Of all the items in the new federal budget, the one that jumped out at me, and caused a whoop of delight, was the $675-million over five years of new investment in the CBC. For years, Mother Corp has been increasingly starved of funds—finally some much-needed relief.
The October election illustrated yet again the need for an independent voice in the mass media. The daily press, despite being treated with contempt for years by Stephen Harper, overwhelmingly supported re-electing his government. Their duty to their corporate masters reduced them to an unseemly masochism. The CBC is the only truly independent mass medium in the country—the others answer to and are the property of media barons.
But the struggle is far from over. The current CBC Board of Directors is stacked with Stephen Harper's partisan appointees. Nine of the eleven directors, including President and CEO Hubert Lacroix, have contributed to the Conservative Party. The Board must be reformed into a merit-based, non-partisan body.
The watchdog Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has vowed to "make sure that the government fulfills all three of its CBC promises—new funding, meaningful consultation and governance reform." I wish them luck and will continue to support them, and in the meantime rejoice for a revitalized public broadcaster.