An influential new study has found that countries with well-funded public broadcasters have healthier democracies. Why? Because citizens feel less divided when they are a part of a unified “us”. For Canada, the CBC is the mirror that reflects that unity. At a time when democratic discourse is under constant threat from disinformation and political tribalism, its trusted and local reporting is more important than ever.
The CBC is a beacon for Canadian unity, from coast, to coast, to coast.
The Nature of Things, Schitt’s Creek and Heartland – these are shows that reflect our diverse perspectives, our vast landscapes and our shared Canadian values. This kind of programming can only come from a broadcaster dedicated to providing that most precious of public services – preserving our distinct cultural identity.
And as a fundamental Canadian institution, the CBC comes through when we need it most.
Think of the 2013 Calgary flood, or the 2016 Fort McMurray fire, when local CBC journalists worked around the clock in difficult conditions to keep us informed. Just last year, when Hurricane Fiona knocked most news stations off the air, the CBC created a lite version of its broadcast so that residents could continue to receive critical information. It now continues to provide low bandwidth news services to communities with limited internet access.
The CBC is our national public square – it provides a platform for healthy and democratic discourse, protects and promotes Canadian storytelling, and helps keep us safe and informed.
But the CBC is under threat.
Decades-long ambivalence by the Liberals, and outright antipathy from the Conservatives, have landed the CBC near the bottom of the pile when it comes to worldwide funding for public broadcasters. While Conservatives historically demanded CBC budget cuts, Pierre Poilievre is now in earnest promising his base that he will defund the CBC. In his latest anti-CBC stunt, he recurited tech giant Twitter, and its billionaire owner Elon Musk, to mislabel our national public broadcaster on the platform and cast doubt on its journalistic integrity. Thankfully, this decision was reversed, with FRIENDS kickstarting the public outcry against it. But the battle is not over. Opponents of the CBC, with Poilievre chief among them, will not hesitate to lash back against our national public broadcaster with renewed attacks.
This is why we need every Canadian who understands the value of the CBC to stand up and defend it. Canadians like you.