The National Film Board of Canada as an exclusive research facility no longer producing critically acclaimed films and helping to keep Canada on the map of world documentary. A National Portrait Gallery that consists of hundreds of culturally, politically and historically important and aesthetically diverse portraits locked in crates in the basement of a federal building. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as a market mirror broadcaster, one that embraces the profit motive by increasing advertising while decreasing programming, including locally-specific programming.
These are the dreams of Canada’s autocratic, art-hostile Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Unfortunately for this country’s people, they are dreams being put into action as we speak. Harper’s recent announcement of massive cuts to the CBC will indeed push the beleaguered “public” broadcaster further to the inane and fluff-soaked ideology of free market media. More ads and less programming — yes that is what the doctor ordered during these troubled times! Once Harper pulls his sleaves up to dismantle this country’s rich legacy of arts, it appears there is no stopping him. That Harper remains willfully ignorant to the fact that the arts are — in his lingo — incredibly economically robust, creating more jobs than the entire resource sector, among other positive economic factors, means he either really really hates the arts, is insane, or has the worst advisors surrounding him since Mulroney.
Love or hate the CBC, it is the idea of public broadcasting that we must fight for. Once that idea is firmly supported by all Canadians, through our actions, especially during vicious attacks on the arts such as those currently underway, then we can move to develop that idea into something that resembles the success of the BBC. I pay taxes for tanks and I also pay taxes to have a sector of society apolitically supported by the government. The corporate world delivers certain product, and whether one thinks it is good or not is besides the point: public broadcasting ensures at the very least a diversity that stems from the very essence of the who, what, why and how of programming. This is a time for only one kind of cut, and so I say: Off with his head!!