Imagining a CBC-Free Canada

On the conservative side of the political spectrum, there are plenty of folks who want to abolish the CBC. I’m not in favour of that, but I don’t want to debate that point. What I’m interested in was spawned by a post on Inside the CBC a while back.

That is, if we dispensed with the CBC, I gather that there would only be two media organizations in Canada:

I’ve been wondering how conservatives would feel about this. Would it be great news, acceptable, a cause for concern or a serious worry? To complicate matters, I understand that most conservatives oppose a lot of government regulation. I’d assume that reducing regulation would only lead to further conglomeration.

Because he invited “thoughts on the state of media in Canada today”, I asked this question over (repeatedly) at Stephen Taylor’s blog. I only got one response, which is probably too incendiary to be of much use. I also asked the folks at CBC Watch to post the question, which I phrased as neutrally as I could. Thus far, they appear to have declined.

I see this as a fundamental problem with politics and the Web. Readers read what they agree with. Each site sits in one of two turrets, lobbing missiles at one another. The left and the right blogosphere wallow in their own righteous indignation, and thoughtful debate gets lost in the mud.

Where can I find some CBC abolishionists who want to discuss this issue? I suppose there’s the Blogging Alliance of Non-Partisan Canadians, but that’s really just an aggregator. Where’s the neutral ground?


  1. I think that if the CBC did disappear then our media would become more local centric and the national experience would probably be lost. We would also loose good quality talk radio.

    I guess the neutral ground would be allow some privatization of the CBC but trying to maintain the quality in programming and journalism.

  2. There are significantly more broadcasters in Canada than the CBC, Bell/CHUM, and Global. Corus, Astral, Rogers, and a raft of independents come to mind.

  3. The thing the abolitionists miss about the CBC is that it’s:

    a) The only independant television and radio resource out there.

    b) One of the few places you can actually get both sides of an argument (perhaps that’s why the neo-can-cons dislike it?)

    c) Owned by the Canadian people–so if you don’t like what you see you have both a right and an obligation to say so.

    The dismantling of the CBC would be nothing less than tragedy. Look at what the current US president has done to NPR–appointed his own political commissar to run it, and now cut its funding. He knows his core group is watching “Survivor” or “American Idol”, while his opponents listen to “Car Talk” and “A Prairie Home Companion”.

    You want to find the people who want CBC taken out? They’re watching Global–or they’re in its boardroom. They don’t watch CBC and they don’t want to participate in discussion.

    Me–I want the CBC to be funded properly and turned into the BBC of Canada. Balanced, accurate reporting coupled with rich entertainment for TV, and an expanded capability in the radio sphere. But I guess we’ll have to wait a while.

  4. > Corus, Astral, Rogers,

    I can’t name any tv channel that I’ve ever seen attributed to these, but I can name three or four in basic cable that belong to Bell and CanWest. Radio is a different story, but in tv there’s an order of magnitude difference, at least in BC.

  5. You ask, I deliver! Short version: the Ceeb has a bunch of shows I don’t watch, and makes me pay for it.

    Do any of you even have an articulate idea of what the CBC is supposed to do? Or why it is necessary? Or why TV news will ever matter again?

  6. I like the CBC. I agree with metro that it could become the BBC of Canada.

    The acting is superb along with their ideas presented in shows. The newscasters are real people too; all the way from NB to BC I could always count on the CBC.

    I hope the government decides to keep it. And you know their graphics are pretty damn good also. They are not all CNN-like as CTV and Global have become. The CBC is not sensationalized and that is what makes it truly Canadian.

  7. The CBC already is the BBC of Canada. Please describe an actor on any of CBC’s shows who is half as real as Brent Butt, or Mike Smith?

    One reason CBC doesn’t seem as good as the BBC is because you only see the BBC shows good enough to be worth exporting. Imagine how good any network would seem if you only saw its very best shows.

    Metro: those of us “not watching CBC” want to turn it off, and stop paying for it, just like all those other channels we don’t watch. The ratings say we’re the majority except for a few hours on Saturday night, and that programming owes very little to the creative genius of CBC. Indeed: TSN’s coverage of the Canucks last year was far better than CBC’s; when given the broadcast rights, TSN routinely showed the games in HD. CBC showed only one western team in HD last year: Edmonton, when they were playing Toronto.

    The CBC is an archaic institution which has outlived whatever usefulness it once had. I’m pretty sure the marginal value of the tax dollars it sucks up could be better spent on, oh, I’ll let you pick your favourite pet: health care? the Downtown Eastside? Fisheries managment? Strengthening the armed forces? more free Canadian flags? Whatever is going.

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