We have to unite behind one of Canada's greatest cultural institutions. Good to know the group below will be mobilizing in ridings where Conservatives won very slim victories...
Today, from the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, I received this email:
Dear Supporter ,
As you know, the CBC is in crisis. Eight hundred of its creative people – 10% of all its staff – are being laid off in order to deal with a $171 million shortfall which CBC's president, hand-picked by Stephen Harper, announced suddenly just weeks ago.
These cuts will decimate programming on radio and television, and will be particularly devastating in small and medium sized communities throughout Canada.
FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting is fighting these cuts by delivering a strong message to Harper and Ottawa that the government must invest in pubic broadcasting and not allow it to wither and die.
But we can't do it without your help.
We are calling on the federal government to adopt the 2008 recommendation of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to increase CBC's parliamentary grant from the present $33 per capita to $40. This would give CBC the money it needs to maintain and grow its services. It's a good first step.
The average per capita investment in public broadcasting in Western democracies is $80, so adopting the Heritage Committee's plan would bring us Canadians to only half that average.
So, how do we plan to get this message through to Harper, his caucus and the opposition parties?
For starters, over the next ten days, the House of Commons is not sitting. MP's are back in their ridings where they are more accessible than usual to their constituents. We are organizing a massive campaign to get the message out to all MP's through email, telephone and direct contact.
But we are also focusing on eighteen ridings where Conservative MP's won the last election with extremely slim margins over their opponents. These are MP's who will likely be especially sensitive to public opinion, and to facing angry constituents at the doorstep in the forthcoming election wearing responsibility for the evisceration of public broadcasting.
Imagine for a moment that Harper & Co. are thinking about a rescue for private TV broadcasters while leaving Canada's national treasure, the CBC, to wither and die. Canadians are justifiably angry about this turn of events. We must act now to focus our energy where it will do the most good.
Public broadcasting in Canada is at a tipping point. If we all join together we can turn this around and bequeath a strong CBC to our children and their children.
Whatever you can spare –$500, $250, $100, $50 or even $20 will make a huge contribution.
So, thanks, and please!
FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting