Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Brian Mulroney on the CBC

I finally got around to reading Peter C. Newman's The Secret Mulroney Tapes. I know, I'm about five years late on this, but it's still an excellent read. I've laughed out loud at many of the anecdotes.

As you may know, the pundits at Sun News have it in for the CBC, especially Ezra Levant. Not to mention some of the Members of Parliament. I thought some of Mulroney's comments about the CBC were interesting, given the present context. It also shows how little has changed since his time there.

Believe it or not, I’m a supporter of public broadcasting: witness what I did giving rise to Newsworld, building the new headquarters for the CBC in Toronto and all of these things. However, you’ve got to be right out of your mind to think that the CBC is a public broadcaster-- this is a private broadcaster, and it’s being broadcast for the benefit of the CBC. It’s conducted for the benefit of the employees of the CBC, not for Canadians.

If the CBC’s new headquarters were burned to the ground tonight by a group of CBC employees, the union would grieve to prevent the police from making an enquiry of any of the employees, lest it violate their professional integrity under the collective agreement. You’d never find out who burned the goddamned place down because nobody is responsible for anything at the CBC.

The only thing you hear about me, every night, is that the “unpopular Mulroney government” is cutting back on the CBC, which is bullsh*t. I never cut. I saved the goddamned thing. I’m the one who kept the money going for the CBC. They increased their grant from $800 million to $1.1 billion when I was there.

One of the running themes in the book is that Mulroney always tried to be a nice guy to everyone, and he got stabbed in the back for it. This CBC anecdote is one example. He raised the grant to the CBC, and they just treated him and his government like a sack of manure.

Let this be an object lesson to conservatives: being nice to your political opponents, expecting that they will appreciate what you done for them, never works. Don't try to pander to groups with whom you have nothing in common. Mulroney did it as a matter of course and look what happened to him.

Also: kill the CBC while you still can.