November 16, 1992 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


James Hugh Faulkner

Hon. J. Hugh Faulkner (Secretary of State of Canada):

In reply to parts (a) and (b) I am informed by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as follows: (a) and (b) Parliament has not as a matter of custom since the corporation's creation in 1936 required CBC to supply in answering Parliamentary questions certain details of its internal management and administration. Parliament has had two reasons for following this custom: first, the independence of the CBC as a Crown corporation established for the purpose of producing and broadcasting independently of political or commercial interference programs for a national program service; and, second, the competitive nature of many of CBC's activities. The appropriateness of the CBC providing certain categories of information has been considered on many occasions by various parliamentary committees and when the CBC has suggested that such information should not be made a matter of public record its views have been accepted by them. Names of staff members and their functions in relation to specific programs and the costs related to such assignments as requested in Question No. 2295 are examples of details which it has not been customary to require the CBC to supply. It is open to Parliament to discuss the policies it and the CBC have followed in this regard and it would be appropriate to review them when the CBC's estimates are before the House of Commons Committee on Broadcasting, Films and Assistance to the Arts.
(c) No. The government makes available all information requested by members except where publication would be inconsistent with the mandate given to the corporation by Parliament. This principle is well established and accepted with respect to information about government agencies and Crown corporations which are in competition with the private sector.

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