Stop the CBC blood­let­ting

The Compass - - OPINION -

Some­thing has to be done to stop Stephen Harper be­fore he de­stroys the CBC. The re­cent cuts of 657 jobs aim­ing to trim another $130 mil­lion from the bud­get is the lat­est blood­let­ting ven­ture for this leader who needs to wake up and re­al­ize what he is do­ing.

John G. Diefen­baker once called the CBC “the great­est uni­fy­ing force in Canada.” Sub­se­quent prime min­is­ters that fol­lowed, in­clud­ing Pierre Elliott Trudeau, all agreed and con­tin­ued to build our na­tional iden­tity and com­mu­nity, un­til Harper came along.

In 2012 the Tories cut $115 mil­lion from CBC’s al­ready strained bud­get and now it seems it won’t let up as year af­ter year it’s more of the same. This round of cuts proves my point.

I spent a ca­reer of 30 years with the CBC in New­found­land and Labrador and those were ex­cit­ing times and valu­able times for our growth and the devel­op­ment of our New­found­land iden­tity and our cul­ture.

The main sta­tion in St. John’s (CBNT) and the other lo­ca­tions across the province (ra­dio and TV) con­nected our province to­gether through lo­cal and re­gional pro­gram­ming.

We were also con­tribut­ing daily to the CBC ra­dio and tele­vi­sion na­tional net­works (English and French), help­ing Cana­di­ans ev­ery­where to know and un­der­stand us, our rich his­tory and colour­ful past.

The cur­rent staff of CBC ra­dio and tele­vi­sion is try­ing to main­tain that legacy but are hav­ing a tough time to do their plan­ning as their legs are be­ing cut from be­neath them by these bud­get cuts and non-stop lay­offs.

The same sce­nario holds true for ev­ery CBC lo­ca­tion across the coun­try from St. John’s to Vic­to­ria, B.C.

Thou­sands of hours of pro­gram­ming each year iden­tify us for who we are — dis­tinct cul­tures — hard-work­ing peo­ple and a ge­og­ra­phy sec­ond to none with an in­cred­i­ble vast­ness of moun­tains, lakes, rivers and oceans.

We are the true north strong and free. We must con­tinue to re­flect that to the world.

There are things you can’t put a dol­lar value on and, in my opinion, our na­tional broad­caster is one such. It is the very spine of our coun­try.

Let’s let our MPs know how we feel and help stop the blood­let­ting of the CBC be­fore it is too late.

Frag­ment it now, de­stroy it in the not too dis­tant fu­ture.

Then again ... that seems to be on the way to be­com­ing the “Stephen Harper legacy.”

Bill West­cott writes from Clarke’s Beach

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