Killing the CBC

cbc-logo-kramerIt’s a dream come true. A perfect storm, if you’re Conservative. Killing the CBC is something I’m sure they’ve all pined for for years.

Now the ironically-named Heritage Minister James Moore is saying that the CBC is on its own, not unlike all the other media organizations in the country. Facing a shortfall of $100-200 million (according to what I heard on CBC Radio this morning) CBC is going to have to make some really difficult choices.

It’s not made any easier when the “Heritage Minister” throws out mixed signals saying that the CBC shouldn’t be competing with private broadcasters (stop chasing revenues and eyeballs). It makes it rather difficult when, to survive, they have to go after ad revenue and get high ratings on TV programs in an effort to maximize their revenue.

It’s almost, gasp, entrepreneurial. Isn’t that what the Cons are all about? No, it’s the Cons speaking out both sides of their mouth, or with forked tongue, or more likely both. If the CBC is going to stop competing for ad revenue, they need adequate government funding to do so.

The Cons can’t say that they don’t support subsidies to business because, well, they do. You can call them incentives or whatever you like, but it’s still government money. There’s nothing wrong with it if it’s fulfilling the wishes of Canadian citizens. Hell, we subsidize banks and oil companies. We probably subsidize many other companies that are likely big donators to the Cons. Maybe the CBC should make some donations to them as well?

I am pretty middle of the road when it comes to politics. My ideas span the political spectrum.I can reconcile NOT wanting gun control but wanting socialized medicine. I can find many apparent contradictions in my views. Life isn’t a Liberal or Conservative dichotomy.

I like the CBC. I listen to CBC Radio every single day. I watch CBC TV less often. I am on the CBC website every day. I get a lot of news online. I value the CBC as do a large portion of Canadians.

I don’t want to hear ads on CBC radio, as do the majority of listeners. I don’t need statistics to know that. I don’t listen to commercial radio much because I get less information than I do on CBC. So, if they chase ads to survive, they’ll be competing with private broadcasters again. Hmm.

CBC should get an adequate subsidy to continue operating. It is one of the institutions that helps to unite the country, and God knows, this country needs institutions like that. I’m sure our Prime Minister doesn’t much care, knowing how fond he is of Quebec.

No, layoffs at the CBC would make the Cons quite happy I’m sure. It would be one less news organization fully capable of holding the government to account; less resources overall means less investigative reporting. It’s precisely at this time we need a strong media organization that is capable of reporting on our government. And they can do it objectively.

Unfortunately private mainstream media organizations are in very difficult circumstances right now. You can bet that investigative reporting is the least of their worries when they’re trying to keep their heads above water. Should we subsidize them also? That’s the subject of another post, I think.

If you love the CBC, you should let your MP know that you want them to continue to receive adequate funding to continue as is and that the Cons should help them with their current budget shortfall. Write your MP, write the Minister, write the Prime Minister.

I will be voting in the next election for a party that supports the CBC.

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Alain Saffel

If I were to picture my ideal life, I’d be sitting in some far off land, sipping a coffee in a café, my backpack at my side, camera around my neck, motorcycle at the curb, pondering my next stop or maybe madly typing away on my laptop about my latest adventure.

5 thoughts on “Killing the CBC”

  1. “Life isn’t a Liberal or Conservative dichotomy.”

    But Canada’s political institutions were created to be exactly that. .. a Liberal/Conservative dichotomy. :P

    I am curious though.. when you say you don’t want gun “control”… does that mean you want complete access to guns or a complete ban of guns?

  2. “Life isn’t a Liberal or Conservative dichotomy.”

    I totally agree with this. While my views are all over the place, I tend to be very left-leaning with regard to social matters, but more conservative when it comes to fiscal matters. That tends to make voting a bit difficult to me, as I may strongly agree with parts of a particular party’s platform but strongly disagree with other parts.

    However, like you, I believe that the CBC is important and a party that supports it will definitely gain huge points in my books.

  3. Shaun: I think these institutions were created by their respective parties, but Canadians like them and want to keep them. The Conservatives seem to hate socialized medicine, but they’ll be doomed if they try to get rid of it. Some they can’t.

    On gun control I don’t believe in banning all guns. I do believe in controlling access to them. Some people like criminals and mentally unstable people shouldn’t have access to legal guns. We can’t control illegal access. But, if I want to buy a handgun, rifle or shotgun, I should be able to. Obviously we shouldn’t have machine guns, and we don’t have them here.

    Right now Edmonton is talking about banning knives. Same mentality. Never works.

    Adam: I think parties that want to succeed in Canada can’t operate on a US-style left and right label politics. Canadians have a mix of views. We’re pretty accommodating here. I certainly won’t be voting Conservative in the next election. If they had a majority now, the CBC would be dead. Guaranteed.

  4. Here’s my take: I listen to CBC radio every day as well. I think ads on the radio are absolutely obnoxious, mostly because I’m in my car and I can’t “get up” to fix myself a snack. Furthermore, radio is relatively inexpensive to produce, so I say the government should support radio as a “public service.”

    My kids are frequent visitors to the (brilliantly) produced CBC kids web site. Web content is generally inexpensive to produce, interactive, and easily accessible. So, again, I’m all for supporting the CBC’s web program as a “public service.”

    Television, on the other hand, I think should stand on it’s own. As a medium it’s a bit more pretentious, and definitely more costly to produce. I think if you’re going to produce a drama, like “Being Erica,” then you’d better be able to get eyeballs (and dollars) somehow. My wife loves “Being Erica” and downloads it off iTunes each week so she can watch it (commercial free).

  5. Radio is relatively inexpensive produce, unless you’ve got a news organization to support like CBC does. In most cases, you’re right. And the ads really are obnoxious. If you want to have an idea where the ads are headed, listen to American radio or Sirius. THAT is obnoxious. It’s coming to Canada. :)

    I think the TV stations could stand on their own, perhaps. Is CBC going to be the only station left in many small markets across the country? The big media outlets are going to be closing them or already have. There is certainly a demand for those stations.

    Not sure what the answer is. If we have a reasoned debate about it and decide that CBC shouldn’t be in the TV business, I could probably live with that. If it’s a knee-jerk Conservative agenda directing it, forget it. On the other hand, why shouldn’t we have a true, nation-wide network? Private media organizations are not going to be fulfilling that role by the end of this, if they ever have.

    CBC on the web and CBC Radio definitely should not be touched. I swear I won’t be listening to commercial radio if they shut down CBC. The ads really do defile the medium. I know it’s a necessary evil, but they really are bad. I’m sure if you asked people at the stations they’d agree.

    (OK, I have heard a few good radio ads…but…)

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