ontario news watch

St-Onge wants CBC’s role redefined before next election, withstand government change

OTTAWA — Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge says she wants the role of the public broadcaster redefined before the next federal election.

St-Onge says in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press that the time is now to update CBC/Radio-Canada’s mandate, to hedge against a possible change in government. 

She says the Liberal government believes a strong public broadcaster strengthens democracy and is promising to keep supporting it — adding she believes a Conservative government would destroy it.

The Opposition Tories, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, have promised to defund CBC and turn its Toronto-based headquarters into housing.

The federal Liberals have been promising for years to update CBC’s mandate to meet the modern needs of Canadians, even as the news industry faces job cuts and declining ad revenue, including recently announced cuts at the public broadcaster.

St-Onge says she would like the new mandate to fill information gaps in local regions, include a strong online presence, invest in international reporting and ensure minority-language communities are supported.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 29, 2023. 

The Canadian Press

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