TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
CBC LICENCE RENEWALS /
RENOUVELLEMENTS DE LICENCES DE LA SRC
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Place du Portage Place du Portage
Conference Centre Centre de conférence
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
Hull, Quebec Hull (Québec)
June 4, 1999 Le 4 juin 1999
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of Contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues officielles, les procès-verbaux pour le Conseil seront bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio-television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Public Hearing / Audience publique
CBC LICENCE RENEWALS /
RENOUVELLEMENTS DE LICENCES DE LA SRC
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Françoise Bertrand Chairperson of the
Commission, Chairperson /
Présidente du Conseil,
Andrée Wylie Commissioner / Conseillère
David Colville Commissioner / Conseiller
Barbara Cram Commissioner / Conseillère
James Langford Commissioner / Conseiller
Cindy Grauer Commissioner / Conseillère
Joan Pennefather Commissioner / Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Nick Ketchum Hearing Manager /
Gérant de l'audience
Carolyn Pinsky Legal Counsel /
Alastair Stewart Conseillers juridiques
Carol Bénard Secretary / Secrétaire
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Place du Portage Place du Portage
Conference Centre Centre de conférence
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
Hull, Quebec Hull (Québec)
June 4, 1999 Le 4 juin 1999
- ii -
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
Intervention by / Intervention par:
Alliance Atlantis Communications Inc. 2944
Canadian Film and Television Production Association 2978
Epitome Pictures Inc. 3038
Dialogue Canada 3051
ACTRA Performers Guild 3062
Peter Wintonick 3077
Canadian Association of Film Distributors & Exporters 3096
Coalition seeking balance on CBC/ 3116
REAL Women of Canada, Campaign Life Coalition,
Women for Life, Faith and Family
Hull, Quebec / Hull (Québec)
--- Upon resuming on Friday, June 4, 1999, at 0905 /
L'audience reprend le vendredi 4 juin 1999, à 0905
14831 THE CHAIRPERSON: Alors, good morning, everyone.
14832 Madame Bénard, voulez-vous s'il vous plaît nous présenter le prochain intervenant?
14833 MS BÉNARD: Merci, madame la présidente.
14834 The first presentation will be Alliance Atlantic Communications Incorporated.
14835 MR. MacMILLAN: Good morning, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
14836 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
14837 MR. MacMILLAN: I am Michael MacMillan, I am the Chairman and CEO of Alliance Atlantis Communications, and with me this morning are three of my colleagues from the television production and broadcasting divisions of our company.
14838 On my left is Christine Shipton, who is a Senior Vice-President, Creative Affairs Television). Further on the left is Steve Ord, Senior Vice-President, Television Production. On my right is Phyllis Yaffe, who a few days ago became President of the newly merged Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting.
14839 First, we would like to thank the Commission and its staff for this opportunity to offer our comments on the CBC's role and challenges as it looks forward to the 21st Century. As broadcasters, producers and distributors ourselves, we fully appreciate the complexities of the new communications environment. However, when we consider the special role of Canada's public broadcaster, it is clear that the challenges the CBC faces at this time are unique.
14840 At the outset of our comments, we wish to be clear about the central point to these proceedings. Alliance Atlantis fully supports the CBC as Canada's public broadcaster. The CBC is a crucial and effective cultural instrument, connecting us, entertaining us and enlightening us as Canadians.
14841 This is a tremendous responsibility considering the size and diversity of Canada. It is an even more daunting task in the highly fragmented communications environment where the CBC's single voice competes with countless others to be heard.
14842 To that end, Alliance Atlantis recommends the renewal of all the CBC's television, radio and specialty licences as set forth in the Notice of Public Hearing.
14843 We have two areas to address today regarding the CBC, its focus and its funding. Specifically, what kind of Canadian content should the CBC be showing and who is going to pay for it?
14844 MS SHIPTON: Turning first to the issue of focus, we believe that the CBC must rededicate itself to its traditional business, telling Canadian stories to Canadians, informing Canadians about their world, and showcasing Canadian talent through its national broadcasting services. In so doing, the CBC should actively distinguish itself from private conventional broadcasters both in philosophy and appearance. In our view, this is the only approach which will allow the CBC to fulfil its public interest mandate and justify its public funding.
14845 In making itself distinctive, the CBC's programming should be innovative with a general interest appeal which speaks to Canadians. This should include a broad array of program genres including sports, news, drama, children's programming and comedy.
14846 In recommending that CBC make innovative programming its priority, we cannot over stress a key point: "Innovative" should not be equated with programming that lacks an audience and appeals only to fringe groups of Canadians.
14847 We believe that the CBC should reflect a notion of Canadian culture which is accessible and entertaining, not highbrow or elitist. For viewers, the CBC should be a popular destination where they can see themselves, not "PBS North". The CBC, in partnership with Canada's independent producers, has demonstrated its vision in this area with original, risk-taking programs such as "North of 60", "Da Vinci's Inquest" and "This Hour Has 22 Minutes".
14848 We must applaud the CBC for taking steps towards the Canadianization of its prime time television schedule. This is definitely the right strategy. In fact, more can be done. We urge the CBC to go further, dedicating 100 per cent of its schedule to Canadian programs, and all Canadian CBC should not be limited to prime time, it should be all day, every day.
14849 The CBC is continuing this effort and we are very pleased to see that the 1999-2000 program schedule will dedicate prime time viewing periods to drama, the performing arts, Canadian film, documentaries and amateur sports.
14850 MR. MacMILLAN: Canada's independent producers will continue to be an important ingredient in this programming philosophy. The CBC also notes the important role of Canada's independent producers in its oral presentation to the Commission, but then appears to contradict itself in its business plan.
14851 On this point, we note a disturbing trend in the CBC's projected Canadian program expenditures which are contained in Appendix 2 to the application for the English language network television service. In the area of drama, expenditures to Canadian independent producers from 1998 through to 2006 are essentially flat. In contrast, however, expenditures for non-independent sources of drama, specifically in-house CBC production, are growing.
14852 This growth in expenditures to non-independent suppliers is significant. We have plotted the CBC's drama spending on a graph to illustrate the proportion of total expenditures made to independent producers as licence fees. This is the first of the graphs attached to our presentation as Attachment 1. These are part of the handout that you received this morning.
14853 This graph shows a steady decrease from 1998 through to 2006 with the percentage of licence fees paid to Canadian independent producers as a proportion of total Canadian drama spending falling from 54.5 per cent to a projected 44.4 per cent.
14854 At the same time, the proportion of the total drama budget going to non-independent production is rising. We have attached a second graph to our presentation which is Attachment 2. This is the last page. This graph shows in-house expenditures rising from 32.7 per cent in 1998 to 43.9 per cent in 2006.
14855 These spending projections are at odds with the CBC's own pronouncement that 90 per cent of its drama comes from Canada's independent producers. It begs the following question: If 90 per cent of its drama can be acquired from approximately 54 per cent of its drama budget, why would the CBC propose to decrease its spending to independent producers which are obviously highly efficient, offering value for the CBC's dollar?
14856 Simply put, providing independent producers provide the CBC with dynamic programming which is comparable in quality to in-house productions but at a far lower cost to the CBC. Yet, over the next 10 years the CBC's spending emphasis for drama is notably not on productions from independent producers.
14857 In our view, this is a contradiction which must be addressed. We urge the CRTC to direct the CBC to increase significantly its sourcing of all under-represented categories of programming from Canada's independent producers.
14858 While we applaud the CBC for its $30 million investment in feature films, we also have a concern about the initiative and its potential impact on other categories of television productions.
14859 Again, we refer to the CBC's English television spending projections. Since these projections do not provide specifically for this expense, we are left to conclude that the $30 million is included as part of the overall expenditures to be made to independent producers. If this is the case, then funding feature films will be done at the expense of other under served television projects such as movie of the weeks and series.
14860 The result will therefore be a reallocation of funds to favour feature films, which diminishes the benefit of this initiative. In our view, a real boost for feature film production requires an injection of new funds.
14861 MS YAFFE: We fully appreciate that the CBC cannot, and should not, be an unchanging voice within broadcasting. It too must have some flexibility to adapt to the rapidly changing communications environment and to incorporate new technologies to help it fulfil its mandate.
14862 Like all conventional broadcasters, the CBC is battling the effects of a highly fragmented audience which has a multitude of entertainment and information choices within and beyond television. Although the CBC has a special role as the public broadcaster, it would be unfair and unwise to deny it some opportunity to counter these challenges through new initiatives. To require the CBC to remain static will cause it to ultimately lose ground.
14863 For these reasons, we recommend that the CBC be permitted to engage in specific focused forms of expansion into new areas such as new media and specialty services. The CBC's reason for expansion should be to extend the reach of the CBC's traditional business, not to enter new businesses unrelated to its mandate and certainly not to replace lost revenues.
14864 Furthermore, CBC expansion should take the form of partnerships with private sector entities where the CBC is limited to a minority stake. In this way, the CBC is given a flexible business tool but shares the costs with others thereby minimizing the risks to its taxpayer dollars.
14865 MR. MacMILLAN: In recent years the CBC's allotment of public funding has been significantly reduced the CBC has been forced to look elsewhere for program financing. Canada's independent producers and distributors have increasingly been asked to play a greater financial role towards the creation of programs for the CBC's schedule.
14866 Indeed, companies such as Alliance Atlantis have stepped up to the plate in order to act as financing partners for a number of CBC projects. Alliance Atlantis has undertaken this role both as a producer of programs airing on the CBC such as "Cover Me", "Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy" and "In Tha' Mix", as well as a distributor of CBC programs including "Big Bear", "Riverdale" and many independently produced television movies such as the "Sue Rodriguez Story". In all of these experiences, the CBC has been a dependable and creative business partner.
14867 An issue has arisen during this hearing which further threatens the security of the CBC's funding base. It has been suggested that the CBC should be required to reduce the amount of advertising time it is allowed to sell on its television networks as a means by which to make it distinct from the private networks.
14868 In our view, the CBC will not become more distinctive if yet another funding pillar is pulled out from under it. If anything, the removal of the CBC's ability to sell advertising will simply exacerbate the problem.
14869 In order to assist the CBC in reaching a goal of 100 per cent Canadian content all the time, we recommend that the CBC be permitted to maintain its current level of advertising. The challenge in providing a quality all-Canadian schedule will be significant and the advertising revenue earned by the CBC will be necessary in order to reach this goal.
14870 Financing partnerships with the private sector and advertising are two strategies which have become increasingly important to the CBC in recent years. Neither is a full answer to the issue of diminished public funding. For this reason we urge the Commission to encourage the federal government to assure the necessary funding support for the CBC. Over the years, our public broadcaster has been tremendously successful in fulfilling its mission.
