Four of the five parties in the current federal election support a strong and stable media, with increased funding for the national public broadcaster.
A vague response by one national party however raises concerns about the future of CBC/Radio-Canada, and the nationwide services it currently provides.
In their answers to the Canadian Media Guild (CMG)’s election questions, the NDP, the Liberals, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party committed to improved funding for the CBC. The parties base their support on the unique role the national broadcaster has in Canada. The four also acknowledge the importance of supporting local news at a time when the media industry is in crisis, with each agreeing to extend some kind of temporary support for the industry, much like the 2019 federal government program.
Only the Conservative Party of Canada differs on these points. While the party did not answer our questions directly, it did provide the portion of its platform dealing with media, culture and broadcasting. It describes breaking up the CBC, with decreased support for some areas and increased support for others. In essence, the Conservatives’ proposals amount to cutting English language television while focusing support on French language services, especially in Québec.
“It is disappointing to see Mr. O’Toole’s short-sighted vision of a shrinking CBC, broken into pieces,” said Canadian Media Guild’s CBC Branch President, Kim Trynacity. “Hiving off sections of CBC/Radio-Canada would weaken the public broadcaster overall services.”
All parties say they recognize the importance of a thriving, independent, diverse media and acknowledge the global crisis threatening the industry due to the dominance of international giants such as Google and Facebook.
“Everyone admits that tech giants are taking most advertising revenue out of the country and profiting from the news produced by others that they do not pay for,” CMG National President Carmel Smyth said. “It’s way past time to take real action.”
On this pressing issue, the parties propose a variety of measures to make global tech companies pay for the news they use and contribute to Canadian content production.
The Canadian Media Guild, Local 30213 of CWA-Canada, is a democratic trade union that represents over 5,000 members across Canada, including employees at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation/ Société Radio-Canada, The Canadian Press and Pagemasters North America, Thomson Reuters, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN), TVO, TFO, VICE, ZoomerMedia, AFP, CKOF, and Freelance media workers.