According to the Broadcasting Act, the national public broadcaster “should provide radio and television services incorporating a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains.”
The Act then gives the objectives for programming provided by the CBC/Radio-Canada:
The Broadcasting Act was last revised in 1991, well before the Internet was seen as a force in broadcasting, and the broad mandate of informing, enlightening and entertaining can be traced back to the discussions of a possible national public broadcaster that took place in the late-1920s.
The CBC/Radio-Canada is losing its audience to the hundreds of alternative channels and video-streaming services provided by private-sector companies that have converged broadcasting and telecommunications operations to take advantage of the multi-platform, Internet-based world of communications.
For the CBC/Radio-Canada to continue to have a place in this new environment, it must change current practices in four areas:
Canadians are entitled to answers to two questions dealing with the operations of their national public broadcaster.
A key element to successful operations of the CBC/Radio-Canada, which would provide positive answers to the two questions, is governance. The Corporation needs more independent direction and control.
Half the recommendations in the report, therefore, address the issue of governance.
The following table shows the breaking of CBC/Radio-Canada’s revenue by source.
For 2013-2014, the year of its latest annual report, the CBC/Radio-Canada had expenses of $1.87 billion and revenues of $1.86 billion. Unfortunately for the Corporation, there are upward pressures on expenses and downward pressures on revenues. As numerous witnesses before the committee pointed out, funding is critical, if the CBC/Radio-Canada is to continue operating as it currently does.
Source: CBC/Radio-Canada, Going the Distance, Annual Report, 2013-2014.
Lib. - (Lauzon - Quebec)
Donald Neil Plett
C - (Landmark - Manitoba)
C - (Rigaud - Quebec)
Art Eggleton, P.C.
Lib. - (Ontario)
C - (Halifax - The Citadel - Nova Scotia)
C - (Wellington - Quebec)
Michael L. MacDonald
C - (Cape Breton - Nova Scotia)
Terry M. Mercer
Lib. - (Northend Halifax - Nova Scotia)
Betty E. Unger
C - (Alberta)
C - (British Columbia)
Other Senators who have participated from time to time in the study:
The Honourable Senators Batters, Charette-Poulin, Cordy, Dagenais, Fortin-Duplessis, Hervieux-Payette, Joyal, Maltais, Massicotte, McInnis, Munson, Oh, Smith (Saurel), Tardif, Verner, P.C. and White.
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