It’s our CBC. We live here


Every one of our federal governments is accountable to us for their duty to respect our CBC.
It is not by chance that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has as its mantra the phrase “Canada lives here”. As Canadians, we are entitled to say that it is “our” CBC. It’s our house, we own it and we live here.
In other words, saying that the CBC is state-owned simply means that we own it. Our ownership rights also include our right to define its role, or, more to the point, to re-affirm its role.
Put in our own words, that role is straightforward: to build and sustain the daily lives of Canadians through programming that reminds us who we are, what we stand for and how we fit into the wider world.
A key part of that re-affirmation of the place of the CBC in our Canadian firmament is the phrase “what we stand for”. This phrase refers to our cherished “Canadian values” which are set out in our constitution, especially in its section entitled “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”.
Let us take that re-affirmation one step further with a statement of some basic principles that are relevant to the operations of the CBC. These principles are rooted in our commitment to our country’s participatory democracy.
The first of those principles is that the CBC is and must remain a public broadcaster. It is not a commercial broadcaster. It is not intended to turn a profit but it must be both effective and efficient.
From that first principle, comes a second principle according to which the CBC is and must remain a public broadcaster, not a government broadcaster. It must not be used and abused as a mouthpiece for the partisan agenda of any government. It must not be financially and politically strangled for not being true to the values of any government.
For that reason, we did not condone the actions of a government that felt that 10 years in power gave it the authority to redefine the core mandate of the CBC in a manner that many of us found disrespectful.
In order to avoid that and other forms of disrespect, a third principle kicks in. Full, equitable and all-inclusive participation requires that the CBC’s programming provide exposure for all aspects of our Canadian culture, in all the richness of our entrenched diversity. To suggest that the CBC must choose whether it wants to focus on classical culture or on popular culture is absurd and even irresponsible.
None of those basic principles absolves the CBC from its additional duty to provide us with programming that also exposes us to cultures and daily realities in other parts of the world.
It is in our interest to have the Trudeau government show much more respect for the CBC than previous governments did. Neither the board of directors nor the executive managerial team of the CBC should have politically partisan appointees or political patronage appointees.
It’s our house and we live here. Any disrespect towards our house is disrespect towards us. And we will not stand for it.
We voted for change. Respect for the CBC is a very important aspect of the change that we have elected the Liberals to deliver on our behalf.

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