“The math didn’t work,” Colette Watson said matter-of-factly. She is the vice-president of television and operations at Rogers Television.
It wasn’t a question of math, insisted the Cantonese, Mandarin, Italian and Punjabi-speaking viewers whose newscasts had been chopped. It was a betrayal, pure and simple.
In their view, the media giant’s latest cutback broke a long-standing commitment by Ted Rogers, the founder of the network. It violated the broadcaster’s 35-year pledge to champion diversity. It threw Canada’s ethnic minorities off the bus to make room for big-bucks sports franchises and lucrative digital platforms.
“Rogers has stripped bare the first-ever multilingual television licence,” said Dr. Joseph Wong, founder of the Yee Hong Foundation for Geriatric Care and a longtime member of the Chinese Canadian National Council. “We are asking the federal government and the CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) to make sure Rogers does not systematically dismantle an important part of Canada’s multicultural broadcasting heritage.”
He spoke for a coalition of community groups — the Urban Alliance on Race Relations, the Canadian Ethnocultural Council, the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants and the Toronto chapter of the Chinese Canadian National Council — fighting to the reverse the cutback.
There is no simple truth in this cash-verses-culture battle.