Ontario Elections 2022 Candidates Messages

Gail Carducci - For President

Gail Carducci – candidate for the President’s position

Experience with PNA

Since October of 2019, it’s been my privilege to represent our Toronto members as a Director on the Ontario Region Board. When I joined, I imagined the role would be primarily to organize events for our members. Those plans changed with the arrival of Covid. I have already started reviving those plans as more of us are protected. While get-togethers are important to us, we in the PNA are your advocates so, to keep you up to date, I’ve sent out a couple of communiques to keep members informed of the work we’ve been doing. You may have seen the PNA Primer that I sent out in June. People need to understand how the PNA works – an informed membership will lead to more participation.

The pension surplus sharing dispute is front and centre for all of us. I’m continuing to monitor the arbitration proceedings and will make sure that Ontario members’ voices are heard at the National table.

Recruitment and member involvement are challenges for us. Our PNA attracts barely 50% of CBC retirees nationally and the Ontario Region enrolment is below that number. With that in mind, I assembled a core group of members who are committed to working together to improve our organization. We’ve had good early success in signing up new members, we’ve got volunteers to work on the election committee, and to set up an information table at an upcoming CBC/CMG/APS ‘welcome back’ event at the Broadcasting Centre. This group of willing members can be a model throughout the Region.

I’ve also been busy on the national stage of our organization. In 2020 I was invited by the PNA National Vice-President (Anglophone) to lead a national working group to develop policy and strategy for improving diversity and inclusion. Seven of us from across the country worked hard on a proposal that was presented to the National Board of Directors in May of 2021. The proposal was adopted, and out of that work the Standing Committee on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion was established. This work gave me the opportunity to understand the PNA at the national level and to develop good relationships with other regions. These connections are especially important while we are in dispute with CBC over the pension surplus sharing agreement.

Plans for the future of the Ontario Region

 There are challenges facing us. We need to do better with recruitment. We need to do better with gender representation. We need retirees to understand why we matter to them. Almost half of CBC pensioners are women and our leadership must reflect that. In my campaign for Ontario Region President, I’m working with strong committed members like Barbara Saxberg and Talin Vartanian who are running for Vice-President and Secretary, respectively. Lise Lareau is on the ballot running for one of four Toronto Director positions. We are an energetic team with a successful record of action and competence.

It’s your money that pays for everything that the PNA does, and I will continue to be mindful of that. Covid taught us how to work on Zoom and that has drastically reduced the cost of meetings. Financial support for activities that benefit the members will be my priority. Important information will continue to be sent in paper format to those members who are not online. Keeping our members connected is how your money should be spent.

My commitment to the PNA has already led me to work hard on your behalf. I encourage you to contact me at gail.carducci@gmail.com with any questions you may have about the PNA or my candidacy for President of the region. My colleagues know that I do not shy away from work and that I prefer collaboration to conflict. I have worked effectively in the past and, with your support, I will advocate for every member of our region on the Ontario board and at the PNA National Board of Directors. Join us in our commitment to accountability, equity and evolution in the PNA. If you cannot attend the virtual AGM on October 12th, please sign a proxy form for one of your colleagues who will be there. Make sure that your voice is heard by helping to elect me, President.

Raj Narain – candidate for the President’s position

2014: With no PNA representation in Toronto, I started pub afternoons so CBC retirees could have a place to meet and socialize.

2016: I was elected as the Toronto representative to the Ontario Regional Board at a time when there was no Toronto representation. Today, as a result of my lobbying, the Toronto area has 4 Directors to serve its PNA retirees.

2019: I was elected VP of the Ontario on a pledge to make the PNA more accessible to its members and to give the PNA a stronger voice in its representation of its members. In spite of COVID and the enforced shutdown, I continued these efforts as a member of the National Recruitment Committee, where we developed programs to encourage more retirees to join the PNA.

By now you are asking “Why are you telling me this?” Because it demonstrates I work and continue to work hard to further the causes of the PNA and its members.

As President, my goal is to continue my efforts in making the PNA a force in its dealings with the CBC. We need look no further that at what the CBC wants to do with the Pension Surplus. We retirees put money into the Plan and so we should get our share.

“How do you plan to make the PNA stronger?”, you ask. Right now, the PNA doesn’t represent the majority of CBC retirees. We need to recruit more members. As President, I will continue to implement the strategies we developed on the National Recruitment Committee.  Along with the Guild, I will continue to deliver pre-retirement sessions to its CBC members and raise the profile of the PNA among CBC employees.

