By Phil McLachlan
Tory leadership contender, Kellie Leitch has made several bold statements recently, including the proposition to dismantle the CBC, as well as introduce a mandatory screening system for immigrants to ensure they ‘meet Canadian values’.
It would seem as though Leitch is learning by example of recently elected Donald Trump, as she focuses on making lofty statements that gain public attention. After all, she seems to be the talk of the town at the moment, and maybe this was her goal.
The Tories have been trying to drive the CBC into the ground ever since Harper took away $115 million in funding in 2012. Trudeau has started to restore this funding, starting at $75 million this year, followed by $115 million a year until 2020-21. Re-addressing the Tories original plan is Kelly Leitch, and this time she’s coming in swinging.
First of all, Leitch claims that the CBC is an over-funded, opinionated broadcast organization that feeds off of taxpayer’s money. She suggests that it has largely contributed to recent downturns in private news organizations across Canada, and that the key to restoring a level playing field of news is to simply shut the CBC down. However, do not be dismayed, Leitch promises to keep the CBC up and running for emergency announcements in rural areas.
The CBC has been around for far longer than any other news organization in Canada. Large corporations like Torstar have successfully established themselves alongside the CBC, and although the times of print are changing and evolving, I do not feel that the CBC is to blame for this.
Leitch added she believes dismantling the CBC would restore freedom of speech in Canada, by restoring the focus back to private news organizations. She is ready to sell it off to the highest bidder. My argument in this, is that you simply cannot sell a news organization to the highest bidder and not expect it to be driven by some sort of corporatized agenda.
My view of the CBC is that they are the most consistent producer of Canadian news content in Canada; their focus after-all, is Canada. Whether that be in the form of musicians, comedians, environmentalists, or politicians, the CBC airs different programs for different topics and I find myself consistently informed about my own country of which I am very proud. The CBC has been reporting on the Great White North for more than 80 years, and from what I see, they’ve done a right proper job of it.
Secondly, Leitch wants to enforce mandatory screening for all immigrants wishing to enter Canada, to ensure they ‘meet Canadian values’. My first question to this would be, what defines ‘Canadian values’? I see Canada as a land encompassed by religious freedoms, and multiculturalism. In past years, this is what the rest of the world has viewed us as. Proposing mandatory screening does not send a welcoming message to those around the globe who are seeking a new life or place of refuge. Do not forget that almost all of us currently living in Canada were at some point in time, an immigrant.