Without RCI Sackville, there will be:
1) No reliable CBC programming in English, French, or First Nation languages to the far northern reaches of Quebec and Canada. Shutting down the North Quebec Service on shortwave will permanently sever multilingual, news, weather and other important information and announcements to many Canadian citizens--many of First Nations--living or traveling in the north. Other transmission methods just will not have the same reach: a handful of FM relay stations, which are the replacement method being implemented, only cover a footprint approximately the size of a small city, and leave those living or traveling outside this area in the informational dark.
2) Compromise to Canada’s domestic security. The RCI Sackville site is the only transmission site in Canada that can single-handedly broadcast to your entire country, should other communications systems--such as internet/satellite--fail. Unquestionably, this is the only facility in Canada that can do this.
3) No international voice. This is the only broadcasting site that sits firmly on Canadian soil, and that can be used to send Canada’s message across the globe as well as within the country and to overseas territories--without the restrictions and firewalls to which the internet is regularly subjected by authoritarian regimes. Moreover, in areas such as rural Africa where there is no electric mains power, radio is the only source of vital information.
4) Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Technicians working at the site says it takes just one hour to take down one of their 28 antennas, but fully two months to put one of them back up. Clearly, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men will never be able to put this infrastructure back together again...without a lot of time, expertise, and undue expense.
But realistically, can RCI Sackville be saved? Is there a way to retain this critical Canadian resource despite a weak economy?
The answer is, of course: Simply scale down the number of transmitters on the air, the number of crew manning the facility. If necessary, do as many other transmitter facilities are currently doing: sell air time to private broadcasters, a potential profit-making venture.