Today's discussion:

We no longer need the CBC

The network’s emphasis on identity issues can cause it to lose the forest for the trees. It has increasingly contributed to a narrow and unrepresentative conception of Canadian civic life that undermines its ability to still play a nation-building role.

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Roy van den Berg

The CBC used to be a beacon of Canadian culture, touching on all aspects of Canadiana regardless of Canadian’s ethnic, religious, or cultural origins. It celebrated Canadians, told stories—both introspective and uplifting—that connected regions and communities thus providing a deeper understanding of Canada for Canadians and the world as a whole.

That was the CBC of the past. Today’s CBC is a platform to showcase identity politics. Through programming that appears to emphasize differences under the banner of diversity, it has become the solvent that eats away at the fabric of Canadian culture.

When a publicly funded entity whose original mandate was to showcase Canadian culture weaponizes their narrative to do the opposite, it is sadly time to cut it free.

28th September 2023 at 7:32 am
Michael F

So in other words you dislike the CBC now because it doesn’t solely program things that appeal to people that look and think like you.

28th September 2023 at 9:25 am
RJK Wells

Another way of looking at your argument, Michael, is that the CBC has limited itself to solely program things that appeal to a narrow band of people that look and think like them. And it shows in the dismal ratings they generate.

28th September 2023 at 11:48 am
Michael F

So programs on arts, culture politics and news are only for a narrow band of people? Being a national broadcaster the CBC has a mandate to offer programs reflective of the country as a whole including indigenous Canadians and ethnic groups that aren’t white and European. For decades the CBC catered to that audience and then shifted to be more inclusive. Is that such a terrible thing? Better than watching the private broadcasters that primarily rely on US junk reality shows. Have they been a little overly zealous? Perhaps.

28th September 2023 at 12:34 pm
George G

Well said!!

28th September 2023 at 11:55 am
Bill Handy

Totally agree with you

28th September 2023 at 9:14 am
Paul Haliburton


28th September 2023 at 9:31 am
jane cryderman

The CBC is no longer a valid media source. I am referring to the radio broadcasts. There are only a handful of programs one can listen to without retching.. Hidden Brain, White Coat Black art, and The Sat Noon Science show are worth a listen.. Everything else is devoted to promoting woke ideology, socialist propaganda or blatantly white washing Liberal policies. and well as clubby pushing whatever passes the narrow insider CBC Culture Club dJoir they are currently flogging at us. There is no listenership.. everyone is bored or sick of this stuff ..
The reporting consists on Man on The street interviews with hand picked spokespersons that illustrate what ever slant the CBC wants to push forward in the interests to creating the fantasy Canada of the Liberal agenda. Most of it tiresomely predictable. I long for some actual news, some relevant content and would welcome a return to some of the content of 40 years ago when they had actual critical thinkers. interviews ..commenters, reviews featuring books of social relevance, ect. Now it’s an unending stream of a parade of Victimology delivered in the most subjective possible way by the manufactured sob sister oozing empathy from every pore. YES.. Please end it all..

28th September 2023 at 7:44 am
Keith Alexander

Your are right on Jane. I lived on the Charlottes (now Haida Gwaii) for 20 years. CBC radio was about the only channel we could get on our little radio in the kitchen, so I listened to it a lot. One time in late 2014 I left for 3 months. As I turned off the radio, it was going on as usual about one of its favorite victim groups (daily, day after day). When I returned 3 months later, I turned on the radio. And what was on but the same diatribe about its favorite victim group. One would think the odds must be extremely low for that to happen. But no, it didn’t surprise me at all.

28th September 2023 at 10:53 am
Sean Speer

I understand that discussions about the CBC can be polarizing but I think it turns on a mostly technocratic question: do the market gaps that existed when the public broadcaster was established still exist or have new ones emerged that justify the CBC in its current size and scope? I think the answer is clearly no.

There may be some ongoing role for government intervention in local news for mid-sized or small cities, the North and Indigenous communities. But the case for the flagship CBC with a $2B annual budget has been superseded by market developments.

In light of those trends, CBC proponents no longer argue for the public broadcaster on the basis of a market failure. They cite other arguments — including its nation-building role, its pushback against misinformation and disinformation, and that it’s popular with its listeners and viewers.

