, 04.20.2023 09:57 AM

My latest: not government funded, but I sure wish it was

Twitter, Elon Musk, CBC and the federal workers’ strike are all connected.

Stay with me, here.

A few days ago, Twitter’s troll-in-chief, Elon Musk – who attended Queen’s University in the early Nineties, and we suspect only ever listened to the privately-owned CKWS – slapped a label on CBC’s Twitter account. He’d done the same thing to PBS and NPR and BBC, but how he labelled CBC caused a great big stink up here in the Great Blighted North.

Musk affixed “government-funded media” on CBC/Radio-Canada’s Twitter account. It was partly true, because a big part of CBC’s budget comes from the federal government, as it did under socialists like Brian Mulroney and Stephen Harper.

Much stürm und drang ensued, with a spokespersonage at Mother Corp. huffing and puffing about Musk’s mischievousness. “Twitter can be a powerful tool for our journalists to communicate with Canadians, but it undermines the accuracy and professionalism of the work they do to allow our independence to be falsely described in this way,” said CBC spokesman Leon Mar.

CBC thereafter announced it would be “pausing” its tweets on its corporate and news-related Twitter accounts. Musk, who most days strongly resembles a walking Irish bar fight, changed CBC’s label to “69 per cent government funded.”

With a war still raging in Ukraine, mass-shootings happening in the U.S. every single day, A.I. replacing humans, starvation and genocide reigning in Sudan, and – closer to home – China undermining our democracy, it’s comforting to know that the biggest news story is what Elon Musk calls public broadcasters, isn’t it? Yep.

So, let’s get serious for a moment and recall three unassailable facts, all addressed to the CBC.

One: good folks at the CBC, be under no illusion. Every sentient being in Canada knows you are government-funded. Saying you are “government-funded” isn’t news, as it were. It’s factual.

Two: CBC apparatchiks, was Musk implying that you are biased in favour of the government led by Justin Trudeau? Of course he was. Big deal. Millions of Canadians, Pierre Poilievre among them, say you favour Justin Trudeau several hundred times a day. Just as many say that this newspaper isn’t his biggest fan, which possibly has a partial ring of truth to it.

So what? Readers, viewers and listeners know what our biases are when they read/listen/watch us. Give them, us, credit for a modicum of intelligence, would you?

Three: CBC tall foreheads, take note – Elon Musk is, as noted, a troll. Like Yours Screwly, he likes irritating people. He likes provoking a reaction, even if it’s negative. In particular, he likes taking perfectly good social media platforms and reducing them to rubble, and he’s damn good at it.

Having a guy like that as a critic? That’s a badge of honour, boys and girls. If any label should be on your Twitter account, it’s that: “Elon Musk doesn’t like us.”

Which leads us, in a typically-circuitous route, to this point, addressed mainly to conservatives who have made it this far in this proudly-biased opinion column: I’d wager every single one of you is “government-funded,” too.

And, if you posses a Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or (God forbid) TikTok account, you should ‘fess up, too. If you’ve ever gotten something because of the Canadian Pension Plan, or Old Age Security, or the GST/HST credit, or Canada child benefits, or veteran disability programs, or treaty annuities, or any direct deposit whatsoever for any federal program whatsoever, ever, you’re kind of “government-funded,” too.

And – this where the aforementioned strike action comes in – you’re not going to be getting any of that “government funding” again anytime soon. Sorry. That may make you unhappy, and it should.

This final fact will make you even unhappier: guess who has received at least $4.9 billion in government funding since 2015? You guessed it: Tesla, SpaceX and SolarCity.

You know, Elon Musk’s companies.


  1. Martin Dixon says:

    “Like Yours Screwly, he likes irritating people.”

    Laughed out loud. That is my modus operandi. I just wish I could figure out how to make money off of it. When I do it to clients, fellow professionals and my partners, I suspect it is probably counter productive, at least financially.

      • Martin Dixon says:

        Ha-I meant you, not Elon. Elon’s cash burn has to be pretty high given things like the “rapid unscheduled disassembly” that happened the other day. But, as mentioned, he gets a pass from me just because of Starlink. I am about to build a house right next door to where I am now and the dumbasses at Xplornet have a policy where they won’t hook up fibre to a new house even though it goes right by. They won’t even renew it if a house sells in the neighbourhood. It is the only wired game in the area so I will need to get a second Starlink hook up.

  2. Steve T says:

    Good points all, WK. I actually like the new label on Twitter – 69% government funded. Make it abundantly clear. If they could affix a total annual dollar amount too, that would be good to really help drive it home.
    However, adding to your point about what Canadian residents have received from their government, a key distinction between them and the CBC is the longevity and proportion of the funding. The CBC will be deriving the majority of their income from the government forever. By contrast, most Canadians who receive government benefits are either (a) only receiving a small portion of their total income that way, and/or (b) only doing so for a brief period of time. And for those who are retired and collecting CPP and OAS – they paid into those programs, so they are getting their own money back. Very much not the case for the CBC.

    • Martin Dixon says:

      I pointed out on another thread that the government of Canada made a very good investment in me for whatever government funding I got before I started to work full time when I was 21.

      • Steve T says:

        Yep, you were a good investment. In other words, the government putting out money temporarily with the knowledge there is a high likelihood of having that money returned plus more.
        By contrast, the CBC is a bottomless money-pit that will never provide a return to the government (and therefore the taxpayer). The majority of people don’t want to pay for what the CBC is selling – so they need perpetual government handouts to stay afloat.

  3. Peter Williams says:

    I’m goverment funded?

    Actually I’m one of those who funds the government.

  4. Gilbert says:

    This is not big news. Most Conservatives don’t like CBC. If the Conservatives were in power, they wouldn’t want Twitter to say that CBC is government-funded. It’s pure politics.

  5. Warren,

    If this Prime Minister was a lot brighter, he could have paid me to leave the Trudeau Liberals. I would have left a lot sooner, even before SNC. Probably during his trip to India. At least that trip cemented the outright laughter bonds between India and Canada.

  6. Curious V says:

    Judge me not by my friends, but by my enemies. Disliked by all the right people. Personally, I had very few enemies in life, but in the realm of politics and media, it really is a badge of honor to be disliked by all the right people – good point Kinsella.

  7. Peter Williams says:

    March 31: The Justin/Jagmeet government approves Rogers-Shaw Merger.
    April 20: Rogers names Navdeep Bains as corporate affairs chief.
    I wonder if any donations have been made to Liberal ‘charities’
    Perhaps the ‘independent’ CBC could find out, AND tell us!

  8. Floyd Low says:

    If you’ve ever gotten something….)I like WK but this is Bravo Sierra)…it came from a system versus a service.

    Customer is KING – we are the feds’ customer and not vice versa

    So cut taxes and prove the customer wrong

    Don’t like Twitter – build your own. Charge for SERVICE.

    And final point for WK – we all have to transition to praising the doers vs the Giverment. Don’t go a day without inventing a new word.

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