It always seems to be the political left telling us how we mustn’t be frightened of change, but it’s ironic how reactionary those same people can be when their beloved institutions are questioned.
Such is the case of the CBC, which has enjoyed a position of unquestioned status for so many years now. But times may be changing. Abacus Data has just revealed the results of its extensive survey of public attitudes towards the corporation, and what comes across particularly clearly is that the overwhelming majority of people do not trust the state broadcaster.
More specifically, most people, irrespective of politics, believe the CBC should be more open on salaries and spending. This money is, after all, paid to them by the hard-working Canadian taxpayer. So if we don’t trust them with our money, why should we trust them when they tell us what to think, how to behave and – let’s be honest here – how we should vote?
When questioned, only 17% of this representative and wide-ranging group knew how much money the CBC was given each year, and many of them had no idea at all. Just as significant, more than 60% were shocked when they were told just how much cash the state broadcaster was given.
It is, by the way, $1.1 billion. More than a thousand-million dollars of your money, given to highly paid broadcasters to make shows telling us how stupid we are, how awful the Americans are, how we should be more understanding of Islam, how Christianity is stupid, how your military tortures terrorists, how terrorists are actually militants, and how militants are justified.
If we dissect the numbers even further, we see that a massive 79% of those asked who declared themselves to be Conservative voters thought the CBC was given far too much money. Frankly, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise, other than to Heritage Minister James Moore, who has recently increased CBC funding.
Which is odd, in that Mr. Moore claims to be a Conservative, and claims to be listening to voters. It is genuinely difficult to understand why someone from a party that is so disliked by the CBC should be eager to reward it with it a pay raise. If it’s an attempt to buy favour, it’s unlikely to work.
But it’s not only Tory voters who told the survey that they are not happy with the corporation. NDP and Bloc supporters are also profoundly dissatisfied for a whole variety of reasons. In fact, the only group solidly behind the corporation – and this is important – are committed Liberals, the more so if they are graduates. So, not Conservatives, not socialists, not non-partisan leftists, but Liberal Party stalwarts. That’s a lot of money for a prolonged Pierre Trudeau celebration.
Beyond the mere democracy of respecting voters and their wishes, there is the compelling argument that the CBC simply does not do its job well. The survey indicates that this is increasingly self-evident to all but the most zealous, and the sooner we liberate the airwaves, allow choice and freedom, and encourage Canadians to ask for better and cheaper television and radio, the better for all of us.