Defending Radio Canada International - Canada's Voice to the World
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Please do not tarnish
our international standing and reputation

Mr Chretien:

I am writing to you as I am concerned with the recently slashed services of the CBC's international arm, Radio Canada International. Though guaranteed a stable budget, the lack of cost indexing means RCI has had to take decisions to substantially reduce their activities.

You are fond of leading our business leaders around the world on tours designed to exploit Canada's reputation in the world in order to realize economic growth.

I suggest to you that Canada's image overseas is largely formed by its' foreign voice, RCI. Canada is seen the world over as a forward thinking, open society which many of our trading partners would like to emulate. To allow our foreign voice to be whittled down, particularly in the foreign tongues which are the native languages of these trading partners reduces our positive exposure to them.

Effective June 2, 2001 the CBC has reduced the content of our foreign voice in order to pare down the operations to fit a budget which is not cost indexed, which is a net reduction.

In a world which, for better or worse, is becoming more a global community than a league of nations our political and cultural image as seen abroad is becoming increasingly important to everyday business.

In advertising for trade, we learn that image and perception is everything: just watch television commercials and the reaction of typical consumers. Companies exploit their carefully created images for profit and succeed, even when the product is at best no better than their competitions'.

In international trade and finance as well as domestically the same is true. An image or perception of a stable political and economic structure results in a more stable currency and greater likelihood of foreign investment.

Conversely, a perception that Canada is paring down its' expenditures which are visible overseas would insinuate an approaching Canadian economic downturn. RCI is a large part of our foreign image and is good advertising for a paltry sum.

Please ask the minister responsible to investigate these cuts and ensure a cost indexed budget to restore and maintain the previous level of RCI's service to our foreign audience. They are our customers, our troops, our embassies and travelling citizens, our expatriates and world citizens who need something to look up to. I believe Canada and what it stands for is just that.

Please do not allow petty financial exercises to tarnish or diminish our international standing and reputation.


Jon Stampe, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada