I thought that it might be a good idea to talk about the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) for a bit this week. Here is a link to the wikipedia page: CBC. The CBC, for many Canadians is the main source of news and music. It is a crown corporation, which means that it is government owned and funded. The best part of this for me, this means that there are no, or very few commercials during the different shows that are on. Indeed, if I am at home, my radio dial is always tuned to either CBC Radio 1 or 2 and it is the news station that I watch on T.V. It is also the host for Hockey Night in Canada (Go Leafs, Go!).
On the Wikipedia page, one can find a lot of information on the CBC, including information on its history, services, unions, the corporation, even controversies. Last week in class we began to discuss a more recent controversy that is not yet included in the Wikipedia page. This had to do with CBC Radio 2 completely cutting out classical music. I would like to direct everyone to this article from La Scena Musicale, a lovely, free Canadian music magazine: http://www.scena.org/lsm/sm13-8/sm13_8_cbc2_en.html. This is a very important article that explains cuts to the CBC. This article also mentions a colleague of mine from McGill University who created a facebook group, which I also joined and am still a member of called “Save classical music on CBC Radio 2.”
Cut backs on the CBC to classical music began at the conservative government took power in 2006. I would like to share another article recently published in the Toronto newspaper called, “The Globe and Mail:” http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080925.wltimson25/BNStory/politics. My father sent this article to me last week. This article discusses the arts as an election issue. It talks about the various cutbacks that Prime Minister Steven Harper’s government has made, including a witty, yet disturbing line saying “nobody died of too little opera.” Steven Harper is quoted saying, “ordinary Canadians” would not care “about a bunch of people at a rich gala… claiming their subsidies aren’t enough.” Many people may not realize that Canada, too, is holding a Federal election this year. There have been other articles on this matter as well. I am not sure that people really think about the arts as an election issue but it really is one in a country like Canada, where government funding is the bread and butter for many artists. I posted this article on my facebook page in hopes to have other people realize what a mistake it is to cut classical music and the arts, in general, out of Canadian society. Since then I was invited to join another group on facebook called “Ordinary Canadians do support the arts, Mr. Harper, you are dead wrong!” Who knows if it makes a difference.
I am pessimistic about the election in Canada this year and as someone trying to enter the musical world, I’m a bit worried too. Many Canadian artists live off of grants from the government. When there are cut backs on a medium as important as the CBC, everyone is affected.