Digging for dirt on the CBC

Michel Drapeau has asked for information from the CBC that its top brass says no one deserves to know. Are they right?

Digging for dirt on the CBC

Photograph by Blair Gable; Pawel Dwulit/CP

Michel Drapeau considers himself an equal-opportunity provocateur. Since 1994, the lawyer and retired colonel has filed over 5,000 access to information requests to just about every single ministry, agency and authority within the federal government, from the Royal Mint to National Defence, for hundreds of clients—including nearly every federal political party in the country. His work helped uncover some of the more gruesome details of Canada’s mission in Somalia, which ultimately saw the disbanding of the Canadian Airborne Regiment. He is also the reason former chief of defence staff and ambassador John de Chastelain’s penchant for $285 bottles of wine is a matter of public record.

Today, Drapeau’s knack for writing access to information requests is testing the exclusion that allows the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to withhold sensitive and potentially compromising information concerning many of its core endeavours, including how its spends much of its $1-billion yearly allotment from the federal government. As well, his probe into the CBC—a “forensic examination,” as the 77-year-old calls it—is apparently fuelling a feud between the public broadcaster and Quebecor, one of the country’s largest media companies and the CBC’s chief French-language competitor.

Since the fall of 2007, Drapeau’s office has filed nearly 800 ATI requests with the CBC, asking for details on everything from its corporate governance structure and the cost of its coverage of the royal visit in 2005 to the amount that Sylvain Lafrance, head of the CBC’s French service, spent on cleaning his private boat. The CBC’s resulting disclosure—notwithstanding the full-page newspaper ads the broadcaster has taken out proclaiming its transparency—has largely been “bulls–t,” according to Drapeau. Hundreds of requests went unanswered, even unacknowledged, for two years­, something Drapeau blames on the arrogance of CBC corporate management. “The CBC has not made the psychological and corporate turn,” he says. “They don’t understand that they are no longer a private-like organization that they can do as they wish without any public oversight. They have a sense of hostility toward anybody exercising their right to have access to records.”

For its part, CBC management maintains that much of the material Drapeau has requested is of commercial value to his client, the Quebecor-owned Sun Media chain, and giving it up would be tantamount to Macdonald’s sharing its secret sauce with Burger King. Yes, the CBC is a taxpayer-funded organization, they say; but it is also a broadcaster whose competitors aren’t similarly compelled to divulge sensitive journalistic, creative and programming information. The CBC’s vice-president of communications, Bill Chambers, says the delay in releasing information was due to the sheer volume of ATI requests, not corporate intransigence—a feeling seconded by Canada’s information commissioner, who has herself been at odds with the CBC recently.

“As soon as the CBC became subject to the Access to Information Act, they received many more requests than they expected, and were not staffed appropriately,” Suzanne Legault told Maclean’s. (Since 2007, the CBC has more than doubled the size of its ATI staff, to eight.)

And so a feud of sorts between the CBC and Quebecor plays out. CBC CEO Hubert Lacroix recently told a parliamentary committee that Sun Media has used its papers to “smear the public broadcaster” by publishing disparaging stories about the expenses of CBC senior management. Quebecor president Pierre Karl Péladeau, for his part, has a $700,000 defamation suit against Lafrance, who in a 2007 Le Devoir interview said Péladeau “was acting like a thug” for pulling out of the Canadian Television Fund. Péladeau’s lawsuit, CBC brass suggests, is part of Quebecor’s larger plan to sully the CBC’s reputation for its own competitive gain. Coincidentally or not, Sun Media has run dozens of stories critical of Lafrance since 2007, most of which drew on Drapeau’s ATI requests written on Sun Media’s behalf.

The outcome of this multi-front battle between public and private media corporations will dictate how much the CBC, one of the country’s most enduring and recognizable brands, must divulge to its public—and to its competitors in an increasingly cutthroat media environment.

Though he retired from the armed forces in 1993, Drapeau still trades in an army man’s lingo. “I had the staff ready to descend on the CBC come Sept. 1, 2007,” he says. “It was a target-rich environment. No one has been there before.” Sept. 1, 2007, was when, as part of its Federal Accountability Act, the Conservative government mandated that the CBC and 69 other governmental corporations and agencies be subject to the Access to Information Act. “We were told that every book was available on the Net,” he says, slapping two three-hole binders on the table in his office conference room and making an immodest gesture with his arm. “Two binders? Give me a break! This is every corporate policy that the CBC has?”