My article today takes on these other arguments and considers whether they’re reason to sustain the CBC in its current form.

My answer in short is still the same: no.

28th September 2023 at 8:09 am

Agree, we have a massive gap at the local news level. The CBC, in theory, could fill that gap but with the trend toward advocacy journalism so strong I’m not sure it would work out.

There is a need for “real” news…as in non advocacy driven news. But, the CBC is such a bloated and broken institution there is no way it could retool itself.

At minimum it’s scope needs to be reconsidered.

Great work as always.

28th September 2023 at 11:22 am
Al Raftis

I would look at this as two issues. Should there be public funding? Secondly, should the CBC exist? On the former, my instinct is to say no. I do believe there is a bias to the left politically and that they are very careful not to be agressive with Liberal or NDP politicians. Their reporting and interviewing of Conservative folks has a much more challenging tone. Government funding has to influence their reporting in spite of their denials.

On the second question, if it is to exist, it seems to me that there are tow options. One is to provide services the private services cannot – but these need to be clearly defined and non political. The other is as a private company that has to compete with other networks on an equal basis.

28th September 2023 at 8:55 am
Rob Tyrrell

CBC as a provider of news journalism versus cultural entertainment content is too often mingled, if not conflated, even in this article.

By news I would include news, analysis, and opinion in daily events-of-the-world and deeper and longer-term and form investigative reporting. This is content primarily intended to help citizens’ sense-making of the “mechanics” of our society (government, business, labor, events…i.e. politics), as opposed to the cultural content that is primarily intended to entertain while raising awareness and appreciation of Canada in its vast diversity (people, geography, diasporas, language, art, etc.).

My answer to the question “Do we still need the CBC?” could easily be different for these two different missions. I am ultimately unsure if both “news” and “culture” would be adequately healthy if the CBC were to be defunded, or even disappear, and left to market forces and being a neighbor of a cultural content goliath.

Regardless, both elements are essential to a healthy democratic Canadian society, so we need to be sure before we let it go!

28th September 2023 at 8:23 am
Sean Speer

Hi Rob:

First of all, thanks for your terrific engagement. We’re lucky to have Hub community members like you.

The way I think about it is as follows: the CBC was established in the 1930s on the quite reasonable basis that if left solely to market forces, there would be Canadians who’d go without radio and then television broadcasting.

Fast forward more than ninty years, it’s hard to argue that most Canadians are unserved or underserved by the market. We’ve never had so many options when it comes to news and culture.

Yet one would have to be able to argue that there remains a widespread market gap (or market failure) in order to justify the current size and scope of the CBC.

The question then, as you rightly put it, is: what, if any, is role is there still for a public broadcaster? That is to say, what is the right positon between keeping the CBC as is and eliminating its public funding altogether?

I would be closer to the latter but recognize that there may be public policy arguments for somewhere in the middle.

What I think is wholly unpersuasive is the argument (which I’m not attributing to you) is that the CBC shouldn’t be changed, reformed or right-sized at all. The market has fundamentally changed since the 1930s. The role of the CBC needs to change too.

28th September 2023 at 8:42 am
Alexandra Salamis

I agree that the CBC is over emphasizing identity issues. I still believe we need the CBC to play a nation-building role. To continue to do this it does need to expand its conception of Canadian civic life by providing programming that is more socially diverse. Privately owned and publicly funded media outlets are vulnerable in different ways. There are inherent biases in both, hence why we need both. I don’t only go to the CBC for my media, I access different media outlets and am well aware of each of their biases as well as my own biases. I try to resist echo chamber consumption and I believe it is in all our best interest to do that. In the end, it is about listening to understand and learn.

28th September 2023 at 7:27 am
Keith Harrison

For over 30 years CBC was our default radio channel until my family couldn’t put up with its harping on so many social issues and preaching on the non-climate crisis at every turn.

I was interested to hear other sides of their featured stories. You know, to understand that which I did not know. Letters to the editor in chief had no effect, letters to the programs equally fruitless, so I voted with my feet and changed the channel, so to speak.

If Poilievre gets elected and follows the course he says he will follow I look forward to a 65% reduction in funding. Keeping some of CBC is worthwhile but the senior executives need to be shown the door along with major funding cuts.

Balance is key, but balanced reporting is far from CBC editorial offices these days. If letters to senior management do not work the only option is to cut the budget. As the current PM is wont to say, “…and the budget will balance itself.”

28th September 2023 at 9:38 am
Jack Mitchell

The CBC performs the invaluable service of letting us know what the received wisdom is among the country’s most conventional people. It has saved me countless times from letting my thoughts drift along those lines. Without it, I would have to befriend a dozen such people and sound them out privately. It is much more efficient to concentrate all the stodginess in one cross-platform brand.

28th September 2023 at 7:50 am
Rick Vassallo

I work for 89.5 CIUT radio at the University of Toronto for 13 years. During the CBC labour strike a decade ago, the CBC used our bandwidth and location to keep their programs going, on a bare bones staff, by management. Up until that time I was an occassional listener. But WOW, what an eye opener. The sycophantic nature of the plebes to the on air personalities was something to watch. I also reluctantly discovered that they were literally stealing content from our own shows and reworking these ideas on theirs, plagurizing, in a word. I had a few on air personalities I would use from time to time and they stole these ideas and forged the show Little Mosque on the Prairie from my own on air characters. The stole the name of a show we had called Undercurrents and created a show called, yes, Undercurrents. I mean to have that kind of budget and then still rip off the intellectual content of real creators, who lacked the means to defend their creative content in legal terms showed me that this was a cancerous culture of unoriginal thinkers and yes, plagurists. I also noticed when they did an outside broadcast in our parking lot that their listerers seemed to be mostly older,, over 60, white, upper middle class folks, not really diverse peeps at all. So that is my take folks. I think the CBC is an expensive albatros we can no longer afford, that ironically undermines Canadian democracy rather than embellishes or adds to it. Shut it down or make it pay its own way.

28th September 2023 at 10:57 am
Thor Ragnorson

I was a regular consumer of the CBC from the late 90’s until the 2018 Ontario provincial Election. To say there was bias in the CBC’s coverage of that election would be an insult to bias. Matt Galoway in particular was ridiculous. But that’s the NDP for you. The presence and influence of NDP operators within Ontario’s public institutions is a huge problem for the province and a significant element of it’s decline and the evolution of the CBC into a socialist propaganda media platform. The echo’s of 1990 are still booming today in Ontario. But this past May 24th weekend on a drive to Mtl in the radio valley between Kingston and the 416 I thought I would see what was on CBC Ottawa. I was reminded of the most attractive part of the CBC. The story was about an aboriginal sporting event in Thunder Bay(I think) and the announcer was interviewing an aboriginal athlete. It gradually got around to the social problems in native communities and I changed the channel. Not because I don’t think there are problems but the socialists who run the CBC’s only interest in these stories is to virtue signal for social and political status as the LPC has clearly demonstrated for 8 yrs. This is where they have lost their way. I enjoyed hearing about this small community that is part of my country. A fun event that showcases culture, effort and accomplishment. I did not tune in to be berated by a public servant for MY inaction on the social ills of native communities. Nor do I want to pay the salary of a woke do nothing to virtue signal into a mirror, playing out the days until they can sink into their generous publicly funded pension.

28th September 2023 at 9:29 am
Gary Oxenforth

In order for the CBC to survive they have to stop being a prop for the Liberal/NDP gov.and take a neutral position .

28th September 2023 at 9:27 am
A. Chezzi

I beg to differ. The CBC provides Canadians with first class journalism. It presents news Canadians need to know. It has sound investigative principles and is unbiased. Cons of course, strongly disagree with this. They think the CBC is an arm of the left and the Trudeau government. I have watched many CBC political talk shows and the host asks demanding questions of all parties. Sadly, the Con refuse to send a representative to these programs. The Con say they refuse to take part in a charade but the charade is really the Con refusal which shows their contempt for democracy. Poilievre’s tight control of the party shows up the lie that this is a grassroots party. If it were, there would be no need for such tight restraints.
If there was no CBC, Con news media would dominate the news cycle. The more I watch Poilievre, the more I see a Donald Trump, with a little more veneer. His constant harking that Canada is broken is his desire to bury Canada and raise up an authoritarian government which imposes his morality on everyone. Unfortunately, a Poilievre government may come to be. People have a short memory and they forget the Harper Days when minorities, the environment, and freedoms were curtailed in the name of ideology.
Keep funding the CBC. It keeps Canadians aware and strengthens Canadian ties.