14871 As part of this renewal process many Canadians have spoken passionately for a CBC which is fresh, independent, innovative and, above all, distinct. An assurance of predictable, stable funding for the CBC will ensure that it does not become a shadow of its former self. It is our hope that the CBC will be fortified by this renewal process, allowing it to continue to build bridges linking Canadians of different geography and viewpoints.
14872 That concludes our presentation. We would pleased to address any questions you have for us.
14873 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
14874 I would ask Commissioner Cram to address you with the questions of the Commission.
14875 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, and welcome.
14876 Thank you for your thoughtful presentation and, indeed, the written presentation that you gave us.
14877 I have a few questions, a lot of them philosophical.
14878 In your written presentation initially, you talked at page 2 under "The Role" on the issue of:
"... the CBC becoming less distinguished if it is driven by commercial marketplace activities." (As read)
14879 Does that mean that it is presently somewhat driven by commercial marketplace activities?
14880 MR. MacMILLAN: I would assume that it is somewhat driven, about $300 million a year driven. I don't mean to be flip with that answer, but yes it is.
14881 It is striving to be a popular, relevant service, not to be simply a niche service of interest to only special interest groups. But I think that if the CBC is 100 per cent Canadian, not just in prime time but all the time in every day, in that case its search for advertising dollars while commercially driven will at least also be absolutely focused on its main mandate, which is to carry Canadian programming and reflect Canada.
14882 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You go on to say that:
"Without funding support CBC will be forced to continue to pursue this activity and become less distinguishable." (As read)
14883 Where is the point of no return? Because I understand it is an issue of grey, but where is the point where commercial activities are acceptable and not acceptable? What are the parameters?
14884 MR. MacMILLAN: That's a good question. A tough question.
14885 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And I am paid to ask them, yes.
14886 MR. MacMILLAN: My colleagues might want to add to this, but one of the points for us for sure is not chasing non-Canadian programming.
14887 In my view, in our view, the CBC's carriage of foreign programming is not part of its mandate, and I presume that the only reason it would include foreign programming is to maximize commercial revenues. Unlike 10 or 15 years ago, there are many more channels, specialty channels, that carry out an increasing range of the best that the world has to offer. So I think the Canadians have a pretty good chance of seeing that sort of programming.
14888 So that is for sure one point, but I think that Christine may want to add to that.
14889 MS SHIPTON: I just want to add that in my view what the CBC has been doing, at least in the drama front, which is where I work, I mean they are gaining an audience more and more every year for the number of years that I have been associated with what they do, and as long as that audience is coming to the CBC and to the dramas that they are producing, in fact that all the producers are producing, it makes sense to have the advertisers there too.
14890 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So when it has gone too far is if there is non-Canadian programming and if the present programming has no audience, or lesser audience?
14891 What I'm trying to say is, how much is too much and where do you draw the line on that?
14892 MS SHIPTON: Can I just ask: How much is too much commercial activity by the CBC do you mean?
14893 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes. To the point, as you say, where it becomes less distinguishable.
14894 MR. MacMILLAN: Well, again I would say it is the element of non-Canadian programming. Although we believe that the CBC should be popular, broad-based, it should want to have a significant audience and not have to apologize for that, and if it does have broad audiences it will attract advertising dollars, which is also good.
14895 But that doesn't mean that everything has to be broadly popular. It is the overall mix that we are talking about, and there needs to be room for innovative, off-the-wall, new types of programming that may not by themselves attract a significance audience. There has to be a mix.
14896 MR. SHIPTON: But in that sense, nothing is too much. As long as it is a Canadian voice and a Canadian story and programming that is reflecting Canada unto itself in some way, it can be as commercial and popular as we all want it to be, in my point of view.
14897 COMMISSIONER CRAM: On the non-Canadian front -- and I hear you, Mr. MacMillan -- would it not be fair to say, though, as CBC says, that they need some non-Canadian to show the best of the world. You referred to specialties, but there are a lot of people who receive CBC off-air and they wouldn't have access to that.
14898 MR. MacMILLAN: Well, that's true, they don't, although increasingly with new technologies, including 400,000 homes with DTH today that didn't have it a couple of years ago, part of that gap is being reduced. I think that the track record of specialty channels in this regard is pretty compelling.
14899 COMMISSIONER CRAM: We are still at 25 per cent, though, off-air, so that is 25 per cent of the population.
14900 MS YAFFE: If can just add, there are lots of other services that are delivered off-air that do carry the best of the rest of the world as well, and it seems to me it just contradicts the sort of essential mandate that we believe is the focus of the CBC. It is clearly at 90 per cent.
14901 This is a 10 per cent change in terms of overall scheduling, and it is a commitment they have made in prime time. It is our view it is a commitment they could take throughout the rest of the day.
14902 Is the best of the rest of the world available to Canadians through other services? It's our view it is both available off-air and through other distribution systems.
14903 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You were talking about an appropriate mix, and I will bring up sports. What is the appropriate mix of sports? What is the percentage that is the right one?
14904 MR. MacMILLAN: Well, they should have had the Leafs in the final round, for one thing.
14905 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I know, but that's destiny. We can't handle that.
14906 MR. MacMILLAN: We believe that --
14907 THE CHAIRPERSON: We admire your disinterested point of view, Mr. MacMillan.
--- Laughter / Rires
14908 MR. MacMILLAN: It has been a long week, you know.
14909 We believe that sports is an appropriate part of the CBC schedule. We think that it should include amateur as well as professional sports. We acknowledge it in certain times of the year, like hockey playoff time. It is a disruptive, although popular, feature in the schedule. But we do think that sports have an absolutely appropriate pride of place in the CBC schedule.
14910 We think that not only is it entertaining, not only is it great water cooler chat for Canadians, it is also a lot of our Canadian heroes are Canadian sports heroes. And I think that we want our kids to make sure that they have got the opportunity to grow and know those heroes.
14911 Yes, it is true that private broadcasters also carry sports and would bid for sports. But we don't think that the CBC should be relegated to simply carrying programming that nobody else wants. We think that they should be able to be proactive, aggressive, trying to put together an overall schedule that is popular for Canadians. So we think that sports is a -- in balance, though -- fair part of the schedule.
14912 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Should the criteria be that -- given the issue of over-bidding or whatever the word is, bidding up the value of the rights in sports. Should it be that the sports that are shown should be of some significant or particular interest to Canadians? Should there be some limit on that? Like, what about World Soccer or racing?
14913 MR. MacMILLAN: I don't know much about racing.
14914 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You see, I know nothing about sports, so I mean --
14915 MR. MacMILLAN: It is always a difficult thing, because apparently for Canadians soccer is the number two participation sport for kids. And that wasn't the case 15 years ago or 20 years, but it reflects the changing face of our country. So it is difficult to have a precise opinion about each individual sport, but yes, I suppose that the CBC should be mainly carrying sports that are popular here that feature Canadian teams playing. That's fair.
14916 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You talk about an increase in independent production. There is the mandate to reflect Canadians to Canadians and you are referring to it.
14917 What do you think of the concept that the production should be in some way regionally balanced, that there should be some proportionality to that?
14918 MS SHIPTON: We applaud it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having the regions reflected. In fact, if the CBC is going to do its job well, it must reflect the regions. And again, from an independent producer's point of view and speaking as a drama independent producer, as opposed to a documentary, it is critical. I mean, our stories come from everywhere in the country and they happen everywhere in the country.
14919 And at Alliance Atlantis we have been involved in productions not just out of Toronto, obviously, but as a distributor of shows like "Black Harbour" which is set in a fishing village of Nova Scotia and as Michael referenced "Big Bear", which is a historical story set in Saskatchewan --
14920 COMMISSIONER CRAM: In God's country, yes.
14921 MS SHIPTON: In God's country, absolutely.
14922 And right to urban, gritty Vancouver, the belly of that city. I mean, we think it is extremely important, extremely important.
14923 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So you think it would be appropriate for us to talk about some regional proportional balance in the independent production sector?
14924 MS SHIPTON: I think it is appropriate. I always worry when there are percentages being mandated, because who knows where the next great story is going to come from. When the independent producers came to us with the story of Diana Kilmurray(ph), the first woman Vice-President of the Teamsters set in Vancouver, I mean, who knew that that story was going to burst forth there and that she had such a great story to tell.
14925 So I do think it is appropriate to express our need for regionalism. I get worried when we start putting gates on, "Okay, if we don't have 80 hours out of Saskatchewan, no more money". You know, it is hard to do that, I think.
14926 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I don't mind that at all.
--- Laughter / Rires
14927 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What about some -- when we talk about independent production, what about some proportionality between smaller producers and larger producers?
14928 MS SHIPTON: Again, I will speak to this. The CBC has been wonderful in nurturing talent, finding where the writers, producers, directors are. That's all of our jobs. And again, it is about -- they are everywhere in the country. And again, I would hate to see mandated figures, once again, that you must be using eight writers from Alberta. Again, it has to stay fluid.
14929 That being said, we applaud their activities with smaller and medium sized producers. That is the future of our industry here in Canada. And it is essential that those companies be nurtured and hopefully thrive.
14930 COMMISSIONER CRAM: There is the issue of the CBC mandate in independent production and sometimes that can become problematic and let me give you one example.
14931 And I am not sure if you are aware, yesterday we had the Diversity Network people here and they were talking about your baby, "Da Vinci" and the lack of visible minorities in the production, and indeed, I think they referred to one person in a supporting role. And so, the issue is the CBC being able to fulfil its diversity mandate with independent production.
14932 MS SHIPTON: We are very proud to distribute "Da Vinci's Inquest", not too differentiate too much --
14933 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Oh, I am sorry, yes.
14934 MS SHIPTON: No, no, not to do that too much.
14935 And we are not only proud to distribute it, but we are doing very well with distribution of "Da Vinci's Inquest", it is a CBC show that is selling extremely well around the world. And I know it has been discussed at the "Da Vinci" story team just how are they reflecting Vancouver well or not.
14936 I think to speak to the CBC's efforts in terms of multiculturalism, they are the only broadcaster who sits at a table and thinks about that, discusses that from ground zero up. And as a producer, it has to be indigenous to the story, it has to be right for the piece, it has to be reflecting what it is you are trying to tell. So when you go to a "North of 60" series, I mean, there is absolutely no question, those are the peoples' stories we are telling.
14937 It just can't be done enough and obviously there is more programs coming up this year, I am sure they have rhymed them off to you, in terms of what is coming up that is reflecting a multi-cultural diversity.
14938 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Mr. MacMillan, the whole underpinning of what you were talking about is more money. How much?
