Toronto Star: TV fund money really belongs to us

A Toronto Star article by Antonia Zerbisias offers an interesting perspective on the Canadian Television Fund issue that has been brought to the foreground. While I believe that such funds are appropriate to achieve important public policy goals, the funding mechanism may not be the best one.

Of interest is the clarification of just how much current Heritage Minister Bev Oda knows about the file:

What's more, Heritage Minister Bev Oda – who last week renewed the government's commitment to the fund to the tune of $200 million over two years – knows it.

Here's the thing: as I pointed out here last week, when the fund was created she was a member of the CRTC.

This is not a new issue for Bev Oda, and she has been opposed to the way the CTF is currently funded for a long time.

The problem for me is this: if the money doesn't come from a surcharge on cable television bills, are there going to be problems having this money come out of general tax revenue? I know we have a "Public Lending Right" system which offers subsidies to Canadian authors whose books are borrowed from public libraries, a program I strongly support. I keep hearing, however, that such programs that benefit Canadian creators (rather than just the old-economy intermediaries) are getting harder and harder to do because of various trade agreements Canada signs onto.

I am interested in learning more. The CTF is a program I believe we need to keep with stable funding, and maybe the current funding mechanism has been proven to not be stable enough.