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The Case for Public Broadcasting

The Case for Public Broadcasting

Updated on November 9th, 2018

Public broadcasting is an essential public service like health care or education. CBC sustains our democracy, challenges and advances our culture, and solidifies our identity and independence.

Issue Breakdown
Citizens Deserve To Know

For democracy to function properly, citizens must be well-informed. And for a country to retain its identity, people need to engage with each other and their culture to develop a "we feeling" of their own. That's what public service broadcasting does for our society.

Societies with strong public broadcasters tend to be better places to live. That's because people who get their news from public sources are:

Societies with strong public broadcasters are also more egalitarian, and research has demonstrated that more egalitarian societies have lower crime rates, higher life expectancies, and better educational outcomes, among many other benefits.

Public broadcasters support the health of democracy. They are key institutions helping societies be well-informed, politically engaged and socially cohesive.

Sue Gardner
Executive Director, The Markup
History of Public Broadcasting
Excellent Since 1932










The Royal Commission on Radio Broadcasting declares that "Canadians want Canadian radio",and recommends that a national public broadcaster be created to deliver it. The Commission added that "in a country of the vast geographical dimensions of Canada, broadcasting will undoubtedly become a great force in fostering a national spirit."

Graham Spy and Allan Plaunt launch the Canadian Radio League, predecessor to FRIENDS.

Conservative Prime Minister, R.B. Bennett passes the Radio Broadcasting Act which creates the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Corporation, predecessor to the modern CBC. Bennett intends CRBC to be "an agency by which national consciousness may be fostered and sustained and national unity still further strengthened."

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is formed, replacing CRBC.

CBC launches its News Service with bureaus in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Windsor, and Vancouver. Previously, CBC got its news from the Canadian Press.

CBC launches its first TV service.

CBC completes its national network linking Halifax to Victoria – the largest TV network in the world at the time. CBC also begins its Northern Radio Service.

CBC begins regular transmission of colour TV.

CBC launches Newsworld

Talking Points

Government should not control the news

CBC Costs Too Much

The Market Gives Us What We Want

Key People

Catherine Tait

New CBC President and CEO

Catherine Tait is the former President of Duopoly, a digital, television and film content production company. She took office as new CBC President in July 2018.

Steven Guilbeault

Minister of Canadian Heritage

Steven Guilbeault succeeded Pablo Rodriguez as Minister of Canadian Heritage in 2019. Minister Guilbeault's mandate includes the CBC and other critical cultural institutions.

Join our campaign to refinance CBC so it can fight disinformation and advance Canadian culture.