28th September 2023 at 8:46 am
John Trainor

Wow………straight out of Compton….

28th September 2023 at 1:45 pm
Maureen Koch

I totally agree with you.

28th September 2023 at 9:54 am
Al Turcotte

I do not watch cbc garbage news

28th September 2023 at 10:29 am
Dale Butterill

Thank you for asking the question and my answer is yes, we need the CBC. Canadians have substantial access to various news outlets that propagate right, left and centre news and singular perspectives on culture, places where they can easily find their own voices. If the cultural aspects of CBC have tipped too far in the direction of featuring hitherto unrepresented voices, that can be corrected and I expect CBC to respond to these criticisms as it too is must be interested in its own survival. But what would be lost is an entity that is charged with responsibility to speak to all Canadians not just particular sub-sections. Without it we retreat to our echo chambers and forget that we live in the most diverse country in the world. Let us keep our minds and hearts open to that reality.

28th September 2023 at 9:50 am
Margaret McDougall

What a ridiculous premise. Perhaps change is necessary, but that does not mean that the CBC is not necessary. It takes less than seconds to find out how the media landscape in Canada is changing:,government%2Downed%20Canadian%20Broadcasting%20Corporation. I would not describe these changes as an evolution of the news media market.

28th September 2023 at 7:34 am
John McColl

The funding model of the CBC is an anarchism that may have been valuable during the war years. With the advent of identity politics the CBC has jumped on the DEI philosophy promoted by Trudeau and his woke masters. If the CBC was to continue, it should be privatized and compete with other broadcasters. Many Canadians object to their tax dollars funding media that doesn’t recognize aa Canadians.

28th September 2023 at 1:48 pm
John Trainor

It goes beyond the focus on identity issues although that is certainly a major turn-off for anyone simply looking for informed discussion on events…..the deeper issue is how and why the programming got to the stage where one simply can’t listen to the nonsense anymore…..beyond the mind numbing programming is the slavish adherence to the Liberal party line and idol worship of arguably the worst prime minister in commonwealth history….the CBC has become Canada’s version of Pravda where the politbureau rewards itself with million dollar bonuses while the Liberal party runs this country into the ground.

28th September 2023 at 1:33 pm
Keith Alexander

I guess I still think the CBC (radio at least) could play a role in knitting the country together, but it would require massive restructuring. First (were I in control) I’d cut the budget by three quarters and fire most of the top brass, plus woke managers and staff. Then I’d set about revamping it all so that it represented all Canadians, not just the woke left. Then it might have a chance of fulfilling an unbiased role to serve us all.

28th September 2023 at 10:59 am
Peter Smith

No doubt there are issues with the CBC but they and the Globe and Mail are now pretty much the only ones with reporting staff (maybe the Toronto Star too? Macleans?). I enjoy the Hub but it is opinion writing along with Sun Media and Rebel Media and numerous others. Are we giving up on investigative reporting? How do all the Liberal Government scandals get unearthed? Can democracy survive without an active media? CTV and Global are cutting deep. Are we giving up on accountability in Canada?

28th September 2023 at 8:38 am
Al Raftis

I believe that while the CBC does unearth some scandals, there is no evidence that the same scandals would not be unearthed by the various other media outlets who will gwnwrally be more agressive in questioning the government. Yes others are cuttting, but to what extent is this related to the challenges associated with having to compete with a subsidized CBC.

28th September 2023 at 9:01 am

Sometimes I want to throw CBC out the window but then I hear an amazing As it Happens interview with an fascinating global personage (who recognizes the value of talking to Canada’s national public broadcaster), an amazing Q interview (because every rock star seems to want to talk to Tom Power), or see a riveting GEM documentary (like Megantic that would be of no interest to a private broadcaster). And The Debaters still makes me laugh more than anything on Netflix. Sure CBC’s preoccupation with gender and cultural identity goes over to top but nor do I appreciate broadcasters who fire their news anchor because of their hair color.

28th September 2023 at 4:39 pm

Most democracies around the world have a public broadcaster so those without mega dollars can be heard.

