In June, the Conservative Government of Canada proposed to limit the autonomy of Crown corporations like the CBC, a move that interferes with the independence of Canada’s public broadcaster.
Prime Minister Harper wants to have direct influence over the CBC via the Conservatives’ omnibus Budget Bill C-60, which gives the government a seat at the bargaining table when Crown corporations negotiate collective agreements with their employees. The government would then have an unprecedented ability to dictate employment terms and wage conditions for CBC employees—including the journalists whose job it is to monitor the government!
The CBC has operated independently for almost 80 years, reporting objectively without governmental influence. But Harper’s Conservative Party wants to further extend its influence into other national cultural institutions such as the Canada Council for the Arts, Telefilm, and all national museums; thus diminishing the independence of these key cultural institutions.
Omnibus bills are designed to be too large to be properly studied or debated. The New Democrats tried unsuccessfully to have the bill divided to allow for suitable discussion of these important issues. However, they now have joined with labor unions representing workers at Crown corporations to launch a petition and a national grassroots campaign against these invasive measures.
It seems Harper will hear only what he wants to hear, certainly not the truth. Unfortunately, this extends to muzzling scientists involved in government-funded research. World-class researchers are being prevented from speaking to the public or the media—especially when their research sheds light on the devastating results of Conservative inaction on climate change.
Conservatives don’t want the truth about their record on the environment exposed.
After all, this is the government that:
1. Gutted environmental protections that were meant to keep air and water clean.
2. Deleted habitat protection from the Fisheries Act.
3. Abandoned Canada’s climate change commitments by withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol.
Over 100,000 Canadians have sent their message to Parliament to keep CBC free from political interference, and it is hoped that the New Democratic Party will create another petition in support of the free speech of our government’s researchers and scientists!
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Assistant Ed.: Moira Madden/Ed: Brianna Bemel
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