I'm thinking this will be a series of posts dealing with the regressive policies of government, whatever political stripe. Of course, my predilection will be to focus on policies of the Conservative Party of Canada because I feel they exemplify this behaviour best, but I'm open to any possibilities
First, though, relates to a story that appeared just yesterday. In it, a Party leadership hopeful, Tony Clement, takes aim at bridge tolls, Canada Post and the CBC.
His stance on the CBC, unsurprisingly, is that funding should be cut with the expectation that the National Broadcaster would "go the way of the Dodo", "liberating" taxpayers from the cost of supporting the CBC.
My initial rejoinder would be that perhaps Canada should be liberated from governments that spend taxpayers money on fake lakes and gazebos. And this was just the tip of the iceberg. That meeting of G8 leaders became a sinkhole into which a staggering $47 million disappeared. The "Government of Fiscal Responsibility", indeed. Party loyalists might have forgotten, but this model of "fiscal restraint" was all in the news back then.
But back to the CBC. I understand that some people just don't like the idea of the CBC, or perhaps it's the reruns of "Anne of Green Gables" or really, who knows. It ain't Fox News, that's for sure, proving that there is at least some sanity in this crazy world.
Detractors wave their arms and shout that the CBC is a Liberal Party mouthpiece. Now, I've been around a few decades, long enough to have seen the CBC handle a number of different federal regimes. There was the Liberal "Sponsorship Scandal". I'm deliberately providing links to CBC reporting here, by the way. Then there is this list of the Top 10 Scandals in Canadian Political History, provided by the CBC. The assertion that the CBC goes easy on the Liberals is nonsense. There was a good deal of critical comment when Jean Chretein attacked demonstrators and the RCMP pepper-sprayed students and other demonstrators exercising their right to peaceful assembly and their right to peaceful protest.
I could provide other examples, but a possible conclusion is that Conservative or other right-wing loyalists just can't handle criticism and when a broadcaster, any broadcaster, is critical of the party they cherish, they see red and feel rage. They forget the grilling of parties they hate. In particular, they seem to forget that the job and the duty of any broadcaster is to ask questions and to take any government to task. I think the CBC does a pretty good job of this and, quite frankly, a better job than many other media outlets.
Nation-building is also important. Canada is a big country and holding it together is a difficult task. Having a National Broadcaster that is able and mandated to present stories that reflect the diverse nature of this diverse and large country is a significant part of maintaining our identity and our cohesiveness. Likely there are those who don't think this is important. Maybe they should stand up and let everyone know how little they value the country that is our home. The story linked to above also points to other matters that need to be fixed. It's not just about the CBC.
And finally, just remember the 3-hour+ concert featuring the Tragically Hip. As a friend of mine pointed out: "With no commercials? In prime time? When it went overtime? During the Olympics?"
With any luck, the Conservatives will continue down their current path, the one that resulted in their defeat at the polls last fall. Their stay in political oblivion could continue. Perhaps they too can join the Dodo.....