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Heather Conway, CBC’s executive vice-president of English-language services. (Kevin Van Paassen For The Globe and Mail)
Heather Conway, CBC’s executive vice-president of English-language services. (Kevin Van Paassen For The Globe and Mail)

Aug. 2: This week’s Talking Point – CBC ‘light bulb’ moments – and letters to the editor Add to ...

The CBC’s Heather Conway says she hasn’t had a ‘light bulb moment’ yet about what it will take to save Canada’s national broadcaster. Readers, print and digital, offer theirs

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Re Does Heather Conway Have What It Takes To Save The CBC? (July 25): No, she doesn’t – and it’s not her fault.

For years, the federal government, regardless of which party has been in power, has been reducing the funding necessary to allow the CBC to deliver on its mandate. As others have said more eloquently than I, the CBC is, or should be, more than just about ratings. It should not have to compete with other networks for advertising revenue.

Australia, with a smaller population than Canada, supports four national radio and TV networks, all of which are commercial free. That Canada does not have national, publicly funded, commercial-free radio and TV networks is a disgrace.

Gordon Morton, Palgrave, Ont.

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Can the CBC be done better? Of course it can, but right now it’s the one thing helping keep Canadian culture alive and that is worth saving.

Ken Hill, Oshawa, Ont.

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How can it be that one person can have so much power to decide the future of public broadcasting in Canada? I feel the same way about CBC TV as Tony Soprano felt about his mother: CBC TV is “dead to me” – but I am passionate about CBC Radio. The latter is a world-class venture, a shining beacon in a world of mediocrity.

You report that CBC “will contract out all production except radio and TV news and current affairs.” CBC Radio One will not be able to survive in its present wonderful, intelligent form under such conditions.

Ms. Conway says she hasn’t “felt that light bulb moment yet” and also that she does not know exactly what the new CBC will look like, or whether or not viewers (no mention of radio listeners) will like the content the new CBC offers. Not promising!

Here is a light bulb moment for Ms. Conway: Please do not conflate the highly successful CBC Radio One with the utter failure that has been CBC TV.

Tony Miller, Antigonish, N.S.

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After the mess the CBC made of Radio 2, please, please, please, no more “light bulb” moments. CBC says it introduced ads to address “a significant revenue gap.” Well, now they’ve got “a significant” listening gap on my end. This mother of (soon-to-be) two has tuned out. My best friend on my first maternity leave is a friend no more on this one. Click.

Helen Murphy Jones, Regina

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The only way Heather Conway can save the CBC is if she can find other ways to generate extra income. Ms. Conway’s background is in economics, so she should have a basic knowledge when it comes to financial matters.

I think Ms. Conway should realize that the taxpayers of this country have given a lot of money to fund the CBC. It is time for the CBC and Ms. Conway to find other ways to generate income in order to keep the CBC a viable option in the news/entertainment/sports world. That might be a large task, given the ever-competitive entertainment/media/sports industry.

Gregory Boudreau, Halifax

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The problem the CBC has, at least on the TV front, which is where I think most of the problems lie, is the fact that it’s an over-the-air broadcaster in a world rapidly evolving to Netflix and similar services for TV consumption.

Maybe it’s time for a total rethink on how programing is created and delivered.

Bill Smith, Toronto

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While on my way to the Uxbridge Highland Games recently, I listened to CBC’s Sunday Edition, an “encore” from December, 2013, between two of our most brilliant CBC broadcasters, Michael Enright and Robert Harris.

In the space of one minute, I was weeping listening to the sheer beauty of a vinyl of Maria Callas as Violetta singing in La traviata, and rolling on the floor laughing (ROFL) as Mr. Enright quoted Mark Twain, who described a Wagner opera experience as: You go to the opera at 7 p.m. and two hours later it is 7:10. Texting while driving is not nearly as dangerous as listening to Michael Enright and Robert Harris on the CBC!

As Heather Conway, with her background in economics, industrial relations and public policy, looks at “what is fixed and what is variable” at the CBC, I hope that she, too, heard that broadcast.

It epitomized the role CBC Radio has had throughout my life since childhood: entertaining in a way that stretches the mind and the imagination.

Barb Heidenreich, Bailieboro, Ont.

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The CBC doesn’t need to be fixed, it needs to be reinvented.

Should the Conservatives be defeated in 2015, the new minister in charge of the CBC, whether Liberal or NDP, should be someone with a deep interest in creating a Canadian public broadcaster, an institution not envisioned by the CBC’s current hierarchy and board.

A properly envisioned public broadcaster is the nation’s voice. It allows us to talk to ourselves, listen to ourselves and agree or argue about ourselves, as well as to produce national English and French drama, music, documentary and more. Its efforts will feed, if you will, the anglophone and francophone soul.

The now necessary reinvention of the CBC will allow governments to support programming, not arm’s-length efforts to cut it, redirect it, import foreign content. It’s fair to ask: Where in this plan is Canada? Where is our public broadcaster, and so where is our voice?

Robert Harlow, Mayne Island, B.C.

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Your interview with the new CBC programming guru was revealing, and so dispiriting to a long-time listener.

Where in the world is there a touch of vision in her job, a sense of place and national responsibility, an aspiration to do something worthy, an inspiration to citizens? Heather Conway exemplifies the old saw that experts (especially marketing experts) should be kept on tap, not on top.

In an earlier interview, she was reported as having said that she had no intention of feeding us healthy vegetables. Presumably that means the same fast food diet of the past few years.

We deserve better.

Bill McAndrew, Ottawa

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ON REFLECTION Letters to the editor

So unjust it’s taxing

Re CRA Refuses to Divulge Audit Tactics (Aug. 1): Charities can spend only 10 per cent of their budget trying to influence the government. These are organizations working for the public good, funded by citizens who value the work they do.

The private sector can hire professional lobbyists, whose only job is to try to influence the government. They work for personal interest and profit, well hidden from public view.

So, if you want the ear of government, better to be a shareholder than just a stakeholder.

Toni Ellis, Elora, Ont.

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Wrong and offensive

Re The Enduring Trauma Of France’s Jews (July 31): I was seething after reading this article. French Jews were being attacked and killed for the crime of being Jewish before recent events. It is wrong and offensive for anyone to try to justify attacks on French citizens, who happen to be Jewish, by the perpetrators’ feelings about Israel’s actions. I don’t see anyone beating up French citizens who happen to be Syrians for Syria’s acts. I don’t see Russian Orthodox churches attacked because of the downing of airliners by Russian missiles.

Morris Sosnovitch, Toronto

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‘Not in our name’

Re Omar Khadr Is A ‘Good Kid’ – Not A Bogeyman (July 31): The unjust treatment this then-child received at the hands of U.S. military “justice,” and the subsequent demonizing by the Conservatives of this now young adult has made a mockery of our cherished values of human rights and justice. I worry that under the Harper government, the erosion of those values will leave our grandchildren with a Canada that will be a cause for embarrassment rather than pride unless we stand up to the Tories: Enough, not in our name, you don’t.

Shahina Siddiqui, Winnipeg

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Safety in the air

As a horrified reader about the recent spate of airline disasters (and a chronically white-knuckled flyer), I have questions for the airline industry. When will we see: 1) cockpit video recorders; 2) continuous uploading of flight/voice/video data to the “cloud”; 3) a big “panic” button in the cockpit that can be push-ed to immediately relinquish control to a sophisticated autopilot that can sense and correct an aircraft’s attitude when the aircrew has lost spatial orientation? The technology must be available. Surely, safety trumps whatever the barriers are.

J. Adam Law, Halifax

 

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