From Ian Morrison of Friends of the CBC:
I have just received the following note from my friend, Margaret Atwood.
Margaret and her team have developed a new way for artists and creators everywhere – including Canadian fiction and non-fiction writers, musicians, graphic novelists and others — to reach out to new audiences here and around the globe with webcast events, personal connections, and individual signing possibilities. It’s called www.fanado.com.
This project offers an important new way for the world-class art of Canadian creators to find and reach new audiences. I have supported this important project. I invite you to consider supporting it too by visiting www.indiegogo.com/fanado.
For a project like this to work, there must be a groundswell, and a wide base of support – just as for public broadcasting, of which Margaret is a steadfast supporter.
Writing projects, fiction and non-fiction, writers, musicians, graphic novelists and more! This might also be a great opportunity for women creators in Canada to showcase their work as well.
In today’s Budget, the Harper government has broken itselection promise and cut the CBC’s budget by 10% - this is $115 million!
This will require CBC to cut hundreds of staff, including some of the most famous personalities from flagship TV and Radio shows, thereby incurring heavy separation costs, putting further downward pressure on programming.
We were expecting something like this, but it’s shocking when you consider the impact of these cuts:
The Table below (Budget 2012, page 269) shows how CBC has been singled out for cuts in the “Heritage Portfolio”, where other cultural institutions, such as the Canada Council and the National Gallery have been spared:
We are not going to take this lying down!
Now we have to mobilize CBC’s supporters – 8 out of 10 Canadians – to hold Stephen Harper’s government to account in the years leading to the next election, when the impact of what Harper has done today will be painfully obvious.
Thanks for standing with us as we move forward with this fight for Canadian culture and democracy! You will hear from us again soon.
Rather than a unified government voice to prepare Canadians for deep budget cuts, in recent days we have been hearing mixed messages from the Harper government. One day a government spokesperson declares cutting deeply is the budget goal only to be contradicted the next by a cabinet minister stating that the budget will be moderate. Meanwhile, the government is reporting that revenues are up while the deficit is down.
This is extremely rare, given the Prime Minister’s well known mania for control and message discipline.
Beset by the whiff of a robo-scandal, is it possible the Prime Minister is backing away from budget measures he knows will be controversial?
With all the tens of thousands of calls, letters and email messages from supporters of public broadcasting in the past few months, you can be sure the Prime Minister knows CBC cuts would be unpopular and controversial in the extreme.
Now is the time for one final push to defend our CBC before the March 29th budget.
We have commissioned Nanos Research to conduct a survey of Canadians about CBC funding. Early results are in and they show strong support for the government keeping its promise to maintain or increase support for the CBC. This is a very promising result that will send a strong message to the Harper government.
This public opinion survey and related communications will cost $30,000.
I urge you to join me in making a generous investment to help us raise this amount, because in this dynamic political environment, it could make all the difference.
Your contribution will help us leave no stone unturned as we fight to make sure the Prime Minister knows that citizens want his government to keep his government’s CBC promise.
From Friends of the CBC:
We have learned that the Conservatives’ proposed budget targets the CBC for severe cuts. The cuts, which could be the equivalent of most of the cost of producing CBC radio, will damage our news and culture, while cutting local coverage in the countless places where the CBC is the main media presence.
The CBC keeps Canada connected. Like the railroads that knit our country together, the CBC provides a common thread for all Canadians living across our massive and diverse country. We can build on this tradition for a new era.
This budget is a moment of crisis for Canadian public media. Tens of thousands of Canadians, led by Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, have already spoken out to support fair treatment in the budget, and now it’s time for us to add our voices to their call. If we work together in one last push, we can show this government that the political cost of targeting the CBC is just too high.
Click here to send a message to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and key Conservative MPs that you want them to keep Canada connected, not make severe cuts to the CBC:
Good public media is important for our democracy and our culture. Last month, we started a campaign to “Reimagine the CBC” for a new era. The ideas are from the heart, distinctly Canadian, and often inspiring.
We can help the CBC become better for everyone, but not if excessive budget cuts destroy this opportunity. We have one last chance before the budget to show this government that there will be major political costs for targeting the CBC.
We will deliver your messages to the constituency offices of key Conservative MPs next week to show them that Canadians in their ridings, and from all around the country, want to keep Canada connected and stop severe cuts to the CBC.
Your voice is needed now. Please click here to send your message.
