Mr. Speaker, due to the fact that my debate was cut into two pieces, I will reiterate a bit of what I was saying before. I was talking about the fact that there are definitely a lot of aspects of the CBC that I do enjoy and use from time to time. I was talking about the Vinyl Cafe and The Shepherd. This Hour Has 22 Minutes is another CBC program that I watch from time to time, and I find it very hilarious most of the time. The content of the CBC is not what my argument is about today.
I think there is a role for a public broadcaster, which is for there to be a method by which, in the case of emergency, the Government of Canada can communicate with all Canadians in a hurry. In that respect, I think there is a role for a public broadcaster in this country. I do not think there is necessarily a role for a public broadcaster to produce content. Content production could be done from a number of other sources. I know that, especially now with the modern Internet, there is lots of content being produced all over the world and all over Canada from various areas. If we had an ability to put that content on the platform, that would be great.
The platform may have to be subsidized, particularly CBC Radio, to keep the infrastructure there. I know that CBC Radio is one constant as one drives across the country and in northern Canada. Given that we have satellite radio and things like that, maybe it is not as necessary as it once was, but I think an argument could be made for that.
I also took in a speech by a Mr. Dwayne Winseck from the Carleton school of journalism, who pointed out that in countries that spend more on public broadcasting, the citizens tend to spend more on media. He said that we should therefore spend more on public broadcasting or public media so that there is a bigger market share for those who are not in the public sphere, because then people spend more. To me, however, he is making the correlation is causation argument, and there is not necessarily that case to be made. I would say the opposite is probably more true.
The very fact that the government is producing media means that it costs more to get an alternative perspective, or it costs more for other groups to even meet the threshold to be noticed or to be heard. I would argue that we should not be funding content or media because it causes the consumer, the everyday Canadian, to have to spend more money to get an alternative perspective.
He showed that Switzerland spends $150 per person on public media via the government, and then the people of Switzerland tend to spend about $100 of their own money to get media as well, so there is a media space of $250. He said that this is a great thing because there is more money for journalists like him to be producing, since money is being spent in both streams.
I would argue that because the government is funding one particular media stream, in order for any other media streams to compete with that, they have to break that threshold of $150 per person. We want to have broad discussions in this country, and we are now creating a threshold which has to be crossed. In Canada, by the way, we spend only $33 per Canadian on the public broadcaster. It may be up to $35 now; my numbers are a little old. There is a $35 threshold that we have to break, and that needs to be looked at.
As we go through this discussion today, I do not think this particular bill is going to pass, but I will be supporting it because I think that we have to look at the whole marketplace of media in this country and consider how the CBC is affecting it, not necessarily the content of the CBC, but how subsidizing one particular group has an effect. It basically places a $33 threshold per person on media that every other media group then has to break through in order to be heard.
The United States subsidizes its public media by $3, so there is a three-dollar threshold that has to be broken. That makes it make much easier for alternative media organizations to get off the ground.
With that, I conclude my comments.