Jean Crowder, sent in response to my letter regarding the funding of CBC. Re-printed here with permission:
Thank you for your recent correspondence concerning the future of CBC/Radio-Canada, and for your continued advocacy on behalf of a vigorous public broadcasting system. Heritage Minister James Moore’s recent musings about a 5% cut to CBC/Radio-Canada’s total budget represent the latest in a series of statements and actions which confirm his government’s ambivalence to public broadcasting.
In contrast, my New Democrat colleagues and I believe strongly in the importance of public broadcasting to help promote Canada's cultural identity and linguistic and regional diversity, both at home and abroad. Today’s unprecedented deficit may not permit immediate large-scale funding increases, but my colleagues and I are committed to provide stable, long-term funding for CBC/Radio-Canada, and to depoliticize the funding process by making permanent the Corporation’s annual funding allocation.
CBC/Radio-Canada took action to address a persistent deficit in 2008/09, reducing overhead costs by $171 Million – an ambitious voluntary reduction in excess of 10% of the Corporation’s annual operating budget. Even before this display of fiscal accountability, per capita spending on CBC/Radio-Canada lagged far behind that in other developed nations. For instance, the UK spent over $124 CAD per citizen on the BBC, while France’s public broadcaster received $77. In contrast, CBC/Radio-Canada’s allocation of $33 per Canadian is woefully inadequate.
My colleagues and I have proposed the following plan to enable CBC/Radio-Canada to strengthen critical components of its operations:
· Strengthening accessible local news service in rural Canada, vigorous regional programming and minority language broadcasting
· Revitalizing infrastructure to compete in the media marketplace of the 21st century
· Supporting the expanded production of compelling original Canadian content, and
· Continuing efforts to ensure transparency and fiscal accountability to taxpayers.
As we move into the new session of Parliament, the New Democrats will redouble our efforts to protect and build upon the legacy of this important Canadian institution.
You may be interested in a recent petition I presented to the House on September 28, 2011 :
Mr. Speaker, the second petition has to do with the CBC.
The petitioners say they love the CBC and call on the Prime Minister to reaffirm the importance of the national public broadcaster.
Further, they call on the Prime Minister to provide the CBC with adequate financing by raising the CBC's parliamentary grant from the current levels to $40 for every citizen, in keeping with the recent recommendations of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
Thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with me. With your continued support, we can ensure that when CBC/Radio-Canada celebrates its centenary in 2036, it remains the strong, vigorous and dynamic national institution Canadians overwhelmingly want it to be.
Jean Crowder, MP Nanaimo-Cowichan
101-126 Ingram St., Duncan, BC, V9L 1P1