London residents want their own CBC station

Jan 31, 2012


London - A wide majority (72%) of London residents would like CBC to establish a local radio station to cover community affairs and most (68%) hope their MP would champion the new station or not oppose it.  These findings emerge from a new opinion survey of London residents commissioned by the broadcast watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.

"London should have its own CBC station.  Close to half a million people live in the Greater London area, yet it must rely on programming from Toronto even though other much smaller communities in Canada enjoy coverage of their community affairs from their own local CBC station," said Ian Morrison, spokesperson for Friends.

On September 26, 2011, the CBC announced it would introduce new radio and Internet services to London in the Fall of 2012, but since then threatened budget cuts have cast doubt on CBC's ability to deliver on this promise.

"The government's plan to make a substantial cut of 10% or more to the CBC's budget will have devastating consequences for listeners and viewers and could well scuttle the promised local station, an outcome that will clearly be off-side with Londoners," said Morrison. 

If more money is required by the CBC to deliver the promised station, most Londoners would support that.

More than half (56%) of London residents agree that "Just as small provinces have their own CBC stations, regions like mine should have their own stations, even if it requires giving the CBC a bit more money".  Only one-in-four disagree.

James Moore QuoteThe survey found that  almost half (46%) of London residents would counsel their MP to maintain CBC funding at current levels while one-in-four would advise their MP to increase CBC funding from current levels.  Only 18% would advise their MP to vote to cut the CBC's funding.

Noting that at least one London area MP has recently sought the opinion of his constituents concerning CBC funding, Morrison said: "more than 60% of Londoners would like to see the CBC's budget increased or maintained and they would like their MP to help make this happen."

The opinions of the people of London would appear to be at odds with the plans of the federal government.  Even though the Conservative Party promised to maintain or increase CBC funding, Heritage Minister James Moore is now talking about substantial cuts to the national public broadcaster in the upcoming federal budget.

"The Conservatives promised time and again before, during and after the election campaign to maintain or increase CBC funding.  Breaking this promise will go against the grain for many in London and elsewhere," Morrison said.

The survey also found that half (54%) of London residents agree with a recent House of Commons Heritage Committee recommendation that annual CBC funding should be increased from $33 per Canadian to $40, while 14% think it should be rejected because it is too little. 

Six-in-ten (63%) London residents agree that the CBC provides good coverage of local news and cultural event, even without a local station, but this level of agreement is significantly less than Canadians in other parts of the country.

The survey found that Prime Minister Harper and his Conservative government carry a reputation for being hostile to Canadian culture and the CBC; more than half (57%) of Londoners think Canada's level of public broadcaster funding is insufficient to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture, and 57% think Canada's level of public broadcaster funding is indicative of the federal government's treatment of the cultural sector overall. 

As for which political party is most trusted to protect the CBC by London residents, the Conservative Party scores lowest at 26% followed by the Liberal Party at 31% with the NDP being most trusted to protect the CBC by 43%.

Canada-wide, the CBC remains extremely popular with Canadians, who by wide majorities give the CBC high marks for meeting its mandate to present programs that inform, enlighten and entertain (77%) as well as its mandate to serve the broadcasting needs of Canada's regions (68%)

The online survey of 2022 adult Canadians conducted from November 4 to 10 has a margin of error of +/- 2.18%, 19 times out of 20.   London data are based on a sample of 402 adult Canadians living in the London area and have a margin of error of +/- 4.89%, 19 times out of 20.

The survey was designed and administered by political scientists, Daniel Rubenson, Associate Professor at Ryerson University and Peter Loewen, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.  The survey was fielded by the national polling firm Angus Reid/Vision Critical.


For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592

Related Documents:

Jan 31, 2012 — Opinion Poll: Public opinion in the London Region & the rest of Canada concerning the CBC
New opinion research on public reaction to plans from the CBC to open a local radio station in London in the autumn of 2012.