Moore Offers Reassurance To CBC: Funding To Be Reduced But Not Eliminated
OTTAWA - Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore says the Harper government has no plan to privatize the CBC — despite what some Conservative backbenchers may want.
Moore's reassurance comes amid signs that the Tories are planning a full-scale attack on the public broadcaster.
A Tory-dominated Commons committee plans to haul the CBC onto the carpet this fall to explain why it's gone to court to fight access-to-information laws.
Tory MPs are calling on some of the CBC's harshest critics and competitors to testify at the committee.
At the same time, the Conservative party is surveying its members on whether taxpayers get good value for their funding of the CBC.
One Tory backbencher has posted a website petition calling for federal funding to the public broadcaster to be cut off entirely while a party spokesperson has recently slammed "extravagant spending" by the CBC.
Moore noted Wednesday that the Harper government kept its promise to maintain funding for the CBC during its first and second mandates. But he signalled cuts are coming as the government reduces spending in a bid to balance the federal budget by 2014, as promised in last spring's election campaign.
"We're going to keep our word and the CBC has to be part of that," Moore said.
Pushed to clarify whether the broadcaster's entire budget could be axed, Moore finally said: "We're not interested in privatizing the CBC, no."