He says he ran into other problems. “For 99.9 per cent of the requests, the CBC failed to respond within 30 days, which is considered a refusal,” he says. When the CBC finally produced the documents, many were heavily redacted. The reason: the corporation is allowed to withhold “any information that relates to its journalistic, creative or programming activities.”

It’s a sensible enough exclusion that allows the CBC to protect its journalistic sources and commercial interests. Yet Drapeau believes the corporation has used it as an excuse to avoid disclosing potentially embarrassing information. “I don’t have a problem with the exemption. I have a problem with the way it was applied,” he says. “They will use it to the nth degree in order to not release any information.” The CBC, naturally, takes a different view. “If you ask us for something that is entirely to do with our programming, you are going to get a redacted document,” retorts the CBC’s Chambers. And indeed, Drapeau’s office asked for financial audits of the CBC’s Olympic coverage and documents relating to the cost of its Hockey Night In Canada theme contest, among other similar requests.

Yet the broader question is that for now the CBC decides what constitutes its own journalistic, creative or programming activities, an idea with which both Drapeau’s office and federal Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault have taken issue. It’s the subject of an ongoing court action between the CBC and Legault’s office. The CBC challenged the commissioner in court, saying only a judge—and not Legault—could review its sensitive documents. In September, a federal court ruled against the CBC, which promptly appealed the decision.

Precedent would appear to be on the commissioner’s side: in the case of the BBC, governed by similar disclosure laws, the country’s information commissioner (and not the BBC) decides what information can be withheld from public view. And Legault points out that Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., which has a similar ATI exclusion, regularly submits its sensitive documents to her office for review.

The corporation has since responded to most of the requests, and posted much of the (sometimes heavily redacted) material on its website, including financial audits, senior management expenses and annual reports—though not before David Statham, a lawyer in Drapeau’s firm, sued the corporation. (Both the Federal Court and the Court of Appeals quashed Statham’s complaints, saying that by the time the case was heard, the CBC had responded to all of Drapeau’s office’s ATI requests, however late.)

Drapeau says it’s his own interest in the inner workings of the CBC that’s behind their investigation. “It was my initiative,” he says, adding that Sun Media had no input into the direction of the investigation. Still, Sun Media has certainly capitalized on Drapeau’s findings—particularly those involving La­france, head of Quebecor’s biggest competitor in its home province. Between Jan. 1, 2007, and Aug. 4, 2010, the chain’s English-language papers, including the Toronto and Calgary Sun, published 10 stories about Lafrance’s expenses; in the same period, they published only three about Richard Stursberg, then La­france’s English-language equivalent. The gap was wider in Quebec: the Quebecor-owned Journal de Montréal ran 12 stories critiquing Lafrance’s expenses during the same time period, and only one on Stursberg.

“At Quebecor, we encourage all our journalists to make every effort to report on how the government spends its tax dollars,” says Quebecor corporate vice-president Serge Sasseville, noting that Quebecor journalists regularly investigate other facets of government as well. “It happens that Radio-Canada is one of the most important Crown corporations in the country, and receives the biggest taxpayer subsidy. It is absolutely not a campaign against Sylvain Lafrance.”

Meanwhile, the court battle between Péladeau and Lafrance, stemming from the “thug” remark, plods along. Lafrance made the comment in early 2007, soon after Quebecor-owned cable company Videotron announced it would withhold its contributions to the Canadian Television Fund, in protest of how the fund allocated money. “I was dismayed” after hearing Lafrance’s remark, Péladeau said. “It was an attack on my reputation. It perturbed me. There was an intention to insult me publicly.”

The trial has taken on elements of the absurd. La­france’s lawyer brought in an expert to distinguish the difference between calling someone a thug and saying that they are acting like a thug. (“It’s not an identity, it’s an analogy,” testified linguist Jean-Claude Corbeil.) Two weeks ago, Péladeau’s lawyers asked for Judge Claude Larouche to be removed from the case, claiming bias.

