Transcript, Hearing January 26, 2016

Volume: 2
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: January 26, 2016
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Attendees and Location

Held at:

Outaouais Room
Conference Centre
140 Promenade du Portage
Gatineau, Québec

Attendees:


Transcript

Gatineau, Québec

--- Upon commencing on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 9:04 a.m.

1653 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l'ordre, s'il vous plait.

1654 Madame la secrétaire.

1655 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci. Bon matin.

1656 Nous commencerons la journée avec la présentation de Groupe V Média au nom de sa filiale V Interactions Inc. S’il vous plait vous présenter et présenter vos collègues. Vous avez 10 minutes.

PRESENTATION

1657 M. RÉMILLARD: Merci. Monsieur le président, conseillères et conseillers, je suis Maxime Rémillard, président et chef de la direction de Groupe V Média. Je suis accompagné, à ma gauche, de Luc Doyon, vice-président exécutif et chef de l’exploitation de Groupe V Média, et à ma droite, de notre conseiller en affaires réglementaires Serge Bellerose.

1658 Cette instance du Conseil sur le cadre régissant la programmation télévisuelle locale et communautaire revêt une grande importance pour les stations régionales de notre groupe. Je ne reviendrai pas sur la situation difficile des stations de télévision traditionnelle. On la connaît bien. Les chiffres parlent d’eux-mêmes. La pression financière est constante. L’environnement concurrentiel évolue rapidement tout comme les comportements et habitudes d’écoute des consommateurs. On fait face au quotidien à des défis considérables.

1659 Cela est encore plus vrai pour des stations indépendantes comme les nôtres, qui ne font pas partie de groupes intégrés verticalement et qui ne peuvent pas tirer avantage de cette intégration.

1660 Face à cette situation, nous n’avons pas eu le choix. Dès l’acquisition de V en 2008, nous avons revu notre modèle d’affaires, autant dans le choix de nos émissions que dans le groupe cible que nous visons. Nous avons décidé de recourir systématiquement à la production indépendante autant à Montréal qu’en région. Nous avons aussi rationalisé nos dépenses. Toutes ces décisions ont permis de ramener notre station de Montréal à la rentabilité.

1661 Cependant, nos stations régionales, elles, demeurent déficitaires, et ce, malgré tous les efforts que nous avons déployés jusqu’à maintenant. Cette situation préoccupante nous conduit évidemment à une réflexion sur l’avenir de ces stations, alors que nous nous apprêtons à entreprendre d’ici peu le processus de renouvellement des licences qui expirent à la fin du mois d’août 2017.

1662 Nous voulons continuer à desservir les marchés régionaux. Nous aimerions investir davantage en programmation locale, mais la situation financière de ces stations ne nous le permet tout simplement pas. Et nous ne voyons pas comment les choses pourraient changer à court et moyen terme.

1663 M. DOYON: Malgré tout, nous ne baissons pas les bras pis nous sommes toujours à la recherche de solutions novatrices. À titre d’exemple, nous venons de conclure un partenariat stratégique avec Groupe Capitales Médias pour nos stations de Québec, Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières et Saguenay.

1664 Groupe Capitales Médias possède les quotidiens Le Soleil, La Tribune, Le Nouvelliste et le Quotidien dans ces quatre marchés. Tous ces journaux jouissent d’une très grande crédibilité dans leurs marchés respectifs.

1665 Afin de s’adapter aux nouvelles habitudes des consommateurs, cet éditeur vient également de lancer de nouvelles applications mobiles qui s’ajoutent à la version papier des journaux qu’il publie dans la région de Québec, en Estrie, en Mauricie et au Saguenay.

1666 En vertu de notre entente, Groupe Capitales Médias produira du contenu visuel dans le cadre de sa couverture de l’actualité régionale de ces marchés, et rendra ce matériel disponible à V dans les bulletins de nouvelles de nos stations régionales, à partir du 1er février prochain.

1667 De plus, ce matériel sera mis en ligne sur nos plateformes numériques, et il sera aussi accessible sur les applications mobiles des publications de Groupe Capitales Médias.

1668 Au cours des prochains mois, nous poursuivrons nos discussions avec Groupe Capitales Médias afin de voir comment ce partenariat stratégique fort prometteur peut évoluer et prendre encore plus d’importance.

1669 M. RÉMILLARD: Évidemment, nous sommes très heureux d’être parvenus à conclure une telle entente. Toutefois, celle-ci ne règlera pas pour autant la situation financière difficile que vivent nos stations régionales. Celles-ci ont un urgent besoin de soutien afin de leur permettre de continuer à desservir leurs communautés.

1670 Nous ne sommes pas les seuls à vivre ces problèmes, mais nous pensons que les solutions à mettre en place ne sont pas les mêmes pour tous. Nous sommes d’avis, comme le Conseil le suggère, qu’il faut effectivement redistribuer différemment les sommes qui sont présentement allouées au soutien des télédiffuseurs indépendants et de la télévision communautaire.

1671 Mais la formule doit être simple, claire, prévisible et s’appliquer, non seulement au soutien des nouvelles locales, mais aussi dans la programmation locale dans son ensemble. Mais surtout, elle ne doit pas être liée à un accroissement des obligations réglementaires en matière de programmation locale.

1672 Ce que nous proposons essentiellement, c’est d’abord d’allouer un demi pour cent des revenus bruts de toutes les EDR, qu’elles soient terrestres, par satellite ou par IPTV, à même le 5 pour cent qu’elles doivent déjà consacrer à la programmation canadienne, à un Fonds de soutien à la programmation locale diffusée présentement par les télédiffuseurs traditionnels indépendants.

1673 Ce fonds disposerait annuellement d’un montant d’environ 45 $ millions qui servirait à financer une partie des coûts de production des émissions de nouvelles locales et de la programmation locale, présentement diffusées par ces stations indépendantes. Il remplacerait l’actuel fonds de production locale pour les petits marchés, et on pourrait s’inspirer des règles mises en place par l’ancien FAPL pour déterminer les modalités de distribution des fonds disponibles entre les stations indépendantes.

1674 Pour ce qui est des stations de télévision appartenant à des grands groupes de propriété intégrés verticalement, la solution réside ailleurs, à notre point de vue. Elle pourrait reposer, à titre d’exemple, sur une approche qui permettrait éventuellement à ces groupes d’utiliser une partie des sommes qu’elles doivent allouer à la télévision communautaire, au soutien de leurs propres stations locales en réelle difficulté, afin de leur permettre de continuer d’offrir une programmation locale aux communautés qu’elles desservent.

1675 Enfin, nous ne pensons pas que les stations locales de CBC et Radio-Canada ont besoin de quelque forme de support que ce soit. Comme nous l’avons déjà indiqué dans notre mémoire, CBC et Radio-Canada disposent déjà d’importants crédits gouvernementaux pour s’acquitter de leurs mandats respectifs. Et de plus, le gouvernement fédéral a réitéré récemment son intention d’accroître le financement de la Société de 150 millions de dollars.

1676 La télévision en direct a encore sa place dans notre paysage télévisuel. Et les télédiffuseurs indépendants apportent une contribution importante à la diversité dans un univers où la concentration des forces en présence s’est accélérée au cours des dernières années. Mais sans soutien adéquat, l’avenir des télédiffuseurs indépendants dans les marchés régionaux s’annonce plutôt incertain, et cela nous préoccupe grandement.

1677 Nous vous remercions de votre attention et nous sommes disponibles à répondre à vos questions.

1678 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup, messieurs, je vais avoir quelques questions pour vous, pour moi pour commencer.

1679 Pouvez-vous m’expliquer quel est l’objectif de politique publique que vous tentez d’atteindre avec la mise sur pied d’un tel fonds mécanisme?

1680 M. RÉMILLARD: Je te laisse répondre.

1681 M. BELLEROSE: En fait, c'est de continuer -- c’est de permettre à des stations de télévision en difficulté de continuer à remplir le mandat qu’elles doivent -- qu’elles doivent remplir de desservir les communautés locales. Je pense essentiellement à la différence de la proposition que nous avons entendu hier de Bell qui proposait la création d’un fonds pour -- qui financerait de la production qui serait en excédent des obligations réglementaires qui auraient été déterminées par le Conseil.

1682 Nous on pense que la situation est à ce point critique, que c'est pas ça du tout qu’il faut maintenant. Il faut vraiment trouver des mécanismes de soutien qui vont permettre aux stations de survivre, et particulièrement les stations indépendantes évidemment, dont nous sommes.

1683 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ne s’agit-il pas déjà de votre obligation pour le privilège de détenir une licence, de desservir les communautés pour lesquelles vous avez reçu une licence?

1684 M. BELLEROSE: Tout à fait, et ça on le conteste pas. Cependant, le problème -- le problème de la situation financière il est réel, Monsieur le président. Remstar a fait l’acquisition de ces stations-là en 2008, on connait le contexte. On ne commencera pas à réécrire l’histoire, mais c’était des stations qui étaient en difficultés financières sérieuses, en faillite technique en quelque sorte, et y’a fallu faire un redressement majeur pour réussir à sauver le réseau et les stations.

1685 Redressement qui s’est fait dans un environnement qui était extrêmement difficile, la récession. Un environnement concurrentiel en transformation.

1686 Alors quand on regarde la situation sept ou huit ans plus tard, ce qu’on constate c’est que y’a eu des changements très positifs, qui ont fait en sorte que la station de Montréal, par exemple, est maintenant rentable.

1687 Mais les efforts qui ont été considérables ont pas donné les mêmes résultats en région pour toutes sortes de raisons, qui s’expliquent très aisément, puis qu’on pourrait développer dans les -- dans les prochaines minutes.

1688 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bien, vous avez ouvert la porte, pourquoi pas continuer? C’est quoi la différence à la situation à Montréal et en région selon votre analyse ?

1689 M. BELLEROSE: Mais ---

1690 LE PRÉSIDENT: Parce que il semble avoir eu un revirement à Montréal quand même.

1691 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, oui. Oui.

1692 LE PRÉSIDENT: Des chiffres confidentiels que moi j’ai accès là.

1693 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui.

1694 M. BELLEROSE: Non, non, non. Le revirement il est réel. Il est réel dans son ensemble de revirement, mais pourquoi y’a eu un revirement? Y’a eu un revirement parce que y’a eu un changement du modèle d’affaire.

1695 En 2008, le modèle d’affaire était insoutenable. J’y étais. J’ai fait la transition au moment où Remstar a fait l’acquisition.

1696 C’est pas de gaieté de cœur qu’on a été obligé de mettre à pied 260 personnes. Y’a fallu le faire, sinon on mettait la clef dans la porte puis on fermait les stations.

1697 Y’a fallu également -- on a vu -- on a vu les revenus de publicités fondre énormément à cette époque-là.

1698 La confiance du marché publicitaire était -- était altérée considérablement et y’a fallu rebâtir cette confiance-là au moment même où on traversait une récession.

1699 Alors ce qu’on a fait à l’époque, ce que V a fait, ça été de revoir complètement le modèle d’affaire. Autant au niveau des choix de la programmation, le groupe s’est révisé. On a visé un auditoire plus jeune. On a été plus audacieux et ça donné à terme des résultats intéressants qui se sont traduits par des beaux résultats pour Montréal.

1700 Par contre, les dommages collatéraux en région ont été considérables et le changement de marque, je pense aussi, s’est fait plus rapidement au niveau de la perception dans le marché de Montréal, qui a pu se faire dans les régions.

1701 Avec pour résultat qu’encore aujourd’hui, les résultats de cahiers d’écoute ne rendent probablement pas fidèlement la réalité de l’écoute de ces stations-là, mais ils en paient lourdement le prix au niveau des revenus qui sont en train de générer.

1702 Alors -- et lorsque le FAPL est arrivé, évidemment ça donné une bouffée d’air frais à ces stations-là, qui leur a permis de survivre et de limiter les dégâts et de limiter les pertes.

1703 Lorsque le FAPL a été aboli, les pertes étaient de 5$ million pour les quatre stations régionales.

1704 Donc on n’a pas eu le choix à ce moment-là, aussitôt que le FAPL a été aboli y’a fallu réduire les dépenses qu’on consacrait à la programmation locale, qui était déjà pas très importante, on doit le reconnaitre, pour réduire les pertes financières.

1705 Malgré ça, l’année passée les pertes financières étaient encore de l’ordre de 2.2$ - 2.3$ million.

1706 Donc c’est sûr, que comme Maxime l’a indiqué, la volonté elle est là, d’exploiter ces stations-là, de desservir adéquatement les communautés, mais on est confronté à une pression financière, qui est insoutenable, avec des pertes qui demeurent extrêmement importantes, donc on essaye de regarder comment on peut -- on peut y arriver.

1707 Mais la vérité aussi, par rapport à nos concurrents, c’est pas évident. C’est pas évident, parce que V doit se battre avec de solides concurrents qui disposent de moyens énormes.

1708 Si on prend juste TVA, par exemple. TVA dispose -- à cause de sa structure, ils ont une chaîne de nouvelle continue extrêmement profitable qui fait 7.7$ million par année de bayâts(phon.) et qui a besoin également de ressources journalistiques pour l’alimenter.

1709 Donc la présence en région de TVA est aussi utile, non seulement pour desservir des communautés locales, mais pour alimenter la chaîne de nouvelles continuent.

1710 Alors ils dépensent 40 million TVA et LCN en nouvelles; difficile de concurrencer contre ça. Évidemment Radio Canada c’est d’avantage à cause du mandat qu’ils ont.

1711 Alors donc -- et pour la programmation, quand vous regardez les coûts de programmations, ont disposent -- Maxime, je pense, de quoi ?

1712 M. RÉMILLARD: Bien en -- en dépense Canadienne, production Canadienne, c’est 30 million par année annuellement qu’on investit en production Canadienne.

1713 Si on compare à nos compétiteurs ---

1714 M. BELLEROSE: Bien TVA consacre 115 million en programmation Canadienne et Radio Canada bien c’est encore d’avantage.

1715 M. RÉMILLARD: En haut de 200 million.

1716 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, donc -- et puis, évidemment, on a un accès limité aux fonds des médias, 1.1 million, comparativement à ce que les concurrents ont, un accès beaucoup plus considérable, donc ce qui limite la capacité de mettre de la fiction.

1717 Donc à partir de ce moment-là chaque dollar dépensé en programmation compte considérablement, parce que les ressources dont dispose V pour passer au travers de la crise, de la tempête, sont vraiment minimes par rapport à la concurrence.

1718 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que c’est un problème d’auditoire ou un problème de convertir l’auditoire en revenu publicitaire?

1719 Hier Ben nous a dit que les gens écoutent toujours leur bulletins de nouvelles, qu’ils sont à l’écoute sauf que les annonceurs, les agences, mettent moins de valeur qu’ils auraient fait y’a 10-15 ans. À votre avis ?

1720 M. RÉMILLARD: Bien, M. le président, c’est une combinaison de plusieurs chose-là. C’est un problème de revenu publicitaire, donc on assiste à une érosion des revenus publicitaires dans les marchés locaux; ça c’est sûr.

1721 Le numérique commence à faire son entrée également dans le marché -- dans les marchés locaux, donc y’a un impact.

1722 Mais aussi le marché Québécois est assez spécifique en soit, de par la -- sa proximité entre les marchés dont on dessert, donc Sherbrooke, Trois Rivières, même Québec.

1723 Y’a une proximité entre chaque marché alors on doit composer également avec une compétition des services spécialisés, qui vont vendre directement dans les marchés locaux, donc ça ça vient faire une ponction dans les revenus qui sont disponibles.

1724 Comme Serge a expliqué également, on fait face à un joueur intégré verticalement, qui a une chaîne de nouvelle continue, et qui vend aussi en -- excusez l’anglicisme-là, en bundle.

1725 Donc il va aller chercher des clients dans ces marchés-là en leur disant j’ai du LCN, j’ai du TVA, j’ai du TVA Sport, donc ça aussi ça vient drainer les marchés.

1726 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et d’ailleurs c’est pour ça j’imagine que vous avez acheté vous-même des chaines spécialisées?

1727 M. RÉMILLARD: Bien on essaie de -- on essaie de mettre notre propre petite convergence, puis on a encore beaucoup de chemin à faire avant de pouvoir compétitionner ces joueurs-là, mais effectivement on doit agrandir notre offre mais on est encore nettement désavantagé en terme de produits qu’on offre.

1728 Ceci étant dit également, ce que Serge faisait allusion par rapport à les cahiers d’écoutes, puis c’est une petite technicalité, mais qui est fort importante dans notre cas, c’est que la plupart -- les grands marchés métropolitains sont mesurés électroniquement.

1729 Donc on a une mesure d’écoute qui est beaucoup plus fiable que les cahiers d’écoutes traditionnels manuels.

1730 Donc dans les marchés -- dans nos quatre marchés à l’extérieur de Montréal on a encore des cahiers d’écoutes manuels et ça, veut, veut pas, le changement -- la rationalisation de nos dépenses dans les marchés locaux nous affecte grandement, quand on mesure l’écoute de nos -- nos émissions là-bas.

1731 Donc si nos cotes d’écoutes sont à la baisse dans le cahier d’écoutes, nos revenus sont par le biais aussi à la baisse.

1732 Donc on a dû composer avec ça dans toute la relance, puis la restructuration ---

1733 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je -- je veux mieux comprendre-là.

1734 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui.

1735 LE PRÉSIDENT: Là on va parler, non pas à Montréal mais en région.

1736 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui, exacte.

1737 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que vous me dites que en région vous pensez que les mesures d’écoutes sous-estiment votre auditoire réel?

1738 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument, de 50 pourcent l’écart.

1739 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bien ça vous pouvez régler ça avec d’autres gens-là. On essaie ---

1740 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui, oui. C’est pas quelque chose – oui, je comprends.

1741 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais est-ce que vous me dites que la conversion de vos cotes d’écoutes, telles que mesurées par Numéris, font en sorte que vous êtes moins capable de transformer ces cotes d’écoutes-là en revenus en raison de l’émergence de nouvelles plateformes?

1742 M. RÉMILLARD: Exacte.

1743 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et est-ce que ça frappe les régions différemment que la région métropolitaine ?

1744 M. RÉMILLARD: Bien c’est sûr qu’y’a un petit délai. Y’a un décalage un peu là entre la -- Montréal, si on peut dire, le marché de Montréal, mais on assiste présentement définitivement à un exode des revenus publicitaires vers d’autres supports.

1745 Vous avez des entreprises partout au Québec investissent de plus en plus dans le SIO ou SIEM, avec les engins de recherches, le référencement, le numérique, le display.

1746 Donc tous ce qui -- tous les offres numériques, bien de plus en plus d’entreprises y ont recourt, donc ça ça assèche la tarte publicitaire. Aussi, je réitère ce point-là, mais la consolidation de plusieurs grands groupes, la convergence entre les différents actifs de nos compétiteurs font aussi que les revenus publicitaires propres à la télévision sont de moins en moins disponibles pour des joueurs indépendants comme nous.

1747 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais c’est ça le jeu de la concurrence, non? Il y a des concurrents dans le marché. Vous tentez de trouver un positionnement dans le marché, faire des acquisitions comme vous avez faites.

1748 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument.

1749 LE PRÉSIDENT: De faire du branding de vos services peut-être pour une démographique qui est un petit peu différente des autres. C’est tout à fait…

1750 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument. Je suis pour la concurrence, Monsieur le président, mais on assiste quand même -- on est face à un joueur de l’état aussi en partant, donc subventionné de façon importante, significative, et on a un joueur qui est le plus gros EDR au Québec. Alors il y a ça qu’il faut en tenir compte, puis je veux juste vous illustrer notre réalité industrielle et pourquoi notre présence régionale n’est pas plus grande que celle qu’on vous expose aujourd’hui. On veut en faire plus en région, mais la réalité sur le terrain de nos forces de ventes est telle que l’on fait face à toutes ces circonstances que je vous ai énumérées.

1751 M. BELLEROSE: Monsieur le président, j’ajouterais peut-être un commentaire par rapport au revenus de publicité et au comportement des annonceurs en région, à titre d’exemple.

1752 C’est illusoire de penser qu’on peut associer directement un revenu de publicité à un produit comme les nouvelles qui sont diffusées pour vraiment faire une équation de dire, “Ça vous coûte tant et puis ça vous rapporte tant.” C’est pas de même que ça se passe dans la vraie vie quand on vend de la publicité, en tout cas, en région.

1753 Quand les représentants publicitaires vont voir le client, ils leur offrent des campagnes publicitaires, 5 000, 10 000, 15 000 $ contre lesquelles il va y avoir une proposition de spots qui vont être placés dans la grille-horaire. Et le client local, lui là, il est intéressé par être dans l’émission, “Ce soir, tout est permis”. Lui, il ne regarde pas ça dans sa petite lorgnette, de dire, “Moi, je veux être dans le bulletin local ou dans l’émission locale.” Il veut être à V, comme il veut être à TVA, comme il veut être à Radio-Canada.

1754 Donc c’est ce qu’il achète quand il achète une campagne publicitaire. Il n’achète pas une campagne pour être dans le bulletin de nouvelles, ce qui ne veut pas dire que lorsqu’on va lui faire la proposition de placement, qu’il ne demandera pas d’être présent dans les nouvelles s’il pense que ça peut être bon pour lui d’être là, mais il y a des alternatives qui s’offrent à lui.

1755 C’est pour ça que quand j’entendais hier la proposition de Bell de dire, “On va mettre un fonds mais pour y avoir accès il va falloir produire davantage qu’un seuil minimum auquel la station est astreinte et puis qu’on va pouvoir financer ça seulement un tiers des coûts que va représenter la programmation supplémentaire.”

1756 Alors ce que ça voulait signifier c’est que la station qui perdrait un million de dollars et puis qui voudrait avoir accès au fonds, si j’écoute bien la proposition de Bell, et puis qui devrait, pour faire plus d’heures, dépenser, disons, 300 000 $, elle pourrait aller chercher seulement 100 000 $ du fonds. Donc ça lui coûterait 200 000 $. Donc au lieu de perdre un million, elle perdrait 1.2 million.

1757 J’en connais pas beaucoup, je pense, qu’au plan du modèle d’affaires vont décider de faire ça.

1758 D’ailleurs, Bell s’est même pas engagé à en faire davantage hier, sans doute parce qu’il font la même lecture que nous.

1759 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je veux revenir quand même à la différence entre les régions et -- régions métropolitaines -- en termes de la répartition des revenus publicitaires qui viennent du national et puis du local. Est-ce que vous voyez des tendances ou ---

1760 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui.

1761 LE PRÉSIDENT: Premièrement, une tendance différente par rapport au national et puis le local pour vos services?

1762 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui, absolument. Je vous dirais, on est vraiment -- les deux sources de revenu principal, donc les revenus nationaux à Montréal, Toronto, donc les clients nationaux et locaux, je vous dirais que ces deux segments de revenus-là sont sous pression. Le national, on a une décroissance de la tarte publicitaire investie par des clients nationaux.

1763 LE PRÉSIDENT: En région et à Montréal?

1764 M. RÉMILLARD: En région et à Montréal.

1765 Ceci étant dit, les chiffres peuvent être trompeurs un peu. Évidemment, si on a moins de demande de clients nationaux, ce qui laisse de l’inventaire disponible, donc on en met plus sur les -- on se repose davantage sur les marchés locaux vu qu’on a de la disponibilité dans certaines émissions. Alors on va être encore plus agressif sur les marchés locaux. Et tout le monde le fait. Nos compétiteurs le font également. Donc ça amène une pression additionnelle. Donc on se rabat sur les marchés locaux pour essayer de faire nos budgets et puis de rentrer nos chiffres, mais il y a une décroissance à ces deux niveaux-là.

1766 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et ce n’est pas tributaire de la situation économique en région au Québec?

1767 M. RÉMILLARD: Il y a un paquet de facteurs. Effectivement, c’est une partie, à mon avis, mais il y a aussi des tendances de marché industriel. Ça c’est clair. Comme je vous ai mentionné, le numérique, toutes les nouvelles plateformes, et cetera, ça a un impact, c’est sûr. Le client qui -- et même en période économique plus difficile, le client local va faire des choix. Son budget publicitaire est restreint. Il va faire des choix et il va investir un peu moins qu’il investissait avant en télé parce que maintenant il croit qu’il a un meilleur rendement avec le numérique ou avec le recensement avec les engins de recherche ou avec toutes les formes d’instruments que le numérique offre présentement. Alors c’est sûr qu’il y a moins d’argent disponible et il y a plus de compétition des autres plateformes. Ça c’est une réalité indéniable sur le terrain.

1768 M. BELLEROSE: D’ailleurs, Maxime, peut-être que tu peux le mentionner, lorsque vous faites vos tournées chaque printemps des agences nationales, le message est très, très clair. C’est qu’il y a de plus en plus de -- on sent qu’il y a un déplacement des dollars publicitaires de la télévision traditionnelle ---

1769 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument.

1770 M. BELLEROSE: --- vers les nouvelles plateformes et ça met une pression, évidemment, à la baisse sur le potentiel de revenu que les stations peuvent générer.

1771 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument.

1772 On en parle depuis des années de la situation difficile des télévisions traditionnelles avec une source de revenu. Pendant des années, on a vu un exode des revenus publicitaires de la conventionnelle vers les spécialisés parce que les spécialisés avec beaucoup d’inventaire disponible et offraient une tarification très attrayante aux clients.

1773 Alors on a vu une -- on a vu l’enveloppe publicitaire des clients nationaux se séparer en deux. Maintenant, il y a -- excusez encore l’anglicisme -- un “bucket” pour le traditionnel puis un budget pour les spécialisés.

1774 Là, avec les années, on a maintenant le numérique qui rentre en ligne de compte. Donc nous, nos clients nous disent à chaque mois, “Il va y avoir une baisse de budget et on veut une baisse de tarification.”

1775 Alors ça, ça a un effet extrêmement pervers sur notre capacité de monnayer notre contenu. Donc on doit faire face à une baisse de tarification et on doit faire face à une baisse des sommes actuellement investies.

1776 Alors on essaye de trouver des moyens, mais avec nos coûts de production qui eux vont vers le haut, ça rend la situation extrêmement difficile.

1777 Et il y a les marchés locaux, mais c’est pas aussi bon que -- ils ne sont pas aussi prospères que ça a déjà été.

1778 Donc c’est très difficile d’avoir un modèle d’affaires, de production locale qui est rentable et qui nous permet réaliser ça.

1779 LE PRÉSIDENT: La façon que vous l’expliquez, en plus, avec les enveloppes qui peuvent se déplacer d’une plateforme à l’autre, vos propres choix sur l’inventaire me laissent croire qu’en fait ce que vous faites c’est que vous gérez votre groupe comme un groupe?

1780 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui.

1781 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et lorsqu’on décidera possiblement -- conditionnel -- de mettre en place un mécanisme, ne devrait-on pas évaluer le besoin économique des stations des demandeurs de ces fonds d’argent-là basé sur la profitabilité du groupe plutôt que station par station?

1782 M. BELLEROSE: Bien, écoutez, un est un petit groupe encore parce qu’il y a deux stations de services spécialisés qui se sont ajoutées au groupe et puis ce n’était pas nécessairement les deux plus florissantes.

1783 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, mais il y a quand même…

1784 M. BELLEROSE: Le portfolio…

1785 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Admettons qu’on met de côté les spécialisés, il y a quand même les généralistes qui…

1786 M. BELLEROSE: Mais je suis d’accord avec vous, Monsieur le président, que je pense que lorsqu’on va se représenter devant vous quelque part cet automne ou, je ne sais pas, cet hiver, je pense qu’il va falloir prendre en considération l’ensemble du portrait. Vous avez tout à fait raison et c’est normal.

1787 Et au même titre, ça va être très, très important, nous aussi, de connaître les règles du jeu et le processus qui se tient actuellement fait partie des règles de jeu futures pour savoir dans quelles conditions et puis dans quel environnement ces stations-là vont être en mesure d’évoluer, puis quel sera éventuellement le soutien dont elles pourront disposer, si soutien il y a.

1788 Et les décisions qui seront prises vont être, en grande partie, dictées par la prévisibilité de l’environnement dans lequel -- autant que faire se peut, parce que les choses évoluent tellement rapidement -- mais de la prévisibilité de l’environnement dans lequel ces stations-là vont évoluer. Et à cet égard-là, je pense que c'est tout à fait normal que vous preniez en compte le fait que y a un groupe qui possède des stations de télévision spécialisée, pis vous allez tenir compte également de l’environnement du décloisonnement qui s’est fait également au niveau des services spécialisés, sans aucun doute là. Moi je pense que c'est tout à fait normal et légitime que vous le fassiez.

1789 LE PRÉSIDENT: Parce que certains auraient dit -- hier on a eu la conversation avec Bell que sont quand même une grande société qui détient des actifs en radio ---

1790 M. BELLEROSE: M’hm.

1791 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- en télévision conventionnelle, marchés anglais, marchés français, spécialisés, qui ont une des plus grandes compagnies de -- cellulaire et des télécommunications, et en plus, une compagnie satellitaire et des actifs IPTV.

1792 Donc j’aurais pensé que dans votre logique vous auriez dit, « Oui, faut regarder le groupe dans son ensemble », et donc vous devez vous mettre -- soumettre à la même analyse.

1793 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, mais là vous faites allusion au moment où la transaction s’est faite ou par rapport à ce qui s’en vient dans le futur?

1794 LE PRÉSIDENT: Par rapport au futur pis ---

1795 M. BELLEROSE: Par rapport au futur.

1796 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- au cadre que nous regardons.

1797 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui, oui, mais moi je vous dirais oui, on est très ouvert à ça, Monsieur le président là, je pense qui faut regarder chaque groupe dans sa -- dans sa différence, dans son ---

1798 LE PRÉSIDENT: C'est un peu la même question que j’ai posé hier à Bell. Lorsqu’on vient faire des demandes d’acquisition, on parle toujours du groupe, des synergies, du financement croisé, mais du moment qu’y a une perte dans une division, « Ah, ben ça y faut une subvention de l’état. »

1799 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, mais ---

1800 Y a pas des pertes juste dans une division là dans le cas présent ---

1801 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

1802 M. BELLEROSE: --- parce que disons que MusiquePlus et MusiMax y a tout un travail de redressement qu’y était déjà amorcé par Luc au moment où -- dans son ancienne vie y en était à la tête sous l’ancienne administration. Mais je pense que ---

1803 LE PRÉSIDENT: Au niveau des principes là, pas ---

1804 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, oui.
M. RÉMILLARD: Mais, Monsieur le président, j’ai aucun problème qu’on regarde notre entreprise comparativement à d’autres sociétés intégrées verticalement. Donc moi j’ai -- en autant qu’on tient compte de notre réalité à nous, qu’on est une -- qu’on est un groupe indépendant qu’y est pas affilié à des EDR ou quoi que ce soit, j’ai aucun problème à discuter de -- avec le Conseil ---

1805 M. BELLEROSE: Et ce commentaire-là y est important, Monsieur le président, parce que je pense pas que V va avoir le même poids au niveau de la négociation de ses ententes futures avec MusiquePlus et MusiMax face aux EDR, qu’un Bell Média peut avoir, compte-tenu du portfolio qu’il possède voyez-vous.

1806 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ça j’ai dit, j’étais au niveau des principes ---

1807 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, oui.

1808 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- au cas d’espèce. Mais peut-être que je lisais trop dans votre commentaire de la page 7 ce matin. Je vous cite:

1809 « Pour ce qui est des stations de

télévision appartenant à de grands groupes de propriété intégrés verticalement, la solution réside ailleurs, à notre point de vue. »

1810 Je pensais que y avait un point que c'était des grandes sociétés qui devaient déplacer leurs revenus et leurs dépenses en l’occurrence.

1811 M. BELLEROSE: Dans le fond, Monsieur le président, on a voulu vraiment adresser le problème spécifique des indépendants dont nous sommes. Je pense que c'est notre -- ce qui faut voir dans notre présentation, dans notre mémoire, la priorité dans un premier temps. Et là où on a vraiment focusé (sic) davantage pour développer une proposition, c'était par rapport à notre propre situation.

1812 Et ce que nous on dit, y faut développer une solution qui s’adresse spécifiquement aux indépendants, les gens de SMITS, les gens de CHCH Hamilton et nous. C'est essentiellement les groupes plus indépendants à travers le pays, parce que la réalité de ces joueurs-là n’est pas du tout la même que celle des joueurs intégrés verticalement.

1813 Après ça, je pense que vous pouvez avoir à regarder également la situation des intégrés verticalement et regarder vers des solutions, si solutions il y a et quelles sont nécessaires, autres que les nôtres. Parce que la réalité est effectivement très, très différente de la nôtre. C'est ce que nous disons. Nous suggérons quelque chose, mais c'est vraiment dans le très hypothétique ce que nous avons proposé.

1814 Hier, j’entendais que ça pouvait poser des problèmes peut-être dans des situations de marchés desservis uniquement par une seule station. Alors donc est-ce que le Conseil devrait dans ces cas-là, même si c'est un joueur intégré verticalement, permettre une certaine forme de souplesse pour disposer des fonds disponibles pour la télévision locale et communautaire à des fins autres qu’elles le sont présentement pour assurer la survie d’une station traditionnelle locale?

1815 Peut-être, c'est au Conseil de voir qu’est-ce qui est le plus pertinent au niveau de l’intérêt public.

1816 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je reviens à ce paragraphe-là, est-ce que vous envisagiez d’autres solutions possibles pour les grands groupes de propriété intégrés verticalement?

1817 M. BELLEROSE: Non, pas vraiment, pas vraiment.

1818 LE PRÉSIDENT: Par rapport à votre -- vos services, vous avez dit que bon, vous avez pris des décisions, les gens d’affaires prennent des décisions, parfois elles sont difficiles, y a des impacts sur les employés et les fournisseurs, et cetera. C'est dur parfois les marchés concurrentiels. Quelle autres solutions ou pistes de solutions avez-vous examiné?

1819 Parce que vous allez être d’accord avec moi j’espère, que de créer un fonds sous une autorité gouvernementale pour aider les nouvelles locales, et dans votre cas aussi vous préconisez la programmation locale, je vais revenir à ça dans un moment, c'est quand même exceptionnel. Alors avant qu’on se rende là, quelles ont été les autres solutions que vous avez envisagées?

1820 M. RÉMILLARD: Regardez, on a toujours plein de solutions, on essaie -- on est en affaires comme vous dites, donc on regarde plusieurs options. Mais comme on l’a fait après la cessation du FAPL, on a rationalisé dans nos dépenses pis dans notre présence locale.

1821 On voit -- nos dépenses de programmation locale ont baissé drastiquement depuis la FAPL pour les raisons économiques je vous ai mentionné tout à l’heure. Donc c'est une des possibilités donc de rationaliser davantage dans nos -- dans nos dépenses, dans nos effectifs là-bas. Mais au-delà de ça, on a pas vraiment de plan précis là, parce que ça évolue tellement rapidement aussi là, donc j’ai ---

1822 M. BELLEROSE: Je peux peut-être compléter, Monsieur le président. On convient tous aujourd'hui, je pense, que dans les marchés régionaux la programmation locale passe pour l’essentiel par la diffusion de nouvelles locales. Je pense que là-dessus y a pas grand monde qui va contester ça. Même nous qui en 2008 étions pas trop chaud à l'époque pour avoir des engagements fermes de nouvelles.

1823 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, je m’en rappelle très bien, vous ---

1824 M. BELLEROSE: On évolue.

1825 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- proposez ---

1826 M. BELLEROSE: On évolue.

1827 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- vous favorisez autres solutions peut-être plus modernes, plus comme VICE d’ailleurs.

1828 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, mais ---

1829 LE PRÉSIDENT: Que vous étiez trop avant-garde à l'époque, mais ---

1830 M. BELLEROSE: Peut-être, peut-être, mais -- peut-être, mais en fait, ce qu’y a été -- tout ça est empiriqué très, très intimement. C'est que un des éléments de la relance, et ce qu’y a permis de relancer V, ça été de contre-programmer, ça été vraiment ça. Essentiellement, à partir -- compte-tenu des ressources dont le réseau disposait qu’y étaient moindres que ses concurrents, donc la seule façon de passer au travers c'était de se distinguer par rapport aux concurrents TVA et Radio-Canada.

1831 Alors la question qui se posait au départ, c'était de dire, « Est-ce que moi comme réseau, je peux concurrencer TVA pis Radio-Canada à six heures le soir avec des nouvelles? » Alors évidemment la réponse a été très, très rapide, compte-tenu des moyens on dispose, pis compte-tenu -- ben à l'époque rappelez-vous on avait fait le constat que ça perdait sept millions les nouvelles.

1832 Donc une grosse partie de la situation financière précaire était due aux nouvelles. Les nouvelles coûtaient terriblement cher par rapport à ce qu’elles rapportaient, donc ça été une équation.

1833 Et au moment où on a fait la réflexion de relance, j’y étais, je me rappelle, on a travaillé ben des weekends avant que la transaction se complète et puis -- après que la transaction se complète plutôt, et on essayait de voir comment on pourrait faire les nouvelles différemment, en réduisant les ressources et tout.

