Couched in the Liberal government’s 2022 Fall Economic Statement is a pledge to throw even more money at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook for $42 million more in CBC funding for so-called pandemic recovery funds. The funds will be distributed over two years costing $21 million annually.
Taxpayers already contribute $1.2 billion to the CBC each year.
The Liberals claim the funding is required to “offset revenue losses related to the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.” However, the CBC was already struggling well before the pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, CBC ad revenue shrunk by a whopping 53% when compared to 2014.
“Our objective is not to make money but to provide a service and fulfil our mandate,” Radio Canada Executive VP Michel Bissonnette said in 2020.
Declining revenue is not the only issue facing the CBC, the Crown corporation’s broadcasting programs have also seen a decline in viewership.
In 2020 it was reported that only 0.8% of Canadians were tuning into CBC TV evening newscasts.
The public broadcaster has also been a beneficiary of generous pandemic relief funds. During the 2021 federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s election platform also included a pledge to boost the broadcaster’s funding by $400 million over 4 years.
Despite falling revenues and so-called pandemic disruptions, the CBC has continued to dish out millions in raises and bonuses to its employees.
In 2021, while claiming the broadcaster was under “immense pressure” it handed out $12 million in raises and $15.4 million in bonuses to staff.
Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has pledged to defund the CBC if elected prime minister. Recent polls show that a majority of Canadians support the idea. In March, the Angus Reid Institute reported that 64% of people said they would vote for the Conservatives in a general election if they promised to defund the broadcaster.