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Ottawa MP Tyrone Benskin, Official Opposition Critic for Canadian Heritage, tabled a petition in the House of Commons in support of maintaining funding for the CBC. The petition, which has been circulating for several weeks, has collected thousands of signatures, asking the Government of Canada to drop proposed cuts to CBC funding and instead to commit to maintaining or increasing it.

Isabelle Doyon, president of the union of CBC office workers, the Syndicat des employés de bureau de la Société Radio-Canada, is one of the initiators of the petition, which she describes as an effort to oppose the Harper government’s willingness to reduce spending on the public function by 10 per cent.

Reducing the budget of the CBC by 10 per cent, as announced by Mr. Flaherty last December, would be an injustice because they has already made sacrifices. Two years ago, the CBC faced a shortfall of $170 million because of government underfunding and the falling advertising market.800 jobs were eliminated and the Crown Corporation had to scramble to keep the quality of its programming from suffering,” noted Doyon.

The budget of $1.1 billion, allocated by the federal government, represents $34 per Canadian annually. In comparison, the British pay $110 annually and the Germans nearly $150 annually for their public broadcasting. “We have a public service of the highest quality. We must not make any additional cuts, because the financial situation of the CBC is already vulnerable and the quality of public programming could suffer,” concluded Doyon.

Tabling the first batch of signatures, Tyrone Benskin, MP for the riding of Jeanne-Le Ber, said that given the number of signatures filed at his office each week he would be returning to the House of Commons with all the signatures.

The petition is part of a campaign by a coalition of unions and civil society actors banded together under the banner J’aime Radio-Canada.