1834 Finalement, le résultat net ça été de dire, « Non, ça marche pas, y a pas de plan d’affaires, y a pas de modèle d’affaires. » Et c'est comme ça que le modèle a été complètement révisé, pis de dire on va aller en contre-programmation. Les résultats sont là, quand on regarde aujourd'hui le créneau du 5 à 7, il est extrêmement performant. C'est probablement ce qui fonctionne le mieux actuellement dans la grille-horaire, parce que entre 5 heures et 7 heures on a une offre qu’y est distincte ---

1835 LE PRÉSIDENT: M’hm.

1836 M. BELLEROSE: --- et différente de celle de TVA et de Radio-Canada. Les gens qui veulent avoir des nouvelles y vont à TVA, y vont à Radio-Canada. Les gens qui veulent se divertir, y vont à V. Alors donc ça ça été le premier élément.

1837 Donc y fallait pour la programmation locale et les nouvelles locales, les mettre ailleurs. Alors ce qu’on a cherché à faire à ce moment-là, Maxime, c'était de développer le créneau du matin. Alors on a dit, « On va essayer d’être une alternative à Salut Bonjour de TVA ou on va essayer de repartir un show. »

1838 Pis les tentatives ont été infructueuses, ça pas marché, ça pas levé comme on aurait voulu et puis y a fallu abandonner la partie. Donc tout ça a fait en sorte que année après année y fallait revoir l’approche par rapport à la diffusion de nouvelles.

1839 Et là, évidemment, le FAPL ayant été aboli, ça eu un impact immédiat sur les ressources financières dont on disposait. Donc, ça nous mettait une pression additionnelle et c’est dans ce contexte-là qu’il a fallu également réduire les sommes dont on disposait pour produire des nouvelles.

1840 Donc, on est dans ce contexte-là présentement, d’où l’entente conclue avec Groupe Capitales Médias, dont Luc a parlé dans sa présentation, pour essayer de trouver un nouveau modèle avec un joueur régional.

1841 Capitales Médias, comme vous le savez, c’est une créature récente qui a été mise sur pied à la suite de la décision de Gesca de se départir de ses journaux régionaux.

1842 Donc, ce nouveau groupe-là a été vraiment un groupe de journaux régionaux qui a cherché également à se développer sur des applications mobiles. Et qui dit « applications mobiles » bien dit est-ce qu’on peut aller au-delà du journal traditionnel avec du vidéo et tout?

1843 Donc, il y avait comme un « fit » naturel et c’est dans ce contexte-là qu’il y a eu des discussions entre Luc, Maxime et les gens de Capitales Médias pour conclure cette entente-là.

1844 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je suis heureux de vous entendre parler de ça, parce que toute à l’heure quand vous parliez des pistes de solutions, ça me semblait être des pistes de solutions qui étaient concentrées surtout sur la plateforme linéaire. Et je me posais comme question, comme gens d’affaires, vous devriez être en train de penser à de l’innovation et puis ---

1845 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument.

1846 LE PRÉSIDENT: --- j’ai lu avec beaucoup d’intérêt, en fin de semaine, dans la version papier du Samedi, parce que vous savez que La Presse ne publie plus en semaine, mais Monsieur Crevier faisait état que sa nouvelle plateforme, puis j’imagine qu’ils ont investi beaucoup d’argent dans cette plateforme-là, bien qu’elle a été lancée en 2013, elle est désormais consultée et je cite ici:

1847 «…en moyenne par plus de 243 000

tablettes uniques, chaque jour, en semaine. En comparaison, le tirage quotidien de La Presse papier en semaine a atteint son sommet en 1971 avec 221 000 exemplaires.»

1848 Donc, il me semble qu’il y ait de la place pour de l’innovation.

1849 Or, je sais qu’ils ont des moyens, avant que vous me disiez ça, mais il y a quand même de l’innovation au Québec.

1850 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument.

1851 LE PRÉSIDENT: Il y a des gens qui sont capables de penser différemment à propos des médias.

1852 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument, Monsieur le président, puis on est vraiment dans cette réflexion-là également.

1853 Vous savez, comme Serge a fait état toute à l’heure, nous, de V aussi, je pense qu’on est innové à notre manière aussi dans plusieurs créneaux de la télévision traditionnelle.

1854 On a essayé de revoir le modèle. On a essayé de faire les choses différemment, contre-programmer. Est-ce qu’à la place des nouvelles à 22h00, on peut mettre un talk-show avec Éric Salvail?

1855 Vous savez, nous, sans cesse, notre modèle de production, tous les producteurs dépendants, toutes -- on a quand même innové à plusieurs niveaux dans un modèle qui était assez traditionnel depuis plusieurs années et on cherche aussi à essayer d’innover avec la multi-plateforme tout ce qui est numérique. De là, notre partenariat avec des groupes comme Capitales Médias.

1856 Comment est-ce qu’on peut essayer d’arriver avec un produit qui soit multiplateforme, qui soit social et tout ça puis qu’on peut monétiser vraiment de manière 360 degrés? Alors on est dans ces réflexions-là.

1857 Ceci étant dit, Monsieur le président, la réalité économique de monétisation au Québec et surtout dans ces marchés locaux font qu’encore la grande source de revenus de cette opération multiplateforme reste la télévision.

1858 Donc, il faut pouvoir compter sur des revenus ou des fonds qui viennent de plateformes traditionnelles pour pouvoir financer cette opération-là, dite 360.

1859 Donc, la télévision est encore une pierre angulaire dans cette stratégie-là et les marchés des revenus publicitaires sont difficiles présentement. Mais on est dans cette réflexion-là et ce n’est que le début avec des partenariats stratégiques, tels que celui avec Capitales Médias.

1860 M. BELLEROSE: Parce que sur les numériques, c’est très, très difficile encore aujourd’hui d’aller chercher des revenus parce que dans ce cas-là précis, évidemment, les moteurs de recherches sont tellement forts au niveau de leur capacité de générer des revenus ---

1861 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument.

1862 M. BELLEROSE: --- que ça a amené une pression à la baisse sur les revenus potentiels sur les visionnements.

1863 Donc, ce n’est pas évident. Il faut être là. Il faut être présent. Je pense qu’il faut le développer mais il ne faut pas avoir des attentes démesurées par rapport au potentiel de revenus à court et moyen terme.

1864 LE PRÉSIDENT: Non, mais si on n’investit pas, on ne peut pas avoir des retours en investissement non plus.

1865 M. BELLEROSE: Vous avez raison puis c’est pour ça que ---

1866 LE PRÉSIDENT: D’ailleurs, je remarque que la plateforme de La Presse était prise par le Toronto Star comme étant la plateforme idéale.

1867 M. BELLEROSE: Exact.

1868 Non mais La Presse, ils n’ont pas bien, ben le choix parce qu’ils n’ont plus de version papier. Il faut que les revenus soient là parce que sinon ils vont avoir un petit problème.

1869 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce qu’on devrait être préoccupé de la diversité des voix par rapport à votre entente stratégique avec Groupe Capitales Médias?

1870 M. RÉMILLARD: Non, pas du tout. On croit que c’est même favorable pour ça.

1871 La diversité, justement, c’est on travaille avec des groupes indépendants également qui sont dans un marché papier si on peut dire ou traditionnel. Nous aussi.

1872 Donc, je crois que ça aide plutôt au contenu d’information à être encore plus -- à rayonner, à être véhiculé dans des marchés précis.

1873 Donc, je trouve que ça favorise la diversité.

1874 M. BELLEROSE: Dans le fond, Monsieur le président, autant le conseil ne semble pas préoccupé actuellement par le fait qu’il puisse y avoir une étroite collaboration entre des journalistes du Journal de Montréal et de TVA, qui donnent lieu à des enquêtes conjointes, je pense qu’il n’y a pas plus raison d’être préoccupé par un éventuel partenariat stratégique entre Capitales Médias et V.

1875 LE PRÉSIDENT: Mais comme vous savez parce que vous y étiez, on a toujours été préoccupé de l’indépendance des salles de nouvelles.

1876 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, mais les choses évoluent, Monsieur le président.

1877 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui. Peut-être les pratiques ont évolué mais pas les préoccupations du conseil.

1878 Je veux revenir rapidement sur la notion de regarder la situation par rapport au groupe. Et j’aurais dû le mentionner toute à l’heure mais je me rappelle, j’étais à Patrimoine canadien à l’époque, à l’époque des difficultés de TQS.

1879 Et ce qui m’avait frappé à l’époque, c’est que des règles comptables pouvaient créer des pertes ou des profits selon les règles d’attribution. Si je me rappelle bien, à l’époque, les stations régionales étaient en perte et la station de TQS à Montréal -- pardon, étaient en profit et la station de Montréal était en perte en large mesure parce que les coûts communs corporatifs étaient tous attribués à la station de Montréal.

1880 Et vous ne croyez pas qu’à l’égard de cette situation-là, ça n’invite pas le conseil d’être particulièrement prudent, parce qu’on ne fait pas des vérifications détaillées des règles comptables d’attribution à l’intérieur des groupes? Et qu’on devrait donc regarder la situation perte/profit par rapport aux groupes, si on imagine la nécessité d’une intervention réglementaire pour appuyer le contenu local?

1881 M. RÉMILLARD: Moi, Monsieur le président, je n’ai aucun problème avec ça. La situation est complètement transparente sous mon règne.

1882 Je ne peux pas répondre avant que j’arrive mais je veux dire, nous, c’est -- on a vraiment ---

1883 LE PRÉSIDENT: Il n’y avait pas question de mauvaise pratique.

1884 M. RÉMILLARD: Non, non, non, ce n’est pas ce que je voulais insinuer mais je veux dire, bon, puis je comprends les entrées comptables et tout ça.

1885 Mais nous, c’est assez simple. Dans le fond, c’est qu’on a un P&L pour les stations régionales. On a des revenus et on a des dépenses et une quote-part de la programmation. C’est assez, excusez le mot, « straight forward » puis on est prêt à le partager avec le conseil.

1886 M. BELLEROSE: On en avait d’ailleurs discuté, Monsieur le président, en 2008, à l’audience quand il y a eu le transfert de propriété. Et à ce moment-là, on avait décidé vraiment de changer les pratiques au niveau du dépôt des rapports annuels, ce qu’on fait maintenant.

1887 Dans le fond, on considère nos stations régionales au même titre que nos affiliées. On les traite de la même façon.

1888 Autrement dit, on leur attribue une partie des revenus de vente nationale mais on leur fait assumer aussi une partie des coûts de la programmation en fonction de l’écoute qu’elle génère, parce que cette programmation-là nous permet aussi de générer des revenus.

1889 M. RÉMILLARD: Exact.

1890 M. BELLEROSE: Donc, les charges qui sont faites aux stations sont les charges normales et tout à fait justifiées.

1891 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vais tourner maintenant mon attention à votre proposition en particulier pour poser quelques questions autour de ça. Puis je vais utiliser votre présentation de ce matin.

1892 Vous dites que vous voulez que l’appui irait non seulement aux nouvelles locales mais aussi à la programmation locale. Pourquoi?

1893 M. BELLEROSE: Bien, parce que -- parce que la programmation locale vit le même problème que la nouvelle locale. Elle n’est pas rentable puis elle ne peut pas se rentabiliser. Elle a besoin d’être supportée comme elle l’était à l’époque du ---

1894 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pourquoi?

1895 Parce que -- je vais pousser un peu là-dessus; parce que je crois que certains intervenants ont dit, non, les nouvelles sont peut-être -- les actualités sont peut-être plus importantes par rapport au contexte démocratique que de la programmation locale.

1896 Et même le conseil a tendance, dans ses documents pour cette instance-ci, à mettre beaucoup plus d’emphase sur les nouvelles que sur la programmation locale.

1897 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, mais il a aussi des exigences et des obligations en terme de programmation locale, même si on donne une priorité aux nouvelles --

1898 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ça veut pas dire qu’on vous aide à les financer.

1899 M. RÉMILLARD: -- la réalité c’est que une station comme Québec a quand même 10 heures de programmation locale à faire.

1900 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, oui, mais c’est -- vous avez des licences. Vous êtes venus demander des licences. Vous avez quand même des obligations à rencontrer. C’est un privilège de détenir ces licences-là.

1901 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui.

1902 LE PRÉSIDENT: À quel point le Conseil va dire non c’est assez là. Vous devez en mettre vous aussi de l’argent sur la table pour appuyer vos préoccupations?

1903 M. RÉMILLARD: On investit, M. le Président, considérablement dans notre programmation en générale également.

1904 On investit beaucoup en production Canadienne. On crée beaucoup d’emplois dans un milieu culturel Québécois, dans un marché assez spécifique aussi d’ailleurs-là. On se rend compte que le marché Québécois aussi a ça spécificité, évidemment.

1905 Donc on investit, puis on n’est pas contre le fait d’investir dans nos stations régionales, mais y’a une réalité industrielle, y’a une réalité économique.

1906 Et comme Serge a mentionné on a des obligations aussi, qui sont onéreuses et on fait état de la situation, puis on essaie de vous transmettre nos préoccupations puis notre réalité.

1907 Donc on -- nous notre proposition de mettre un fond sur pied, c’est inscrit dans -- un peu dans la même veine, que y’a le fond des médias qui viennent aider certains diffuseurs à acquérir des dramatiques, des émissions prioritaires, que y’a des fonds de disponible pour les télé-communautaires.

1908 Pourquoi les stations régionales avec leurs mandats spécifiques pourraient pas avoir accès à un fond qui serait même pris à même les revenus de séries de EDA?

1909 Donc on ne parle pas nécessairement d’injecter des nouveaux fonds, mais de redistribuer, ré-calibrer, ce qui est injecté dans le système présentement, pour maintenir et préserver, justement, ces opérations local-là et cette -- cette ---

1910 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui mais y’a une redistribution dans ce modèle-là?

1911 M. RÉMILLARD: Pardon?

1912 LE PRÉSIDENT: Y’a une redistribution de fonds?

1913 M. RÉMILLARD: Exacte.

1914 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et donc ma question porte sur la hiérarchie des besoins en termes de politiques publiques.

1915 M. RÉMILLARD: M'hm.

1916 LE PRÉSIDENT: Est-ce que vous mettez la production locale et les nouvelles locales sur un pied d’égalité?

1917 M. BELLEROSE: Surement pas. Les nouvelles locales, je suis d’accord avec vous, M. le Président, sont certainement plus importantes.

1918 Mais d’un point de vue de radiodiffuseur indépendant, on est obligé de regarder également notre réalité économique versus nos obligations.

1919 Et ce qu’on vous dit c’est que sans soutient, y compris pour la programmation locale, ça devient extrêmement difficile d’envisager de pouvoir continuer à exploiter une station en région, qui aurait de lourdes obligations de programmation locale, sans qu’elle soit supportée.

1920 D’autant que avec les questions que vous nous posez, y’a une grosse -- une grande zone grise actuellement par rapport à l’endroit où le Conseil souhaite aller au niveau de la programmation locale pour les stations.

1921 LE PRÉSIDENT: Si on mettait un mécanisme en place, vous dites dans votre présentation, encore la page 6, que:

1922 “Elle ne doit pas être liée à un

accroissement des obligations règlementaires en matière de programmation locale.”

1923 Est-ce qu’au moins on peut demander si on va maintenir le niveau de programmation locale?

1924 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, certainement. Mais quand on a écrit ça, c’est par rapport à la situation présente. C’est par rapport à la situation actuelle où on en est.

1925 Évidemment, si -- création d’un fond, toute la question est de savoir à quel moment ce fond là pourra réalistement être mis en place.

1926 Tout le monde souhaiterais que ça soit pour le 1ier septembre 2016, mais 1ier septembre 2016 c’est demain-là, tsé?

1927 Alors on sait pas quand votre décision sera rendue. Si vous -- si vous accepté l’idée de créer un fond et y’a changement de règlements, y’a création du fond et tout, bon.

1928 Peut-être que l’échéancier du 1ier septembre 2016, même si c’est ce que nous souhaiterions, il est peut-être irréaliste. Je l’ignore.

1929 À tout évènement, si c’était le 1ier septembre 2016, nous ce qu’on dit, il faudrait pas que ce fond-là soit associé à une obligation d’en faire d’avantage par rapport à ce que nos obligations actuelles sont jusqu’au 31 août 2017, parce que nos licences ont été renouvelé.

1930 Partant de là, tout est sous -- sur la table pour le renouvellement des licences, M. Le président. Sachant quelles seront les nouvelles règles du jeu, bien là évidemment on va arriver avec une proposition en fonction de ce qu’on entrevoit comme plan d’affaire dans le future.

1931 C’est pour ça que si vous créé un fond --

1932 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je comprends.

1933 M. BELLEROSE: -- il faut pas qu’il soit créé pour deux ans, trois ans. Il faut qu’il soit ---

1934 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et c’est pour -- je comprends. Oui, merci.

1935 M. BELLEROSE: Oui.

1936 LE PRÉSIDENT: On est prêt à -- vous êtes prêt à regarder vos niveaux d’obligations, mais dans le contexte d’un renouvellement.

1937 M. BELLEROSE: Exactement, M. le président.

1938 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous dites aussi que:

1939 “La formule doit être simple, claire

et prévisible.”

1940 À première vu ça semble simple, claire et prévisible dire ça, mais j’ai de la difficulté à comprendre ce que vous voulez dire exactement. Peut-être que vous pouvez prendre l’occasion là?

1941 Je comprends pas qu’est-ce qui vous préoccupe, qu’est-ce qui est sous-jacent à ces mots-là.

1942 M. RÉMILLARD: Bien -- excuse, Serge, mais on fait référence aussi en partie au -- si on prend l’expérience de FAPL, bon y’avait une méthode de calcul, tout ça.

1943 Bon bien on pourrait s’inspirer de -- des grands thèmes de ces méthodes de calcul-là, mais c’était plus difficile de prévoir aussi, parce qu’on était en concurrence avec des joueurs publiques, tout ça, donc c’était sur des dépenses.

1944 Donc c’était -- l’aspect prévisible était moins évident et pourtant nous nos engagements contenus ça c’était prévisible. On savait qu’on avait des contrats avec des producteurs puis qu’on avait des dépenses qui étaient engagés.

1945 Donc si on peut avoir un -- une méthode de, disons, d’attribution qui est claire, qui est prévisible, bien nous aussi on va pouvoir s’engager à long terme aussi d’en développer, investir, puis créer plus de contenue local-là.

1946 Donc c’est dans cet esprit-là un peu qu’on faisait référence à ça. Je sais pas si ---

1947 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui, le fond des médias aussi est imprévisible.

1948 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, mais ---

1949 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous allez -- vous pouvez aller chercher -- je sais que vous avec -- vous avez pas beaucoup de succès des fois aller chercher les sommes, parce que c’est basé en grande partie sur les succès de cotes d’écoutes.

1950 Mais vous pourriez produire la meilleur série dramatique, avoir de très bonne cotes d’écoute, mais si vos concurrents vont chercher plus vous êtes pénalisé.

1951 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument.

1952 LE PRÉSIDENT: Entre guillemets.

1953 M. RÉMILLARD: Bien c’est -- le parallèle est bon M. le président, vous connaissez ma position sur le FMC, parce que aujourd’hui on assiste à une situation où les bailleurs de fonds sont ceux qui en retirent le plus aujourd’hui, dans ce fond-là, et les règles font que plus t’en a, plus tu vas en avoir dans le future.

1954 C’est exactement une situation comme celle-là on veut pas répéter, si jamais le Conseil voyait la pertinence de mettre un fond de l’avant.

1955 Alors la FMC est un exemple aussi, qui est -- qui est -- qui porte préjudice à V et à notre capacité de créer du contenu justement prioritaire, dramatique. Et nous -- qui nous permet pas d’être -- compétitif, pardon, dans certains créneaux, face à nos compétiteurs, de par les règles ---

1956 LE PRÉSIDENT: Ça c’est de votre point de vue. Du point de vue du fond, puis de la politique publique, en créant des incitatifs disant que non on va vous donner plus d’argent si vous aller chercher des auditoires --

1957 M. RÉMILLARD: Absolument.

1958 LE PRÉSIDENT: -- on incite les gens de créer de meilleure qualité, qui va aller chercher des auditoires.

1959 M. RÉMILLARD: Vous avez raison, M. le président, mais je vous dirais c’est pas seulement mon opinion, mais c’est l’opinion à peu près de tous les indépendants.

1960 Aujourd’hui la réalité, la consolidation a fait que avec tous les aides, les sommes d’argents qui peuvent être investies par ces groupes intégrés-là, ça fait que les joueurs indépendants aujourd’hui, je pense -- et je me rappelle plus les chiffres exactes, mais ont presque plus accès à ces fonds-là.

1961 Aujourd’hui moi j’ai 1.2 million, si on peut parler du FMC 30 secondes. J’ai 1.2 million. Nous avons 1.2$ million en enveloppe pour faire de la dramatique. Radio Canada a 25 million, TVA a 25 million. Ça c’est du Unité 9 qui font 2 million de cotes d’écoute.

1962 C’est toutes ces émissions que les Québécois sont si fervents. Un point deux (1.2) million, je peux même pas me payer une série.

1963 Alors c’est sûr que ça ça continue à créer ce déséquilibre-là, de même dans les marchés locaux.

1964 Parce que la réalité, M. le président, c’est que quand mon compétiteur va à Québec ou à Sherbrooke, et comme Serge a décrit, vend un plan de vente, il va mettre la production locale, il va mettre les informations locales, mais il va surtout mettre Unité 9. Il va surtout mettre les émissions financé par le FMC et ça ça crée un déséquilibre majeur pour un groupe indépendant.

1965 Alors c’est sûr que c’est des -- c’est pas la tribune pour parler de ça, mais c’est -- ça s’inscrit aussi dans le fait que les joueurs indépendants comme V, on veut continuer à investir, on investit.

1966 On est des partenaires qui veulent investir dans le milieu, mais y’a -- notre réalité est différente de celle d’un câblodistributeur qui détient des télévisions généralistes.

1967 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous voulez que les sommes soient tirées de tous les EDRs? Peu importes qu’ils soient terrestres, satellitaires ou IPTVs? Ayant ou -- est-ce que il faudrait qu’y’aille des licences ou non?

1968 M. BELLEROSE: Non, bien on s’est pas arrêté à ces -- à ces détails-là, mais je pense qu’effectivement y’a certaines EDRs exemptées, je pense, qui pourraient effectivement être exclus de ça.

1969 Je pense que le principe de base qu’on a voulu faire c’est un –- un, on a dit, ne multiplions pas les fonds.

1970 C’est pour ça que on propose -- tsé, on dit il faut pas maintenir le fond de la production locale pour les petits marchés, puis créé un nouveau fond.

1971 Puis que certains indépendants auraient accès au fond de production locale des petits marchés, puis d’autres -- ou tout le monde aurait accès à un fond. On dit regarde, un fond.

1972 Parce que je pense aussi que la réalité des bénéficiaires du fond de production local pour les petits marchés a évolué. Le contexte n’est pas le même que au moment où on l’a créé.

1973 Je dis pas que le besoin n’est pas là, mais le contexte n’est pas le même. Nous, on n’y a même pas accès, alors que dans le fond, on a des stations dans des marchés qui vivent la même réalité par rapport à la distribution par les entreprises par satellite que les stations bénéficiaires du fonds de production locale -- on les distribuait en SD; il y a des problèmes de codes postaux. Toute cette réalité-là, elle est présente également pour nous.

1974 Donc nous on dit un seul fonds avec le même pourcentage de contribution de la part de toutes les EDR. Ça mérite d’être extrêmement simple, facile d’application.

1975 LE PRÉSIDENT: Qu’est-ce que vous dites aux EDR qui disent, “Bien, nous, dans notre région rurale de plus petites communautés, nous, notre canal communautaire dessert très bien cette communauté-là et vous affaiblissez notre service que nous on est capable de fournir à ces communautés-là”? Eastlink a fait valoir ça hier.

1976 M. RÉMILLARD: Oui.

1977 LE PRÉSIDENT: Vous étiez là.

1978 Où eux, ils se disent, “Nous, on le fait très bien et puis là vous nous enlevez des ressources pour desservir les communautés”.

1979 M. BELLEROSE: Bien, ils vont avoir encore des ressources parce que, dans le fond, il va y avoir une réduction -- un réaménagement puis une réduction, mais ils vont toujours avoir des ressources pour la télévision communautaire.

1980 Nous, on ne dit pas de tout retirer à la télé communautaire. Nous, on dit, il y a une réalité où les indépendants ont besoin d’être supportés pour continuer à jouer leur mandat et puis à jouer leur rôle. Donc il faut créer un fonds. Le .5 pourcent, on ne l’a pas lancé comme en l’air. On l’a fait un petit peu à partir de données historiques qui s’appliquaient au FAPL où on a regardé les sommes d’argent qui étaient attribuées à l’époque au FAPL et puis on est arrivé au constat que .5 pourcent en englobant le fonds de -- les sommes qui étaient tirées du fonds de production locale pour les petits marchés, c’était quelque chose qui pouvait créer une base intéressante pour permettre aux stations locales d’offrir un produit pour les communautés locales au niveau des nouvelles.

1981 Et quand je parle de prévisibilité, mais c’est qu’à partir du moment où on -- si on sait que ce fonds-là est là pas pour un an, deux ans, trois ans, mais s’il était là pour cinq ans, c’est-à-dire pour une période équivalente à la durée prévisible des futures licences -- encore là, je présume de rien; je ne sais pas de quelle durée seront les prochaines licences -- mais si on se fie à ce qui s’est fait antérieurement, c’est sur cinq ans, donc au moins t’es capable de faire un plan d’affaire et puis dire, bon, o.k., il y a un fonds. Il va y avoir de l’argent disponible. Pour que j’aie accès à cet argent-là, je dois faire x, y, z.

1982 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je comprends, mais j’essaye de voir l’impact sur les gens dans les communautés qui, aujourd’hui, se sentent très bien desservis, et on l’a entendu. Puis ça me surprendrait pas que les câblodistributeurs, par exemple, si jamais ils avaient moins de montants qu’ils peuvent déduire contre leur contribution, en mettront pas plus et donc on risque de perdre, dans une petite communauté, je ne sais pas, moi, en Nouvelle-Écosse, au Nouveau-Brunswick, une programmation locale pour bénéficier une station régionale dans votre groupe?

1983 M. BELLEROSE: Alors je suis tenté de vous poser la même question. Est-ce que ces grands groupes-là intégrés, vous ne devez pas non plus faire en sorte qu’ils regardent le portrait d’ensemble et appliquent l’argent dont ils disposent pour rencontrer les besoins de ces communautés-là indépendamment des sommes qui proviennent de la communauté?

1984 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc ça c’est votre réponse?

1985 M. BELLEROSE: Bien, c’est une question, une question-réponse.

1986 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Donc vous répondez à ma question par une question?

1987 M. BELLEROSE: Une hypothèse.

1988 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

1989 Vous voulez exclure Radio-Canada d’avoir accès à ce nouveau mécanisme. Pourtant vous vous inspirez beaucoup du modèle FAPL puis y avez accès dans ce contexte-là, particulièrement les communautés en situation minoritaire?

1990 M. BELLEROSE: Oui, puis c’était une des grosses sources du problème du FAPL, parce que le FAPL, si vous vous rappelez, la méthode de distribution était la suivante, c’est qu’il y avait un tiers qui était réparti également. Puis les deux tiers qui étaient répartis selon un historique de dépenses de programmation -- de dépenses en nouvelles locales et de programmation locale.

1991 Alors étant donné que Radio-Canada, à cause des crédits gouvernementaux et puis à cause des ressources énormes dont il disposait historiquement, il dépensait beaucoup, beaucoup plus en nouvelles locales. Alors qu’est-ce que vous pensez qui est arrivé lorsqu’est venu le temps d’avoir l’argent? Il en avait beaucoup plus parce que l’historique les favorisait.

1992 Donc c’est ce qui a fait que quand vous regardez les sommes d’argent qui ont été distribuées par le FAPL, Radio-Canada a remporté le gros lot. Il a eu vraiment accès à beaucoup, beaucoup d’argent à cause de la méthode de répartition qui les favorisait énormément.

1993 LE PRÉSIDENT: Donc les communautés que vous desservez sont plus importantes que les communautés que Radio-Canada desservit ailleurs?

1994 M. BELLEROSE: Pas du tout, pas du tout, loin de là.

1995 Ce qu’on dit c’est que Radio-Canada a largement les moyens avec ses sources autres de financement pour remplir adéquatement son mandat dans les communautés.

1996 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bon, on les entendra en temps et lieu.

1997 M. BELLEROSE: Et je suis certain qu’il va être en désaccord avec ce que je viens de dire.

1998 LE PRÉSIDENT: On ne prendra pas de gageures, mais je pense bien.

1999 C’était mes questions. Je ne sais pas si mes collègues auraient des questions?

2000 Monsieur Dupras.

2001 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: J’ai peut-être une question.

2002 Les indépendants dont vous parlez, qui est-ce que ça inclut?

2003 M. BELLEROSE: Nous, Groupe V, disons au Québec, RNC, Inter-Rives, essentiellement les SMITS…

2004 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Les SMITS.

2005 M. BELLEROSE: …CH et puis…

2006 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Le fait que TVA, par exemple, est dans Télé Inter-Rives, ça change pas la donne pour le statut…

2007 M. BELLEROSE: C’est un actionnaire minoritaire et pour y avoir été -- pour avoir travaillé à Groupe TVA, c’est un partenaire silencieux au sein de Télévision Inter-Rives. À mon avis, ça ne pose pas de problème pour Télévision Inter-Rives.

2008 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Merci.

2009 LE PRÉSIDENT: Quebecor a un partenaire silencieux.

2010 M. BELLEROSE: C’est exceptionnel ça, Monsieur le président.

2011 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je voulais juste vérifier que j’avais bien entendu. D’accord.

2012 Le contentieux, s’il vous plaît?

2013 Me FISHER: Oui, merci, Monsieur le président.

2014 Ma question s’agit de la Pièce 1 qui a été versée au dossier public de cette instance hier.

2015 Nous vous demandons de vous engager à fournir les réponses s’appliquant à votre entreprise au plus tard le 15 février.

2016 M. BELLEROSE: Oui.

2017 UNDERTAKING

2018 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci bien. Ce sont nos questions.

2019 Madame la secrétaire.

2020 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci.

2021 I would now ask FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting to come to the presentation table.

2022 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues when you’re ready, and you have 10 minutes.

PRESENTATION:

2023 MR. MORRISON: Monsieur le président, conseillers, merci d’avoir invité les Amis à comparaître aujourd’hui. Je vous présente Peter Lyman, associé principal chez Nordicity, et Nik Nanos, président du Conseil de Nanos Research, qui m’accompagnent pour répondre à toutes questions qui pourraient survenir au sujet des rapports de recherche que nous vous avons soumis le 5 novembre.

2024 On Thursday Bob Cox, publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press and the Chair of the Canadian Newspapers Association, penned a comment on last week’s Postmedia cuts. Here’s a quote:

2025 “The real crisis arising out of the

massive media disruption of the past decade is communities are losing the journalists who tell people what’s really going on where they live. Let’s move the discussion away from the economic health of some newspaper companies to the democratic health of our communities and talk seriously about how we continue to get local news coverage.”

2026 Our key message today are Canadians care about local TV, especially news. Without prompt action by your Commission, many local stations, particularly in small and medium markets, will likely fail.

2027 Local TV news is essential to the democratic health of our communities and in an environment of scarce resources priority should go to independent stations in small markets.

2028 A key conclusion of the Nordicity-Miller study is that Canada’s local television system is at risk of major cutbacks and station closures. It projects that about half of Canada’s private small and medium market stations could close by 2020. This would cause a permanent loss of 100 hours of local programming weekly and 910 jobs unless you take action.

2029 The weakening or disappearance of local TV services in the order of magnitude projected in the study will sharply reduce the availability and quality of programming, especially local journalism, and this effect will be felt most strongly where local programming and journalism are already in the shortest supply single station markets.

2030 In contrast, large markets are often served by three or more private stations as well as CBC/SRC. The loss of a local station in a large market would be sad, a word that has recently entered the CRTC lexicon, but not fatal.

2031 The study also describes how United States local broadcasters do not face a similar fate because over the years U.S. policy makers have introduced numerous measures to strengthen local TV, measures that your Commission and the Government of Canada have failed to implement.

2032 Your Commission’s continuing assertion that there is sufficient funding within the system to ensure the creation of locally relevant and reflective programming flies in the face of the evidence, a form of denial that evokes the image of King Canute or an ostrich. At it’s very best, your proposed solution of new money for local TV coming from the existing BDU five percent contributions is a stopgap measure -- a stopgap proposal that might delay small and medium market station closures. We do not discount the value of an interim emergency move but much more is needed.

2033 Nordicity-Miller confirms that a reallocation of BDU five percent contributions alone cannot plausibly redress revenue losses for all local TV in Canada. There is simply not enough money on the table to solve the problem. The study indicates that a 1.25 percent BDU contribution would fill the revenue gap otherwise projected for small and medium market stations by 2020. Extending this to all stations would require in excess of 3.5 percent of the BDU contributions, that is 70 percent of all the BDU contributions.

2034 We had proposed a number of key considerations. The Commission must maintain and secure a future for local TV and local news. Multiple local station closures would be unacceptable to Canadians and a damning legacy of your tenure at the CRTC’s helm. Rob-Peter-to-pay-Paul support coming from existing BDU contributions is also unacceptable.

2035 There is a market reality that obligations on BDUs, or rather their customers, cannot be so onerous as to place BDUs at a material competitive disadvantage, vis-à-vis competing and currently non-contributing over the top television players.

2036 A reasonable assessment of priority and sustainability suggests that what ought to emerge from this proceeding is new support for small and medium market stations regardless of ownership, especially when a station is the only service in a given market, and relatively stronger support for independent small and medium market stations in comparison to their vertically integrated counterparts.

2037 If, notwithstanding advice to the contrary, you end up determining that additional local TV funding must be confined to the existing BDU contributions, large market stations should have lower priority for funding.

2038 The Commission and the new government should collaborate to create a policy environment that recognizes the needs and vital importance of local TV. An example would be to recognize the huge one-time hit for local TV stations of channel relocation costs as a result of the former government’s decisions on repurposing the 600 megahertz band.

2039 Although those decisions derive from and align with U.S. driven spectrum repurposing, the Americans have undertaken to reinvest a portion of the windfall to reimburse local TV broadcasters capital costs while the former Canadian government ignored our broadcasters’ needs.

2040 We note that this is the kind of shovel ready infrastructure investment that can kick start the economy. The Prime Minister has said that his top priority is to grow the economy. In your decision, you should draw this opportunity to the government’s attention.

2041 Sixteen (16) months ago at the Lets Talk TV hearing we told you on local television you must act. Our democracy, a well-informed citizenry that is engaged in public life, relies on it. Local stations will close if you don’t. And we don’t have to tell you the political consequences of that.

2042 Although we have seen significant cuts dumb luck is most likely the reason that we haven’t yet had a station closure. If you don’t have preventive measures in place by the autumn of 2016 stations will close. Canadians and the new government will know whom to blame.

2043 Bell Canada, owners of the CTV and CTV2 networks, with more than 30 local stations, advised you during the Lets Talk TV hearing that it might close as many as 20 of those stations by September 201, and the Coalition of Small Market Independent Television Stations wrote you almost a year ago saying that station closures were imminent and in May you brushed them off.

2044 If this hearing’s considerations are confined to a redirection of BDU contributions and not to an increase any solution will be a Band-Aid, at best a temporary fix.

2045 We are cautiously optimistic that the new government may reverse some of the directions, formal and informal, set forth by the former government. We also believe that the government has the capacity and possibly the will to introduce new supports for the system, be they promised funds for public broadcasting, new mandated contributions from OTT or ISP players, changes to advertising expense deductibility and some form of retransmission consent.

2046 You need not ignore policy priorities of the government of the day just because you are a judicial body. Over the past few years you have demonstrated that you are sensitive to this need.

2047 C’est valuable dans les deux sens. Si, à partir de la prevue qui vous aura été présentée lors de ces audiences, vous êtes d’accord avec nous et d’autres qu’il faudra que le gouvernement assume le leadership pour assurer un avenir durable à long terme pour la télé locale, alors, dîtes-le. Faites le savoir au gouvernement. Mettez vos conseils dans votre decision.

2048 We’d be happy to respond to any questions.

2049 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner MacDonald?

2050 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good morning and thank you for your presentation.

2051 I’d like to start off by just asking a couple of questions about the survey just so I understand it.

2052 When you were doing the survey, were you looking at the wider population or were you looking at individuals who either frequently or occasionally view local news programming on their local stations?

2053 MR. NANOS: The survey in the ridings, which was a random telephone survey of land and cell lines, focused on the market, in that particular case the federal ridings. So it included all the people in the community.

2054 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And in any of your research, did you look at a difference between peoples’ desire to get their local news programming on a conventional station versus on an over-the-top or online platform that they may be able to avail local news from?

2055 MR. NANOS: That wasn’t the objective of the survey. The survey was to understand peoples preferences related to local television news.

2056 And it’s quite interesting because it’s pretty clear that people support the principles and policies of the CRTC and they trust the CRTC to make the right decision, and they also say that local television news is quite important.

