mercredi 1 avril 2009

The Dream of the CBC

The CBC is part of everyday life of Canadians since the beginnings of radio in the country. Moreover, the CBC is the oldest broadcasting service in Canada and was created on 2 November 1936.
Personally, I am a user of this network since my adolescence in Gaspé (1960) while local television CHAU-TV was affiliated with Radio-Canada. The competition was not what it is today because at the time several television stations outside Montreal were affiliated with the two main networks in Quebec, which were Radio-Canada and Télé-Métropole.
It was the same situation with many small private radio stations.
Later, when I became a parliamentary correspondent at the National Assembly in Québec in 1977, all members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery greatly envied their colleagues at CBC. The most beautiful machines, the most beautiful offices and the most beautiful reporting cars . Not to mention the higher salaries ...
The situation has however begun to change in the 1980s when that the federal government decided to advocate a form of profit for its businesses. Several state societies such as Canada Post then adopted technics from the private sector management and that was also the case at CBC. However, we can say, in the case of CBC, that this company has ceased to be the best from the time she gave away to the private sector the task to produce several of its programs including soap operas. This strategy reduced investment in equipment but it also decreased the identity of the broadcaster.
The current budget cuts ($ 171 million on a total budget of $ 1.73 billion dollars from which 1,115 billion$ came from government funding in 2008 reduced to $ 1,052 billion$ in 2009) are not caused by Stephen Harper. He simply refused to advance money to fill a lack of money until the next budget. But it is clear that the Prime Minister is not a fan of the CBC.
He is not the only one and from Pierre E. Trudeau, to Brian Mulroney then and through Jean Chrétien, every Prime Minister has always wanted to trim the wings of the public broadcaster. Especially because the reputation of the CBC (Radio-Canada) in Montreal has always been associated with a certain sympathy toward the independence movement (PQ)...
Harper therefore push in a wide open door which lead to a liquidation of the CBC started by others. However, it is clear that the current federal government gives all indications of an intention to empty the house of its last furniture and to sell the property. Why keep a house that weighs and that one no longer uses? According to me, just another small push and the CBC
will be only a memory of its golden age.
The future of CBC will be decided within the next 5 years and the Internet will be the deciding factor as well as the climate of global economic crisis. On the technological front, the "cloud computing" with its low cost of use, is the new unknown communications tool and this will influence greatly the future of broadcasters, Radio-Canada as well as the other including Videotron.
May be someone would like to get a few cameras at a discount price... To be continued!
Bernard Bujold
Picture 1: Radio-Canada Montréal - 2009
Picture 2: Logos of Radio-Canada since its beginning:1. 1940-58 / 2. 1958-66 / 3. 1966-74 / 4. 1974-86 / 5. 1986-92 / 6. 1992 until today
Picture 3: Bernard Bujold speaker at CHAU-TV -1976

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