The Canadian media industry and communications infrastructure is about to explode.
I’m finding it very difficult to defend the CBC in its current state. They’ve spent a lot of money outbidding companies like CTV on shows like Jeopardy, they’ve lost the National Anthem, er Hockey Night in Canada Theme to TSN, and they’ve dropped a raft of successful shows.
For these and other reasons, the CBC is going to run short of funds this year, despite a massive $65 billion deficit perpetrated by the Conservatives.
Of course, that’s just one-one-thousandth of the expected budget shortfall over the next two years, but the Conservatives will do everything they can to generate the most explosive politics from the situation.
They position themselves as great overseers of the market, free trade and other elements of neo-liberal economics and here they are, the greatest socialists on the planet. Of course, you’d better be wearing caviar tuxedos when you go to the trough with this one. In other words, people who aren’t friends of Conservatives (FOCers) need not line up.
That means if you’re in public broadcasting, hit the streets. Chump.
I’ve heard rumours about a number of public programs and how much they cost the Canadian public on an annual basis. Most of them suggest a figure in the $2-3 billion range. These taxpayer-funded pork-barrel programs for the media industry are positioned as thinly-veiled ‘Can Con’ initiatives. Two of the more popular programs include the “Canadian TV and Video Tax Credit” and the “Canadian Magazine Fund”. There are many, many other programs that divert, rechannel, misuse and abuse piles of Canadian cash, but we raraely hear about those programs.
To my knowledge, these programs have yet to come under any kind of intense public scrutiny.
I wonder why?
Is it because, like just a few days ago, when Heritage Minister James Moore announced more than $75 million in funding for Canadian magazines, most of that cash will go to fund major Canadian media players such as Transcontinental, Rogers and Quebecor?
Here’s just a sampling of the publications that will be ‘capped’ with a taxpayer subsidy of $1.5 million per year:
- Canadian Living.
- Western Producer.
- Reader’s Digest.
- House and Home.
Do I read this right? We give $1.5 per year to Maclean’s so that they can support people that become subject of Human Rights Tribunals?
Give me a break.
As one of millions of Canadians that want public radio, TV and web (skip the print – too many dead trees), I have to sit idly by while Conservatives load up the coffers for organizations that should go to the stock market for funding?
This is an issue that will get nuclear quickly unless we all work together to figure out a more sustainable way to manage our content, our media and our national identity. Yes, our national identity.
The current CRTC hearings are focusing on tiny issues that remind me of the ‘pieces of the puzzle’ expression. Net neutrality: piece. Funding for SOCAN artists: piece. CBC funding: piece . CanCon: piece.
All of these pieces need to be considered as a larger puzzle that we can put together if we want to.
Unfortunately, the current government would sooner light a match to the pile of TNT that sits under all of our media behinds and light it up with great glee. They would sooner ruin one of the last remaining (and most successful) broadcasters on the planet, but their actions will invite intense scrutiny to the small handful of massive media conglomerates in this country that profit from our subsidies every year.
(PS: If you have other links that describe the details of funding for these and other programs, please let us know. Either post a link in the comments or email email@example.com))