2057 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And I’d agree with that. I’m actually not surprised to see the numbers that came out and peoples commitment to local news. I’m just sort of wondering sort of how deep your surveys did go, because, you know, with news programming, more is better than some and some is better than none, and I’m just wondering if you looked at relative differences in any of the -- in any of the different ridings that may have had multiple news outlets and what people’s thought processes were when there were more options?

2058 MR. NANOS: Yeah, all the questions that we asked are presented in the report. There’s no other content. So we didn’t cover that content.

2059 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. I didn’t know whether that meant anything different.

2060 MR. MORRISON: Commissioner MacDonald, just for the record, the two surveys submitted are riding-specific and in none of those ridings are there multiple stations, to my knowledge, except in the case of l’Islet-Kamouraska-Rivière-du-Loup where there are three stations but they have a common ownership.

2061 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, perfect. I don’t live in any of these five ridings, so I appreciate that overview.

2062 So I guess just to start off I’m going to have some questions specifically with respect to funding because that obviously was a large part of your submission. But there are a few other issues that I also want to touch on as well.

2063 Without talking about what the proper funding mechanism may be, what are your organization’s thoughts on the ability of community stations to be able to ramp up and be able to offer a significant quantity and quality of local news programming if there was a proper funding mechanism in place?

2064 MR. MORRISON: I may sound like a CRTC Commissioner, but I want to make sure I understand clearly what you mean by community stations.

2065 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: They would be the local community stations in many cases operated by the BDUs in the given area, whether -- if additional funding were put in place, whether they could ramp up to offer daily news programming, for example?

2066 MR. MORRISON: Well, I was interested to hear your interchange with the folks from Eastlink yesterday. And one of you -- it might have been Commissioner Molnar -- asked the question what about what if we changed the mechanism so that there wasn’t a 1 percent subsidy for that purpose, would you still do the programming?

2067 So I got the impression from Eastlink, and I suppose you may ask the other BDUs when they come here, that they like the situation of having what we see as 100 percent subsidy for community programming.

2068 So the issue at this hearing, I could go on and on about the capacity of community television to try to replace programming that is done by local television, but I would say that the problem appears to me, in the real world, to be to maintain what they are doing now rather than to expand it.

2069 And I would stress for you -- and the words are in our brief -- we believe that people care a great deal about journalistic standards which requires professional talent doing the news, and there’s a huge gap between that and amateur community news programming or access programming, Commissioner.

2070 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And would you say that’s true of every region of the country? There are some communities, some areas that only have a community station right now and they really don’t have local programming that speaks to their community? It comes from a larger centre? In the case of Atlantic Canada, oftentimes that comes out of Halifax, for example.

2071 MR. MORRISON: Well, I’m particularly impressed with community television and community radio, for that matter, in Quebec, just off the cuff. But these people do as well as they can what they’re able to do, and I just don’t feel it is seen by the public to be comparable to the services of the threatened local television stations.

2072 And also, when you look at the audience assembled by the community stations, often you’ll find that the unit cost, the cost per viewer, is relatively high compared with local television because in many cases they do not assemble a very large audience. And I say that in respect to community television, but just to not put it in its -- to not make it seem like a solution to a problem when there is something much more important as we have spoken in play.

2073 I would also encourage you to continue to ask BDUs that appear before you whether they would accept a regime where your effective subsidy to community television was less than 100 percent.

2074 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: In your submission you mentioned -- I’m going to read this because it is a quote:

2075 “Conventional stations continue to

play a significant role in the lives of Canadians for the moment.”

2076 And I found the “for the moment” to be an interesting phrase to include.

2077 Are you suggesting that you feel that the relevance of some of these conventional stations is going away as people perhaps migrate more towards getting their news content from other mediums?

2078 MR. MORRISON: We all live in the moment, don’t we? Peter’s study that you have seen projects forward to the year 2020.

2079 A colleague of mine was briefing people over at Heritage Canada on the outcome of another study that Peter did and they were more interested in the second five years.

2080 And so we are preoccupied with the next five years and we think you should be too. In fact, I think the Chairman said in some document I reviewed recently that it would -- you know, three to five years was a reasonable timeframe to look at, and I would encourage you to keep your eye on the next five years. I hope that’s a response.

2081 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: You mentioned actually in your oral presentation today that it would be sad if stations in larger markets close, but it wouldn’t be fatal and the priority obviously should be given to the small and medium markets where perhaps choice is more limited.

2082 I’m just wondering, can you speak to the proposal that Rogers has put forward whereby BDUs that operate community stations in the three larger centres, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, would scale back those operations in the larger centres and redirect those funds to over-the-air or community stations that operate in smaller markets?

2083 MR. MORRISON: Well, it’s evidently self-serving, and I suppose most licensees coming before you are representing what they think is in their best interests. I don’t -- we’re not in a position to advocate that. Rogers is on its own.

2084 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.

2085 MR. MORRISON: We do cooperate with Rogers occasionally, but I can’t tell you what it’s about.

2086 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Without sort of, I guess, speaking to any merits that may be in the Rogers proposal, if such a mechanism -- if such a model was pursued, are there other markets that you think the Commission may want to look at other than Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver if there is a reallocation of funds based on geography to force some of those funds out into other areas other than the three larger centres?

2087 MR. MORRISON: Well, you have various definitions of small, medium and large, I think. I mean, one of them in certain circumstances is that small is below 300,000. This isn’t the municipality itself but the listening area, the census metropolitan area, and then the second one is variously 500,000 or sometimes a million. For example, the Local Programming Improvement Fund of 2009, I think it excluded the eight largest centres. It wasn’t just Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. I guess Montreal was two of them because of the two language groups. So there are a variety of ways of cutting it.

2088 The essence of our advice today is the smaller, the more serious, and I would say with respect to the -- you know, it would be sad if something happened in a big city. It’s a loss of something in a huge reservoir of other things, and with limited resources the focus should be on the loss of everything in a smaller community. Thunder Bay comes to mind, Peterborough, Rivière-du-Loup.

2089 In other words, the membership of the SMITS Coalition is pretty representative of the places that are in the most trouble. Of course, there are places that I imagine are in trouble within the -- did we hear yesterday that 25 of Bell’s local stations were losing money? I have a recollection of hearing that, I was listening on a, you know, a computer in some hotel room.

2090 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So in your intervention you mentioned certain steps that have been taken in the U.S. by the regulators to -- well, I guess that have resulted in those stations being in a different position than some of their Canadian counterparts, things like blackout programming and retransmission consent. But you say that those decisions have been the reason that the Canadian system is in a different situation, but you stopped short of advocating for similar measures in Canada.

2091 Can you -- can you speak a little bit more about what has been done south of the border, and your viewpoints on how or if that would make sense in the Canadian market?

2092 MR. MORRISON: Could we do that in a two-part way? Peter who has expertise on that topic from his study might speak about the American scene grosso modo, and then I could follow-up to respond.

2093 MR. LYMAN: As a Canadian of course. I think the U.S. has had quite a different tradition of local broadcasters being protected and served quite well in a variety of ways, which is very hard to replicate exactly in Canada. I mean the form of retransmission consent was fought through the Courts in the American system, to enable local broadcasters to in effect either barter or obtain funding -- bartering by getting access to programming and so on -- that enabled them to have their own services -- informally specialty services of a local nature.

2094 So, that along with the blackout provisions of programming that they had the rights to, and the distant signals being prevented from bringing in local from outer jurisdictions, other markets, so all that evolved in a way that I think if you unpack it, it would be difficult for Canada to kind of replicate it.

2095 But as was pointed out in the submission, there was the opportunity of the Commission, and the Commission sought of course legal advice or went before the Courts, and found that it was ultra vires, they couldn’t a make a decision in that regret -- that respect. And that was I guess most related to retransmission consent.

2096 So that was Canada’s way of -- at that time to try to -- try to rectify a situation of financing for local broadcasters. You could revisit it I’m sure, but it would require an Act of the Parliament to make some other decision.

2097 MR. MORRISON: And Peter said it all, but just to wrap that, that was the sense of the last 100 words or so of my brief oral introduction. We are advocating a collaboration between the Commission and the government, which can be done while still respecting your statutory situation.

2098 And we have reason to believe -- I struck out a few words here based on good intelligence, we’re not intelligent, but we have reason to believe that there is a new openness, I mean a lot has changed in Ottawa three months ago. And so those are subjects that ought to be -- that ought to be moved on, and we will be active on the political front doing that too.

2099 But it would be very helpful if the Commission, noting that certain things were possibly beyond its immediate jurisdiction but useful, communicated that to the government. There's nothing really preventing you from putting such a paragraph into a decision that might come out of the policy reflections of this hearing.

2100 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay, thank you. In your oral submission -- and again, in your -- the questions you’ve answered today, you expressed support for small and medium markets. And yesterday when we were here we heard a presentation from Bell that would see funding taken away from various different elements, community TV among them, to create a new local news fund that various stations could access to support offering more news programming and diversity of voices in the market.

2101 And I’m just wondering if you could perhaps give us your thoughts on the proposal that was made yesterday?

2102 MR. MORRISON: Well, like -- and the proposal made yesterday is not completely different from the input that Bell gave you on November 5th, just taking it as a whole. Like Rogers, Bell has an interest to protect, and that’s perfectly legitimate.

2103 And so our, you know, we have come to this hearing trying to contribute to a sense of what are the possibilities, what are the things that you might do. And we have put forward a hierarchy that differs from Bell’s. The hierarchy of need is the smaller, the more the need; and the less vertically integrated, the more the need.

2104 And so Bell’s proposal interested us, I would offer to comment more specifically and in detail on it in your February 15th final comments phase. But we aren’t -- we do not believe that you can achieve what is necessary within the existing 5 percent BDU situation.

2105 I’m not sure it would have to go back up to 6.5 as it did you may know during the LPIF era, but in our mind, something in the range of 6 percent might be necessary. Otherwise you're getting into some ops and choices between various things that are important in themselves.

2106 I mentioned earlier the notion of BDUs getting a subsidy for community programming, but less than what amounts to a 100 percent subsidy. And certainly we would favour you being more stringent in the large markets than in the smaller markets, general comments now.

2107 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And you draw the line, and rightly so, between the smaller operators, the independents and the large vertically integrated firms. One of the parts of Bell’s proposal was actually Bell would be one of the, if not the largest, recipient of funds under that proposal as well, but did not commit to any new news programs as a result of that funding.

2108 MR. MORRISON: Yeah.

2109 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So when you're making your final comments, you may want to suggest how those funds could better be divided among non-vertically integrated providers.

2110 MR. MORRISON: I have in my notes here and cannot readily find a breakout of the beneficiaries, but I recall that Bell was way up in the two-digit millions and that entities like Shaw and CBC were well down in the low one-digit millions, yes.

2111 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So, if a fund is created regardless of what form it takes and where the money comes from. Can you comment on who should administer the fund, and how it should be administered so it is independent and can, you know, preserve, you know, journalistic integrity in its funding decisions to various stations and various markets?

2112 MR. MORRISON: I think I’d be doing you more of a service and facilitating the agenda by offering to comment on that by the 15th of February too, because that's a matter of some ---

2113 THE CHAIRPERSON: The 5th of February.

2114 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: The 5th.

2115 THE CHAIRPERSON: Undertakings are for the 5th.

2116 MR. MORRISON: I'm not the first person you’ve reminded of that, Mr. Chair.

2117 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

2118 MR. MORRISON: Yes, yes. I almost got away with the 15th for a minute though.

2119 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I’m sure someone on the staff would have caught that before the -- before the final submission date.

2120 And just one final question, and it sort of jumps from the local stations back to the community stations. If we did look at -- and you have suggested that perhaps they couldn’t scale up to a level of being able to develop a sufficient quality and quantity of news programming -- but if try to augment their funding by allowing them to sell advertising in their local markets to, you know, allow them to channel any advertising dollars to locally relevant programming, what would your thoughts be on that?

2121 MR. MORRISON: I think I mentioned earlier that in many cases they have a rather modest market share of viewers at any given time. If somebody from the advertising business were here and you asked them that question, they would want the numbers.

2122 So there’s a possibility that it might be of some help, a possibility there’s some niche advertisers that might benefit from that opportunity, but I wouldn’t -- I think you should commission a study to identify the potential. I think it might be very modest and not, in general terms, anywhere near a solution to the problem.

2123 COMISSIONNER MACDONALD: Okay. Thank you. Those are my questions.

2124 THE CHAIRPERSON: I believe Legal has some questions for you.

2125 MS. FISHER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

2126 I have Exhibit 2 which I will ask the Secretary to provide you a copy of.

2127 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks.

2128 MS. FISHER: This exhibit contains a series of questions relating to the study’s near-term prospects for local TV in Canada and Canadian television 2020 technological and regulatory impacts.

2129 The Commission doesn’t expect you to provide an answer to these questions at the hearing as they will require some thinking and legwork on your part, but we do ask that you undertake to provide responses, as applicable, by February 15th.

2130 MR. MORRISON: We would be delighted to do that.

2131 UNDERTAKING

2132 MS. FISHER: Thank you.

2133 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Those are our questions.

2134 We’ll take a break until five minutes to 11:00. Thank you very much.

--- Upon recessing at 10:42 a.m.

--- Upon resuming at 10:55 a.m.

2135 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’ordre, s’il vous plait.

2136 Madame la secrétaire.

2137 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci.

2138 We will now hear the presentation of Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations (CACTUS).

2139 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 10 minutes.

PRESENTATION:

2140 MS. EDWARDS: Good afternoon, Chairman Blais, Commissioners Dupras, Simpson, MacDonald and Molnar. I’m Catherine Edwards with the Canadian Association of Community Television Users and Stations, or CACTUS, the unintentionally prickly name by which we’re known.

2141 Our members include not-for-profit, over-the-air and cable-only community TV stations, community TV corporations, such as Metro Vancouver, that produce on BDU community channels and dozens of individual Canadians and community groups that are concerned about the democratic deficit that has arisen in the wake of consolidation in the cable industry.

2142 We agree, as do almost all intervenors in this proceeding, that the goals for the community element remain more relevant than ever in an environment of intense media ownership concentration and in which the public and private sectors seem challenged to supply local content.

2143 With me are members John Gagnon of Wawatay Native Communications Society, a radio broadcaster wishing to reinstate a TV broadcasting using its existing network of towers in Anishinaabe Aski communities; John Savage at the far end representing the Ontario Library Association, the Ontario Public Library Association and endorsed by the Canadian Library Association with whom CACTUS is partnering to develop public libraries as community media centres; Andre Desrochers, second from the end de CSUR, la télé in Vaudreuil-Soulanges, qui m’a demandé de le représenter pour ses 25 années de se battre pour la télévision communautaire; Patrick Watt of St. Andrews Community TV at my right in New Brunswick, who, as an over-the-air licence holder, can answer questions you may have about the distribution of independent community TV; Deepak Sahasrabudhe, to my immediate right, of the internet-based NewWest.tv in B.C. who’s been studying BDU compliance. You met him yesterday. And Gary Jessop, CACTUS’ legal counsel. And finally, we’re honoured to be joined by Penny McCann, second to my right of SAW video, a member of the Independent Media Arts Alliance, a network of approximately 100 artist-owned cooperatives across Canada.

2144 Many IMAA members offer video training and equipment access but lack access to broadcasting. CACTUS has developed partnerships with public libraries, video cooperatives and community radio stations because it will be a big job to revitalize Canada’s community TV sector.

2145 Together we do have the capacity to meet the Commission’s goals for our sector, but we do need your help.

2146 The working document released on January 12th focuses on the importance of local news. We were assured by the Commission in Let’s Talk TV that a full review of community TV would occur during 2015 or 2016. So we trust that the challenges facing community TV will be addressed and are as much a concern to the commission as to us.

2147 These include widespread station closures in the wake of cable industry technical interconnection and ownership consolidation over the last 15 years and a lack of citizen access at the relatively few cable community channels that remain, which Deepak detailed yesterday. His online database at www.comtv.org forms the basis of 69 complaints filed by CACTUS and community groups affecting over 80 percent of licensed cable systems.

2148 MR. SAHASRABUDHE: The vast majority of intervenors do not believe that rebalancing funding away from community channels is necessary or appropriate.

2149 FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting and the Forum for Research and Policy in Communications provides compelling evidence that the profitability of local professional news is likely to continue to decrease and cannot be addressed by pillaging the community sector. They do not agree that there is enough money in the system.

2150 Only Rogers, Bell and the SMITS Coalition advocate taking money from community TV to support local professional news. For Rogers and Bell, this would mean a reallocation of funding among their own properties. For SMITS Coalition members, it would mean a real gain.

2151 MS. EDWARDS: The fact that 81 percent of Canadians surveyed by Harris/Decima “value” local TV news appears to be driving this proceeding. But comparing this figure to the 32 percent that said they value community channels is to compare apples with oranges. Respondents were asked to rank program categories including news, comedy, drama.

2152 A community channel is a channel that may air all these formats. It’s not stated where respondents live, in urban or rural areas.

2153 Urban community channels are known to have high-niche but low overall viewership, while rural channels tend to have high overall viewership if they are the only local TV channel.

2154 And 52 percent of Atlantic Canadians said they value community channels in the same survey.

2155 Furthermore, more than 200 community channels have closed and the majority that remain do not promote access or air local content as the CRTC expects. How can Canadians value something to which they don’t have access?

2156 But most significantly, the Harris/Decima survey did not ask where respondents source most local information. In the surveys conducted by CREO in our member communities and by the Community Media Policy Working Group, TV trailed the internet, radio and newspapers as a source for local information. We’re not sure that local reflection can be effectively studied or regulated on one medium in isolation from others.

2157 MR. GAGNON: The proposal we’ve presented at the community media convergence on the 24th and to this proceeding on January 5th is an instance of the Commissioner’s proposal for Fund A.

2158 It is essential for First Nation people to operate media that reflects our local concerns, aspirations, language and culture to ensure the healthy future for our peoples.

2159 If the public and private sectors are challenged to provide a few hours of local coverage per week in just 59 cities with populations of 100,000 or more by utilizing the community sectors cost effective production model, we can step into the gap and provide televisual content for our people.

2160 One hundred and fifty-one (151) million spent BDU community channels is enough to serve 250 communities with their own TV station, including communities having fewer than 10,000 people.

2161 Based on our network production patterns 75 percent of the content will be in the language -- local news and information. We’ll provide training in traditional and new media so our people can confidently participate in the digital economy.

2162 Community citizens with relevant information will be able to reach the community, the region and nation, on all platforms by whatever media. This is Wawatay’s vision for Anishinaabe Aski Nation communities.

2163 MR. SAVAGE: CACTUS proposes that that 151 million spent on BDU community channels be directed to a new community access media fund to support channels owned and operated by community-based not-for-profit organizations. They will be accountable with representation from community institutions, such as public libraries, cultural, educational and social service organizations and, best of all, me and you.

2164 Existing infrastructure and expertise will be leveraged among 200 community media organizations over 600 public libraries with 3,600 branches and bookmobiles, 3,000 former local cap sites and 100 IMAA members.

2165 There will be no service gap while CAMF gets up and running. Existing organizations will access operational funding right away to meet the Commission’s community access mandate and the need for local information outside the 59 markets served by public and private stations. Community based organizations are the only players that can address both challenges.

2166 MS. McCANN: It’s significant that although every BDU gives lip service to the importance of citizen access, some in glowing terms, everyone requests less de facto access. How can access be the cornerstone of the CRTC’s policy for community TV if just a minority of the content is produced by citizens?

2167 These requests, in combination with their inability to meet existing access minima in the majority of licence areas, show that BDUs fundamentally don’t get it. They imply that access is expensive and requests more flexibility, yet it’s when you don’t have many resources that you need volunteers and collaborate with communities more. BDUs see as a burden what communities know is an opportunity.

2168 The fund we propose will serve five times as many communities as a private sector fund, reduce the regulatory burden for BDUs and the Commission, and restore accountability at two levels. Community elected boards will manage local budgets and CAMF will oversee the national community TV budget.

2169 M. DESROCHERS: Nous trouvons déconcertant qu’il y a à peine deux ans, lors du retrait du Fonds d’amélioration de la programmation locale, le FAPL, parce que le Conseil estimait qu’il n’était pas souhaitable de dépendre du financement du fonds à long terme dans le contexte du nouvel environnement de radiodiffusion, qu’aujourd’hui ils reviennent proposer encore la création d’un même fonds.

2170 Comme le souligne le PIAC, le FAPL a été perçu comme une manœuvre de la part des EDR pour sortir de l’argent d’une poche et se le remettre dans une autre.

2171 Pourquoi retourner dans cette direction encore une fois et compromettre l’unique secteur avec un mandat local exclusif et positionné pour générer la proportion de contenu local dont tout le monde dit avoir besoin ?

2172 Nous avons le devoir de redistribuer cette rare ressource financière vers les groupes et les régions qui sauront faire fructifier au maximum ces argents dans les communautés.

2173 Remettre une portion du fonds aux stations locales privées ne résoudra pas le problème à long terme. Pour y arriver, il faut une sérieuse restructuration. Pourquoi ne pas se baser sur la proposition du FRIENDS of Canadian Broadcasting, de s’inspirer du FCCC aux États-Unis, qui utilise les approches plus axées sur le marché, comme “retransmission consent” ou le “local market rights protection”?

2174 Ou, tel que le mentionne PIAC, la grande concentration des médias a été rendue possible parce que les EDR vous ont dit et écrit qu’ils avaient les reins assez solides pour financer la production de bulletins de nouvelles et de séries dramatiques.

2175 Le Conseil a mentionné que les EDR sont dans une ère de croissance modérée. Nous sommes en accord qu’il y a suffisemment d’argent dans le système, mais il serait très contreproductif à ce qu’une simple portion d’argent prévue au secteur communautaire soit retirée.

2176 MR. WATT: The Commission’s Proposal B would allow BDUs to direct money from their urban to rural community channels to create professional news. However, the elements are meant to be complementary not competitive.

2177 In any facility which professional news is made, citizen access would lose out, which Rogers confirms by proposing to reduce the amount of access if this plan is adopted.

2178 BDU community channels would become local private news stations that would exploit volunteers as cheap labour if they are permitted any access at all.

2179 BDUs have already closed more than 200 stations, including over 20 in my province of New Brunswick. Rogers acknowledges that more than two thirds of its remaining production facilities are in communities already served by private and public stations.

2180 The best way to meet the needs of smaller communities is to empower us to allocate resources to the program formats we need not the BDUs.

2181 MS. EDWARDS: A hundred and fifty (150) million will not prop up private local broadcasting but it is enough to unleash the dormant power of communities to program for themselves. A hundred and fifty-one (151) million is 1/10th the budget of the public sector and 1/20th that of the private sector.

2182 As one pillar in the system, surely communities have earned the right to manage this modest budget. After 40 years of BDU management, 18 years of watching our community channels close and fighting BDUs for control of what was meant to be a community resource, surely Canadians have won the right to show that we can answer our own need for local information and at least in markets not served by conventional broadcasters. If communities come clamoring back to BDUs to take the reins again we’d be surprised.

2183 Thanks very much for the opportunity to participate in this proceeding and we look forward to your questions.

2184 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

2185 Commissioner Molnar please.

2186 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.

2187 Good morning, everyone. I’m going to focus my questions solely on your proposal that you came forward with in your last submission and represented here today -- presented here today.

2188 First of all, just a sense -- and I see that you have, for example, someone from the Public Libraries on your panel here today. So can you give me a sense as to whether or not community access media centers as you have proposed grow within all communities, are there any examples of where they might exist in some form today?

2189 MS. EDWARDS: So other countries have tended to steam ahead because community media’s always been viewed as defined by community ownership. So there’s been natural partnerships arisen, for example, between community television and community radio and institutions like public libraries in other jurisdictions.

2190 So, for example, the two that we point to -- and they came to the community media convergence and we presented -- and in fact we have put on the public record a video from the nearest one in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Is actually a community media center hosted within a public library that has a cable broadcasting licence for TV. It has an over-the-air radio channel. It’s got a live theatre where actors in the community can make plays, they can have town hall debates and all have it televised from that facility.

2191 There’s also neighbourhood satellite facilities around Grand Rapids as well that are all linked together. So citizens can produce at different hubs and have it all be transmitted on these multiple media.

2192 So those are the kinds of models that we think are forward looking and progressive for Canada.

2193 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So I’m going to talk about the issue of the money you propose. Separate, outside of the revenue, are there other barriers that would prohibit, or stop, or inhibit perhaps is a better word, the development of these centers here in Canada?

2194 MS. EDWARDS: So we got a Trillium Foundation grant a couple of years ago to start talking about these models in Ontario, and that’s what’s led to the development of partnerships with the Ontario Library Association as well as the Canadian Library Association.

2195 They don’t currently have the budgets for broadcasting. They’ve taken -- over the last five years there’s been literature and all -- that John will elaborate in a moment -- about public library maker spaces where they understand that public libraries need to reinvent themselves in the digital age just like broadcasters do.

2196 So there’s some move in this direction. But other parties don’t necessarily have leadership in broadcasting. in that it takes a lot of networking on the ground to develop that.

2197 CACTUS as a national organization -- I mean, I have travelled and seen these models in other countries but I’m one person. CACTUS has no employees. I get paid, frankly, from the public -- the broadcasting participation fund as a consultant.

2198 So it takes a lot of outreach to build a new model. So, for example, the original community television fantastic policy that we have had in Canada was developed first at the National Film Board through several years of experimentation, through the Challenge for Change Program. The CRTC took it on as a way to get video production in the hands of communities. And then it was another five or six years of experimenting until the first 1975 formal policy. There were Challenge for Change newsletters that the National Film Board sent out to support that.

2199 So it takes a lot of sort of infrastructure to get the balls rolling on communication so that communities understand this, and we’re doing it as fast as we can but that’s slow when you have no budget for sure.

2200 Did you want to elaborate, John?

2201 MR. SAVAGE: The public libraries are already moving into this sphere. Back in the 1990s and 2000s the federal government, through Industry Canada, funded public libraries to become community access points for the internet. That infrastructure has now been put in place. There’s a rural broadband initiative through Industry Canada as well to bring up the capacity in the rural areas.

2202 The next stage for public libraries -- public libraries are always looking for the next phase to evolve into. Back in 1948 it was working with the National Film Board to provide films to their communities, and they had showings and that sort of thing. So they’ve been involved in community media for some time.

2203 The next stage is -- looks like it’s the Make Your Space Program.

2204 So it’s teaching digital literacy and technical skills to the public, their community groups. They reach out to different stakeholder groups within their communities. And part of that is video and film production.

2205 Sheila Patterson with the Ontario Library Association emailed me to confirm that 45 percent of public libraries in Ontario are offering film and video production services -- programs, which includes training and editing.

2206 The Vancouver Public Library, for instance, has set up their -- about half of their third floor has sound studios for music and film production with green screens and banks of computers for film editing -- film and photo editing. They’re bringing in, in fact, trainers to teach the public on film production and video production.

2207 So already the libraries have moved into this sphere. They’re providing these services. All they need is to have their programs connected to cable companies and other forms of dissemination.

2208 MS. EDWARDS: If I can add on as well. The public libraries I have spoken to, what they’ll say is, we understand that we’re about giving people media literacy skills training.” But for example, one of the ones I talked to in Innisfil, north of Toronto, which is very forward thinking, he said, “You know, we had this training program for small businesses to come and figure out how to make videos. There was all this interest in the community, and about 30 of them came in, took the training, but then they went away and nothing happened with it.”

2209 And I think what a broadcast channel --route distributed gives, and this is the piece that the libraries don’t have yet, is how do you take a passive workshop to a skill -- you know, to give skills training to a community? But how do you take that next step to create the virtuous circle, where the community starts to see itself on a regular basis and applies that training?

2210 And that’s where the broadcasting piece is that the libraries don’t have yet. And that’s why it’s a really potent, potential partnership.

2211 And some of the libraries that have gone the furthest, for example, Schreiber Public Library, which is way up in Northern Ontario. Donna Mikeluk there runs it and did a presentation at the Community Media Convergence; happens to have a broadcasting background. So she was able to put those two together, and they regularly stream. But she is interested in doing more than just streaming because she feels the internet on its own isn’t yet a dynamic enough platform to reach everyone in that community.

2212 So these are partnerships that need to be built.

2213 MR. SAVAGE: The last thing with public libraries is there’s a synergy with the local news. Public libraries, even before there was electronic communications for gathering places for the community to listen to talks on various subjects, listen to politicians’ debates. We’ve seen that evolve as public libraries have continued in that way with public speaker series, art galleries even.

2214 They’re a gathering place for community information. They have bulletin boards and on their websites, you’re starting to see them as vehicles for pushing out news about the community.

2215 So if you go to a public library, you’ll often see the bulletin board with -- or handouts with what’s happening coming down. That’s not much different than what’s already on a lot of community channels with their community events guides.

2216 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes, thank you.

2217 I actually was very interested in reading your contributions and you’re of course not funded by any elements of the broadcasting system. You have separate sources.

2218 So just so I understand what you said. You consider that kind of the largest barrier to achieving your objectives as the public library system is to have sort of a linear broadcast? Is that the idea, the linear broadcast to exhibit the programming or is it all platforms, you have control of some of those platforms; the online platforms?

2219 MR. SAVAGE: The linear ---

2220 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Where is it you’re seeing the barriers?

2221 MR. SAVAGE: Well, the barriers are funding, basically. It’s hard for libraries. They’re not receiving the amount of funding that would help to meet the community need.

2222 For instance, the Vancouver Public Library, when they set up their program recently, they had -- a third of the money had to be kicked in from the City; a third came from their own budget and other contributions.

2223 So each one has a different financial model. There’s a lot of literature out there that supports the fact that libraries are cash strapped. And in order for them to take on an increasing role, they need money from the federal government or through other sources, like they did with the Community Access Program, to connect them to the internet and to provide training to their communities.

2224 MS. EDWARDS: There’s an additional piece though, which is training in broadcasting. So librarians don’t come with that.

2225 So for example, how to interview, you know, professional journalistic skills; how to interview and create an objective piece; how to interview a politician; how to edit a news story. Those aren’t traditional skills that the public library has.

2226 So while they understand how to teach someone how to physically use Final Cut Pro maybe, if one of those librarians sits down and wants to teach a piece of software, that doesn’t necessarily translate into editorial understanding of content or to schedule a community news program or something like that.

2227 So there’s broadcast skills that need to be brought into the mix.

2228 And so as John said, in the Vancouver Public Library program, they needed an additional budget to bring in broadcast trainers from outside.

2229 MR. SAVAGE: They did. And again, with the Ottawa Public Library, I learned that Penny and the -- and SAW, down there, they’ve come in to help train people there as well.

2230 So they do have to hire some trainers but under the management of a public library, they’re fully capable of networking with community groups and expertise within their communities to bring them in to help them out.

2231 Their key contribution is that a public library, in their own collection development, they -- for instance, the Vancouver Public Library, they have 400 stakeholder groups that they will contact to develop a collection development strategy for gathering information relevant to their community groups, which is far beyond any organization that I know of to do that same work.

2232 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So the Community Access Media Centres that you speak of collaborate with the public libraries. You suggested high schools, colleges, universities.

2233 You just mentioned that you have a central hub of information for the community in building out this access; some synergies with news or analogies with news, if you will.

2234 What would you see as the actual hub? Put aside the linear broadcasting right now because of course, you know, as we move forward, multiple platforms becomes an important element, and I think it’s one you’ve identified. Would you see that hub to be something that you’ve created for the Community Access Centre? Would you see it to be the library? What’s the hub?

2235 MS. EDWARDS: Do you mean the physical location of it or are you referring to -- I mentioned they used the word “hub” earlier, do you mean?

2236 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, I’m using it from the perspective of where would the community ---

2237 MS. EDWARDS: Congregate?

2238 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- go to access this information? Would we still have a segregation of information which is held by the libraries and that’s -- which is held by a news centre? Or it’s congregated where? Where’s the destination?

2239 MS. EDWARDS: I think it depends on the community. So for example, the public library that we had come to the Community Media Convergence to chat and share their model was Allen County Public Library in Indiana. And the library is the host for the TV station studio as well as the radio studio.

2240 In Grand Rapids, Michigan, they have about three different locations around the city. One is a live theatre space with robot cams in it that they can broadcast, which is connected to their main TV studio facility and radio facility.

2241 And they have a third location somewhere else -- it’s like a mobile lab, where people can come and check out laptops and things.

2242 But I think in a really small community, where there’s no other facility except for a public library, that would be the natural place to start. In communities where there are IMA members, for example, some IMA members are very interested in actually becoming -- like if they could broadcast and build a closer relationship with the viewing public, they’re interested in the mandate.

2243 Other IMA members see themselves more as experimental video artists who might be interested to sit on the board of a new media centre.

2244 So I think it depends on every community, and you’re going to hear from Don Jobson, who is developing a multi-hub model in Toronto, which is a huge area of course, with contributors such as Regent Park Focus, that you’re already going to be talking to, later in the week, who cater to youth needs.

2245 So their idea in Toronto is there could be multiple centres including public libraries, gaming groups that might all contribute and be able to upload content to a single broadcast channel.

2246 So I think it -- the answer is different in every community. And that’s the importance of the ability of communities to put together boards of their own, devising the structure that’s going to suit their community, the distribution mechanism that's going to suit whether that’s over the air, cable, satellite. So that’s the beauty of it, is it can be tailored to meet the needs of each community.

2247 MR. SAVAGE: And these are similar challenges to what was faced by the Community Access Program. So it wasn’t just libraries that you had your -- those internet locations were placed, but they were -- for each community they came up with a solution for that community.

2248 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So it’s a radical change from what exists today?

2249 MS. EDWARDS: It seems radical in Canada, but that’s the way it works everywhere else, it’s ---

2250 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So, here’s my question.

2251 MS. EDWARDS: Yeah.

2252 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Because everywhere else -- fair enough ---

2253 MS. EDWARDS: Yeah.

2254 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- but my question is ---

2255 MS. EDWARDS: Yeah.

2256 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- do you have any evidence or indication that this would be supported by Canadians? Have you done any ---

2257 MS. EDWARDS: Maybe I’ll comment on the RAD, it’s, you know, we have crossover systems where it’s not radical at all, so I’ll give you a few examples. So for example, any CTV Neepawa access community TV is -- used to be part of the Westman Cable System, which is a community-owned cooperative in Western Manitoba with -- containing about 17 communities, so they're part of what we see as the BDU system. And I’ve spoken to Chris Edwards with the CCSA, he told me that about a third of their members are also community-owned cable cooperatives that operate a community ---

2258 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I’m the Commissioner for Manitoba, so I’m aware of it.

2259 MS. EDWARDS: Yeah, so we already have community-owned cable systems, which are therefore operating community -- owned and operated community TV channels, which -- so it’s kind of a hybrid middle position. So I don’t think it’s such a dramatic move, it's -- we just feel particularly in an environment ---

2260 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Just ---

2261 MS. EDWARDS: --- in which BDUs have withdrawn, that we need to focus on those ones that are more close to the community. Is that ---

2262 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So, fair enough, and before I continue ---

2263 MS. EDWARDS: Yes.

2264 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- maybe it is important to understand how significant of a change this is, because -- Westman aside -- bringing together the high schools, colleges, universities, public libraries ---

2265 MS. EDWARDS: M’hm.

2266 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- providing them what you would want is $169 million a year and giving them control; you don’t think that’s a radical change?

2267 MS. EDWARDS: It's consistent with other -- what our trading partners do. So for example, the public access system in the U.S. ---

2268 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: A radical change within our system.

2269 MS. EDWARDS: Yes, but it’s long overdue. I don’t know, that doesn’t scare me because I don’t -- we don’t see that the current model is working. So we think a radical move is -- it’s time.

2270 M. DESROCHERS: Et ce qu’on voulait proposer, on voulait vous démontrer l’axe qui est -- on veut inverser l’axe. Au lieu que les MAtv de ce monde contrôle les programmations, c'est la communauté qui se disperse.

2271 Alors chez nous on le fait déjà, et ça fonctionne, il nous manque juste l’argent et il nous manque la télédi -- on a pas de B diffusion. Alors pour palier à ça, ben on a des équipements mobiles, on se promène. Alors les bibliothèques participent, les écoles secondaires participent. Alors on va chez eux, on enregistre les émissions et des fois même on les diffuse en direct sur internet.

2272 Alors y a des participations, on a des parties de hockey, on a des galas des écoles secondaires, on a des participations à des « rap fest » que les jeunes organisent, on a les -- donc c'est déjà en place à certains endroits. Même au Québec où on a plusieurs télés sans but lucratif, ont déjà un peu ce modèle-là de décentraliser. Donc de prendre à partir de la communauté ce qu’elle veut et les endroits qu’elle veut, et ils participent en -- même en étant sous le CA, et en étant sous les comités de production.

2273 Et voilà, « Nous nous désirons avoir une émission cette année dans l’école secondaire », on y va -- on a -- donc y a déjà -- cet axe-là inversé commence déjà à s’implanter, parce que le modèle inverse est en train de régionaliser les émissions et vous recevez des plaintes de non-conformité là qui vont se répéter peut-être de plus en plus là.