14939 MR. MacMILLAN: Well, we weren't -- we were saying more money is needed for feature films. If they are going to have $30 million over six years, that ought not to simply be part of the static $28.5 million in licence fees for independent drama, otherwise you are just reorganizing the same sized pot. So at least that additional $30 million over those five or six years.
14940 But I do believe that as currently funded, the CBC does and can continue to do a very good job. Our concern is to stabilize that funding, both in terms of the Parliamentary appropriation and in terms of the advertising revenues.
14941 But we are not suggesting that the CBC needs to increase its Parliamentary appropriation.
14942 COMMISSIONER CRAM: One final question there was, you spoke in your written submission about the role to develop, I think the word is, the development of programming. And when I looked at that word "development" of programming and independent sources -- let me find my note -- I took it in a way of an innovative way. Development of distinctive and appealing general interest programming.
14943 What about after they have been developed? What about after they -- when they become successful? What is CBC's role then with that program? Should they let it flutter onto the other networks and then continue developing innovating programming? Or, you know, think about "Air Farce", "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" and we get into a bidding war because they are so popular. I mean, what about that role of development?
14944 MS SHIPTON: I believe they should continue to develop, but when they have a hit, they have to keep that hit on. That is the fundamental base of their audience. Look at how "Street Legal" ran for eight solid seasons on CBC and brought a wonderful audience that they could then introduce other programs to, because they had that 1.5 million viewers per week. They have to be allowed to keep their hits, absolutely.
14945 MR. MacMILLAN: Just think about if the future provided that a hit on the CBC ought to migrate some place else. A viewer would realize, "Oh, that means that the programs that remain on the CBC more than one month or one year must not be hits, must not be popular". It would be all the wrong signal. And that is not the way you are going to create a programming spine that is reliable and from what you can, as Christine says, promote the other newer offerings.
14946 MS SHIPTON: It is about gaining an audience and keeping that audience and sustaining it and growing it and that can't be taken away from them as a broadcaster.
14947 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much.
14948 For the record, I would just like you to know that Eric Peterson on "Street Legal" is from my home town in Saskatchewan.
14949 Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments.
14950 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Certainly we did.
14951 THE CHAIRPERSON: We heard you during the TV policy about the need for private broadcasters to get more involved and more strong believers in Canadian content and helping the promotion more of programs to not only presenting the window, but supporting it.
14952 Where do you see that the CBC could be of help in that respect, given their long tradition of believing in Canadian programs and having made specific space for them?
14953 MR. MacMILLAN: Well, two ways. One is promoting these programs on the CBC, which means publicity, a promotional and marketing and advertising campaign that is thought through from beginning to end and is consistent.
14954 Additionally, by scheduling series that promote Canadian stars or the Canadian entertainment system in general, not just shows that appear on CBC, but also featuring programming or stars that appear on the private networks. That would be a very appropriate vehicle where they could contribute beyond the limits of their own schedule.
14955 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the type of Canadian "ET" or something more about talk shows where the --
14956 MR. MacMILLAN: Sure, "ET" or a more pure talk show or both.
14957 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your intervention today addresses the situation of English television more than the French one?
14958 MR. MacMILLAN: Sorry, that is correct and we should have prefaced that in our remarks. It really was focussing on English television.
14959 THE CHAIRPERSON: Given your size and your involvement and even more in the coming years, what would be, from your knowledge, your assessment of the situation between French and English? Do you see a difference? Would your comments be the same? You know, you are saying, "Ask the question that it is really addressing the English system", do you think it is the same situation in French? Do you think your position, if you were addressing the French situation would be the same?
14960 MR. MacMILLAN: Well, my view is that the CBC's role in English-speaking Canada is different, mainly because there are more services, more existing Canadian services, and of course, the impact of American services in English Canada is greater. And therefore, the CBC's relative position is smaller or weaker, because there are far more competitors to share the viewing time with.
14961 Whereas in French-speaking Canada, in Quebec, Radio-Canada is a bigger player and therefore we would have more concerns about its expansion in that market. It is not as put upon, if that is the right phrase. There is not as many competitors.
14962 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you think that the kind of questions we have raised through the hearing -- and I am not talking about the competitors but the ones the Commission has raised -- about the criteria that kind of relate to selection and choices of programs. Do you think it is more in line with commercial preoccupation on the French than in English, or you don't see that there is any trend of that matter?
14963 MS YAFFE: I think really to judge the commercial value of the CBC in Quebec against English Canada is a bit beyond our scope, given that it is not something we watch all the time. But given the size of their audience and their ability to sustain that audience over the years, clearly they do have a stronger position and are successful in reaching more of the target audience there. So their reliance on advertising is -- first of all, they are better at it and second of all, they have the audience to sell.
14964 Our view is advertising for the CBC Television in English Canada is an important pillar, not just in terms of accomplishing their bottom line, their balanced budget, but in terms of drawing Canadians to the service. Advertising is reflective of an audience. If advertisers believe in a program and the audience is being delivered, the advertising dollars go there.
14965 The notion that advertising, wherever it is, diminishes a program seems to me to be a contrary notion. Advertisers are the first to know what the size of the audience is and they are the most loyal if it is working and they are the least loyal if it is not working.
14966 So my view is if they are selling a lot of advertising, if they are commercially successful in Quebec, it is because they are delivering an audience. Hence, they have proved their value to the advertising.
14967 THE CHAIRPERSON: You talk, in your brief this morning, about your role and your partnership in distribution with the CBC. You talk also of the decrease that you are seeing in their commitments in the coming years in terms of collaboration with the independent producers.
14968 It seems that the distribution rights, the capacity of really taking advantage at an age where globalization is really happening more and more, although international sales hasn't started -- last year, it has been there but it is becoming more and more a possible revenue stream. Where do you see that partnership going?
14969 Do you see any kind of exchange that could be done in terms of accommodating the needs and the will of the CBC to have access to some sales at the same time as you being distributor and being a partner to the CBC and at the same time being an independent producer wishing to keep doing interesting programs with them?
14970 MR. MacMILLAN: I don't know what public policy purpose would be served by the CBC being in the business of paying for international rights and then harvesting them by selling them around the world. The only purpose of that would be to have the revenue from the sales exceed the cost of acquiring those international rights in the first place and I don't believe that making a buck internationally and tying up a lot of capital in the interim is the public policy purpose of the CBC.
14971 A different matter though might be -- the real purpose should be letting Canadians see Canadian programming, and to that end, as fragmentation continues and as fewer and fewer viewers watch any particular service, including the CBC's main service, it is appropriate, as long as the terms of trade are fair, for the CBC to acquire rights beyond its initial telecast or initial number of telecasts on its primary service, so to be able to repeat it again on another Canadian service, either owned by the CBC or not.
14972 Now that, we do see as reasonable because otherwise the CBC would be hard-pressed to make a financial contribution significant enough to make a difference to the project if they only held very limited initial Canadian telecast rights. There, as long as the terms of trade are fair, that is a reasonable thing, but we don't see any reason for them to be spending limited dollars acquiring German rights or U.S. rights or whatever.
14973 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, unless the trend is that more and more the return on the investment is worth it, wouldn't it? You know, if that market develops and the ability which we have demonstrated over the years of selling and interesting other publics is getting greater audience and greater capacity, I suppose there is some rationale that could be developed in saying: Yes, the investment is very expensive, but on the other hand, it is bringing back sufficient money that there is a profit that we can reinvest in other types of Canadian programs.
14974 MR. MacMILLAN: Yes, although the marketplace works fairly efficiently and there are lots of players in Canada and elsewhere who are bidders for those rights. We have, for example, become the distribution partner on a number of CBC projects where we have put up that missing money, and had we not done that, in theory, the CBC might have. But at the end of the day, is that the best place for their limited dollars to be spent?
14975 There are lots of people, broadcasters in various countries around the world or middlemen, as it were, distributors who are willing to bid for those rights.
14976 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it is an expansion of the activities of the CBC that you are not quite encouraging?
14977 MR. MacMILLAN: That is correct.
14978 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
14979 Thank you -- oh! I am sorry. Carolyn Pinsky has a question for you. I am sorry.
14980 MS PINSKY: In your presentation, you have suggested that the CBC should be innovative and have innovative programming and I assume that involves the assumption of a certain element of risk. Would you agree with that?
14981 MR. MacMILLAN: Yes.
14982 MS PINSKY: You have also expressed concern that the proportion of programming expenditures on in-house productions are increasing relative to the amount of expenditures going to independent production. You have also noted that, in your view, in-house productions are of comparable quality to in house.
14983 I wonder if you can comment on the element of risk that independent producers are willing to take and whether that would be of comparable quality.
14984 I just note that I sort of raise this as the CBC has suggested in its application that a reduction of in-house production might mean that less programs would be distinguished by risks and that independent producers might be less willing to tackle controversial issues, though they have sort of stated elsewhere that independent producers have also been willing to take risks. So I just wonder if you can comment on that issue.
14985 MS SHIPTON: Well, it depends on -- we have to make sure that we are talking about the same thing, whether it is risk creatively or risk financially. There are two different elements obviously and sometimes, they do become one.
14986 Riskier programming creatively is going the route of doing those shows that a lot of people, as we said, won't do. We have a show coming up on CBC this year called "In The Mix", which is a spin-off from "Straight Up", which is about two college kids running a hip-hop radio station. This is not a world that a lot of broadcasters have looked at, experienced -- it is the hip-hop music scene which is a risky scene in terms of if you are trying to attract a large general audience.
14987 On the financial risk side, just to speak to what Michael was discussing, as distributors, we take those financial risks and we have to gauge how much is that risk worth to us as a distributor.
14988 MS PINSKY: So I gather then, you don't see an issue in terms of having to rely on in-house productions to produce a certain type of programming?
14989 MR. MacMILLAN: Well no, not in-house productions: independent productions, the opposite of in-house productions. Our view is that independent producers, i.e., not in-house CBC, are very well-positioned to produce and provide excellent programs that serve the CBC's mandate, that do have an appropriate range of creative risk and innovation, and from a financial point of view and a creative point of view, risk-taking is our game.
14990 Independent producers and distributors bring usually a significant portion of the financing and a significant portion of the creative inspiration to these projects. We are very much in the risk-taking and risk-ownership game.
14991 MS PINSKY: That is what I understood. In other words, you are saying the CBC would not have to rely on in-house in order to --
14992 MR. MacMILLAN: Exactly.
14993 MS PINSKY: Thank you very much.
14994 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
14995 MR. MacMILLAN: Thank you.
14996 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by the Canadian Film and Television Production Association / l'Association canadienne de production de film et de télévision.
14997 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour, bienvenue. La parole est à vous.
