The friends of Canadian broadcasting are getting nervous. In fact, CBC lovers across the country are staring their worst nightmare in the face, or maybe I should say in the TV screen.
The state-owned Canadian Broadcasting Corp. — the favorite network of left-leaning ivory tower academics, cultural elitists, and knee-jerk anti-Americans — has locked out its employees.
Now, that might not sound so nightmarish to you and me.
For us regular TV consumers who mainly watch non-CBC programming, the possibility a Nature of Things episode won’t get aired ranks somewhere below getting a hangnail on our list of things to worry about.
Indeed, as long as the lockout doesn’t interfere with something important — such as any sporting event that involves iced playing surfaces — 95 per cent of Canadians probably wouldn’t even notice the CBC wasn’t around.
But for this country’s urban intelligentsia (the kind of people who think subsidizing Margaret Atwood books should take priority over buying military helicopters), a CBC shutdown is more terrifying than watching Don Cherry speak without a seven-second tape delay.
To understand what I mean you really need to look at it from the CBCphiles’ perspective.
And from their perspective the CBC is more than just a mere broadcasting corporation, like say Global or CTV. Those entities, after all, seek simply to entertain viewers with things like reality programs where contestants are forced to eat grasshoppers.
The CBC, on the other hand, is different. It isn’t supposed to about mundane things like making profits or winning over viewers.
No, the CBC operates under the guidelines of a government sanctioned “mandate.”
And what is that mandate, you ask?
As near as I can figure it out from first-hand observation, the CBC’s mandate seems to be this: “We will seek whenever possible to present Canada’s left-wing elitists with a picture of the world not as it is, but as they imagine it to be.”
In other words, the CBC designs its programming to reassure Canada’s chattering classes that Americans are indeed imperialistic and war-mongering, that corporations are greedy and evil, that western Canadians are gun-toting reactionaries, and that Conservative party leader Stephen Harper is, in fact, the anti-Christ.
Some, of course, call this sort of programming strategy evidence of “CBC bias” or “socialist propaganda,” but to those with the proper ideological viewpoint, it’s called “protecting Canadian culture.”
And without that CBC cultural protection, the high-society set would be forced to watch the same crass, mandate-less networks as the great unwashed masses. It’s like asking them to shop at Wal-Mart.
And the longer a CBC labour dispute lasts the greater the horror.
Not only would a long dispute deprive CBC fans of Rick Mercer, David Suzuki and Peter Mansbridge, but it would also remind the rest of Canadians of something that has been true for a long time — we don’t need a public broadcaster any more.
Maybe it made sense to have a government-run network back in the days when you needed tinfoil-covered rabbit ears to pick up a grainy image of Wayne and Schuster, but this is the satellite and Internet age.
These days there are all-news channels, all-sports channels, all-arts channels, all-comedy channels, allbusiness channels all available for a reasonable price.
So why should taxpayers pay $1 billion a year for an all-socialist channel?
That’s a questions taxpayers might very well ask if the CBC dispute drags on. This in turn might lead them to demand the CBC be privatized, sold off to the public.
And that’s the real nightmare for Canada’s left-wing crowd.
In fact, they even have their own lobby group called “Friends of Canadian Broadcasting” whose mission, according to its website, is to fight for a “strong CBC,” and by “strong” they mean government-operated and taxpayer-subsidized. Just like the Post Office is “strong.”
If the CBC were privatized, it would probably lose these “Friends” On the bright side, a private CBC would also make new friends — they are called stockholders.