Erin O'Toole, the new leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, wants to gut the CBC, If he becomes prime minister, he says he will do it. He has not hidden his intentions. His agenda is clear to anyone who has knowledge of his polices.
The following appears on O'Toole's website.
"As Conservative leader and Canada’s next Prime Minister, I’ll defund CBC television and save taxpayers billions. Here’s how I’ll get it done:
- End all funding to CBC Digital;
- Cut funding for CBC English TV and News Network by 50%, with the goal to fully privatize CBC by the end of my first mandate;
- Maintain funding for CBC Radio and Radio-Canada
It’s 2020. Canadians have hundreds of channels to choose from, thousands of online options, and lots of Canadian content.
We don’t need CBC Television. When I’m Prime Minister, they will lose their funding."
I believe that Erin O'Toole and the Conservatives wish to kill CBC Television cut by cut, piece by piece, until it is unrecognizable, until its quality is so diminished that people will say it it is not worth saving. If they succeed in killing CBC Television, what's next? They could easily proclaim that taxpayers can't afford CBC Radio either, or CBC French-language programming.
Right-wing conservatives have an aversion to most things that are government-funded. It has been a very long time now since The Conservative Party of Canada,has been the party of Joe Clark and Robert Stanfield. It has configured itself into a party that more resembles the Republican Party in the United States. That is why it no longer even maintains the pretense of calling itself "The Progressive Conservative Party." and it no longer concerns itself with environmental issues. It opposes sensible gun control measures. Red Tories are an endangered species. There are very few Red Tories left, and they won't be accepted by the current leadership of "The Conservative Party." Just ask Jean Charest.
This is a passionate defence of the CBC and public broadcasting.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation was established on November 2, 1936, following the worst years of the Great Depression. It has served Canadians well and it will continue to serve Canadians well, as long as right-wing Conservatives don't get their hands on it.
I watch the CBC. It is not perfect, of course, but I enjoy it. I and many other Canadians do not feel our tax dollars are being wasted in funding a public broadcaster. The CBC connects Canadians from coast to coast. This is a huge country with a small population and the CBC is worth every penny. In fact, if it weren't underfunded, its quality would improve even more, and there would be fewer commercials.
Private networks such as CTV and Global TV show limited Canadian programming and they simulcast many American sitcoms and talk shows. CBC Television, on the other hand, has Canadian programming that I can't watch anywhere else. I enjoy shows such as Kim's Convenience, Heartland and 22 Minutes. I have also enjoyed such former CBC series such as Little Mosque on the Prairie and Anne with a "E." Those shows reflect the Canadian experience.
CBC's The National provides high quality news coverage from a Canadian perspective, as does CBC News Network. The CBC News Network is so much more neutral than one-sided "conservative" cable channels in the U.S. such as Fox News or unabashed "liberal" channels such as MSNBC.
The CBC mirrors our people and our country. It belongs to us. It belongs to all Canadians. Sooner of later, the Tories will regain power. That's why friends of the CBC must be vigilant. They must let their voices be heard.
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