14998 MS McDONALD: Bonjour, madame. Good morning, Madam Chair, members of the Commission. My name is Elizabeth McDonald and I am the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association. The CFTPA represents the interests of more than 300 independent producers working in every region of Canada.
14999 In other appearances before this Commission, we have told you that we are the people who create the stories that Canadians see on their television screens. I am proud today to have brought together a group representing our membership to outline our positions.
15000 On my right is Linda Schuyler, Chair of the Association. Linda is the President of Epitome Pictures and produces "Riverdale", "Liberty Street" and the "DeGrassi" series of programs.
15001 To my immediate left is Stephen Ellis, President and CEO of Ellis Entertainment, celebrating its 35th year as an independent production company. In fact, in 1969, they produced "Adventures in Rainbow Country" for the CBC, one of their most successful and earliest independent productions. Stephen is the Chair of the CFTPA's Broadcast Relations Committee.
15002 Behind me on my left is Robin Cass, President of Triptych Media Inc., a Toronto-based company that produces both feature films and television programming. Robin is the Producer of "The Hanging Garden", voted most popular production at the 1997 Toronto Film Festival and "The Tale of Teeka", a children's program broadcast on the CBC that won a Rockie at the 1998 Banff Television Festival.
15003 Behind me on my right is Julia Keatley, Chair of the CFTPA's B.C. Producers' Branch. Julia is the Producer of "Cold Squad", a drama series seen on CTV.
15004 Finally, behind me, we have Michael MacMillan, President and CEO of Alliance Atlantis Communications. Alliance Atlantis produces and distributes a wide range of dramatic programming such as "North of 60", "Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy", and "Due South".
15006 MS SCHUYLER: Thank you, Elizabeth.
15007 Since the last time that we appeared before you, some new appointments have been made. We welcome you, commissioners Cram and Langford.
15008 The CFTPA is a national association made up of small, medium and large production companies from all regions of Canada. CFTPA members are risk-takers and entrepreneurs who make drama, entertainment, documentary and children's programs that tell Canadian stories to Canadians and increasingly to the world.
15009 As the CBC has pointed out, we have been crucial partners in the move to successfully Canadianize its schedule.
15010 We support the renewal of the licences of the CBC's English Television services. At the same time, we do have a number of constructive suggestions. We believe that in a world characterized by multiple choices, the CBC must be a key player in assuring that quality Canadian choices are available.
15011 First and foremost, we believe that for the CBC to play the central role that the Act calls for it must have adequate and truly stable financing.
15012 While, as producers, we would like nothing more than to see a commercial-free CBC, we know we must be responsible and realistic. At the moment, the only true stable revenue source available to the CBC is its commercial revenue.
15013 Unless the government decides to give CBC increased and reliable support, discussions about removing CBC from the advertising marketplace are probably moot.
15014 While our proposals are based on today's funding levels, we do not advocate that the CBC rest on its laurels. Rather, as the world changes, the CBC, like all broadcasters, must adapt.
15015 We believe that a revitalized CBC must be characterized by partnership, transparency and clear priority-setting.
15016 The CBC was established in the 1930s to ensure that Canadians had access to Canadian programming that reflected Canadian values and told Canadian stories. As the Aird Report put it: "The State or the United States".
15017 The CBC's role has evolved over the years to focus more and more clearly on being the Canadian broadcaster of record. Along with a supportive regulatory climate and government fiscal support measures, the Corporation has been a critical factor in the emergence of a mature independent production sector.
15018 The CBC has acknowledged that independent production has been good for it as well. Independent production has brought innovative programs to the network, including "This Hour Has 22 Minutes", "Nothing Too Good For A Cowboy", and even my own "Riverdale", to name but a few.
15019 Partnerships with the independent production sector has enabled the CBC to survive the impact of the reductions to its parliamentary appropriation because we can license high-quality programming to the CBC at less than the full cost of production.
15020 The rapidly evolving broadcasting environment presents significant challenges to the Corporation. In this new environment, the CBC should build on the progress recently made.
15021 The CFTPA believes that the era of defining a public broadcaster by bricks and mortar and ownerships of copyright is past us and that the CBC must evolve.
15022 What do we mean by partnership? It is no longer appropriate for the CBC to own and exploit a wide range of copyrights nor to maintain a huge plant for its exclusive use.
15023 Private independent producers can help stretch the available dollars by bringing our own investments, as well as other partners to the table, whether through tax credit, CTF investments, access to other private funds, other Canadian conventional or specialty broadcasters who take additional windows or international pre-sales.
15024 The CBC's role is precisely to act as a central trigger to develop and showcase Canadian programming. Our membership excels at this kind of piecing together of funding sources and exploitation of copyright domestically and internationally.
15025 By "transparency" we mean that decisions to make or buy must be made on the basis of the most effective use of public money and that the CBC must be able to demonstrate this.
15026 Clear priority setting and ranking will ensure that when there is insufficient money available to meet all of the demands some fall off the table. For example, if the CBC doesn't have sufficient resources to both expand its coverage of amateur sports and to increase its commit to children and youth programming, which choice will it make.
15027 We believe that the CBC can play a new and different central role by developing and airing new productions, including a greater opportunity for regional productions and for new producers. In fact, this new role of leadership should also include a healthy dose of Canadian feature films.
15028 How do producers see the CBC turning these goals into reality?
15030 MR. ELLIS: Thank you, Linda.
15031 In terms of partnership, we have already begun discussions with the CBC to develop a Terms of Trade Agreement. We have studied similar models established with public broadcasters in both the United Kingdom and Australia. We see this as a mechanism to level the playing field between producers, particularly medium and smaller producers, and the CBC. We believe that this is a creative solution to resolving any irritants that exist between independent producers and the CBC.
15032 We are greatly encouraged by the CBC's commitment to have this in place by the end of this year. However, to ensure that we all reach this goal we encourage the Commission to note this in its decision.
15033 We are also encouraged by the CBC's statements of commitment to the private independent sector and to an increase in its support of feature films. However, we would like to see this support translated into firm commitments.
15034 Partnerships always thrive when they are based on a concrete understanding between the involved parties. For this reason, we share the concern raised by the Directors Guild that Appendix 2 filed with the English Television Network applications shows spending on independently produced drama to be effectively frozen over the next few years. Nor is the increased spending upon feature films reflected in the Corporation's financial projections. For these reasons, we believe that firm conditions must be included in the CBC's renewal decision.
15035 With respect to transparency, the CBC must make decisions based on two factors: Meeting the demands of its mandate and effective use of public funds. In order to ensure its business decisions are demonstrably efficient and effective, the CBC must develop new reporting methods that are both simple and clear. This is an issue that we hope to resolve through our Terms of Trade discussions.
cable to get the services they have already paid for.
15036 With regard to priority setting, while our members would be only too happy to supply programs to additional CBC channels, we believe that first and foremost the CBC must have a comprehensive plan for it flagship over-the-air services. Canadians shouldn't be required to purchase a satellite dish or receive cable to get the services they have already paid for.
15037 To that end, the CFTPA believes that you should require the Corporation to first meet a comprehensive set of objectives before diverting its resources elsewhere. In particular, the CBC should meet the following requirements:
15038 Firstly, continue the Canadianization of its schedules in prime time and other day parts.
15039 Secondly, by condition of licence a minimum of 22.5 hours per week of children's and youth programming, with requirements for substantial increases in the youth portion.
15040 Despite commitments to improve, we, like the Alliance for Children and Television, remain concerned about the under performance of CBC over the last two licence terms. This is why we have recommended the imposition of a condition of licence in this area.
15041 Thirdly, develop a long-term plan with specific commitments in terms of the use of regional programming acquired from independent producers.
15042 Fourth, make increased commitments to long form drama, with at least half of that devoted to feature film. To that end, we welcome the initiatives announced earlier this week.
15043 Finally, decreased use of U.S. programming, particularly in the shoulder prime periods.
15044 To recapture its central place in our system, the CBC must be able to get out in front and take chances with Canadian programs. Increased use of innovative producers from across the country using a special CBC fund dedicated to the development of young film makers would be a step in the right direction.
15045 While we do not oppose the CBC's involvement for plans for the Internet, again we believe that this can be achieved in partnership with the many new media producers who work in the private sector. The CBC's role should be as a catalyst and broadcaster, not as an owner of copyright.
15047 MS McDONALD: Thank you, Stephen and Linda.
15048 We would like to thank you for this opportunity to present our views on this important public process. We hope that you find our views to be constructive.
15049 As we have said, we support the renewal of CBC's English television licences. However, we have suggested that the licence be renewed for a term less than the seven years permitted in the Act. Our aim is not to be punitive. The next five years promise significant challenges and opportunities for the broadcasting system and for the CBC. As broadcasting evolves, seven years is a lifetime. Public review of the CBC's expression of its mandate should not wait that long.
15050 Thank you.
15051 We will he happy to address your questions.
15052 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
15053 I would ask Vice-Chair Colville to address you with our questions.
15054 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Thank you very much.
15055 Good morning, Ms McDonald, Ms Schuyler, Ms Keatley, gentlemen.
15056 I just have a few areas I would like to pursue with you, just to perhaps clarify a little more. I think, your written brief and your presentation this morning are pretty clear in terms of the particular areas of interest or concern that your organization and independent producers in Canada have, but I would like to pursue a few of those perhaps a little more.
15057 I appreciate, given the position you have, it is probably a little bit that one has to be careful about how you deal with these sorts of issues to be careful not to bite the hand that feeds you in dealing with these sorts of issues. So you can't help, though, but get a sense, in reading the written submission, that: We really think the CBC should have its licence renewed and we think they are doing a wonderful job, but kind of between the lines there are some concerns that come through.
15058 Let's just start with priorities. I would like to talk a bit about the priorities and then the Terms of Trade issue, and then perhaps a few other shorter issues. I don't know whether they are any less important or not, but I just have a few other questions.
15059 You mentioned in your presentation this morning, particularly through from pages 20 to 23 of your brief, about the priorities issues. I noted that in paragraph 34 of your presentation -- I will read from these but I don't think you really to turn to them because I am going to ask you to refer to several so you will be jumping all over the place.
15060 But at paragraph 34 you talk about, again, the priorities and you say:
"The CBC as a national broadcaster provide ..."
15061 You are quoting here, but you go on to ask the question:
"In what order. Should information programming take priority over entertainment, or should documentary and current affairs predominate the CBC schedule, or should each type of program receive equal attention and air time?" (As read)
15062 So you raise a lot of these issues.
15063 Then later on in your brief at paragraphs 71 and 72, again -- particularly 71, you say:
"In order to accomplish a better balance, the CFTPA encourages the CBC to develop a clear set of priorities with regard to programming expenditures." (As read)
15064 You reference in your oral presentation here this morning, I guess, some of the issues.
15065 The first bullet on page 21 is Canadianizing the schedule in prime time, and the last bullet on page 23 is related to that issue. But I guess if you have seen the program schedule there is only, as I can see, two American programs left for the fall of 1999, and that is "The Simpson's" at five o'clock weekdays and then "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sundays.
