Thursday, June 17, 2004

A Vote For The Corporation

Nothing depresses me as much as the class of chatter that comes from the Canadian chattering classes at election time. The best of the lot cheerfully cry "The game is afoot!" The rest of the lot give voters (at least 8% of the population) far too much credit for their supposed good sense, while slagging politicians for having none whatsoever.

A public display of terrific incompetence is always an enjoyable spectacle when you're on a newspaper payroll, but very little of what we're witnessing is especially noteworthy. If memory serves, Brian Mulroney did his fruity little jig-to-the-end-of-the-pier after Trudeau's Liberal Party was given the boot for becoming too obviously bloated, corrupt and arrogant. It just so happened that the reins of the Liberal party had been passed along for John Turner to drop. Two Conservative terms later, Mulroney handed the reins down to Kim Campbell, and his party was soundly thumped for having become too obviously bloated, corrupt and arrogant. Call me a cynic, but if Stephen Harper gets the majority he's asking for, I think I have an idea where his enterprise is headed.

It's curious to hear which hot-button topics are being raised, and which are being ignored. From the hissing tangle atop Medusa's head, it seems the only tempermental viper being studiously avoided by our would-be Perseuses is (drumroll, please) the CBC. Harper's comments that the CBC is a commercial entity that needs to adopt commercial strategies have been left untouched by his opponents, leaving me to wonder if I'm the only Canadian who thinks this is an even more objectionable approach to public broadcasting than the gormless approach we currently have.

There's no question everyone has a bone of contention to pick with the CBC. But sooner or later, every Canadian citizen turns to the CBC to get something they don't get anywhere else, even if it's only Hockey Night In Canada (and nobody does hockey like the CBC). The problem is everyone turns to the CBC for different, oddball items - I think it's altogether likely that Hockey Night In Canada is the only commercially viable CBC product.

I propose we leave the CBC alone. In fact, I propose we give them more money, even if the Corporation wastes it all on the likes of Ralph Benmergui and Jian Ghomeshi, and treats Sheilagh Rogers like yesterday's fish entrails. The fact is there is no other publically funded service that tries harder than the CBC to please and inform everyone in Canada. And if you have to raise my taxes to keep them around, I don't mind.

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