Right in the Center - Sell the CBC


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

If Pierre Poilievre wins the leadership race for the Conservative Party of Canada, he promises he will make major changes at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s long overdue.

Canadians pump $1.3 billion per year into the CBC. In addition, CBC sells a lot of ads and good for them. However, that  $1.3 billion in taxpayer subsidy goes a long way towards subsidizing their ad prices, therefore putting them at a great and unfair advantage over CTV and other networks and over radio and TV stations.

Westman’s radio stations were just sold to the Pattison Group and I am sure they would happy to not have to go up against subsidized ad rates offered by CBC. Another area of subsidization and unfairness comes in CBC’s web-based ads, as well. The $1.3 billion in savings per year would be much better spent providing clean and sustainable drinking water into every community in Canada and increasing the pace at which high speed internet can be added to remote and rural communities.

The CBC was established many decades ago when it was a needed source of information in the then-absence of TV, any other national radio network and long before the internet. It has outlived its mandate and purpose, long ago ousted in purpose by many other media outlets. It’s time for it to be sold for salvage value. In other words, cut the losses and the chokehold it has on public discourse.

So what should happen to the CBC? It should be simply sold on the open market. Unfortunately, the taxpayers might be lucky to get one year’s subsidy back. I have no idea what the CBC might be worth, but quite frankly, their programming is pretty much uninteresting to me and many other millions of Canadians.
The biggest problem for the CBC is that they are basically pawns of the Liberal Party of Canada. There has been a very snug relationship for decades and it shows. The CBC has worked hard to make sure that little criticism is levelled at the Liberals, while truckloads of scorn are heaped on any other view, especially if it is conservative or Christian.

My disdain for the CBC goes back to my childhood, as the only good programming I can recall from CBC was Hockey Night in Canada. Most of the CBC shows are very much out of touch with mainstream Canada. The last really good radio interviewer they had was Peter Gzowski. Well, there was Jian Ghomeshi, but in spite of his interviewing ability, his off-beat personal life ran him into the ditch.

The CBC has enough problems of their own, but they are plagued by receiving an ongoing stream of left wing journalism school grads who readily swallow the falsehoods of liberalism, all the while scorning any other view.

I had a very personal incident to prove the point. Many years ago, I sat in on a session on editorial writing. The journalism school professor didn’t know I was in the room and he went on at length, scathing an editorial I had written which was admittedly in favour of the Reform Party. The prof torched my view and that’s fair. But after the session, I walked alongside him and commented that he didn’t have much time for the Reform Party. He indignantly said, “Well, they have an agenda of their own.” To which I replied, “Isn’t that the purpose of a political party?” He stomped off.

It was fine for him to disagree with me, or the Reform Party, but he missed the whole point of political discussion and debate and that is political parties have an agenda.

Maybe more to the point, the Liberal Party aren’t really clear in their agenda, it’s vague and tends to get hidden in the fog. That’s why the Liberal party has been so successful, they are able to be all things to all people without actually standing for anything. The CBC has been their working and willing partner for decades and it needs to end. Let the CBC go, the good executives, show producers, newscasters and sports reporters will rise to the top in the industry. The rest will find other work, but at least Canadians will save $1.3 billion a year and have a more fair and open discourse.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.