Thursday, October 06, 2005

Non-partisan information

Scott Piatkowski writes on how the CBC's return is a plus from a public perspective, not a partisan one:
To Senator Marjory LeBreton — former patronage czar for Brian Mulroney and still one of his staunchest defenders — all of this gushy sentimentality over the temporary loss of our public broadcaster is proof that the CBC is biased in favour of the Liberals and the NDP. Citing numbers from a Decima poll that showed that NDP and Liberal supporters missed the CBC more than Conservative supporters, LeBreton wrote in a letter published in The Hill Times that this was because “the lockout has deprived them of their biggest cheerleaders on the national scene.”

Of course, this is such an absurd understanding of causal relationships, that I truly hope that Stephen Harper decides to rely primarily on LeBreton to analyze polling data...

Personally, if I “relied on” the CBC to do cheerleading for the NDP, I'd find myself to be very disappointed. What I expect and get from the CBC is information, insight and a chance to connect with the stories of Canadians from all parts of the country and from all walks of life...

Well said. The true public loss during the lockout was primarily in the CBC's capacity to find stories (whether for news purposes or in other forms of programming) that wouldn't be found otherwise. And regardless of one's political stripe, there's value in the perspectives which would have been made known if not for the lockout.

Piatkowski's argument also helps to highlight the potential harm in adding more contract workers to the CBC's scheme of operations. The issue isn't solely one of employee security. Rather, a drastic increase in temporary arrangements would imply that the information-gathering effort is only important for commercial reasons (and then only part of the time), rather than a vital part of our ability to be better-informed about our country on an ongoing basis.

Fortunately, despite both the wishes of the Cons and the best funding-slashing the Libs had to offer, the CBC will soon be back. And all sides, whether political or not, will be ultimately better off for it.

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