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P.E.I. premier ‘incredibly disappointed’ in suspension of local CBC news programming

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Premier Dennis King speaks with media on Thursday. The premier took part in an emergency conference call with other Canadian Premiers Wednesday night about the ongoing rail blockades. Stu Neatby/THE GUARDIAN
Premier Dennis King - Saltwire


P.E.I. Premier Dennis King isn’t pleased with today’s decision by the CBC to suspend its local television news programming amid the coronavirus (COVID-19 strain) pandemic.

“I am incredibly disappointed in the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s (CBC) decision to suspend local news broadcasts across the country, including Prince Edward Island’s own CBC News: Compass program,” said King in a news release.

King said as the coronavirus continues to rapidly evolve, it’s “vital that we continue to share the latest information with Islanders in real time”.

The premier said now isn’t the time for the broadcaster to suspend its local news programming and said he will be bringing up the issue during his scheduled call with Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland later today and he also intends to reach out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Since internet connectivity varies across the Island and the fact that many Island senior do not use the internet or social media, not everyone may be able to access local news from CBC P.E.I., he said.

“They are our most vulnerable Islanders and need the most up-to-date information to properly protect themselves from COVID-19.”

CBC News: Compass, the province’s only local daily television news program, is “essential now, more than ever”, said King. He said he’ll be formally requesting that the minister responsible for the CBC, Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeaut, to reverse the decision.

“If we are going to get through this pandemic situation, we need to do so together and by leveraging all of the resources we have. Now is not the time to scale back,” said the premier.

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