15066 What is your view as to what the priorities of the CBC should be? You refer in your brief, I noted this kind of a bit of an unusual term here -- I think it was at page 10 or 11, the CBC --
"... on being the Canadian broadcaster of record."
15067 I'm not sure what that means. Maybe you can say what that means and give us some sense of what you think the priority should be.
15068 MS McDONALD: I'm going to start this and then hand it over to Stephen Ellis.
15069 I think first of all, first and foremost when we talk about being the Canadian broadcaster of record I think we would, as much as possible, like to see the CBC become 100 per cent Canadian, so when you see the CBC you know that you are home and that in fact it is truly reflective of Canada and has many of the programs it already has and to build on that.
15070 Particularly you asked a question about "The Simpson's". I think most of us know the economic reasons why "The Simpson's" are on, but it is attracting a youth audience. I have a 12-year-old son. That is probably the program he watches the most on the CBC, unfortunately, and not due to my efforts to get him not to watch "The Simpson's".
15071 But I think I would be -- I think all of us, both as producers and as parents and as Canadians, want to see the CBC try to replace "The Simpson's" with programming that hits that 12-year-old when he comes home and that is telling stories about the values that we share as Canadians rather than the values of Springfield, Massachusetts, or wherever else Bart lives.
15072 So first and foremost to be Canadian.
15073 I think, secondly, to look at those audiences that we must keep in the Canadian broadcasting system with innovative programming that attracts them.
15074 I think in terms of setting priorities -- and one of the challenges we had in reviewing the many thousands of pages that the CBC filed with the Commission, was to try to establish exactly how in their financial -- the challenges the CBC has to face. How they are making the programming decisions. I think that would probably ease the issue, not only for independent producers but for the government, for the Commission.
15075 So when we raise the question it's because we weren't -- from our perspective, it isn't clear to us at what point is something taken away from children and youth to serve another audience that the Act demands that they must respond to.
15077 MR. ELLIS: Thank you.
15078 I think the biggest priority that we have in mind for the CBC is to make greater use of independent production in all of the under represented categories.
15079 While we might have some ideas about how they might rank those categories within the under served area, I think our goal here is that in order to be good partners with the CBC we need to know what those priorities are and be able to rely on them and have them be predictable so that our members, when they are developing projects, know what they can expect in dealing with the CBC and that they can be developing projects with confidence that they know where the Corporation is headed in programming terms and that they can compete too, but with some predictability in the right areas for those opportunities.
15080 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: So are you saying that with the exception of Bart and Homer that the balance is about right if they just bought more independent productions within the balance that is already there?
15081 MS SCHUYLER: I think that "The Simpson's" -- and what was the other program you mentioned, sir?
15082 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: The other American one is Disney, on Sundays.
15083 MS SCHUYLER: That is a little misleading because I think you are looking at the fall schedule that is being put forward.
15084 There actually is, coming up over the course of the broadcast year with the CBC a fair number of specials that are American movies. I think in terms of priority setting we know that those American movies obviously had to be acquired in some sort of a bidding war. What we would like to see is those completely removed from the CBC schedule so that the priority setting would be, if we can't get -- our ideal vision would be to have 100 per cent Canadian all of the time, and then you have a real alternative. Then, even if you have commercials in that schedule, you have an alternative because it is all Canadian programming. If we can't get that far right away, then we say at least the CBC would be distinct if it had no American programming in its scheduling.
15085 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: The American programming -- I'm sorry, Ms McDonald, did you want to --
15086 MS McDONALD: No. I think Linda raised an important issue related to Canadian feature films and I wouldn't want Mr. Cass not to have the opportunity to have his input.
15087 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Sure.
15088 MR. CASS: Thank you.
15089 I guess from the perspective of a small company whose primary activity is the development and creation of Canadian feature films, while we are really thrilled with the CBC's initiative to undertake a greater role in partnering with us to create films and to broadcast them to the country, it remains utterly unclear as to how that is going to be financed. When you look at or imagine the amounts of money that must get spent in bidding wars for American product, which there are already many opportunities for all of us to see, there is a slight concern from our side.
15090 Because I think, arguably, the role of Canadian feature film in the national cinema is to reflect Canada to the world, to reveal us to be a sophisticated, thoughtful and culturally diverse nation. But due to some very grave issues of access to screen time at our cinemas across the country, I think in fact that sort of makes CBC's initiative doubly critical and important as the means by which Canadians will see the films that tell the stories of our country because we know the population base is spread out far and wide and many Canadians just don't have access to cinemas, frankly, ever to see those films to know that they exist, let alone have the chance to see them.
15091 So I think that CBC's efforts and activities with feature films being broadcast on the network and where they come from and what that activity means to the audiences is very, very important.
15092 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: When you are referring to the movies, are you talking about that portion of the schedule that is proposed for the fall of 1999 which is the midnight CBC late movie which is suggested that, I presume, one is supposed to read this as about half of it would be Canadian and the other half foreign, not necessarily American?
15093 MS SCHUYLER: No, my understanding is that there is also a number of American movies that are coming on as specials within the heart of prime time in the extended schedule.
15094 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Okay. So given the concerns that you have about we need, if I go back to page 21 of your oral presentation this morning, you refer at the bottom of page 21 to youth. On page 22, you refer to long term plans, specific commitments in terms of regional, increased commitment to long form drama and then finally the decrease.
15095 Given the suggestions that you have made in terms of more in a number of these other categories, I guess unless we can find that we can squeeze more than 24 hours into a day or 18 hours, I guess maybe it is in terms of the broadcast day depending on when some of these late night movies end, what do you suggest in their priorities should give?
15096 It seems a lot of people are coming before us and suggesting that CBC should set priorities and their priorities should be to give us more of this or somebody else more of that. But very few people seem to be suggesting what they should be doing less of that is going to open up the time slots to give the more.
15097 MS McDONALD: First of all I think, Commissioner Colville, when we talk about children's and youth programming, we are only asking at minimum that the CBC begin to meet the expectations set in two licence terms. And we think that is very important so we looked at that very carefully and when you say a minimum and you look over two licence terms, I think that collectively both the Commission and ourselves have to agree, it is just a minimum, that is what we asked. But after two licence terms we would like to make sure it gets met. So that's in that, I don't think it is more.
15098 In terms of the issue of long form drama, I think the CBC, since the filing of their renewal application, indeed this week, have talked about a greater commitment to Canadian long form drama. And we do applaud that. However, I think as both Linda and Robin stated, there is an issue about the American long form drama that is going to be showing up. So I think it would be our view that Canadians should take precedent wherever possible. And particularly, I think, as Robin said, to provide Canadian feature films with a broader audience, because that is what they fight for all the time.
15099 And in terms of the regional programming, I think Julia Keatley has -- first of all, children's programming, youth programming can come from anywhere in the country. So in that or long form drama can come from anywhere in the country, as Christine Shipton pointed out, as can dramatic series.
15100 There are other ways that the CBC, too, can become involved, and more highly involved, in regional programming. I am sure there are other people on this panel that want to address some of those.
15102 MS KEATLEY: I think in the -- as to priorities when you talk about the schedule and time, and Elizabeth has outlined some of that, as regards to sports, for instance, we all know when the hockey playoffs are coming up and I think that in terms of scheduling of programming, you can look at that and say, "Well, we know that we are going to schedule our prime series to end by the end of March" so that you are not hitting that kind of time. We certainly don't propose in terms of sports, because of the revenue that comes in from advertising, that we remove that from the schedule.
15103 And obviously one of the things that we would like as independent producers is perhaps some cross-promotion during sports programming of other and the under-represented categories programming.
15104 As regards to regional programming, I believe that in the under-represented categories across the country it would be really great to see some independent production, particularly in the documentary and children's areas across the country and not just in drama, which has been the primary focus.
15105 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Is your view on sports based on the presumption that the sports is making money for the CBC?
15106 MS KEATLEY: I will just address that and if anyone else would like to address it --
15107 I think that sports has an audience, a Canadian audience and people who tune in to the CBC and who like that, it is a branded -- "Hockey Night in Canada" is a branded thing for the CBC, so to take that away from them, I don't think is necessarily fair.
15108 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Again, can I just underscore what I did the other day. I haven't heard anybody suggest, at this table, at least, that CBC should be out of sports.
15109 MS KEATLEY: Right.
15110 MS McDONALD: Commissioner Colville, I think Robin Cass can tell you, we have learned a lot about sports programming and -- I am sure you have too, lately.
15111 Recently we had a meeting with Bell Expressvu and it goes to the point about cross-promotion. We were talking about feature films and some of their plans for the future and they started talking about what they have learned about cross-promoting from sports into feature films and Canadian feature films.
15112 So I think Robin would agree with me that we found out that if there is an opportunity to cross-promote from sports into Canadian feature films or other dramatic series, so it was a very -- they had some very good data. It was a very interesting way of -- they understood the audience, where the audience would come from and so not only do we understand the importance of sports to Canadians in this and all of the points that Julia made, we also found new advantages in the sports area, as long as Julia said, there is some scheduling predicability so that important series don't find themselves cut off too early in the broadcast schedule.
15113 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Would it be -- sorry.
15114 MS SCHUYLER: Sorry. I was just going to say, I wouldn't mind adding to the importance of cross-promotion during sports. I mean, sports is part of our cultural tapestry and we do get a particular audience there and the taxpayers who are supporting the CBC, there are a certain number of them who get real value out of that time that sports is on the air.
15115 In the first year that "Riverdale" came on the air, we were concerned about the amount of promotion that we were getting with the CBC and we presented a proposal to the CBC that we would produce a pool of ads that would be made specifically to run through the Olympics. And we had examples of this man -- the men's downhill and then we would do a few quick cuts of how one of our characters was spiralling down and down hill in his personal life. And it became a quick flash that went on during the Olympics.
15116 After the Olympics, we had more recognition for "Riverdale" than we had ever got before, because we were able to put the name of this fledgling dramatic program out there in front of a major audience. So I think that if we are going to be running sports, they are revenue generating, they do appeal to a certain audience and they should be there. But we should be maximizing the promotional opportunities at the same time.
15117 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Given what I have heard then, so far this morning, would it be an over-simplification if I suggested in terms of this priority issue then that if the CBC did more in terms of children's and youth programming, minimum the 22.5 hours that you referred to, perhaps in order to achieve that target, replace "The Simpsons" with something else a little more -- well, something Canadian, and did no American movies in the movie slot that the CFTPA members would be happy in terms of the priority issue?
