British Columbia

CBC/Radio-Canada funding to increase in upcoming budget: heritage minister

Minister Mélanie Joly declined to put an exact dollar figure on the funding increase, but she told On The Coast funding would rise again in the next budget.

Minister Mélanie Joly emphasized the need to produce 'Canadian content in a digital age'

Heritage Minister Melanie Joly says her government will be increasing the funding of CBC/Radio-Canada over the next two years — although did not specify by how much. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly said her government's March 22 budget will restore some funding to the CBC, but in its first year the Liberal Party will not fully undo cuts made by the Conservatives.

"We've committed that we would be re-investing in CBC/Radio-Canada in two times, year one and year two," Joly told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn.

In their platform and in press releases, the Liberal Party promised "$150 million in new annual funding for CBC/Radio-Canada, a commitment that reverses Harper's cuts and goes even further to ensure that our national broadcaster is able to fulfil its mandate." 

But Joly pointed out that in the third-to-last page of their full platform, the party clarifies CBC/Radio-Canada will only receive $75 million in new funding in the 2016-2017 budget, to be followed by $150 beginning in 2017-2018.

Consultations on digital shifts

In her interview with On The Coast, Joly also said she would be launching a series of consultations about CBC's new focus on digital, asking, "How can we support Canadian content in a digital age?"

She also hinted that changes might be coming to the Broadcasting and the Telecommunications acts, which "were developed 30 years ago, when it was really a much more analogous way of thinking," she said.

"I really see that CBC/Radio-Canada can play an important role in the digital shift. Of course, there's a lot that's been done, very good work, but at the same time, the lack of funding didn't help," she said.

"In order for CBC/Radio-Canada to really seize the opportunity and be the right incubator for the good creators we have — maybe journalists, maybe artists."

When asked about possible changes to the CBC's board — of which eight of the current 11 members are Conservative Party donors — Joly said she had some appointments to make, and future appointments would be less political.

To hear the full interview, click the audio labelled: Heritage minister says more funding coming to CBC in budget


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