Quebecers don't trust Harper on culture



    TORONTO, May 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Only Green Party leader Elizabeth May
scores lower than Stephen Harper among Quebec voters when asked which federal
political party leaders are most trusted to handle culture and Canadian
identity in broadcasting, according to a new Pollara survey released this
morning.
    Exploring attitudes and expectations of Canadians toward public
broadcasting, the survey comes as CBC grapples with a $170 million funding
shortfall and in the wake of Ottawa's decision to review CBC's budget to find
new potential cuts of up to $56 million - pressures that are diminishing the
CBC's creative capacity and programs.
    Against this backdrop, Pollara found Quebecers believe that Prime
Minister Harper is intent on hobbling the CBC. This belief is more widespread
among voters in Quebec than anywhere else in the country, except Atlantic
Canada.

    
    - 70% of Quebec respondents vs. 63% nationally agreed that "Prime
      Minister Harper and the Conservative government are hostile to the CBC
      and would like to diminish public broadcasting in Canada".
    - 54% of Quebec respondents versus 51% nationally agreed that when it
      comes to the CBC, "the Harper government has a hidden agenda that
      favours private corporate broadcasters". 23% of Quebecers disagree and
      23% don't know.
    - 73% of Quebecers agree that Canada's level of public broadcaster
      funding is indicative of the federal government's treatment of the
      cultural sector overall.

    "The good news is that Harper's disdainful treatment of the CBC flies in
the face of public opinion," says Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the broadcast
watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, which commissioned the
survey.
    Only 22% of Quebecers agree that privatizing and commercializing the CBC,
as Mr. Harper has mused, "is the right thing to do" while 65% disagree.
    Overall, Canadians think CBC is under-funded. This belief is shared by
Quebec voters:

    - 71% of Quebec voters agree that CBC's current funding "is insufficient
      to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture" vs. 68%
      nationally.
    - Six-in-ten (60%) believe CBC funding should be increased from $33 to
      $40 per citizen as recommended by the House of Commons Heritage
      Committee and another 17% think this increase is too low.
    - 46% of Quebec respondents would advise their MP to vote to increase CBC
      funding from current levels, while the advice of 35% is to maintain CBC
      funding at current levels, compared to 47% and 31% nationally.

    A strong appetite for regional and local broadcasting is an issue of
common interest between Quebecers and Canadians at large.

    - Three quarters (74%) of Canadians and Quebecers "would like to see the
      CBC strengthened in their part of the country".
    - 72% of Quebecers and 71% of Canadians agree that "we should build a new
      CBC capable of providing high quality Canadians programming with strong
      regional content throughout Canada".

    Concern that recently announced cuts to the CBC budget will reduce the
amount of local news and regional coverage is more widely held in Quebec at
74% than nationally (66%). Other highlights from the Pollara survey of Quebec
voters:

    - 83% tune in to some form of CBC programming.
    - 80% rate the CBC's performance in fulfilling its mandate 'good', 'very
      good' or 'excellent".
    - 87% believe "the CBC is important in protecting Canadian identity and
      culture".
    - 83% believe CBC is "best suited to provide Canadian programming on TV".
    - 73% of Quebecers believe the CBC should be held "most responsible for
      ensuring that Canadian programming continues to be an integral part of
      the Canadian economy and culture", 15% favour private broadcasters, 9%
      cable and satellite companies and 3% Internet content providers.
    - The vast majority of Quebecers want to see an end to the Prime Minister
      hand picking people to lead the CBC. 84% believe the CBC's Board of
      Directors should be appointed through a non-political process and 83%
      believe CBC President should be appointed at arms length from the
      political process.
    

    FRIENDS commissioned POLLARA to survey a random sample of 3,361 Canadians
18 year of age or older. The rate of accuracy for Quebec regional data is
4.97% nineteen times in twenty. National results are considered accurate to
+/- 1.69% nineteen times out of twenty. This survey was in the field from
April 20 to 24, 2009
    Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is a watchdog group dedicated to the
promotion and preservation of Canadian content on radio and TV. Friends is
non-partisan and is not affiliated with any broadcaster.

    Full details available at: www.friends.ca




For further information:

For further information: Jim Thompson, (613) 447-9592

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