Canada's CBC Fights Back as Politicians Demand to Know Top Anchor Salary

Hubert Lacroix, president of the Canadian public broadcaster, refuses to reveal how much Peter Mansbridge earns on privacy grounds.

TORONTO — Never mind Jill Abramson.

Canadian media has its salary fight dominating local headlines as conservative senators in Ottawa attempt to lift the lid on how much Peter Mansbridge, the chief news anchor at the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., a public broadcaster, gets paid, including perks and bonuses.

The politicians were left fuming when CBC president Hubert Lacroix met with them earlier this week on Parliament Hill and disclosed Mansbridge has the same base salary as a senior producer at the network: $80,485.

That quickly had newspaper columnists citing Lacroix for insulting taxpayers as he refused to come clean on what the actual total pay for Mansbridge and other top anchors at the public broadcaster is.

On Friday, Lacroix wrote to the senators on a Parliamentary committee probing the CBC’s future, insisting Mansbridge’s annual pay remains confidential on privacy grounds.

“At no time did we suggest that Peter Mansbridge’s total pay for the work he does at CBC/Radio-Canada is between $63,797 and $80,485,” Lacroix continued.

He wrote that was the salary range negotiated for a “senior host” in the CBC’s collective agreement with its unionized staff, before hinting Mansbridge receives a bonus to reflect his market value.

“The contribution Peter Mansbridge makes to CBC News, and to CBC/Radio-Canada as a whole, is clearly much more than his job classification. The salary negotiated with the corporation recognizes his value,” Lacroix told the politicians.

The growing food fight between conservative senators and the CBC over top-talent pay comes as the public broadcaster faces job and programming cuts while trimming $130 million from its operating budget.

The Canadian broadcaster is also having to do without $115 million in federal government subsidies eliminated over the last three years, cuts that led to earlier rounds of job and programming cuts.