Grudge against CBC seen as funding block

    TORONTO, May 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Levels of support and satisfaction with
the CBC are high but Canadians believe their national public broadcaster is
being starved of funds by a government with a vendetta against it.
    These are among the findings from a major new Pollara study of Canadians'
attitudes about and expectations for the CBC.
    A $170 million funding shortfall and 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, leading to 800 layoffs -
are in full view of Canadians.
    Against this backdrop, Pollara found Canadians believe that Prime
Minister Harper is intent on hobbling the CBC.

    - 63% agree that "Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative government
      are hostile to the CBC and would like to diminish public broadcasting
      in Canada."
    - 51% agree that, when it comes to the CBC "the Harper government has a
      hidden agenda that favours private corporate broadcasters". 25%
      disagree and 25% don't know.
    - 70% agree that "Canada's level of public broadcaster funding is
      indicative of the federal government's treatment of the cultural sector

    "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
    Only 25% of Canadians agree that "privatizing and commercializing the
CBC", as Mr. Harpers had mused, "is the right thing to do" while 62% disagree
with this idea.
    Overall, Canadians think CBC is under-funded.

    - 68% agree that CBC's current funding "is insufficient to maintain a
      unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture".
    - 47% would advise their MP to vote to increase CBC funding from current
      levels, while 31% would advise their MP to maintain CBC funding and 9%
      would counsel a funding cut.
    - 74% believe that annual funding to the CBC should be increased: 54%
      support the Commons Heritage Committee recommendation that CBC's annual
      funding should increase to $40 per Canadian, and 20% believe $40 per
      Canadian is too low.
    - 63% agree that "the CBC provides value for taxpayer money".

    A strong appetite for more regional programming emerges from the survey:

    - 71% agree "we should build a new CBC capable of providing high quality
      Canadian programming with strong regional content throughout Canada".
    - 74% of Canadians "would like to see the CBC strengthened in their part
      of the country".
    - 66% of Canadians are "concerned that recently announced cuts to the CBC
      budget will reduce the amount of local news and regional coverage".

    Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is regarded as "most trusted" to handle
matters of culture and Canadian identity in broadcasting by Canadians, a view
that is amplified among Quebecers and Atlantic Canadians.

    Pollara also found:

    - 82% tune in to some form of CBC programming every week.
    - 76% rate the CBC's performance in fulfilling its mandate 'good', 'very
      good' or 'excellent".
    - 83% believe "the CBC is important in protecting Canadian identity and
    - 80% believe "the CBC is best suited to provide Canadian programming on
    - 70% of Canadians 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", 18% favour private broadcasters, 9%
      cable and satellite companies and 3% Internet content providers.
    - The vast majority of Canadians want to see an end to the Prime Minister
      hand picking people to lead the CBC. 86% believe the CBC's Board of
      Directors should be appointed through a non-political process and 87%
      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. 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:

For further information:

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

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