Peladeau, owner of Videotron and the Sun newspaper chain, and God knows what else, is arguing today for a public debate on the role of CBC (though he doesn’t specify it, he really means CBC TV.) In the zero channel universe of the 1950’s, a national television broadcaster made sense, just as a national radio broadcaster did. In the 500 channel and counting universe, what exactly should CBC television’s role be? News and documentaries? Got those channels. Sports? Got those channels. Showcase for independent filmmakers? Check. So, let’s have a national debate on the role of CBC and its 28 platforms, then fund it accordingly. I’ll start the ball rolling: yes to Radio One, maybe to Radio Two, no to Radio Three. No to CBC English TV, yes to CBC French TV/radio outside Quebec, maybe to CBC French inside Quebec.
The future of the CBC and its pre-eminent role in our broadcasting system should be up for review. The Corporation’s funding is tied to its mandate, as stipulated in the Broadcasting Act. Just as the CRTC acted courageously in its recent decision, Parliament should now rethink CBC’s direction and funding and make it accountable in the same way as other Crown Corporations.
National Post, March 30 2010