Thursday, June 30, 2011

O Canada.. & CBC, it's time to stand up for thee

On air  

Tomorrow is Canada's 144th birthday. We are much more festive and jolly about July 1st than, say, 40 years ago when friends and I were threatened with eviction from a pub because we sang Happy Birthday to Canada at midnight on June 30th. The cranky bartender at the Fort Hotel in Fort St. John hated hippies, I suspect, even home-grown long-haired ones of both genders who all had jobs for the summer and certainly gave them enough business on the weekends! The Fort has since burned to the ground and I'm still standing here singing away whenever I please, so there!
Anyway, I am forwarding a letter from the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting about the upcoming CRTC licence renewal for the CBC, Radio & TV. I like radio better because it is commercial-free and we all have opinions on what has befallen CBC Two. In between making picnics and packing up for camping expeditions, please fire off the boilerplate below and add your personal flourishes.
Otherwise, contemplate Stephen Harper musing out loud as he did several weeks ago, about how Canada will become more conservative as a culture the longer the Conservatives are in power. 
Do not give Majority Control Central any excuses or opportunities to remove even more funding from a public broadcaster which is painfully fair-minded, bordering on bland, to many of us, as it is. We do not need our tax dollars funnelled to a Conservative propaganda machine, which is approximately Stephen Harper's idea of what CBC should look and sound like. The letter below is from Ian Morrison, whom many will remember as a reporter and who now volunteers for Friends of CBC. 
Photos by Jeff George of bear at Estevan Point and Orcas huffing and puffing through the Lennard Island channel.

As I mentioned in my note to you last week, the CBC's radio and TV licences are up for renewal and our voices as citizens that value public broadcasting need to be heard.
For the first time this century, the public has been invited by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to comment on CBC's plans for the next five years – including Radio One, Radio 2, the CBC Television Network and CBC News Network.
After considering all the evidence, the CRTC will issue licence renewals with a new set of conditions of licence and expectations that CBC will be required to fulfill.
This invitation provides a unique opportunity for you to speak up about why our national public broadcaster is so important for Canada's cultural sovereignty and a vibrant democracy, and to influence CBC's future policies and programs.
I am writing to urge you to take advantage of this opportunity by writing a personal submission to the CRTC now.
FRIENDS has designed an online system to make it easy for you to share your opinions and advice with the CRTC about CBC's future.
If you have time, I encourage you to review some background information before writing your comments to the CRTC.
While I am confident you will have your own ideas about how the CBC is performing and what it ought to be doing in the coming five years, I urge you to take into account the following issues which FRIENDS considers to be very important for CBC's future performance:
  • The Broadcasting Act states that the programming provided by the CBC should "reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions". We believe the Commission needs to hear from you why this is so important – in your own words.

  • What do you think of CBC's decision to cut back classical music programming on Radio 2?

  • CBC Television has proposed a condition of licence that it devote 75% of its broadcast day and 80% of prime time (7 to 11 pm) to Canadian programming averaged over a full year. Is this a sufficient minimum commitment to Canadian shows?

  • Half the audience CBC Television attracts each year watches professional sports programs, mostly Hockey Night in Canada. Is this an appropriate balance for the national public broadcaster?

  • How is CBC doing in airing children's programming?
Submit your comments now
If you feel you will need more that 45 min to compose your comments, I recommend you first write them in a word processor, then paste your submission into our system.
Ian Morrison
Ian Morrison
FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting


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