Renewal of CBC / Radio-Canada’s licences
Quebecor filed with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) its intervention regarding the renewal of the licences of the English- and French-language services of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation / Société Radio-Canada (CBC / Radio-Canada). Quebecor’s submission agrees with the Yale report, Canada’s Communications Future, that CBC /Radio-Canada should be “animated by a public purpose not a commercial one.”
With public hearings on the licence renewals set to open on May 25, questions about the complementary roles of public and private broadcasting and the place CBC / Radio-Canada should occupy need to be on the table. Is it desirable for the public broadcaster to be driven by a culture of performance and financial return rather than a public service culture? How does carrying foreign content such as US blockbusters and television series fulfil CBC / Radio-Canada's mandate? Is it fair to ask taxpayers to pay for a Tou.tv Extra subscription to access content they have already paid for with their taxes? The answers to these questions will be critical to the viability of Canada’s broadcasting system.
CBC / Radio-Canada must once again become a strong public broadcaster with a mandate that revolves more around supporting the development of Québec and Canadian culture, and the work of our artists and creators. At a time when the television industry is struggling, forcing the private sector to compete with a broadcaster that has guaranteed revenues from public funds is clearly unfair. The equilibrium of our television broadcasting system is at stake. Many of us in the broadcasting community have been complaining for years that the public broadcaster has gone astray. The CRTC and the government are in a position to take action.
Given that it receives substantial parliamentary appropriations, CBC / Radio-Canada should not be subject to commercial performance requirements, said France Lauzière, President and CEO of TVA Group and Chief Content Officer of Quebecor Content.
We therefore believe the public broadcaster’s role should be clarified and reformulated to promote more programming in certain categories and put greater emphasis on areas such as international news coverage, investigative reporting, and supporting and showcasing talented Canadian artists instead of buying foreign formats. That would make the public and private broadcasters truly complementary and provide viewers with a compelling, relevant and much more complete range of television programming.