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Manual Saving the CBC: Balancing Profit and Public Service

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It has always been the role of public broadcasting to foster that kind of value consensus in the nation, and as the country continues to be more and more strongly characterized by multiculturalism, the role is more important than ever. That communal experience is important to nation-building. It's also important in these days of corporate, monopoly broadcasting that values and aspirations beyond the narrow populist, consumer-friendly template used by commercial media be represented somewhere within the media ecology.

Only a public broadcaster is in a position to challenge prevailing mores and ideas and expose inconvenient truths, because its sole purpose is to serve its viewers and listeners, rather than advertisers.

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JW: You understand the practicalities of supporting measures that entice, say, a younger audience. It's more the way that metrics are used to situate CBC within the commercial market that you take issue with, is that right? But in a nutshell: CBC television is not a true public broadcaster because it relies for about half its income on television advertising as opposed to government subsidy or some other form of public financing.


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The problem with depending on advertising revenue is that it situates the broadcaster in the commercial TV market in which the commodity being produced is not programs, but audiences. In other words, programs and their content are incidental to the real market transaction, with the sale of audiences to advertisers. In this market, the nature of program content is irrelevant, so long as it produces the right ratings numbers for the advertisers. In commercial broadcasting, value is judged according to how well a program serves its advertisers.


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  8. This is a formula balancing size, demographics, and cost. The highest quality, most desirable audience-product in this market is the one that produces the highest numbers of the right demographic at the lowest cost. This of course places continuous downward pressure on program expenditures—hence the shift away from expensive drama and documentaries to cheaper, junk current affairs and reality programs. In news it means a shift from expensive enterprise reporting and documentaries to inflammatory commentary and panel confrontations.

    JW: There's an entire generation of youth and not much older who don't pay much attention to media outside of YouTube and grab a lot, if not most, news and culture items from social media.

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    It's a different sense of both broadcasting and public. What role does the CBC play for them? Those amounts were previously classified as investment income. Air transportation tax - Accounts for the tax levied by the federal government on the price of air transportation purchased either in Canada or outside the country for the use of air transportation facilities in Canada. This tax was discontinued on November 1, Taxes on meals and hotels - Includes the proceeds from special taxes on meals and hotel accommodations. Miscellaneous consumption taxes - Accounts at the federal level for the yield of special excise levies on jewellery and watches, toilet preparations and an assortment of sundry items and for revenue paid to the federal government from provincial lottery corporations.

    At the provincial level, it includes the proceeds from special taxes on telecommunications and advertising taxes, computer software, electricity, gas, coal, and fuel oil and on other goods and services as well as the Quebec tax on insurance premiums. Payments by a household for specific licences such as licences to own or use a vehicle, boat or aircraft, and licences to hunt, shoot or fish are to be treated as taxes.

    Payments for all type of other licences are to be treated as sales of goods and services. Licences purchased by businesses are to be considered taxes. This "Other taxes" category is divided into four sub-categories:. Payroll taxes collected from employees as a percentage of their salaries and wages are classified as personal income taxes. However, those that are designated for social insurance plans are classified as contributions to social insurance plans.

    As of , four provinces were levying a payroll tax, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. These amounts were previously classified to "Privileges, licences, and permits" a category that was eliminated during the historical revision of the CSNA. Freehold mineral right tax is classified under this category. This category also includes licence fees paid to be able to conduct activities related to natural resources but excludes activities related to exploration of natural resources. This category and the category "Contributions to social insurance plans" described in the next paragraph 6.

    In the SNA they are presented in separate series.

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    Contributions to social insurance plans are still reported on a gross basis. However, unlike prior to the historical revision, government's own contributions are not offset against the corresponding revenue of the plans see Chapter 8. It is worth noting that most general governments act as their own insurers against risks of employee injury in the course of duty and do not contribute to their workers' compensation regular program.

