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Conservative leadership candidate Erin O’Toole has pledged to eliminate 50 percent of the CBC’s English-langauge television, with a plan to privatize it over the course of a four-year government.
If elected prime minister, O’Toole will also cut the budget of the CBC’s digital programming, whilst preserving components of the public broadcaster, which continues to remain in the national interest.
Speaking to The Post Millennial, O’Toole said, “We’re announcing today a plan to radically reform and energize the CBC. That will mean cutting CBC digital. That will mean eliminating half the budget of CBC English television—with a view of privatizing it over the course of a four-year government.”
O’Toole went on to say that he would preserve the components of the CBC that still serve in the public interest.
“CBC Radio, which doesn’t compete with the private sector because there’s no commercials, will be preserved.
O’Toole would also preserve “CBC Radio-Canada in Quebec and other parts of the country that fulfills the duo-lingustic requirements. So, French-language services, minority language services in some parts of the country.”
“We’d like to see that increasingly on a non-commercial basis,” O’Toole added.
Over recent weeks, the CBC has faced increasing pressure after a report revealed that a meagre 329,000 viewers now watch the public broadcaster’s supper-hour broadcast. As a result of this declining viewership, the CBC recently asked the CRTC to let them broadcast less Canadian programs.
“The CBC has to get with the times,” said O’Toole. “The government shouldn’t be subsidizing things just because that was the way it was done 50, 60, 70 years ago.”
“Nothing shows the lunacy of Justin Trudeau’s policies more than $600 million in new money he gave to the CBC to enhance their digital program. A few years later, he needed to put a $600 million media bailout, because the Toronto Star and other companies were losing digital advertising—because of his own CBC increase!”
If elected prime minister, O’Toole would seek to reform what he described as “over a billion dollars of dumb, old public policy … We have to recognize the new realities, and the CBC has to realize it, too. An O’Toole government will reform and modernize the CBC.”