Most Albertans think CBC is under-funded: poll

May 26, 2009


Toronto (May 26, 2009) – Most voters in Alberta think CBC funding should be increased and that Prime Minister Harper harbors a hostile agenda toward the national public broadcaster.  These are among the finding of a new national Pollara survey released today.

Among Alberta voters Pollara found:

  • 56% agree "CBC provides value for taxpayers' money".
  • 70% agree that the current level of CBC funding is "insufficient to maintain a unique and vibrant Canadian identity and culture".
  • Half (51%) believe CBC funding should be increased from $33 to $40 per citizen as recommended by the House of Commons Heritage Committee and another 19% think this increase is too low.

A $170 million funding shortfall and Ottawa's decision to review CBC's budget to find new potential cuts of up to $56 million – pressures that are diminishing the CBC's creative capacity and programs, leading to 800 layoffs – are in full view of Canadians.

Against this backdrop Pollara finds Canadians to believe that Prime Minister Harper is intent on hobbling the CBC.  This belief is shared by voters in Alberta.

  • 58% of Alberta respondents agreed that "Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative government are hostile to the CBC and would like to diminish public broadcasting in Canada".
  • 67% of Alberta respondents agree that "Canada's level of public broadcaster funding is indicative of the federal government's treatment of the cultural sector overall". 21% disagree and 13% don't know.
  • 44% of Alberta respondents agreed that when it comes to the CBC "the Harper government has a hidden agenda that favours private corporate broadcasters". 34% disagree and 23% 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.

Seven-in-ten (70%) of voters in Alberta would like to see CBC strengthened in Alberta (23% disagree), while 71% agree that "we should build a new CBC capable of providing high quality Canadian programming with strong regional content throughout Canada".

Other highlights from the Pollara survey of Alberta voters:

  • 71% tune in to some form of CBC programming every week.
  • 82% rate the CBC's performance in fulfilling its mandate 'good', 'very good' or 'excellent".
  • 77% believe "the CBC is important in protecting Canadian identity and culture".
  • 72% believe CBC "is best suited to provide Canadian programming on TV".
  • 37% believe that "privatizing and commercializing the CBC is the right thing to do", 50% disagree, and 13% don't know.
  • 59% of 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", 26% favour private broadcasters, 13% cable and satellite companies and 2% Internet content providers.
  • The vast majority of Albertans want to see an end to the Prime Minister hand picking people to lead the CBC.  81% believe the CBC's Board of Directors should be appointed through a non-political process and 91% believe CBC President should be appointed at arms length from the political process.

FRIENDS commissioned POLLARA to survey a random sample of 3,361Canadians 18 year of age or older. The rate of accuracy for Alberta regional data is 5.14% 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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