Liberal-leftist Canada’s North Korean-ish efforts to have government bureaucrats and their assigned and approved “artists” create a “Canadian culture”, which they officially do by government decree (taxation, laws, carefully directed subsidies and grants, myriad asinine regulations, and by things like the official state-censor—the CRTC—deciding what Canadians can watch on TV and listen to on the radio) but unofficially does by pulling facts and figures and anything that’s anti-American out of their backsides, is facing the wrath of intelligent folks like me who have had it up to their satellite dishes. I don’t need to tell Shaw Cable’s Jim Shaw to get with the program—he’s tuned in already, and I’m glad to be on the same wave length.
CEO tired of subsidizing CBC
Deirdre McMurdy, The Ottawa Citizen
Published: Thursday, January 11, 2007
Jim Shaw is ticked off.
The CEO of Shaw Communications is tired of subsidizing the CBC. He’s frustrated by spending five per cent of his company’s annual revenues on television programs no one watches. He refuses to pay broadcasters a fee-for-carriage of their signals as well as part of the freight on their production costs. And he’s prepared to blatantly breach CRTC regulations to make his point.
As the result of a typically blunt letter written by the burly, Harley-riding cable executive on Dec. 20, there are an awful lot of people scuttling about in the private and public sectors: Their fear is that Mr. Shaw’s aggressive stance may set a precedent for other disgruntled cable companies.
The letter, obtained by the Citizen, expresses Mr. Shaw’s “dissatisfaction” with the “performance, operations and governance” of the Canadian Television Fund.
That dissatisfaction has a steep price tag: about $56 million a year.
As the largest private sector contributor to the fund (all cable operators are required to contribute five per cent of their revenues to the fund, less the amount they spend on community initiatives), Shaw Communications is refusing to pay another nickel unless there is an immediate restructuring.
Noting that “over the past 10 years, Shaw has contributed over $350 million in direct subsidies to the Canadian production industry,” Mr. Shaw observes the fund “has become nothing more than a means of subsidizing broadcasters, pay and specialty services and independent producers to produce Canadian television programming that few watch and has no commercial or exportable value.”
(Shaw claims that its Star Choice satellite television division now pays more to the fund than it returns to shareholders.)
The Canadian Television Fund was created in 1996 with a mandate to produce “high-quality culturally significant Canadian television programs in both official languages.” It also has an annual budget of $250 million a year—$100 million of which is provided by the federal government.
That fact leads directly to another of Mr. Shaw’s beefs.
He is particularly rankled that a full 37 per cent of the fund’s revenues are set aside annually for the CBC/SRC—something he declares “should be ended immediately” in light of the fact that the “CBC already receives over $1.2 billion from Canadian taxpayers in the form of grants and mandatory subscriber fees.”
…and thanks for the Fox News Channel on Star Choice channel 503, Mr. Shaw. I love paying for that.
(Hat tip to Don-t Want To)