The CBC’s Chambers has difficulty believing the ATI requests, the hounding of Lafrance and Péladeau’s defamation suit are a coincidence. “It’s impossible not to recognize that there’s a court case going on in which Quebecor is suing Lafrance and the CBC,” he says. “Is that linked? I can’t speculate. But there’s lots of circumstances that raise questions. There was a spike in the number of [access] requests to the CBC in the fall. We got a hundred in a couple of weeks. Is it a corresponding spike? Who knows. Maybe it’s just a nice person in British Columbia who all of a sudden took an interest in our internal workings.”


Digging for dirt on the CBC

  1. It's nice that the CBC wants to protect itself and all, but the right to that kind of privacy goes out the window when you receive public funds. If maintaining a competitive advantage is their goal, then let them actually be competing. A government funded monolith running through the market doesn't quite count.

    • "but the right to that kind of privacy goes out the window when you receive public funds"

      Dear Quebecor/CTV/Postmedia: Please provide your salary structure.

      Dear Macleans: Please provide ths cost of running your website and maintaining your print mailing lists.

      Dear Vatro: Please remember that the CBC, unlike other taxpayer-funded media outlets, is mandated to provide service all across canada, even in the placesthey can't sell ads. Global et al, who all receive telefilm funding, Cable funding, tax breaks for productions, Can Con funding (I could continue…) don't have to.

      • I'd be perfectly happy to extend the statement to anything receiving public funds. If someone else is busy spending my money for me I think its perfectly reasonable for me to want to know how it's being spent. If the public is paying I don't see why it should be any different.

        However I would not include things like tax breaks in such a category, receiving money is a far different game then not having to pay it in the first place. At the very least tax breaks are something the government only is accountable for.

        • "receiving money is a far different game then not having to pay it in the first place"

          You're really Jim Flaherty, aren't you…

          • Apples and oranges, Mostly Civil. Vatro has you cold.

          • nope, vastro's got it dead wrong. sorry kiddo.

          • When you don't register, you can vote your own comment up. Does the +10 make you feel like a Haitian presidential candidate? It definitely doesn't make your arguments better.

          • Well noticed. He's down to +8 now.

          • I knew this column would bring out the right wingers who can't see a shade of grey. After reading the article, though, I wonder if this matter would go away if Canada just did away with the French language services of the CBC.

        • Wrong
          If you don't pay the taxes that you should then if we want a project to happen others have to pick up the slack.
          A project costs X
          Divide between n participants, each pays X/n
          Reduce n either by giving the cash away in advance or after receiving payment and n decreases, making everyone else share go up.

          Tax breaks are as much a form of charity as any other form of charity, except the only people who can decide who gets this charity are a few members of the government.

          One thing I would add is that when I pay my taxes I know CBC will be getting some of it and get a service in return, which is more than I can say for those who gain their money via tax breaks.

          • You forget that our taxes are paid to the Government which IS the people, and not an entitlement entity. Ergo, distribution of our tax money to anything excluding national security must have full access by the tax payer. Citing corporate competitiveness, when the CBC is anything but to a tune of 1 Billion/year is nothing more than obfuscation.

            It wouldn't be so bad if the CBC acted objectively in its journalism and still had some integrity, but it doesn't. Its reporting is biased and censored with a dropping viewership. I say defund it and let it survive on its own. The CBC's purpose has long since expired. So should it too.

          • I think you are confusing things which you kind of believe to be true with things that are actually true.

          • So because you decide the CBC isn't objective then you are the sole arbiter of objective reporting.
            Classic wing nut logic.
            Harper Co is not the people he is 1/3 of the people, give or take. I know honesty and the extreme right are strangers but if you are discussing facts you might like to give it a try.
            Oh and if a corporation is competitive, why does it need government charity to enable it to make money? Surely the draw of profit, if they're good enough, should be enough. But that isn't the case is it. Tax returns and write offs are a way of laundering "our money" to those who want it but don't want to be identified as on welfare.
            Corporate welfare is welfare, but with no hardship or suffering.

