For how much longer can the CBC call itself Canada’s public broadcaster if the Canadian public don’t actually watch its broadcasts? I suspect this question may have seemed frivolous even a decade ago—though now, in 2020, it may just be too tantalizing a question to shrug off.
Fewer and fewer Canadians consume the public broadcaster’s programs. The CBC’ supper hour broadcast, for instance, has now faded to a meagre 329,000 viewers (close to the number of newcomers added to Canada’s population every year, yet CBC’s viewership still declines). These figures are starkly revealing: what has happened to our supposed national treasure?
Despite being pressed with the mandate to unbiasedly “”inform, enlighten and entertain” Canadians with Canadian content, the CBC is now pleading with the CRTC to let them broadcast less Canadian programs. As Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley mused, “Isn’t that why [the CBC] exists?”
Perhaps the abysmal ratings and their muted Canadian pessimism could be forgiven if the CBC was not so chronically possessed with pro-Liberal bias. It is not unreasonable to suggest that all public broadcasters have some degree of bias: they recruit largely from a university educated, metropolitan demographic—however, the Canadian broadcaster, in particular, seems utterly unapologetic in their support of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Take, for instance, Rosemary Barton who up until last week hosted the CBC’s flagship show, The National. Before Barton’s pyrrhic “promotion,” the presenter gleefully revelled in any opportunity to defend her darling Trudeau. Worst still, Barton then apparently thought it was a brilliant idea to have her name on a CBC lawsuit against the Conservative Party during a federal election.
Despite widespread criticism, the CBC has made no attempt to learn from its mistakes of the last election. This was proven, once again, by the public broadcaster wheeling out Richard Decarie, (a leadership no-hoper from Quebec) to represent the social views of Canadian Conservatives.
Decarie who, rather impressively, managed to embarrass the majority of the party, confirmed the prejudices of Canada’s Laurentian elites by happily suggesting that “LGBTQ” was a “Liberal” term and that being gay was a “choice” on CTV.
Almost instantly, Decarie was quickly condemned by all serious Conservative leadership contenders. And yet, despite this, and despite the fact he has never held elected office, the old reactionary was stirred from bed yet again the following day and given more airtime from CBC than some other minor candidates would hope to achieve in an entire leadership contest. It’s hard to think of another reason CBC decided to have this bigoted man–not even yet fully registered in the race–a platform other than to besmirch the Conservative Party of Canada as a whole.
As a conservative, I often find myself romantically defending dilapidated and tired institutions that have lost all practical purpose in the modern world. Perhaps, for the sake of a free-thinking Canada, conservatives should get serious about dismantling the CBC–an institution so out of touch with modern Canada despite taking billions of dollars in taxpayer money.