2274 MS. EDWARDS: If I could add two things too, I think the Commission already -- first of all, there’s been a radical departure in the way that cable companies operate their community channels, so I was an employee in the system and I thought it worked great up until the late 1990s.

2275 The radical change is what’s happened inside the cable industry in first of all, the ownership consolidation, but more just pulling out technical head ends that used to serve small communities where there was economies in scales and also locating a studio.

2276 The radical change already happened, it's how to find another model to bring back service to all the small communities that have lost them. And we think that the Commission in 2002 policy was already conscious of that radical shift, and that a different way was going to have to be found to address it.

2277 So for example, the 2002 policy introduced for the first time the possibility that not-for-profit community groups like Patrick’s could step into the gap, there's no BDU community channel facility in his county of -- the Charlotte County in New Brunswick, and fill the gap.

2278 In addition, there was a clause introduced in the policy that ICTV in Montreal employed last year -- that if a BDU was not meeting the local or access requirements, that a not-for-profit community group could step in and deploy that budget to meet the Commission’s expectations.

2279 So actually, we feel that it’s consistent with the moves that the Commission has been making to -- in recognition of the deservicing of small and rural areas that's been occurring in the wake of consolidation, which is no one’s fault, it’s just -- it’s just the industry evolving. So I think it’s the next natural step for Canada.

2280 And I think Penny was wanting to add something.

2281 MS. McCANN: I just wanted to add something about the -- there's 100 “I’m a Member” centres across Canada in many -- in large communities, small communities. And as Cathy mentioned, several of them are interested in participating within a broadcast model.

2282 Those members, some of them -- it’s not a coincidence that some of those members are 45, 40, 35 years old. The SAW video is 35 year old old this year, and that is -- that aligns with the rise of broadcast and these are -- so these are independent filmmakers who work outside -- some of their work is broadcast, but generally they choose to work outside of the, you know, they’ve grown in response to the consolidated broadcast system that has been in place up until now.

2283 So, as collaborators and participants within a community TV model, there's thousands, thousands of them connected -- connected with I’m a member’s across Canada. So they're already in place, a whole thriving independent film and video community is already in place.

2284 MS. EDWARDS: That lack distribution though, they're training and equipment access points, but they don’t currently broadcast.

2285 MS. McCANN: That’s right.

2286 MR. SAVAGE: One thing I would like to also suggest, it is a radical change in some communities to have a more democratic system in which -- which is more responsive to the community. And that's an area where public libraries and this governance’s model can really help out, because they're accountable to their communities through the library boards. With the CAMF, they're looking at setting up a board that would be responsive to their local communities. And what that does is it takes the -- it allows the community to design the programs more to suit their needs and their demographics.

2287 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So there's lots of great work done and lots of organizations and that’s wonderful. And if I ensure I'm still on track here, what they need is a broadcast medium and they need money?

2288 MS. EDWARDS: They would need additional funding to add broadcasting to what they do already.

2289 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Right.

2290 MS. EDWARDS: For example, you’ll hear from Jeff Scott with Tri-Cities TV a little later today who’s functioning on a budget of 30 thousand to serve an area that Shaw collects a budget of 7 to 800,000 for community TV and doesn’t do a single program, so he’s struggling. He does it out of -- there's no facility, they just own a few cameras which he loans out of his house.

2291 So there's lots of organizations that are underfunded to do the full mandate, but are ready and desirous to do it, have the local not-for-board structure in place, have parts, pieces of the mandate, but it hasn’t been put together because they individually lack the infrastructure. It’s an infrastructure issue and an education issue.

2292 MR. SAVAGE: And the last point is that what we’re talking about is taking existing pieces of the puzzle and linking them together. So as we’re developing our cultural industries and public libraries are really focused on trying to contribute to the local economy, is we’re linking institutions that have a lot of resources together so that they can leverage the money that’s available to the -- to a greater value than the 150 million alone. Public libraries are quite capable of taking that money and then attracting even more money. So there’s a multiplier effect that can happen as well.

2293 And this just plays in with the federal government’s support of the digital economy of the past 20-25 years. This is the next step, and if the CRTC would allow, we could then leverage the value of these -- of the public library network even more.

2294 MS. EDWARDS: Could I ask John Gagnon with Wawatay to comment perhaps on the radical need -- the radical change that is needed in his community to make his communities part of the communications universe now? Because they’re outside of it and they need some radical change.

2295 MR. GAGNON: Thank you, Cathy.

2296 Absolutely. A lot of our communities and our languages and cultures are left out of the mainstream media due to these issues. We purchase programming from BDUs, but nothing comes back to our communities in the sense of how we get to rebroadcast over their airwaves within our needs.

2297 So we’re, of course, kind of behind the eight ball and far behind in a lot of the broadcasting in Canada. Although we do run our community stations, a lot of it is done through a volunteer, without the professional aspects that a lot of the mainstream media conduct their broadcasting.

2298 So I think there’s a lot of room for improvement for our peoples and our language and culture, and in light of the TRC and the recommendations that are coming out, it’s something that we think we could work together with you guys and our partner BDUs that broadcast in our communities to make a better future for our broadcasting.

2299 MS. EDWARDS: And I think the small size of many First Nations communities indicates the need that resources need to be distributed away from the big centres, and the only cost-effective way to do that is with a volunteer-amplified model led by professionals, as John says. It’s having the resources to get the professional training into these communities, appropriate distribution infrastructure so that everyone can participate.

2300 I don’t know if you want to comment on the importance of the community operating and managing those resources to meet its needs.

2301 MR. GAGNON: Thanks again, Cathy.

2302 Absolutely. I think the ownership and production, the operation of any time of media in our communities is imperative that it’s done through our peoples and our perspective.

2303 It also brings credence to who we are and where we’re at. This is, you know, ultimately our home and it’s something that we need to have ownership in in order for it to fulfil the full needs of our people.

2304 So I think that’s probably the best I can say about that for now.

2305 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.

2306 M. DESROCHERS: Est-ce que vous ne disiez pas que le CRTC, dans sa loi, mentionne que l’élément communautaire doit être libre et ouvert sur la communauté et que son point d’ancrage, sa pierre angulaire, c’est faire participer les citoyens, les rendre passifs à actifs?

2307 Alors si on permet d’avoir l’argent, de rétablir le fonds aux communautés, donc on va pouvoir remplir le mandat de la loi. On va pouvoir donner l’argent aux communautés pour qu’elles puissent avoir leur propre communauté.

2308 Ça empêche pas si les EDR veulent faire un canal, qu’ils utilisent leur propre branding pour faire un canal spécialisé, mais appelons pas ça un canal communautaire lorsqu’ils sont non-conformes. Si on le laisse aux communautés, le canal va devenir communautaire. Il ne sera pas une marque de commerce ou une possibilité de rentabilisation. Ça va être une rentabilité sociale pour le Canada. Les communautés vont avoir accès à leur canal, à leurs outils, pour travailler et mettre en ondes leur communauté selon ce que les communautés veulent mettre en ondes.

2309 MS. EDWARDS: And I think something that’s always, I found, a little strange about the Broadcasting Act is I think when we use terms like the public sector, the private sector, the community sector, it’s understood, without having to put a formal definition that private sector means privately owned and operated, that the public sector means publicly owned and operated. But we have this anomaly where the community element has been under stewardship of the private sector, and the reason why it’s important not just that access get measured out in teaspoonfuls, you know, when it suits BDUs is that it’s when you manage a resource and you have to have on your board representatives of different diverse communities and you’re talking about resource allocation, who’s going to access. That’s when the community media -- it’s when the community is being built, as much as when you’re making the programming together, it’s to enable the community media centre to mature as a part of that community with representation from the municipality, public libraries, educational institutions. Those conversations at the board level and all the way down through planning the programming is where the community is being built.

2310 And that can’t happen by entities outside the communities that have different goals, rightly.

2311 It’s like the first time when you go away and you let your teenager have the house for the weekend or go away from home for the first time, at a certain point, the community needs to mature to fully leverage these resources. We’re ready.

2312 MR. SAVAGE: The last thing is, too, with the volunteer sector, you often see in the private sector you have to regulate them to achieve minimums, and perhaps because they’re trying appease their shareholders, they don’t want to exceed giving too much. So they’re always either meeting the minimum or slightly below and then having to be reminded to meet that minimum.

2313 But when you come to the public interest sector, which includes libraries and volunteer groups, they’re always looking to serve the community interest and, therefore, their interest is not to meet the minimum but to exceed it to meet the needs -- the real needs of the community.

2314 So you often see through the process of engagement creating extra value, and this again helps develop the community media, economy and the culture, but it contributes and it will feed into these other interests.

2315 It will even benefit the cable companies in the end because there will be greater amounts of content, higher quality, that then can be aired on their cable or through satellite.

2316 MS. EDWARDS: And it’s funny, at least ---

2317 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: If I could just ---

2318 MS. EDWARDS: Yeah.

2319 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: You folks represent a very important element in what we’re considering in this hearing and you’ve brought a large panel of people passionate about community, and I wanted to give everybody an opportunity to speak, but I want an opportunity to ask my questions too, if that’s okay.

2320 Thank you.

2321 MS. EDWARDS: I can cut off my panelists in future, if you want. I assumed that you would.

2322 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: No, as I said, I think it is -- I think it’s important that you folks have an opportunity to represent your position well, and I hope I’ve given that to you, but I do have a couple of questions.

2323 So you’ve proposed 171 new access centres, and as you’ve been speaking to me, I get the sense -- and I read it in your submission as well -- that no community is too small, and it’s almost more important in the smaller communities than the larger communities to reflect yourself or that these centres -- well, maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m wrong.

2324 MS. EDWARDS: Do you want me to elaborate now or did you want to get to your questions.

2325 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, let me ask a question then from that.

2326 MS. EDWARDS: Yes.

2327 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Do you believe that the development of these community access centres, media centres, is as important in large centres and small? Is there any distinction?

2328 MS. EDWARDS: So I’m going to put my hat on speaking for our larger members -- or members that are in larger communities because we have them equal to -- and you heard from one yesterday. You heard about Deepak who lives in New Westminster and doesn’t see anything specific to New Westminster because he’s a neighbourhood outside a big urban centre where the news is focused on Vancouver’s needs.

2329 So it’s not only neighbourhoods outside big urban centres that don’t get any local news and information that reflects their needs, but it’s also all the niche groups that feel that their needs are not represented on mainstream media, whether it’s an official language minority; it’s third-language communities; it’s the LGBTQ community. We have members who represent the disability community. It’s those many -- you get a much more diverse community profile in big centres, and so as they get bigger, you have more expressive needs that aren’t necessarily being met on mainstream media.

2330 So, you know, a 30-minute news program for Vancouver can’t possibly reflect all the stories that are going on in a big urban area. So we actually think they’re just as important in urban centres.

2331 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And is there a size at which you think it’s not feasible that to -- that you could establish a community media center? A size of community?

2332 MS. EDWARDS: So I think, again, it needs -- Patrick, you might want to jump in on this in a minute.

2333 But I think if CAMF were established as we propose, we think it’s important like other production plans in the past.

2334 Like, I know the Canadian independent film and video fund used to have regional targets to make sure that funding was spent sort of equally in the regions and not all in big cities.

2335 That CAMF should develop its own plan to meet the needs, like the CAP. I assume that the CAP program would have had a master national plan to make sure that funding reached the regions equitably.

2336 But I think that -- the beauty of a community owned and operated model, is that applications could come in from communities that decide themselves.

2337 So, for example, in Patrick’s Charlotte County, there’s three little communities there. If they decided we’ll look under CAMF, by a population model that they’ve worked out, you know, our county might be entitled to a half million dollars.

2338 Do we want to have one media center at the middle that has a full studio with green screen and all this ability or do we think it would be better deployed, you know, leveraging just a room at the public library in our three villages so it’s more immediate.

2339 And I think that that’s something that each community has to figure out for itself. I don’t know if Patrick you want to comment on that.

2340 MR. WATT: Well one thing that we do benefit from in our community is that we’re -- our station is available on three out of the four BDUs, so we have access -- or the majority of the households that -- in our community can actually receive the broadcast.

2341 Where if you’re only on cable, which most of the community channels are, it’s more like a closed circuit service to those people, rather than the entire community.

2342 We’ve had an example recently, where the cable company did record a parade in a neighbouring community, which does not -- the neighbouring community of St. Stephen does not receive our signal on cable, but they do get channel 10 from St-John.

2343 Well they came out and recorded their parade but -- and it was great that they did that, but it was only available to Rogers’ subscribers.

2344 Where all of a sudden we had people in that community that were used to watching community channel – our community channel on Bell, so their question was when can we see that parade on Bell, which would be us.

2345 So of course we made the arrangements and played that parade, that program for them, which they appreciated.

2346 So, you know, it just provides another -- I think it’s being independent and being available to all BDUs for subscribers to watch, is a great asset.

2347 And in the larger centers there they do get a lot of great comments from the many participants, the BDUs, but those participants are only facilitating programming to a small number of the population.

2348 MS. EDWARDS: I’m not sure that that answered your question though exactly, Commission Molnar.

2349 The -- where we got the numbers and the proposals, we knew that there had been at least 300 -- with independent program channels and production studios in the eighties and nineties at the height of the cable community channel system, from examining Matthews cable T.V. directories.

2350 So we started that as our starting place. You know, where were these in original -- how small places actually had community T.V. stations?

2351 And if you do a look, you know, crunch some Statistics Canada numbers, there’s only 170 communities in Canada that have more than 10,000 people. You know, we’re not a very big country.

2352 So that told me wow, if there used to be 300 cable community studios, that means places as small as 10,000 used to have their own T.V. station and so I looked through the Matthews directory and sure enough, all these little teeny, tiny places used to have T.V. station.

2353 It’s because there were cable head ends there. You know, one guy might have been running around installing your cable, playing back the tapes at night, doing training. It -- there was local synergies to do it under that model.

2354 And so we said well if we’re going to try to roll this out and make it maximally accessible to Canadians, what’s a -- what’s a benchmark of service and they have these same conversations to do with broadband.

2355 How do we -- do we get the last mile to everyone? What’s a reasonable benchmark? So we sat down and said well how -- how many centers would it take to serve 90 percent of the population?

2356 And 90 percent of the population live in those 168 communities.

2357 So if there was 168 community media centers in those communities, everybody in a center of 10,000 or more would be reached, but you’ve still got 70 centers left that you could plan to serve, you know -- have regional hubs, that maybe aren’t a full studio facilities.

2358 But the communities get together and decide well we’ll have three lights and a camera and edit suite in our public library and that’s how we’ll do it.

2359 And we’ll have 10 of those to serve our 10 communities, spread out, you know, 10,000 altogether.

2360 So that there’s 70 -- there’s money for 70 additional regional approaches, in addition to additional neighbourhood offices in big cities.

2361 So one big city -- you know, one center for Toronto and the GTA’s not enough. You would have to have a neighbourhood production model like Toronto used to have or like there used to be at least 12 regional offices in Vancouver.

2362 So there’s another 70 centers to have multiple offices in big cities and to develop a regional approach in partnership with communities and regions.

2363 So that’s where those numbers came up from. I hope that answers your question.

2364 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes, thanks.

2365 So maybe we can talk about the numbers. So the proposal that you’ve put forward would require what 37 million -- no. Start-up costs of 93 million and 169 million each year to operate?

2366 So I have a couple of obvious questions about that.

2367 MS. EDWARDS: Sure.

2368 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: First of all, are there any assumptions in these -- developing these centers, that there would be an obligation on other elements to provide funding?

2369 I -- you have the libraries as an example or sponsorships or is this fully fund the development of these community access media centers through ---?

2370 MS. EDWARDS: So our thought, and we describe it in the proposal, is that it should be regarded as top-up funding to other funding that communities may already have.

2371 So for example, the Ministry of Culture in Quebec does provide some funding to Quebec TVCs, that may want to develop into a full-fledged community media center, add broadcasting, whatever they’re missing now, whereas other communities have nothing.

2372 So this is why we thought it was important and we would -- if we were consulted, we’d recommend CAMF also do this.

2373 Establish what our reasonable budget targets in small, medium and large communities, and make up what their shortfall is in the same way that some of the commercial production funds work to top-up what independent producers are able to raise from broadcasters.

2374 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. I think that’s important for me to understand, because I looked at your sample budgets.

2375 It wasn’t obvious to me that there was an offset, that this was a top-up. It appeared to cover the cost of the budget.

2376 MS. EDWARDS: Well we can’t -- without going region by region to figure out what each municipality, for example, might consider kicking in in a particular area, how much is needed by a public library, as a particular public library.

2377 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So this number is -- does not include offsets? This is the full cost of operations, as you’ve provided it with these sample budgets?

2378 MS. EDWARDS: Correct. Correct.

2379 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So it’s not a top-up?

2380 MS. EDWARDS: We’ve had to assume that communities may not have these resources currently. We assume that they don’t because currently that mandate lies with BDUs, so they haven’t developed that infrastructure.

2381 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: But the community access center, the obligation and the funding, doesn’t all reside with BDUs.

2382 I mean would you agree you’re talking about engaging libraries and engaging gaming?

2383 Your vision is something far more than what is currently sitting with the obligation and the funds used by BDUs?

2384 MS. EDWARDS: It is but the -- most expensive part of that infrastructure is television production equipment, so we consulted, for example, with the NCRA.

2385 Once you have a T.V. production studio with microphones and sound booths and so on, it’s not much extra to also produce radio out of that facility. It’s more about the skills you’re looking in your staff.

2386 Similarly, with -- gaming can be done with laptops that also are used for editing T.V. and radio.

2387 So the television is by far the most expensive component. It’s more about the -- you know, then it’s about the mandate and the training that the staff offer, in terms of what media you can generate.

2388 We just feel for the existing money you could do a lot more with it.

2389 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Just one question, have you -- well you perhaps haven’t thought, but let me ask you to think about if it might be appropriate to trial it in a -- in a community. Would that make sense as a possible way of determining whether or not this model could achieve all of the outcomes that you would propose. Do you see that as a reasonable first step perhaps?

2390 MR. DESROCHERS: I just want to -- if you want to try, my region wants to try it. We’re going to prove to you that it’s possible.

2391 MR. SAHASRABUDHE: Mine too.

2392 MS. EDWARDS: We can provide a fuller answer and reply, if you like ---

2393 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Yes.

2394 MS. EDWARDS: --- but the fact that -- again, we’re not starting from nothing. Lots of existing organizations provide part of the mandate, so we know it can be done, but there’s infrastructure limitations currently.

2395 M. DESROCHERS: Actuellement, nous avons aucune aide ---

2396 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Once again, it might be -- it might be better if you provide this in your response.

2397 MS. EDWARDS: Sure.

2398 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Think about it -- the benefits. I appreciate you’re not starting from nothing and that’s a great place to be with a lot of people, you know, anxious and already participating within the production and creation of this community info and access and media.

2399 But putting together a community access centre, engaging the different stakeholders, achieving the outcomes, maybe clearly define what are the outcomes and what can be achieved. So as a step, think about whether or not that might make sense, whether that would speak about it in any way.

2400 MS. EDWARDS: Sure, we will.

2401 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.

2402 MS. EDWARDS: We’ll supply a fuller answer.

2403 UNDERTAKING

2404 MS. EDWARDS: The idea with CAMF, we always envisioned that what would make sense is to start with regional centres that then -- so you’ve got a couple per province, and then those can function as model centres that can then train other smaller communities roundabout, you know, start in -- I don’t know -- like a Red Deer for the smaller communities roundabout or A Timmins as a hub for Anishinaabe Aski communities, and then -- because, you know, it can’t all happen from one organization called CACTUS or the Fédétvc in Quebec. It’s got to be distributed, and then it can be distributed smaller. So agreed.

2405 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you. Those are my questions.

2406 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

2407 Colleagues? No, okay. I’ve got just a couple of question of clarification.

2408 Currently, for access programming, who own copyright?

2409 MS. EDWARDS: Sorry?

2410 THE CHAIRPERSON: Who owns copyright to your current access programming under ---

2411 MS. EDWARDS: Of our members, you mean?

2412 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Yes.

2413 MS. EDWARDS: So members -- TVCs that produce content that airs on cable community channels, our understanding from the Code of Access Best Practices is that they do. So some of them are taking them ---

2414 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, that’s the Code. What’s actually happening?

2415 MS. EDWARDS: Most of them, since the Code was put in place -- our members, because they’re informed, are pretty good about being able to articulate that to a cable company, and then they say, yeah, okay you can also take your stuff and show it somewhere else. But a lot of ---

2416 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So currently they do control it and could post it on other platforms, if they wish?

2417 MS. EDWARDS: Yes, and that’s been the most helpful part of that Code.

2418 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Under your model, we know there’s some types of community programming that’s extremely popular. We often hear about the local high school sports and local municipal council. Under your model, what happens to that?

2419 MS. EDWARDS: It continues to be produced because, as you say, there’s a motivation upon our viewers to see it and to come and be involved to make it.

2420 THE CHAIRPERSON: Except it would be more community-based access creators that are at the heart of it?

2421 MS. EDWARDS: That are the ---

2422 THE CHAIRPERSON: Who are driving it, who would do it as opposed to the community cable portion?

2423 MS. EDWARDS: Right. But I mean, I think some of that content now is made by ---

2424 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is, to some degree, but I foresee that people who would see that disappear might be worried, and I just want to understand that the sort of programming you’re talking about is sensitive to what the population wants to see and view.

2425 MS. EDWARDS: I think that’s the beauty of a community-elected board. We have a sample board structure that we recommend when groups come to us saying they want to set up or apply for a television licence that includes seats for viewers, as well as users of the station. So I think that that’s the best immediate local accountability mechanism you can have, because if people aren’t happy with what they’re seeing, a) they can come in and make some themselves and b) they can come and participate at a board level and say, you know, “How come we don’t have any X, Y, Z? We used to have this.”

2426 Patrick, do you want to talk about -- you we’re talking about that yesterday, about the responsiveness in your community to what the community’s needs are in terms of programming and how best to meet it.

2427 MR. WATT: Well, for instance, your question of doing town councils, we certainly -- we do that. We’ve always done that, whether we were under the -- just a Cable 10 -- just being a cable station, and certainly when we went independent with our broadcast we continued on doing those types of things.

2428 THE CHAIRPERSON: With respect to your discussion with Commissioner Molnar on trialing it, would you be able to provide that more as an undertaking ahead of your replies so that others could perhaps see it and comment on it?

2429 MS. EDWARDS: You mean just earlier than the February 15th date, put something on paper?

2430 THE CHAIRPERSON: Most undertakings are for the 5th. The 15th is for a specific -- so could you give your thoughts in writing by the 5th of February on piloting?

2431 MS. EDWARDS: Sure.

2432 THE CHAIRPERSON: As a means of step by step -- we’ve asked other parties to do it by the 5th and that’s maybe a ---

2433 MS. EDWARDS: Sure. Could we follow up with you after and find out the level of detail you’re looking for just to make sure we understand what you’re asking for?

2434 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I think what -- it’s good then -- Commissioner Molnar was -- and I was asking -- I can’t remember who it is now anymore -- that instead of going a big national program, that maybe we go step by step and maybe we could pilot the possibilities here in one, two or three markets and what would that look like from your perspective before we completely throw everything out?

2435 MS. EDWARDS: That seems fair enough.

2436 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So maybe with staff you can have a conversation as to the details of things we’re looking for.

2437 MS. EDAWRDS: Okay. Sure. We welcome that conversation.

2438 UNDERTAKING

2439 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Does staff -- Legal have any questions? No? Okay.

2440 Well, thank you very much. Those are our questions.

2441 MS. EDWARDS: Thank you very much for your time.

2442 THE CHAIRPERSON: We’ll do the last intervenor -- one more intervenor before the lunch break.

2443 Madame la secrétaire.

2444 THE SECRETARY: I would now ask English Language Arts Network to come to the presentation table.

2445 Please introduce yourself, your colleagues and you have 10 minutes.

PRESENTATION:

2446 MR. ANDERSON: My name is Fortner Anderson and I’m here with my colleague Guy Rogers, the Executive Director of ELAN, the English Language Arts Network in Quebec.

2447 Good morning, Chairman Blais and Commissioners. My name is Fortner Anderson. I am member of ELAN’s Board of Directors and a member of the New Citizens Consultative Committee at MaTV.

2448 First, we want to thank the Commission for its support in getting English Community Television to the 750,000 official language minority community viewers in the Montreal area. We still don’t have a dedicated English language community channel anywhere in Quebec, but since September of last year, we do have 20 percent of the programming carried on the French MaTV channel in the Montreal area. We have been greatly impressed by the quality of original English language programs on MaTV, such as Montreal Billboard and Citylive.

2449 These programs are attracting strong audiences from both the Francophone and Anglophone communities. For the first time in a generation, we can see our local reflection in our own official language, and this is good.

2450 As a testament to the success of this venture, Videotron has seen an increasing number of show proposals submitted from the Anglophone community.

2451 We would like to thank you on behalf of the three-quarters of a million Anglophones in and around Montreal.

2452 In addition to this significant change in the Montreal broadcast landscape, the introduction of the Citizen’s Consultative Committee at MaTV has been a marked success within the governance of MaTV.

2453 Second, the Commission has asked for help defining many aspects of community or local television. We want to start by defining community TV itself. We don’t believe that there can be community TV that is owned and controlled entirely by the BDU that manages and distributes this service.

2454 As we said in our written intervention, control of community TV content needs to be shared between representatives of the local community and the BDU.

2455 Third, our next priority is the fact 250,000 English speakers who live outside the Montreal area have little or no local reflection, local news, or English community TV. They may have access to Montreal English channels and English programming from the United States but they do not have local original reflection.

2456 In this day of technological miracles and globalization of information this is incomprehensible. It is time to solve this problem so these OLMCs can see themselves on their screens.

2457 I invite my colleague Guy Rodgers to answer. He’s the Director of ELAN.

2458 MR. RODGERS: Thank you, Fortner.

2459 We would like to see the creation of a regional English TV service perhaps using the Vidéotron MATv licences as a foundation. This service would be available to OLMCs outside greater Montreal and include their local news and reflection with the aid of volunteers and paid stringers working for English-speaking or bilingual editors based in regional hubs across the province. This service might constitute three hours in the eastern townships or west Quebec, two hours in the Gaspe, the lower north shore, and so on. The content should not only be available to Vidéotron subscribers but also on internet platforms.

2460 So those are our priorities. Now we turn to your working document to answer your five questions.

2461 So 1a); We believe the current definition of Access programming, which is programming produced by an individual, group, or community television corporation residing within the licensed area of a cable distribution undertaking, is too vague and that it has been open to unfortunate misinterpretation.

2462 Future regulation must assure that the producers of this programming are wholly distinct from the BDUs and that the content of access programming originates from within the community. Access programming is produced by locals who may or may not be professionals.

2463 And then 1b); We believe that the current definition of local programming, which is programming produced by local stations with local personnel or programming produced by locally-based independent producers that reflects the particular needs and interests of the market’s residents, should be modified to stipulate that local news is professionally produced news programming about local subjects.

2464 Point two; to ensure a continued and appropriate level of local programming and local reflection, we propose the institution of measures that would introduce shared control over the community channel by both community representatives and the BDU.

2465 Point three; we support the creation of regional community networks with responsibility for the creation of local regional news content. In Quebec a regional OLMC community service could be carried to all Vidéotron subscribers outside Montreal.

2466 Point four; the content of community television stations should be considered a common good. As soon as possible, the content of these regional community channels should be made available to the general public on the internet.

2467 And point five; the small market local programming fund should be included in the local news fund that CRTC is considering. Part of it should be used to create regional OLMC news and local content in regions where no station exists via the BDUs or CBC.

2468 That is our vision, strong local reflection supported by powerful national programming that reflects our Canadian identity. This vision puts Canadian content first -- our macro and micro communities -- to allow all of us to see ourselves on our screens.

2469 So thank you for inviting us here this morning and we’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

2470 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

2471 We’ve led into the afternoon now, but Commissioner Simpson will start us off.

2472 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

2473 Good afternoon. For the benefit of a guy who lives on the west coast but likes to think he knows a little bit about Quebec, would you please help me understand better the role of ELAN in Quebec, and are you associated, and if so how, with ELAN in Ontario?

2474 MR. RODGERS: No, they are language arts and we’re English language arts, although people are often confused by that connection there. It depends where you put the emphasis.

2475 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.

2476 MR. RODGERS: What ELAN is -- you’re going to be speaking to the FCCF on Thursday I believe, and if you understand the role of the FCCF to represent Francophone artists outside of Quebec, FCFA represents the entire Francophone community outside Quebec.

2477 So within Quebec we have a Quebec community groups network, which is the equivalent of FCFA, and they delegate the authority to us to speak to CRTC because they neither have the capacity nor the competence.

2478 So we are technically a group of artists but we have taken it within our mandate to speak on behalf of the community.

2479 And just to make that a little clearer, you will be speaking tomorrow to the Quebec English Language Production Council. And so we collaborate with them. We handle the community part of broadcasting. They handle the industry and production part.

2480 So if that makes it a little bit clearer how all of the pieces fit together.

2481 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: That helps. That’s a super summary. Thank you.

2482 It’s been interesting times in community television in Quebec, specifically Montreal. And it’s very gratifying to hear you sort of giving us a progress report on the relationship with Vidéotron.

2483 How -- and des tant is a wonderful thing. How is the relationship with ELAN with the other BDUs because they’re not mentioned?

2484 MR. RODGERS: Well, Bell has a presence in Quebec. They have not been as involved with us. Although Bell are doing some things that we find very interesting, in that their content -- they make a very interesting book show that is available on the internet. We would like to see Vidéotron making their content as available to the larger community as Bell is doing.

2485 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And on the continuation of des tant, how’s your relationship with CACTUS and ICTV?

2486 MR. RODGERS: How much time do we have?

2487 Well, to be quite frank, our relationship with CACTUS was very strong until this whole interesting dramatic case that you’re talking about, and we share CACTUS’ vision although we are more pragmatic. We have a sense that CACTUS has a vision that has never been tested within Canada and is not very well understood by people in the industry and not very well understood by communities.

2488 We had a number of community consultations and our members felt more comfortable with starting with an existing commodity such as Vidétron, which in their new incarnation of MATv as opposed to their older incarnation of VOX, which had nothing to do with community. In their current incarnation of MATv they’re making great efforts to be more based in the community. And Fortner can talk about what’s happened in the last few months since they set up this consultative committee.

2489 But to answer your question, CACTUS is much more -- places much more emphasis on volunteers. We believe that quality is important. We believe that if somebody’s producing a TV show or a TV series, there’s a tremendous amount of time and effort involved and we would like to see them paid a minimum amount for their work. And the consensus throughout all of our members through our public hearings was that that was the model that our community wanted.

2490 ICTV, we haven’t really had any conversations with them.

2491 So I think what that demonstrates is that saying that the community is going to put things -- is going to manage things on their own it’s not that simple. The communities doesn’t always see eye-to-eye and they don’t always communicate very well and so to take a radical jump and sort of throw a pot of money out there and let the community fight over it is not necessarily the best solution.

2492 So, you know, what we’re going to be talking about is taking the existing model and moving it much closer to what CACTUS is talking about and perhaps even ICTV but the process would be very different.

2493 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So on your point about professionalism, which you also reference in your proposal for a separate channel, do you make a distinction between professionalism and the money that sometimes professionalism brings with it?

2494 You know, there are many artists I know, writers, of which I was one for a while, and I always considered myself a writer regardless of whether I got paid or not, or an artist -- whether they got paid or not. What -- in your definition, why does the money have to trail with the need for professionalism?

2495 MR. RODGERS: Well, there’s two answers to that question. One is, professionalism essentially means quality.

2496 Everybody that we polled in our surveys, wanted to see quality programming and when they were looking at the programming currently made by MAtv, their so called Montréalité, about life in Montreal that was done with cameras in the streets, talking to a lot of interesting people, they found the quality and the content very interesting. So they wanted quality programming.

2497 If we harken back to the seventies where there was a fixed camera in a room and somebody talking to the camera for half an hour, you know, that doesn’t exist anymore. We have the internet; we have YouTube if people want to soapbox.

2498 So from a community point of view, we want something that is more integrated and more quality.

2499 The money? It takes money to produce quality.

2500 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So talking in absolutely terms then, if the intent of a community channel is to be that mirror that reflects the community back to itself.

2501 And the idea of access is to allow individuals to express themselves in a way that is for the benefit of themselves and their community.

2502 Doesn’t the idea of inserting professionalism sort of push the community access notion aside, so that the only way that I can participate in community expression, is if I make a conscious decision to become a professional so that I can do so under your model?

2503 MR. RODGERS: I don’t think so. The way we’re looking at it, the way I’m looking at it, is that the people who are doing the technical work need training. You know and Cathy talks about training quite a lot. Training is important.

2504 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.

2505 MR. RODGERS: So that’s what we’re talking about professionalism.

2506 The community members that we spoke to, might want to provide their expertise, they might want to tell their stories, they might want to have their stories told. They don’t want to produce it. They want somebody who’s qualified to do that and to do it well.

2507 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.

2508 MR. RODGERS: So what we’re saying is with a model like Vidéotron, MAtv or Bell, is that there’s a budget. There’s a mandate.

2509 The mandate has not been particularly well respected for a number of years.

2510 I mean, in Montreal the last English language cable companies were dissolved in the nineties when they were bought by Vidéotron.

2511 And there was this era that Cactus talks about and we agree entirely, where the BDUs did pretty much whatever they wanted.

2512 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.

2513 MR. RODGERS: With little or no regard for the community needs and what we found in the last couple of years with this shift from VOX to MAtv, there is sensitivity towards, community access, towards community involvement.

2514 And with this recent intense scrutiny of what Vidéotron’s doing, via Cactus and ICTV, they have made enormous strides to try to involve the community.

2515 And I’d like Mr. Fortner to talk about his experience on the community consultative committee.

2516 And we see that as a step in a direction that we would like to encourage them to go. And we would like to think that the CRTC might help us through -- to extend or clarify the current mandate, to ensure that access T.V. really is about community involvement.

2517 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: May I just ask that -- I’ll come back to governance in a minute.

2518 MR. RODGERS: Sure.

2519 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I just want to finish up on a couple of present lines that I have on questioning.

2520 The -- Cactus, yourself and possibly others are proposing a stand-alone system that is either governed independently from the BDU, which is what you’re suggesting, but also you’re advocating for a complete freestanding English community channel, that would service Montreal -- and I’ve got questions about other servicing areas later.

2521 But if a freestanding channel was to materialize, that is either the Cactus proposal, or yours, or something in between, you know, how do you see all interest groups, I’m thinking TVCs --

2522 MR. RODGERS: M'hm.

2523 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- access producers and so on?

2524 Is this going to be a new turf war to get access to this new channel?

2525 MR. RODGERS: Well like you I’m trained as a writer and I’m disappointed to think that my briefs lead you to that understanding, because -- give me a couple minutes to explain what we’re actually talking about, because that doesn’t sound to me what we’re trying to talk about.

2526 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.

2527 MR. RODERS: We’re really talking about starting from the existing model. Take Videotron, for example.

2528 Fifty (50) percent local, 50 percent access and making sure that the access part involves the community, which was something they were not doing in the past.

2529 So that a community committee, which Fortner sits on, selects the people who participate, selects the programming and that it is programming that does not just reflect the interests of the people who want to tell their story, but it also reflects the stories the community wants to hear.

2530 I mean there’s a difference between a soapbox and a truly legitimate community storytelling and news.

2531 And so there’s that balance between those people who desperately want to tell the stories and would do it for free or would even pay to tell it and the stories that the community wants to hear.

2532 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.

2533 MR. RODGERS: And so we’re not talking about creating a freestanding channel. We did in previous representations, talk about a –- independent English channel, because there was and there is an option for two plus two.

2534 But we’re prepared to work with the existing model, within the structure and the budgets.

2535 With Videotron, for example, we have 20 percent in English and now we would like to start extending that from Montreal into the regions.

2536 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay. Just to jump on that point you’ve made. I was definitely going on your written submission, where you had said that you were appealing to the CRTC to allow Quebecor to establish an English language community channel in Montreal.

2537 So you’re softening that position; is that what you’re saying?

2538 MR. RODGERS: We’re pragmatic.

2539 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.

2540 MR. RODGERS: We’re prepared to deal with the reality and improve it. Ideally? Yes, of course.

2541 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.

2542 MR. RODGERS: There are other bilingual jurisdictions that have two plus two.

2543 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes.

2544 MR. RODGERS: And yes we would like to see that and there are lots of reasons for that, but frankly we’ve been quite happy with the arrangement with both Bell and with Videotron and we could work with this.

2545 I’m sure Fortner has some comments about working with the consultative committee and how it’s interfaced with ---

2546 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yes, okay let’s go there. Because the impression I got, again, between the written and the oral today, was on governance was that you were tempering or softening your -- you know, you were quite prescriptive when you were talking about complete arms-length governance of -- in a shared capacity with the BDU for, I assume, greater programming creative control, budget control and so on.

2547 Are you softening that view at all? I’m asking because as you get into your answer I’m seeking that answer as well.

2548 MR. RODGERS: Yes, we have an ideal position and we have a pragmatic position.

2549 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.

2550 MR. RODGERS: Yes, so if that’s softening, yes.

2551 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay.

