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What Ontario candidates are saying about TVO and TFO

A hundred Guild members work at TVO and TFO, provincial educational broadcasters funded in large part by the Ontario government. We surveyed all candidates from the top four parties to gauge their support for TVO and TFO. We urge you to consider their answers when you vote on Thursday.

We sent the questionnaire to all candidates in the Green Party, the Liberals, the NDP and the Progressive Conservatives. In total, we heard back from 56 candidates: 21 Green candidates, 23 Liberal candidates; 11 NDP candidates (as well as party headquarters) and 1 PC candidate.

Click here to view detailed responses and to see if your candidate answered the survey. Here is an overview of how each party responded:

Green Party
The Greens did not provide a unified party position on TVO and TFO. The 20 candidates who answered the survey were generally very supportive of both TVO and TFO, as well as increased regional coverage, with a couple of exceptions.

Liberal Party
The Liberals provided the most detailed response (all but one submitted the same answers), committing to ?a strong and healthy TVO and TFO? with a ?clear focus on their educational mandates.? When it comes to establishing an open, transparent and non-partisan method for selecting senior management at TVO and TFO, the Liberals say they are committed to ensuring they have ?a selection process that includes considering a wide range of high-quality candidates.?

On the issue of funding, the Liberals say they increased TVO’s base funding by $16.3 million this year because they support increased production of programming (TV and online) on current affairs, arts and culture, Ontario politics, science and nature. TVO has confirmed its base budget was increased in 2010-11, when it went from $30 million to $43 million. This year, TVO also received an additional $3.4 million to cover the conversion of its TV transmitters from analog to digital. The Liberals add that they would like to ?see an increase in multicultural programming reflecting Ontario’s diverse population? on TVO.
The Liberals point out that they established TFO as an independent organization in 2008, which ?provides Francophones with a stronger voice and enables them to fully benefit from TFO’s potential as an educational, cultural and socio-economic development institution.? On whether they would support taking the steps necessary to make TFO available on cable in francophone communities in Eastern Ontario, where it is currently unavailable in some cases, the Liberals say they ?want Ontarians to be able to access TFO broadcasts throughout the province via transmitters, satellite and/or on-line.?

The NDP answered yes to all of our questions. In addition, they say ?it would be great to see even more local programming on television? and that they would ?appreciate any enhanced regional coverage on TVO and TFO and would look forward to working with both broadcasters to improve their mandates.?

Progressive Conservative Party
The only candidate to respond to the survey was leader Tim Hudak, who says he appears on and TVO and enjoys watching TVO programs with his family. He invites us to read the platform, Changebook. The platform does not mention TVO and TFO; however, it does say the party would cut 2% of provincial funding without decreasing health and education spending. Given that these are two major funding areas, this plan would require significant cuts in other areas of provincial spending. Changebook also vows to ?bring public sector paycheques in line with private sector standards,? suggesting that the PC party believes public sector workers are overpaid and pitting one group of workers against another.

Please don’t forget to vote on October 6!

You can find more detail, including which candidates sent responses and a summary of what they said here.

For more information, you can also get in touch with the Guild (info@cmg.ca) at 416-591-5333 or 1-800-465-4149.

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