"The Harper government is considering help for Canada's troubled private TV broadcasters, including the possibility of looser regulations and tax changes.
Heritage Minister James Moore said yesterday the cabinet is aware of the threat to local news content should more local stations close.
He confirmed that the government is looking specifically at how to assist Canwest Global Communications, which is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. "We're mindful of that and we're thinking about whether or not there's anything the government can do, but I can't be any more specific than that right now," Moore said.
He hinted the help could come in the form of looser regulations and tax system changes, which would also help other private networks.
"The role of the government is to make sure the regulatory regime, the tax regime is more flexible, more forgiving and more open in the future," Moore said.
Several high-placed industry and government sources say discussions at the highest levels of government have intensified as Canwest's April 7 deadline to satisfy creditor demands draws nearer.
Moore said there is no question of additional assistance for the CBC, which is facing a budget shortfall this year of more than $100 million because of declining ad revenues."
The CBC produces news and programs of value. CanWest publishes terrible newspapers, including the world's single worst paper, the National Post, and a chain of television stations which buy and show the worst American sitcoms. A diminished CBC will hurt Canada; the complete loss of all CanWest products would be a massive improvement to the country.