The Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) has launched a petition calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to scrap the more than $1 billion in funding per year for the CBC and to stop giving $600 million of taxpayers’ money to other media outlets. 

“We launched this petition because Canadians should decide which news outlets they prefer and to support them financially if they choose to do so,” said CTF B.C. director Kris Sims in a statement emailed to True North on Thursday. “They should not be forced to pay for it through the government.”

Sims said that she has been in newsrooms most of her life and that if the government is padding journalists’ paycheques, it “gives the perception of bias.” She added that government funding for journalism is “not fair to the taxpayer and it’s not good for the journalist.”

“We are more than $1 trillion in debt,” she said. “We cannot afford to be handing more than $1 billion to the CBC every year and doling out $600 million in taxpayers’ money to other media outlets.” 

CTF federal director Franco Terrazzano said that he expects the CTF petition will receive thousands of signatures. 

“An independent and free press is a crucial pillar of democracy,” said Terrazzano. “To be independent – in practice and perception – the government must end all media subsidies and defund the CBC.”

The CBC received about $1.4 billion in funding from the Canadian government in 2021, which made up 70% of its revenue. Trudeau also promised during the 2021 election to increase the state broadcaster’s funding by $400 million over the next four years to make it less reliant on advertising. 

“CBC/Radio-Canada is a fundamental Canadian institution,” read the 2021 Liberal platform. “Decreasing advertising revenues for all broadcasters are putting Canada’s public broadcaster under increasing pressure.”