Speech by Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
To the Symposium on the Promotion of Canadian Films and Television Programs in Canada and internationally
October 29, 2012
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The CRTC is pleased to be a co-sponsor of this symposium, alongside Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund.
Today, we begin a conversation on the future of Canadian television, film and digital media. For someone who spent many years working in the field of cultural policy at the Department of Canadian Heritage, and who is now the head of the communication regulator, this is an exciting prospect.
While preparing for this event, I was reminded of something Margaret Laurence once said. An astute observer of the world around her, she said: “One can write of events in a small Prairie town, and everything that happens there in some way happens everywhere.”
This observation is not restricted to literature; it’s true of all media.
More and more Canadian television productions are resonating with audiences here at home. There are currently at least a dozen series that attract over a million viewers per episode. A number of Canadian-made productions are also making inroads in the global marketplace. They are finding audiences in the U.S., Europe and around the globe.
Similarly, the Canadian film industry is not merely a branch plant for Hollywood productions. Our films are shown at international festivals and receive their fair share of Oscar and César nominations.
This success is a testament to the hard work that goes into creating, promoting and distributing television shows and films. You are telling stories that reflect our rich diversity and instill a sense of pride in our Canadian identity. And in doing so, you are giving a boost to Canada’s economy and reputation on the world stage.
At the CRTC, we are supporting your efforts by ensuring that Canadians have access to compelling creative content, from diverse sources, on a variety of platforms. That last part—on a variety of platforms—is especially important. We live in a world where digital content can be accessed by people around the globe. This is not a risk; it is an opportunity. An opportunity we must seize.
Canadian creators can harness these opportunities to showcase their products and to reach even broader audiences. Wouldn’t it be great if in a few years:
- Half of the top-10 rated TV shows in the Canadian English-language market were, in fact, Canadian?
- Every Canadian had access to a back catalogue of Canadian productions, as well as current content, through their tablets?
- A French-language Canadian film won a César?
- Canada continued to be recognized as a producer of quality content that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best in the world?
Those may sound like ambitious goals to many of you. But there are some remarkably creative people working in the Canadian film and television industry—many of which are in this room today. Let us not be shy of our ambitions. Let us strive so that what is created here, indeed happens everywhere.
This symposium is a starting point. I’m confident that it will lead to a joint strategy that will allow us to promote Canadian content more effectively at home and invigorate our brand in the global marketplace. As you go through the day’s sessions, I would encourage you to be unconventional in your thinking, bold in your ideas and courageous in your vision.
Thank you for joining us today.
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