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UK Listener writes Minister to say:
Cuts do enormous damage to Canada's reputation abroad


Dear Ms Copps,

I am writing to express my concern and alarm at the news of further
marginalisation of Radio Canada International.

Even as a citizen of the UK, where the "private good, public bad" philosophy has tended to dominate the political scene for years, I find it astonishing that the Canadian federal government can fail to adequately fund a public service that is so very cost effective in promoting Canadian interests.

The sums of money involved here are trivial for a nation as large and wealthy as Canada. What difference would it make to the federal budget next fiscal year if RCI were given the means to continue its current level of operations? Would it even show up outside the margin of accounting errors?

Please understand that cuts to the international service do enormous damage to Canada's reputation abroad. It makes the country look as if it has a weak and unstable economy, with a government stumbling from one financial crisis to another: hardly an accurate representation! For people who have no other source of information about Canada (of whom there are many millions), it can also create the impression that Canadians are mean-spirited and concerned primarily with their pockets. This is, of course, a travesty. Canadians are among the most generous, kind-hearted, tolerant and liberal-minded people in the world. You have a great story to tell! You should be shouting it 7 days a week in 200 languages, not in a paltry 7!

I can assure you from my personal experience that RCI also brings money
into the country. Inspired by the humour and friendliness of your highly
dedicated broadcasters, my wife and I have holidayed in Canada twice in the past 3 years, and last September visited Montreal specifically to meet some of the RCI staff. We were made extraordinarily welcome. This tiny band of dedicated people is doing more for Canada's image than a whole army of diplomats. The present idiotic budget situation is undermining them for no good reason.

Given my working arrangements, the only english-language transmission from RCI that I can currently listen to is the evening service to India. I understand this is now to cease. There comes a point, Ms Copps, when a diminishing radio station ceases to be viable; I think you are right on that threshold today. Please, for the sake of your country and its role in the world, look afresh at the funding needs of RCI!

With thanks and best regards,

Charles Williams, Essex, United Kingdom
                                                                       
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