At a pre-election debate on cultural issues in late September, candidates from each of the province’s three major parties were asked whether they would commit to more funding for TVO to enable more original programming. Only NDP culture critic Cheri DiNovo said yes. Both Conservative culture critic Julia Munro and Chris Bentley, Liberal minister of colleges and universities, said no.
The question was posed by actor Wayne Robson, who pointed out that at least seven original TVO shows have been cancelled since 2005. Robson’s question garnered spontaneous and loud applause from the audience at the University of Toronto’s Isabel Bader Theatre.
TFO, TVO’s French-language counterpart, was hived off earlier this year from TVOntario and is thriving. There is growing concern that TVO, now a responsibility of the overtaxed education ministry, will not get the attention it needs.
“We have been asking Ontario candidates to put the TV back into TVO,” says Lise Lareau, national president of the Canadian Media Guild. “TVO has not received any new money for TV programming in ten years and appears to be moving its focus to the internet. Television is still the way to reach the most people in the province with Ontario-specific programming they can’t get anywhere else.”
If you’re talking to your local candidates in the remaining days of the campaign, please tell them that TVO matters to you and urge them to support an increase to the broadcaster’s government grant.
For more information, contact the Canadian Media Guild (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 416-591-5333.