Madam Speaker, it is my privilege to stand today to speak about the CBC.
I am not sure if members have ever left a telephone message or sent an email, immediately regretted it, and wanted to take it back. Such a thing happens to Dave in one of the Dave and Morley stories on the Vinyl Cafe, one of the shows that I much appreciate listening to on Sunday afternoon. He goes through a number of things to try to erase his message on his neighbour's answering machine, which involves going to a local auto wrecker, getting a very large magnet, climbing up a ladder, plugging the extension cord into this very large electromagnet, falling down, getting hurt, the whole nine yards, and still the message is not erased. I think eventually he switches the tape and it is the wrong tape. It is a disaster. People who listen to it end up having to pull onto the side of the road if they are driving or, if they are home, lie on the floor laughing. It is hilarious. I love it.
The CBC has been a large part of my life living in northern Alberta, the radio, in particular. I do not have a television, but I listen to the radio a lot. The hockey game was on 630 CHED, so I definitely switched over for that all the time. When it came to the storytelling on CBC, for me, it was one of the great things about the radio.
The other one is a tradition. I believe it happens on Christmas Eve. It is called The Shepherd. It is on at 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve. It is a Second World War story that is on every year. The first time I heard it, I was on the way to pick up my now wife, then girlfriend, from the airport. I was late picking her up because I sat in the car to wait for the story to finish before finding her in the airport. I am sure it will be on again this year and I would recommend that everybody tune into CBC radio at 6:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve.
For those who have family gatherings, believe me, this will calm the room. People will be able to hear a pin drop as everybody holds on to their seats and, with bated breath, waits for what is going to happen. It is about a fighter pilot arriving home in England. Everyone else has gone home for Christmas dinner and he is all alone in the sky with inclement weather. People will want to hear the rest of the story.
The radio in northern and remote communities such as mine is the link to the rest of the world, there is no doubt about that. Satellite radio is now coming from around the world, which has a similar effect, no doubt, but it comes with a cost. Where I am, it is $8 a month for satellite radio. The regular digital radio is still preferred by folks in my neck of the woods.
That said, I have some criticisms of the CBC and I think there are some reforms that could be made. I think there is a mandate to go forward as a public broadcaster, specifically in radio.