Liberals to "modernize" CBC with our tax dollars


A breaking announcement by the Liberals to commit $400 million over four years will make the CBC less reliant on advertising and distinguish it from private sector competition.


“CBC really suffers from a sort of dualistic life as a half public broadcaster, and half of the time it thinks of itself as a commercial broadcaster. And I think that has to end if we’re going to get value from our investment in CBC in the years to come,” said former CRTC vice-chair Peter Menzies.


Private broadcasters have argued against competition with the CBC.


“The CBC likes advertising but doesn’t need it,” said Kevin Desjardins, the president of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. “They have an ability to skew the advertising market in a way, because it is not as essential as it is for private broadcasters, where that is the lifeblood of their business model.”

According to a letter released by Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, he will update the CBC’s “mandate to ensure that it meets the needs and expectations of Canadian audiences, with unique programming that distinguishes it from private broadcasters.” In addition, he will make the CBC “less reliant on private advertising, with a goal of eliminating advertising during news and other public affairs shows.”


Last year, the federal election saw the Conservatives also campaign on changing the mandate for CBC to ensure “it no longer competes with private Canadian broadcasters and digital providers.” The Conservative platform suggested assessing “the viability of refocusing the service on a public interest model like that of PBS in the United States.”


John Nater, current Conservative shadow minister for Canadian Heritage, has voiced disapproval of the new funding and believes “funding should be reduced, and the mandate modernized.” The Liberal “approach of throwing more and more taxpayer money at the CBC is not working,” wrote Nater.

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