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CBC must diversify revenue to protect it from political whims, president says

MONTREAL — CBC president Catherine Tait says the public broadcaster must continue looking for new commercial revenue streams in order to protect it from the whims of politicians.

Tait told reporters today the CBC is vulnerable to shifts in the market and to changes in government.

She made the comments following a speech to a business luncheon in Montreal.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who has been consistently ahead in recent polls, reportedly suggested as a leadership candidate that he would gut funding to the CBC’s news division if he becomes prime minister.

Tait refused to say if she is worried by the prospect of the Conservatives winning the fall election.

The Liberals’ first budget after they won the 2015 election included hundreds of millions of dollars in new CBC funding, following years of cuts by the Conservatives under Stephen Harper.

Tait says the only way to shake off criticism the CBC is beholden to the Liberals for funding stability is to stay focused on the public broadcaster’s mandate.

The CBC continually faces a barrage of criticism from competitors who claim it unfairly competes for advertising dollars with private companies that don’t receive anywhere near the same government support.

She argues that Canada needs to have a media ecosystem with both private and public broadcasting.

The Canadian Press