THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF CANADA
Bill C 20
THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF WOMEN OF CANADA (Established 1893)
February 18, 2010
The Hon. James Flaherty, PC, MP
Minister of Finance
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
The National Council of Women of Canada urges the government, as you prepare this year’s budget, not to lose sight of the ongoing need to adequately fund our strong, national public broadcasting system which is vital to the future of this country. We need a system that can be relied upon to perform the essential task of keeping citizens informed about issues important to their welfare, that can provide a distinctive Canadian voice, reflect Canadian society in all its many facets, and tell Canadian stories across the country. We live in a very large country, and it is often difficult to understand the point of view of those from a distant province or region. A strong national public broadcasting system helps to keep us connected when our geography divides us.
In order to fulfill its mandate, the public broadcasting system must have funding that is adequate, stable, and predictable in order to develop thoughtful program planning. Canada has not been a leader in funding public broadcasting, as is evident in comparison with most European countries. One spokesperson for the CBC has pointed out that to find the last permanent increase in basic funding for the CBC, you would have to go back to 1973. CBC Television has had to resort to importing American game shows in prime time in order to attract advertising revenue.
Several years ago the parliamentary Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage recommended stable, multi-year funding for CBC/Radio-Canada, indexed to the cost of living. It also recommended that core funding be increased from the approximately $33 per capita being spent at that time to at least $40 per capita. We urge the government to follow the Committee’s advice.
[Text prepared by Local Council of Women of Ottawa]