled critically acclaimed shows in order to replace them with (mostly) non-critically acclaimed shows that do not meet his stated minimum in terms of eyeballs.

Your top English guy has championed a mycbc initiative in Vancouver that has created a miniscule market for a 5 minute newscast at 11 pm, but has resulted in bugger all gains at 6 pm — despite the intensive and expensive intervention and coaching from a US “Action News” news doctor team — which is now moving across the country with equally dismal ratings results.

I’m seeing a problem here. Is anyone else?

Oh and speaking of the sale of the archives. The editorial in Sunday’s Toronto Star says it all. Because we ARE the public broadcaster, we ARE accountable to the public. Deals and transactions must be transparent. Senior management doesn’t get it and in the first critical decision of your tenure, you bought their snake oil. Look to the model of Cruickshank in how he dealt with the Mulroney affair; he affirmed that the public broadcaster has to be held to a higher standard in it’s journalistic principles. In doing what he is doing, he is saying THAT principle is paramount and to hell with the consequences. Applause, please.

There’s a guy who gets what a public broadcaster is. Too bad that kind of thinking doesn’t flow upwards.

What would impress even more was if John were to sic his news team on the archive sales decision. Hmm. An undisclosed sale undisclosed to potential suitors to British-owned ContentFilm which flipped the property in two days to Toronto-based Peace Arch where Fred Fuchs was a senior VP before coming to the CBC. And now a coupla pretty big name outraged Canadian concerns saying, hey WTF, I woulda bought it and maybe even paid more. WTF? If it were any other crown corporation, or government department, wouldn’t CBC reporters be asking questions?

They might learn, for instance, about the rules for disposing of crown assets, which state that any crown property must be offered first to other departments, then other levels of government, then disposed of in a transparent bid process only after authorization from the minister. So what gives here, they might ask? They would then learn that the CBC is excluded from that because it falls under the broadcast act. They might want to ask why something good for the goose is not good for the gander. They might want to ask the drafters of the Broadcast Act and previous heritage ministers and current heritage commitee members and discover that they are appalled. They may want to ask why any CBC temporary (ie five years on average) management team can be allowed to sell off decades of accumulated heritage without tender or notice, whether it be programming or props and costumes. They might want to ask how this can be allowed, and why the board of directors seems either incapable or disinterested in protecting irreplaceable Canadian heritage, and where the heck is the oversight?

Hubert! We are not reassured! By your press release stating that you asked a lot of questions! But approved it anyway without telling us why other than you and the board were convinced by the self-serving flim-flammory of the guy who shouldn’t be running the joint but is, and in any case will be gone in a couple of years anyway given the natural cycle of these things. Trust in your ability to adjudicate this mess wasn’t bought with a nine second cup of coffee. This stuff, this programming, is ours. We thunk it up, we bled it, we sweated it, we created it often under impossible conditions, we produced it, we brought it to air, we celebrated it, we invested in it, and loved it as we gave birth to it. There’s no question that to a guy like Stursburg, it’s just a commodity to be quietly auctioned off to to his chosen sole bidder. Everything is. Rookie mistake aside, just where do you stand on this?

Lots more questions for you as we go along Hubert! And by the way, call me Sad. Mister forcbc@live.ca is my father.

PS We took care of the breadcrumbs.

All the best
sadforcbc@live.ca

40 comments:

  1. Saskboy
    Posted August 19, 2008 at 1:20 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    This is one of the most interesting comment threads I’ve ever read. As someone who is “anonymous” when blogging, but isn’t really, I have to leap to the defense of anyone who has a point, but chooses to use words or an identity that not everyone agrees with.

    Here’s hoping that the CBC’s labour environment improves over what it has been recently enough to have created this blog.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 5:22 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I think it is great you guys are posting for the betterment of CBC. I’ve been a CBC radio and news fan for decades, but in the last few years it’s been watered down and dumbed down to compete (I guess) with commercial TV and is fixated on the perception that younger Canadians are too stupid and flighty to listen to thoughtful ideas well presented. What a terrible shame! We don’t all need cutesy-poo hosts and lowest common denominator entertainment. Sadly, once CBC becomes just like all the commercial stations, it may as well be one. Don’t give up the fight, guys.

