Letters: PBS in jeopardy

Harper government is trying to curtail access to PBS stations

The Harper government is doing everything it can to deny Canadians very basic access to information about current events through its massive funding cuts to the CBC, whose mandate belongs to the Canadian people, not a particular government and its (right-wing) ideologies.

Now it appears, Harper is acting via the CRTC to make it more difficult, if not outright prevent, Canadians from viewing programs on PBS.

The CRTC is proposing to eliminate inclusion of PBS stations in basic cable/satellite packages; the result may be the only way to receive PBS is by paying an extra fee.

In my experience, both PBS Seattle, and PBS Detroit, which we receive via Shaw Satellite, go out of their way to include Canadians and Canadian content as much as possible.

PBS Seattle even has an office in Vancouver, the Pacific Coast Public Television Association.  Most Canadians live near the border with the U.S.A.

PBS programming, while it emphasizes American content, which is understandable, has a great deal of programs from all over the world.  Viewers not only enjoy the “Masterpiece” dramas, which are from the UK, but programs about nature, science, art, music, current events, kids’ shows (many are made in Canada) and so on.

Many Canadians do not live near major cities where live performances of ballet, opera, rock, jazz, plays, etc., are available or even affordable, so television provides the next best thing.  PBS plays a major role in enriching our lives through such programs.

Listeners of National Public Radio in Washington State know that the local radio stations there include Victoria when they list the cities they serve.  They participate in the Victoria and Vancouver Jazz Festivals. Luckily, radio waves aren’t being blocked.

It is my hope that everyone who reads this, and enjoys PBS, will contact their MLA, and MP, and the relevant Ministers and Opposition MLAs and MPs, and the CRTC, in support of keeping PBS part of Canadian basic cable and satellite channels.

Helene Harrison

Shirley