15118 MS SCHUYLER: Well, in terms of priority setting, I think that there is one key thing that Stephen said earlier that I would like to support. And that is the priority of independent production.
15119 I think it is really sobering when we look -- it is not sobering, it is actually quite delightful, that we look at what happened when the CBC had $400 million removed from its Parliamentary appropriation and yet, at the same time, was able to go forward and present to the Canadian public a prime time schedule that was almost 100 per cent Canadian.
15120 There is only one way they were able to achieve that. There was only one way they were able to do more with less and that was by partnering with the independent sector. So when you ask how are we going to take these extra dollars and stretch them so that we are going to include long form drama and all these other activities that we are asking for, it is crucial that the CBC partner with the independent sector and partner with the independent sector in prime time, off prime time, late night. That is the way that they are going to make their dollars go further, that they can accomplish all the priorities that we are hoping to see.
15121 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: So I take your point. So with the exception of the two issues though of the American films and the youth programming, the sense of your view is we think you have got the balance about right, just within that balance, spend more money on our members instead of doing it in-house.
15122 MS McDONALD: Clearly we are here to represent the interests of our members and so I wouldn't be honest with you if I wasn't going to acknowledge that.
15123 However, I think that Linda brought forward a very important issue. That when the government cut that $400 million from the CBC's budget, then they established the Canadian Television Fund and part of the goal then was to encourage the CBC to partner with the independent production sector and they were able to Canadianize. That's been good for the broadcasting system. It is increasing the audiences to Canadian programming and yes, it has been good for our members, as well.
15124 But last night we were discussing as a group what we were going to say and we were looking at this issue and it is a win for the CBC, it is a win for Canadian audiences and it is a win for us. So I think you have to look at it within that, not just narrowly our members.
15125 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: I hope I didn't imply by the tone of my question that I thought there was anything wrong with the proposal that you should be championing the cause of your members or indeed that there is anything wrong with encouraging more use of independent production. As you know, I come from a part of the country that has done fairly well over the last few years in terms of independent production on the CBC.
15126 Let's switch to the second sort of major issue then, because I think this issue about the amount of independent production goes to your second -- if I read your brief right, there are really two main points that you have here. One is this priorities issue and the second one is kind of the terms of trade question which speaks to many of the issues that relate to independent production and independent producers.
15127 Let me start by picking up just a comment, and I appreciate that in discussing this issue that you are in the midst of discussions with the CBC, they have already indicated to us -- I guess you will be having discussions on this very point in Banff in another few days, and I don't want to compromise those discussions in any way, so if you are uncomfortable about answering some of these questions in view of those that are coming up, feel free to say so.
15128 But I noted that in your covering letter in the third paragraph, the biggest paragraph that you sent for your written submission, in the second last sentence, you said:
Therefore we submit the recommendations contained within our intervention as constructive input which we believe will enable the CBC and the CFTPA to...
15129 And these are the words I wanted to underscore:
...revitalize relations between the public broadcaster and independent producers.
15130 I guess as a background to having a little more discussion about this terms of trade issue, I would like to get a sense of what it is we are trying to revitalize, what you see as the problem areas. What are the areas that this -- the issues? And I do want to get into some of the more specific issues, but I want to get here just more of a general sense of what you see as the areas that are being somewhat problematic in terms of the relationship between the independent industry and the CBC?
15131 MS McDONALD: I am going to let other members of the panel answer this in substance. I think I am the one chose the word "revitalize the relations" and so I should speak to that.
15132 When we were looking towards this renewal process and we expected that if we put in an intervention that we would be, as a major association, representing interests who deal with the CBC, we expected that we would be invited to be here today or the day that you chose. And we could have done a lot of things. We could have put in a very big intervention that dealt with a whole lot of issues that you have probably heard us discuss before and indeed, originally we tried to cover that in the Canadian content hearings through our recommendation of an ombudsman.
15133 And those discussions evolved to the concept of terms of trade. And what we wanted to do was develop a better dialogue with the CBC so that some of the issues that are traditionally brought before this body to deal with, between the CBC and independent producers in fact could be dealt with in a mechanism that would be ongoing, constructive and that people wouldn't be running either to Canadian Heritage or to the CRTC, but in fact, as true grown-ups in the system, we would begin to deal with them between ourselves.
15134 So that would be a revitalization. And this is particularly important on behalf of our small and medium sized members who have creative ideas and find themselves dealing, and by the sheer size of the mandate it was a very large corporation and for emerging filmmakers, this is particularly true, to try to develop an environment that is comfortable both for them and protects their interests, as well as in many cases, protecting the interests of the CBC outside of the glare of the bright lights.
15136 MS SCHUYLER: I will hand it to you in just a sec, Stephen.
15137 One of the benefits, as we mentioned earlier, that has happened over the last two or three years is that there is more and more independent production happening with the CBC. And there are certain people -- there are certain independent companies who have more benefits than others. And some of these are just sheerly by being closer to where the decisions are being made, some of them are just having been around long enough, like I dread to say the 20 years that I have been dealing with the CBC and we want to try and level the playing field for our producers.
15138 The CBC is a big complex organization and it is difficult somehow to know how to gain access and once you have gained access to know exactly what you should expect in terms of the types of deals you should be cutting with the CBC, especially in respect to the kinds of rights that should be given away in exchange for a licence fee.
15139 So we figure that we have studied models both with the BBC and PAT, which is our counterpart in Britain and we studied models with the ABC and SPA, which is the producers association in Australia, both who have gone through the exercise of developing terms of trade with their respective broadcasters. And what they have achieved here is to level the playing field for producers. To have an environment where people feel that they know the terms and conditions going in, and it also works for the broadcaster, as well.
15140 I will ask Stephen, who is heading up our commitment to do the terms of trade to get more specifically into what we hope to accomplish.
15141 MR. ELLIS: Thank you, Linda.
15142 First of all, I would just like to add to something Elizabeth said. I think our industry has matured rapidly in a short period of time in terms of the sheer output of programming and it has been very successful and to a great extent because of the CBC's support in commissioning a lot of independent production. So I would perhaps suggest that another term, rather than "revitalize" might be "invigorate". To further invigorate the sector because there is a lot of vigorous activity, but the CBC being a large corporation and a lot of our members small, we think it would be constructive to have a clear set of guidelines that would inform producers and also be useful for CBC, so that we are both working from the same hymn sheet as partners in programming.
15143 The sorts of things that would be addressed in a terms of trade agreement include what types of commissions are available from the broadcaster, the sorts of rights that they are going to be interested in acquiring or licensing. How resources might be shared --
15144 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: You are starting to go down through the headings and actually, I was going to get you to kind of describe for us, if you could, what you see as being the issues that sort of fall out of each of those headings that are listed at paragraph 89, page 21 in the appendix to your brief.
15145 So instead of just stating what they -- it would be helpful if we had an understanding of what you see as the issues within those.
15146 MS McDONALD: I think what we would like to do, Mr. MacMillan would like to add something to the issue of terms of trade I think at this point. However, as much as we would like to more fully define each of these, we are meeting in Banff with the CBC, we have done some work and exchanged paper with them on the agreements in our meetings, both in Australia and Great Britain. But because it is a negotiating situation -- we seem to be negotiating on all fronts lately -- that I think it might be wise if we had those meetings. But we would be glad to provide, as it moves along, some of those definitions to the Commission so that you would, indeed, understand the relationship that we are evolving.
15147 But as we began the discussions with the CBC, if I have it right, we began the discussions and then the CBC through a rather difficult labour period that distracted some of their resources and then we had another meeting and they were involved in this and so we have a joint agreement to -- so we have provided them with a lot of paper, but they have been under a bit of strain recently in terms of their resources. So how we define most of those terms will -- we have a view, but we haven't discussed them with the CBC.
15148 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: I wasn't meaning for you to give away your bargaining position, if you will, in sitting down in this negotiation.
15149 MS McDONALD: This is the CBC, not ACTRA.
15150 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: It was just a better sense of what the issues are within each of those headings.
15151 MS McDONALD: Michael, do you want to -- Michael MacMillan.
15152 MR. MacMILLAN: I think that one of the main issues is: What rights does the CBC acquire in exchange for its licence fee and do those rights extend beyond the traditional privilege of broadcasting the program on the CBC's main network?
15153 In other words, do they include new media rights? Do they include rights outside of Canada? Do they include the right to broadcast the program on other Canadian conventional or specialty channels?
15154 One of the concerns from independent producers is: To the extent that the CBC does receive rights beyond the traditional telecast on its main network, does that in fact reduce the independent producer's ability to secure other sources of revenue in the exploitation of those rights? So I think that is one of the big issues.
15155 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: So that is an issue that wouldn't be just for the smaller members of your association, that is an issue for everybody?
15156 MR. MacMILLAN: Absolutely. This in fact goes to the point I wanted to make, which was: I believe that this terms of trade negotiation is an important thing, mainly to create efficiency so the CBC isn't reinventing the wheel and negotiating everything separately every time it does a separate deal; to create a sense of fairness so that regardless of size of program-maker, regardless of region of origin, regardless of those sorts of things, that the rules are fairly applied and that terms of trade are fairly conducted, and not only fair but perceived to be fair, because let's be frank, especially for small producers, there is a worry that if they are only making one series per year and they are in that final negotiation with the CBC or any customer, for that matter, what leverage do they really have?
15157 It is very difficult for them. It is very difficult for them to sit here and speak like I am speaking. That is biting the hand that feeds you, in theory, but I do think though that the CBC recognizes this. I am happy to see them engaged in this negotiation and I think that for them in the long run, they will benefit also by the improved optics of fairness.
15158 MR. ELLIS: I would just like to add a couple of things to Michael's comments. He has identified one of the major issues which, you are quite right, extends right across our membership.
15159 Another area, and I think historically, it is fair to say that there has been quite a dynamic between in-house and independent production at the CBC, and I think our members are entering into the terms of trade negotiation in a spirit of willingness to compete on a level playing field.
15160 In other words, if a commissioning editor in a particular type of programming within the CBC has a project or an area in which they want to produce, then they should be able to look at their options, both inside and outside the CBC and make an apples-to-apples comparison of what the benefits would be from working either way and then making a decision which is not only efficient for the CBC but one that is accessible or transparent to the industry.
15161 As Elizabeth has indicated, there is some reluctance to go into a lot of detail today because we haven't had our first official meeting with the CBC, but we would be happy to provide the Commission with a follow-up report in more detail once we get those discussions under way.