  3. toddnonymous
    Posted February 14, 2008 at 4:55 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’ve no idea if Hubert Lacroix has left the blogging or not yet, but as a CBC viewer and listener (as opposed to staff), I have but two suggestions:

    1) Bring Brave New Waves back. Its cancellation left me with no reason whatsoever to listen to Radio Two or care about its continued, stuffy existence. And judging by facebook groups, the blogospheric grumblings about the cancellation, available bitorrents of old episodes and other www grumblings, I’m not alone on this. Maybe a podcast version would be more appropos than a return to Radio Two, but either way a return of the world’s best music program would be in good form.

    2) I’ll 2nd the comments on saving Intelligence. It’s the closest thing (in quality) that Canadian television will ever get to, say, The Wire. It deserves time for its audience to develop. Maybe a retrospective marathon would get folks up-to-speed?

  4. Anonymous
    Posted February 9, 2008 at 2:10 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Blow me

  5. Anonymous
    Posted February 6, 2008 at 9:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Mr. Lacroix:

    Our news programming needs serious attention.
    This morning I thought I was watching an American network’s simulcast of the Primary Fallout from last night.
    We covered four hours of non stop U.S. politics.
    I was stunned to see that we had no business news, even though the Asians markets crashed by at least 5%, very little weather, even though we are having another major snowfall in Ontario, and Quebec and heading east towards the Atlantic provinces.
    And no sports hilites or coverage even though Montreal, Ottawa Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver played.
    There was no mention of the Toronto vs. Montreal hockey game to air in Prime time on Thursday on the full CBC network.
    I thought our mandate was to air Canadian and International news, weather,sports, busines and entertainment. I saw none of this today.
    No wonder the ratings are non- existant.
    Lets get back to basics.
    Lets return to the morning show we had with News, weather, sports, business and entertainment.

    Content is what we are judged by.

    John

  6. new-bee
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 9:30 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    new-bee

    I must say that monday’s security aleart was horrific to say the least. as a new person to the corporation i most certenally do not feel safe in the work place.
    Based on what i saw the protocol is a joke. As we are the main Broadcast Center for Most of Canada, it would not take much for anyone to target this bldg/complex to achive their mission.Hubert please address this A.S.A.P.
    There are many things that need to change if you require my obeservation’s do contact me as we did meet in the Atrim.

  7. Ouimet
    Posted February 5, 2008 at 6:38 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hey Hubert, get your OWN blog!

    Only half-joking. You seem to like writing. They’re very easy to set up. I could explain it to you in 5 minutes. I would be happy to teach you.

    And thanks for linking to me from the CBC Intranet, even if you were cross-posting and your review was not all that favourable. There’s no such thing as bad publicity, right?

    You’re always welcome here. Just like everyone else. I’m glad you stopped by.

    I realize that getting used to anonymous writers is difficult for some people. But you have to realize that this is YOUR hangup, not theirs. These are intelligent, creative, passionate, funny people, and they have something to say. This is where they say it.

    You would be wise to read.

    And above all, have fun.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 4:21 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    In 2009 or 2010 let’s see what happens. Since I’ve worked for the CBC, my wife and I have regularly put a “hold” on our lives in order to save money to be able to survive another CBC lockout. Ive been here for almost 15 years and there has been a job action 5 times! Like I say to friends and family, “One thing for sure at the CBC will be a job action – we’re all used to it.”

    And what about the extra space in the basement now? What about parking for employees? The TBC was pretty much put in the most expensive place in all of Canada with no regards to employees. Parking is disappearing, transit is NOT improving, but like I was told by my manager – is my problem & I don’t have to work here. Most here unjderstand it is dog eat dog but some on. Are Mansbridge and the elite the only ones allowed to use the space?

    If we’re picketing in 2009/10 I’ll have my answer.

  9. Hubert T. Lacroix
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 1:53 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Oups!

    Made a mistake posting my latest comment. Reposting it because I dit not want to be “anonymous”.

    Cheers!

    Hubert

    So, it seems that I got a few reactions with my posting, and got “conversations” going. That’s fine with me. I respect that. I’ll respect you even more if you come up to me and tell me what’s on your mind so that we can address it. Less time wasted that way.

    For those who are still not sure, I write my own stuff. You’ll find that out quickly. I might sound like a memo but that’s the way I write. Too much time spent in law firms I guess.

    I’m reading everyone’s comments with interest and will continue to do so for the next five years, whether the stuff I read agrees or not with what I am doing or trying to achieve. Still don’t think and will never think that blogging entitles anyone to be disrespectful or use language filled with hate or threats. Liked the suggestions from Michael on Tea Makers: made sense to me and I will do some of that.

