I’m a huge fan of the CBC. In addition to the news, I watch Heartland, The Rick Mercer Report, 22 Minutes, The Nature of Things, Doc Zone, Dragons’ Den, Steven and Chris, and Arctic Air. I even buy products at the CBC store and proudly wear my retro tees around town.
I grew up watching and learning from such CBC shows as The Nature of Things, The Beachcombers, The Friendly Giant, Mr. Dressup, and Degrassi Junior High. One reason I continue to choose to support CBC programming, despite all the other options, is because I still find it entertaining and informative. The other reason is that I am proud of Canada and I believe it’s important to celebrate all the things that make us quintessentially Canadian.
I looked up the mandate of the CBC and found: ..the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, as the national public broadcaster, should provide radio and television services incorporating a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains; …the programming provided by the Corporation should:
- be predominantly and distinctively Canadian,
- reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions,
- actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression,
- be in English and in French, reflecting the different needs and circumstances of each official language community, including the particular needs and circumstances of English and French linguistic minorities,
- strive to be of equivalent quality in English and French,
- contribute to shared national consciousness and identity,
- be made available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means and as resources become available for the purpose, and
- reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada.
So, why was Arctic Air cancelled? Last I checked, they were getting one million viewers in a busy and competitive TV market, which indicates to me that its ratings and popularity were not the issue. If the story lines were getting too formulaic there is no need to cancel the show, just bring in new writers to mix it up. There are a lot of reasons it might not have been working, but maybe the Federal Government simply doesn’t value the spirit of the CBC’s mandate.
I was born in Yukon and seeing both the beauty of the North and the diversity of its people represented in the show was refreshing and likely translated into a positive impact for underrepresented aboriginal youth and tourism to the region. Whether you liked Arctic Air or not, it fell perfectly within the CBC’s mandate. It is distinctively Canadian, contributes to the national identity, and reflects the multicultural nature of Canada.
It’s too bad that these types of decisions are obviously made for financial reasons. If the CBC doesn’t make programs that reflect our diversity who will?
All photos are via http://www.cbc.ca/arcticair/