Hello there, you angry, angry souls.
It’s 2017, there are literally a million targets more deserving of your ire and scorn in Canada alone, to say nothing of the United States of Donald Trump…
But what do you choose to do? You direct your rage at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, an organization whose sole purpose is to be a voice for all Canadians, even those who would fear and hate it. Social media has become mankind’s greatest communication tool but do you use it to achieve something positive? No you publish posts, tweets, Instagram memes, et cetera in the hopes burning the CBC to the ground.
But to be fair, you also publish dick pics, increasingly-bizarre cat videos, and body shaming crapola. So there’s that.
But ask yourself this: What would you do if it all ended tomorrow?
Think about it. What if the Trudeau government pulled every dollar and let Canada’s network fade into history? Who would you hate then?
Of course, right now you’re thinking:
“I don’t hate the CBC… I hate what it stands for! I hate that it’s a tool for corrupt government officials with secret agendas. CBC is riddled with left-wing bias in its news coverage!”
“Why is the Government in the broadcasting business in the first place? They’re competing unfairly with the private sector!”
“CBC receives advertising and cable/satellite fees greater than CTV and Global… PLUS they get more than a billion dollars of our tax money!”
There may be some logical, coherent arguments behind these and many of the cases directed at abolishing the CBC – but I refuse them all. Removing CBC from the playing field would leave Canadians watching networks owned and controlled by the private sector. And those guys aren’t exactly choir boys, to say the least..
Are there corrupt govt. officials and executives in the CBC with hidden agendas? Of course! There are corrupt souls in every organization; I once knew a Director of Purchasing who deliberately bought the cheapest items in order to come in under budget and receive an annual bonus. He saved the company a ton of cash… which they then spent on ambulance rides and lost wages due to accidents caused by cheap, faulty equipment.
As for why the government is in the TV/radio biz in the first place: Who can argue that a nation’s citizens deserve a place for their stories to be told? This goes for all of a country’s citizens, by the way. Take a good look at the average North American network and you’ll see just how far we have to go as a society. We may not keep people in literal chains anymore… but that doesn’t mean everyone is free.
As you may have surmised by now, I’m not exactly what you’d call an “intelligent” man. I have a degree in journalism, a field many consider to be as honorable as pimping these days. I’ll never be able to go toe-to-toe with most of the CBC’s critic in a battle of intellectual wills.
But so what? I pay my taxes. (I hate it but I do it.) I’m a Canadian citizen. (As far as anyone knows.) And so I’m a part owner of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and as such, I’m as entitled to my opinion as you are.
And so here is my final argument. If each of you looks back at the collective days of your existence you’ll see it: That moment when a CBC program touched your life. You may have been a child watching The Friendly Giant or a teen watching Degrassi Junior High. Or perhaps you watched the 9/11 attacks unfold on your nation’s network. You may even have been inspired to help change the world by David Suzuki, or to launch your own business on Dragons’ Den.
For me it was King of Kensington starring the late and incomparable Al Waxman. Every day I’d eat my dinner in our basement rec room and watch as Al solved his neighbors’ problems (after making them worse with his initial efforts). Without going into too much detail, let’s just say my childhood was filled with more darkness than light and the CBC helped balance the equation. Beatings, alcoholism, sexual assault, and thoughts of suicide before even having one’s first kiss are not exactly the Canadian equivalent of The Wonder Years.
As a grown man with a family of my own I watched my father-in-law slowly succumb to the ravages of disease to the point where his only window to the world was his television. (To be exact, my TV in my living room which became his bedroom for five years.)
The fictional world of Murdoch Mysteries became his shining light; several times a day he’d escape the reality of his mortality by losing himself in the adventures of Detective Murdoch. The darkness of his illness was cast away by the bright light of the collective efforts of Yannick Bisson and Company.
My family owes everyone at the CBC, from head of publicity, Katherine Wolfgang, to every member of the Murdoch crew, a debt of thanks that we can never fully repay.
As a writer I’ll never be good enough for the CBC, but that will never stop me from defending the network with every breath in my flabby, balding, Canadian body.
So the next time you lash out at the CBC, stop and think about where your rage is really coming from.
See you in the lobby and on the CBC kids…