    By the way, Matt on Insidethecbc, I’ve gone for beers after work with colleagues and never called my boss a f…., and will make a deal with you: I will pick up Scoble’s book on blogging if you pick up our CBC directory and at least write my name correctly. By the way, I don’t only namedrop the Barenaked Ladies but go to their concerts, buy their music and listen to it. I actually like them.

    Cheers.

    Hubert

  10. Anonymous
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 11:23 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hubert we are angry because we are watching something near and dear die a slow death. Maybe the foul language wasn’t called for, but I have gone home many nights and cried in frustration.
    There is no notion here anymore of what it is we do differently from the private sector. Why is there a CBC? What is it’s purpose? We know, but our management doesn’t. This where our frustration and anger comes from. I sit in meetings listening to people pay lip service to the old principles, and values of this place, and listen to them pretend that they are still being fufilled. They aren’t, and we all know that.
    I work in an area of the CBC that has an international reputation for quality programs. This opens all kinds of doors, and makes my job much easier. I often wonder if they saw what they had agreed to take part in they would be shocked. It doesn’t take long to tear down a reputation. An amazing one that was built of many years.

  11. Anonymous
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 9:51 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hubert,

    I, for one, have become quite apathetic to the whole political atmosphere at Mother Corp. It became abundantly clear to me after the lockout that bumbling incompetence has become the bar that upper management and executives need to reach. I’m sure that they are all proud of their accomplishments during the lockout, and have healthy bonuses to reflect that in their pay.

    On the staff side of things, there is still a passion and drive to make this CBC a better place, both for the employee, and more importantly, for the public consumer of our products. It seems that our leaders simply want to crush the unions, and are willing to spare no expense to do it. Management gives us nothing but grief and distain, yet we still seem to pull rabbits out of hats.

    So yes, there is a lot of bitterness. Stursburg is still here…and given greater responsibility (god help us all)…George Smith is still skulking the hallways…I wouldn’t share an elevator with them either fo fear of saying something that would cost me my job. No trust…no faith…and certianly no respect for those Bozos.

    So, welcome to the CBC. I hope you have more passion for the corp. that is evident among the lowly drones. I sincerely hope that you will learn quickly who can or cannot be trusted.

  12. Anonymous
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 8:34 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hubert T. Lacroix
    So, it seems that I got a few reactions with my posting, and got “conversations” going. That’s fine with me. I respect that. I’ll respect you even more if you come up to me and tell me what’s on your mind so that we can address it. Less time wasted that way.

    For those who are still not sure, I write my own stuff. You’ll find that out quickly. I might sound like a memo but that’s the way I write. Too much time spent in law firms I guess.

    I’m reading everyone’s comments with interest and will continue to do so for the next five years, whether the stuff I read agrees or not with what I am doing or trying to achieve. Still don’t think and will never think that blogging entitles anyone to be disrespectful or use language filled with hate or threats. Liked the suggestions from Michael on Tea Makers: made sense to me and I will do some of that.

    By the way, Matt on Insidethecbc, I’ve gone for beers after work with colleagues and never called my boss a f…., and will make a deal with you: I will pick up Scoble’s book on blogging if you pick up our CBC directory and at least write my name correctly. By the way, I don’t only namedrop the Barenaked Ladies but go to their concerts, buy their music and listen to it. I actually like them.

    Cheers.

    Hubert

  13. Anonymous
    Posted February 4, 2008 at 12:23 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Whatever you do, Hubert, just make sure Intelligence is not cancelled and instead gets proper promotion. It is, by far, the best drama CBC has ever done!

  14. Anonymous
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 9:07 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Enik said

    It is certainly true that the CBC is not a meritocracy, nor a democracy. Neither were Livent, YBM Magnex, Castor Holdings, Nortel, Royal Group, Biovail or Hollinger.

    One key point. Conrad Black, for all his many faults, and somewhat narrow view of the world, loved newspapers and journalism. The non-political pages of the National Post were, for a while, a wonder. Conrad Black can actually write (but he should take a copy of Strunk and White on simple style with him to the pen)

    Garth Darbinsky made Toronto the third power centre in the English speaking theatre world, at least for a while. He created some great shows.

    What has Richard Stursberg ever done? He has never done anything creative in his life (he probably even leaves the creative accounting to someone else)

    Those people Enik mentioned ran private sector companies as if each company was a private empire.

    The CBC is a public corporation.
    So why is Prime Minister Stephen “Accountability” Harper, even if he doesn’t like the CBC, allowing this bunch of crooks do what they’re doing with taxpayers money??????

