NDP wants more taxpayer cash for CBC

(Alex Urosevic/QMI Agency File Photo)

(Alex Urosevic/QMI Agency File Photo)

Brian Lilley, National Bureau

, Last Updated: 5:52 PM ET

OTTAWA — As CBC prepared to announce cuts to programming Thursday, the NDP called on the government to boost the state broadcaster's current annual subsidy of $1.1 billion.

CBC president Hubert Lacroix will brief employees about the financial future of the broadcaster in the wake of losing the English-language rights to NHL hockey games and the $100 million in annual ad revenue that went with them.

In the House of Commons Wednesday, New Democrat Irene Mathyssen claimed the Harper government has abandoned CBC.

"Mr. Speaker, we need a government that believes in supporting public broadcasting, not dismantling it," Mathyssen said.

"Will the government finally commit to provide CBC/Radio-Canada stable, long-term funding so it can fulfil its mandate?"

Heritage Minister Shelly Glover told the Commons the CBC is an independent body that manages its own affairs. She also pointed out Lacroix has said the broadcaster is dealing with declining viewership.

"When we talk about viewership, it is up to the CBC and Radio-Canada to provide viewership and programming that Canadians are interested in," Glover said.

"In the meantime, this government has given record funds. It has enough to deal with its mandate, and I encourage it to do so."

Earlier this year Lacroix warned of "dark clouds on the horizon" for CBC after the loss of hockey, but also pledged not to ask for more government money.

Rogers takes control of the English-language broadcast rights for NHL hockey next season. CBC lost the French-language rights to private sector competitors more than a decade ago.