Thursday, March 19, 2009

Help the private, help the public

Noted in a Reuters report this afternoon on the CBC's efforts to deal with budget shortfalls and the reported prospect of the Harper government helping CanWest:
A media report on Wednesday said that the federal government was looking at ways to help debt-laden Canwest, including the possibility of looser regulations and tax changes. Any government help for private-sector broadcasters would raise the question of whether the CBC should also receive aid to cope with its woes.

Lacroix has also argued the CBC has no access to the capital markets or to commercial borrowing, which its private rivals can tap for financing.
That latter point being further rationale for the government's unique obligation in respect of CBC.

The Harper government's actions should be exacting demanding scrutiny at the moment as they unfold whatever it is they intend to do for CanWest, particularly in view of Mr. Harper's own words last week in which he publicly displayed his bias against the CBC:
We, as conservatives, inherit an incredible legacy. Never forget – you would forget this sometimes listening to the CBC – that it was Conservatives that created our federation, one of the most lasting political democratic arrangements in history. (emphasis added)
For all the reports of James Moore being a CBC advocate, it's difficult to see how that carries much weight in the face of the PM's obvious sentiments. In a courtroom, such displays would disqualify a judge. But the CBC's left with Mr. Harper as its ultimate arbiter. And there's no evidence to date in the government's public posture to support Mr. Moore's good intentions.

If they help the private broadcasters, they should help the public broadcaster. Anything less will be evidence of the Conservative anti-CBC agenda in full swing.

Update (6 p.m.): Now would be the time for apparently tone deaf CBC management not to be giving the Harper vultures reasons to refrain from helping. Because they will surely latch on to them. Bonuses for management when employees are getting the axe...not on.