  15. Enik
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 8:09 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Anonymous 8:57 and others:

    I know it provides some comfort to believe otherwise, but this is not a union/management issue.

    Ouimet and I are managers, as are a number of other people posting here. Not only do many in management share the concerns posted by employees, we believe it is essential that these concerns be addressed (by the President, the Board, the government, the public) and resolved for the corporation to pull itself out of the mire.

    It is certainly true that the CBC is not a meritocracy, nor a democracy. Neither were Livent, YBM Magnex, Castor Holdings, Nortel, Royal Group, Biovail or Hollinger.

    The difference is that our shareholders–the Canadian public–are effectively powerless when faced with shocking mismanagement in our organization at the most senior levels.
    There are no annual general meetings, no elections. There is no forum for their proposals or their resolutions. Canadians cannot sell their shares (likely at a loss) to express their anxiety and discontent over the direction the corporation is going.

    We may be a public broadcaster, but the public (and the employees, and 90% of management) is shut out of any meaningful dialogue about our corporate governance. That conversation is held among a very small group who put their own interests first. If you are satisfied with that arrangement, then good for you: you’re getting the Canadian public broadcaster that you deserve. But some of us believe we all deserve better, and that’s why we’re here.

  16. sadforcbc
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 7:42 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Dear Hubert

    You and the Board approved Richard Stursburg’s explanation for the secret untendered sale of CBC archives. We’d like to know what that explantion was. But you won’t tell us.

    Your defence of this sale was that you were convinced by Richard Stursburg’s arguments, without saying what those arguments were.

    You did say you were the communication guy, right?

    I do not want to again offend your sensibilites by using bad words.

    But WTF?

    The deal smells, and the lack of disclosure stinks.

    It’s Richard’s deal, we understand that. But this was your first shining moment, and you failed.

    This is the CBC. This is the public broadcaster. As such, we are held to a higher level of scrutiny. We are held to a higher standard. The properties we hold are a public trust. And I am sorry sir, but your assurance that Richard Stursburg’s rationale for this sale was good enough for you and the board, but not good enough to disclose to the general public, doesn’t fly.

    This is but the latest example of executive hubris, which has been well documented in both the historical record and the blog responses you are reading. Your plea for defence of senior management has apparently gone nowhere. You have instead received thoughtful and erudite arguments for his dismissal, more reasoned and less profane than mine.

    This guy has got to go, and in the meantime, you have to stop him from doing what he is doing.

    Hubert, I really appreciate you responding. I really really do. That’s genuine, it’s heartfelt, and if the blogs are any indication, I think it reflects the feeling that most of us have.

    But I don’t buy for a second that a corporate lawyer and CEO with 30 odd years of experience is “stopped in his tracks” and questioning his goals based on a single caustic internet post. It is at best, disengenuous and at worst pollyanish to the point of being, well, ridiculously pollyanish. If before signing on, you did not know there was morale problems at the CBC, and a schism between senior management and employees, then god help us. It is one thing to talk about about rebuilding burned bridges, and totally another when the arsonist remains in your employ.

    All the best
    Sad

  17. Anonymous
    Posted February 3, 2008 at 6:57 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I guess there has been no healing since the lock-out. The atmosphere is poisonous. While there is nobody who can defend the bumbling RS and his hapless toadies (they have done possibly fatal damage), the place isn’t a meritocracy. Until the CMG is willing to see it’s own superannuated incompetents (we all know many) out the door, they haven’t earned the right to judge.

  18. estragon
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 11:43 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Mr. Lacroix,

    We haven’t been introduced, so I won’t address you by your first name. You can call me Mr. Estragon.

    It’s too bad that sadforcbc chose to use obscenities in an otherwise perfectly reasonable critique of Richard Stursberg’s destructive tenure at the CBC. If the obscenities have drawn your attention away from the rest of the content, I urge you to read the post again. There’s much more to it than a few f-words, and much of it reflects the way most CBCers feel.

