According to a new poll released by Nanos, 81% of Canadians reject the Harper Conservatives’ diabolical plan, which would gut the public broadcaster’s editorial and journalistic independence. Interestingly, that figure includes 55% of Conservative Party supporters.
The Conservatives recently introduced Bill C-60, an omnibus budget bill that would give the government the power to intervene in labour negotiations at Canada’s 49 Crown corporations, including CBC, Via Rail and Canada Post.
As I blogged earlier, Bill C-60 “proposes amendments that would give the federal government direct control over salary negotiations at the CBC and other Crown corporations. The amendments (to the Financial Administration Act) would compromise the public broadcaster’s journalistic, creative and programming independence. …
“The legislation would require the CBC to seek a “negotiating mandate” from Treasury Board ministers, who would also be empowered to the determine the terms and conditions of employment’ of journalists, anchors or senior executives. It would require the CBC to invite a Treasury Board official to attend negotiations between the broadcaster and unions.”
- FREE CBC from Harper Conservatives political interference
- CBC threatens to take Harper Government to court over budget Bill C-60
The poll shows that only one-in-eight (12%) voters agree the government should control the wages and working conditions of all CBC employees, while 81% think the CBC should remain independent of the government as set out in the Broadcasting Act. This includes a majority (55%) of Conservative Party supporters.
“Mr. Harper is isolated even from his own supporters on this matter,” said Friends of Canadian Broadcasting’s Ian Morrison, which commissioned the survey.
In May, Friends of Canadian Broadcasting delivered a 120,000-signature petition to Parliament, calling for a FREE CBC.
The Nanos national survey of 1,000 Canadians old enough to vote conducted between June 16thand 19th, also probed attitudes about CBC funding, levels of satisfaction with the CBC’s national and regional services, and issues related to Canadian content and culture. Among the survey’s findings:
- 79% believe that the CBC plays an important role in protecting Canadian culture and identity.
- 80% would advise their MP to maintain or increase CBC funding.
- 89% believe the CBC President should not be appointed by the Prime Minister, while 87% think the Prime Minister should not appoint members of the CBC Board.
- The survey also found that proposals to gut the CBC scheduled for consideration at the now-postponed Conservative Party policy convention are off-side with the vast majority of Canadians.
Among convention policy resolutions are proposals to eliminate public funding for the CBC, turn the national public broadcaster into a PBS-style user pay network and erase existing Conservative policy that recognizes the importance of the CBC.
The survey reveals scant support, and over-whelming opposition among Canadians to these ideas.
“Prime Minister Harper is already off-side with a huge majority of Canadians who value public broadcasting. Supporting rogue policies to destroy the CBC would isolate Mr. Harper’s Conservatives even further from most voters,” said Morrison.
The message is crystal-clear: Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the Conservatives’ omnibus Budget Bill C-60. They’re demanding that the CBC remain independent of Stephen Harper, the Conservatives and political influence.
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