Thanks for everything you make possible.
With hope and respect,
Matthew, Jamie, Anna, Emma, Adam, Gracen, Ryan on behalf of the Leadnow team and volunteers.
From Ian Morrison, Friends of the CBC:
Never has our challenge to defend public broadcasting been more starkly clear.
On Friday, the National Post published Heritage Minister James Moore’s declaration that a smaller and diminished CBC is a key goal of the Harper government.
These are dark days, indeed, for our national public broadcaster. But not so dark that I have lost hope.
I truly believe that a small act taken by just one person can change the course of events, and I am writing to ask you to join me. Together we can make a difference.
It’s urgent that we succeed. For if we fail and the Conservatives cut more $100 million from CBC’s budget, the consequences for public broadcasting and all Canadians will be dire.
On your behalf, FRIENDS is fighting back!
On November 29, we held a news conference on Parliament Hill, where we released a major public opinion survey demonstrating that the vast majority of Canadians (including Conservative supporters) place a high value on public broadcasting and want CBC’s funding to be maintained or increased. The same day, we launched two viral videos featuring a worst-case scenario of what Prime Minister Harper might do to the CBC.
Already our campaign has delivered more than 43,000 personal messages from Canadians to Mr. Harper calling on the Prime Minister to keep his CBC election promise to maintain or increase CBC funding — and that number is growing every day.
But we must not rest.
During the next four crucial weeks we have a plan to mobilize support for our CBC, and we need your help to put it into action.
In January, the House of Commons is adjourned and MPs are back in their ridings, listening to and meeting constituents. This presents us with a key opportunity.
FRIENDS is planning a phone blitz to connect constituents with their Conservative MP so those politicians can hear directly that local voters care about public broadcasting and want our CBC protected and valued by the government.
We know that this kind of effort can have a dramatic impact on politicians. But this technique is expensive.
This “Keep your Promise” telephone campaign will cost $50,000. But it could make all the difference in our effort to keep our CBC strong and independent.
I urge you to join me in making a generous contribution to ensure the success of this focused campaign.
We’re pulling out all the stops right now to protect our CBC because after the federal Budget, it may be too late.
Working together, I am confident we can preserve Canadian public broadcasting to serve future generations of Canadians.
From Ian Morrison, Friends of the CBC:
Using phony surveys and trumped-up petitions, the Conservatives are attempting to show that Canadians do not support the CBC.
In the last few days, I have seen these surveys with my own eyes. Supporters of public broadcasting need to respond, and quickly.
Just today, I saw that Rob Anders, the Conservative MP for Calgary West, is circulating an online petition to the House of Commons calling on the Harper government to “end public funding of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation”
On top of this, Irving R. Gerstein, Chair of the Conservative Fund Canada has sent a “National Critical Issues Survey” to financial supporters. Gerstein’s survey contains only ten questions.
Question 8 reads “In recent years, CBC funding has exceeded a billion dollars per year. Do you think taxpayers receive good value or bad value from the CBC?”
Gerstein writes: “I would like to report to our caucus on where you stand on some key issues facing Canada”. He adds: “This survey is very, very important to our legislative planning”.
So, Prime Minister Harper’s closest colleague in the Conservative Party thinks that CBC funding is a “critical issue” – one of the top ten questions facing Parliament in the coming session.
Another Conservative, Ed Holder, the MP for London West’s website currently has an online questionnaire: “Do you believe taxpayers should continue to provide funding to CBC Radio?”
These kinds of phony public opinion soundings stand in sharp contrast to Harper’s Heritage Minister James Moore who, just four months ago said: “We believe in the national public broadcaster. We have said that we will maintain or increase support for the CBC. That is our platform and we have said that before and we will commit to that”.
You and I have to make sure that Harper and his caucus hear loud and clear from Canadians that they care deeply and unequivocally about their CBC.
We urgently need to raise $32,000 to cover the cost of public opinion research to answer Gerstein’s question and establish, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the popularity of CBC with 34 million Canadians.
Please help us deliver a strong message to the Prime Minister that Canadians value public broadcasting. Harper needs to hear the answer to Gerstein’s question – not just from Conservative Party funders – but also from everyday Canadians of all political stripes.
In return for your investment in FRIENDS’ public opinion research, I will brief you on the results and keep you in the loop on our crucially important campaign to defend Canadian public broadcasting in the weeks ahead.