Rick Eglinton via Getty Images
Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press
The CBC I'm leaving is a shadow of the CBC I joined. In 1976, I joined an institution which was a place for young Canadians to grow and, eventually, contribute to the country in diverse ways. I'm leaving a place where people struggle to survive professionally and, sad to say in many cases -- psychologically and emotionally. The difference can be explained to a very great extent by funding cutbacks driven largely by political hostility which has resulted in a hemorrhage of brains and talent from the corporation.
VisionsofAmerica/Joe Sohm via Getty Images
We only learned post facto that CBC planned on achieving its objectives for TV by stripping more than a quarter of the funding from its radio services. How? Fortuitously, another law came into effect in 2008 that required CBC and other broadcasters to provide financial data to the CRTC on their major radio and TV operations.
When I defend the CBC, it's because I'm defending the idea of Canadian culture and identity and I see the CBC as, for now, a necessary part of that. But when people criticize the CBC, I suspect it's part of a deeper and far more, well, insidious agenda that stretches well beyond public broadcasting.
One day we will all be in stitches, laughing together at the symbols which have lost their racist tone of yesteryear. Today, we are not there yet. Mario Jean's minstrel portrayal of a black person hurt members of the larger Franco-Canadian family. No one, not even the privileged members of the dominant culture, can deny it.
So what's all this fuss the lefties are making about Prime Minister Harper trying to keep track of costs at the CBC by writing a few words into the back of his omnibus budget, Bill C-60? But what's the difference between a public broadcaster and a state broadcaster? I've worked for both. So I can tell you what's the difference.
Taking such a drastic step -- killing the CBC's once-revered flagship program -- will signal to the world, the country and CBC employees in all departments that there's a new day, a new public broadcaster in Canada. This would be better than cutting innovate shows like Connect with Mark Kelley and Dispatches.