2013-02-23

Health Care and Education Over the CBC, Via and Useless Weapons

The CBC and Via Rail are not huge budget items, but I submit in 2013 they should not be budget priorities. Worse, they are being used to inspire bundling. A billion for the CBC as long as we spend 40 billion on national defence.

CBC
In the age of advertising supported television, the CBC was the alternative. But now the alternative is pay TV and the Internet. Is there an audience that isn't served? I enjoy programming on the CBC, PBS and the BBC that arguably wouldn't exist without subsidy. But the opportunity cost is high. I submit we should lower taxes to allow poor people to purchase the shows they want to see or spend the tax dollars on more valuable services like education and heath care. 

Via Rail
It's the fourth way. Almost all Via Rail destinations are reachable by car, bus and plane. In many places, Via actually competes for rail space with suburban rail. Most Via Rail trains compete for space with freight trains. Heavy trucks damage roads and cause deadly accidents. The more freight transported by rail, the better. The bus is cheaper, driving more convenient and flying usually faster. Intercity rail is such a niche service that it really doesn't deserve to be subsidized.

National Defence
Canada is a big country. But what country would invade Canada? Imagine the logistics involved in taking over Wood Buffalo and exploiting the tar sands. We could outsource the defence of Canada and save a fortune. At the very least we should downsize the military until we get a credible enemy. We need a few ships to protect our fishery and ports. But tanks?


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're right in saying that the CBC and VIA aren't priority items, but for whom?

What's happened to both is that they've suffered a long protracted death by Conservative cuts and political appointments like Kory Tenneyke, systematically destroying these institutions from within.

I agree with you about defense. If we start with eliminating our defense spending (that's right - eliminating), we'll have oodles of money to spare after building up 10 CBCs and 10 VIA rail networks that have attainable and purposeful mandates.

Example 1: the mandate of the CBC should be to deliver objective news and information content to all Canadians at no charge. Emergency broadcasts, social networks and communication should be their priority. You could gain efficiencies by merging the CBC with Canada Post.

If you really want to do something beneficial for Canadians and save a few bucks, eliminate the CRTC. It exists to maximize the profits of Bell, Rogers and other media conglomerates in Canada.

Example 2: VIA should exist to eliminate the strain on Canada's urban transportation systems and not compete with existing infrastructure. The subsidy should be larger, the amount of rail be more ubiquitous and we should finally install the high speed rail network that we've all wanted for decades.

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