Harper’s Sentence of Death by a Thousand Cuts

Well, 800 in this case.

Shortly after the town hall-style meeting at CBC yesterday, it was revealed that 800 jobs and 125 million in assets are on the chopping block. And this is the “best case” scenario.

The asset sale is subject to government approval and a willing buyer so if these do not go through, the initial plan to try and uphold the mandate of the CBC could fall by the wayside since it represents more than two-thirds of the shortfall. In a depressed market, is this really the best time to sell assets? Only if you are the buyer.

And that would serve Harper’s purpose to a ‘T’.

Harper has made no attempts to hide his disdain for the CBC and constantly accuses them of a liberal bias. He obviously doesn’t watch the CBC- specifically the At Issue panel (for equal opportunity skewering) Thursday on the evening news. But his rants are working because people like to be lead by the nose- if the response to the article on the CBC website is any indication.

I read one comment and had to stop. I could feel my blood pressure skyrocketing. People are shortsighted, ignorant parrots.

It is too easy to point the finger at the Liberals. While they are not blameless (none of them are) there are many factors at play- not the least of which is election fatigue on the part of the Canadian public and the economic crisis that makes the costly endeavor of an election more than a little unseemly. The upshot is that Harper is allowed to get away with murder.

Of course I mean that in the figurative sense (mostly).

Harper has been allowed to whittle away funding to the arts one chunk at a time- this is easy for him because it plays to his narrow-minded base. The negative effect on culture is a huge sore point with Quebec which basically means Harper has given up on the province and will concentrate his pandering to the non-urban areas of Ontario and B.C. The rest of Canada should also be worried.

Could you just imagine what the Conservative would be doing if they were allowed to continue on their road towards a “razor-thin surplus” if the other parties hadn’t forced his hand? The unfortunate thing is that Harper is feeling emboldened again and it is only a matter of time before he tries something big.

What I don’t think a lot of people realize is that there is a big ripple effect with cuts to arts and entertainment. We may not like everything that is born out of the different funding programs but when you try to narrow the definition of what can and cannot be funded, you leave it open to the kind of censorship that attacks the core of Canadian values. The CBC buys or is involved in the development of a lot of programming and these may be in jeopardy. Since the plan is for 80% Canadian content, that has translated to jobs in Canada but this is on thin ice.

It is also important to realize that the CBC was not asking for a hand-out. They had asked for a bridge loan to get them past the current economic climate that has affected their advertising revenue. On the news, the Heritage Minister essentially said it was in CBC’s best interest NOT to receive the bridge loan because they may not be able to pay it back when the financial crisis is over.

I sputtered when I heard this. The Conservatives are doing this for CBC’s own good- not a little patronizing, no, not at all.

I don’t know if this is the end of CBC as we know it. I hope not.

Nothing can be everything to everyone but the CBC gives a voice to people who would otherwise go unheard. We don’t have to agree with all the opinions expressed (wouldn’t it be a bore if we all did, agree, that is) and we don’t have to watch CBC and all the related stations 24/7 to show our support but if the CBC is allowed to die a slow and painful death, a huge void would be left behind and I for one would be afraid of what the Conservatives would try to fill it with.

And, if you like to think for yourself, you would be too.


~ by angryegg on March 26, 2009.

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