          • And you harebell are a typical leftie, who slams anyone with a different point of view. Fortunately, the bullying tactics do not work. CBC is biased, only someone who is perfectly happy with the daily targetting of the Conservatives would disagree. Oh wait a second…..didn't they have a review done, by mostly University professors, (who does EKOS keep saying supports the Liberals??) yeah that was really truthful and honest–not! Anyone else catch the "professional" ramblings of Don the Liberal Newman??? Apparently he has all the rights in the world to blast another media competitor – the Sun, using our tax paid for new agency. You sir/madam are the one who has trouble with honesty and perhaps reality also…

          • wow calm down
            The fact that anybody who disagrees with you needs to be labeled and identified as a a bully. I stated that I thought all write offs were charity, obviously a commie pinko point of view. Beause I returned in like fashion to a wing nut I slam folk.
            CBC is only biased in the same way that O'Reilly calls the BBC biased. They ask questions and won't be fobbed off with evasion. Your own insecurity speaks volumes.
            But at the end of the day when I pay taxes I know they are going to CBC. But I really don't know which religious institution this current bunch of zealots is going to shuffle my coin off to, or even the corporate guys that are holding their hands out.
            I believe transparency was going to be a foundation of this current government's M.O………
            I wonder what happened there?
            Keep hand waving you poor dear.

          • I take great comfort in seeing the arguments defending the CBC are far more compelling and factual than these mouth-breathers who want to cut it all while clapping like seals for big corporations. Your comment may been voted down on the MacLeans website, but nationally, I expect it would be voted way up.

            Not in any way scientific, but compare the Facebook followers of CBC to the followers of SunTV.

          • You comparison of CBC with Sun TV is not only unscientific – it is dumb. FYI, there is no Sun TV, only talks to launch it. Yet, it already has over 2,000 Facebook followers.

          • You think that number is promising? And you are calling me dumb?

  2. Please eliminate the CBC. Here's 1 billion off the deficit. Only 55 to go.

    • Yup. I don't care where the money went – I would just be happy to see that lot fired and done with. Those idiots stopped speaking for canada decades ago…

    • Now I might be wrong but I do believe that the CBC does also reign in a lot of money. They get 1.1 billion dollars but does it actually cost that much? If they bring in half of that in revenues then it's a different number.

      And that number is the real one, it's the cost of running it. I'm not interest in how much they spend to run it, it's far more important to find out what the bottom line is. They spend 1.1? Alright, what if they rake in 1.5? I seriously doubt it's that much but that's what we need to know to make an informed decision on the viability and value of the CBC.

      As far as the ATI goes I'm with the commissioner: they recieve public funding and it's a responsibility they need to assume. There's no doubt that Peladeau and his cronies only want the CBC to fail so they can take over (the CBC is the only thing standing in teh way of a complete monopoly) and for that reason we need the CBC to be around. Monopolies, especially on information, are terrible terrible things.

      • They dont spend 1.1, they receive 1.1 from the government. Whatever they rake in (from HNIC) also goes to pay for the Liberal propanda that the CBC produces. But those #s dont matter, the one number which does matter is the 1.1 billion (yearly) drain on canadian taxpayers.

        • Don't forget as a Crown Corp. the taxpayer is on the hook for those nice pensions and benefits.

    • If it's deficits your worried about we should start with cutting the $6 – $20 billon for jets that serve no purpose, then the $1billion annual expense for prisons we don't need, and all future G8/20 meetings that accomplish nothing.

      • Its deficits and government waste. The CBC is a waste. The fighter jets are not a waste. The prisons are not a waste. I would eliminate half the jobs in the public sector, and bring public sector working conditions on par with that of the private sector. Then we would have no deficit but a surplus.

        • We had a surplus and we didn't need to do any of the things you mentionned.

          Smart management produces better result than blind rage.

          • So you call this smart management of our tax dollars?

            "Expense claims allowed QMI Agency to report that in Radio-Canada senior managers spent $1,400 on booze during two-day retreat in 2006 and that Lafrance had blown nearly $80,000 that year on travel, duty entertainment and corporate donations to support Quebec artists."

          • Consider the source.
            Is it beyond the realms of possibility that QMI would report anything to further the fox news north agenda?

