In 1984, the new Mulroney Government slashed $100 million from the CBC’s budget, a move that would cost the CBC many cherished programs and employees. By the end of that year, CBC had to fire some 1,150 people just to stay afloat.
CBC is the one thread that ties Canadians together and helps us define who we are. Mulroney’s cuts were unacceptable, un-Canadian even. They had to be resisted.
In February 1985, Ian Morrison convened a group of concerned citizens and prominent Canadians to fight back. They took out a two-page ad in the national edition of The Globe and Mail, containing an open letter to Prime Minister Mulroney, signed by 1,200 people, each of whom had donated $20 to cover the cost of the ad. It helped that The Globe's publisher gave us a deal. The two-page ad was unprecedented, and it caused quite a stir. But most importantly, it gave rise to an enduring national movement standing in defence of Canadian public broadcasting.