To pre-empt some of the disinformation that will be circulated along with this attack, I thought it would be valuable for Canadians to put the cost of the CBC in perspective.
Proportion of annual federal expenditures: 0.428 %
($1,074 m of $250,860 m)
Cost of CBC per capita: $31.23 per year or less than 9 cents a day
($1,074 m per 34.39 m Canadians)
Cost of servicing the national debt per capita: $881 per year or $2.41 a day
($30,300 m per 34.39 m Canadians)
I took a look at how spending on the CBC has changed over the last five years, and I selected a few other government programs for comparison.
Even the most partisan Conservative can see that while the government is calling for public broadcaster blood in the name of budget cutting, the security apparatus of the government has enjoyed dramatic increases in funding. The military, border security agency, and intelligence agency all received dramatic funding increases of over 40%, and correctional services expenditures increased a whopping 74% while CBC's funding declined slightly.
During this period, CBC rolled out extensive web-streaming services, podcasting, a third radio network, and still preserved an actual news-gathering organization, not mere infotainment punditry.
The real agenda here is not cost-cutting, or value for Canadian taxpayers–they're already getting that. What's really going on is that the government wants to neutralize the public broadcaster:
- first by changing the rules of the game (CRTC now has a weakened standard of what constitutes news reporting),
- then by approving a propagandist media outlet (Ezra Levant of SunTV coined the term Ethical Oil, now embraced by our Environment Minister, and the network's champion Kory Teneycke is Harper's former spokesman),
- now by undermining its credibility to the public,
- then diminishing its capacity through massive budget cuts,
- and finally by cowing it into submission.
Public broadcasters are frequently the target of Conservatives because they consume public funds and they speak the truth. And as Stephen Colbert observed, "reality has a well-known liberal bias." (at 6:38)