Thursday, April 08, 2010

Cuts at CBC

The Harper government's creation of a new Canadian Media Fund to replace the old Canadian Television Fund has resulted in funding cuts for the CBC: "CBC sees $12M drop in program funding." These funds are a main source of finance for Canadian content creation and the new funding envelope system has resulted in a 10 percent cut for the CBC. This is what it is said to mean in terms of programming:
The loss at the CBC alone represents three half-hour comedy series, 1.5 one-hour drama series, or 36 one-hour documentaries, the corporation estimated.
Apparently the problem is that the government promised the new fund would provide funding based on rules that would reward "success for first-run original Canadian shows in prime time," but they never got around to putting the rules in place. So now there seems to be a mystery "envelope" funding process in place that ends up cutting the CBC.
In total, the Media Fund of Canada has 350 million dollars to distribute as of April 1. The envelopes paid to private networks are not yet known.

Radio-Canada and CBC previously received a grant protected to ensure their funding. The Harper government wanted to end this privilege. The FMC is administered by a independent board composed of representatives appointed by the government. The Minister of Canadian Heritage, James Moore, was not available yesterday to comment on the reduction imposed on the envelope radiocanadienne.
The line coming from Moore may be along the lines of what I noticed him tweeting last night. He deleted this tweet, it's not in his main stream anymore, but apparently at your tweets live forever:

So, in effect, Moore's initial reaction to the word of these cuts making the rounds was to haul out the old partisan chestnuts. Disregard these latest funding cuts, it's all actually part of a big increase extravaganza. And day is night, don't you know?

There's little love lost toward CBC on the Harper Conservatives' end. They use the CBC as a chew toy for fundraising, it's an indication of how they view the institution.

There are suggestions the funding might increase based on the fall programming, after the Media Fund looks at it. But for now, it looks like the tale of how to choke the public broadcaster in many convoluted steps.