Radio Canada International: back on the air

Snowbirds and others who travel frequently or for long periods of time can derive an additional bit of good news from Paul Martin’s budget. Good old Radio Canada International, a home away from home for thousands of snowbirds and expatriates and a good source of Canadian news for foreign countries, has been spared the noose once again.

With all the budget cuts of the past few years, RCI was deemed a frill and headed for the history books. But, as Heritage Minister Sheila Copps and Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axworthy announced last week, the federal government will now provide $15 million over three years for infrastructure improvements. These capital funds are in addition to last year’s commitment to provide stable operational funding to RCI of $15.5 million per year.

As many veterans know, RCI has a long and illustrious history. Radio Canada International’s first broadcast on February 25,1945, provided a broadcast link to the hundreds of thousands of Canadians serving abroad during World War II. Today RCI broadcasts in seven languages, across five continents, using shortwave radio, local placement, Internet and satellite. And it looks like it will continue to do sfor a long time.