    I don’t work for the CBC, though I have in the past and may again in the future. If I may, let me try to give you some context, based on my experience there and elsewhere.

    a) You will not get very far by referring to the CBC as a “company.” An organization, yes. A public trust, definitely. But not the kind of corporate entity that you’re accustomed to dealing with.

    b) You write: “I simply can’t believe this blog represents how we all feel about this company and its leaders. I have met too many people who seem to care.” Of course people care about the organization. But the CBC and its leaders are not synonymous. It should be clear from the general atmosphere at the CBC (of which this blog is but one manifestation) that Stursberg et al. have completely lost the respect of the staff. That doesn’t mean the staff don’t care about the CBC – quite the opposite is true.

    c) You write: “Am I wasting my time trying to focus on creating change, on trying to get us to think as one company and on moving forward?” It all depends on what you mean by thinking as one company. The CBC employs a lot of ornery free-thinkers who are not fond of corporate groupthink, which is how many people would interpret that phrase. (It also employs a bunch of bureaucrats, conformists and Dilberts who’d be better off working elswhere – it’s your job to figure out who’s who.)

    d) You write: “How can one actually use this kind of foul language when writing about anyone, let alone about the key senior executives who lead CBC, our company?” Your question appears to ascribe some kind of special status to (to “privilege,” as you put it) the CBC’s senior executives. This is precisely the kind of thinking that you will have to let go of if you want to understand the CBC’s culture and make real, positive changes. The CBC is comprised largely of journalists and creative individuals. These are not people who give anyone respect based solely on their position. Their respect must be earned. Clearly Stursberg has failed to do so. Rather than expressing outrage that a member of your executive team has been insulted, you might want to ask why this is so, how many people have similar feelings, and whether these feelings are based on an accurate assessment of Stursberg’s tenure.

    In my estimation, the evidence is incontrovertible. The EVP of English Services has demonstrated gross incompetence and a stunning lack of personal ethics, and has failed to meet the goals he himself set for the organization.

    The conclusion, sans obscenities, must be (to paraphrase Al Gore), it’s time for him to go.

    Yours truly,
    estragon

  19. Blistering Barnacles
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    To Mr. Lacroix, from a CBC Listener,
    Look past the F-words, listen to these people. Wishing you all the best.

  20. Anonymous
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 7:40 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Allan,

    Your ever-changing, on-topic and grammatically competent opinions on Stombo are always welcome.

    Keep it up!

  21. Allan
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 2:11 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Mr. Larcroix
    I realize that there’s very little you can do in your job, apart from listen and soothe.
    You’re not about to fire Strursberg and you’re not going to initiate new programs.
    So you’re fairly limited in what you can accomplish, other than promoting civility.
    Already it’s clear that you are a powerless, useless figurehead enjoying an all-expenses-paid few years in an honorary seat.
    We get it.
    Your attempt to discipline the blogging community is no doubt of comfort to those who are bothered by noise, but reveals too much of just how limited your range truly is.
    You come off like a lawyer asking for order and quiet in the courtroom. then proceed to dismiss the concerns printed here as being from too thin a slice of the CBC workforce to have any merit.
    You are right, and clearly or willfully blind to the whole, and obvious, picture.

    But since this is your unintended foray in what may well be the closest we will ever get to having an audience with you in a public forum, could I ask you if you would kindly pass on a couple of messages?
    To the people who are actually running the place.

    Dear Richard,
    Please leave.
    It’s too late to repair the damage you’ve done, so please leave.
    Do your country and the CBC a favour and please leave.
    Being in the upper echelons of a government operation I’m certain you know where all the different coloured parachutes are that are available to you. Please begin choosing one so that in a few months you can quietly slip out the back door “to take on new and exciting opportunities in pharmaceuticals” or something where they enjoy the company of a feisty gunslinger such as you like to portray.
    The CBC needs you to move on so that it can move on. It’s the single and ceremonial move that’s required for the corporation to appear to be turning a new corner.
    Please leave. Take your pride to Palm Beach or Fox News.
    But please, leave. We’ll all agree that you’ve accomplished just tons during your time on watch, in fact we can dress up how you’ve … eh … distinguished yourself, any way you want, if it will just get you out the door.
    Retire with Burman or go kill baby seals, but please leave.

    Dear George
    You came in billed as the Golden Child but your growth seems a bit, retarded. Perhaps you just don’t want to grow up. I understand.
    But we both know that you can’t keep going forever with this entertainment tonight tripe for goths and christians.
    There will always be another teenybopper who finds you on MySpace and thinks they will be your new and special friend, but your peers are no longer impressed with your skills as a content provider.
    After supporting and training you for all these years, we had hoped for better from you. We foolishly imagined that you would lead by example in a fresh approach to journalism, and for once be someone that could connect to an internet savvy audience.
    Instead it appears you have become a victim of Stockholm Syndrome, and dearly miss the pies in your face at Much Music.
    But please begin deliberations for the next evolution of the Strombo brand. Perhaps join forces with Amber MacArthur and Jesse Hersh and consider the daring, revolutionary concept of giving the country what you really, really want (and I’m not beneath quoting Spice Girls in order to reach you).
    You’ve demonstrated a fair amount of nerve, George, but it’s time to ratch it up to courage and produce something, instead of being produced.
    You underestimate yourself and the opportunities at the CBC, even if you are a kind of goofball flunkie in the scheme of things. But try believing in your character and intellect instead of always aiming for cute as the path to fame and a smallish fortune. Why leave it to Tom Green to be the only visionary Trekkie.
    I think that one day you might actually do something exceptional and worthwhile, George, but you’re free to tell me I’m wrong, and that I’m overestimating you.
    So be it … Dr. Strombo.

