OTTAWA - CBC wants more money from Canadians to pay for local services but isn't willing to say exactly what that money will buy.
Last week CBC appeared before the CRTC, Canada's broadcast regulator, arguing in favour of keeping a pool of money called the Local Programming Improvement Fund available to television station owners. The fund was set up a few years ago to offset the loss in ad revenue caused by the worldwide economic collapse in 2008.
Facing hard times, broadcasters turned to their MPs and pushed for a new source of money, which led to the creation of the fund. CBC's slice of the pie, paid for by a levy on Canadian cable and satellite companies, is $40 million.
But while the state broadcaster says it needs more money from hard working Canadians to keep local operations going, it is also working hard to keep details of local operations secret.
A request for details on the cost of their new studios in Hamilton, Ont., including the acquisition, renovation and furnishing of a decrepit old building in the city's downtown core, was granted -- with plenty of information removed.
CBC cited security concerns, competitive issues and privacy in refusing to release what they are spending taxpayers money on.
Several documents that were released had most relevant details removed.
One document makes reference to $23,824 spent on interior furnishings. No costs were released on the acquisition of the building, nor did the state broadcaster release costs for the interior designers mentioned in the documents.
CBC became subject to the Access to Information Act in 2007. Since then, they have received failing grades for failure to comply with the law and lost two court challenges where they attempted to keep their secrets from being made public.