FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Toronto – Levels of support and satisfaction with the CBC are higher and more intense among Atlantic Canadians than people in other parts of the country, according to a new national Pollara survey.
The survey comes as CBC grapples with a $170 million funding shortfall and in the wake of Ottawa's decision to review CBC's budget to find new cuts of up to $56 million – pressures that are diminishing the CBC's creative capacity and programs.
Against this backdrop Pollara finds Canadians to believe that Prime Minister Harper is intent on hobbling the CBC. This belief is more widespread among voters in Atlantic Canada than anywhere else in the country.
- 71% of Atlantic Canadian respondents versus 63% nationally agreed that "Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative government are hostile to the CBC and would like to diminish public broadcasting in Canada".
- 58% of Atlantic Canadian respondents versus 51% nationally agreed that when it comes to the CBC "the Harper government has a hidden agenda that favours private corporate broadcasters". 16% of Atlantic Canadians disagree and 26% don't know.
"The good news is that Harper's disdainful treatment of the CBC flies in the face of public opinion," says Ian Morrison, spokesperson for the broadcast watchdog group Friends of Canadian Broadcasting which commissioned the survey.
Overall, Canadians think CBC is under-funded. This belief is more intense among Atlantic Canadians:
- Atlantic Canadians are much more intense than their fellow citizens (39% strongly agree versus 31%) in their view that CBC's "current funding is insufficient to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture".
- Seven-in-ten (70%) Atlantic Canadians agree that "the CBC provides value for taxpayer money" versus 63% nationally.
- Half (51%) of Atlantic Canadian respondents and 47% nationally would advise their MP to vote to increase CBC funding from current levels, while 25% of Atlantic Canadians would advise their MP to maintain CBC funding and 10% would counsel a funding cut.
When it comes to regional broadcasting, the views of Atlantic Canadians are once again more pronounced than those of people living elsewhere in Canada.
- Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Atlantic Canadians think "the CBC plays an important role in their community" versus 58% nationally, and
- While 74% of Canadians "would like to see the CBC strengthened in your part of the country", this view is held by 82% of Atlantic Canadians
- Concern that recently announced cuts to the CBC budget will reduce the amount of local news and regional coverage is more widely held in Atlantic Canada (71%) than nationally (66%).
The survey reveals that Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is regarded as "most trusted" to handle matters of culture and Canadian identity in broadcasting by Canadians. This view is somewhat amplified among Atlantic Canadians.
Other highlights from the Pollara survey of Atlantic Canadians:
- 87% tune in to some form of CBC programming.
- 81% rate the CBC's performance in fulfilling its mandate 'good', 'very good' or 'excellent".
- 87% believe "the CBC is important in protecting Canadian identity and culture".
- 80% believe CBC "is best suited to provide Canadian programming on TV".
- 24% believe that "privatizing and commercializing the CBC is the right thing to do", 62% disagree, and 14% don't know.
- 77% believe that annual funding to the CBC should be increased: 52% support the Commons Heritage Committee recommendation that CBC funding should increase to $40 per Canadian, and 25% believe $40 per Canadian is too low.
- 73% of Atlantic Canadians believe the CBC should be held "most responsible for ensuring that Canadian programming continues to be an integral part of the Canadian economy and culture", 18% favour private broadcasters, 9% cable and satellite companies and 3% Internet content providers.
- The vast majority of Atlantic Canadians want to see an end to the Prime Minister hand picking people to lead the CBC. 85% believe the CBC's Board of Directors should be appointed through a non-political process and 86% believe CBC President should be appointed at arms length from the political process.
FRIENDS commissioned POLLARA to survey a random sample of 3,361 Canadians 18 year of age or older. The rate of accuracy for Atlantic regional data is +/- 4.75% nineteen times in twenty. National results are considered accurate to +/- 1.69% nineteen times out of twenty. This survey was in the field from April 20 to 24, 2009
Friends of Canadian Broadcasting is a watchdog group dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Canadian content on radio and TV. Friends is non-partisan and is not affiliated with any broadcaster.
For information: Jim Thompson 613-447-9592
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