Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre taunted the CBC on X by hinting that he would convert the Crown Corporation’s over $400 million worth of real estate holdings into housing for Canadians.
“It warms my heart to think of the families that will move into a home they can afford, at the former headquarters of the CBC” wrote Poilievre on X.
The comment is also likely a nod to Poilievre’s promise to defund the CBC if elected Prime Minister as well as his recently unveiled home building plan, which includes a review of federal properties and a pledge to sell off 15% of certain holdings to developers.
Poilievre’s comments cited a recent response by the CBC to a question on the order paper in the House of Commons by Conservative MP Adam Chambers revealing how much real estate wealth the taxpayer funded broadcaster has amassed in recent years.
The CBC owns almost half a billion dollars worth of real estate holdings and of that property, over two-thirds of it is caught up in their broadcasting centre in Toronto, according to newly released documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF).
In May, Chambers wrote an order paper question, asking the state-owned broadcaster to list the 12 corporation-owned properties throughout Canada. The real estate portfolio was valued at $444,414,469.
The CBC’s Toronto Broadcast Centre, at 250 Front St. West is priced at a whopping $313.8 million alone. Opened in 1992, the 13 floors building is 1.7 million sq. feet and the broadcasters primary production facility for all English language operations.
Their second most valuable property is the CBC broadcast centre in Vancouver. Valued at $99 million dollars, it was originally built in 1975 and later renovated in 2009.
The media outlet’s corporate headquarters is located in Ottawa, in a leased building on Queen Street, not far from Parliament Hill.
Other notable CBC broadcast centres include two in Winnipeg, Manitoba, valued at $11.7 and $1.5 million dollars, a building in St. John’s, Nfld. worth $4.4 million, another in Fredericton valued at $2.8 million, one in Charlottetown worth $2.6 million, a property in Saguenay worth $2.5 million and another in Whitehorse worth $1.8 million.
Only two of the broadcaster’s properties are valued to be less than $1 million These include a studio in Thunder Bay, which is valued at $537,000 and a CBC facility in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, valued at $314,600.
Internationally, the CBC leases 72 other properties, however, no financial records were released and what was included in the documents has been redacted on the basis of commercial confidentiality.
“As indicated in the document, the Government has withheld the information because lease payments are considered sensitive third-party commercial information,” CBC spokesperson Leon Mar wrote in an email to the National Post, responding to questions about the international redactions.
The response document revealed that there are an additional 67 actively leased properties across the country and in five other countries,
“It sure seems the CBC is spending way more on its buildings than competitors spend, but what value do taxpayers get for all these properties?” said Franco Terrazzano, federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.
“Taxpayers have every right to question why we’re paying for all these CBC buildings in Canada and in other countries.”
The CBC currently leases two offices in the United States as well as offices in the U.K., India and France.
Within Canada, the majority of CBC offices are leased, including three separate offices all located in Montreal.
In 2022, the CBC’s annual report showed that they received $1.24 billion dollars in federal government funding.
That does not include the $42 million dollars that was paid out in two $21 million dollar grant installments to the CBC so they could” offset revenues losses related to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Why does the CBC need to lease these properties in far-flung countries, let alone multiple properties in smaller Canadian towns, and how much is all of this costing taxpayers?” asked Terrazzano.
“The CBC costs taxpayers more than $1 billion every year, so at the very least it owes Canadians full transparency.”