Mr. Speaker, on March 25, 2009, I asked a question about the CBC in this House.
Mr. Speaker, today the government's failure to come to the assistance of the CBC has led to the elimination of 800 full-time jobs. By refusing to provide the corporation with financial flexibility, the minister has contributed to this disastrous situation.
In these hard times, will the minister [of Canadian Heritage] not agree that his role consists in providing public institutions with the resources needed to retain jobs rather than helping, through his insensitivity, to abolish them?
The Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages gave me an odd answer:
—year after year our government has increased the CBC budget, that is from early 2006 to the present. We have raised the CBC budget.
That is not at all the truth. The CBC's budget has not increased since the Conservatives came to power. The organization Friends of Canadian Broadcasting has a great table that shows how the budget has decreased since the Conservatives came to power in 2006.
According to this table, when the Conservatives were elected, the CBC budget was $1.1 billion. In 2006-07 it was exactly $1,171,700,000.
Today, it is $1,052,600,000, a decrease of approximately $100 million.
If I had unanimous consent, I could table this table titled “Change in Parliamentary Appropriation to CBC (in 2009 dollars)”.
I have another quote from the Minister of Canadian Heritage in reply to the same question on March 25.
The Bloc Québécois is talking about the 2009-10 budget, our budget for this year. We again increased the CBC budget. The Bloc Québécois voted against it. We made campaign promises and we kept those promises. We are delivering the goods to the CBC.
I find that this is the scariest argument the minister could give. When he refers to maintaining CBC budgets as a campaign promise, I always sense regret on his part: we did it because we promised we would, but we would not have done so otherwise. That is the feeling one gets when one hears that argument, which he keeps serving up to us over and over during question period.
What is more, I always get the impression that the minister is saying this to his own people, telling them that he is obliged to state publicly that he is in favour of good budgets for the CBC because it was a campaign promise, but will not be promised next time. That scares me.
I have seen and heard it here in this House: the Conservatives applauding when reference was made to the disappearance of the CBC.
I wondered whether we should see this unrelenting attack on the CBC as more fallout from his reform ideology?
The other argument they keep trotting out, year after year, is that the Bloc voted against it. Those are not my words; the Minister of Canadian Heritage says that, year after year, the Bloc Québécois votes against it. On March 27, 2007, the Bloc Québécois voted in favour of it. I could not pull dates like that out of a hat.
People will understand that, when so many arguments are false, the rest is not very credible.