Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: SAVE the CBC


CBC is Canada's own publicly owned radio and TV broadcaster, a part of the very heart of Canada and its culture, connecting us all from coasts to coasts. It's currently being decimated by Harper and his government, after already many past cuts. Please read this letter from and sign the petition.

Dear friends,

Canada's media networks have all been slammed by the recession. But the government is reportedly considering bailouts for its friends at private companies CTV and CanWest, while forcing the CBC to drastically cut 800 staff and programming.

Our CBC is a national treasure, and a pillar of public-interest journalism in a country whose media is owned by a few large firms. We won't hear an outcry from their media outlets, and the CBC is too principled to use its megaphone to make the case for itself. We are the only voice the CBC has.

We urgently need a massive public outcry to Save the CBC, click below to sign the petition and forward this email to everyone who might care about this:


The petition will be delivered directly to the government, through Parliament, ads, and spectacular stunts such as an airplane pulling a giant Save the CBC banner over parliament. In each case the number of signatures on the petition will be crucial to the effectiveness of the campaign, so let's get as many people as possible to sign.

The CBC is facing a budget shortfall that amounts to just $6 per Canadian, but its request to the government for a bridging loan to cover this was denied. The deep cuts the CBC is making will damage the organization across the board, and they will not be the last. If we don't stand up for the CBC now, it stands to die a death by a thousand cuts. Harper's minority government is politically vulnerable and falling in the polls - public outrage could turn the government around on this, but it has to happen now. Let's move quickly.

With hope,

Ricken, Iain, Graziela, Paula, Brett, Alice, Paul, Ben, Milena, Veronique and the whole Avaaz team.

PS - here are some links for more info on this:

The Star reports on how opposition parties accuse Harper of using the recession as an excuse to gut the CBC

Union says Harper government strangling CBC

Ian Morrison: Stephen Harper's hidden agenda for the CBC

A crisis of identity - A reader's letter to the Globe and Mail

I would add to this list:

Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. Check out their satirical campaign ads

And finally this article from where I learned that the CBC currently gets about $33 from each Canadian taxpayer, compared to $124 to support the public broadcaster in the U.K. and $77 in France. As a taxpayer, I don't mind paying another $6 to save our CBC.

Added March 28th: This message came from J. in the UK:

glad to see you fighting the good fight for cbc. thought you might like to know that the tv licence in the uk is actually considerably more. a colour tv licence currently costs £139.50 (CDN$247.65) for one year. See the licence fee.

This is most interesting (bold mine):

The BBC is paid for directly through each household TV licence. This allows it to run a wide range of popular public services for everyone, free of adverts and independent of advertisers, shareholders or political interests.

The BBC provides 8 interactive TV channels, 10 radio networks, more than 50 local TV and radio services, the BBC's website, and the on-demand TV and radio service, BBC iPlayer.

Marja-Leena | 27/03/2009 | 19 comments
themes: Canada and BC, Culture, Current Events


cbc is important.

don't cut 14 % of your employee cuts in northwestern ontario. be fair!

Thanks for your comments, Jeanette and Phil. Please let your friends know about this petition.

I hope you can get rid of the Harper government before they do too much damage. I hope you can save CBC. We have seen the systematic attack on all public entities in this country carried to the ultimate extreme, and I hope you will be luckier.
It's this market fundamentalism that's killed us down here. The idea that nothing the government does can be good like what private enterprise does. Like our wonderful free market health system as compared to your single payer system! Right!

Hattie, thanks for the supportive comments, I fully agree with what you say. Harper admires the US model but look what's happened to your private enterprises that now want and get their government bailouts. I really hope your health system gets a shakeup for the better.

Here's another one south of the border crossing her fingers and hoping our mistakes are not repeated there in Canada!

How much is the Canadian identity worth? It seems that money can be found for most any cause if there is no cost for doing so. Is this government going to make another mistake?

Rouchswalwe , thanks for the support, dear neighbour!

Dave and Val, thanks for dropping by. I think this issue could take Harper down, but where are the opposition parties right now when we need them?

