Canadian Media Guild

Canadian Media Guild

January 13, 2006 11:22 ET

Party platforms silent on future of CBC

It's time to know where they stand on Canada's largest cultural institution Attention: Arts/Entertainment Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 13, 2006) - Ten days before the federal election, none of the major parties have stated their position on the CBC in their platforms, despite the fact that the national public broadcaster's future will be on the table when its license comes up for renewal at the CRTC at the end of this year.

"I recognize that this election campaign has been fought on a handful of core issues. But it is troubling that the future of Canada's largest cultural institution is being ignored, even though reaction to the recent lockout showed us all that the CBC is a valued part of Canadians' lives from coast to coast to coast," says Lise Lareau, national president of the Canadian Media Guild.

"We are seeing lots of grassroots support from candidates across the country, but the main parties all seem to want to avoid public debate on the CBC. And this is the time for it. It's wrong to leave the future of a major public service in the hands of the CRTC alone."

The CBC has been struggling for more than a decade with inadequate government funding. There were 15,000 fewer hours of local news and cultural programming on CBC radio and TV in 2004 than there were in 1989. But a CBC-commissioned survey conducted in 2004 indicates that 80% of Canadians favour "an increased presence for CBC/Radio-Canada in their part of the country."

A year ago, the CBC submitted a plan to Heritage Minister Liza Frulla about increasing local and regional programming, which would require an additional $83 million in annual funding.

The government set the CBC plan aside, saying instead it would direct the CRTC to make sure there is enough local and regional news and public affairs programming "from a variety of sources." The government said it is up to all broadcasters, including private and community stations, to make sure that communities get enough local programming.

A star Conservative candidate has said publicly that CBC TV should be a "strictly national service." In a letter to the Globe and Mail in October 2005, Peter Kent, an executive at private broadcaster CanWest Global, also said CBC TV did not need increased funding.

The Canadian Media Guild has asked all candidates across the country whether they support an increase to the CBC's parliamentary funding of 1 cent per day per Canadian to pay for increased local and regional programming. The Guild sent a questionnaire to all candidates from the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, the NDP, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party. So far, we have received more than 80 responses.

For a backgrounder with the party records and statements on funding for the CBC, please contact Karen Wirsig ( at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.
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Contact Information

  • Lise Lareau, National President, Canadian Media Guild
    Primary Phone: 416-591-5333 ext. 233
    Secondary Phone: 416-524-5473
    Toll-Free: 800-465-4148