Canada’s national broadcaster, CBC, is mandated by Parliament to provide radio and TV content across the country but it isn’t enough. They complain about not having the money to do the things required of them, then spend millions on things they’re not asked to do.
Like, for example, become the national podcaster and the national newspaper for all of Canada. They’ve spent years and millions building up a website not just to promote their radio and tv programs or provide a space for people to watch or listen but to produce web only content.
They’ve gone outside their mandate to stream pop music, competing with private radio and pop streaming services while using their taxpayer subsidy. And still they complained about not enough money.
They’ve began hiring an army of reporters to write news stories for the website, again spending a fortune on something no one asked them to do, again complaining they don't have enough money.
All this happened under Conservative and Liberal governments alike and no one said boo. In fact Justin Trudeau and the Liberals just gave CBC $150 million more per year.
Meanwhile in Britain, it’s a different story with the BBC after a politician called them out for competing in areas it shouldn’t. BBC is responding by cutting back their website.
Here’s part of what the politician said in a Telegraph article:
"In a speech to former BBC staff last week, a member of the corporation’s own governing body criticized the broadcaster’s website. Richard Ayre, a member of the BBC Trust, called on the corporation to “leave the magazine content, the celebrity gossip, the skateboarding ducks, the games and the puzzles to other providers, who frankly can do it just as well, or better”.
And this from Cabinet Minister George Osborne, in David Cameron's Conservative government:
“If you’ve got a website that’s got features and cooking recipes – effectively the BBC website becomes the national newspaper as well as the national broadcaster.”
That’s what I’ve been saying for years. I literally wrote the book on it, called “CBC Exposed” and I've written countless articles and columns, spoken about it on radio and TV and here at the Rebel.
I've been warning private sector broadcasters this was a problem for nearly a decade and no one cared.
Too many of my media colleagues were happy to appear on CBC and pocket appearance money, not caring about the mission creep and how CBC competed with their own employers. Media outlets were happy to take CBC ad money and forget about holding the billion dollar department to account.
Fortunately, that may be changing. The Globe and the Star have noted CBC's mission creep and the story about the BBC is being noted by some in the legacy media.
This is all positive but there needs to be more. I've long advocated selling CBC, which is why I launched our poll SellTheCBC.ca.
The poll showed 48 percent of Canadians agreed. I'd encourage you to sign that petition and add your voice if you haven’t already but barring that, should CBC at least stick to the mandate Parliament has given them rather than constantly expanding into areas that cost of a lot of money but that they have no business being involved with?
Britain has politicians willing to hold BBC to account, maybe one day soon we can have politicians like that in Canada.