2552 MR. RODGERS: M'hm.

2553 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Okay, so let’s talk about governance.

2554 MR. ANDERSON: Well for the last nine months, Videotron has instituted a consultative committee and my experience on the committee has been a good one.

2555 Videotron has been very interested in putting together a strong committee, which is representative of a diverse number of ethnic, linguistic and aboriginal communities, in and around Montreal.

2556 The committee is a consultative committee; it has no decisional power.

2557 But we believe strongly that our voice is listened to, perhaps because of -- they -- a fear of retribution.

2558 But they nonetheless have been very proactive in educating the committee in the -- in the arcane world of broadcast regulation and the committee has been taking its role extremely seriously.

2559 It is, I believe, a small step but a step in the right direction, because the committee if it’s -- is beholden to the community and it is not a -- and has not been a creature of Videotron.

2560 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.

2561 MR. ANDERSON: It -- one could see -- we -- the committee has been -- has not had access to financial data, for example, which might be a step to give it greater control.

2562 It has no voice on the board of directors. It has no choice in the decision to choose the director of the community station.

2563 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Do you see, on the issue of disclosure, you know, we greatly -- and there’s been many debates, but we greatly respect the need for -- for confidentiality for commercial purposes, because you know harm can be created if information -- and it can be significant harm to the public, because of shareholders in many of these organisations.

2564 But to your point, you’re saying that you need -- more and better information, more detail.

2565 So if this kind of a structure was put together, would you see the community component, the TVC component of this governance, being given access to this information on a -- on a confidentiality basis? You know, like a non-disclosure or something like that? Would that work?

2566 MR. ANDERSON: Yes. I would think that kind of information would be extremely important for a committee that had increased powers and increased influence over the -- certainly the content produced by the BDUs for the community television stations.

2567 Yes. There were perhaps a number of other steps that could assure that the comity had an active and decisional role at -- within these community television stations.

2568 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: On the -- moving to funding, your organization -- your organization is eligible for Canada Council grants; is that correct?

2569 MR. RODGERS: Sure, we’re an arts organization, yeah.

2570 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah. And as part of -- within the arts community, that money -- is that money applicable to program production for the purposes ---

2571 MR. RODGERS: No.

2572 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- you're describing?

2573 MR. RODGERS: No, program production is a brand new piece of our -- of our activities. Traditionally, we define arts as we present workshops, we promote their activities, we do visibility. By default, we’ve taken on this broadcast piece and we’re not funded for that through Canada Council. We have been helped by the Broadcasting Participation Fund though to make presentations to CRTC. It gives us a capacity that we didn’t have in the past to bring an expertise that we don’t personally have, that’s been very helpful.

2574 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Does CMF have any role in this, because they’ve got a New Media Fund? I’m thinking about my next question and asking this one, because I’d like you to tie that question to whether or not your members are producing anything important to media platforms, YouTube and so on, which might make CMF funds accessible?

2575 MR. RODGERS: Well that’s a very good question and it’s something that we have not looked into because we haven’t been working in that area. Because of the Videotron productions since September, a number of our members have produced shows. So I’d be interested in talking to them to see if they are accessing CMF funding.

2576 ELAN has put in a submission to executive produce a variety show about English-language artists. We were not looking at funding for that, we’re just ensuring that it runs properly, that it selects an interesting group of artists. We’re not planning to make any money out of that. But if there were CMF funding available to enhance the production, yeah, we could certainly look into that.

2577 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: On funding, if there was an English channel -- and I'm going to ask two or three questions on the subject -- if there was an English community channel, is there enough money and enough content to fill its -- to satisfy its appetite for programming?

2578 MR. RODGERS: Well money, if we were to take 2 percent of all of the cable subscriptions in Quebec, that’s a significant amount of money, so there's enough money to make quite a lot of content.

2579 How much content is there? When you're speaking to Vidéotron later this week they might disclose how many applications they’ve received, but from what I’m hearing, lots. I don’t think there will be any problem creating a lot of content. Probably the bigger question is how big is the appetite for the audience and how much content do they want to watch?

2580 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So if I hear you correctly, you're talking about not just an argument for an additional 2 percent for the Montreal portion of that channel, which is a separate argument, but ---

2581 MR. RODGERS: M'hm.

2582 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- you're talking about taking a slice out of all of the other BDUs for -- within Quebec?

2583 MR. RODGERS: Well you're talking about money, so all of that money is part of the system.

2584 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: And if they were to do that, if they were to participate in this to create an English channel to satisfy the 250,000 Anglophones in the rest of the province, are you proposing that this channel, which right now you're saying would be a Videotron product, would the idea then that it ‘be carried on all BDUs throughout Quebec so that five would have to carry it?

2585 MR. RODGERS: Sure.

2586 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: TCF and so on?

2587 MR. RODGERS: There is the linear aspect, but a lot of people are accessing their content through mobile devices, from platforms. From a community point of view, what we’re most interested in is creation of quality content. So whether that’s through Videotron, Bell, CBC, National Film Board, it then becomes available to the public via various platforms. I mean that’s a service, so now we’re talking about a service rather than a channel. But for us, getting the quality content to create about different, you know, fascinating people and stories, making it available is the first priority.

2588 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So if your taking this percentage out of all the other BDUs for the purpose of creating a channel -- hang on, I just got translation in my ear here -- if you were to take that sliver and build a service, what about the importance of local presence? Because we’re also equally fixated on ---

2589 MR. RODGERS: M'hm.

2590 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- how local those community television ad be? You know, once size fits all coming out of a central area ---

2591 MR. RODGERS: M'hm.

2592 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- as a service, doesn’t seem to satisfy a lot of the community groups or what we heard from the CACTUS Panel earlier, so how does that work if money is being centralized and ---

2593 MR. RODGERS: Well I’m not sure we have a meeting of the minds here exactly ---

2594 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Yeah.

2595 MR. RODGERS: --- but, you know, we’ll bounce this back and forth. Let us take for example Videotron who are producing 20 percent of their content in English. Bell is producing four or five hours. We’re not talking about a channel here, we’re talking about content, and for the sake of a better word, we’ll call that a service to the English-speaking community.

2596 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm.

2597 MR. RODGERS: So there's an existing amount of money, there's an already existing amount of production, it’s not equally distributed to the entire community. So let’s not get hung up on the idea of a channel, because that’s really not what we’re talking about now.

2598 In terms of regional representation, let’s take the East Gaspé for an example, it’s a large coast spread out over a large area. The actual news that would be of interest to that community might amount to an hour or two hours a week, but if that were added to this larger service of content coming out of the Eastern Townships, West Quebec, Montreal, it starts to be an interesting reflection of the English-speaking community.

2599 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: What -- sorry, yesterday Channel Zero who, you may or may not have heard their presentation, they operate the station in Hamilton, had an interesting proposal that some of the community channel content that is produced out of the community funding, might be content that some OTAs might want to carry. Is that -- does that fit in your ---

2600 MR. RODGERS: Yes, we do.

2601 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- thinking? Okay.

2602 MR. RODGERS: In the same way that we’re talking to the National Film Board who recently set up a playlist of content by and about the English-speaking community. Just bringing that together is of interest to our community, but it’s of interest to other people as well.

2603 And just a slight detour, you mentioned earlier the question of Détente. And of course we’re a minority language community in Quebec, which has rapidly evolved in a generation to go from practically zero degree of bilingualism to something that is quite, you know, respectable certainly in the under 30 demographic, and it’s important for us.

2604 I mean MAtv has been a very interesting way for us to have a dialogue with our Francophone neighbours, colleagues. We frankly expected to have some kind of a backlash, once the larger community realized that 20 percent of the budget and the content was going to be produced in English. Nothing, nothing negative. The response was overall positive. I mean there is an interest amongst Anglophones to watch MAtv to see what's happening in Francophone communities, and vice versa.

2605 And -- I mean there's a lot of benefit in having that dialogue. So we’re actually enjoying this collaboration with MAtv at the moment, it’s working very well.

2606 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: My last question or questions is dealing with new media, social media and so on, and you made a comment that I found interesting, one of you did, that social is isolating, and yet, we’re seeing social media overwhelm conventional media massively. We saw VICE the other day starting down the road of their journey, which was I guess in 1994, and they have consumed a tremendous amount of support and audience using new media platforms.

2607 Now, this question is designed to try and help us better understand your idea of definition of community. Earlier I asked about the -- in context to why are you here, given that you have, you know, a narrower than general community interest in -- because of your activities in the arts, but the arts is a community. So in the redefinition of community, do you -- how do you define community from the lens of ELAN?

2608 MR. RODGERS: Well as I said earlier, we are mandated by the Quebec community groups’ network to speak on behalf of the official language English-speaking community in Quebec. So while our structure is based on arts, our mandate in this particular dossier is much broader.

2609 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So the community you think of when you're here in front of the Commission is the English-language community ---

2610 MR. RODGERS: Absolutely.

2611 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: --- not the English-language arts community?

2612 MR. RODGERS: That’s correct.

2613 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: I think those are my questions.

2614 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

2615 You’ve had a good conversation with Commissioner Simpson on community, I just have a quick question just to understand, on page 3 at the bottom of your oral submission, your perspective on local news.

2616 And you are proposing that local news, (a) it be professionally produced. What are you trying to get at? What is the concern why it would be professionally; are you trying to prevent citizen journalism or that sort of thing?

2617 MR. RODGERS: We are trying to maintain a quality -- a journalistic integrity, yes.

2618 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. So would “professionally produced” be synonymous with programming that’s made -- news programming that’s made consistent with recognized journalistic codes?

2619 MR. RODGERS: Yes, I think that’s what we’re getting at here.

2620 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. The second part, you’ve added “about local subjects”.

2621 It’s always difficult when the Commission goes down the road of having subjective tests as opposed to objective tests as to what falls within or outside particular definitions.

2622 I take it that international news or national news would not be within that ---

2623 MR. RODGERS: Correct, that’s right.

2624 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would not be in that definition.

2625 MR. RODGERS: M’hm.

2626 THE CHAIRPERSON: What’s a local subject; if somebody who lives in Montreal happens to be the Prime Minister of the country, is that a local or a national matter?

2627 MR. RODGERS: It all depends who’s in the selfie I guess.

2628 THE CHAIRPERSON: But that’s the challenge we have. We’ve seen it on entertainment programming right?

2629 Because you put a host that happens to work at a Canadian network at the red carpet event in Hollywood, it suddenly becomes a Canadian show, because you might do an interview with the second assistant to a third assistant lighting director.

2630 MR. ANDERSON: You know, my experience with a consultative committee is that the committee could act in that regard to essentially assure on the ground for the Commission that these definitions were adhering to the community standards.

2631 And that is a -- we think it’d be a very interesting role for these types of committees if they were instituted throughout the system.

2632 THE CHAIRPERSON: So your vision is more of a self-regulatory -- well, through these committees?

2633 MR. ANDERSON: Indeed.

2634 THE CHAIRPERSON: Rather than us having to decide whether something is subjectively local subject matter?

2635 MR. ANDERSON: Indeed. The committees would be very vigilant from my experience over the last nine months to assure that they were local.

2636 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, that’s helpful. Thank you very much. Any legal questions? No?

2637 Thank you very much.

2638 MR. RODGERS: Thank you.

2639 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for participating in this hearing.

2640 So we will take a break until 1:45.

2641 Un ajournement jusqu’à 13h45. Merci.

--- Upon recessing at 12:38 p.m.

--- Upon resuming at 1:48 p.m.

2642 LE PRÉSIDENT: À l’ordre s’il vous plaît.

2643 Madame la secrétaire.

2644 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.

2645 We will now hear the presentation of Tri-Cities Community Television. Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.

PRESENTATION:

2646 MR. SCOTT: Good afternoon, Chair Blais, Commissioners Dupras, MacDonald, Simpson and Molnar.

2647 My name is Geoff Scott. I am the Board Chair of Tri-Cities Community Television, a not-for-profit group, which has served Port Moody, Coquitlam, and Port Coquitlam in British Columbia since 2009.

2648 Our society is currently headquartered in my house. We have no studio space and limited production gear.

2649 With regard to your question about the reallocation of community television funds towards the production of more local media content to be produced by the traditional broadcasters, I believe Community access television, when properly funded and managed, has already proven to be an extremely effective means of producing such hyper local content.

2650 And speaking of hyper local content, I’ve brought a little video clip I would like to run before I make my intervention.

2651 MR. SCOTT: The video you just watched is just an example of some of the programming that TCCTV produces for our community.

2652 The last clip was not produced by TCCTV but was from the archives of the old Rogers Van East office, which was one of the last neighbourhood television offices to be shut down by Shaw.

2653 I believe this clip is a splendid example of the differences between community television and the traditional media. Community television gives us a look at the every-day lives of people in our community. And the traditional media produces coverage only when somebody has achieve notoriety.

2654 Richmond In Review, Burnaby Edition, East Side Story, Valley Magazine, Bits of Kits, back when Rogers Cable properly funded and managed the community channel, these programs produced by volunteers, promoted and covered community events in each of over a dozen communities that had their own neighbourhood television offices.

2655 Each of these production offices had two or three staff members who provided training and supervision to a pool of hundreds of volunteers. As you know, they are no more.

2656 In 2014, TCCTV had little more than a dozen volunteers yet managed to produce over 40 hours of original community programming with only $30,000 in funding, which it received from the three cities of the region only to purchase production equipment.

2657 TCCTV volunteers produce two half-hour programs, Tri-Cities Magazine and Arts Connect, on a bi-monthly basis.

2658 As well, they produce coverage of special events such as Festival du Bois in Coquitlam; Golden Spike Days in Port Moody; and May Days in Port Coquitlam. These events bring our community together celebrating a common history and heritage, and we bring these events to members of the community who can't attend in person.

2659 TCCTV also receives funding from its community partners: The Tri-Cities Chamber of Commerce; Douglas College; ArtsConnect; Société francophone de Maillardville; Coquitlam Heritage Society; Evergreen Cultural Centre; Place des Arts; Port Moody Art Centre; the Port Moody Heritage Society; PoCo Heritage; Access Youth; Coquitlam River Watershed Roundtable; Minnekhada Park Association.

2660 Each of these members pays TCCTV $500 a year to support us in producing programming of the region.

2661 To date, Shaw TV has provided TCCTV with no funding whatsoever, although we estimate that 2 percent of the revenues Shaw collects from our region amounts to between $700,000 and $800,000. After negotiating with Shaw for over a year just to have some production equipment made available in our community, the best they could offer was to have one ENG camera available in Surrey, which is no closer than downtown Vancouver.

2662 Recently, Shaw did conduct a production workshop for our volunteers in Port Coquitlam, so there is hope that they may yet bring more to the table.

2663 In 2015 TELUS Optik TV matched the funds that we had raised by the community and provided us the funding necessary to conduct a series of production workshops throughout the Tri-Cities. These workshops not only helped to provide further production training for TCCTV's volunteers but also grew our membership, increasing threefold, from a dozen to over 40 volunteers. TCCTV very much appreciates the support it has received from TELUS Optik TV and is working to produce programming that can be aired on their video-on-demand services.

2664 TELUS Optik TV has also offered to provide TCCTV with some funding for 2016, although significantly less than we received in 2015.

2665 Funding priorities for us going forward include: a dedicated facility that is easily accessible to Tri-Cities’ residents; to maintain and upgrade equipment as needed; to provide basic administrative sustainability and hire three part-time facilitators; to digitize our tape archives from the programs produced prior to 2012 and; to expand our presence and availability on multiple platforms including over-the-air television, to reach less financially able residents of our area.

2666 Tri-Cities Community Television is a member of CACTUS and supports the CACTUS Supplemental Submission to CRTC 2015-421 and the full recommendations therein.

2667 Thank you very much for this opportunity to participate in this proceeding, and I welcome your questions.

2668 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Scott.

2669 Commissioner MacDonald will start us off.

2670 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Good afternoon, Mr. Scott, and thank you very much for being here. I know B.C. is not next door and there’s a great deal of time and cost associated with being here in person. So we definitely do appreciate you being here today.

2671 I guess I’d like to start off by getting a bit of an idea about sort of the environment that you operate in and sort of what your day-to-day operations look like a little bit. You showed us clips from Tri-Cities Magazine and you have another program, Arts Connect. You mentioned that you were able to produce about 40 hours of new programming in 2014.

2672 Do you have sort of any idea how much you were able to produce in 2015?

2673 MR. SCOTT: Yes, we produced a little bit more in 2015, but not much because that was the year we ran these six production workshops, and I was very involved in that process, and because I’m really the driving force in community TV, in my region anyways, that kind of cut into our programming.

2674 So we’re hoping kind of now that we’re at 40 volunteers, and I don’t want to expand too fast, probably over the next year we’ll expand a little bit but concentrate to get backing into the programming that we have been delivering.

2675 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So you would credit the increase in programming hour with more volunteers last year, plus the additional funding that you got from TELUS over and above what you would have had in previous years?

2676 MR. SCOTT: Yes.

2677 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. And the productions that you were able to do due to the TELUS funding, when they were aired, were they aired exclusively on TELUS or were they made available to other BDUs to be able to offer that programming?

2678 MR. SCOTT: Actually, they were almost exclusively aired on Shaw.

2679 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.

2680 MR. SCOTT: Surprisingly enough.

2681 As much as I appreciate the funding we receive from TELUS, we do have a bit of an issue in trying to provide them programming. Much of our Tri-Cities Magazine show tends to be a look at what happened last week and promoting what’s coming up the next week. And unfortunately, with the service TELUS is currently offering, when we deliver them a programming, they have to send it out to be encoded and then brought back before they can play it, and it winds up being about a month before it can get to air. So if we do coverage of Canada Day, nobody wants to watch that a month later.

2682 So some of our long form, in interviews with artists and things like that, we’re hoping to package and provide that to air on TELUS.

2683 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: So in the Tri-City area itself, are there other community stations that are operating, that are operated by BDUs, Shaw or TELUS, that have an offering? Maybe it doesn’t speak directly to the Tri-City community, but at least it is aired in that region?

2684 MR. SCOTT: Well, we receive Shaw and TELUS -- I’m not sure I understand the question.

2685 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Well, I’m just sort of wondering -- I understand that there’s no Shaw or TELUS community station that operates out of the Tri-City area focused just on those issues.

2686 MR. SCOTT: Right.

2687 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: But I’m wondering if in their broadcast area to Tri-City residents, are they able to pick up the Shaw or the TELUS community stations that maybe come down to Vancouver, for example?

2688 MR. SCOTT: Yes.

2689 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay.

2690 If you just had to sort of put a guess as to how much time and effort is dedicated from those community channels to addressing issues that are relevant sort of exclusively to the Tri-City community, would you be able to say, is it 5 percent? Is the extent of their coverage something that comes from yourself in the form of access programming?

2691 MR. SCOTT: Well, I think from Shaw -- I can only really talk to Shaw. I don’t really have a grasp of what TELUS puts out there because of the VODs -- pretty expanse -- and I’m not sure who’s on there, but certainly speaking to Shaw, I believe they do about 2 percent of their programming in our region. So once or twice a year we’ll see them out to cover Golden Spike Day, or whatever major festivals we have, and that’s about it.

2692 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: I’m just wondering, with respect to your relationship with Shaw, you said that they’ve made an offer of some production equipment, although it’s no closer than their studios in Vancouver.

2693 Are you able to access their studio in Vancouver for production purposes if you were able to go in?

2694 MR. SCOTT: We have been offered that and we have taken advantage of that in the past, but we are about 40 miles away from downtown Vancouver. As was stated by Deepak the other day, the costs are kind of prohibitive just to park down there and be down there.

2695 But the reality is although 40 kilometres doesn’t seem that far away, if I have a volunteer who’s doing a story in my community, he has to drive 40 kilometres to get that camera. He’s got to drive 40 kilometres to come back and do the story, and then when he’s done, he’s got to drive 40 kilometres to return the camera and 40 kilometres back home. So that’s pretty prohibitive, as far as I’m concerned.

2696 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: Okay. So I guess with respect to sort of local points of presence, be they studios, be they the community media access centres that CACTUS talked about earlier today, what are your thoughts on if the Commission did adopt that type of community access media centre model, how many centres would be required to cover sort of the greater Vancouver area and the municipalities that make up that region of the country?

2697 MR. SCOTT: Very good question. I know there were at least 12 at one time, and I think that is probably about the number we’d be looking for. You know, for the Tri-Cities, for example, we’re three cities, but we could very well make do with one facility. But other cities like Burnaby would probably have their own. Surrey would probably have their own. So adding them up, I would say around a dozen.

2698 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And I’ve never worked in production, so you’ll have to excuse my ignorance.

2699 But what type of services would you need to or would you like to be able to avail out of one of the centres? Is it just local storage of a camera? Is there certain production equipment that’s required? Do you need green screen setups and so forth? I’m just sort of trying to get an understanding of what one of these centres would entail and what you think should be there to help you meet your needs?

2700 MR. SCOTT: Obviously these kinds of centres are scalable. I would think in smaller communities it might be just a repository for the gear for people to come pick up.

2701 For some of the bigger ones, I would anticipate a small studio space, nothing dramatic as a CBC studio but, you know, something where we had just enough height to put some lights up and conduct interviews in a reasonable fashion where we don’t have noise issues or any other interference would be fabulous.

2702 COMMISSIONER MacDONALD: And I guess sort of along that same line -- and one of my colleagues asked this question earlier -- what would your thoughts be -- because this would be a fundamental shift in the way we do things now -- thoughts be on sort of establishing a pilot region or a pilot project somewhere or various places in the country to sort of see how this model would work and be able to weigh the benefits from it.

2703 MR. SCOTT: Well I see that as a brilliant opportunity for both sides. Obviously, there’s sort of an interest in some sort of change and I think it makes sense to investigate and see how these things would work, rather than making a massive change and hoping for the best.

2704 So I’m fully in support of that and I would certainly hope that our community would be considered as one of the trial areas.

2705 THE CHAIRPERSON: If we just want to jump over for a second to the topic of access programming in general.

2706 Some intervenors have sort of suggested that maybe access is of lesser importance than perhaps it once was, just due to the fact of technological advancement and people can shoot a short video on their IPhone and upload it to YouTube or various other platforms.

2707 And just wonder if you can speak to the importance of access programming in this day and age -- and I guess over the next five years, because that’s sort of the timeframe that we’re looking at.

2708 MR. SCOTT: I’m obviously one of those people that does not feel that it has waned and that it still has an importance.

2709 I’m not sure what else I can really say about that. You know, I think we still have tremendous response from our community. People are watching out there.

2710 My understanding is from Shaw that the numbers of viewers we have is on par with the programming that they produce.

2711 Probably not on par with the hockey coverage they do. That seems to get the most eyeballs, but as far as all the other programming we’re right on a baseline with them.

2712 So I believe there’s still a very good interest, although to be fair when people do call into question the amount of viewers, because I’ve always had this conversation with Shaw, I believe you’re measuring an apple with an orange metre, basically.

2713 It’s a different animal altogether and it shouldn’t be judged on the amount of eyeballs that are watching it.

2714 Some shows I’m -- you know, we do Canada day coverage in Coquitlam, I’m hoping a lot of people watch, but when I go and cover a small choir somewhere in our community, I’m really only expecting that they’re watching and friends of that group are watching, but to us that’s a measurable success.

2715 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not to, sort of, prejudge anything that’s going to come out of this hearing process, but if -- theoretically if a fund was created that, you know, organisations such as yours could access across the country for funding to support your initiatives, I guess, can you sort of quantify what you would view, at least speaking for your -- your operation, you know, what a wholesale improvement would look like and what that would cost.

2716 Is success for you moving from 40 hours of programming a year to 80 or 100 hours of programming a year?

2717 What does -- what does success look like and how much does it cost, I guess is my question.

2718 MR. SCOTT: At this point, I think success may just be staying alive, but certainly I’d like to see the hours increase and perhaps even to the point of having our own channel one day for the -- for our own region.

2719 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you. Those are my questions for today.

2720 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.

2721 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson?

2722 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Hi. Welcome to Gatineau.

2723 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.

2724 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: It’s a long flight isn’t it?

2725 MR. SCOTT: Not that bad. Not as bad as Australia.

2726 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: True. I was fascinated with -- with the quality of the work you’re doing. I think it’s exceptional considering you’re doing it out of your house.

2727 MR. SCOTT: Thank you.

2728 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: But it’s a testament to technology as well. Are you cutting everything in the house or ---?

2729 MR. SCOTT: Final Cut Pro.

2730 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Ah, okay.

2731 MR. SCOTT: Yes.

2732 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: In terms of the working relationship with the BDUs, how has Shaw and particularly with the creation of Optik with Bell, how are the two of them to work with?

2733 You’re -- you know, you’re gaining access; you’re delivering a finished product, which has got to make their job a lot easier.

2734 MR. SCOTT: M'hm.

2735 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Is it an open door or do you have to keep putting your foot in it to keep it open?

2736 MR. SCOTT: No, I’ve had a very long relationship with Shaw. In fact I used to work for them for several years in my youth.

2737 And so, you know, although at times we’re at opposite ends of the spectrum, I think we’ve had a very good relationship.

2738 Speaking as -- about a number of the access groups in Vancouver particularly have a more acrimonious relationship and I’ve always tried to keep ours on good terms and we’ve had no problem. We just basically deliver the shows and they put them on air for us.

2739 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: So putting aside the fact that they knew you as a -- from your employee relationship --

2740 MR. SCOTT: M'hm.

2741 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: -- what do you think the secret sauce is in terms of having a BDU interested in cooperating with an independent producer?

2742 MR. SCOTT: I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer that question, but I mean from my perspective it’s always about, you know, keeping an open mind and trying to maintain a decent relationship, working relationship. Yes I ---

2743 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Last question, how did you talk the cities into supporting you? Are you covering council?

2744 MR. SCOTT: Occasionally. Shaw will cover council meetings only when they are regularly scheduled and in council chambers.

2745 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Right.

2746 MR. SCOTT: So we will augment, we will go in there and cover special meetings or out of community town hall meetings especially, because I consider that probably of more interest to the community, whether they’re actually getting feedback from their council and that is what Shaw doesn’t cover. So we’ll go do that for them.

2747 Interestingly enough, when I first went to the cities, a number of years ago, I was basically told no, you know, we’re -- this is just downloading the costs that the cable company should pay.

2748 And I explained to them what the cable companies aren’t going to do it so either it doesn’t happen or this is how it’s going to happen and at that point they still were reluctant to put really any money into our pockets.

2749 I perhaps don’t know if they understood how much community support we had, but interestingly enough, once we started singing up other community groups they became engaged and decided that, you know, if we’re getting a couple of thousand dollars from the community that perhaps they should be chipping in as well.

2750 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: M'hm. Thank you.

2751 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Molnar?

2752 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: I just want to follow up on your support for the Cactus proposal.

2753 MR. SCOTT: Yes.

2754 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: The Cactus proposal as you know would establish these community media centers but would be partnered with universities with public libraries, it would -- it would govern across radio gaming television, are you concerned that as a television medium that your voice -- you have no concern partnering with -- with that group and having your control over resources being -- and everything else as part of that broader group of constituents?

2755 MR. SCOTT: I would be certainly concerned if I was in a broader group of constituents that were more commercially motivated, but if it’s community radio and other community platforms, I would welcome the ability to work together, cooperation.

2756 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: So priority to your projects and that sort of thing you have no concern about that?

2757 MR. SCOTT: No.

2758 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: Okay. The other question, I expect you watched the Cactus presentation?

2759 MR. SCOTT: Yes.

2760 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: Did you -- yes. And they had a representative. I’ve lost his name now, from the Ontario Public Libraries.

2761 MR. SCOTT: Yes.

2762 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: Do you have any relationship at all with the libraries in the B.C. region?

2763 MR. SCOTT: Port Moody and Port Coquitlam are quite small. I have been approached -- I have approached the Coquitlam Library, but only about six months ago.

2764 And I’ve got a contact with one of the folks on their board that is intrigued, but to this point we haven’t established a relationship.

2765 But I do agree that I think there is a partnership possibility there with the libraries that would work very well.

2766 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: So do you know whether there’s any mandates or objectives within the B.C. library association that might be similar to what was expressed of the Ontario ---?

2767 MR. SCOTT: I’m sorry; I don’t really have any of that information. I know there does seem to be that move to make public work areas and I can see how that would be synchronous with what we’re doing, but that’s really the extent of my knowledge of that.

2768 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: Right, so you’re just starting the discussions and you’re --

2769 MR. SCOTT: Just starting the discussions.

2770 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: -- you’re pursuing that now?

2771 MR. SCOTT: Yes.

2772 COMMISSIONAR MOLNAR: Okay, thank you.

2773 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Scott. I believe those are our questions. Thank you.

2774 MR. SCOTT: Excellent, thank you.

2775 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire?

2776 THE SECRETARY: I will now ask the Council of Senior Citizen Organization of British Columbia and Public Interest Advocacy Center to come to the presentation table.

(SHORT PAUSE)

2777 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourself when you’re ready and you have 10 minutes.

PRESENTATION:

2778 MR. LAWFORD: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Commission staff.

2779 The Council of Senior Citizens’ Organizations of B.C. (COSCO) and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) -- together COSCO-PIAC -- are pleased to appear before the Commission today. My name is John Lawford. I am the Executive Director and General Counsel of PIAC and Counsel to COSCO-PIAC. To my right is Alysia Lau, Legal Counsel at PIAC; and to her right is Cynthia Khoo, PIAC’s Articling Student.

2780 COSCO-PIAC’s remarks today are founded on two overarching principles.

2781 First, we believe that community TV, as the third element of the Canadian broadcasting system, plays a significant role and can be a key provider of local and community programming in Canada, especially for small communities. Thus, its potential, especially as “citizen-created media,” should not be overlooked but must continue to be supported and strengthened.

2782 Second, we make an exception for local news. Local news is important to Canadians and must continue to be mandated and professionally produced by local public and private stations. These are the organizations that have the resources to provide communities with high quality local news programming.

2783 We will also briefly touch on the Commission’s questions regarding market size and community needs, and the implementation of several local programming and local news funds.

2784 Cynthia?

2785 MS. KHOO: Thank you, John.

2786 My comments will focus on community television and access programming.

2787 Commissioners, as things stand today, the Canadian broadcasting system rests on a tilted tripod. While two of its legs are sturdy, the public and private elements, the community element calls for reinforcement.

2788 Community is legislatively and culturally the third pillar of Canadian broadcasting, but has yet to receive the appropriate regulatory and financial support it requires to truly fulfill its role as the Broadcasting Act contemplates. Although we agree that local news is important and warrants the emphasis given in the Working Document, we encourage the Commission to give equal attention to community programming in its determinations.

2789 COSCO-PIAC have three key recommendations that speak to the particular needs and strengths of community television: cultivate access programming; establish independent funding; and facilitate both physical and digital platforms.

2790 First, access programming is fundamental to the community element, the one broadcasting sector designated to be “by local civilians, for local civilians”. As cases such as the MAtv Montreal complaint demonstrate, the current definitions of “access programming” and “community member” fall short. True access implies support, creative and editorial control, awareness, and representation, which evidence suggests have not always been available to actual or potential access producers.

2791 We recommend amending the Community Television Policy to account for these principles.

2792 First, ensure that every access program, by definition, involves at least one community member as a creative member of production.

2793 Second, refine the definition of community member to prevent broadcasting professionals from qualifying by virtue of residency and thus defeating the spirit of the policy.

2794 Third, require BDUs to implement a transparent access programming process, including promotion, active recruitment, and Program Selection Committees comprising of diverse members of the local community.

2795 Lastly, raise the access exhibition and expenditure requirements incrementally to, as proposed in our intervention, 80 percent by 2020.

2796 While COSCO-PIAC are not opposed to a local news fund, this must not come at the expense of access programming.

2797 In fact, COSCO-PIAC recommend establishing a Community Television Fund, or CTVF. Access means little without the independence to make decisions, or the funding to follow through. The fund would support independent, non-profit community stations, particularly in rural and remote areas, and would be financed by a portion of current BDU contributions.

2798 COSCO-PIAC’s final recommendation for community television is that the Commission promote the facilitation of physical spaces that act as central portals of media education and training, local programming, collaboration, and community engagement. Community media inherently implicates physical place as well as digital space, and we ask that the Commission recognize the importance of both.

2799 Community programming today is vulnerable to a system that does not inherently reflect its core values or principles. Without the measures just presented, we risk losing the heart of what makes community media important and relevant to Canadians. Strengthened community and access programming policies would bring the community element closer to what it could be and should be, a stronghold of reflective, relevant, and representative media that meets Canadians where they are.

2800 I will now turn you over to Alysia.

2801 MS. LAU: Thank you, Cynthia.

2802 Local conventional broadcasters have value in providing professionally produced original local programming, especially local news, which remains extremely important to Canadian communities.

2803 Research shows that local news produced by “traditional media” such as local television is still valuable and critical to providing information and analysis for viewers. Meanwhile, “citizen journalism” and “hyperlocal media” often have insufficient resources to be perfect substitutes for the democratic oversight provided by professional local news media.

2804 COSCO-PIAC therefore recommend that the Commission revise local programming obligations to focus on original local news exhibition requirements. Given the emphasis this proceeding has placed on local news, these requirements should apply to all conventional broadcasters, including ethnic television stations.

2805 With regards to the definitions of “local programming” and “local news,” we believe the emphasis must be on ensuring that local news and other local programming reflect the needs and interests of a community. Broadcasters must be able to demonstrate, whether through community feedback or other mechanisms, that their programming meets these needs.

2806 We also recognize, however, that sufficient resources are critical to producing high quality local news. In particular, we believe that sufficient local staff, and especially local full-time journalists, is critical to providing professional news reporting.

2807 Small Markets. COSCO-PIAC would not oppose the provision of local news over community stations in small markets with no over-the-air television. However, citizen access remains, as the Commission has consistently found, the “cornerstone” of community television policy.

2808 Current access programming obligations only, at most, require 50 percent of exhibition and expenditures on BDU-operated community channels. This leaves more than sufficient funding and scheduling slots for community stations to broadcast local news without reducing access programming. We therefore oppose any proposal that would lower access programming requirements in order to incentivize the broadcast of local news.

2809 Local Funding. Generally, we believe funding for community television should stay the same, with a new Community Television Fund carved out to focus on funding independent stations, especially in rural communities.

2810 COSCO-PIAC do not oppose the continued funding of the SMLPF. We also do not oppose the creation of a local news fund, although we note there is far from universal consensus among intervenors that a new local programming fund would be beneficial or sustainable. However, we believe any local news funding should be directed primarily towards independent local stations, particularly those operating in small markets.

2811 With the Commission’s permission, we have set out a proposal for the distribution of BDU Contributions in the Appendix to these oral remarks, including a local news fund, should the Commission deem it necessary to establish one.

2812 John?

2813 MR. LAWFORD: In conclusion, locally reflective programming, including local news, is vital to the Canadian broadcasting system and to Canadian communities. COSCO-PIAC support Commission initiatives and policies to promote the provision of local programming.

2814 While local television is important, we also believe there is strong potential for the community TV sector to be a community’s go-to hub for local information, events and expression across multiple platforms. As such, community TV must have the regulatory and financial support to serve Canadians moving forward into the future.

2815 Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. COSCO-PIAC would be pleased to take any questions that you may have.

2816 Thank you.

2817 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Your presentation is very clear. There’s just a few areas I wouldn’t mind clearing up with you.

2818 Clearly, you favour, from a policy perspective, the access portion of the community reality and perhaps you can put some meat around the bone in terms of why you think that that’s the best policy objective and why that should be driving our policy decisions?

2819 MS. KHOO: Yeah, I’ll start and then Cynthia can add anything if she wants. We looked at what community media was in terms of its conventional definition, and the way that community media has developed in other jurisdictions. And it’s described in different ways, but sometimes referred to as citizen-created media or a community-operated media, or television stations. And the one definition we found in the UN handbook for community media was I believe, independent non-profit operated.

2820 And so we believe that what distinguishes the community element from the public or private element, is the ability for these types of television or radio stations to be primarily community-operated and controlled by community members. And in a BDU-operated community channel system, that is primarily facilitated through access programming and access programming obligations.

2821 MS. KHOO: Sure. Just to emphasize what Alysia said in terms of it going back to the Act and how are at least three elements set out, public, private and communities. So looking at it, it seems each of them are there for a reason, and because they're there, they should be different from the other two. So you have public, private, I think as CAP has mentioned earlier, they can also be defined by ownership and by the nature of them.

2822 And so with access programming, that is kind of our way of trying to recognize the realities of how the systems are today where it’s not set up as its own thing yet, it’s set up as this thing called Access Programming still under the control of BDUs, but trying to help it towards what community media should be and has traditionally been recognized to be.

2823 THE CHAIRPERSON: So in your view, community necessarily means access?

2824 MS. KHOO: That would be -- I think that would be safe to say, because the community element is the element where it’s kind of for Canadians by Canadians. And based on how we’ve seen things working, access is the part of the broadcasting system right now that is open for everyday Canadians to create their own media.

2825 MS. LAU: Yeah, I’ll just add, I think access in terms of how we understand it in the Canadian kind of broadcasting regulatory framework in the BDU-operated community channel kind of system.

