"Reorganizing" the CBC's money?
Dean Del Mastro is the parliamentary secretary to the Heritage Minister, and as such, has more than a nodding acquaintance with the government's ideas/plans related to the CBC. (For those living abroad or under a rock for the past few years, CBC is not exactly a national treasure in the eyes of this Conservative government.)
This week, while asking questions of CORUS TV exec Gary Maavara, Del Mastro appeared to be floating the idea of "reorganizing" the money that goes to the state broadcaster. Whatever could he mean? Read for yourself from the committee transcript:
Dean Del Maestro: You've properly indicated that there are a multitude of channels, more all the time. In fact, anyone can be a broadcaster. I can broadcast this afternoon on YouTube if I choose. So there are all kinds of choices.
Do you think, and I'm just asking an opinion, this is not a government policy, obviously, but do you think it's time that the Canadian government looks at it and says, maybe it's time we get out of the broadcasting business and get into investing more money into content? We invest over a billion dollars, as you know, in government dollars, into a stage, when in fact the private sector would not only make use of that stage, they've got so many already, and reinvest all of those dollars into Canadian content. I see major blockbuster films being made in this country. I see creators with so much talent. I see a world that is begging for good quality content. You pointed out, there are major companies out there that will gobble this stuff up. Is that where we should be looking? Is that kind of the next century? Is that where Canada should be looking for opportunity?
Mr. Gary Maavara: One of the core big-six proposals is that, indeed, there is a continuing need for.... We're sympathetic with independent producers. For example, Mr. Angus' question, we were one of the largest buyers of movies or scripted drama. We don't make any of that ourselves.
That's all from independent producers including this film. One of our largest suppliers of long-form films and television is a Montreal-based company, Incendo, who supply us with a lot of programming. So we're going to continue to need processes like the CMF, Telefilm, etc., investment in content. It will continue to be important.
I should say, going to Mr. Angus' question about the safeguards, we already have the safeguards in the Telefilm and CMF rules. They will only pick a selection of people.
Mr. Dean Del Mastro: I apologize, maybe I wasn't clear enough. The
$1.1 billion, plus a whole bunch of other stuff that we're investing into the public broadcaster, should we look at reorganizing that in some fashion so we could put more money into content? Would companies like Corus match those dollars? Would we produce bigger, better shows that would have a larger opportunity for international global success, which could then become something that feeds itself?