The pendulum swings in Ottawa

Well, change is underway in Ottawa with the Trudeau Liberals preparing to undo everything the Harper Conservatives did over the last nine years.

It’s hard to imagine that’s the  best way to govern. We vote for one political persuasion that spends years developing our nation in a certain direction then when we get more annoyed with them than we can stand, we vote them out for a political persuasion that goes in a different (sometimes opposite) direction. Back and forth. Left and right. Forward and back. How is it possible to really get anywhere?

Oh well. The Liberals announced this week that they want the Paris climate talks to commit to aggressive targets. This comes after nine years of the Conservatives dodging any kind of commitment to concrete action on climate change because, you know, climate change is all just  a bunch of leftist hooey.

And speaking of leftist hooey, the CBC is feeling optimistic these days with the Liberal Party in power. Prime Minister Trudeau has expressed a commitment to restoring $150 million in funding for the public  broadcaster. I’m a believer in public broadcasting and there is a long way to go before the CBC is back to being an effective public broadcaster, at least on the television side.

You see, the CBC will always be an expense. It’s the sole mechanism of cultural stimulus that the government has. Through the CBC – and because television is so pervasive – Canada can prop up all cultural expression through the simple business of telling Canadians about it. It’s unlikely that government will get a return on its investment in the CBC, nor should it, although many of the free enterprise persuasion feel it should pay for itself. It would be useful if it did or came close to it but it doesn’t have to. I think we should skim off some of the profits of cable companies and other carriers and divert them into the public broadcasters. Cable companies don’t produce much in the way of content, they just charge others to carry their products. Although there’s a lot of cross-ownership between cable carriers and private media companies these days.

In Britain, the viewing public pays a yearly licence fee and that money goes into the BBC. The result is spectacular public programming.

We could use a similar model and the Liberals may get us there.


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