I sent the following letter off to local papers late this past afternoon. The 500 word limits for letters to the local paper have me focusing on things other than excellent prose and citation but I think it gets my point across. Have a look. What do you think of our government’s budget prioritization?
Spare the CBC: I Can Fix Our 2012 Budget in 30 Seconds
The CBC has been an important pillar of Canadian culture and every step of my life. Whether it be watching Mr. Dressup as a youngster, discovering new music on the radio or watching the news, there has always been something of unrivaled quality to be enjoyed. It has put Canadian musical talent on the world map and has done incredible things for Canada. The CBC also has some of the best and least biased National news programming available.
As part of a $5.2 Billion dollar cut to Federal spending introduced in the 2012 Federal budget, it has been proposed that CBC’s funding be cut by some $115 Million dollars (from its $1.1 Billion dollar budget). There are many other contentious areas where cuts are being made as well, including 19,200 jobs (potentially tens of thousands more in the private sector through ripple effects of the cuts), and increases to minimum age for OAS benefits.
During times when crimerates have been falling and hitting record lows since the 60s and 70s, this same government has committed to a controversial crime bill that has been highly criticized by experts as being ineffectual, harmful and wasteful. The C-10 “omnibus crime bill” or “Safe Streets and Communities Act” as they’ve decided to call it has even been criticized by the Canadian Bar Association and shockingly, US Conservatives in Texas where they have tried very similar strategies and learned that it was the wrong approach and a complete failure.
In the face of all this, they still proceeded and this bill will cost the Federal and Provincial governments BILLIONS of dollars. This is only one of several wasteful bills to be passed with the Harper government’s majority ruling. They are billing themselves as being committed to fiscal responsibility and having to make tough but “minor” budgetary adjustments while hacking and slashing their way through things that matter to Canadians and shaking the public purse over a sewer grate.
It is clear to me that a government that can afford multibillion-dollar legislation time after time despite contradictory science and expert opinion can afford to NOT make cuts to the CBC or other things important to Canadians.
We can’t look at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as merely “another broadcaster”, or as mere “money in vs money out”. The economic benefits can’t be measured in those terms and would require using pseudoscience and guess work to make estimates as to the impact it’s had on the success of Canadians during the past 75 years. A $100 million dollar cut to the CBC would threaten key services and is equivalent to almost the entire cost of producing CBC radio.
It would be naive of me to expect that nothing was ever cut, but the word of the day is PRIORITY. If you want to make cuts to the CBC, commit to end the senseless waste elsewhere first and put bills like C-10 in the paper shredder first.
-Adam W. Young