Boiling frogs: public funding and the CBC

Leisha Senko, staff 

One very unfortunate flaw that plagues our species is the incredible inability to truly comprehend change. Sure, it’s in slogans, printed on banners, but with the exception of a handful of people who actively try to connect the dots, for the most part we live under the distinct impression that things will always be as they are. This point is especially true concerning public funding for the CBC. For many, it’s such an ingrained part of our world that when there are threats to cut funding or, worse yet, proposals to completely privatize, no one seems to take it very seriously. 

This idea becomes even more apparent when you realize a large percentage of Canadians profess to care. Stephen Moyer, Brantford educator and activist, has proven this with his ongoing protests. Along his street, toting his sign in support of the station as a government funded body, he says that many honk in approval and those he converse with him comment on how much they enjoy the CBC as it is. Home-grown Canadian shows are in full form, with culturally representative dramas like Little Mosque on the Prairie and critically acclaimed investigative shows like the Passionate Eye, drawing in praise and showing off the best the country has to offer. No one in power, even the conservatives who are pushing for budget slashes, deny that the CBC is important. So why is there such a deafening silence concerning the 10% budget cut hitting the station this year and calls for more private funding? 

Boiling frogs. The only way to describe this indifference is through an analogy. Frogs, when put in boiling water will jump out instantly; but if you turn up the heat slowly they’ll stay in the pot and boil to their death. 10% may not seem like an overly significant percentage, but little cut here and there will eventually destroy even the strongest structure. For the CBC, its strength rests in the very thing that the majority finds so trivial – where the money comes from. A guaranteed income leads to a reporting that is mostly uninfluenced by corporate interests or coloured by cheap panders to society in general. By pretending this doesn’t matter, we’re effectively warming up the water. 

In the end, we must realize that things do change, whether we acknowledge them or not. The CBC, seen as a protected institution, can be dismantled slowly through lack of funding. If we allow ourselves to turn a blind eye, or wishfully think that those things in our society which stand as bastions of an equitable order and recognizable truth are untouchable, we’ll never see the bandits in crowbars gutting it from the inside. It’s more important than ever to recognize that the CBC is either open and free or it is not and, by slowly shifting the balance, we know in which direction it will go. 

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *