Tory Leadership Hopeful Pledges To Privatize CBC News' English Division - 2020-02-14
Andrew Vaughan/CP Erin O'Toole addresses the crowd at a federal Conservative leadership forum during the annual general meeting of the Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative party in Halifax on Feb. 8, 2020.
OTTAWA — Conservative leadership hopeful Erin O'Toole says the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation can expect to see its budget on the chopping block if he becomes prime minister. O'Toole made his pitch to "modernize and reform" the CBC in a video Friday. He promised to end funding for the public broadcaster's English digital arm, and to cut CBC English's television production budget by half. "Our plan will phase out TV advertising with a goal to fully privatize CBC English TV by the end of our first mandate," he said. Watch: The Conservative leadership race has begun. Story continues below video.
"This expanded CBC digital presence hurt local newspapers and media outlets fighting for declining advertising revenue," he claimed. He called the Liberal government's plan to divide $595 million in support for struggling media outlets "complete lunacy." But there are some areas of the CBC O'Toole promised to leave as-is. "We will preserve CBC Radio — it is commercial-free and delivers public interest programming from coast to coast," the Durham MP said. "We will also preserve Radio-Canada, which plays an important role connecting Quebecers and Francophones across Canada in their own language." The campaign ad uses footage of O'Toole speaking outside CBC/Radio-Canada's Ottawa studio earlier this week on the same day he spoke to "Power & Politics" host Vassy Kapelos. Campaign spokesperson Melanie Paradis told HuffPost Canada that O'Toole was filming the video outside the building when Kapelos came out with a film crew. "It was not prearranged," Paradis said.