Manera Canada b’caster prez

MONTREAL — Prime Minister Jean Chretien has appointed veteran Canadian Broadcasting Corp. executive Tony Manera as head of the national pubcaster. Manera had been acting president of the CBC since Gerard Veilleux stepped down last November.

Manera has been a senior veepee at the corporation since 1986.

“It’s the flagship of our culture,” Heritage Minister Michel Dupuy said in making the announcement in Ottawa.

CBC has national English and French TV networks, two radio services, and it also operates the all-news web Newsworld. The TV webs are publicly funded but generate advertising revenue as well.

The government also announced that there would be no new cutbacks to the CBC and that the previously announced cuts would be brought in over five years rather than two. Last spring, the former Tory government handed down a budget that included $ C250 million ($ 187.8 million) in cuts to the broadcaster.

“The good news is that our funding has been stabilized over the next five years and we are now allowed to borrow money,” said CBC spokesman Bob Macgregor. “But we were told that we have to learn to live with the previous cuts.”

Former prexy Veilleux left a year before the end of his term amid much speculation that he was leaving because of the lack of financial support from the government.

The Italian-born Manera faces a number of immediate challenges in his new job. He has to hire a replacement for recently departed English TV head Ivan Fecan, and the CBC’s license is up for renewal in March with the federal broadcast watchdog agency.

Manera joined CBC in 1985 as vice president of human resources and he was named senior veepee in 1986. The prime minister has appointed Manera to a five-year term as CBC president.

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