First a definition: In Canada, Crown corporations are wholly owned federal or provincial organizations that are structured like private or independent companies. This is from the Canadian Encyclopaedia.
This means that while they are government-owned entities, they function just as any other company. They are considered to be “arm’s length”, which basically means the government may own them and provide some funding, but has no control over their operations. Another example of a company that receives government subsidies is a transit company. You can’t honestly believe your $3.00 fare actually covers the cost of operating that forty foot diesel bus, can you? Various levels of government subside the operating costs but have no control over how that transit system conducts its business.
What caused this lecture first thing in the morning is an item I read on the CP24 news app that Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition in Parliament, has asked Twitter to apply a “government-funded” label to all Twitter accounts of the CBC English news-related accounts. He doesn’t even mention Radio-Canada, the French language network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). The CBC is a crown corporation, owned by the federal government and receives subsidies from Ottawa. But it is operated at arm’s length from the government. The government has no control over either editorial content or programming. If they did, I doubt “the mother corp” as it is sometimes called, wouldn’t have been able to air some of the things they have over the years. For example, back in the 50s, Sammy Davis Jr had a one hour variety show on CBC. This was at a time when he couldn’t even appear on American television. While the CBC receives government subsidies, it also sells ad space, much like every other network, to top up its budget.
According to a CBC spokesperson, the editorial content of the CBC is protected in law by the Broadcasting Act. So, by law the government cannot interfere with any editorial stance taken by the CBC without breaking its own laws.
Now, my question for the Honourable Member is this: Mr Poilievre, would you have taken this action if the Conservative Party of Canada was the party in power?
Over to you.
Just an afterthought: since my sole income is a government pension, does that make me government-funded as well?