Conservative Party leader hopeful Kellie Leitch’s announcement last week that, should she become Prime Minister, she will dismantle the CBC, is not just alarming because of its disregard of a national institution with an 80-year history that is beloved by many millions of Canadians, but also because of the blinding ignorance it reveals in Leitch’s understanding of the current state of Canadian media.
In her words, the taxpayer-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is “distorting the (Canadian media) market by consuming advertising revenues and having its operations underwritten by the taxpayer”, thus rendering the market “uncompetitive” which is causing private media outlets to struggle. For this she blames the CBC and wants to “level the playing field” by disbanding it.
This idea of kyboshing the CBC comes from the same woman who announced the Conservative’s infamous “barbaric cultural practices tip line”, which they promised to implement as one of their election announcements — one that probably lost them the election. But even though Canadians handed her the verdict by vote that these kinds of ideas don’t fly north of the border, Leitch is forging ahead with cultural intolerance as a main theme in her leadership campaign, also promising to screen visitors, immigrants and refugees for Canadian values. If you haven’t already, watch Rick Mercer’s rant on this (Rick’s Rant – Kellie Leitch) for an apt portrayal of what this could look like — you can find the video clip on CBC’s website (hmmm).
For a woman who is a specialized medical doctor and a recipient of the Order of Ontario, that she’s targeting the CBC as the guilty party responsible for Canada’s changing news landscape is alarming. Maybe she missed the memo about the parliamentary committee that was convened earlier this year to look at the difficulties the country’s news media is facing as a result of the changing technology that has turned its economic model upside down. Or maybe she just plans to eventually ban Facebook and Twitter too.