From the Toronto Sun. (H/T Andrew)
The CBC — the mega-corporation that is demanding yet another $1.1-billion bailout from taxpayers this year, just like it demanded a $1.1-billion bailout from us last year — is panicking.
For weeks it’s been sweating about a parliamentary investigation into its bad behaviour, including its violation of the Access to Information law. That’s an important law to allow taxpayers to scrutinize how government agencies spend our money.
The non-partisan information commissioner has given the CBC a grade of “F” for its secrecy — but it still violates her order for it to disclose the truth. It’s spending millions in legal expenses to hide how it’s spending billions in other expenses.
This bad behaviour was coming to a head last week when Parliament was going to turn over some rocks and see what was going to go scurrying.
And so it panicked.
On the eve of the Parliamentary inquiry, it used part of its $1.1 billion — money that is supposed to go to journalism — to launch a crazy, personal attack on the president of Quebecor and QMI Agency, Pierre Karl Peladeau, one of Canada’s most successful private-sector media entrepreneurs.
Unlike the CBC, Peladeau built his company honestly and with his own efforts. He took a newspaper company started by his father, Pierre Peladeau, and turned it into Quebec’s most successful media company, Quebecor — and then joined with English-Canada’s biggest newspaper company, Sun Media Corp. And then he built the Sun News Network.
All without a billion-dollar-a-year bailout.
And so last week, the night before Peladeau’s testimony to Parliament, the CBC freaked out.
In an unprecedented move, it issued what can only be called an attack ad against Peladeau. It wasn’t a news story. It was a false and defamatory attack on our company, as vengeance for our questions about how the CBC spends taxpayer money.
If any other government department had done something like this, whoever responsible would be fired immediately. It wasn’t just unprofessional. It wasn’t just outside of its mandate of what it is given its government money for. It was an attempt to destroy a private-sector competitor.
Why is this interesting? Because it shows what happens when the government oversteps its bounds and starts to compete with the private sector in areas that are totally unrelated to its enumerated powers and specific responsibilities. Not only will you find corruption in nationalized corporations, but massive waste as well. Private sector companies face competitive pressures that government monopolies do not face. That forces them to root out corruption and waste, because there is always the firm next door looking to serve the customer better – with higher quality and at a lower cost.
We need to be very careful about handing money to people in government who simply don’t care as much about the needs of their customers. Do you think that the CBC could ever favor tax cuts or spending cuts or even more choices for taxpayers? Of course not. They have to tell people whatever causes them to vote for bigger government, because that’s where their money comes from.