WATERLOO, ON, Feb. 1, 2012 /CNW/ - A substantial majority (73%) of Kamloops area residents would like CBC to establish a local radio station to cover community affairs and three-quarters (76%) hope their MP would champion a new station or not oppose it. These findings emerge from a new opinion survey commissioned by the broadcast watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
On May 26, 2011, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced plans to introduce new radio services based in Kamloops to serve northern parts of the southern Interior region in the autumn of 2012, but since then threatened budget cuts have cast doubt on CBC's capacity to deliver on this promise.
According to the survey, area residents who hope their MP will be a champion and fight for the new service outnumber those who would rather their MP support cuts to CBC's budget by a factor of two to one, while one-in-four would prefer their MP to remain neutral.
The opinions of people in the region appear to be at odds with the plans of the federal government.
"The federal government's plan to make a substantial cut of 10% or more to the CBC's budget will have devastating consequences for listeners and viewers and could well scuttle the promised new service, an outcome that will clearly be off-side with the priorities of residents of the area," said Morrison.
If more money is required by the CBC to deliver its promise, most Kamloops area residents would support that.
More than half (57%) agree that "just as small provinces have their own CBC stations, regions like mine should have their own stations, even if it requires giving the CBC a bit more money". Only one-in-five (21%) disagree.
The survey found that two thirds (66%) of area residents would counsel their MP to maintain or increase CBC funding. Only 17% would advise their MP to vote to cut the CBC's funding.
"Cathy McLeod knows her constituents want her to support the CBC and this survey shows that two-thirds (66%) of area residents would like to see the CBC's budget increased or maintained and they would like her to help make this happen," Morrison said.
Even though the Conservative Party promised to maintain or increase CBC funding during the recent election campaign, Heritage Minister James Moore is now talking about substantial cuts to the national public broadcaster in the upcoming federal budget.
"We believe in the national public broadcaster. We have said that we will maintain or increase support for the CBC. That is our platform and we have said that before and we will commit to that."
James Moore, May 3, 2011
"The Conservatives promised time and again before, during and after the election campaign to maintain or increase CBC funding. Breaking this promise will go against the grain for most people in the Kamloops area and elsewhere in Canada," Morrison said.
The survey also found that half (54%) of the region's residents agree with a recent House of Commons Heritage Committee recommendation that annual CBC funding should be increased from $33 per Canadian to $40, while 20% think this recommendation should be rejected because it is too little.
Six-in-ten (64%) residents agree that the CBC provides good coverage of local news and cultural events even without a local station, but this level of agreement is significantly less than Canadians in other parts of the country.
Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative government carry a reputation for being hostile to Canadian culture and the CBC. According to the survey, 60% think Canada's level of public broadcaster funding is indicative of the federal government's treatment of the cultural sector overall, and more than half of area residents (53%) think Canada's level of public broadcaster funding is insufficient to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture.
As for which political party is most trusted to protect the CBC, the Conservative Party scores lowest at 15% followed by the Liberal Party at 27% with the NDP being most trusted to protect the CBC by 58%.
Canada-wide, the CBC remains extremely popular with Canadians, who by wide majorities give the CBC high marks for meeting its mandate to present programs that inform, enlighten and entertain (77%) as well as its mandate to serve the broadcasting needs of Canada's regions (68%).
The online survey of 2022 adult Canadians conducted from November 4 to 10 has a margin of error of +/- 2.18%, 19 times out of 20. Kamloops region data are based on a sample of 164 adults living in the area and have a margin of error of +/- 7.65%, 19 times out of 20.
The survey was designed and administered by political scientists Peter Loewen, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto and Daniel Rubenson, Associate Professor at Ryerson University. Fieldwork for the poll was done by Vision Critical on the Angus Reid Forum National Panel.
For further information:
Jim Thompson 613-447-9592