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And the award for tone-deafness goes to….

November 2022

Published in the Toronto Sun, 5 December 2022

Re: The value of CBC (Toronto Sun, Letters to the Editor, 27 November): Wow! The chutzpah of Leon Mar, Director, Media Relations for CBC/Radio-Canada, is a perfect example of the sense of entitlement one would expect from a government or government-funded entity.

While Mr. Mar does a great job at detailing the types of programing CBC/Radio-Canada provides, one thing he (conveniently) leaves out are these are all things that could be better and more economically produced by the private sector. Why should we be paying over $1 billion for it?

(Short answer – we shouldn’t be)


The Letter to the Editor that inspired this column:

Re “CBC a monster gobbling up tax dollars” (Kris Sims, Nov. 20): One might have hoped that a Sun columnist, who is also a director and spokesperson of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, would be concerned about value for public money. If that were so, Kris Sims might have written about the incredible value Canadians get from their national public broadcaster. Here are some facts Sims chose not to mention: CBC/Radio-Canada costs $34 per Canadian per year. That’s less than $3 per month (and less than the minimum monthly donation the CTF asks for on its website). For that $3, Canadians get great television, radio and digital content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages, in every corner of the country. Here’s just a sample of what Canadians get for their investment: Trusted, comprehensive news about their community, their country and the world; Award-winning Canadian comedies and dramas; A safe space with smart programming for their children; Music that showcases great Canadian talent; and Sports coverage that supports local athletes, from community competitions all the way to the Olympics and Paralympics. Canadians love this content. In fact, in February this year we reached a record 25.4 million users across our digital services alone, making us the No. 1 Canadian-owned digital destination in the country. CBC/Radio-Canada invests its public funding and its commercial revenue in services and platforms that serve people and local communities across Canada. It is the largest investor in original Canadian content, supporting an information and creative sector that contributes $54.6 billion to the Canadian economy every year and provides jobs for 630,000 Canadians. Every dollar invested in the public broadcaster creates two dollars of economic benefit for Canadians. Even the auditor-general of Canada, in her most recent special examination, underscored that CBC/Radio-Canada manages its public funds responsibly and effectively. We welcome scrutiny from the CTF and Sun newspapers. Despite what they want to believe, the facts still show that CBC/Radio-Canada is a great investment.

Leon Mar
Director, Media Relations

(This is all very fascinating, and we appreciate you trying to rationalize CBC receiving over $1 billion of taxpayers’ money every year)


The original column by Kris Sims that inspired the letter:

SIMS: The CBC is a government monster gobbling up tax dollars

The public broadcaster has outgrown its taxpayer-funded mandate and Canadians can’t afford it

Author of the article: Kris Sims

November 18, 2022

Documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation show the CBC spent more than $51 million in bonuses and pay raises during the years 2020 and 2021.

In unrelated news, CBC went cap in hand to the government and came back with a 10-gallon hat full of cash.

The federal fiscal update delivered another “$42 million to help CBC recover from the pandemic,” according to the National Post.

In Budget 2021, the Trudeau government gave the CBC an extra $21 million to “ensure its stability during the pandemic.”

This extra money is on top of the annual funding the corporation already gets from government.

Taxpayers pay about $1.2 billion per year for the CBC.

That amount could instead pay the salaries of more than 13,000 nurses. It could cover the grocery bills for 100,000 families. What we pay for the CBC equals the annual income taxes for the population of Nanaimo.

The CBC’s original mandate in the 1930s was to air Canadian news and entertainment over the radio waves. Comedy and drama shows were broadcast to compete with the popular programming emanating from powerhouses such as CBS Radio in New York.

It also told farmers the weather and aired Hockey Night in Canada.

Times have changed.

Farmers check the satellite images of stormfronts on apps like World Weather Inc. Parents put their kids in snowpants based on what their smartphone recommends. We watch our shows on commercial TV, YouTube and Netflix.

Hockey? That stuff’s like coffee, you can get it anywhere nowadays.

But today, the CBC is a big government monster that’s gobbling up tax dollars like it’s at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The corporation has about 7,500 employees, it deals with 11 different labour unions, and it lists more than 600 personalities on its website. It has a 12-person board of directors, and eight people sitting on its senior executive team.

Catherine Tait is the president and CEO of the CBC. She is paid a salary of between $422,600 and $497,100 per year and is entitled to a performance bonus of up to 28%.

The scuttlebutt in Canada’s newsrooms has long been that for every one journalist working in a regular news outlet, the CBC had about four managers. That reputation was made real when the CBC replaced Peter Mansbridge with four different anchors to desk the National.

How much does that cost? We aren’t allowed to know even though we pay the bills.

The independent news site, CANADALAND, dug up documents they say show Mansbridge was paid more than $800,000 per year.

Meanwhile, Canadians are tuning out of the CBC.

According to the journalism website Blacklocks Reporter, which is not funded by the government, the total audience for the CBC’s 6 p.m. local TV newscasts at 27 stations was 319,000 people. That means less than 1% of Canadians watch the supper hour newscast.

When the CBC says it is essential because it provides Indigenous languages services, it’s worth double checking the facts.

The CBC spent $18.3 million on its Indigenous language television, radio and online services from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2021. Over that same period of time, it spent more than $21 million on the salaries and benefits for its eight senior executives.

The CBC has 143 directors. Each of these directors receives an average salary of $130,906, costing the taxpayer $18.7 million per year.

This is not normal.

Private media companies don’t have 143 directors pulling in salaries north of $130,000.

The CBC has outgrown its taxpayer-funded mandate and Canadians can’t afford it.

— Kris Sims is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and a former member of the Parliamentary Press Gallery

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/and-the-award-for-tone-deafness-goes-to/

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