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The federal election and public broadcasting

As the January 23 federal election approaches, it’s important to remember that Guild members at our CBC branch have much at stake. The CBC is funded by parliament and a lot depends upon who forms the next government.

This election may provide an opportunity to boost political support for the CBC after years of neglect at the hands of the federal government. This year’s 8-week lockout put the future of the CBC back into the headlines. I urge all Guild members, and family and friends, to help use that momentum to get a commitment from federal candidates to increase the CBC’s parliamentary funding permanently for the first time in 30 years.

The Guild is calling for an increase in the CBC’s parliamentary allotment by 1 cent per day per Canadian (or about $120 million per year) to pay for expanded local and regional programming and newsgathering across the country. The CBC submitted a plan to expand programming to Heritage Minister Liza Frulla early in the year and the government has ignored it.

The funding increase we are proposing would CBC on an equal footing with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in terms of per capita government funding, which is still much lower than funding for the BBC and Japan’s NHK. Compare the per capita figures for 2005:

BBC: $100
NHK: $51
ABC: $31
CBC: $28

Please ask the candidates in your riding where they stand on increased funding and expanded local and regional programming at the CBC. If you live in Kelowna, Hamilton, Kingston, in or around the London/Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario, or Saskatoon, you can help make this a real issue in your riding. That’s because these communities would get new CBC stations if funding for the CBC’s regional expansion plan is approved. I urge you to consider attending all-candidates meetings and to raise the issue when candidates come to your door.

Please download a flyer to hand out to politicians and the public.

Early in the new year, we will provide an analysis of where the parties stand on public broadcasting issues. You can help us to make that analysis complete by sending a message to guild@interlog.com with any CBC-related statements or positions given by federal candidates in your riding.

Thanks and have a safe and happy holiday.

Lise Lareau
National President
Canadian Media Guild

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