Thoughts on the CBC and the $115 Million Federal Cut from its budget.

Earlier today I found a posting on the CBC’s Facebook page that addresses the massive cuts the Federal Government made to its budget:

“CBC/Radio-Canada is astonished by the CRTC’s decision to eliminate support for local television programming by discontinuing the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF).

“Local television is a priority under the Broadcasting Act, yet this decision suggests that it is not important to the Commission,” said Hubert T. Lacroix, President and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada. “The LPIF was a great success. It was achieving its objective of strengthening local television stations. This decision is sure to reverse many of the local programming improvements that the Fund achieved, because the rationale that led to the LPIF’s creation still exists today: the financial model for local television continues to be challenged. Two years from now, when the Fund disappears, we’ll be back to where we started when the CRTC decided to create the Fund.”

“Let’s not pretend that this is good news for consumers,” continued Lacroix. “It’s hard to see how this decision will lower cable rates. Rates are not regulated by the CRTC. It only means that instead of some of that money going to support local programming, it will go towards the bottom line of cable and satellite companies.”

“CBC/Radio-Canada drew over $40 million annually from the LPIF to improve service for viewers in 20 different markets. That’s important funding that the Corporation will not be able to replace from other sources given that it comes on the heels of a $115 million reduction of its parliamentary appropriation. This will mean a big blow to viewers in the small markets that benefited from the Fund.

“There’s no question that this will negatively impact local television programming in smaller markets. For us, it will mean adjustments in terms of level of service, how we deliver service and the territory that our journalists can cover,” continued Lacroix. “Improving local service is one of the Corporation’s top priorities. This decision doesn’t change that, but it does present a major challenge that could limit our local television activities and our presence in those communities.”

“The LPIF was established by the CRTC in 2008 to increase the quantity, quality and diversity of local programming produced by conventional TV stations in non-metropolitan markets. It was created in response to a decade-long decline of the financial model for local TV production in small markets, while cable and satellite companies that distribute the programming continued to generate record profits.”

This is something I’ve been enraged about since the Harper Government released its first budget as a majority. Beyond my own personal enjoyment of CBC Radio and News programming, it’s doesn’t take a Prime Minister to figure out that CBC seriously stands alone in its promoting of Canadian content for both information and entertainment.

Quick, can someone name 3 Canadian funded, acted, filmed, and produced television shows on Global?

CTV? Hell, any of the 30 or so CTV affiliate stations that used to be amazing for Canadian and independent content (Bravo, Showcase, etc.)?

Don’t even get me started on CityTV and all the CHUM Station networks (MuchMusic especially, where is the fucking music?).

I could understand and potentially stand by the massive cuts to the only Canadian content being shown on Canadian television if the money went somewhere more important. But it isn’t. One of the only areas that saw a significant increase in Federal funding this last budget was… defense?

Seriously, defense.

It’s bad enough that it’s basically public knowledge now that the Harper administration fixed the books on the F-35 budget and that the government bought the Victoria Class submarines from the British only to discover that they’re too old to actually be used in the water, so what does the Federal government plan on wasting money on this time?

Taking money from an industry with a well known Liberal bias (let’s call it for what it is and be fair to both sides)? Attempting to boost up weapons and defense? Is Harper trying to prove he’s not impotent? Much like a cage-fighter-in-training whose steroid use has obliterated his genitals, Harper seems to be flexing his muscles for no other reason that to just… flex his muscles.

But like most meatheads, he has no grasp on the repercussions of his actions. To him, it’s  Liberal television and it needs to be oppressed and then eliminated. He even had the guts (but not the balls) to say to Peter Mansbridge on CBC’s the National that he doesn’t care about what most Canadians say or think, he’s going to be what he wants.

Apparently what he wants to do it destroy Canadian culture. He’s already done on record saying he doesn’t think the average Canadian cares abut the arts, it would be easy to speculate that he thinks the same about Canadian content and entertainment. But it’s not like TV and radio is just TV and radio and it makes no difference what the programming is.

As I mentioned before, CBC is one of the only stations that has an emphasis on Canadian content. So what do all the other stations do? In the case of television, the stations buy cheap, syndicated programming to stick commercials in between. In terms of radio, they don’t even really have programming anymore, they have circulated singles. Basically, a record label throws them a bunch of money, says “play this single and promote this record,” and the station sticks commercials between the singles.

Major corporate TV and radio aren’t in the entertainment or information business, they’re in the promotion business. Sure, CBC TV has played syndicated shows in the past like the Simpsons and Arrested Development, and yes they play commercials too, but that’s not where the focus is. It’s information first that had to sell ad space to ensure its survival.

Why is its survival so imperative? Because Canadian content shouldn’t be a rare commodity. I’m in Canada, it shouldn’t be a chore to find something that’s been made by Canadians. Especially with something as easily accessible as Radio and Television. Mainstream radio feigns Canadian content by playing Canadian artists that have had massive success in America. They do nothing to promote independents, even the independents that are easily commercial. It’s like American approval is some strange standard for major companies as to whether something Canadian is worthwhile or not.

That shouldn’t be the standard. We aren’t Americans. We’re Canadians. CBC seems to be the only station that remembers this. And in Harper’s continual pursuit to Americanize us (health care reform, defense buffing, incarceration building) is maybe the biggest reason why he wants to see the CBC quashed forever: because he wishes he was American. And if he can’t be President of the United States, then he’ll make Canada another America.

Terrifying, isn’t it?

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One thought on “Thoughts on the CBC and the $115 Million Federal Cut from its budget.

  1. spanglia says:

    Reblogged this on take me down to obese city and commented:
    Chris hits the nail on the head. WTF are we doing, Canada?

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