We also need to bring the PNA to its members. How you ask? By making it the go-to place for members’ issues and ensuring that the process is as seamless as possible. In other words, make it easy for members to get the information they need.

So you ask,” Why should you elect me as president?” One word – experience.

Experience in recruiting. Along with the Guild, I developed a pre-retirement session that is given to Guild employees in Toronto. We are in discussions with the CBC on how we can make it available to all employees across the country.

Experience working with the PNA National board. As a Board member, I’ve been working with fellow members from across the country to create more cohesive strategies on increasing membership and making the PNA more accessible to its members.

With this experience, as President I can hit the ground running building on what has been achieved as well as looking at creative ways to strengthen the PNA.

I hope you’ll consider me for President.

Barbara Saxberg – candidate for the Vice-President’s position

When I was first asked to consider running for a leadership role within the PNA, I honestly wasn’t sure. Like many of us retirees, I was finally getting to spend time doing all the things that really mattered to me, most importantly spending time with my family and my grandkids. Did I really want to carve out some of those precious hours for something that up until then hadn’t been top of mind? And then I was asked if I believed the PNA mattered. And the answer was, unequivocally, yes.

I took on the presidency of the Durham Chapter which later became the Durham-Trent Chapter and served for three years on the Ontario Board of the PNA. I frequently filled in at the National Board when the former Ontario Region President was unable to attend. And I played active roles in the National Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee and the National By-laws Review Committee. Then I took a break. Because there were other people and things calling to me. And frankly, I was tired. So what made me agree to run again, this time for Vice President of the Ontario Region? Well, it all comes back to that initial question: does the PNA matter. And my answer is still yes.

Here’s why. The PNA is our only voice at the table when it comes to matters concerning our pensions and our health benefits. Without it, the CBC would be free to make decisions in its interests without having to consider ours. The Memorandum of Agreement on pension surplus-sharing is one example. The Special Assistance Fund is another.

My 15 years’ experience serving as a CMG member on the Consultative Committee on Staff Benefits means I bring both history and understanding of our two most important files as retirees. My years on the National Executive Committee of the CMG as well as on the boards of the Guild’s parent unions nationally and internationally means I bring board and governance experience.

I’m running in this election as part of a progressive new team to lead the Ontario Region of the PNA. I worked hand in hand with Gail Carducci, who is running for President, through the creation and implementation of the PNA’s National Committee on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. I worked frequently with Talin Vartanian, running for Secretary, when we were both producers at CBC National Radio. And I sat at many of the same tables with Lise Lareau, running for Toronto Director, when she was President of the CMG. Each of these women is sharp, organized, experienced, creative and ready to step up. They bring energy, new ideas, and strong voices on the issues that matter to us as retirees. We share a common vision. And I’m proud to be part of their team.

One final note: In 2018, I was asked, through my consulting company, to design and facilitate the PNA’s Triennial Convention Strategic Planning meeting. It was there that I realized how few women were involved, looking around the room and seeing only a handful amongst the 50 or delegates. One of the top priorities that came out of that meeting was to find ways to bring more women into the leadership of the PNA at every level. Sadly, little to no effort has been made to follow up. And women remain vastly under represented at the National Board of the PNA. Currently, Ontario has two voting seats at that table – Regional President and VP. Bringing two women to those seats would double the current representation among a Board of 16 members… still not enough, but a significant improvement towards gender parity. I hope you’ll support the team of Carducci, Saxberg, Vartanian, and Lareau.

Talin Vartanian – candidate for the Secretary’s position

A little-known fact about me: I can type about as fast as you can speak. It’s a useful skill for anyone to have, but especially for the Secretary of the Ontario branch of the PNA, whose primary role is to record the essence of meetings. I’m running for that position as part of a slate of energetic new candidates.

Writing is second nature to me. I value not just clear thinking, but impeccable spelling, and good grammar. (A debate about the Oxford comma, anyone?) As a journalist for more than four decades, I can synthesize information quickly, and have a profound respect for deadlines.

My 43-year career at the CBC began with local radio in Ottawa. Then I was recruited to work on many cherished network radio programs, as a producer: at MorningsideAs It Happens, This Morning, and The Sunday Edition. I created Canada Reads, and was the program’s executive producer from 2001 to 2005. In 2007, I launched White Coat, Black Art, when it first aired as a summer program.