15162 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: I was intrigued, Mr. MacMillan, by your answer to Commissioner Cram's question regarding the sort of further use, if I can say that, of some of the programs like "Air Farce" and "22 Minutes", and your suggestion that you would want people to understand that this is the network for those successful programs.
15163 But I was intrigued, given this issue and the rights question, because I presume that speaks to who holds those rights and who is ultimately going to determine where those rights are going to be exercised, if you will.
15164 MR. MacMILLAN: Oh! when we were answering that question before, I thought the question was: Should a successful show like "Air Farce" or "22 Minutes" remain in its first run or its initial series of telecasts on the CBC or should it somehow be put up for bids so that it migrates to another conventional channel or network in its first run?
15165 I thought it was -- there is some sort of forced graduation or eviction, as it were, from the schedule. The program did well. It was then obliged to go somewhere else.
15166 But after the initial telecast, of course, all programs should go to "Showcase".
--- Laughter / Rires
15167 MR. MacMILLAN: No, it is natural and appropriate that they would find other uses on other conventional networks or other specialty channels. That's quite fine.
15168 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: So that is the sort of thing that would be part of these discussions and form part of the framework, I presume, for this terms of trade agreement?
15169 MR. MacMILLAN: Exactly. And as there is more fragmentation or more channels, fewer people watching any particular telecast, that does mean that for a broadcaster to pay a meaningful licence fee, which is surely what an independent producer wants, the broadcaster in return has to receive meaningful broadcast rights.
15170 In a fragmented world, it is quite likely that meaningful broadcast rights could be more than simply an initial couple of telecasts in the first year or so on the network. It might mean more telecasts or more telecasts, including on a specialty channel. That is what is happening on the private side of the equation.
15171 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: It isn't clear to me what role you expect the Commission to play with this sort of thing. While we might applaud this terms of trade agreement as being generally a good idea, typically, the Commission doesn't get involved in the day-to-day business dealings between broadcasters and producers, be they the private broadcasters or the CBC.
15172 So it isn't clear to me. You have referred in that paragraph 58 in your written submission that we stayed our support in the decision and I think you referred to that again in your brief this morning. Then you talked about:
"We would encourage the CRTC to impose a mechanism for tracking the progress of the discussions."
15173 It isn't clear to me what role you expect the Commission to play with respect to this agreement.
15174 MS McDONALD: We have seen the Commission become active in a number of mechanisms that then govern how programming goes. I think, first of all, from an independent producer's point of view, the CRTC renewal process provides us with an opportunity in a very open forum to have discussions about any broadcaster or the relationships that exist.
15175 We are not asking you to get involved in the independent producer/broadcaster discussions between our members and the CBC, but we are asking that in your renewal decision that you support these efforts on the part of both ourselves and the CBC because we know that if those words are in a decision that there is the power of suasion that the Commission holds in the written word, et cetera.
15176 Indeed, in terms of a mechanism, we have offered to report back to you and that would be a report we would share, of course, with the CBC. But in that way perhaps it will put some impetus on us to make sure we play our role to make that product, the terms of trade, come and be available, et cetera, as it is in the U.K. and as it is in Australia.
15177 I know, in terms of the U.K., the way that they did it, they did it through another regulatory body, which was their Competition Bureau. In discussions with them, with PAT, they suggested that the CRTC because of its involvement here publicly, et cetera, it would be appropriate and the issues were appropriate to things that often are brought up to the Commission.
15178 So we are just looking for your support and we know that you have monitored other processes like the development of the violence code, et cetera. This, I think, would be an important step forward to taking some of the issues that are often brought to your door off the table. So it speaks to some of the efficiency areas that the Commission has encouraged in the system and the partnerships.
15179 MR. MacMILLAN: If I may add just one more thing on this topic. It goes beyond the traditional negotiation about money; the supplier always wants to charge more and vice versa. But we know that over the -- or we presume that over the next five years or seven years that these new media, the Internet, will continue to converge with traditional broadcasting.
15180 We believe and hope there will be yet more Canadian specialty services licensed and launched. We believe that in this fragmentation, both of old-fashioned conventional and old-fashioned specialty channels, as well as new media distribution mechanisms, that it is going to change the environment radically and the nature of the rights that the CBC receives from an independent producer in this terms of trade negotiation goes to the heart of what the CBC's role ought to be in the future.
15181 Is it just the broadcaster or is it a rights holder? If it is a rights holder, for how long across and how wide a set of uses?
15182 So we think it is an essential discussion, one that should be applied fairly and with great thought across all suppliers. It is not just how much dollars we get paid for our programs, it goes to the heart of who is doing what to whom.
15183 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: You mentioned specialty channels and new media which, I guess, makes a bit of a segue into the issue of constellations and new media. This was again an area where I thought you were probably playing a fairly delicate role.
15184 The words you chose in your brief, in the section talking about additional shelf space, paragraphs 61 through 63 -- as I read it, 61 was essentially saying: Yes, no problem, constellation is okay. Then the other shoe fell in 62 and 63 where you start raising what the concerns seem to be about it.
15185 You seem to start off by saying it is not such a bad idea, but the more I read, the more I thought that you didn't think it was such a good idea after all. So what do you really think about this constellation issue and the new media question because in the case of new media, you talk about the $20 million?
15186 I think it has been noted and I want to ask you about regional programming -- but it has been noted that they are spending as much in one year on new media as they propose to spend in seven years on the regional non-news programming initiative that they have put forward. So what is your view on the constellation issue and the new media question?
15187 MS McDONALD: I think it is clearly a challenging question that you have asked the CFTPA because we represent new media producers. The issue of shelf space, I think you have probably -- at least in the four years I have been at the CFTPA, we talk about shelf space all the time, and that is important.
15188 So we will never do anything but support the creation of new shelf space for Canadian programming because it is so hard to find those Canadian voices and choices in the ever-expanding universe.
15189 The issue for us is priorities, I think. We have all seen the difficulties the CBC has to deal with. So how is it going to move forward with these constellations if it still has the same amount of resources?
15190 In some cases, they may go into partnership with others and that may be the way they will achieve the constellation model. But I guess from our point of view, we looked at it and thought that the ideas certainly made sense in terms of any broadcaster wanting to go forward and be part of the 500-channel universe. The problem for us was we couldn't see how.
15191 Again, when we looked at new media, we saw exactly what you saw, which is the ability to redirect those dollars towards new media. At the same time, we can't figure out -- we see what we think is, in feature films, borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. You know, we are going to take it from one part of the budget and move it to another because we certainly don't see any new money to achieve that.
15192 So I think, while we applaud the creation of new shelf space, particularly for Canadian programming, and while we think that broadcasters and producers should work together to explore any new opportunities within technology, it has to make sense within a business case and be within the priorities of what is possible.
15193 Members of the CFTPA are all business people and in fact the Association is a not-for-profit business. There are things I can't do sometimes, as much as we would like to, because we have "X" amount of resources and things fall off the table.
15194 So it is not to stop the CBC going forward, it is just to ensure that as it goes forward that we all understand where those resources are going to come from.
15195 There are creative ways to do it in terms of the new media. One of the things we --
15196 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: I am sorry to interrupt, but is it as much a question of where they are coming from as where they could go to otherwise?
15197 MS SCHUYLER: Well, I guess, for us -- and as Elizabeth has reminded us, we do represent 300 voices on this issue -- I think we recognize that the CBC is in a broadcasting environment where specialty channels are springing up like mushrooms and the Internet is exploding, and to clip their wings and not allow them to go out there would not be very forward-thinking.
15198 They need to emphasize the importance of their flagship service, which is what they provide fundamentally to Canadians. But from a producer's perspective, if we are going forward into constellations, if we are going forward into the new media, then it has to be in partnership with the independent production sector and any of these new activities have to be subject to the terms of trade that we are negotiating because only that way can we support them branching out into these new areas.
15199 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: You seem to be implying in oral brief, perhaps even more so than in the written brief that perhaps the only way the CBC should be into the specialty arena would be in a partnership with some other private sector player?
15200 MS McDONALD: Well, I am sure Mr. MacMillian would like to address that issue, but the -- as the Commission knows, I was actually the project manager when CBC Newsworld got its licence. And the environment was much different, there was a better opportunity to have a basic service, et cetera. And the issues around what that would mean to the consumer were important, but perhaps not as pressing as they are now from listening to the Commission, et cetera.
15201 So it would seem to us that if the CBC's resources aren't going to grow, but it wants to be part of the future, it is not going to be able to do it on its own. It is almost a practical response to it.
15202 Also, as you proceed into specialty services, et cetera, you are getting into -- if you look at the Act, et cetera -- a more private sector line of business. So it would seem that the partnering is a good way for a public institution to go forward.
15203 So it is from that perspective and the practical issue of looking at the resources available for the CBC, you can't keep taking 2 per cent of efficiencies. I mean, either at a certain point people go back to the age old question, "Is the CBC inefficient because they can always find efficiency gains every year", or "Are there ways to do this that allows the CBC to be part of the future".
15205 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: It sounded like a "yes".
15206 MR. MacMILLAN: Well, on that precise point I think, and in our presentation a few minutes ago Phyllis Yaffe made the points that we think that CBC should be allowed and encouraged to take new media and new specialty channel initiatives in partnership with private partners.
15207 But my last comment on this topic would be, we shouldn't get too bogged down, I think, in the detail of CBC spending 2 per cent of their budget this year on new media or whatever. This is a seven-year or whatever, five-year, who knows, a long time renewal. And the exact details of the landscape seven years from now are going to look a lot different than they are today. We know things are going to change.
15208 I think we should be encouraging our national public broadcaster to remain with it, to remain innovative, to be on the leading edge. We don't want to be the people who said, "Oh, colour television is not the future, let's stay black and white. A national network signal is not the future or cable delivery or DTH isn't". The world is changing and we can't -- we can't hamstring our national public broadcaster, especially knowing that this renewal is for a lifetime. Five or seven years is a long period. So they ought to be encouraged and we shouldn't get bogged down in the details of is it 2 per cent or 1 per cent.
15209 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Well, I take your point, Mr. MacMillan, not getting bogged down in details and I am not sure we do, nor do we want to get into the situation of actually kind of putting ourselves in the role of managing the day-to-day operations of the CBC. But you, yourselves, one of your fundamental points that you raised in your written submission and again today is the whole issue of priorities and I guess that is fundamentally what it comes down to is, what should the priorities be for the public broadcaster and I don't know that it is necessarily the role for the CRTC to say, "No, you probably shouldn't be spending this particular money in new media" or whatever.
15210 But almost everybody who has appeared before us has raised this question of what are the priorities. What should the priorities be? And people are saying well they should do more of this or more of that. A few people are saying what should be done less of in order to accommodate this more and you, yourselves, have raised the question about how much of this money is diverted to independent production versus how much is spent elsewhere. So that gets into that kind of question. I don't know how you can avoid that issue.
