rabble blogs are the personal pages of some of Canada's most insightful progressive activists and commentators. All opinions belong to the writer; however, writers are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new bloggers -- contact us for details.

Fact check: Stephen Harper's bald-faced lies about the CBC

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca in its summer fundraiser today for as little as $1 per month!

Want to see an election campaign fact rich and spin poor? Chip in to keep our fact check blog up to date.

The claim: CBC/Radio-Canada is in trouble not because of cuts, but because their ratings are bad.

Stephen Harper paid Radio X, Québec City’s notorious trash radio station, a visit. In an interview, he said: "The reason for why Radio-Canada is having difficulty is not because of cuts from our government. There are no cuts. The reason is the loss of viewers and that's a problem that Radio-Canada needs to address."

He also explained his reasoning for refusing to go on Tout le monde en parle, one of Radio-Canada's most popular show, saying that he was "énchante d’être ici" (delighted to be here, on Radio X.)

CBC/Radio-Canada's funding has been hacked at for nearly two decades. Cuts made by Paul Martin resulted in 2,400 layoffs.

The Conservatives have made cuts too. In the 2012 budget, CBC/Radio-Canada's budget was cut by $115 million, or 10 per cent of the total operating budget. There's no question: the public broadcaster has been forced to maintain its programming and service levels despite having had deep cuts made to its budget.

Hubert Lacroix, president of the corporation, rejected the notion that the problem is with ratings at the annual meeting of CBC/Radio-Canada in Winnipeg, yesterday.

Eight shows (four on CBC and four on Radio-Canada) regularly have audiences of more than 1 million viewers. Twenty-five of 26 radio morning shows ranked in the top three most popular shows of their local markets, and in fall 2013, Radio One and Radio Two reached a record high audience. ICI Radio-Canada Première and ICI Musique had record market shares the same year.

The last Olympics and Paralympics coverage was also record-breaking, reaching 33 million Canadians.

Radio X is notorious in the province of Quebec, and Harper's stop there is significant. Radio X broadcasts the worst of right-wing bigotry and intolerance. Here's a compilation of clips where they attack: Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence, gay people, immigrants, women, cyclists and former student leader Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois.

The audience of Radio X is exactly who Harper is speaking to when he tries to make this election about the niqab.

Just a few days before Harper's interview, the Coalition Against Trash Radio issued a press release, announcing that 83 unions, social movement organizations and student groups had signed onto a declaration calling for respect to be restored to Quebec City's airwaves and for an end to Radio X's hate.

One week before Harper's interview on the same show, guest Claude Roy went on an Islamophobic tirade.


Want to see an election campaign fact rich and spin poor? Chip in to keep our fact check blog up to date.

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.