          • mmmmmmm,Fox news north hey.Been reading alittle too much Atwood and Soros.

          • I don't think you can read too much.
            But Fox News North has been used widely during the discussion around this issue.

            oh and your point?

        • The jets (which are not fighters, or for that matter bombers) are a waste of cash.
          They allow this gov to siphon off tax payer money into the coffers of US corporations who provide us with a product that does not suit our needs. An interceptor is not a bomber and this P.O.S. is neither, it is a jack of all trades. One fifth of the contract price for these white elephants would go a long way to solving our pension issues and the rest would help repay the deficit we were once promised we wouldn't have. But I'd settle for half spent on an interceptor and half to repay the surprise deficit.

          • thanks Holly stick
            I was at work so couldn't get back/

            I consider sources, not all are born equal.

          • You are most welcome, harebell. All three of those links are good blogs I visit often. The Galloping Beaver is especially good, has contributors who are or have been in the military, and is not into party politics.

          • Indeed
            The Beaver, not only makes great points, but also comes from those who have walked the walk, not just talked.
            Smart and brave, the opposite of a lot of the water carriers here.

  3. I'd love to know how much Don Cherry and his "Liberal propaganda" efforts are costing taxpayers, myself.

    • I'd always heard that HNIC was one fo the CBC's few actual moneymakers, and I wouldn't be surprised if Cherry actually pulls in more than his salary in extra advertiser dollars. I'd be much more skeptical about whether you could say the same about Mansbridge, Mercer, Strombo, or any other CBC personalities though.

      • Apparently Mansbridge salary is a secret. "he is waiting for the information commissioner to investigate whether CBC was right to deny him access to Peter Mansbridge's salary range and possible discretionary benefits." http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2010/10/10/156

      • No human being tunes into saturday night hockey merely to watch Don Cherry.

      • Cherry reportedly makes $800,000 per "year" (or hockey season), and HNIC is the main money-making venture for the CBC.

    • Don Cherry a Liberal??? You've got to be kidding

      • Maclean makes about 700,000 per. Cherry makes more, but as an "everyday guY", his salary is also secret.

        • Don Cherry is an everyday guy now? guess i missed the successful hockey coach and junior hockey player part. And seriously if the guy makes 800g's a year he's clearly ot your everyday fellow

  4. Conrad Black needs to be put in charge of the CBC, he has a proven track record of success in media and could turn it into a channel worth watching while fulfilling its original mandate – something the CBC has refused to do in years.

    • " he has a proven track record of success in media "

      Why don't you wait to see what the Supreme Court in the States says about his success?

      • His success in undeniable, who cares what the legal system that railroaded him has to say.

        • Maybe we can get Bernie Madoff…

    • That's the best joke of the New Year! Thanks.

  5. The mess begins and ends with "crown corporation with competitors." Private enterprise is paying tax dollars from its profits to enable this competition. The employees of private enterprise are paying tax dollars to enable this competition. The shareholders earning any profits are paying taxes to enable this competition. Everyone is paying tax dollars to competitively harm private enterprise. This is ludicrous.

    The counterargument is: "CBC/SRC are providing programming no one else would provide." OK. Then you don't have competition. So shut up and disclose what you are legally required to disclose.

    • Another counter-argument: "All private broadcasters are heavily subsidized when it comes to the production of Canadian programming, so Quebecor is pushing its luck on this ATI bandwagon."

      I cannot wait to offer a credible suggestion to deal with that one…

  6. Well if this piece of Sh*T magazine is going to lose its government gravy train, they are going to make sure the competition gets the same. Ah! The Liberal press cannibalizing one another. Gotta love it!

    • Well really if you don't like it, the obvious question is why you think it's liberal?

      I've been pleasantly surprised by MacLeans actually, it seems to present a balance of Canadian opinions. (As for me it seems to have a conservative bent if anything)

  7. The fact the CBC is hiding from public scrutiny and running away from accountability is almost an admittance of some kind of clandestine agenda that would be inconvenient or harmful to the CBC's further existence.

