Letter to the editor of iPolitics.ca

November 3, 2011

Re: "Saving the CBC: the path forward is finding the way back," October 31, 2011

We were most gratified to note Michael Harris's expression of support for the "essential value" CBC/Radio-Canada offers the country ("Saving the CBC: the path forward is finding the way back," Oct 31) and can confirm that we do not aspire to be "just another mainstream network."

To that point, we don't "(jet) down to Hollywood to acquire U.S. programming." In fact, we haven't participated in the annual Canada-US buying trip that the privates go on in well over a decade. The amount of non-Canadian programming in our schedule continues to decrease. We offer a virtually all-Canadian prime time schedule of news, current affairs, drama, comedy, factual entertainment and documentaries. No other Canadian network offers this.

We have recently announced through our strategic plan Everyone, Every Way, that we will increase our Canadian programming, improve our service to local communities across the country and build upon our digital platforms to reach more people in new ways.

And despite claims to the contrary made by Quebecor, we are accountable and transparent with our finances. We issue detailed public reports, annually and quarterly. We are subject to regular and special audits by Canada’s Auditor General. We regularly publish our executives’ expenses and our website contains more than 27,000 pages of information released under ATI (available to the public here) along with our guidelines for release and an independent legal opinion to verify the soundness of our approach. We are clarifying in the appropriate venue, the Federal Court of Appeal, who should have access to documents defined by Section 68.1, which excludes information related to our journalism, programming and creative activities.

And finally, we believe there is no contradiction between creating quality Canadian programming and engaging with large numbers of Canadian viewers. It's entirely possible-- and desirable-- to do both. The success we've enjoyed over the past five years bears that out.

We intend to build on that success as we move forward, reinforcing the essential value that Mr. Harris recognizes.

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