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Bell Media’s CEO Mirko Bibic testified yesterday on why the company fired over 6,100 media employees in under a year despite receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from Canadian taxpayers.

The Conservative Party’s newest MP Jamil Jivani questioned Bibic about the company’s record of firing and losing employees due to accusations of discrimination. Those allegations also came from Jivani himself, who was previously employed by the outlet.

Jivani sued Bell Media after being fired from the company over what he called tokenism despite the company’s stated commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

According to the National Post He claimed he was hired as a token visible minority but fired when he didn’t match the liberal views the white executives expected from a Black man.

The company denied these claims but listed Jivani’s “open disdain” of Bell’s DEI initiatives as a reason for terminating his employment.

“Patricia Jaggernauth left CP24 claiming she was being tokenized as a black woman. Danielle Graham left CTV E-Talk claiming it was in part due to sexism and of course we’ve seen multiple media reports suggesting that Lisa Laflamme was pushed out of CTV news due to ageism,” Jivani said at the hearing.

He asked Bibic if Canadians should be concerned about a pattern of “deplorable employment practices” at Bell Media.

“I’m very proud of the diverse group of journalists we have across the country,” Bibic said. “The job reductions were kind of difficult and unfortunate. I mean a smaller number of the broader number affected Bell Media directly but we have the same percentage now as before of diverse journalists.”

Bibic spoke about accomplishments in “diversifying” the workplace at Bell.

“We were the first to have an all-women NBA broadcast for example,” he said. “Before I became CEO 15% were women and now it’s 30%. One level below that, the Senior Vice President layer of (Bell Canada Enterprises), in 2019, 20% were women and now it’s double that.”

Jivani wasn’t convinced that this was evidence of anything other than “tokenism.”

“It sounds to me like you may be proving some of the allegations correct in your response, given you’re engaging in tokenism in your answer.” Jivani said. “None of this hiring of people based on quotas or percentages as you seem to be indicating would necessarily make Bell immune from the allegations made of tokenism, racism, sexism and ageism.” Bibic stated DEI is something they take very seriously at Bell Media.

“If there are incidents we will investigate them and make sure they’re addressed,” he said. “More broadly we seek to do better each and every year, and we want to have as diverse a workforce as possible at all levels of the company.”

In a post made on X with a clip from some of the proceedings, Jivani criticized DEI policies at large.

“DEI policies are a smokescreen used by big businesses like Bell Canada to create a fake sense of compassion and progress. Bell Media CEO Mirko Bibic proved this in his responses to my questions today.”

Bibic reaffirmed that Bell media has the same percentage of diverse journalists now as they did before “reconstructing.”

“You’ve given us a word salad about how important DEI is to your company, and yet it doesn’t seem that you’ve thought about DEI when firing 5000 Canadian workers,” Jivani said.

In another post made on X, Jivani accused Bibic of disrespecting Canadian democracy by speaking over him and stating that he had not heard one of Jivani’s comments due to technical errors.

He asked Bibic what he would say to consumers who are concerned that their continued business with Bell is financing a “highly questionable media operation,” Bibic responded.

“We are very proud of the services we provide to Canadians who subscribe. Millions of customers are with us and we deliver excellent value to them.”