    It seems to me the "B" could also be a "P"

    • Just like the reasons Harper Co prorogued the last two years. Public scrutiny was a bit too keen.
      But with one difference, CBC doesn't argue that it sucks at the public tit. The hillbillys that form Harper's crowd do and are in denial.

      • I see you no longer are trying to win your argument, you are just trying to console yourself.

        • not really just seeking consistency
          optimistic I know.

  8. I trust the Information and Privacy commissioner on the matter, far more than either party or a weekly newsmagazine of former Post employees writing on the topic. I am sure the will sort itself out appropriately given time.

  9. Well Said Trudeau Lover……I just find the hyprocrisy staggering, does anyone else listen to "the Current" often the "voice" at the beginning has a quip about how many requests for interviews have been turned down, mostly from the current Conservative government. Why should they give the CBC any time of day, when most of CBC's time and energy is spent on endless witch hunts on the Conservatives. CBC has to go, or at least have a MAJOR change.

    • Where is your evidence to back this up?

      • Just ask the CBC Man in the streets…for balance.

        From NNW: The following is a email sent out by the Conservative Party on May 10, 2010:

        Last week, we pointed out that CBC and Frank Graves (significant Liberal Party donor as well as someone who has been offering "Culture War" political advice to the Liberals) commissioned a poll for CBC based on a supposedly neutral " viewer-inspired" question.

        However, the "viewer" in question was one Mary Pynenburg, former two-time federal Liberal Party candidate in British Columbia. She lost in Burnaby/New West in 2004 and 2006 while campaigning with Paul Martin.

        It has now come to our attention that Mrs. Pynenburg is the Vice-President of the
        National Women's Liberal Commission, and a proud member of Canadians Rallying to Unseat Stephen Harper (CRUSH), a radical anti-Stephen Harper group.

        She is also a major donor to the Liberal Party, having donated over $14,000 to the
        Liberals since 2004.

        It is beyond the pale that CBC consistently engages in political information and
        analysis from a Liberal-backing pollster in response to a Liberal-inspired question with no disclosure and certainly no apologies afterwards.

        It would almost be comical if CBC was not the recipient of over one billion dollars
        per year from Canadian taxpayers.

        • schooner? Schooner fella…? da proof is a proof No?

          • From the Montreal Gazette

            "An Ottawa pollster demonized as a Liberal partisan by the Conservative Party has won millions of dollars worth of polling contracts from the Harper government."

            "Although the Tories portray Graves as a political partisan and want him identified thus when he appears on CBC, he is among the few prominent pollsters who hasn't actually worked for a political party."

            Just because you only want to see what the CPC tell you doesn't make it true.

  10. Dump the CBC. We need a Radio Free Canada type station that reports honestly rather than biased left wing propoganda To honestly believe they have a right to the privacy accorded publically-traded companies speaks to the arrogance and completely stupidityofo those bureaucrats posing as journalists. The fact there is a CBC is disgusting. Even Russia got rid of its state media.

  11. BBC's chairman had already admitted its bias (although watered down version), I believe CBC has to admit it's time for CBC to do the same. They are free to continue what they are doing but not at public's expense. Time to yank subsidies on any media and let them compete fairly with the private sector.

  12. Methinks the right-wing nutjobs that hath taken over Macleans magazine are scared of losing their $1.5M annual subsidy?

    Nice diversion tactic but CBC is the worst media we have… unless we look at all the rest, then it's the best.

    • Internet > CBC

      • But look at how well CBC has adapted to the Internet – very intelligently.

    • MacLeans also benefits from protectionism. I used to get Time magazine and suddenly my subscription was changed to MacLeans. No great loss on either count. I get it all for free here.

  13. Seems like Quebecor is costing the tax payers plenty of money, by forcing the CBC to hire staff to process it's fishy ATI requests. How very convenient for Quebecor and it's ideological and profit agendas, that Drapeau is on a bizarre tear down mission of the CBC.

    Since when do private broadcasters get to raid public agencies and broadcasters for trade secrets and sensitive info? Hmmm? Since the Conservatives decided to get let private business compadres do their dirty work for them. Gross.

  14. 'A radical anti-Stephen Harper group' ? You're hilarious.

    • This radical group is probably why the Conservatives are anxious to build more prisons.