Currently, in addition to working as a writer, producer, and freelance editor, I’m active in the PNA, both as a member of the Communications Advisory Board, and as part of a core group that is revitalizing the Toronto branch. If elected as Secretary for the Ontario region, I will use all the skills that have served me well as a journalist, and I’ll support the work of these women who also are running for office: Gail Carducci as President, Barb Saxberg as Vice President, and Lise Lareau as Director.

It’s crucial to have a Secretary who takes careful notes, transcribes them meticulously, and delivers them promptly. That is my commitment to this role.

The time has come for progressive change at the PNA, led by people who will be effective and efficient, and who will provide a strong voice at the national level.

Please support me, and the entire slate.

Gino Piazza – candidate for the Secretary’s position

Our Association, in both the National (PNA) and Regional (Ontario), was organized to make sure Your Voice is heard at both levels. Bringing about new ideas and possible solutions to assist you, our members throughout the Region. Volunteering time to assist is a priority.

In 2016, I stepped into the position as Temporary Secretary for the Ontario Region, alongside my work as President of the Southwestern Ontario Chapter. I was elected (Acclaimed) as Secretary of the Ontario Region in October 2019. Holding the two positions since that time, I have always worked in the best interest of Our Region.

I was the co-founder of the SWO Chapter, the first in Canada (2003). I am also happy to state that many of the ideas being proposed by both the National/Regional have been in effect for many years in our Chapter.

I have been very diligent with the minutes these past six (6) years and have always worked/questioned ideas put forward to bring out the best solution as an Executive on Your Ontario Board. I look forward in continuing this call.

Ben Daube- candidate for the Treasurer’s position

Ben Daube is 76 but his massage therapist tells him he keeps getting younger.

He’s been treasurer of the Ontario Region of the CBC PNA since he was arm-twisted into the role by John Dixon six years ago.

In his 25 years at the Corporation he worked as a TV Production Assistant/Studio Director in just about every department except Religion. Since he retired in 1997 he has produced, directed and edited with his own company and has been seeking perfection in pouring latte art and playing jazz piano.

Ben hopes to follow in the grand tradition of previous treasurers by never taking anything too seriously except careful management of member dues.

Director Positions

Steve Athey –  I’ve been serving the PNA as a Toronto Director since October, 2019.  Despite the challenges and difficulties of the Pandemic, since then I’ve been working in the interest of Toronto’s members in many ways:

I was instrumental in getting an additional Toronto Director Position created so that Toronto now has 4 Voting members on the Ontario Board.  I worked on the Communications Committee, with other PNA members from across Canada, which ultimately helped to create the position of Communications Co-Ordinator – which has been improving the PNA’s Communication, both with members, and with those outside the organization.

I currently serve on the National Communications Advisory Board, a voluntary position that advises the Communications Co-Ordinator.

Going further back in time, my career in CBC-TV Technical Toronto started in 1981 and spanned 35 years, where I worked many positions in Television.

I also devoted much volunteer time to the various Union organizations that served CBC employees over those years.

I hope to continue to assist all of my CBC colleagues within the PNA in the ongoing adventure that is retirement.


Mary Depoe – Nine years ago I volunteered to form a committee to recruit new members for the PNA. Out of that committee came the incentive to form a Toronto Chapter. Being designated a key city, we weren’t able to achieve that goal but we now have 4  Directors representing Toronto for the Ontario Region.

Prior to retiring I spent all of my working life at the CBC. I started in Radio Prod, then moved to TV variety as a S.A. Then as a Unit Manager in CBLT and Ag and Resources and finally as a Talent Relations Officer in Industrial Relations.

I returned as an Associate producer and researcher on Wayne and Shuster retrospectives and two documentaries with Harry Rasky.


Lise Lareau – As president of the Canadian Media Guild through a difficult decade (2000-2010), I learned how to handle challenging issues affecting employees at the CBC and much of that background would be complementary to the work of the PNA. After retiring as a CBC News producer in 2019, I brought my expertise to York University where I developed a course about media and labour.

I also volunteer as co-chair of the Family Advisory Committee at Kerry’s Place Autism Services, where my sister is a resident at one of the organization’s homes. The common thread through all of these positions is that they involve leadership, committee work, and creativity in addressing different types of problems. I would like to take on the challenge now facing the PNA, which is more than just about membership numbers. It’s about how to make a national organization accessible, relevant and visible in Canada’s biggest city.

I look forward to working with strong people including Gail Carducci, Barbara Saxberg and Talin Vartanian to come up with fresh approaches to make the PNA appealing to retirees, whether it’s through advocacy in pension issues, connecting with former colleagues or fun and engaging events.