OTTAWA — The elimination of the Local Programming Improvement Fund (LPIF) will affect the quality, quantity and diversity of local news shows. According to the NDP, rural communities will be the ones most greatly affected by CRTC’s decision.
“It’s not financially easy for small, local television stations to offer quality local content and that’s why the Fund was created,” said Official Opposition Heritage Critic Pierre Nantel. “This decision will significantly impact communities in many regions, especially francophones outside of Quebec.”
The Fund was established in 2008, at the height of the global recession, to give Canadian communities outside major centres access to diversified and good-quality local programming. But after a controversial study that divided the council, the CRTC decided this week to abolish it.
The NDP argued strongly in favour of maintaining this fund. New Democrats wrote the CRTC noting that the LPIF was still relevant and relatively inexpensive. New Democrats were most concerned that, yet again, CBC will bear the brunt of this cut. CBC relied on this fund because it ensured continued regional coverage.
“Canadians value their local news and the elimination of this fund is disheartening,” added Andrew Cash (Davenport), Deputy Critic. “The Conservatives have already cut funding for CBC. I fear that this new blow to the public broadcaster will lead to further reductions in service to rural communities.”