  15. I find this constant bickering over the bias/not-bias of the CBC annoying. What % of their programming is actually political? Less than 5%?

    I'm not a huge fan of CBC News on TV but some programs on CBC Radio (notably Metro Morning in Toronto and As it Happens) set the standard for broadcast journalism.

    The debate of whether we should have a public broadcaster is a good one – but (alleged political bias is only a tiny fraction of the debate.

    • I am with you 100% and I do have to confess, I never miss "At Issue".

  16. Werther one accepts that the CBC is basis or not and if you ask most people they would agree it is,is not the point here,what should be the dission is why are we still giveing over a billion dollars a year to this media organization that no one is paying any attention to.I would like to see a poll taken to find out just how many Canadians actually watch CBC tv or listen to CBC radio.I suspect not very many.

    • *CBC Radio – Metro Morning is the number 1 rated morning show in Toronto. Not top 10, not top 5, Number 1. 250,000 listeners in the GTA.
      *During the first round of the playoffs in 2010, Hockey Night in Canada had 1.4 million viewers on average.
      *Battle of the Blades typically has between 1 and 2 million viewers
      *According to this link, 15 CBC shows in 2009/2010 had over 1/2 million viewers.

      Sorry to introduce facts into the equation.

  17. The Public signs the pay cheques of all CBC employees and pays for all the other bills, so we the Public have a right to see exactly what we are paying for!!! The twisted thinking of the CBC thinks that the Public purse should keep buying a 'pig in a poke' and the CBC is very wrong in their thinking and attitude!!!

  18. Well where do you think private broadcasters will broadcast? Are they mandated by the CRTC license to ensure that remote places receive broadcasting? The CBC provides communications to small and remote areas where they would pay Quebecor with fish and hides. What are you idiot conservative shills talking about? You don't know the history of radio and television to know the difference. All radio at the outset was public radio and private broadcasting replete with commercials were unheard of until radio caught on and ever since it has been subject to the whim of profiteers. This idiot retired colonel originally had a bone to pick with his superiors and in true conservative dog-like fashion he turned on them out of revenge alone. He has a bone to pick with everybody. Why? Is he a journalist acting in the public's interest or is he a corporate hitman, out to sabotage the public for the profiteers? I'm not a party hack. I don't see Left and Right or Center. That's literally an old "French National Assembly" description. The narrow minded have their favorite hockey team and HATE other teams. I love them all because I love the game. This guy is an affront to the Freedom of Information Act. He originally was pissed off at the military and carries his axe for hire anywhere they will pay him. CBC is for the small communities where they don't need to get a life like this guy. See what money does?

  19. Every now and then, you hear on CBC tv this Liberal is in town, we're going to talk in a few minutes about this and that, and the subject never come, and the researches were not done, etc. It is tempting for some politicians to use them as puppets for spreading their messages! Listen to their news bulletins and you will understand, and compare, compare. Now, this is shocking when one considers that these incompetents are paid with Canadians' taxes! And yes, Canada is still one of the last (developed countries) to have its own media channels!!

  20. Does anyone else see the irony here?

    The CBC has been having panel after panel of guests (read: Liberal and Progressive hacks) critical of the Conservatives effors with ATI requests.

    Perhaps the minions of the CBC believe that such attention focussed on Federal shortcomings detract from their own.

    Pot…meet kettle.

  21. Why should Canadian taxpayers pay the literally hundreds of millions in inefficiency costs to protect Michel Drapeau's retirement hobby?

  22. I'm no fan of Michel Drapeau. He's the first guy to offer his opinion on the CBC or CPAC for a multitude of subjects. His opinion will change depending on who is writing his cheques. You see it all the time.

    Pathetic really………but the CBC uses tactics like this all the time, and now its coming back to bite them. Ex-colonel drapeau is apparently being paid more by the CBC's competitors.

  23. I cannot believe that the Canadian governmenr is that stupid to fund CBC. I came across this article while doinf research for my PhD. I saw the title, "Letters," and I just opened it to see what it was about.

    I thought our American government was stupid. I hope the Canadians do something, like stop paying taxes until the government pulld all funding.


  24. CBC is a state run propaganda machine.

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