    Thanks Hubert, may I call you Hubert now that you and I are best friends?
    Hey, remember that Youngbloods song …
    Come on people now
    smile on your brother
    everybody get together
    and try to love one another right now

    sweet. really sweet

  22. Anonymous
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 12:43 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Wow. I think I’ve finally found a situation where everything is black and white. CBC management is wrong, wrong, wrong and the union is always right. The union are the ones trying to give Canadians value for their money. I know a billion a year is not a lot, but the CBC really knows how to spend it.

  23. Anonymous
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 12:01 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    And the respect thing:

    It is earned, not handed
    out at some lame workshop.

    Anyone else notice that since
    Dick started banging Carole that she has appeared on the
    CBC promo ads in the Globe and Mail. Tell me that ain’t a conflict of interest.

  24. Anonymous
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 11:21 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Ummmmm…..
    …Troll?
    Geez, is this the only blog you read? (but kudoes to the author).

  25. Enik
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 1:50 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Oh and Hubert: If all you got out of Sadforcbc’s post is the brief stream of foul language, I urge you to read it again . Read everything before the f-words and everything after. Don’t let a few curse words blind you to the real obscenities that are going on here.

  26. Enik
    Posted February 2, 2008 at 1:46 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hubert, I’m delighted that you want to take part in a frank conversation on this blog with the employees who post here (a good number of whom are in management).

    I fear, though, that you misunderstand those of us who feel so strongly about our executive managers and their competence that we use strong language to express those feelings:

    “Is the gap between management and employees so wide that no bridge can be built? How can one actually use this kind of foul language when writing about anyone, let alone about the key senior executives who lead CBC, our company? It’s one thing for my notes to staff to end up in the Toronto Star and for me to be quoted therein, quite another for me to read words filled with such hate targeting our senior executives.

    “After some more reflection, and meeting more employees in Vancouver this week, I concluded that I simply can’t believe this blog represents how we all feel about this company and its leaders. I have met too many people who seem to care.”

    Hubert, the extreme disgust that we have expressed is precisely because we do care. We care deeply about this organization, its valued history and heritage, its past excellence, and its uncertain future. Even those of us who do not spew four letter words at the mention of Mr. Stursberg and his minions feel that he is betraying the mandate of the corporation and the public it serves. Shoddy programming, shady deals, outspoken disdain and contempt for his staff–these have been Mr. Stursberg’s hallmarks during the lockout and ever since.

    “Am I wasting my time trying to focus on creating change, on trying to get us to think as one company and on moving forward?”

    You are, if you allow Mr. Stursberg and his enablers to remain in their current positions.

    One more thing, Hubert: if anyone comes to you and tells you to adjust your writing style, to tone down your exclamation marks–fire them. Your style is uniquely yours, and a breath of fresh air. It gives us hope, and so do you. Please don’t let us down.

  27. Anonymous
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 7:47 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Sure, we’ll do some kicking…
    after you kick Dick Stursberg
    and his cronies out the door. You have inherited the worst managemnt structure in the history of the CBC.
    Stursberg is not a credible programmer nor a leader.

    Morale is not as bad as you think, it’s worse!

    Those telling you otherwise are lying or sucking up. The whole thing needs to be rebuilt from the ground up and it will take more than “respect workshops”.
    Good luck.

  28. Johnny Happypants
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I don’t understand. I didn’t think the original post was supposed to be funny.

  29. Adam
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 2:55 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hubert,

    STANDING OVATION! Your willingness to engage and communicate is exactly the kind of cultural change the CBC needs!

    Big ups dude. HUGE ups.

  30. Turnip
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 2:02 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hubert, if this truly is you – and I have no reason not to believe it – I want to congratulate you on not only reading this blog (difficult as it obviously was) but in composing your honest thoughts and committing them to print. That in itself is a good sign, and I think you are starting down the right road, even if we never agree on anything again.