28th September 2023 at 3:23 pm

cbc is interwoven into Canadas heritage as much as the CNR. In this age of media garbage CBC offers a crispness and free apps for those on a tight budget when it comes to streaming costs.

28th September 2023 at 3:20 pm
Stephen Peszel

I don’t think “we don’t need the CBC”, I think we don’t need a taxpayer funded therefore government “influenced” public broadcaster.
The CBC seems to have lost its way and tends to push a social agenda.
Rex Murphy can stay.

28th September 2023 at 12:25 pm

You are so wrong. We need it more than ever!

28th September 2023 at 11:25 am
Michael F

More than happy to pay my thirty odd dollars a year to support the CBC. They still have many enjoyable programs. Would shows like White Coat, Black Art, Under The Influence and Cross Country Check Up be produced by a private for profit broadcaster? Probably not.

28th September 2023 at 9:31 am
Patrick Windle

Hello Sean:
Would you be interested in presenting to the (Calgary) Knights of the Round Table, by zoom, on the upcoming 3rd. Tue. in Nov. our zoom sessions begin a few min. before noon, at which point the speaker addresses the group for a 1/2 hr., then follows a1/2 hr. Q. & A./Round Table session. I’m suggesting the CBC as a topic but we’d be happy to hear your perspectives on anything of your choosing. Regards,
Paddy Windle
Program Director

28th September 2023 at 8:17 am

I think there are multiple questions involved that are perhaps being confused.
– Does Canada a Public broadcaster?
– What should the mandate be?
– How do we determine alignment to the mandate and renew as needed?

Not being aligned with the mandate does not necessarily mean that there is no need. It may point to an issue with governance and oversight.

No news organization is unbiased, we all approach problems based on our understanding of the world. Although I do not agree with many of the editorial positions of the Hub, I choose to read it because I want to inform myself and test my assumptions. Many of the comments here seem to center on the CBC’s worldview does not match with those making the comment.

The CBC is more than news. There is still a lack of media access and coverage in many communities. As news rooms are consolidated and closed by the likes of the Post Media Group and Bell (CTV) the need for local coverage at a national level is increasing.

Governance and oversight needs to be addressed. The CRTC is out of step with the needs of Canadians as is the competition bureau.

22nd October 2023 at 10:05 am
Maureen Koch

I am more than happy to pay thirty odd dollars for our CBC. The interviews show maturity and research, the entertainment keeps me up to date on Canadian culture which I know would be swallowed by the American giant, if left to private broadcasters and the comedy shows tickle my Northern funny bone. Talk shows on private radio make my blood pressure surge, with their hyperbole and drama. And, where else will I hear news from across our huge country. I want to hear what is happening in Gander and Moncton and Rosetown. Of course , make changes if they are needed – but don’t defund.

28th September 2023 at 7:08 pm
Dorothy Turcotte

Yes, we do need the CBC. Where else would you find a coast-to-coast phone-in show like Cross Country Checkup, with Ian Hanomansing? The CBC is one of two things holding Canada together. The other is the railways.

28th September 2023 at 6:33 pm
Ian MacRae

I’ve suggested to Pierre Polievere that the CBC should be given, in its entirety, to First Nations for FN language programming. The lack of such programming has been mentioned as a challenge to First Nations to retain their culture, particularly among FN youth. Providing such programming could be a significant reconciliation step.

If Quebec listeners want to keep Radio Canada, they can buy it.

28th September 2023 at 2:24 pm

Despite issues with feeding the left-leaning and woke CBC Television (a.k.a. Liberal Broadcasting Corporation) with my tax payer dollars, I would like to see regional CBC Radio stations left alone. They offer a valuable service, especially in northern and remote communities. If they switched off CBC TV today, I would not miss it at all. Sad commentary, because at one time there was no better broadcaster in the world. Too bad those halcyon days are long gone.

28th September 2023 at 1:53 pm
Ross Hornby

As a long time listener of CBC Radio 2 and Ici Musique, I would have to agree that Radio 2 has over-corrected in airing previously neglected voices. In doing so, it has inadvertently become more Toronto-centric than before.

28th September 2023 at 1:26 pm
Earl Chinchilla

We don’t need foreign owned News in Canada. Conservatives only dentify with money?

28th September 2023 at 12:24 pm