I want my CBC

cbc_logoHarper’s conservatives have already proved that they’re not afraid to cut funding to artists and are only willing to backpedal when their move loses them crucial votes in Quebec.  They’ve also shown that when they do pull an about-face rhetorically, it usually ends up with those who lost out still losing out and new private sector initiatives getting the bulk of the benefit.  Now it looks like government is taking the same approach to another area of Canadian culture, the CBC.

In order to cope with financial woes and survive the current financial storm intact, Canada’s public broadcaster, which operates CBC TV and radio as well as Radio-Canada’s radio and television divisions, asked the Harper government for a bridge loan.  They were denied.  As a result, they announced on Thursday that they were going to lay off about 800 people to save $171 million.

Harper’s refusal to help out the CBC comes amidst talk of a financial bailout of Canada’s private broadcasters CTV GlobeMedia, CanWest and Quebecor which are also suffering financial difficulties.  This move seems perfectly in line with the Conservative’s preference of private over public and also makes one wonder about how much the government’s relationship with some of these private media companies plays into it.

On one hand, this doesn’t really make for good business in a purely capitalist sense.  What kind of business lets its own company fail while giving money to the competition?  On the other hand, this is surely a blow to the CBC and public broadcasting in Canada, an institution with a long, storied history.

This move has left many wondering what will become of the CBC and whether or not we are headed for a gutting of public broadcasting as we know it similar to what happened in the US under Bush.  CBC already airs a considerable amount of commercial American programming on its main TV network and with this refusal to help them out, one wonders if this trend will continue and increase.

In response, Avaaz.org Canada has started a petition to “save the CBC” which has already received over 53 000 signatures, you can add your voice here.

One Response to “I want my CBC”

  1. OTL Blog » Blog Archive » Federal money for the arts to match private money for the arts Says:

    […] Luminato Festival.  This pro-corporate model was also apparent when the government refused to give extra funding to the CBC and instead considered bailing out CanWest […]

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