    You can’t be expected to know the entire history of the Teamakers – hell, or of the whole CBC, for that matter – so I’d like to give you my take on what it represents.

    This site grew out of the lockout, and traces of that event still exist, both online and on the payroll. We all work hard to not let it affect our work, but there’s a lingering trust deficit out there. I don’t know if they briefed you on this coming in to the job, but you’ve inherited it.

    The site has evolved, too, because – it turns out – workplace frustration didn’t end in 2005. You’ve inherited that too.

    You’re already doing the best possible job of overcoming it; namely, you are setting a new standard and communicating in a new way. That’s great! But it doesn’t erase history, nor fix ongoing problems, and I hope you won’t throw in the towel at the first sign of dissent.

    And dissent is one of the things the Teamakers does well. Sure, some of it is offensive, destructive bile. But some of it is constructive, and done by people who really care about the CBC and want to make it better.

    I really wish there were a place within the corporation where anyone could say anything they want about anyone and anything, without fear of reprisals, without mincing words to protect their careers. I wish I could always shout down a bad decision, tell off a bad manager, comment publicly on things I have a contrary opinion about – but I can’t. Sometimes the culture precludes it. Sometimes corporate policies preclude it. Sometimes it isn’t worth the emotional baggage.

    Maybe you can figure that one out while you are here – I suspect many corporations would like the formula.

    In the meantime, people come to this site – like people do all over the internet – to gripe, vent, laugh, commiserate, and then move on. It isn’t the workplace – that’s the entire point! – and corporate policies on respect don’t really apply. It’s as close to an unfettered marketplace of ideas as you’ll find, and you can’t be expected to like all of them.

    No one post, guest column or response represents all staff. Of course not. Does anything on the internet?

    Personally, I’m not as angry (nor as rude) as the person who wrote this post. I don’t agree with much of it. I wouldn’t write such things. But it’s one opinion, and I’m glad there’s a forum for it.

    OK, so you’ve now come to realize that some of your staff despise your EVP. Some of them even say bad words about him. You probably should have been briefed on that. But I really don’t see the point in attacking the medium of that anger – it doesn’t make it go away.

    Honestly, I read sadforcbc’s guest post – bitter as it was – as an invitation to you to listen to people, in all the ways they come forward, and hear them – whether they feel comfortable signing their name to it or not.

    I hope, by replying here, that it means you are listening.

    Even if you disagree.

    Even if you wouldn’t use such language.

    Even if you don’t like these kinds of blogs.

    Even if you don’t think it’s funny.

    Bridges can be built. Don’t let a bit of nasty diatribe undermine your bridge building. And don’t think that because people vent on the internet that, as a group, they don’t care. We care, we want someone to listen – and we know that’s a tough gig.

    You’re obviously up for it. Thanks VERY much for listening.

  31. Anonymous
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 1:34 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hear, hear! Well put, Hubert.

  32. Hubert T. Lacroix
    Posted February 1, 2008 at 12:07 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I didn’t think this was funny. Not at all.

    As you undoubtedly noticed, I privilege communicating. I think that it is the foundation upon which we can build an engaged, committed and focused company. So, I started my term with this goal as my number one priority, going at it hard and trying to rebuild some bridges between all involved.

    I then ran into this guest posting, which stopped me dead in my tracks.

    At first, I could not believe that someone could use this kind of language in any communication. So, I reread the blog hoping that I had imagined some of the stuff I thought I had read. No such luck. Maybe the author missed or has not yet attended the “Respect” workshops that many of you have so proudly told me about.

    So, after shaking my head in disbelief, this blog triggered the following questions for me: is this person a true reflection of the feelings and opinions of our staff? Am I wasting my time trying to focus on creating change, on trying to get us to think as one company and on moving forward? Should I refocus my priorities on limiting my involvement to the executive floors (God knows we have enough challenges navigating in this environment to keep me busy for the next five years, non-stop)? Is the gap between management and employees so wide that no bridge can be built? How can one actually use this kind of foul language when writing about anyone, let alone about the key senior executives who lead CBC, our company? It’s one thing for my notes to staff to end up in the Toronto Star and for me to be quoted therein, quite another for me to read words filled with such hate targeting our senior executives.

    After some more reflection, and meeting more employees in Vancouver this week, I concluded that I simply can’t believe this blog represents how we all feel about this company and its leaders. I have met too many people who seem to care.

