The CBC's decision to air the Tragically Hip's farewell concert Saturday was a stroke of public broadcasting genius. Better than almost any event one could imagine, it demonstrated the power of a national public broadcaster to bring a nation together to celebrate its shared values, to honour its prodigies, to connect.
It's time to end this perverse nonsense, to put CBC television back on the rails producing objectively high-quality programs to serve audiences both as citizens and consumers, enriching rather than impoverishing their lives. We know how to accomplish this: the senate committee archives are stuffed with sane, solid suggestions, almost none of which showed up in the report released last week. Yes, it will cost some money, but what price do we put on the maintenance of democratic values, the spread of education, and the promotion of cultural literacy?
Mr. Lacroix and his senior management team, and the Board of Directors -- each in law and precedent charged with defending public broadcasting in this country -- should resign, and call for an immediate and complete rethinking of CBC/Radio-Canada's untenable financing and governance. Then maybe, this problem can be sorted out.
In assessing the health of both public and private broadcasters based on several criteria including revenues and program quality the health of the private sector was found to be directly correlated with the health of the public broadcaster.
Given that, in poll after poll, Canadians have expressed the view that the CBC/Radio-Canada is a public good that is both desirable and necessary, the solution to the market failure ought to be obvious: it is to provide the money necessary for the CBC. To do that will mean eliminating advertising on all CBC services, and boosting the public subsidies.
Aside from the bogus gesture toward maintaining "a Canadian cultural icon," the emphasis throughout the list of "benefits" emanating from the Rogers-NHL deal is focused entirely on protection of advertising revenue. But at what cost? The fact is that the only strategy that can save CBC television is one that makes it distinctive and relevant.