11/16/2014 01:54 EST | Updated 01/16/2015 05:59 EST

Radio-Canada Supporters March In Montreal Ahead Of CBC Job Cuts


MONTREAL - Supporters of CBC's French-language service Radio-Canada have a message for the federal government: no more cuts.

Thousands marched through downtown Montreal on Sunday as part of a series of protests across Quebec as well as in Moncton, N.B.

Nicolas Bedard, who organized the Montreal event, said Quebecers value Radio-Canada and want to ensure it gets adequate funding. He said the public broadcaster is vital for a healthy democracy.

Radio-Canada employees, union members, and local politicians were among those who took part in the Montreal demonstration.

CBC/Radio-Canada announced in June it would slash 1,000 to 1,500 jobs over the next five years.

That came in addition to another 657 job cuts announced in April to meet a budget shortfall caused by falling advertising revenues and federal budget reductions.

Lisa Djevahirdjian, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Union of Public Employees and promoter of an "I love Radio-Canada" campaign, said support for the movement is growing. It calls for increased funding, greater stability, and more independence from the federal government.

In a statement, CBC President Hubert Lacroix said Sunday's rallies were further evidence of the important connection between the public broadcaster and the public.

But Lacroix himself has been the target of protest.

On Wednesday, Radio-Canada staff in Sherbrooke, Que., refused an award presented to them by Lacroix due to the ongoing job losses.

The newsroom had been selected to receive the President's Award in the "Audience First'' category for their coverage of the Lac-Megantic disaster.