    However, certain classes of their employees are covered under separate agreement with the boards. A non- autonomous pension plan is a plan that is not backed by invested assets. All employer and employee contributions are deposited in the consolidated fund of the government and when pension payments are made, they come out of the consolidated fund. Although the governments do not maintain separate portfolio investments, they do show separate financial statements for the plans.

    The federal public service superannuation account is considered a non-autonomous pension plan. The revenues generated from such transactions are called "Sales of goods and services," are defined as receipts of fees and charges paid in proportion to the cost or distribution of the government goods and services provided to the payer.

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    These revenue sales are broken down into three components, namely:. For example, the sale of educational services by the provinces and school boards to the federal government or revenue received by provinces from municipalities for provincial police services. For example, fees charges to a provincial hydro-electric corporation by its provincial government for guaranteeing its debt.

    For example, tuition fees charged to students or sale of government statutes to businesses and individuals.

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    The sale and privatization of government business enterprises and government revenue derived from them are not included in this category. Information on such transactions are presented in paragraph 6.

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    Royalties cover leases of land "Rentals" including rentals and fees, and bonus bids and royalties paid on extraction. It also includes revenue from the auction of licences for the electro-magnetic spectrum.

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    Royalties on books, recordings, films, etc. Prior to the historical revision the natural resource royalties were included in the "Natural resource revenue" category. Prior to the historical revision, remittances of profits of provincial liquor boards and lottery and gaming corporations were classified under this category.

    They are now included in the consumption taxes category [see paragraph 6. When a government business enterprise is privatized or when sale of selected facilities of a government business enterprise takes place, the revenue created may be classified in a variety of ways, depending on the nature of the transaction and the entities involved in the transaction. If a government sells a government business enterprise by disposing of its participation in the capital stock or in other equity of the enterprise, three cases are possible: 1 When the investment is recorded in the government's books, the gain or loss on sale of the securities constitutes a new flow of funds for the government.

    However, the FMS treats the value of the gain or loss as a balance sheet adjustment and excludes it from the government revenue. However, the remittances of such gain to the government dividends paid the parent government are considered by the FMS , as government revenue and classified as "Remitted trading profits" under the "Investment income" category. Interest received by non-autonomous pension plans on the amount of debt the government is obligated to pay them, are also included here. Based on the FMS practice of showing revenue and expenditures on the gross basis of accounting, interest recovered from crown agencies and other public organizations are included in this category with an equivalent amount shown as interest on public debt on the expenditures side.

    Prior to the historical revision, other investment income included gains or losses on foreign exchange transactions and gains or losses on sale of securities. Those gains or losses are no longer included in any revenue category. They are now part of the financing accounts. The gains of the federal government on bullion are also reported here. Prior to the historical revision, seigniorage were also included in this category.

    Seigniorage is now excluded from the revenue because it is treated as a liability of the government. Transfers from the federal government are compiled as follows:. Transfers of land or buildings, are not included here, because no payments or receipts occur.

    The purpose of the program is to provide a source of revenue to the provinces, to compensate provinces for revenues lost on joining Confederation; and to support provincial and territorial governments and legislatures. The proceeds are included here. Under this agreement, the federal government provides a guarantee that the provinces would not suffer a loss of revenue if they adopted their personal income tax acts modeled on the federal tax acts. Provincial governments are not subject to the GST on their purchases, and the federal government is exempt from provincial retail sales taxes.

    However, eight provinces and the federal government have agreed to pay each other's specific commodity taxes, e. This includes:. This group covers transfers that must be applied to particular activities such as: federal transfers to provinces for the improvement of certain highways; provincial transfers to municipalities for sewage and refuse disposal; provincial transfers to education and health institutions to help them finance their operations.

    An expenditure function is defined as a classification that identifies the principal purpose for which an expenditure is made rather than the activity involved. The following examples illustrate this definition:. In the first case, transfers for operations and capital formation are classified to "Education" because the principal purpose of the transfers is to enable universities to provide educational services.