Federal NDP demands answers over OMNI news cuts at Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage


FEDERAL NDP Jinny Sims offNEW Democrats questioned Rogers Media President Keith Pelley over cuts to OMNI News at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Wednesday.

“OMNI News in Punjabi played an important role for new immigrants and those whose first language is Punjabi,” said NDP MP Jinny Sims (Newton-North Delta). “Questions need to be asked about how to ensure those in the South Asian community who relied on OMNI stay connected and informed.”

Sims said in a press release that she “grilled” Pelley about compliance with their CRTC license and potential new sources of revenue from advertisements.

She said: “Under the leadership of Tom Mulcair, will continue to push for answers. The NDP and the South Asian community have a long history together fighting for what’s right.”

But Sims did not provide any details of the ‘grilling’ in her press release.


IN May, the Globe and Mail reported that Rogers cut 110 positions from its conventional TV operations. Colette Watson, Rogers’s vice-president of television and operations, said in an interview that the OMNI news broadcasts cost $9-million to produce last year but brought in only about $3.9-million.

The newspaper also reported: “The Rogers Media unit of Toronto-based Rogers Communications Inc. lost $85.8-million before interest and taxes in its conventional TV operations last year, according to documents filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.”

A year ago, Pelley had said that most of OMNI’s revenues had come from ad sales on U.S. programs which have become more widely available in syndication and on streaming services. Those revenues had subsidized the ethnic and third-language news and information programming.