CBC should demand that boss Lacroix resign

Hypocrisy has reared its ugly head at the CBC.

CBC President Hubert Lacroix announced Friday that he quietly paid back $29,678.11 in inappropriate expenses last fall. The admittance came on the weekend, of course, when bad news is vetted to the press by media-savvy types.

Sun News host Brian Lilley reported last week that Lacroix repaid the expenses, incurred for hotels, meals and other expenses for work at CBC headquarters in Ottawa, away from his home in Montreal. Lacroix’s annual salary is between $350,000 and $421,000, and includes a $1,500 monthly living allowance, club memberships and a car allowance. He had been wrongly claiming accommodation costs since being appointed in 2008.

That Lacroix didn’t make public his repayment until the weekend is unconscionable, particularly since he paid it back months ago. This is not just an admittance of error, but an astounding lack of judgment.

Lacroix has but one move to make: Resign. And if he doesn’t, then the CBC itself should demand that he steps down.

Wait a minute: Isn’t it the CBC that continually leads the charge against the grave, egregious sins of senators who make bogus expense claims? The CBC has been persistent in pointing out the wrongdoings of senators Mike Duffy, Mac Harb Patrick Brazeau and Pamela Wallin, which they should have done.

These senators, who drew from the public purse, have either resigned or been expelled. Why should it be any different for Lacroix? It’s still public money.

When it comes to one of their own – in fact, their president – where are the cries from within the CBC for him to stand down?

Congratulations to whoever leaked the information, but another question must be asked: Within the CBC, who knew what, when, concerning Lacroix, and failed to speak up?

Having their top executive fingered for doing exactly the same thing is not good on any level. It’s just another example of the CBC’s culture of entitlement that is far removed from reality, and particularly galling for a public broadcaster whose responsibilities include keeping government accountable.

If Lacroix doesn’t resign, whatever credibility the CBC has is impugned as long as he remains at the helm. How can they continue to ask the Who, What, When, Where and Why questions they need to with Lacroix’s damaged shadow cast over the entire operation? As long as he remains at his cushy perch, it casts a pall over the CBC’s ability to provide a sense of credible journalism when necessary.

People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. The CBC shouldn’t be throwing any stones until it cleans up its own house, starting with Lacroix.

Vancouver Island News Group

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