BUCKHORN — Peterborough-Kawartha NDP candidate Joy Lachica says “it’s a miracle” that Canada has a CBC after cuts to the national public broadcaster by Stephen Harper’s Conservative government, compounded by cuts by Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government.
Speaking at a Kawartha Chamber of Commerce and Tourism candidates debate Tuesday, which was livestreamed from the Buckhorn Community Centre, Lachica said Canada has the 16th lowest funding out of 18 developing countries for its public broadcaster. An NDP government would commit to continued funding, she said, for a CBC that is “robust and strong and relevant.”
Liberal incumbent Maryam Monsef countered that the Liberals restored funding when they came to power and if re-elected will invest hundreds of millions of dollars to support the CBC and reduce reliance on paid advertising.
“We’ve seen the reliance that Canadians have on solid, reliable, valid information during this pandemic and supporting the CBC is key to our sovereignty and key to democracy,” Monsef said.
Candidates were responding to a question asking if their parties would support or reduce CBC funding, or privatize the broadcaster.
People’s Party of Canada candidate Paul Lawton said his party would defund it because the party is against all subsidies and bailouts, in particular for state-funded news sources.
While Conservative candidate Michelle Ferreri, a former news reporter for a then CBC-TV affiliate herself, did not directly answer the question, she remarked on the state of CBC content.
“What’s critical here is to evaluate journalism integrity,” she said. “I think there has to be an evaluation to make sure there is a level playing field that what’s being broadcast is non-partisan, is journalistic integrity. I think we need to get back to that, and I think that’s a really big part of this conversation.”
Green party candidate Chante White was unable to attend due to illness, moderator John Boyko said.
Due to technical difficulties the meeting, scheduled for one and a half hours, had to be cut short after about an hour.
Located in Lakefield, the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce and Tourism serves businesses in the communities of Curve Lake First Nation and Douro-Dummer, North Kawartha, Selwyn and Trent Lakes townships.
The meeting was hosted in partnership with the Lakefield Herald and Buckhorn Rate Payers’ Association.
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner