Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Free the CBC From Harper's "Interference?" Here's How

If you've surfed the #CdnPoli hashtag of Twitter in recent months, you've undoubtedly seen this. It's a video being passed around by the so-called "Friends of Canadian Broadcasting."

Apparently they're absolutely outraged -- outraged! -- that Prime Minister Stephen Harper would make any appointments to the CBC Board of Directors. (This despite the fact that, as Prime Minister, it's actually Harper's responsibility to do so. It's called providing for the governance of crown corporations. FCB never made such objections when it was Liberal Prime Ministers making such appointments, but whatevs.

Here's the thing the FCB are choosing to gloss over: so long as the CBC remains taxpayer owned and funded, it will be up to someone -- most likely the Prime Minister -- to make such appointments. Someone has to do it. Any and all Prime Ministers, regardless of whether or not FCB share their politics or not, will have to do so.

So long as the CBC remains government owned and taxpayer funded.

So if the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting really want to ensure there is no political interference in the operations of the CBC, there's one simple way they can ensure that:

They can buy it.

Apparently the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting have plenty of dough kicking around. Those fear mongering ads they've been making look real expensive. The production value is fantastic; several times better, in fact, than the typical CBC production. So if they can raise money to make deceptive ads to scare the living shit out of people, perhaps they can raise enough money to buy the CBC.

They could organize it as a cooperative, sell shares or memberships to the general public, raise their operating revenue from advertising and pledge drives, and have every right in the world to appoint whoever they want to its Board of Governors. The only form of taxpayer support they'll get to do it would be the tax deductions donors would be entitled to, and the same production grants privately-owned networks have to apply for. If it's good enough for PBS or NPR in the United States, it should be good enough for the CBC.

It might deny the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting the perverse thrill of having the CBC push their political agenda on someone else's dime, because for the first time they'd be doing it on their own dime.

Make no mistake about it: not only do I offer this as a serious suggestion, I in fact challenge the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting to take this proposal to the federal government.

It's time for the would-be Superfriends of Canadian Broadcasting to put their moneys where their mouths are.

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