Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Hollowing Out of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The CBC is an important national democratic institution. People fight and die for international and national democratic institutions---Radio Free Europe, a free press, the Internet, Wikipedia, YouTube...
A law created in 1991,"The Broadcasting Act" legalizes the sale, give away, transfer and destruction of billions of dollars worth of CBC real estate, transmission towers, memorabilia, broadcasting equipment, furniture, paintings and hundreds of thousands of vinyl records. And the "arms length" Crown corporation is allowed to keep the money from the sale of publicly-owned property. 

For decades, the Crown corporation rented offices in the Empire State Building; and in 2005, the Mother Corp planned to sell 28 buildings with a book value of $500 million dollars, see the article "Less space means more savings for the CBC" by Gail Baroudi.
Treasury Board Report of November 26, 1987: "Authority for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to enter into lease with the Empire State Building Company, for the occupation of offices in the Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Avenue, New York City, for a term of ten years and two months."
 A few years ago, a public auction was held at the broadcasting headquarters in Toronto; items auctioned off included a portrait of Sir John A. Macdonald, furniture from the sets of television programs and memorabilia. 
I was so furious when I read about the auction that I phoned Library and Archives Canada; I was told that Library and Archives Canada does not have the mandate to proactively save recordings, furniture, paintings, etc. that are owned by the CBC.
Whatever happened to all the vintage television programs? In 2005, Canada's National Broadcaster planned to sell all the radio and t.v. archives to the BBC. What planet are you living on, you greedy, unaccountable "guardians" of Canada's heritage? Why would the Brits be interested in Front Page Challenge, Quentin Durgens M.P., the Forest Rangers, the Juliette Show, Anne Murray specials, Hockey Night in Canada, The Tommy Hunter Show, Ian and Sylvia, This Hour has Seven Days, Don Messer's Jubilee...It should be a crime, to sell, give away or trash Canada's cultural history.

Glenn Gould spent a lot of time at the Jarvis Street Complex in Toronto, and recorded many of his albums at the in-house studio. The Jarvis Street Complex is long gone. I appeared on the television program "Take 30" in 1979, and I vividly remember the beautiful building and the massive parking lot. Naturally, high rise condos were constructed on the parking lot:
Order-in-Council - Grant approval for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
(a) to sell some 4,898 square metres of land at 263 and 303 Mutual Street in Toronto, Ontario, to Context Real Estate Inc. and
(b) to convey another 4,970 square metres of land at 354 and 372 Jarvis Street in Toronto, to the National Ballet School, for a nominal sum. (Approved June 26, 2000.)
Former CBC property on Jarvis Street in downtown Toronto. "Take 30" was filmed in the red brick building on the right, which can barely be seen.

High rise condos were built on CBC land on Jarvis Street and Mutual Street in Toronto,including the Radio City condominiums. Meanwhile, a Hong Kong developer built TV Tower 1 and TV Tower 2 on the Crown corporation's property in downtown Vancouver.(I should say OUR PROPERTY, but the majority of Canadians are too apathetic or distracted to care about that fact.)
CBC land and buildings in Montreal,Quebec are being privatized.The Crown corporation plans to rent office space from the new owner of Maison Radio-Canada, and 2,200 new housing units will be constructed on the land.
The redevelopment of Maison Radio-Canada in Montreal.
I have always been a passionate viewer and defender of the CBC, and it distresses me to see the hollowing out of a highly-respected national institution. In the year 1970, I enrolled in a provincial correspondence course entitled "Business Organization and Principles". Nine years after writing the following paragraphs, I appeared on the t.v. show "Take 30":

The CBOT building at 250 Lanark Avenue in Westboro, Ottawa was divested in 2002.
CBC executives already earn six figure salaries, why do they find it necessary to sell off the very foundations of Canada's publicly-owned broadcaster? If I were the head of a Crown corporation, I would guard the Crown assets with my life, if necessary. That's the difference between a gatekeeper, and someone who is appointed to a Crown corporation so they divvy up the spoils, and funnel real estate to their developer friends; sell the archives to the BBC and transfer 100,000 vinyl records to multinational recording companies.

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