For those of you with any lingering doubt about how your typical CBC employee regards conservatives, check out this excerpt from a missive in Friday’s (September 23) Globe and Mail from locked-out Newsworld employee Natalie Ruskin, responding to Patrick Watson’s bombshell op-ed recommending the CBC be shut down and the entire service put out to tender:
C’mon Watson, who’s the real dinosaur here? For argument’s sake, let’s overlook Patrick Watson’s complete insensitivity toward CBC workers and their jobs when he writes, “Let’s put public broadcasting out to tender,” and “close down the whole institution.” Those remarks are ancient: They existed way before this lockout, their origins from the same dust-covered crop of conventional conservatives who likely struggle to pronounce the phrase “national dialogue.”
Perhaps Ms. Ruskin is too young or has forgotten that the CRTC’s awarding of Canada’s first news channel licence to the CBC was telegraphed and therefore basically fixed in the 1986 Caplan-Sauvageau report on Canadian broadcasting, which recommended an all-news cable channel run by, of course, the CBC. Both this report and the awarding of the news channel to the CBC came to pass under a conservative government. The losing bidder, Western-based Allarcom, appealed the decision to the federal cabinet. A group of Alberta MPs also lobbied cabinet to overturn the decision, but neither was successful. The cabinet did, however, require the CBC to get 20% of Newsworld’s content from private broadcasters and add an all-French news channel.
The Alberta MPs and even some cabinet ministers – including Mulroney, Don Mazankowski and Joe Clark (who was scheduled to appear last week at a rally in support of the CBC) – were reportedly concerned about the additional burden on taxpayers, and awarding a licence to a broadcaster based in central Canada and hostile to the governing party. Wonder why.
This item spurs me to admit that I have been negligent in not checking out the blogs of locked-out CBC workers (lockees?), thinking the occasional glance at Antonia Zerbisias’ column would suffice, but Ms. Ruskin’s shot has prompted me to seek them out.