2826 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Then explain to me, at paragraph 9 you suggest that the target should be 80 percent by 2020 that would be mostly access exhibition and expenditure. That suggest to me that prior to 2020, there would be more than 20 percent that wouldn’t be access, and certainly after 2020 there would be 20 percent that would not be access on an ongoing basis.

2827 So I'm having difficulty squaring your perspective that access and community are almost equivalent, yet you seem to be open to tolerating not a small portion of non-access?

2828 MR. LAWFORD: I’ll start and I think Alysia wants to add. I think we’ve sensed the challenge the Commission faces in changing the community TV system from what it is to what it could be. And we see the potentials, we’re trying to get there, we’re trying to give an off ramp that's sloped let’s say, not a shelf.

2829 And so there will be a transition period, and this is an attempt to make the BDU-controlled community TV more like what it could be. And so it's sort of a slow slope, so they can get there in a way that won't crash the system.

2830 MS. LAU: Yeah, what John said. This is way I think which PIAC -- COSCO-PIAC are proposing to help the system, as it is currently primarily founded or based, transition to one which we believe fits closer to the conventional understanding of community media.

2831 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why wouldn’t it go to zero then?

2832 MS. LAU: Yeah, we’re hoping to get there. We were looking to the next five years, since it had been five years since the last community review, and reassessing the situation at that time.

2833 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see. One could argue that -- so you're thinking about this in a pragmatic transitional way I think; right? We’ve had a long history of community presence for the community channel being managed in a sense by BDUs. In fact, one could imagine and we have -- in the past the Commission has asked for more access programming going forward.

2834 I take it from your position you want to go the step further and actually having new entities emerge that would take care of community television to be even more access driven. And I was wondering if you had considered the potential -- chaos is too much of a strong word, but disruption that will occur in all these small community systems?

2835 And certainly the Commission’s experience with community-led initiatives is -- while some of them work very well, there are little battles that percolate here and there and they tend not to be particularly fun for everyone.

2836 I was wondering if you had considered that while embracing the spirit of more access programming, that the delivery could nevertheless be within the box of BDUs delivering that to at least create some structure and governance.

2837 MR. LAWFORD: I think that that’s exactly what we’re saying. And in the heart of paragraph 9 of our oral remarks today, we’re talking about having extra -- well changes to the community TV policy so that there are Program Selection Committees, and people get more on air, more behind camera -- sorry, more behind camera experience so that that kind of expertise can slowly build, but within the framework that the BDU provides for now.

2838 Do you want to add something?

2839 MS. LAU: Yeah, COSCO-PIAC’s proposal is kind of based on creating two streams. So running with the current BDU-operated community channels, and trying to figure out how we can increase community access and community engagement and involvement in those areas, as well as carving out a new source of funding for any new entities that might -- for existing independent stations that offer it, and any new stations that might want to get into community medium and seeing over the next five years how those two areas develop as our proposal is set out now.

2840 If there comes a time where there is significant growth and demand in the non-profit sector to operate these types of stations, then our proposal would lean towards favouring funding those types of operations, and moving away from the BDU-operated system.

2841 But our current proposal looks at figuring out how to transition -- make that transition, or how to reassess in the next five years how those two different streams are operating and how they're working.

2842 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. So your vision is that the authority associated with the community channel, although much more in your view focusing on access type programming, would still be associated with the BDU licence; is that correct?

2843 MS. KHOO: Yes, that’s correct, and that’s actually why we have a list of recommendations, some of them go to funding, but some of them also don’t go to funding and they go directly to where the control would be. So as John mentioned, that’s why we suggested for instance Program Selection Committees, increased transparency in how these access programs are selected or how they're put on.

2844 That's why we also redefined what access producer and access programming is, to make sure that you actually have genuine community involvement. And again, this goes back to how we’re trying to allow for the pragmatics of the situation, and get to where we envision things being and where things ought to be at the end of it, but still recognize the reality today where okay, authority will not be transitioned from BDUs to community stations overnight. So in the meantime, authority still rests with BDUs, but while it’s there, we can make what -- we can make BDUs better at stewarding that authority that they have and that’s what a lot of our recommendations go to.

2845 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, I think some of you may have been in the room earlier before the lunch break, so would it be fair to say that you're more aligned with Mr. Rodgers -- ELAN’s more pragmatic approach going forward, rather than CACTUS’ structure of creating new governance around community?

2846 MR. LAWFORD: No, I don’t think that’s quite right. I mean we share I guess the principles and vision of CACTUS, where they want to get to. And I think they a quite compelling actually presentation with their various people come and tell you how they would do it if they could just get there.

2847 So that’s the end goal. We have the same vision but maybe our mission on how to get there, our way is trying to be more practical. And we’re trying to use the system that’s there now to get there rather than have a sudden, like I said, shelf drop-off.

2848 THE CHAIRPERSON: What is the right amount of money?

2849 MS. LAU: When you look at the Appendix, what we’ve proposed right now is 0.3 percent of the terrestrial BDU contributions, which I think works out to be about 20 million.

2850 And so I think given the existing number of independent community television stations currently operating and also taking into account possibly new ones, so I know Cathy Edwards from CACTUS was discussing, you know, community radio maybe wanting to get into community television and the Ontario Library Association. Hopefully this amount would make room for the initial applicants and then could grow in the future if there is that demand.

2851 THE CHAIRPERSON: It strikes me as a bit of a procrustean exercise; because there’s X-amount of money, we’ll make fit the demand.

2852 Shouldn’t we be doing it the other way around; what is necessary to create a pillar and then figure out what the financing is?

2853 I mean in absolute terms, 2 percent, 3 percent meant something in 2015 and meant something completely different, you know, five years before.

2854 It seems like a bit of an artificial approach to just pull a percentage out of the air.

2855 So I take it you haven’t done an exercise as to, you know, actually financially thought it out as to what amounts of money are needed?

2856 MS. LAU: No, we haven’t. And I think we’ve relied on what other Intervenors, such as CACTUS have submitted. But this was I think, yes, kind of a ball park figure that we came up with, also accommodating the potential creation of a local news fund, which we thought was balanced but is not fixed.

2857 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.

2858 Okay, well, thank you for opening the door because I was going to move to the local news fund at this point.

2859 So you’re not opposed to local news fund. But am I reading between the lines as with respect to large, vertically integrated companies, you think that the best way to ensure local news, which is important, is that the Commission should just impose conditions of licence?

2860 MS. LAU: Yes. In our view, when the large national, private broadcasters had acquired these stations, they were also acquiring obligations or responsibilities that came with them, part of which were to provide local programming, in our view, because Canadian communities value local news, should now focus on local news.

2861 So yes, in our view, they have the resources to be able to serve these communities well and had undertaken to do so when they acquired these properties.

2862 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you’re not persuaded by the argument they put forth saying that they are investing their money in local news; that the audience is there, but the digital reality has resulted in they can’t convert those audience numbers into revenue because for whatever reasons advertisers or agencies are more fascinated these days, I guess, to reach audiences through new platforms and other platforms. And they just aren’t monetizing like they used to.

2863 MS. LAU: Yes, I wouldn’t say that we don’t believe that they’re undergoing financial challenges.

2864 We believe the question before us is there is a limited amount of funding within the BDU contribution system and what is the best use of those funds?

2865 So we looked at the interventions made by many of the national broadcasters. Bell of itself said that a local news fund, they didn’t necessarily view to be sustainable in the long-term future and wasn’t necessarily a long-term answer to the woes of the conventional television system.

2866 So in our view, if these funds were to be used to fund local news, they should focus primarily on the independent stations and especially in small markets, which are likely struggling much more than in the larger markets.

2867 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I’m trying to square that because obviously you are persuaded in part to the argument that you can’t monetize as well as in the past. But you’re only accepting that argument with respect to independent small markets or independents?

2868 Because some of the -- one could argue that, you now, what’s a small, what’s a large market? Bell might actually have, for instance -- not to pick on them, but Bell might actually be in a smaller market than a large market.

2869 So is it the VI aspect to it or the independents versus VI?

2870 MS. LAU: Okay, I’ll start because I think there are several people here who would like to answer.

2871 Yes, there is the VI aspect to it certainly, and it’s not that we’re saying we accept that financial challenges argument for small stations but not for VIs. We recognize that there are many parties before you who have been saying we need a solution.

2872 We’re just trying, through our lens, to figure out where the solution should come from.

2873 And in terms of funding local news production, if the Commission deems that it is necessary to establish a local news fund, then we think it should focus primarily on funding independent stations in small markets.

2874 And then other panelists can add to my response.

2875 MR. LAWFORD: Because for the vertically integrated players their TV stations are a way to leverage all their other assets. They can sell -- you know, they put ads on there for their internet services. And they put it on there for their new over-the-top services. It works that way.

2876 Also, all the content that they produce inside those stations, they can use on their online platforms in all sorts of ways.

2877 The value -- like why are these VI companies acquiring networks when they can see they’re losing money? Well, because it’s a valuable part of their overall vertical integration.

2878 And little ones and independents can’t do that because they don’t have that way -- they can’t take a loss on one side because they have no other side to take it from.

2879 I know the VIs come here and say, well, it’s a separate line of business and we’re losing money on it. We can’t expect to employ people and so on and so forth. But what did they buy? They bought a station with obligations and it comes with all the Broadcasting Act obligations and some of those are supporting local news. So they went with their eyes open.

2880 The other ones are just trapped. So we’re looking out for who we think needs the money most.

2881 MS. KHOO: I was just going to say it goes back to this theme that’s been running through in terms of hierarchies of needs.

2882 So we recognize that everybody is in need across the industry but if you have a limited amount of funding and you’re going to select someone to get this extra funding, then the question becomes who is most in need. And we believe that’s small stations and independent stations.

2883 THE CHAIRPERSON: “The Voice of Cassandra” appeared before us this morning saying -- prophesizing the worst possible things. And I don’t want to dismiss it entirely because one of the challenges we have is that a broadcasting licence is a permission to operate, it’s not an obligation to operate.

2884 So what would you say to the communities that some of the larger VI companies -- some of the communities that are currently served by them wake up one day and somebody has returned their licence.

2885 You did say local news is important.

2886 MR. LAWFORD: Absolutely. And I would like to think that anyone operating a station in a small market or any market would think long and hard before giving away a licence and actually don’t think they ever would.

2887 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why do you come to that?

2888 MR. LAWFORD: I think there’s more value in having a local TV licence even if it’s in a market where you’re supposedly losing money on the operation of that particular -- that particular market when it’s part of a VI system. And you want to keep your brand out there in every little town in Canada, and that’s why the networks were acquired, and that’s why they will hang on to them.

2889 But I see your point and it would be an outcome we’re trying to avoid as well.

2890 THE CHAIRPERSON: I’m sure you’re not the ones who will be blamed. We will be.

2891 MS. KHOO: In terms of ---

2892 THE CHAIRPERSON: I’m not saying fairly blamed. Obviously, we have apparently broad shoulders, been accused of causing the downturn -- the arrival of disruptive technology that’s causing business troubles everywhere. I didn’t realize I invented the internet, but apparently I’m to blame for everything. Pretty soon I’ll be blamed for the dismal playing record of the Montreal Canadians, no doubt.

2893 MR. LAWFORD: Well, just one thing that I think is fair to say is that there is somewhat of a policy vacuum -- I hate to say it -- on the government side in this area. If there were truly problems with Canadians receiving news and stations start closing in droves and Canadians do not get news and they do not get local programming, there may have to be leadership from the political end. And to have the CRTC carry the entire weight itself, of course, is a problem. But that’s where we are once again, here in one of these hearings where there is a policy vacuum and you guys are asked to fill it.

2894 So we feel your pain, but we are just trying to propose something that will work for the next five years and lead to a new system which will leverage, you know, some new elements and hopefully fix the situation.

2895 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. Sorry, I didn’t want to cut you off.

2896 MS. LAU: It’s okay. I was just going to say, yeah, we understand. We feel the pain of these communities just as you probably do. The Commission does have to make tough choices. It also has to look at the record and decide what is the best way forward.

2897 And when I look at the record, no intervenor has said, I don’t believe, that this local news fund will sustain conventional stations into the future. It’s not the answer to keeping local stations alive.

2898 So in our view there is a -- we’ve proposed what we think is the best way to allocate that funding.

2899 THE CHAIRPERSON: When Friends of Canadian Broadcasting were here earlier -- by the way, we always say friends, but I always only see one person there speaking on various platforms, but anyhow -- when they appeared they were saying that in fact we should increase the amount of money available.

2900 I was surprised you did not react tot that because that would essentially mean a rate hike. I doubt that cable companies, based on our experience in the past, when we asked them to contribute more, they seem to add it to a bill. They won’t -- they probably won’t put on the bill “the tax brought to you by Ian Morrison”. They’ll probably put something like “the tax brought to you by the CRTC”. But nevertheless, I would have thought you, representing the groups you do represent, would have said something about affordability of television services because Mr. Morrison didn’t say that.

2901 MS. LAU: Yeah, I believe you’re on the right track which was that we would certainly oppose increasing BDU contributions just given the past track record of it being an additional charge for customers when it was, in principle, meant to be a contribution from BDU’s revenues. And I know the two are often the same, but to the customer, that makes a difference to them.

2902 THE CHAIRPERSON: So your view is that whatever solution we find -- and I appreciate your comment is we’ve got to put more emphasis on access when it comes to community -- there maybe be some room to do something for independent local television as a stop-gap, but in no way should we increase the 5 percent contribution. Would that be putting too many words in your mouth?

2903 MS. LAU: No, I believe that’s right. That would be our view.

2904 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your annex -- and this will be my last question and we can turn in to my colleagues afterwards -- help me out when it comes to local news fund. Again, a bit like I was asking earlier for the community fund, was there any magic to the number -- the percentage you put there or it was just based on what you gleaned from the rest of the record and other parties’ positions?

2905 MS. LAU: It was mostly the latter that you suggested, but what’s in the local news fund right now is I believe what would be about double what’s in the SMLPF right now, which seemed, just from our limited view, a good starting point ---

2906 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.

2907 MS. LAU: --- if we were to focus on independent stations and small markets.

2908 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.

2909 We’ll hear from my colleagues. Commissioner Molnar.

2910 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thanks.

2911 I want your help with something. You represent community organizations. I’m not sure how much time you spend within Saskatchewan. You know I’m the Commissioner there. We have a lot of small markets in Saskatchewan. We have two markets that are served by single stations. They’re owned by a VI. They’re perhaps some of the smallest markets served. Yorkton has less than 20,000 people, but it’s got a television station. PA has less than 40,000 and it has a television station.

2912 You speak about the value of vertical integration. Certainly there’s value to economies of scale and scope, yet in Saskatchewan it’s not really apparent what value vertical integration brings or why there should be any assurance that vertical integration somehow would be a benefit that would keep those communities served.

2913 By the way, there is no independent small market stations in my province, but we certainly have small market stations.

2914 So tell me how your proposal works within the Province of Saskatchewan?

2915 MS. LAU: I think our proposal focuses primarily on community television, and we do believe that we’re given the financial and regulatory support from -- community television can meet many of the local programming needs, especially in communities where there is no over-the-air station. So that’s one part of our proposal.

2916 In regards to the two local stations in Saskatchewan, the funding proposal that we’ve put forward wouldn’t address that immediately, but because there is the rural or remote or small market aspect to it, it could be a consideration and I think that’s something the Commission would have to determine.

2917 MS. KHOO: I think, with respect to the value of vertical integration, that’s something that the vertically integrated companies tell us. So they’re saying that, “If you let us vertically integrate, we can economize and take everything that we heard yesterday, economies of scale, and that should trickle down to these small markets.”

2918 And so if that’s not happening, then that would go -- bringing it back to our proposal, we said that local news fund would be focused on rural and remote communities and small markets, but I don’t think that necessarily has to mean that if you’re not one of those, you’re automatically excluded. It’s more of a focus but not a mandatory criteria. So maybe once the fund is implemented, if it’s implemented, there could be an aspect that says, “Okay, so the point of focusing on rural and remote and small markets is because they have this need.” And so we see this market where, formally speaking, it’s not independent small market rule, but substantively it is, in fact, all those things, then maybe they would have access to the fund as well.

2919 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: So it’s not a hard and fast rule; it’s a general principle and you acknowledge that -- I don’t know if you acknowledge; let me ask you. Would you acknowledge that small market might be the most important factor, whether there’s economies to serving regardless of whether you’re independent or otherwise?

2920 MS. LAU: I don’t know if we’d say it’s the most important, but it is definitely one of the important factors. And our proposal I think would still like to focus on the independent stations first because, again, as we had said before, we’re looking for solutions and there are different areas that solutions can come from.

2921 But our ---

2922 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And let me ask you about that as well. When you talk about the independent stations, are you saying you’re looking at the markets served today by an independent operator or are you looking at maintaining stations? I mean, there’s two and three sticks in some of those small markets. You’re looking to ensure they continue to be served or you’re looking to retain the stations?

2923 MS. LAU: That’s a good question. I think we’d say we’re looking for communities to continue to be served.

2924 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: And I might be putting words in your mouth, but I honestly am just trying to ensure I’ve understood where we kind of -- where you landed on the question I asked.

2925 You’re looking for communities to be served, regardless of ownership, but you believe the bar should be higher when it’s a vertical integrated company. Is that a fair statement?

2926 MS. LAU: I think that’s a fair assessment, yeah, of our position.

2927 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you.

2928 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think those are our questions except for one last one from me.

2929 Sorry -- CBC, is there any case -- public policy case for the CBC and the service they provide, whether it’s a majority -- in official language majority or minority communities?

2930 MS. LAU: Do you mean in terms of their role or access to funding or ---

2931 THE CHAIRPERSON: In terms of -- sorry, not a well formulated question. In terms of your TV fund, the potential money that could -- you’ve talked about independence but you haven’t really addressed the CBC in any way.

2932 MS. LAU: M’hm. That’s a good question. I think at this point our view is that the CBC does have the resources to continue to provide local programming in their local markets.

2933 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.

2934 Well, you’ll have an opportunity in the final reply stage to elaborate on some of those issues that are percolating through the hearing, as others will have.

2935 Okay. Thank you very much.

2936 I think we have a Skype link so we’ll take a short break just to set it up. So we’ll be back at 3:10.

--- Upon recessing at 2:57 p.m.

--- Upon resuming at 3:07 p.m.

2937 THE CHAIRPERSON: Our next presentation is from Kirk LaPointe via Skype.

PRESENTATION :

2938 MR. LaPOINTE: Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Commissioners, for the opportunity to appear before you today.

2939 My name is Kirk LaPointe. I’m currently the Vice-President of audience and business development for the Business in Vancouver Media Group which is owned by Glacier Media. It’s the largest newspaper group in Western Canada.

2940 I’m an early morning host on the newly licenced Roundhouse Radio FM station in Vancouver; an adjunct professor in ethics and leadership at the graduate school of journalism at UBC, and the Executive Director of the Organization of News Ombudsman, which is the worldwide body that discusses media standards and ethics.

2941 I’ve a 35-year career in broadcast, print and online media, in established enterprises and start-ups, in fast-moving wire services and slow-moving publishing.

2942 I’ve run CTV News -- that was the last time I appeared before the Commission -- Southam News and the Hamilton Spectator. I was the founding executive editor of National Post. I was a day-one host on CBC Newsworld. I worked at the Canadian Press as a reporter -- I followed communications in Ottawa actually at the time the CRTC was licensing the first round of pay television -- then as a manager, then the Ottawa Bureau Chief, then a General News Editor, and I’ve run the day-to-day operations of Western Canada’s largest newsroom at the Vancouver Sun. I’ve been the ombudsman of the CBC and I’ve run a publishing house at Self Counsel Press.

2943 I took a momentary detour in 2014 and ran for mayor of Vancouver, and I trust you won’t discount my credibility for that lapse of reason. I did, however, learn more about my community in a few months then I might have as a journalist in many years.

2944 I’ve had not so much a front-row seat at the game of news as been on the ice itself, on the power play when there was great advantage and the penalty kill when we’ve been shorthanded, if you know your hockey.

2945 And today’s newsroom is a paradox. It’s technologically enabled yet technologically disrupted. It’s reaching more people than ever through its digital extensions yet supported less than ever by digital disruption of the economics of news.

2946 I’m likely not the first to suggest that the news problem is not one of audience but of subsidy.

2947 I’ve helped start several websites and digital operations in my time and I teach about ethics and leadership in a multi-platform era. I recognize the excitement of our time as journalists with new tools of the trade, the opportunities that abound, but that we also live in an era of abundance where everyone is a competitor for the precious time of a consumer.

2948 It’s also a deceptive abundance because it’s not an abundance of a special quality or a particularly direct economic support.

2949 Another paradox of journalism today is that never have we witnessed so much diversity and so much duplication at once.

2950 Digital journalism today remains very dependent on legacy players, newspaper, and broadcast newsrooms to drive much of the original and significant content without a sustainable digital business model yet to support it.

2951 And so I say this is not the juncture at which it is possible to relent on responsible regulation of the broadcast system. There indeed are opportunities, I think, for a regulator to create an oasis in this chaos, to recognize that a large segment of a community still receives its information primarily through appointment viewing.

2952 Television news is one of the few places in the news ecology where presentation values haven’t much changed in decades. The linear newscast is largely what it was before the internet and its stability is valued by communities as a principal source of information.

2953 The CRTC may not need to stay long in the business of sustaining local news as it shifts into digital distribution but it has to stay for the time being. And I believe it can stay with a certain focus that would have a clear social purpose in our communities. So let me elaborate on that.

2954 You know, in this city more journalists cover the Vancouver Canucks then Vancouver City Hall, and, in general, journalism covers too much and uncovers too little.

2955 So if I may be self-critical, I think my generation is going to look back with some regret at the squandered opportunities presented journalism in its most economically gilded age.

2956 We have used far too much of our precious and privileged time as stenographers and not investigators. We do not, at times, adequately represent and reflect the communities we serve or produce media acceptable to and respectful of those we serve.

2957 You know, it used to be that you had to be an imbecile to lose money in news and now you have to be a genius to make it. The relative economic ease developed a common complacency, but due to the arrival of the internet and the acceleration of a journalist production and distribution by social media those days are gone for many in the craft. Newsrooms are now stricken with concern.

2958 If only for that reason of difference from this fast lane that a large segment of society and a community sits down at the same time to receive its prime source of information, it is worth seeing if it can be saved, which is why I’m privileged to appear before you today because I’m here to implore you to recognize your own moment in media history at this hearing.

2959 If I may be so bold, your hearing is not about protecting the broadcasting industry it’s about protecting the news industry. We are too small of a country to permit broadcasters to further dim the lights in their news studios town-by-town. There is nothing to replace them.

2960 My first media role was in community television coming out of high school and hosting a weekly show for Maclean-Hunter Cable in Etobicoke. I’ve watched and appeared on community channels ever since. They’re not ready, willing, or able to take on the significant obligation that comes with the serious scrutiny of their communities. They would not reach the critical mass of the communities in which news is necessarily programmed between entertainment programs in order to draw large audiences. They would also let off the hook and truly fully one might say forever the local broadcasters that began with a sincere pledge to serve and would be permitted a graceless exit.

2961 So I would implore you to act decisively to rescue local news. Find new measures to finance it. Find new mechanisms to encourage its enterprise and investigation and find a vehicle for a strong and independent oversight that will permit the public more legitimate accountability from those newsrooms when they distort, misstate, or fail to reflect the communities they serve.

2962 Journalism hasn’t always lived up to its responsibilities so I’m, in small measure, apprehensive about counselling the Commission to find ways to support and protect local TV news, but I believe it’s the best option forward.

2963 I believe there’s an opportunity also for the Commission to identify certain layers of obligation that would fortify the commitment to civic coverage, to investigation and to enterprise, to rejuvenate what I consider to be an insufficiently imaginative landscape.

2964 I wouldn’t be afraid as a regulator to require allocation of funds to ensure strong civic coverage, for instance, or to ensure there are funds earmarked for such important matters as diverse reflection, database journalism to provide research resources to a community to use, and robust and independent investigation.

2965 In an age of Netflix, Amazon, piracy and the diminishing copyright, the local condition is the only raison d’etre for television. Local news is the only thing that makes a local channel valuable.

2966 And I think you know that any attempt by a local broadcaster to toss aside its over-the-air transmitter to self-sooth its way to a national station is one of the last steps in a death spiral.

2967 I would encourage you as the managers of a delicate ecosystem I have watched for nearly four decades to demand better, not only of them but of yourselves.

2968 I’ve heard calls in recent days for cross-subsidies from larger to smaller communities but this is not only a small city problem it’s nationally endemic. The entire country is globally of a small scale. And unless the Commission tackles the large issue of regulating the revenue for news operations the market forces will impose upon broadcasting what you have witnessed in newspapers.

2969 An uncomfortable truth in the digital era of journalism is that the audience eventually will be asked to provide more if it wants to preserve a healthy craft. The intermediary of advertising is not as reliable as a revenue source anymore. It is atomizing, and the subsidy it provides journalism is not holding. So it falls to the consumer, the taxpayer, or the benefactor to more directly finance.

2970 While it may not be time for the Commission to revisit its decision on conventional broadcast revenue from cable and satellite, it might be time to generate a new version of the local program improvement fund to deal specifically with news. In any event, I would counsel a stronger contribution by BDUs to help support local news at those stations.

2971 Saving journalism is not the same as saving Canadian content but it is intrinsic to preserving Canadian culture, because journalism is a cornerstone of democracy and when we lose journalism in our communities and television remains the largest source of public understanding of information we lose a piece of ourselves, our identities and culture.

2972 I recognize that this call comes as the cable and satellite businesses in our country are about to face their own significant disruption with pick and pay. This might have been a better conversation three or four years ago, because we could see the diminution of local news as inevitable then, but I would argue it’s not too late to respond.

2973 I want to conclude my remarks with one more call, that the Commission demand a greater media accountability were it to enable a greater media subsidy.

2974 The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council is not the vehicle for editorial oversight and there is not a model within the CBC office of the ombudsman because its board has stripped the office of the proactive function it used to have.

2975 I would recommend, though, a dialogue with the new News Media Council of Canada to determine if it has the wherewithal to provide the public with a mechanism to tackle public complaints so there is greater trust in the system through accessible and accountable broadcast media. This would make possible, I think, a more sustainable system because it would engender public support, perhaps even eventually greater public contribution to keep local news alive and well.

2976 Thank you for your time today and the invitation to speak, and I welcome any questions that you have.

2977 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. LaPointe. Commissioner Molnar is going to start us off.

2978 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you and good afternoon.

2979 I certainly ---

2980 MR. LaPOINTE: Good afternoon.

2981 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I appreciate your comments and I understand well why you were invited to speak. Certainly you have a long history in news and you’ve provided some comments that stand out from what has been the focus of our hearing so far.

2982 So I want to start with one of those, and that is your statement that -- if I find it here -- this is not only a small city problem.

2983 It has been, as you know, if you’ve been following our conversations and a lot of the record, a lot of discussion about small communities, independently owned television stations and the sort of precarious nature that they’re in today as it regards their ability to continue to provide news.

2984 So bringing up this -- the focus that this is not only a small city problem is a bit of a new focus for us here so far, and I wonder if you could maybe just elaborate on that a little more.

2985 MR. LaPOINTE: Sure. Thank you, Commissioner.

2986 Well, the disruption is industry-wide and it may feel like it’s being experienced more proportionately in a smaller community but it is a big city problem too.

2987 And while I wouldn’t at all suggest that there are differences in the importance or significance of journalism, some of the larger challenges that exist in journalism exist in larger communities where institutions are more formidable and where the public right to know is more deeply threatened.

2988 So as I’ve seen the disruption of the economics of news, I’ve watched it in cities of all size in our country. It’s certainly been the case in the United States. And I don’t think that it’s necessarily confined at all to a small community.

2989 I’ve heard some of the intervenors discuss the necessity for measures that would certainly protect the smaller communities. And you can certainly see now, you know, as recently as yesterday another newspaper closing in Guelph, Ontario that will be replaced by a website and a lot of journalists will lose their jobs there.

2990 But I would think that you’re going to see, as time goes on, no small compromise taking place in larger centers, and I think that the institutions that we cover are actually getting stronger as journalism is getting weaker in this country. So it is, I think, a national challenge.

2991 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.

2992 Another part of your comments that I’d like to focus on and understand better is your statement that the CRTC may not need to stay long in the business of sustaining local TV news as it shifts into digital distribution but it has to stay for the time being.

2993 So do you have some sense as to that transition, what period of time? What is it -- you know, I understand none of us can see in the future, but ---

2994 MR. LaPOINTE: No. If I could I’d be selling that idea pretty quickly.

2995 But, no, here -- what I would say is that you are witnessing a gradual change in the audience consumption onto digital platforms. Those digital platforms are becoming more accessible. To some degree, they’re becoming more affordable. And that level of access, I think, will continue to grow.

2996 But when you still see audience numbers the way that you do in television and local television, and national television for that matter, you have to stop and wonder if, in fact, there is any digital transformation taking place at an accelerated pace.

2997 You know, I’ve come, in a lot of ways, out of newspapers and newspapers also witnessed the same thing where they -- there was a certain amount of initial acceptance of the technology, particularly among a younger demographic.

2998 But newspapers today continue to have, in a community like this one, still close to 100,000 subscribers for the largest paper and slightly less for the second largest paper. In most cities they are talking still about newspaper subscribers of consequence.

2999 But the legacy cost for both a paper and for a television operation is something that those industries are trying to strip out. And to the degree that the newspaper business has been successful in getting rid of some of its legacy cost the television industry will have to do so too. It’s going to have to find a way to move past the expense of production and distribution in order to get to this digital model.

3000 It’s not going to be able to do so, though, I think, without some degree of assistance to take those steps. I would say that you would run the greater risk of losing a lot of newsrooms before that digital transformation would take place. And so it’s not a matter of three or four years, I don’t think. I think it’s probably pushed out beyond a four to six year period.

3001 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: I think one of the things we’ve heard is the audience has remained it’s the advertisers who have left. So the revenue has left and the audience has remained.

3002 Do you have any sense as it regards different generations?

3003 And we have been scolded for calling the millennials -- you know, lumping them, but nonetheless, they do have some characteristics different than ours.

3004 MR. LaPOINTE: Yeah.

3005 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Do you have a sense as it relates to generational or other sort of groups and how that transition might occur?

3006 MR. LaPOINTE: The word “millennial” by the way is the most polite term that’s used in a newsroom to describe them.

3007 I think what you’re seeing, of course, is a culture that came along with the internet in which content was perceived as being so ubiquitous, so well duplicated that there were always free sources of it.

3008 What I’m heartened to see is that a number of news organizations have begun to shore that up and determine -- in some cases not in all -- that the content is valuable and needs to have an assigned price to it for access.

3009 That being said, I think that some advertisers are also beginning to turn their attention to the notion that an association with quality content is worth paying for.

3010 And so I look at those twin tracks where there’s greater sophistication around a subscription model online for some printed content in particular and then robust experiments like what’s happened at La Presse in Montreal and is now happening at the Toronto Star in order to move to a tablet model that is a free model, where the advertisers have simply realized that, actually, they can provide a very sophisticated presentation of their goods and services across a platform that is going to draw not just a considerably sized audience but a high quality one.

3011 That being said Commissioner, not everybody is of that ilk, and an awful lot of the media that we have in this country is organized around smaller communities, around smaller centres, and doesn’t have the wealth or the scale that those ones have. So to the degree that they may be slower in that transformation because they may have a slightly older population in some of these smaller centres, the time is going to come, gradually, where the instruments by which you consume the content will permit you to bypass the paper and the television station in large measure and they will become so popular that, in fact, they’ll be the device of choice. But we’re not there yet.

3012 What I’m heartened by at times is to see some of the basic support that’s taking place among this so-called millennial generation in new forms of media. I mean, I know that you’ve had the people from VICE before you.

3013 So I do believe that there is an audience for news. It’s just that we are trying to figure out in our craft how we’re going to get paid for it and how we don’t relent and cheapen the standards to the point where anybody can profess to be in journalism because it’s a craft with standards. It’s a craft that takes its responsibilities quite seriously and it’s a craft that has to be held accountable. And in order to do that, you need an economic framework.

3014 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, thank you.

3015 You know, everybody is touched by millennials, and that’s the great thing, as am I, my kids. There’s no question that they are far more aware of current affairs and information than I was at that age and sometimes even today. So I think that the fact that they have an appetite for news is not in question, as you pointed out. It’s how to monetize that appetite, and I guess for us, to what extent that is associated with the traditional broadcasting system and the linear system.

3016 MR. LAPOINTE: You ca see, though, Commissioner, already, I mean, for a long time now obviously all of the broadcast media have moved themselves onto any platform that’s there. They are there waiting for the migration of monetization into that field. They aren’t going to be able to get there, I don’t think, though, without another wave of some kind of economic support, because I believe that the crash of the television news market is going to occur at a much swifter pace than what we have seen in side print. Because I believe that people have a habit of subscription that’s built around an early morning where they have maybe a bit of time and space in their days, and I think that you’re going to see that they will -- they’ll sustain that. They’ll be a lower number but a number that will sustain that.

3017 With television news, because it is so requiring significant advertising support to pay for what is a very expensive cost per story, that once the legs are knocked out of that, it will very quickly deteriorate.

3018 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. Thank you.

3019 One other thing I wanted to talk to you about, and you’ve mentioned it in your remarks, and so I’d just like to understand what that was about.

3020 If the Commission were to intervene, if there was some sort of fund or financial support put forward, you say in your remarks that you would not be afraid as a regulator to require allocation of funds to ensure strong civic coverage, and you go on to some other important matters as diverse reflection, database, journalism and so on.

3021 We had conversations with a couple yesterday as to how do you balance journalistic independence with obligations that might be associated with a fund going into place. I mean, the fund is there because there’s a public interest.

3022 Do you have some thoughts on that?

3023 MR. LAPOINTE: Well, you know, it will sound kind of crazy coming from a journalist who’s fought for independence all his career, but I believe that there is a way, in order to work across a formula that will ensure that there’s social purpose to the economic support, and I believe that that’s the bridge, in a way, that the Commission has to cross here if it’s going to provide news support, because it -- while I’ve heard so many other journalists say that in a lot of ways you cannot differentiate or you cannot make distinctions that a story is a story is a story, whether it takes in place in entertainment or sports or business or politics and that you really have to be careful not to somehow appear to be arrogant or snobbish about what is significant to an audience.

3024 I think what we’re talking about, we would all agree, is the loss of accountability that would take place in a community, that this is the one piece of journalism that none of us can afford to lose.

3025 And so the Commission is going to weigh in and determine that there is a level of some assistance that’s going to take place, that at the very least it is that quality of a newsroom that is certainly protected.

3026 And while I would agree -- I’m sure there might be people hearing this now who would accuse me of some kind of social engineering around this -- I think that that’s probably the area where, at the moment, journalism is most valuable and yet is most at risk.

3027 So I would say that there are easier ways to monetize entertainment journalism, sports journalism, even business journalism that I often run, but around matters involving civic coverage. That isn’t terribly cost effective. That isn’t the part of the newspaper that drives people. It isn’t part of the newscast at times that drives people, but it is, you know, rather the -- you know, we are the last line of defence around ensuring that there is accountability in our institutions, and that’s the part of it that I would fear most losing as any television operation begins to diminish.

3028 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Well, thank you.

3029 So focusing on quality, when you say civic coverage, would you say focusing on local matters?

3030 MR. LaPOINTE: These are often semantics that drive people crazy, but it’s local and locally relevant. There’s no question that in any community you’re going to have to understand the impact of a federal or a provincial or territorial government on your community, just as you’re going to have it understand the operation of your own local concerns. You would have to understand how -- have to have some understanding as well about the degree of global economies and politics on anything that might affect your own community.

3031 But I would say, for the main, you’re really talking about more of a concentration of community coverage, community coverage that is, in a lot of ways, based around its political organization.

3032 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Okay. And I take what you say, it’s not simply the local -- what has occurred locally, but it is the impact on the local community of what has occurred nationally or internationally.

3033 MR. LaPOINTE: That’s right.

3034 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: We had a discussion yesterday with Bell about a definition of local and, unfortunately, I don’t have it in front of me right now and I wouldn’t expect that you had an opportunity to look at it, but I remember us having the conversation that it requires boots on the street.

3035 Would that be your view?

3036 MR. LaPOINTE: Yes. I mean -- yeah, I mean, I’ve always looked in newsrooms that I’ve won -- that I’ve run -- pardon me -- that it’s a little bit -- you know, we’re in a war for time and like any war it tends not to be won by airstrikes it tends to be won by ground troops. And so you have to look at that -- those number of people who are in your city, in your community, in your region who are talking about the local condition.

3037 Again, you know, we have watched some diminution of this over the last two decades in television, and you certainly have seen it in radio news across the country, and I would worry that it’s a little bit like the boiling frog theory that, you know, a couple of more steps of turning up the temperature and suddenly it’s just not there anymore and then -- and it becomes hard to return.

3038 You know, the audience loyalty, I think, would begin to diminish as well, and I think that you’d end up largely with something that is far more of an entertainment product then one that is serving its community responsibilities and obligations.

3039 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you.

