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article imageCBC braces for $100 million in cuts

By Andrew Reeves     Oct 11, 2011 in Politics
Ottawa - The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is bracing for upwards of $100 million in service cuts from their $1.1 billion annual budget. The expected move has many people questioning the government's commitment to public broadcasting.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Canada’s national public broadcaster, is being told to brace for cuts of upwards of $100M. The annual budget for the CBC – including all radio, television, and online programming for both English and French Canada – is $1.1B.
Proposals are being requested from the government as to what a service cut of 5-10 per cent would look like across the board. All government bodies and crown corporations are being asked to contemplate deep cuts, and the CBC is no exception, alleges the Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore.
According to the Toronto Sun, Moore claimed that "everyone has to do its part, which means CBC has to do its part as well.”
The service cut requests are coming in the midst of a strategic and operational review, currently being undertaken by the Conservative government, in the hopes of finding $4B in savings by 2014 to fight the deficit.
However, many people are questioning the Conservative’s commitment to the nation’s public broadcaster. After winning a majority government in May, 2011, James Moore stated publicly that while reducing the deficit was important, the CBC could expect to be exempt from such cuts.
The Vancouver Sun reports Moore arguing in May that "we believe in the national public broadcaster." Moore adds "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."
The difference is stark between the post-election Heritage Minister who spoke out in support of maintaining funding levels for the CBC, and the Heritage Minister of today who argues the CBC deserves no special treatment.
In the Vancouver Sun:
"James Moore has been as articulate defending public broadcasting as anybody I know," says Ian Morrison, spokesman for Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, an advocacy group that calls itself a watchdog for Canadian programming.
But he quickly adds: "There's more than one James Moore. He's a hydra-headed creature."
Where this leaves programming funding for the CBC is anyone’s guess, although all signs point to drastic reductions. Currently, the broadcaster is appealing a court decision that requires the release of spending documents, a costly battle over the right of the public broadcaster to keep private details of how money is allocated internally.
Yet "in the campaign, we said we're going to balance the budget," Moore claims in the Vancouver Sun, "and we're going to do so responsibly."
"We're going to keep our word and the CBC has to be part of that."
And for the CBC, at least there is less uncertainty over which James Moore they will deal with in coming months.
More about CBC, Budget cuts, James Moore, Stephen Harper, Conservative government
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