So I’ve decided to announce my support for our public broadcaster, the CBC. Tada!
Okay, well, ahem. Maybe that statement doesn’t pack much of a punch, and one could, with good reason, ask why my opinion matters. But I just really need to say it. Maybe I need to get it off my chest to help alleviate the panic that resides there every time I hear of another cutback to CBC funding or, more recently, an attack on their editorial freedom. A provision in omnibus Bill C-60 would have government directly involved in contract negotiations between its crown corps and their employees. In the case of CBC, this presents a real problem because journalism can’t be done credibly under the real or perceived influence of politicians.
Beyond the obvious ramifications of reporters trying to be objective in writing stories about their boss, it’s just so damn sad to see that politicians don’t appreciate what the CBC is. It is the institution that connects this vast geography and makes Canada a stronger nation by showing us to ourselves and sharing us with the rest of the world. I simply can’t imagine a world without the Current, or Jian Gomeshi’s Q, an afternoon void of Ideas, or Eleanor Wachtel’s fabulous conversations on Writers and Company, or the brilliant philosophical discussions on Tapestry. And what about investigative shows like the Fifth Estate, Marketplace and the National, where great journalists have uncovered and exposed those issues which Canadians, if they are at all engaged, should want to know.
The CBC respects our intelligence and in turn, intelligent people love the CBC. It’s the one place where in-depth and analytical assessments of what happens every day, in every part of our country and the world can be found. We are all enriched by the CBC. Even if we don’t agree with everything it does or says, we are all made better citizens because of how the CBC helps to inform us and challenges our perceptions. My cynical side wonders if perhaps that’s exactly what the government is afraid of: an informed and intelligent electorate. But I hope there is nothing that politically crass at play, or our democracy is doomed. Hmmm…..
So here I sit with panic in my chest, wondering what more can I do to ensure the future life and independence of our public broadcaster. What I feel like doing is running around telling everyone I know, wishing my shout could reach a million ears, hoping that someone, somewhere will have an aha moment and do the right thing.
But all I can really do is tell my friends, write this blog, send letters to my MP (which I fear will be largely ignored but make me feel better), and direct everyone to the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting (
) campaign which works to ensure the future of public broadcasting. Please join, sign a letter, do something. Because I’m pretty sure once the CBC is gone or it’s editorial freedom undermined, there will be no saving it at all.