3040 Would you see any other critical factors to ensuring civic coverage?

3041 And, I mean, that’s a big wide open question, but boots on the street ---

3042 MR. LaPOINTE: It is, yeah.

3043 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: --- is an obvious one, you know, you need to understand the community well and -- but is there -- can you think of anything else that would be critical to ensuring that there would be adequate coverage of the ---

3044 MR. LaPOINTE: Well -- yes. I mean, I think a certain allocation within your operation to material of enterprise.

3045 You know, I think where I’ve been often quite critical of my own craft has been that it -- there’s an enormous amount of duplication of journalists going off to news conferences and putting a microphone there and recording and coming back and doing a story that’s rather undifferentiated from what others can do.

3046 So to the degree that a newsroom can develop original content that isn’t undifferentiated, I think that’s helpful.

3047 And then the critical other factor that I think our entire craft has been slow to embrace has been diversity and reflection of the communities they serve.

3048 I was the first person to run CTV’s diversity initiative back at the beginning of this century and, you know, I look at the distance that a lot of broadcasters have come in ensuring that there is, I think, a stronger portrayal and reflection of the communities.

3049 But I believe it’s an absolute essential ingredient now in any newsroom is to make sure that you take the responsibility seriously enough that your operation will be culturally reflective and sensitive and sophisticated in its coverage, because those mistakes that are made there transcend mere issues of inaccuracy. They’re often extremely harmful societally and they erode the overall confidence in the craft and they can often broker division in a community.

3050 So reflection and diversity are cornerstones now, I think, to any successful media operation and would have to be something that any local operation would need to bear in mind as it proceeds.

3051 COMMISSIONER MOLNAR: Thank you, Mr. LaPointe. Those are my questions.

3052 MR. LaPOINTE: Thank you.

3053 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Simpson?

3054 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Good afternoon. I have two lines of questioning.

3055 First has to do with the notion of specialization. I try to add value and I can’t help but reflect on how a lot of products and services over the years have changed. You know, the beer business changed from a mass product to artisanal products today -- wine industry. And so too the media industry. You know, we’re seeing specialty television, which is quite often behind a subscription wall, doing well with very good profits and conventional not doing so well. And we saw the bigger newsrooms and the newspaper business fall first and it’s taken a long time to start hitting the smaller newsrooms at the local papers.

3056 So I guess my first question is, is there -- going back to your commentary about the content and the quality and the focus of a newsroom at a local TV station level, is there such a thing as specialty news or a way that these newsrooms could repackage their product in such a way that it adds value because of the importance of local content, to the extent that they could put a pay wall up sometime?

3057 MR. LaPOINTE: Right. Well, I mean, Commissioner, you see I think a modest attempt at this out here with the BC1 licence that’s held right now by Shaw.

3058 And, you know, I was part of Newsworld when it launched and back then nobody thought there was possibly going to be any kind of an audience for an all-news channel. I mean, people were looking at CNN in the United States and scratching their head puzzlingly about, you know, is it -- how on earth is this thing going to work out, because it took I think something like 12 years for CNN to profit.

3059 I believe that there are significant enough audiences willing to understand that for, you know, a reasonable amount of support they’re going to be able to generate or to protect themselves with commendable journalism in their communities.

3060 But I don’t think that that’s quick to come, and I think that there is a transition period here where it’s going to require other forms of support to make that case and to build that evidence that they’re -- that largely this is, first of all, something that you might lose and secondly, that it is something very much worth saving.

3061 And so, you know, you made mention of the fact that some of the larger newsrooms were hit first and then it hit into the smaller newsrooms. I’d also point out that probably as the internet arose that the smaller newsrooms were the ones where larger organizations felt they could most cut without being visibly noticeable; that they fought as hard and as long as they could to protect their larger more competitive enterprises largely because they furnished greater bottom line value to the organizations.

3062 But, you know, it’s caught up with everybody now, as you’ve seen in the last number of weeks, and as I’m sure you’re going to see in the time ahead. The economic disruption of the business nobody can foretell on where it ends.

3063 So, you know, I still think that you have a role and have a space of time here where your own intervention can be materially different in the outcome. Were you to wait three or four more years, I think you’d be finding that you’re at a point of reasonable no return.

3064 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thanks.

3065 The last question has to do with content and cost. Given that the greatest percentage, I want to say knocking on the door of in excess of 90 percent, but the television stations are owned by a concentration of perhaps five companies and there’s such a proliferation of other forms of news from, you know, cable news, specialty services and so on. Is it really necessary for the majority of the local television stations to cover national and international news anymore?

3066 MR. LaPOINTE: Not directly. Not directly. But to participate in services that have some national and international capabilities, most certainly.

3067 You know, here in Vancouver I think it would be one of the smartest investments possible, but an investment nonetheless, for local stations to have correspondence in Asia, you know, where -- and for that matter correspondence down the western coast of the United States. These are locally relevant events in those communities, in those countries, that you might argue make a greater impact than something that’s taking place in Alberta or Saskatchewan.

3068 So I think that -- you know, I think it’s a matter of understanding what is locally relevant content but not necessarily directly involving.

3069 I mean, one of my criticisms of newspapering is that I think it has stayed too long in a mandate that is oversized. And, you know, to quote I think Jeff Jarvis, I mean, “you should do what you do best and leave the rest”, and that’s not a formula that enough media are abiding, and I think it’s hurting them more as they make this transformation. It’s more painful. Because I don’t think that people are picking up a local paper to understand what is taking place in a far-flung country as much as they’re picking up a local paper to understand what’s happening within a 10-kilometre radius.

3070 And so I think that both for papers and for broadcasters there’s an inherent lesson in that. With newspapers, it’s that they have to probably bring themselves more into contextual and commentary coverage, and in the case of local television operations, they have to stick to their knitting more properly and really understand that what matters -- what differentiates them, what their value proposition is in a community of hundreds of sources of television, much less thousands of sources of digital operations is that they can uniquely cover something local that others can’t, and that’s what they have to pay attention to.

3071 COMMISSIONER SIMPSON: Thank you.

3072 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. LaPointe, for having participated in this hearing. I have just a few questions for you.

3073 Am I hearing you correctly that although the CRTC doesn’t have direct oversight over the entire news ecosystem, more specifically sort of the traditional print side, or my guess even the magazine side, that you think that we have a role to ensure the broader ecosystem’s short-term survival?

3074 MR. LAPOINTE: No, no no. I think you may have misheard me. I think there are other entities that need to deal with other aspects of media. I would say that there are significant challenges inside the broadcast system. Those are the matter of your purview.

3075 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you do have views on the economics of news on television. And it’s interesting; the Commission in Let’s Talk TV decided to move away from focusing on what’s being scheduled on TV and focus more on individual programs. It’s not a new approach. In fact, back in ’99, when we reviewed TV policy then, the Commission concluded, “Well, we don’t need to include news as an at-risk category of programming because it was widely popular, watched and economically survivable.

3076 And in fact, in 2004 I think it was, the Lincoln Report, the Heritage Committee report came basically to the same conclusion.

3077 And here we are just a decade later and the model has suddenly changed because of technology.

3078 But I’m thinking about focusing on program rather than programming schedules, and I was wondering if in your view, even on television, whether there’s a hierarchy of types of news? And I’m thinking that rather than, as some have suggested, that we should finance television stations, for instance, that we should maybe be focusing on financing types of programming and that maybe news -- entertainment news, sports news, business news, might be the sort of programming we don’t need to help out but maybe we should be supporting news programming that’s in civic news or investigative journalism.

3079 What would your reaction be to that sort of hierarchy of news?

3080 MR. LaPOINTE: Well, of course, Mr. Chairman, investigative journalism cuts across all sorts of things. I mean, one of the best pieces I read last week was the joint effort by the BBC and Buzzfeed to get into the tennis business and to talk about match fixing and betting.

3081 So I’m not sure that you can necessarily hive off categories of content in quite easily that way.

3082 What I did say earlier, though, is that the quickest loss, I think, will come in the area of civic coverage because it is, I think, the most vulnerable at the moment in terms of what -- you know, unless you’ve got a strange acting mayor, you don’t tend to have the kind of regular council coverage, the regular political coverage inside your community and the regular challenge to those institutions on an accountability basis.

3083 So at the very least, I think as you pick your spots on what you believe you can intervene in, I believe there’s an opening there to ensure that there is some allocation to ensure that there is a particular level of coverage in those communities to make sure that their own political institutions are adequately covered.

3084 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you see, the challenge we might have is if you focus on all news that’s local, you might have stories that are more investigative journalism about how much a particular celebrity paid for her dress or his suit or ---

3085 MR. LaPOINTE: Oh yeah.

3086 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- exactly where Carey Price’s injury is below “le bas du corps”, as they say in the Montreal media.

3087 MR. LaPOINTE: Well ---

3088 THE CHAIRPERSON: And to the detriment ---

3089 MR. LaPOINTE: Well, actually, if someone could figure that -- if someone could figure out what Carey Price’s injury was, I think that would be a significant investigative breakthrough in our country.

3090 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, it would be.

3091 But the point is that ---

3092 MR. LaPOINTE: Your point is ---

3093 THE CHAIRPERSON: That’s popular already, so why would we be focusing on that?

3094 MR. LaPOINTE: I think that you’re witnessing, though, an overall slide in the economic viability of the operation and, yes, there are particular pieces of that operation that may seem still profitable, but the news organizations have, themselves, wrapped themselves in a form of cross-subsidy over -- basically over decades now, in which you allocate a budget across a bunch of different fields and certain fields do perform better than other in drawing audiences and, I would argue, drawing advertisers and that you, overall, get your arms around all of it and you have a bit of a chaotic subsidy that’s taking place across that.

3095 Were you to try and parse that out and determine that certain parts are no longer necessarily subsidized, you might witness that, in fact, the impact on those more vulnerable elements of news coverage, in fact, suffer even deeper.

3096 So to the greatest degree possible, you have to let a newsroom somehow still organize itself in such a way that it can allocate attention and derive audience on various parts of its operation.

3097 In our case, I mean, in any newsroom I’ve part of, there’s simply a certain percentage of an allocation or a certain amount of money that you hive off and you determine is going to be investigative in nature. There’s a certain amount of expense that you allocate to your civic coverage and you determine that other pieces in your operation will pay for it, that they will be more popular in a certain way and that you can actually not worry as much about the degree of investment in it.

3098 But that kind of a subsidy model is what’s quickly being eaten away as advertising begins to disappear and as it shifts off into other areas that are, I think, rather unpredictable for the craft.

3099 So that’s where I kind of get at this is, is that, you know, at the very least I worry that we’re going to watch civic coverage further decline. But I think that you have to let a newsroom operate in the way it has operated by essentially trying to aggregate an audience in all sorts of ways and basically deliver content across to that wider audience.

3100 THE CHAIRPERSON: What would your view be if we were to focus our efforts on investigative journalism, regardless of the subject matter?

3101 MR. LAPOINTE: Well, you know, the interesting thing is that that’s probably the area where in the United States in particular benefactors are staring to weigh in. Philanthropists are starting to weigh in. It hasn’t happened in this country. I’m a little surprise that it hasn’t, you know, where a lot of high-net-worth people have put a lot of money into hospitals and centres and all sorts of other enterprises and haven’t yet turned their attention to it in the way that in the United States they have. To some degree, that’s because of tax treatment of their benefaction, but I think in some case it’s just not come about yet in the Canadian climate.

3102 Around investigative work, a fund that would ensure that took place in communities would, I think, be a very valuable addition to the sphere because, as you know, as you might imagine, it’s one of the colossal fears of any news organization is that it no longer has the wherewithal to go and find the important story, the significant story in its community.

3103 You know, the recent movie Spotlight, I think, reminded all of us about the value of investigative journalism and what it can mean in terms of a community or a society, and what you’ve witnessed in a lot of cases in medium and smaller-sized newsrooms is, again, a real absence of the capacity to investigate.

3104 It’s, again, one of the great concerns inside the craft right now, which is that there’s a fear in drilling the dry well. So some kind of support for that is going to be helpful, whether it comes from a -- through a fund of some sort or through some sort of personal support that has some independence attached to it.

3105 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Molnar raised and quoted back to you your comments about not being afraid as a regulator to require allocation of funds, and she reacted, as I did actually, when you said that. I was thinking, perhaps because of my legal training, more of subparagraph (3) of Article 2 of the Broadcasting Act which is:

3106 “It is to be construed and applied in

a manner that is consistent with freedom of expression and journalistic, creative and programming independence.”

3107 I’m having difficulty squaring your call for us not to be afraid to earmark and demand certain things with that provision which, in fact, invokes a great deal of caution on our part.

3108 MR. LAPOINTE: Well, let me put it this way, at the risk of alienating everybody in my craft, these are -- this kind of support for a particular type of coverage is very different than a form of state broadcasting. You know, you’re talking here about basically shoring up an area that will otherwise be lost. So, you know, it’s, I suppose, your own policy risk.

3109 You know, you might very well have to withstand a challenge on the degree of independence that would be provided, but I mean, I think that were it to be accompanied by a concurrent responsible representation inside an oversight organization like the News Media Council of Canada, that there would be no particular whiff of intrusion in the editorial process.

3110 THE CHAIRPERSON: You’ve worked both in the private sector and in the public sector of television. Is your view -- the perspective you’re bringing, does it apply, in your view, equally to private broadcasters as well as the national public broadcaster?

3111 MR. LAPOINTE: Well, I would say that there would be some of my former colleagues that would be puzzling right now. You know, here’s somebody who’s always fought for a degree of independence now saying that it might be time to introduce a greater degree of dependence.

3112 But I think that the precepts here of robust investigation, of holding institutions accountable, of being the surrogate of the public, of reflecting the communities that you’re in, all of these are, I believe, principles that cut right across private and public sector.

3113 You know, obviously some of the execution against those principles is better in some places than others, among some stations, among some managers, but what I would say is that those are largely the -- those are the founding principles, I think, of what constitute newsroom excellence in our country.

3114 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, thank you very much for agreeing to participate in the hearing on our invitation. You certainly bring a refreshing new voice to our hearing room. Sometimes we almost can predict what people will say from one hearing to the next. So it was much appreciated for your participation.

3115 Thank you.

3116 Madame la secrétaire.

3117 MR. LAPOINTE: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, Commissioners.

3118 LE PRÉSIDENT: Madame la secrétaire.

3119 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci.

3120 Je demanderais maintenant au Conseil provincial du secteur des communications du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique à s’approcher.

3121 S’il vous plaît vous présenter et présentez vos collègues. Vous avez 10 minutes.

PRESENTATION:

3122 M. CARON: Monsieur le président, Madame et Messieurs les conseillers, membres du personnel, merci de nous avoir invités pour discuter avec vous de télévision locale et communautaire.

3123 Mon nom est Alain Caron. Je suis technicien réalisateur depuis 34 ans à la télévision communautaire de Cogeco et président du Conseil provincial du secteur des communications du SCFP, le Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique.

3124 Pour vous présenter notre position aujourd’hui, je suis accompagné, à mon extrême gauche, de M. Martin Everell, vice-président du Syndicat des employés de TVA-Québec et journaliste à la télévision depuis 26 ans. À sa droite se trouve M. Richard Labelle, vice-président radio et télévision du CPSC et caméraman à la station CHLT de Sherbrooke depuis 1987. M. Labelle est également président du Syndicat des employés du Groupe TVA regroupant tous les travailleurs aux stations de Sherbrooke, Rimouski et Trois-Rivières, ainsi que des représentants publicitaires à Saguenay.

3125 À mes côtés, Monsieur Yves Larose, vice-président télédistribution du CPSC ainsi que représentant du Syndicat des employé(e)s de Vidéotron pour Montréal et l’ouest du Québec. Enfin, Madame Nathalie Blais, conseillère à la recherche au SCFP. Avant d’occuper cette fonction, Mme Blais a été journaliste à la radio et à la télévision pendant une quinzaine d’années.

3126 Le CPSC représente 7500 travailleuses et travailleurs des communications au Québec, dont ceux des deux stations de RNC Média à Gatineau, de la station de Global à Montréal et de presque toutes les stations de Groupe TVA. En télévision communautaire, nous représentons tous les employés de Télé Cogeco et de MAtv. Comme vous pouvez le constater, les membres du CPSC sont au cœur des activités d’une bonne partie de la télévision locale et de la télévision communautaire au Québec.

3127 Mme BLAIS: Avant d’aller plus loin, le CPSC aimerait réitérer au Conseil la demande qu’il lui a faite par écrit hier de lui accorder la permission de présenter brièvement les résultats d’un rapport commandé par le SCFP à la firme Influence Communication. L’entreprise produit à chaque année un bilan de l’information au Québec et elle a analysé la situation région par région à notre demande. Les résultats préliminaires confirment certaines des affirmations que nous avons faites dans notre mémoire et sont directement en lien avec notre requête procédurale du 5 janvier que le Conseil a acceptée.

3128 Malheureusement, comme le rapport final n’est pas encore livré -- n’a pas encore été livré -- nous devrons nous contenter de données partielles pour l’instant, mais on croit que ces données-là seraient quand même utiles à nos discussions aujourd’hui.

3129 Donc nous souhaiterions pouvoir vous les présenter et également verser le rapport complet au dossier public au début de la semaine prochaine.

3130 LE PRÉSIDENT: On va prendre votre demande sous réserve, mais vous pouvez procéder.

3131 Mme BLAIS: Donc on ne…

3132 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bien, vous pouvez en parler.

3133 Mme BLAIS: On peut en parler?

3134 LE PRÉSIDENT: Oui.

3135 Mme BLAIS: Parfait. Merci.

3136 LE PRÉSIDENT: Et on décidera en temps et lieu, mais votre argument, si je comprends bien, c’est que vous n’avez pas pu le déposer avant parce qu’il n’était pas complété, mais il est dans le même sens que le rapport préliminaire. Donc personne est dépourvu ou pris par surprise.

3137 Mme BLAIS: Non, exactement.

3138 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci.

3139 M. LABELLE: Selon le bilan 2015 d’Influence Communication publié en décembre, il y a maintenant près de 90 pourcent moins de nouvelles locales au Québec qu’en 2001, et ce, tout médias confondus.

3140 Ce rapport révèle que les régions sont enfermées dans un véritable cercle vicieux. Une chronique sur le sujet publiée dans Le Quotidien de Saguenay, hier, parlait d’ailleurs d’une:

3141 “…métaphore inversée de la

saucisse Hygrade. Moins on en parle [et] moins on s'y intéresse [et] moins on s'y intéresse [et] moins on en parle.”

3142 Pour ceux qui ont connu la publicité de l’époque.

3143 Cette étude corrobore ce que nous constatons tous les jours sur le terrain. Dans les salles de nouvelles régionales, les commandes viennent souvent de Montréal et on demande de plus en plus aux journalistes de trouver un angle national à des reportages locaux.

3144 Cela permet, certes, d’alimenter en nouvelles locales le réseau et les chaînes d’information en continu.

3145 Par contre, une telle pratique a aussi pour conséquence de réduire considérablement la quantité d’informations spécifiquement locales.

3146 Pour le CPSC, les nouvelles locales doivent non seulement être produites sur place, par le personnel de la station, mais elles doivent aussi absolument refléter les besoins et les intérêts propres à l’auditoire desservi et s’adresser spécifiquement à celui-ci.

3147 VICE, qui s’est présenté devant vous hier, n’a pas offert de définition de l’information locale.

3148 VICE a plutôt expliqué produire localement des reportages sur des thématiques universelles qui n’ont rien de spécifiques à une population sur un territoire donné.

3149 C’est ce genre de pratique, notamment, qui contribue à rayer les régions de la carte médiatique; et comme si ce n’était pas assez, la programmation d’émissions locales autres que les bulletins de nouvelles est carrément en voie de disparition.

3150 Pour combler l’abandon par TVA des émissions “La vie”, l’été dernier, les réseaux... ou les stations du réseau à Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières et Rimouski diffusent maintenant en reprise, chaque jour à 15 heures, le bulletin de nouvelles du midi.

3151 La programmation locale de ces stations se limite donc à la diffusion et à la rediffusion des bulletins de nouvelles.

3152 Le CPSC croit qu’il est inadmissible que le Conseil continue à comptabiliser ces rediffusions, au détriment de productions originales.

3153 Le CRTC doit, à notre avis, cesser de permettre les reprises pour l’atteinte des conditions de licence imposées.

3154 S’il ne le fait pas, les réseaux persisteront à rogner dans les dépenses et à réduire la place de la programmation locale.

3155 Pour renverser la vapeur, nous proposons la création d’un nouveau fonds destiné à augmenter la quantité et la qualité de programmation locale.

3156 Ce fonds serait assorti de conditions strictes, dont des obligations de dépenses et de présentation d’émissions locales.

3157 Seule la programmation originale rendrait une station admissible au fonds. L’aide financière serait versée exclusivement aux stations régionales, pour leur redonner un réel contrôle sur leur programmation.

3158 Évidemment, un mécanisme de surveillance approprié devrait être mis en place, car les registres de diffusion actuels ne sont pas suffisamment fiables pour que le Conseil puisse s’y référer.

3159 En parallèle à la mise sur pied de ce mécanisme de financement, nous croyons que le Conseil doit réglementer le temps d’antenne à réserver aux émissions de réseau dans les stations régionales.

3160 En agissant de la sorte, le Conseil favoriserait une programmation locale pertinente, sous contrôle local.

3161 Elle encouragerait également l’augmentation de la couverture de l’actualité régionale à la télévision et, par extension, sur de multiples plateformes alimentées par Internet.

3162 Il faut cependant s’assurer que ce temps d’antenne local profite aussi à la population du plus grand marché francophone au Canada, celui de Montréal.

3163 Actuellement, les obligations de programmation locale des diffuseurs présents dans ce marché varient entre zéro et cinq heures par semaine. C’est nettement insuffisant.

3164 La norme des 14 heures imposée à Global dans le marché anglophone de Montréal est plus réaliste, compte tenu de l’importance économique et politique de la région, de la taille de sa population et du territoire à couvrir, ainsi que du niveau élevé d’activités qu’on y retrouve.

3165 Bref, le Conseil a un rôle fondamental à jouer puisque sa réglementation est la seule arme dont disposent les Québécois et les Canadiens pour freiner la chute de la quantité d’information locale produite par les médias et ses conséquences sur notre vie démocratique.

3166 L’information et les émissions locales devraient être au cœur du mandat de la télévision traditionnelle et de ses différentes plateformes, tout comme la programmation d’accès est une... est une composante spécifique de la télévision communautaire.

3167 D’ailleurs, nous croyons qu’il faut élargir le concept de programmation d’accès pour donner aux citoyens des possibilités moins contraignantes de participer aux émissions.

3168 Comme nous l’avons mentionné dans notre mémoire, la programmation de la télévision communautaire devrait être complémentaire à celle de la télévision traditionnelle.

3169 Puisqu’elle est presque entièrement financée par les EDRs, elle peut en effet se permettre de produire des émissions auxquelles il est difficile d’associer de la publicité.

3170 La télévision communautaire peut aussi être appelée à combler le vide médiatique en produisant de l’information dans les villes où la télévision traditionnelle est absente.

3171 À notre connaissance, Télé Cogéco présente déjà quelques émissions d’information locale par semaine dans 9 de ses stations au Québec.

3172 Enfin, même si le CPSC croit que le niveau de financement actuel de la télévision communautaire est toujours adéquat, le Conseil devrait prévoir modifier le mécanisme de participation des EDRs en prévision d’une baisse éventuelle de leurs revenus de radiodiffusion.

3173 Le pourcentage de la contribution pourrait éventuellement revenir à 2 pour cent si jamais le financement de la télé communautaire déclinait sous le seuil de 2010 en dollars constants.

3174 Nous vous remercions de votre attention. Nous sommes maintenant disposés à répondre à vos questions, autant sur le mémoire que sur la question journalistique. Merci.

3175 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci. Merci beaucoup. Monsieur le conseiller Dupras?

3176 CONSEILLER DUPRAS: Merci. Bon après-midi.

3177 Alors vous avez entendu ce matin V, sa présentation? Nous faire part des difficultés des stations locales...

3178 Mme BLAIS: En partie, effectivement.

3179 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: ...les revenus publicitaires qui chûtes, malgré cela vous demandez à ce que y’ait une augmentation dans la programmation.

3180 Est-ce que ça devrait s’appliquer surtout aux stations locales qui sont indépendantes, plutôt qu’aux stations des plus grands groupes?

3181 M. LABELLE: Nous on pense que ça devrait s’appliquer à toutes les stations régionales.

3182 Vous parlez de V; la situation est assez particulière à V où y’a pas vraiment de station, par exemple, à Sherbrooke ou à Trois Rivières. Ce ne sont que des bureaux. Y’a pas de bulletin de nouvelle qui est produit, par exemple, sur place.

3183 V mentionnait parce que l’ai écouté ce matin, qu’au niveau des revenus publicitaires ils avaient de la difficulté, par exemple, à vendre, par exemple, leur bulletin de nouvelles.

3184 Il faut dire que le bulletin de nouvelles aussi est diffusé entre 9h00 et 9h30 le matin. C’est pas un créneau peut-être idéal pour un annonceur qui veut se faire voir dans un bulletin de nouvelles.

3185 Si je compare avec TVA par exemple à Sherbrooke, je peux vous dire que la demande des annonceurs actuellement la plus grande c’est d’être dans le... dans le TVA 18h00 locale et dans Salut Bonjour le matin.

3186 Alors évidemment ça dépend du contenu qu’on a à offrir au téléspectateur aussi.

3187 On parlait de la saucisse Hygrade un peu-là. Mieux... plus c’est bon, plus on va en consommer; moins c’est bon, moins on va en consommer aussi.

3188 Alors il faut regarder aussi l’offre de contenu comme tel. Quand je regarde les bulletins d’informations, dire oui ça coûte cher à produire. Oui la situation est difficile dans tous les marchés. On le sait, c’est féroce.

3189 Et oui effectivement il faut... il faut je pense soutenir... y’avait le FAPL qui l’a fait à un certain moment, mais il faut soutenir, je pense, la programmation locale. Pas seulement les nouvelles, selon nous, mais la programmation locale.

3190 Est-ce que dans les localités c’est rien que les nouvelles qui nous intéressent et tout le reste ça nous intéresse pas?

3191 Y’a du culturel qui se passe dans les... dans les régions. Y’a des sports. Moi à une certaine époque on couvrait les sports au niveau local, on le fait plus maintenant.

3192 Ça veut pas dire qu’y’en n’a plus de sport. Y’en a autant. Y’a des jeunes qui jouent... et quand on le faisait c’était intéressent. On avait quand même des bons auditoires, des bonnes cotes d’écoutes aussi de gens qui nous écoutaient.

3193 Alors y’a un soutient, je pense, qu’il faut apporter, mais c’est au niveau de la programmation dans son ensemble, pas seulement les nouvelles.

3194 La programmation locale ça peut être des choses plus variées que seulement de la nouvelle.

3195 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Et vous avez pensé à pour cela à un fonds qui serait constitué de 1 pourcent des sommes qui sont actuellement versées au fonds des médias du Canada? Plutôt que des sommes qui sont contribuées au... à la télévision communautaire. Pouvez-vous nous expliquer le raisonnement?

3196 M. LABELLE: Bien le raisonnement, je veux faire une association avec une autre consultation que vous tenez actuellement, qui est sur les fonds des médias indépendants.

3197 Et où le Conseil a vraiment exprimé son avis que il voulait une industrie robuste qui était peut-être moins dépendante de ces fonds-là et tout ça.

3198 On pense que de verser 3 pour cent dans le Fonds des médias du Canada, on pourrait verser au lieu de ça 2 pour cent dans les Fonds des médias du Canada. Et que 1 pour cent qui pourrait servir effectivement à revitaliser, à redynamiser la télévision, la programmation locale un peu comme le FAPL l’a fait aussi à une certaine époque.

3199 Mais je vais laisser peut-être ma collègue peut-être poursuivre là-dessus là. Mais ce 1 pour cent là viendrait effectivement d’un -- du 1 pour cent qu’on mettrait de moins dans le Fonds des médias du Canada, et qui remplierait je pense adéquatement le rôle. Parce que là on parlerait d’une enveloppe qui pourrait osciller aux alentours de 60 quelques millions à peu près, dans ce coin-là.

3200 M. CARON: C'est important d’être conscient, Monsieur Dupras, que c'est pas en affaiblissant une partie du système de télévision au Canada, en affaiblissant les télévisions communautaires qu’on va renforcir la production locale. C'est deux systèmes de télévision qui souvent se voisinent et se complémentent dans les territoires donnés, dans les milieux donnés.

3201 Par exemple, je prends souvent l’exemple d’un incendie qu’y a lieu dans une bâtisse à appartements où la télévision locale va se déplacer pour aller couvrir l’incendie. Il va aller faire un clip de 45 seconds ou une minute 40 le lendemain avec les gens qui vont -- sont victimes de cet incendie-là. Mais où la télévision communautaire deux jours plus tard va aller rencontrer les gens, va aller voir quelle aide ils ont eu, comment la Croix-Rouge est venue renforcer le filet social sur lequel y -- qu’ils s’attendaient de recevoir.

3202 C'est pas en affaiblissant la télévision communautaire, surtout pas, qu’on va renforcer les télévisions locales.

3203 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Mais quand on parle ---

3204 M. CARON: Il faut ---

3205 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Oui.

3206 M. CARON: --- surtout renforcer les télévisions locales.

3207 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Oui, mais quand on parle de la télévision communautaire, est-ce que vous faites des distinctions entre les petits et les grands marchés? Je comprends pour les petits marchés qu’y ont moins de ressources, que ça les affecterait davantage que les grands marchés qui en ont beaucoup plus.

3208 M. CARON: Je fais pas de distinction, mais quand on regarde présentement le portrait des télévisions communautaires au Québec, on se rencontre que dans les petits marchés il va souvent y avoir une télévision communautaire d’EDR, dans le marché d’à côté une télévision communautaire.

3209 Si on regarde par exemple le marché de Montréal, on peut avoir deux télévisions communautaires qui sont regroupées par -- sous des EDR, et une ou deux télévisions communautaires indépendantes. Je crois que tout ça ça peut faire un tout, ça peut se voisiner et ça peut survivre ensemble.

3210 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: O.k., dites-moi donc ---

3211 Mme BLAIS: Est-ce que je peux me permettre?

3212 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Oui.

3213 Mme BLAIS: Ce qu’on constate aussi c'est une baisse de la programmation locale en général. Du côté des nouvelles, si vous consultez l’annexe A qu’on vous a remise qu’y est reliée à notre requête de tout à l’heure, on voit qu’y a beaucoup plus de nouvelles au Québec. Entre 2001 et 2015 y a une augmentation de 42 pour cent du volume de nouvelles.

3214 Par contre, y a une chute globale de l’information régionale de 88 pour cent. C'est majeur, on est dans une situation où les nouvelles qui sont produites en région souvent ont perdu leur saveur locale.

3215 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: M'hm.

3216 Mme BLAIS: Et nous ce qu’on s’est dit, c'est que il valait mieux prendre de l'argent du côté des contributions à la programmation canadienne, plutôt que du côté des contributions à la télévision communautaire. Parce qu’on propose également que dans les très petits marchés où il y a une télévision communautaire, mais pas de télévision locale, cette télévision communautaire là puisse faire de l’information.

3217 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: O.k. Mais dans les grands marchés comme Montréal par exemple et Québec -- prenons Montréal, combien est-ce qu’y a d’employés qui travaillent à la station communautaire de MAtv?

3218 M. LAROSE: À ma connaissance, au niveau syndiqué il y en a 109 à Montréal.

3219 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Cent neuf (109) qui travaillent pour MAtv?

3220 M. LAROSE: Oui.

3221 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Et ça c'est des employés permanents?

3222 M. LAROSE: Oui, y a du temporaire, permanent, temps partiel, oui.

3223 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Et à Québec, le nombre d’employés est ---

3224 M. LAROSE: J’en ai aucune idée ---

3225 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: --- tu sensiblement le même?

3226 M. LAROSE: --- à Québec, faudrait poser la question à Québec. Je m'occupe juste de Montréal ---

3227 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Mais je me pose la question ---

3228 M. LAROSE: --- région ouest.

3229 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: --- qu’est-ce -- est-ce que ça coûte plus cher à faire de la télévision communautaire à Montréal qu’à Québec? Je veux dire est-ce que -- est-ce qu’y a plus qu’un studio à Montréal pour la télé communautaire?

3230 M. LAROSE: Je pourrais pas répondre à ça.

3231 Mme BLAIS: Ce que vous voulez savoir c'est si chez MAtv Montréal y a plus de studios que chez MAtv Québec?

3232 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Oui.

3233 Mme BLAIS: Ça je pourrais pas sincèrement vous répondre. Par contre ---

3234 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Ou plus d’employés ---

3235 Mme BLAIS: Oui, je pense qu’y a plus ---

3236 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: --- plus de studios ---

3237 Mme BLAIS: --- d’employés, on peut ---

3238 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: --- plus de ressources?

3239 Mme BLAIS: --- on peut assumer qu’y a plus d’employés à Montréal et plus de ressources. Maintenant au niveau du nombre de studios, je pensais pas qu’on irait dans ce niveau de détail là, alors je l’ai pas vérifié.

3240 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Non, non, mais je me demande si -- il doit y avoir plus de ressources de consacrées -- je veux dire dans une semaine de radiodiffusion y a quoi, 126 heures, 128 heures de télévision?

3241 Mme BLAIS: M'hm.

3242 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Que ça soit à Québec ou à Montréal, est-ce que le coût devrait être si différent que ça entre les deux villes?

3243 Mme BLAIS: Ben écoutez, j’ai pas d'évaluation de coût de la programmation communautaire à Montréal et à Québec. Est-ce que vous en avez une qu’on -- de laquelle on est pas au courant? Je saisis pas bien votre question là.

3244 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Ben j’essaie de voir si les coûts à Montréal, pour le même genre de télévision communautaire, sont plus chers qu’à -- dans un autre grand centre comme Québec par exemple. On a une idée -- on a une idée des coûts ---

3245 M. CARON: Je peux peut-être vous donner ---

3246 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: --- mais je veux dire au niveau technique et au niveau des employés, au niveau de l’infrastructure, des ressources qui sont requises pour faire -- autre que financières, qui sont requises pour faire un canal communautaire pour donner l’accès aux citoyens, qu’est-ce qui justifierait que ça coûte plus cher dans un marché comme Montréal que celui de Québec?

3247 M. CARON: Je peux peut-être vous donner une idée, mais sans parler du marché de Montréal et de Québec. Je vais vous parler de ce que je connais moi à télé Cogeco. Je peux peut-être me comparer à télé Cogeco. Moi je travaille à Rimouski à télé Cogeco où on fait environ trois heures de production originale en télé communautaire par semaine, et c'est presque toute de la production d’accès qu’on fait avec des artisans bénévoles. On est deux employés et demi là-dedans.

3248 Sur le marché de Montréal, comme le marché de Montréal est beaucoup plus vaste que le marché de Rimouski, c'est des comparables qui sont difficiles à établir.

3249 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Non, mais ---

3250 M. CARON: Mais c'est bien sûr que le marché de Montréal diffuse -- vous dites 126 heures par semaine de production, qu’est-ce qu’y est original là-dedans je peux pas vous le dire, mais c'est sûr que la demande d’accès dans la communauté est beaucoup plus grande, et que les choses à couvrir sont beaucoup plus grandes que ce qui peut exister dans un plus petit marché. Comme Québec est la moitié du marché de Montréal peut-être.

3251 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Donc en infra -- en personnel, en équipements, ce serait plus coûteux pour couvrir ce qu’y a couvrir dans une ville comme Montréal que d’une ville comme Québec par exemple?

3252 M. CARON: Y a beaucoup plus d’artisans bénévoles, moi je les appelle comme ça, je les appelle pas juste les bénévoles, des gens qui viennent, qui arrivent chez nous et qui n’ont jamais fait de télévision et qui veulent s’initier à la télévision, expérimenter. Y a beaucoup plus de formation à faire dans un groupe de 100 artisans bénévoles comme y a présentement à Montréal, que dans un groupe de 10 artisans bénévoles qu’on a à Rimouski.

3253 C'est une question d’échelle, c'est -- le marché est beaucoup plus gros, et le nombre de productions à faire dans un marché comme Montréal est beaucoup plus grand que dans un marché comme Trois-Rivières, Rimouski, Québec, Sherbrooke, et cetera.

3254 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Non, mais c'est parce que vous voulez pas toucher -- vous voulez pas qu’on touche aux contributions destinées à la télévision communautaire dans des marchés aussi comme Montréal ou Québec, et je veux dire y a quand même beaucoup d’abonnés dans ces marchés-là. Ça fait quand même des gros montants de contributions qui vont à la télé communautaire, même si y avait moins d’argent de dédié à la télévision communautaire à Montréal. Peut-être que la couverture ou le service serait pas entaché ---

3255 M. CARON: Mais regardez, on peut -- on peut peut-être ---

3256 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Oui.

3257 M. CARON: --- là-dessus on peut peut-être patiner longtemps sur cette patinoire-là sans que j’arrive à vous donner de réponse. Je dirige pas un service de -- je suis un travailleur dans un service de télévision communautaire, peut-être que vous devriez poser la question à Québecor quand ils vont venir ici, ou à Cogeco qui sont les prochains à passer. Eux autres pourraient peut-être avoir une bien meilleure idée des chiffres là-dedans.