The CBC is a waste of money. I have worked in the private broadcasting industry for over 20 years. If the CBC can't stand on its own feet like the other networks have to do, then they shouldn't be on the air. They have an enormous advantage to take taxpayer money AND advertising dollars.....does that not spell "unlevel playing field"???? I rarely rarely watch or listen to CBC anymore. I used to, but their viewpoints have become so narrow and biased, it's a waste of time. I'm not saying the other networks don't have their share of bias or opinions because they do. But, if the CBC gets government money, then let's bail out the other networks who are also struggling, and laying off people.....100's of people.....WITHOUT government money. That is fair, in my view. CBC is a dinosaur. Just my humble opinion!

Leslie, thanks for writing in, and you certainly have a right to your opinion. However, what is missing in private broadcasting is quality Canadian programming, not just US rebroadcasts, and the well-researched news programs like CBC Newsworld which I strongly believe are far less biased to the business and political interests of the owners of the private broadcasters. I believe we need to have a wide variety of views to choose from, and one source has to be public. We really don't spend a lot per person on CBC. UK, France, Finland and many many other countries support a national broadcasting network as an essential service and supporter of their nations culture - and so should Canada continue to do so.

CBC defines us as Canadians more than ANY other institution. Please help it survive this government.

I'm always impressed by the quality of the programming on CBC. As a representative of Canadian national identity, it does you proud.

James, yes!

Hattie, I'm often surprised to hear how many of our neighbours to the south watch/listen to our CBC and express how much they like it. They've said, for example, that the Olympics coverage is so much better than in the US.

My sympathies to you and all Canada re. public broadcasting. However, there is the wider issue of the Hideous Harper. I think it is time for you to sit down and do what you do best. Cast your mind back to the time when the shipyards in Poland became the focus of an uprising against the repressive communist government. The days of Lech Walesa and the great Solidarity movement. One of binding forces was a brilliantly designed single-word slogan - Solidarnosc - that appeared on banners all over the place. Even now I am stirred by the memory of that powerful image.

It is time for you to you to devise an anti-Harper bit of graphics perhaps with a couple of words. Something simple but arresting which contains all your feelings. Then stick it in the corner of all your posts. I know you blog for other reasons but in a sense this would support those reasons. Implying that good art detests Harper. After all you've shown political passion in things you've written; why not show it in what you were put on this earth for.

Easy for me to say, of course.

Barrett, I agree about the issue of Harper! Canadians are such a mild sort, perhaps lacking that Slavic temperament and many years of oppression, that I'm not sure they'd ever be up to a great Solidarity movement! As for me I'm not a political artist and find your suggestion, an excellent one, definitely a challenge! I don't have the time for it right now though who knows what will pop out now that you've set this germ of an idea in the right side of my brain!

This morning I received this update from Avaaz:

In the last 72 hours almost 50,000 Canadians have signed the petition to Save the CBC! Let's up the pressure to 100,000

Again, where are the opposition parties on this issue? I checked their websites and saw nothing on their main pages. I think letters to Ignatieff and Layton and our MPs are in order. Quebec has been far more proactive and protectionist about French-CBC!!

I listen to the CBC EVERY day. We need it!

Beverley, thanks for adding your voice!

CBC is part of my daily life, it produces Canadian stories of interest that reflect the lives of Canadians.
It would be horific if Canada was to lose this national treasure and have to revert to American programing ( which is what the other Canadian networks mostly provide) for it's radio or tv entertainment.

Andre, I agree! Another huge loss would be in the all the many small communities across Canada that have local CBC programming and nothing else.

I wonder how many people know about CBC North:

CBC North broadcasts in English and a number of northern aboriginal languages from stations in Yellowknife, Iqaluit and Whitehorse, with bureaus located in Rankin Inlet and Cambridge Bay, Nunavut; Inuvik, N.W.T.; Kuujjuaq and Montreal, Que. It also has a summer bureau in Dawson City, Yukon.