Straight Talk
BRIAN LILLEY - Canadians ready to sell CBC and more: Poll



OTTAWA - More Canadians now favour privatizing CBC, Canada Post and Via Rail than favour keeping the Crown corporations in public hands.

A poll of 1,996 Canadians by Abacus Data found that 45% of those surveyed support or strongly support selling CBC compared to 34% who opposed the move, while 21% were undecided. Support for selling Canada Post was slightly higher with 47% backing a sale and 38% opposed. Via Rail had the highest level of support for privatization with 53% agreeing that the rail service should be sold off.

Conservative voters were most likely to support privatization overall but they were not alone. A majority of Liberal and NDP voters backed privatizing Via Rail, 57% and 51% respectively. When it came to the postal service 58% of Conservatives agreed with privatization, 51% of Liberals and just 42% of New Democrats.

Via Rail lost $334,754,000 in 2012 before a government subsidy of $279,133,000 kicked in. Canada Post lost $129 million in the third quarter of 2013 and losses are expected to mount as fewer people send mail the old-fashioned way.

A previous Abacus poll on privatizing CBC found just 33% backed selling off the state broadcaster. This latest poll shows a 12% jump in support and it too crosses party lines. Fully 63% of self-identified Conservative voters back privatizing CBC. More Liberals backed privatization than opposed it, 45% versus 39% and New Democrats were split with 44% supporting privatization and 45% opposing.

CBC receives more than $1 billion a year from taxpayers.

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