    So, I then ask: if you knew that your neighbour had written these words, what would you tell him/her? Would you ask this person to stop? Would you stand up for the CBC and its executives? Or, would you encourage him/her to write on? Or, would you simply look away and not care? And, what if those words had been written about your daughter, your spouse, your sister, your mother or yourself: what would you then do?

    I don’t expect us to always get along swimmingly. We will disagree and, at that time, I will expect those who disagree to speak up and, respectfully, make their views known in the proper forum. I expect our senior executives to behave in exactly the same way.

    This is about respect and trust. Today, in all medias, the news is about unrest in Kenya. Don’t we feel privileged that we live in a country which protects our fundamental values, including the right to free speech? But blogs of this kind don’t work for me. Do they for you?

    Many of you have already heard me use the words from a Bruce Cockburn song (made popular by the Barenaked Ladies):

    “Nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight
    Got to kick at the darkness till it bleeds daylight”

    I am ready to do the fighting and kicking to effect change and build respectful communications between us. But, I can’t do it by myself. Are you willing to do some kicking?

    Cheers!

    Hubert

  33. Johnny Happypants
    Posted January 29, 2008 at 5:04 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Hubert’s rubberstamping of the deal at the board meeting and his casual explanation are signs nothing will change.

    Doesn’t CBC News still have an investigative unit? Sure the 5th estate ran out of money last October, but this one shouldn’t cost that much. Probably wouldn’t have to leave the building. Maybe Global or CTV wants to do something. They can do their primary research right here.

  34. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 6:13 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Memo
    From: I.M. Hatchetman, PMO Section 666. (Purging Liberal appointees)

    To: Big Pictureguy PMO Section 21 (Creating the Conservative Paradise)

    Subject: Richard Stursberg, Liberal appointee.

    You are no doubt aware of the controversy over the sale of the CBCs international sales office using untendered bidding.

    It is my my mandate to purge all Liberal appointees I can, specially those who have screwed up. And Richard Stursberg was appointed to be vice president of the CBC under the Liberals. He is the leader of the CBC liberal cabal.

    Can I get, him, please, pretty please?

    Regards I. M. Hatchetman

    Memo
    From: Big Pictureguy PMO Section 21 (Creating the Conservative Paradise)

    To: I.M. Hatchetman, PMO Section 666. (Purging Liberal appointees)

    I.M. I admire your zeal and enthusiasm. But in this case, let sleeping dogs lie. With a minority government we cannot afford to spend the political capital to dismantle the CBC. Stursberg will dismantle the CBC for us and when the time comes to close the shop, there will be nothing left, except him. Then we can find a way to get rid of him.

    yours Big

  35. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 4:24 pm | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I doubt, somehow, that Hubie is aware of this forum.

  36. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 10:36 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Dear Hubert,

    Get rid of Stursberg. Follow his reputation. Look at his work at Telefilm, and the mess he left them with.

    Ask people off the record, and you will find that everyone wants him gone.

    He has to go.

    If you want to make a decision that will unify the entire building, get rid of Stursberg.

    Get rid of him now.

  37. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 10:09 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    message to Hubert;

    your first order of business is to fire Dick and every one of his handpicked friends with extreme prejudice

    and then you must review every one of the questionable business dealings and production decisions made under his stewardship

    good luck

  38. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 6:29 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    It would be unusual, in the way of things corporate, for Lacroix not to ditch a liability like RS. There are no positives associatied with the current exec. Hubert, fresh as a daisy, doesn’t need to start with that stink on him. I’m sure it is just a question of when and how they find some face-saving exit.

  39. Anonymous
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 6:26 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    Sad

    You forgot one thing. Hubert is a lawyer.
    He is not technically a member of the law department, but he is their boss.

    In this case, Hubert, as pres of the CBC has a client–the people of Canada.

    Unlike the paper pushing bureaucrats who have run the CBC for the past while, as a lawyer he should recognize that the sales deal smells and where something smells there’s something rotten somewhere.

    So it’s time Hubert started working for his client–the people of Canada– and collects the evidence that lets him get rid of the rot at the top. (Of course he may be doing that already for all we know. wouldn’t that be nice)

  40. Surly
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 6:20 am | # | Reply to this masterpiece

    I’m still far too pissed that a whole factory (Design on 9&B4) has been sent home, mostly because the management couldn’t figure out how to account for it, and how to make money with it.

    The corp MUST stop the sycophantic appointments.

    Oh yeah, and I’m still pissed about the lock-out too. There’s no reason to believe it wont happen again.


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