Don't strangle the CBC


    MONTREAL, March 5 /CNW Telbec/ - The Syndicat des communications de
Radio-Canada (SCRC) is deeply concerned about the public broadcaster's future.
The Conservative government is placing the CBC/Radio-Canada under unacceptable
financial pressure, which could lead in the not-so-distant future to the
asphyxiation and indeed the death of a public institution that is vital to
Québec and the rest of Canada.
    The SCRC believes the government's attitude will lead to the dismantling
of the CBC/Radio-Canada and undermine Canada's identity and cultural
sovereignty. The financial strangulation of the CBC threatens to hit local
stations first. There is also a real risk of cultural Americanization in both
Québec and the rest of Canada.
    A number of CRTC decisions have already placed CBC/Radio-Canada in
difficulty: the refusal to grant the CBC carriage fees and the removal of the
all-news channels RDI and Newsworld from basic cable service are only two
recent CRTC decisions that will harm the public broadcasting system.
    While the Canadian government allocates only $34 per taxpayer to public
broadcasting per year, countries that care about their national culture, such
as the U.K. and France, spend 4 to 5 times as much in order to maintain a
strong public broadcasting system.
    Contrary to what some competitors and critics of public broadcasting
claim, CBC/Radio-Canada is not a private corporation dedicated to profit: it
is a public service established under an Act of Parliament.
    By jeopardizing the survival of this unique public service, the federal
decisions threaten not only culture but also freedom of information in Canada.
The Harper government must provide adequate funding for CBC/Radio-Canada, even
in these difficult times.

    The SCRC represents approximately 1,500 Radio-Canada and CBC employees
(on-air and production staff) in Québec and Moncton.



For further information: Alex Levasseur, President, (514) 842-4020