Recent budget crunching measures at CBC-Radio Canada (due to a $115 million CBC over three years) are being run past the CRTC for public consultation in order to ensure the public broadcaster is still fulfilling it’s obligations to the Canadian people. According to a CRTC press release: “The CRTC will examine the public broadcaster’s role in light of its powers under the Broadcasting Act.” There will be a public hearing in Gatineau, PQ on November 19th, 2012 but any interested parties may submit comments before October 5th, 2012 via the CRTC website.
Issues that will be discussed include: making sure services in English and French are equal, “representation of official language minority communities” (indigenous language communities) an examination of what the CBC does up north, transparency in the management of the Corporation, the role of advertising and “CBC/Radio-Canada’s overall strategy.”
Kristen Stewart, CBC’s executive vice-president of English Services, told the Globe and Mail‘s Marsha Lederman that: We have main priorities and still we stand by them as a public broadcaster and those things are to be
In a 2010 Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting, Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro inquired after local CBC affiliates and wondered about an emphasis on content production instead of maintaining stations:
”I’m just asking an opinion―this is not a government policy, obviously―but do you think it’s time that the Canadian government looks at it and says maybe it’s time we get out of the broadcasting business and get into investing more money into content?”
Vice President & General Counsel of Corus Entertainment Inc., Gary Maavara, responded:
“We operate three CBC affiliate stations in Peterborough, Kingston, and Oshawa, and we’re really proud of the contribution we make to the local community with those things. We are currently working with the CBC on renewing that affiliation.“
“The number of channels is not going to be reduced [at Corus]. The need for content in the system increases almost every day.”
With the CRTC doing a public consultation on the future of the CBC, now is a rare time to exercise direct media democracy and tell your national broadcaster how it can best serve you, your language and your communities.