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Essay

The CBC’s Real Significance to Canada

What the CBC, in particular CBC Radio 2, provides us with is a sense of cultural occasion. On CBC Radio 2, we celebrate great musical achievement or great musical lives lived; we mourn our lost cultural leaders. Together.

Those who say that you can hear the same music on private sector radio miss the point. Yes, on Stingray Channel 546 you can hear classical music 24×7. And I will often listen to such music, in preference to the Kapuskasing roadhouse hurtin’ music that is filling up entirely too much of Radio 2’s time these days.

But what you can’t do on Stingray, and will never be able to do on Stingray, is join together with other fellow devotees of music, or theatre, or literature, to celebrate cultural triumphs and mourn cultural losses. It is this sense of collectivity that, albeit in severely attenuated form, CBC still provides. And it is this collectivity that the far right, in its zeal to defund CBC, is seeking to destroy. Make no mistake. If the far right has its way, this country will have no more cultural collectivity. Then it will be open sesame to the Rush Limbaughs and Tucker Carlsons of the Canadian political-cultural universe, whether or not they bother to disguise their sentiments beneath a pea soup accent.

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