3258 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: O.k., non, mais je voulais juste avoir un sens parce que vous représentez les employés de ---

3259 M. CARON: Oui.

3260 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: --- qu’est-ce que les ressources humaines et d'équipements peuvent avoir l’air dans chacune des stations, disons de Montréal et de Québec, pour essayer de comprendre la différence qui peut y avoir.

3261 Mme BLAIS: Écoutez, si vous voulez, on pourrait vous revenir peut-être par écrit là-dessus, parce que sincèrement, comme le disait mon collègue, on pourrait patiner longtemps puisque nous n’avons pas les données pour Québec.

3262 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: D’accord.

3263 Mme BLAIS: Par contre, si on vous revient par écrit là-dessus, ça serait peut-être mieux de faire un portrait complet plutôt que de focuser (sic) sur MAtv, à moins que ---

3264 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Pensez-vous pouvoir obtenir l’information? C'est bien beau vous dire de faire des devoirs plus tard, mais si vous y avez pas accès, vous y avez pas accès.

3265 Mme BLAIS: Oui, mais c'est ça, en fait, y faut -- y faut aussi mettre en relation aussi la taille des ondes de desserte. Montréal par exemple c'est sept zones de desserte.

3266 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: M'hm.

3267 Mme BLAIS: Québec, j’ai moins étudié le cas parce qu’y a pas -- j’ai pas eu à le faire mais il y a beaucoup moins de territoire à couvrir, à mon avis, et c’est peut-être très différent comme exploitation.

3268 Je sais que les stations MAtv, par exemple, dans le bas du fleuve, au Saguenay, à Granby, c’est de très petites équipes.

3269 Qu’est-ce qui fait la différence? Je pense qu’il y a eu une certaine centralisation dans ces opérations-là. Est-ce que vous voulez vraiment qu’on aille plus loin que ça?

3270 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Bien, comme vous dites, on va avoir l’occasion de poser la question au titulaire.

3271 Mme BLAIS: Oui, parfait. Merci.

3272 M. LABELLE: Ce que je peux ajouter c’est que le constat qu’on fait sur place, par exemple avec MAtv par exemple à Sherbrooke, c’est qu’évidemment, ils sont quatre ou cinq personnes à travailler là. Mais la grille horaire évidemment de MAtv Sherbrooke n’est pas une grille horaire qui couvre 18 heures de programmation.

3273 Alors évidemment, ils vont produire peut-être quatre ou cinq heures de programmation, dire, localement mais le reste ça va être des émissions qui vont être en provenance de MAtv de Montréal. Parce que MAtv diffuse pendant toute la journée au complet mais c’est pas uniquement du contenu local qu’on voit. C’est une portion.

3274 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: D’accord. Merci.

3275 Comment vous êtes-vous pris pour arriver au 1 pour cent de contribution? Vous pensez que ça peut aider à financer quel genre de dépense de programmation?

3276 Mme BLAIS: En fait, on s’est basé sur le fait que le FAPL, quand il a été créé à l’origine, c’était 1 pour cent. On avait, en raison de la crise financière, augmenté la contribution à 1.5 pour cent. Et on sait que certaines stations réussissaient à financer pas mal toute leur programmation locale avec ce montant-là.

3277 Donc, on juge que le 1 pour cent pourrait être suffisant. Ce serait déjà mieux que rien. Ça pourrait permettre aux entreprises de faire face au changement technologique dans lequel on est présentement. Parce qu’il y a des coûts aussi qui sont associés à ça, de gérer plusieurs plateformes, de diffuser via plusieurs moyens de diffusion. Bien il faut dupliquer le contenu ou il faut faire des versions différentes du contenu.

3278 Donc, ça pourrait faciliter ce transfert technologique.

3279 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: D’accord. Et avez-vous une idée, ça pourrait se traduire en combien d’heures de programmation locale que les stations devraient -- c’est quelque chose ---

3280 Mme BLAIS: On n’a pas fait de calcul spécifique.

3281 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: O.k.

3282 M. CARON: Tous les coûts de production -- c’est important de comprendre que les coûts de production appartiennent aux producteurs, qu’eux auraient peut-être une bonne idée de ce qu’ils peuvent faire comme production à ce moment-là.

3283 Vous pourrez peut-être les questionner à ce moment-là.

3284 Mais il est important de comprendre aussi que, quand on regarde les médias communautaires, que ce soit MAtv à Montréal ou à Québec ou dans le secteur du KRTB, ou quand on regarde Télé Cogeco qui produit dans une quinzaine de studios au Québec où -- il n’y a pas des studios partout parce que des places sont trop petites pour vraiment équiper un studio.

3285 Mais disons des points de diffusion, des points de chute à travers le Québec. Il y a des gens -- on nous demande, et je suis fier de ça, de faire de la production d’accès. Ça veut dire qu’on fait beaucoup de production qui vient de la communauté.

3286 Les gens viennent nous voir parce qu’ils veulent qu’on produise certaines choses en production d’accès. Mais les gens, s’il y a une chose qu’ils ne veulent pas, c’est qu’on retourne aux années ’70, où des fois ils n’étaient pas très fiers du résultat qu’on avait dans les télévisions communautaires.

3287 Maintenant, quand les gens se voient, ils sont fiers. Ils n’ont pas honte d’être dans une télévision communautaire. C’était pas toujours le cas au début des médias communautaires dans les années ’70.

3288 Restreindre -- le danger de prendre de l’argent des télévisions communautaires puis de l’envoyer en production locale des télévisions locales, c’est de revenir là; c’est d’obliger les télévisions communautaires à se replier sur elles-mêmes et à ne plus pouvoir assurer une qualité de service qui est donnée présentement. Parce que maintenant les gens sont fiers de passer dans les télévisions communautaires.

3289 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Et vous ne faites pas de différence entre les sociétés qui sont verticalement intégrées et les entreprises indépendantes de distribution?

3290 M. CARON: Vous parlez de télévision locale?

3291 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Je parle de compagnies qui contribuent à l’expression locale qui pourrait ---

3292 M. CARON: O.k.

3293 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: --- dont des fonds pourraient être réalloués aux nouvelles locales.

3294 M. CARON: Non, parce que -- je vous dirais non parce que, de ce que je connais, moi, dans la plupart des régions du Québec, j’ai entendu hier Télévision Frontenac. C’est une télévision communautaire qui a l’air à être en litige avec Vidéotron.

3295 Dans la plupart des régions du Québec, je peux vous dire que ce n’est pas le cas; qu’il y a une bonne collaboration entre les EDRs et les télévisions communautaires.

3296 S’il y a un litige entre Vidéotron et la Télévision Frontenac, moi, j’invite les gens à se parler et je ne crois pas qu’on doive refaire une réglementation à partir de ce litige-là. Il faut le régler le litige qu’il y a à cet endroit-là, je crois.

3297 Parce qu’ailleurs, de ce que je connais, moi, des télévisions communautaires, ça marche fort bien.

3298 M. LABELLE: Si je peux me permettre un complément ---

3299 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Oui.

3300 M. LABELLE: --- parce qu’on parlait du 1 pour cent, il faut bien comprendre que, dans notre optique, le 1 pour cent aussi c’est un fond pour l’amélioration de la programmation locale. Comme était destiné le FAPL à ses débuts d’ailleurs; c’était destiné à l’amélioration de la programmation locale.

3301 Je pense que vous le savez, on est des fervents tenants de la télé locale et de la programmation locale. On pense que c’est important. On pense que c’est vital.

3302 Et dans ce sens-là, on verrait très bien, par exemple, que des stations qui ont des conditions de licence de cinq heures par semaine -- moi, je travaille pour une station qui a déjà eu cinq heures par jour de programmation locale et qui est rendue à un maigre cinq heures par semaine. Je verrais très bien des stations dont les conditions de licences pourraient augmenter de cinq à sept heures par semaine et que ce deux heures-là bien pourrait justement être financé à même ce 1 pour cent.

3303 Là, on parle d’une enveloppe qui avoisine des 60 à 65 millions de dollars. Et pour bonifier cela, bien on pourrait permettre justement d’aller chercher dans cette enveloppe-là. Mais à condition qu’on bonifie l’offre aux téléspectateurs, qu’on a une plus-value.

3304 Actuellement, on a de l’information. On avait, nous, à Sherbrooke et à Trois-Rivières et à Rimouski une émission culturelle qui s’appelait « La Vie », qui a quand même tenu l’écoute pendant 24 ans. Si elle a été là 24 ans, à 15 minutes par jour, c’est parce qu’il devait y avoir du contenu en quelque part qu’on a été capable d’aller chercher.

3305 On avait une recherchiste qui travaillait là-dessus et on ne manquait pas de sujet. Et après 24 ans, bon bien la maison-mère a décidé de couper ça et de mettre un bulletin d’information en reprise.

3306 Je pense qu’il faut bonifier.

3307 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Oui, mais le fond d’amélioration de la programmation locale, alors qu’il était en vigueur, c’est là que les conditions de licence ont été fixées à cinq heures.

3308 M. LABELLE: Oui.

3309 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Là, le fond a terminé mais les obligations demeurent toujours à cinq heures. Puis là, les sociétés font des déficits. Alors, ils demandent de l’aide pour être capables de maintenir et de continuer à faire ce qu’ils faisaient comme à l’époque du FAPL.

3310 Alors, vous, vous demanderiez encore plus que ces conditions?

3311 M. LABELLE: C’est que quand on parle de difficultés financières, il faut bien comprendre aussi que le plus gros des difficultés financières actuellement c’est au niveau de la vente nationale de publicité, pas les ventes locales.

3312 Actuellement, je pourrais vous dire qu’il y a beaucoup de réseaux que c’est les stations régionales actuellement qui sont en train de sauver un peu les maisons-mères et les réseaux comme tels, parce que les ventes au niveau local se maintiennent.

3313 La compétition -- j’écoutais V ce matin qui disait, bon, la compétition est très féroce au niveau…

3314 Non, localement, une chaîne spécialisée, ça ne vient pas faire un tour bien, bien souvent dans un marché comme Sherbrooke, Trois-Rivières à moins de trouver tous les commerces qui sont capables de faire du commerce en ligne. Parce que l’intérêt du commerçant, lui, d’annoncer sur une chaîne spécialisée ça va être quoi? C’est un commerçant qui fait du commerce en ligne.

3315 Mais je vous dirais en blague, « Le Roi de la Patate » sur la rue King, la chaîne spécialisée, je ne pense pas que ça l’intéresse beaucoup.

3316 Et d’ailleurs quand on regarde -- moi, je représente des représentants publicitaires. Alors, ils ont des objectifs annuels à atteindre. Et le gros 90 pour cent des objectifs qu’on fixe au moins c’est de vendre de la télé locale parce que c’est ça qu’on sait qu’on va atteindre.

3317 Moi, si j’ai un représentant publicitaire qui a 1.2 ou 1.3 millions de ventes publicitaires locales à aller chercher, il y a au moins 1 à 1.1 millions, minimum, qu’on va lui demander que ça va être de la télé qu’il aille vendre. Puis on va lui dire, bien, va me chercher un 100 000 en chaîne spécialisée et va me chercher du Web aussi.

3318 Et le Web, c’est encore plus difficile. J’ai des représentants, moi, qui en ont déjà vendu et qui m’ont dit l’année suivante, « Écoute, les clients ne reviendront pas. » Parce que le Web, ils ont découvert que l’impact n’est pas le même que, par exemple, d’annoncer dans le bulletin de 18 heures où là, il y a comme à peu près entre 60 et 80 000 personnes qui regardent le bulletin en même temps et qui savent que là, ils vont avoir vraiment un retour.

3319 Parce que les clients aussi nous le disent. Ils savent quand une campagne a levé et puis ils savent quand la campagne n’a pas levé. Parce que bien souvent, le client qui investit 10 000$ pour une campagne, lui, il va être attentif à ce que la campagne a fonctionné ou pas.

3320 Et actuellement, bien, c’est la télé locale qui livre la marchandise plus dans les régions en tout cas que les chaînes spécialisées ou toute autre.

3321 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Qu’est-ce que vous pensez des modifications que TVA veut faire à la définition de programmation locale, c’est-à-dire de retirer le reflet local de la définition. Comme des nouvelles c’est de toute façon de la programmation locale et que pour ce qui est des autres programmations bien y’a des similarités dans le goût des Québécois et que bon cette programmation-là peut être bonne partout.

3322 M. LABELLE: C’est préoccupant parce que quand on écoutait VICE hier, ça nous faisait penser un peu à ce qu’on vit nous, nos salles de nouvelles.

3323 C’est-à-dire qu’on a des commandes qui viennent de plus en plus de Montréal et c’est commandes-là c’est des -- on nous demande des sujets dans le fond qui sont universels.

3324 Bon on va traiter d’une dame qui a le cancer. Bon les dames qui ont le cancer y’en a partout sur la planète-là, alors que j’en prenne une de Chicoutimi, de Trois-Rivières, de Timbuktu où de n’importe où ça va faire -- ça va faire verser des larmes en quelque part à l’auditoire, mais je peux pas prétendre que c’est un sujet particulièrement local.

3325 Quand VICE disait par exemple-là, bien à Calgary on étudie par exemple les faits que les jeunes se radicalisent, je peux prendre ce thème-là et l’appliquer n’importe où sur la planète.

3326 Mais y’a des nouvelles d’intérêts locales; je vous donne un exemple. On a eu nous autres pas plus tard que y’a deux semaines on avait un sujet.

3327 C’était la compagnie de taxi de Sherbrooke qui lançait une application spécifique pour Sherbrooke pour les clients qu’y’appellent et tout ça. Parallèlement à ça on a eu un glissement de terrain.

3328 A bien là Montréal est intéressé d’avoir le glissement de terrain. Alors là on s’enlignait pour faire un topo local sur le glissement de terrain parce que ça intéressait Montréal.

3329 Et là finalement au fur des -- à mesure qu’on l’a discuté, puis que là Montréal a vu que le glissement de terrain n’était pas aussi gros que il pensait puis tout ça, bien finalement y’ont dit ah bien finalement on vous prend pas.

3330 Et ça fini que finalement notre topo local a été sur l’application de la compagnie de taxi, qui était nouvelle à Sherbrooke, puis y’a une compagnie de taxi à Sherbrooke, tout simplement.

3331 Mais au fait c’est Montréal qui était -- qui a défini dans le fond ça serait quoi le contenu local de notre bulletin de 18h00.

3332 Si ça intéressait Montréal on faisait un topo en conséquence pour LCN et en même temps pour notre bulletin local, puis si ça l’intéressait pas bien là on faisait d’autre chose.

3333 Là un moment donné quand on parle dans notre texte qu’il faudrait peut-être reprendre le contrôle de nos choix éditoriaux, puis le contrôle de notre programmation, bien ça s’en est un des aspects.

3334 Alors si on pense notre temps à faire de la nouvelle qui est toujours d’intérêt réseau ou va être la nouvelle d’intérêt local pour les gens?

3335 Est-ce qu’à chaque fois que je va parler de Sherbrooke je vais dire ah vous connaissez l’artère principale de Sherbrooke, au lieu de dire franchement la rue King Ouest.

3336 Parce que là en disant l’artère principale ah bien là o.k. là tout le monde va -- tout le Québec va comprendre, mais les gens à Sherbrooke vont dire bien là yé pas capable de dire King Ouest comme tout le monde-là. C’est ça la rue principale chez nous là. Yé trop sans dessin ou quoi?

3337 COMMISSIONAIRE DUPRAS: M'hm.

3338 M. LABELLE: Mais ça fait qu’un moment donné l’auditeur local va dire c’est quoi cette histoire-là là. Il fait tu de la nouvelle pour nous autres où il fait de la nouvelle pour le reste de la province puis que nous on se reconnait plus là-dedans.

3339 Mais y’a une tendance qui est en train de se faire de plus en plus, puis qu’on vit nous autres dans nos salles de nouvelles.

3340 C’est que les commandes viennent de Montréal, les sujets sont dictés par Montréal, puis si ça intéresse Montréal pas de problème.

3341 On va faire du -- des directs à gauche puis à droite, mais ça devient de plus en plus des sujets thématiques je dirais.

3342 M. CARON: C’est important aussi, j’écoutais le professeur Lapointe tantôt, qui parlait que c’était important d’avoir une présence locale quand on fait de la -- de l’information locale.

3343 Mais avoir une présence locale c’est pas juste avoir quelqu’un sur le terrain ou parachuter quelqu’un sur le terrain.

3344 J’entendais aussi VICE, hier, dire nous on peut prendre un reporteur, lui faire prendre l’avion puis l’envoyer faire de la nouvelle locale à Calgary, mais ça sera pas de la nouvelle locale pour Calgary.

3345 Ça sera pas vu avec un œil local, ça sera pas senti avec ce que moi j’appelle une présence locale-là; quelqu’un qui vit dans une communauté et qui donne une couleur locale à l’information locale.

3346 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Les stations des réseaux de Montréal, y’ont -- ont quand même des studios en région?

3347 Mme BLAIS: Oui.

3348 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Vous avez vu aussi je pense dans la mémoire de Vidéotron-là, qu’on propose peut-être de centraliser certaines opérations de production à Montréal, mais en ayant toujours un caméraman, un journaliste dans les régions.

3349 Ça serait pas une façon ça de -- je comprends que vous venez de dire justement là que ça prend plus mais ---

3350 M. LABELLE: Oui. Québecor a proposé ça. Je vous dirais que là on est rendu un peu plus loin que la proposition, parce que ça été officiellement annoncé aux employés la semaine dernière.

3351 Alors ce qu’on nous dit c’est que tout ce qui est l’avant bulletin, la cueillette et le traitement de l’information va se faire encore localement.

3352 Il va avoir encore un lecteur de nouvelles qui va être localement dans un studio, mais que ça va être opéré techniquement parlant, par un réalisateur avec un système overdrive à partir de Montréal.

3353 Nous on se pose beaucoup de question sur comment le réalisateur de Montréal va communiquer avec notre chef de pupitre qui est à Sherbrooke pour l’enlignement du bulletin, pour le ‘cue sheet’, pour faire en sorte que si y’a une nouvelle qui change d’ordre à la dernière minute.

3354 Puis overdrive là c’est pas simple. Je me souviens d’avoir été visité Radio Canada moi, puis d’avoir demandé à la personne qui l’opérait si j’ai la nouvelle un, deux, trois, quatre, est-ce que je peux en sauter une? Oui, tu peux faire un, trois, quatre.

3355 Est-ce que je peux faire un, quatre, trois, deux. Il dit ça je suis un peu plus dans le prob. J’ai des problèmes si je commence à m’aventurer sur ce terrain-là.

3356 Et là on le sait nous, régionalement il peut arriver un évènement -- il est arrivé Lac Mégantic chez nous. Ça change un bulletin ça-là là. Ça change la donne au complet.

3357 Et là on nous dit que nos bulletins vont être soient préenregistrés ou soient en directes, tout dépendant de la grosseur de la nouvelle et tout ça.

3358 Mais on est rendu plus loin avec la proposition-là. L’annonce a été officiellement faite à nos employés. Alors là on va regarder la suite des choses. Y’a déjà des échéanciers qui ont été même livré et annoncés aux employés.

3359 M. EVERELL: Juste pour parler un peu du contrôle de l’information qui passe par Montréal. J’ai un exemple extrême qui est survenu, lors du décès de René Angélil. Le bulletin de nouvelle régionale il n’a pas eu du tout.

3360 Alors je comprends que René Angélil c’est un personnage important qui a marqué le Québec, mais je pense que de parler de cet évènement-là aurait été le travail d’une chaîne comme LCN, par exemple, une chaîne de nouvelle continue.

3361 Mais de couper le bulletin de nouvelles régionales pour poursuivre une émission réseau, qui est mené par Montréal c’était assez décevant pour les artisans de Québec.

3362 D’autant plus que je suis pas sûr que dans les cahiers, les rapports que -- qu’on a fait, on n’a pas dit que cette demi-heure là est une production de Québec.

3363 Souvent les données qui sont envoyées au CRTC par nos dirigeants sont erronées et on déclare souvent de la production locale -- comme étant de la production locale alors que c’est de la production réseau.

3364 Alors ça c’est désagréable. C’est -- et on ne sert pas bien notre communauté dans ce temps-là. Ça c’est un exemple extrême, mais y’en a d’autres.

3365 Et notre bulletin de nouvelles est de plus en plus -- moi je parle de Québec, est de plus en plus Montréalisé et y’arrive des journées -- à une certaine époque on était sept, huit, neuf journalistes dans une salle de nouvelles; des fois y’a trois journalistes dans la salle des nouvelles.

3366 Alors c’est sûr que le bulletin de nouvelles n’est pas à saveur locale. Ce sont des nouvelles nationales, puis y’a deux, trois reportages avec des reporteurs de Québec, mais le reste c’est tous contrôlé par Montréal.

3367 Finalement bien l’intérêt du milieu de Québec, des auditeurs, diminuent. Ce qui est survenu dans les derniers BBMs les cotes d’écoutes de TVA ont baissé, celles de Radio Canada ont augmenté.

3368 Alors on ne peut pas parler d’un effritement des auditeurs. Y’ont augmenté à Radio Canada, pourquoi?

3369 Parce que Radio Canada a continué de faire de l’information locale, un bulletin de nouvelles complet d’une heure avec des arrêts spectacles, des sports et toutes les nouvelles locales à une grosse équipe de journalistes.

3370 Alors que nous on est en réduction, réduction, puis on s’accroche sur des reportages un peu partout pour se faire un bulletin de nouvelles qui a aucune saveur locale.

3371 Alors il faut pas se surprendre que les cotes d’écoutes ont baissé. Mais si on laisse cette tendance-là se poursuivre, bien ça va être -- ça va faire mal-là. C’est sûr que pour nous il va y’avoir encore d’autres conséquences qui vont être désastreuses.

3372 M. LABELLE: Une autre conséquence que je parlerais, on a parlé de reprise tantôt. Je réponds peut-être à des questions que vous n’avez pas encore posez-là, mais on a un bulletin du midi nous qui est diffusé en reprise à 15h00 de l’après-midi.

3373 Alors évidemment on a eu une rencontre, puis nous autres ce qu’on a dit c’est écoutez-là, si à midi on annonce qu’y’a un enfant de six ans qu’yé perdu en forêt et qu’on cherche désespérément et tout, et tout, et tout.

3374 Et qu’à 12h35 après le bulletin ils l’ont trouvé, là ce qui va arriver c’est que à partir de 12h35 là sur LCN, toute l’après-midi-là, on va dire à toute la population du Québec on l’a trouvé. On a les entrevus avec les parents; tout le monde est content. Et là à 3h00 en reprise, on va encore dire on le cherche encore.

3375 Et là c’est comme l’auditeur là-dedans qui regarde ça là il doit se poser des questions. J’ai vu -- y’a -- on m’a fait part moi des résultats des cotes d’écoutes pour le bulletin de Saguenay, entre autre la reprise-là à 15h00, puis y’ont été cherché un gros 900 auditeurs.

3376 J’ai pas eu les chiffres pour ailleurs, mais on a un gros 900 auditeurs qui regardent le 15h00 en reprise à 3h00 de l’après-midi.

3377 Comment voulez-vous -- tsé on dit très souvent qu’on veut tuer son chien, on prétend qu’il a la rage, ça là c’est la vie en Estrie que moi je vous parle depuis longtemps.

3378 Je me répète puis vous le savez. Je radote un peu là-dessus, mais on avait une émission locale qui tirait entre à peu près 22,000 auditeurs entre 11h30 le matin, puis 12h00 moins quart.

3379 Quand on l’a changé de 1h30 à 2h00 moins quart, on a perdu le deux tiers de l’auditoire et puis là pour l’achever comme il faut, on l’a mis à 3h00 de l’après-midi. Bien là, c’est sûr, je veux dire, on l’a enlevé et puis là on met un bulletin de nouvelles à la place.

3380 Alors si on veut tuer un show, il y a des moyens de le faire. Et puis on veut qu’il marche, le show, il y a également des moyens de le faire.

3381 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Au niveau communautaire, est-ce que vous savez s’il y a des programmes qui sont produits à partir de Montréal qui sont diffusés dans les télés communautaires en région, à partir de productions à Montréal? Il y a quand même un pourcentage de télévision non-locale qui est permis…

3382 Mme BLAIS: Oui, tout à fait.

3383 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: …mais qui serait produit comme pour être de la programmation locale dans les régions à partir de Montréal?

3384 Mme BLAIS: Il y a 40 pourcent de programmation...

3385 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Non-locale.

3386 Mme BLAIS: …non-locale qui sont permis et votre question c’est est-ce qu’il y a de ces 40 pourcent là de la programmation qui est faite à Montréal? Certainement.

3387 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: O.k. Et le 50 pourcent qui peut être fait par l’EDR dans la programmation locale, est-ce que vous êtes au courant d’émissions qui peuvent être produites ou montées ailleurs que dans les régions à partir de Montréal, par exemple? Non?

3388 Mme BLAIS: Non.

3389 M. CARON: À notre connaissance, non. Il y a des échanges d’émissions entre les différentes stations, à la fois de MAtv et de Télé Cogeco aussi. Je pense, entre autres, à un exemple, Trois-Rivières, Cap-de-la-Madeleine. Trois-Rivières c’est Télé Cogeco. Cap-de-la-Madeleine, l’autre côté de la Rivière St-Maurice, c’est MAtv. Et rendu à Sainte-Anne-de-la-Pérade, ça redevient Télé Cogeco.

3390 Il y a souvent des échanges qui se font entre les différents -- maintenant c’est une municipalité du temps que j’habitais là. C’était des villes différentes.

3391 Mais des différents quartiers de ces villes-là, les échanges qui se font se font en toute -- c’est propre comme échanges.

3392 La partie de la production qui est faite à Trois-Rivières est faite à Trois-Rivières. C’est le 50 ou le 60 pourcent qui doit être fait à Trois-Rivières et ce qui vient d’un échange avec le Cap-de-la-Madeleine c’est de la production extérieure qui est échangée, et qu’on voit, nous autres, parfois aussi.

3393 Ça peut arriver à Rimouski qu’on ait une émission qui vient de MAtv Montréal, mais ça vient pas empiéter sur les chiffres de la production locale à Rimouski.

3394 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Et pensez-vous que de la programmation communautaire pourrait trouver sa place sur la télévision locale dans les régions pour ajouter à la saveur locale des programmes sur une télévision locale?

3395 M. CARON: Bien, je peux vous dire qu’il y a déjà eu des productions -- par exemple, on parlait tantôt de l’émission La Vie, qui était produite à TVA dans les régions, à Trois-Rivières, à Rimouski, à Sherbrooke. C’était souvent des sujets qui se recoupaient avec les télévisions communautaires de ces lieux-là, mais c’était pas fait de la même -- puis c’était pas couvert de la même façon. C’était souvent fait en studio et puis en extérieur pour les télévisions communautaires, mais on parlait souvent des mêmes choses mais sous des angles différents.

3396 Si ce que vous pensez c’est la proposition, ou en tout cas, dans l’avis d’audience que le CRTC parlait, dans les localités où il n’y a pas de télévision locale, est-ce que la télévision communautaire pourrait faire de la nouvelle et de la publicité? C’est un sujet délicat, d’après moi. Ça se pourrait. Ça pourrait se faire, mais c’est un sujet délicat. Ça serait dénaturé un peu ce que la télévision -- la mission de la télévision communautaire, mais ça pourrait se faire aussi, parce qu’il y a déjà des émissions d’information qui existent dans les télévisions communautaires au Québec, mais ce n’est pas des bulletins de nouvelles. C’est des émissions d’information.

3397 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Mais est-ce que la télévision communautaire ne pourrait pas faire de la programmation pour les stations locales?

3398 M. CARON: Pour moi, c’est pas la même chose.

3399 Mme BLAIS: Pour nous, ce sont deux télévisions qui sont complémentaires et, d’ailleurs, pour les artisans qui travaillent en télé locale et en télé communautaire, la ligne de fracture entre les deux, elle est assez claire.

3400 Par exemple, les gens de MAtv Granby, même si Granby est dans le périmètre de rayonnement de TVA Sherbrooke, ne vont pas faire le même genre d’émission que TVA Sherbrooke, et vice versa.

3401 Donc à ce moment-là, je ne sais pas, nous, on n’a pas pris de position claire à savoir est-ce qu’un télé pourrait transférer sa programmation sur l’autre, mais je vous dirais, à première vue, non.

3402 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Je veux dire, ça pourrait être une façon d’offrir de la programmation locale -- davantage de programmation locale à la population peut-être sur un média qui a plus d’auditeurs que la télévision communautaire.

3403 Mme BLAIS: Oui, mais il y a trois éléments dans la loi : privée, publique, communautaire, et là on aurait du communautaire sur le privé et après, du privé sur le communautaire? Je pense qu’à partir du moment où on a ces trois éléments-là qui sont distincts, il faut les conserver distincts.

3404 Et si on demande au communautaire de faire -- ou qu’on permet au communautaire de faire de la nouvelle dans certaines localités ou de l’information, ce sera peut-être pas fait exactement comme ça se fait à la télévision privée conventionnelle ou publique conventionnelle. Ça va être fait selon un autre mode, avec d’autres impératifs, parce qu’on est aussi lié, en télévision communautaire, aux gens qui veulent faire de l’accès et qui souhaitent venir travailler avec nous.

3405 Donc si quelqu’un veut venir faire de l’information avec nous, on aura une plus grosse équipe. Sinon, on embauchera peut-être quelqu’un, mais on aura une plus petite équipe et il faudra faire avec cette situation-là.

3406 Par contre, pour ce qui est de la publicité pour les télévisions communautaires dans ces petites localités-là, notre position c’était non. Je tiens à le préciser parce que notre -- ce que tu disais, Alain, tout à l’heure, mélangeait peut-être un peu les deux. On est d’accord avec le fait que les télés communautaires puissent faire de l’information là où il n’y a pas de télé locale. Par contre, comme les périmètres de rayonnement se chevauchent, les zones de desserte sont parfois à l’intérieur des périmètres de rayonnement des télévisions locales. Je pense que ça demanderais une réflexion plus approfondie pour voir comment ça pourrait se faire. Je suis pas certaine qu’on ne viendrait pas jouer dans les platebandes, si on veut, de la télé locale et nuire encore davantage aux revenus publicitaires qui sont déjà déclinant.

3407 M. CARON: Moi, après avoir regardé la carte du Québec, j’ai essayé de trouver quelle localité n’a pas accès à une télévision locale. C’est sûr qu’il n’y a pas une télévision locale dans chacune des localités. Mais, par exemple, moi, je prends CFER-TV qui fait de la télévision à Rimouski, Radio-Canada fait de la télévision à Rimouski aussi. À Matane, il n’y a pas de station de télévision, mais il y a des journalistes qui sont là. C’est couvert, Matane, déjà par deux stations de télévision, CFER-TV et -- il y a très peu de localités qui ne sont pas déjà dans des zone de desserte ou des zones de rayonnement des télévisions locales.

3408 M. LABELLE: Il y a un autre aspect aussi à ne pas négliger si, admettons, on disait, bon, la télévision communautaire pourrait faire de la programmation pour bonifier, par exemple, la télévision locale. C’est le niveau d’autonomie des stations régionales qui est à peu près inexistant. La programmation est décidée par Montréal.

3409 Je me souviens que quand la station CJPM à Chicoutimi a voulu se détacher du réseau TVA parce qu’on inaugurait l’autoroute à deux voies dans le parc jusqu’à Chicoutimi, ça a pris des négociations assez ardues pour que le réseau accepte que la station locale se détache du réseau et puisse faire une couverture locale, parce qu’ils voulaient faire ça en direct, parce que c’était quelque chose qui était attendu depuis très, très longtemps, évidemment.

3410 Alors le problème aussi qui se pose c’est l’autonomie de décision qui est actuellement inexistante dans les stations. Alors même si TVA Sherbrooke, par exemple, voulait, demain matin, dire “Oui, je pourrais prendre, par exemple, la télévision communautaire de MAtv, pourrait me produire une émission d’affaires publiques d’une demi-heure,” le problème c’est qu’il faudrait demander la permission à Montréal et il y aurait des grandes chances qu’on se fasse dire, “Oublies ça.” C’est le niveau d’autonomie qui est inexistant actuellement dans les décisions qui se prennent en région.

3411 Notre grille de programmation, nos émissions, l’heure de ces émissions-là est déterminée par Montréal et non pas localement.

3412 M. CARON: Et en même temps, j’insiste sur un commentaire de Nathalie qui est important. C’est des médias qui sont complémentaires, la télévision communautaire et la télévision locale. Et présentement, chacun connaît son rayon d’activités, respecte ça et ça fonctionne bien, sauf le cas que j’ai entendu hier de Télé Frontenac où il y a peut-être des frictions.

3413 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: En région, peut-être juste me donner une idée de la programmation des télés communautaires. Est-ce qu’on a beaucoup de bulletins alphanumériques? Est-ce qu’on a…

3414 M. CARON: Il y a du bulletin alphanumérique une partie de la journée. Il y a la programmation -- écoutez, moi, je peux vous parler pour la station où je suis à Rimouski, la programmation va rouler de midi à 4h00 de l’après-midi et redémarrer de 18 heures à 22 heures, et le matin aussi je crois y a de l’alpha numérique entre tout ça. Y a de la couverture en direct par exemple -- ah, c'est un bel exemple de ce que fait une télévision communautaire par rapport à une télévision locale -- y a une couverture en direct mais sans analyse des conseils de ville.

3415 La télévision locale peut pas faire ça. La télévision locale va se pointer au conseil de ville quand y va y avoir des annonces importantes, quand ça va être le temps de faire le budget de la municipalité. Sinon, la télévision communautaire le fait en direct.

3416 Y a -- pis après ça y a une variété de programmation qui va de -- d’analyse, par exemple d’analyse politique parce que quelqu'un est venu nous voir pour dire, « Moi, je serais intéressé, je suis un politologue professeur au Cégep de Rimouski, à faire une émission d’analyse politique au Canada, j’aimerais ça avoir une demi-heure de programmation là-dessus. » Ben la personne elle a une demi-heure de programmation là-dessus, c'est bien fait, c'est bien monté, c'est bien illustré, c'est ---

3417 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Donc dans votre cas par exemple, vous avez combien d’heures par jour de programmation qu’y est pas alpha numérique?

3418 M. CARON: Pas alpha numérique, c'est quatre fois -- c'est trois fois quatre heures.

3419 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Trois fois -- qu’y est répété?

3420 M. CARON: Qu’y est répété, oui.

3421 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: O.k. Et la popularité des canaux communautaires en région ---

3422 M. CARON: C'est difficile à mesurer, comme y a pas de publicité, ben y a pas de mesure des côtes d’écoute. Je sais que vous pourriez poser la question aux EDR qui vont venir, y ont déjà fait des sondages.

3423 Je trouve les chiffres un petit peu spéciaux, les chiffres qui sont sortis de ces sondages-là, qui vont nous dire que 90 pour cent des gens écoutent telle émission. Je pense pas que ça soit très, très réaliste là. Peut-être 90 pour cent des gens sont au courant qu’y a une émission sur le canal communautaire qui porte tel titre, mais venir nous dire que 90 pour cent de la population l’écoute, c'est pas -- y a des chiffres qui sont sortis, moi je les possède pas, les EDR les ont, y pourraient peut-être vous les soumettre.

3424 Mme BLAIS: De toute façon, puisqu’on parle de télé communautaire, on est souvent dans une programmation de niche. On va couvrir ce qui est « underground », des sujets qui sont souvent non-reliés directement à l’actualité. Et -- donc c'est peut-être quelque chose qui attire moins l’auditoire, mais qui desserre des gens qu’y ont un intérêt spécifique pour une thématique.

3425 M. CARON: On couvre beaucoup aussi les artistes de la relève, justement comme on dit dans notre mémoire, c'est souvent -- on peut se permettre en télévision communautaire de faire des émissions qui attirerons pas nécessairement un intérêt du marché publicitaire parce que c'est de la production de niche. On rejoint une population ou une clientèle qu’y est spécifique. Quand on va parler de paralysie cérébrale par exemple, on va rejoindre les gens qui sont atteints et leur famille proche de paralysie cérébrale, mais ça va pas rejoindre -- pour un annonceur c'est pas intéressant.

3426 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Oui, je comprends.

3427 M. CARON: Mais on peut se permettre de le faire.

3428 COMMISSAIRE DUPRAS: Ben je vous remercie.

3429 Ce sont toutes mes questions, Monsieur le président. Merci.

3430 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci bien pour votre participation. Ce sont nos questions. Merci.

3431 Mme BLAIS: Merci.

3432 LE PRÉSIDENT: Bonne journée et bonne soirée. Et puis on va être en ajournement jusqu’à 9 heures demain matin. Merci.

--- Upon adjourning at 4:59 p.m.

REPORTERS

Sean Prouse

Nadia Rainville

Marie Rainville

Debbie Di Vetta

Lise Baril

Lucie Morin-Brock

Renée Vaive

Nancy Ewing

Mathieu Philippe


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