Tom Mulcair promises to reverse funding cuts to CBC

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is promising an NDP government would restore the $115 million cut from the CBC's budget since 2012.
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is promising an NDP government would restore $115 million cut from the CBC's budget. 0:47

The NDP is promising to restore $115 million to the CBC.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair made the election commitment in Montreal on Thursday.

Mulcair said the public broadcaster has been cut by both Liberal and Conservative governments and that an NDP government would commit to restoring the recent cuts made by the Conservatives in the 2012 budget.

That means increasing current funding to CBC/Radio-Canada by $115 million over three fiscal years in hopes it will allow the public broadcaster to evolve in a changing media landscape, Mulcair said.

Mulcair said both the French and English arms of the CBC had a big influence on his life and he grew up watching and listening to both.

"CBC has been my window to this great country," he said.

In April of last year, the CBC announced it would cut 657 jobs over two years to allow the organization deal with a $130-million budget shortfall. While cuts in the federal budget have affected the corporation's budget, losing the rights to broadcast NHL hockey to Rogers has also had a serious impact on the bottom line.

The NDP is also promising to put in place an independent process to name members of the CBC's board of directors. Mulcair accused the Conservatives of loading the board with donors and former candidates and said board members should have more expertise in the media world overall.

A spokesperson for the CBC said the broadcaster is continuing to implement is "A space for us all" strategy to deliver the best content and meet Canadians' shifting needs based on the budget it receives from Parliament.

"That said, however, as we repeatedly pointed out before the CRTC, due to the changes and disruptions currently affecting the industry at home and abroad, the current broadcasting business model is no longer viable," Julie Page wrote in an email to CBC News.

"Given how fast technology is changing, we believe it’s now more vital than ever to have a strong public broadcaster."

The Prime Minister's Office said the CBC faces "challenges in this rapidly changing media environment to which no mainstream broadcaster is immune."

"The CBC's viewership has declined, despite getting more than $1 billion in direct subsidies every year from taxpayers. CBC is responsible for its own operations, and it is up to the CBC to provide programming that Canadians actually want to watch and listen to," a PMO spokesperson wrote in email to CBC News.

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