15211 I realize you don't want to get too petty about it, but you, yourselves, are suggesting we should be focussing on how much of this money goes to independent producers as to how much is spent in-house.
15212 MR. MacMILLAN: Oh, yes. What I meant "don't get bogged down in details", I was accusing us, the CFTPA, of being bogged down in details because we were referring to the 2 per cent new media expenditures. But also, we are not always consistent anyway.
15213 So we are, for sure, bogging you down in details about the issue of independent production, but that's our prime concern and that's why we existed as an association. I was just referring to our submission on the new media point.
15214 I don't think you can tell them specifically, you know, do this, this and this and three quarts of this and two ounces of this or whatever the metric is. That is going to be micro-managing and not appropriate over a seven-year term. So I agree.
15215 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: I don't want to take too much time here.
15216 Let me just ask you -- I can't go without focussing a question on the region. You have mentioned it is important, it is one of the items that you have listed in your list for part of the terms of trade issue as regional development. You did mention in your submission a concern about the regions.
15217 What is your view on the particular proposal the CBC's brought forward in terms of the non-news regional programming for the regions?
15218 MS McDONALD: Julia, would you like to address this?
15219 MS KEATLEY: I think in terms of regional production, the CBC has been very active across the country. There are ways of addressing them, I mean, I know that there are various suggestions that have come up in terms of, you know, perhaps you should have pockets of money or various things. I think that there are ways, particularly in development in the under-represented categories of having true pockets of money across the country that are spent and developed.
15220 It is in the development of ideas and of producers and writers where you really get the growth. That's the long-term commitment and I think if in partnership with the network, the regions have participation in that, whether it be with regional directors or whatever, that that can make a real difference.
15221 A network has to have a national schedule and I think that all of us need to feed into that national schedule and the best ideas are the ones that should be ultimately broadcast.
15222 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: So I take it you think this is a good initiative. I appreciate that there is never enough money, but do you think that this is enough money that is being proposed for the, I guess it is nine regions now, to do this job? It's $250,000 in each year starting in year two as seed money for each of the nine regions.
15223 MS KEATLEY: You know, it is very specific. I would hate to say that I don't think you want to get into a population base or a various base. I think what it really comes down to is partnering in real decision-making and having that power coming from within the regions.
15224 There are various ways -- at the B.C. producer's branch, for example, one of the things that we did as an initiative was working with a number of broadcasters to bring them in to meet with various producers because they didn't feel they had access to them. It is building bridges of different kinds. Obviously money is one of the ways you can do that and making true commitments to that.
15225 So yes, I mean, it is a good initiative.
15226 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Okay. Ms McDonald, did you want to add anything?
15227 MS McDONALD: I was just trying to avoid getting into the details of the money. So I think that while we think the initiative is good, I think Mr. MacMillan's warning was well to be heeded. It is because the -- bringing together the CBC budget is so complex. But I think we do applaud the initiative very much so and any others that we can work with the CBC to do. That is part of what the terms of trade will help us do is to help bridge that mechanism also, not only in financial terms, but into developing with the CBC new ways to reach to our regional members.
15228 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Okay. Thank you very much for your answers to my questions.
15229 Thank you.
15230 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Vice-Chair Wylie has a question for you, as well.
15231 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I assume that you have all been watching this proceeding. I find it quite interesting that depending on where they are coming from, parties come forward and tell us we should not micro-manage the CBC, except in areas of interest to them and then it gets quite precise, even to the point of five hours.
15232 Thank you.
15233 THE CHAIRPERSON: Legal advisor, Ms Pinsky has a question, as well.
15234 MS PINSKY: Is the APFTQ involved in the discussions that you are having with the CBC?
15235 MS McDONALD: We work very closely the APFTQ and so we rarely do anything without them. As you know, the APFTQ has just gone through a change of leadership with the loss of Madam Baillargeon and so while we have met with the new President of APFTQ and he wants to continue working with us on as many areas, we would like them to be involved, but our focus has been with the English television network and we would presume that they would develop an appropriate mechanism. They are very interested with the French television network, it is a different environment and a different membership.
15236 But we do work jointly and exchange information with them all the time and they like the idea.
15237 MS PINSKY: Okay. And I wonder if you have any views in terms of what the role, if any, the CBC has in terms on non-news in-house production?
15238 MS McDONALD: Clearly, we believe that the CBC will do best in its partnering with the independent production sector, as we have said.
15239 And indeed, because of the way that we can bring different financing partners to the table, we believe that in the non-news, non-sports area that partnering with the independent production sector as much as possible and less in-house or no in-house is probably the best way for the CBC to go.
15240 I noted when you were talking to Alliance Atlantis previously, you asked us -- you asked a similar question, but took it to the issue of risk and so I think probably the Canadian content hearings were quite clear about what we see our role as in risk in terms of financing. And we were trying to, as we were preparing, discuss the terms of risk of preparing programming and what an independent producer does, et cetera, and to that end, I would like Mr. Cass to address "The Tale of Teeka".
15241 MR. CASS: Thank you. I guess this will be my closing out on all this. To me this is a bit of an inspirational story in terms of a very small independent production company and I just want to table an example of a relationship that we had with CBC and SRC recently on a children's program called "The Tale of Teeka".
15242 And it is our company's view, certainly, that this kind of relationship was only possible with a strong -- you know, within the context of a strong public broadcaster who was willing to support a kind of activity that it was highly risky and unusual and they were flexible, they were visionary and it resulted in a children's hour drama that was double shot in English and French, that both networks picked up, that won a number of Géneaux Awards, that won a Banff Rocky -- which I guess is arguably the Olympics of television -- that is currently nominated for a very prestigious Pre-Italia(ph), that took our small company, along with Peter Moss and Phyllis Platt and George Anthony, five long years of patience and diligence and tenacity to nurture. And I think that that kind of creative partnership that I believe is the best possible example of what our members like about the CBC should be applauded and hopefully we can look to more of that kind of activity as we redefine and establish what the mandate is going to be.
15243 MS McDONALD: I think -- the reason we went to an example, rather, is to underline that there have some suggestion that if you work in-house it is going to be more risky and innovative. But I think when you look at programs like "The Tale of Teeka" and many of the other programs that our members produce in many different genre, you can see that the independent production sector can produce the programming that was risk-taking both financially and with audiences, et cetera and can work with the broadcaster in that way.
15244 So we are just trying to exemplify that that is possible and I think everybody here has spoken quite eloquently of our ability to bring other financial partners to the table. And clearly, if you look at the CBC's financial situation, their situation needs to be stabilized with the government because it is a sort of ongoing target, to try to stabilize its financing and then find new ways to bring other dollars to the table at the same time delivering the innovative programming.
15245 MS SCHUYLER: Can I just pick up one point on in-house production.
15246 Obviously, our position is that if the CBC is going to be producing in the under-represented categories, we want it in partnership with the independent sector. However, one of the issues in our terms of trade is looking for transparency. And if there is going to be in-house CBC production, we want it in an environment that it is very transparent, that we can see exactly what it is that the costs are going to be to the CBC. And there has been a tremendous frustration on behalf of the independent producers community that when there has been in-house production, we haven't been able to identify what those costs are.
15247 I mean, if CBC is going to go forward and it is going to be bringing the best to Canadians, it shouldn't matter, theoretically where it comes from, how it gets to the screen, as long as it is the best programming that it can be at the most effective price. So if we had an opportunity that we can compare apples and apples with in-house production and going with independent production, then some of our frustration might be alleviated in that area, but up until now, there has been no way of making any fair comparison. So we are left with no other alternative but to suggest that all non-news programming should be produced in partnership with the independent sector.
15248 MS PINSKY: Thank you. Those are all my questions.
15249 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you.
15250 We will take a pause of 15 minutes and be back. We don't intend to stop for lunch, we will hear all the intervenors, then have lunch.
15251 Thank you.
--- Short recess at / Courte suspension à 1100
--- Upon resuming at / Reprise à 1115
15252 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Alors, madame la secrétaire, voulez-vous présentez le prochain intervenant, qu'on connaît déjà, d'une certaine manière.
15253 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair. The next presentation will be by Epitome Pictures.
15254 MS SCHUYLER: She's back.
15255 We welcome the opportunity to amplify our submission and respond to some of the issues that have been raised by other organizations.
15256 I am Linda Schuyler from Epitome Pictures. Our corporate perspective is very much that of a small- to medium-sized company.
15257 We have a history of working on one project at a time, beginning nearly 20 years ago with the various permutations of the "DeGrassi" series, continuing with numerous documentaries, the dramatic "Liberty Street", and now English Canada's first prime time soap opera, "Riverdale", which starts shooting its third season just next week.
15258 With me is Stephen Stohn, partner in the entertainment law firm, Stohn Henderson, Vice-President of Epitome Pictures and executive producer of "Riverdale" and also of Canada's music awards show, the "Juno Awards" and the lifestyle series "Savoir Faire".
15259 MR. STOHN: Thank you, Linda. Last year, we made written submissions and appeared before you during the course of the Canadian Television Review. We were grateful for the opportunity to discuss a number of issues at that time. At least some of those issues have relevance to today's hearing.
15260 During the Canadian Television Review, we made the case that small- to medium-sized production companies have an important role to play in the Canadian broadcasting system, disproportionate to their size, revenues or profits. These small- to medium-sized companies are ideally suited to foster innovation, diversity and creativity, which sometimes can be inadvertently stifled in larger organizations.
15261 At the same time, we recognized that there are often benefits of scale and scope available to larger production entities and which are not directly accessible by small companies. So we concluded by submitting that the existence of a mixed production environment, in terms of company size and business plans, results in a creative and competitive tension that is ultimately highly beneficial for the broadcasting system.
15262 A core element of our submission in this hearing is quite similar -- that there is no single best way to produce each and every CBC program. A mixed production environment is the most economical and effective one.
15263 The individuals at CBC who are responsible for acquiring programming need to have real and unencumbered freedom of choice so that their acquisition philosophy can be based absolutely upon achieving the highest quality and most diverse programming in the most cost-efficient manner.
15264 Last fall, Linda and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be in Sydney, where we had a number of meetings with various Australian producers, funding agencies and broadcasters. Before and since then, we have similarly met with British producers and broadcasters. A clear message has come through to us.
15265 For a broadcaster to have real freedom of choice in programming acquisition, there are two essential conditions:
15266 (1) The in-house production division of the broadcaster should be separate and distinct from the programming acquisition division. Otherwise, the persons responsible for commissioning programming will inevitably be subject to subtle and not-so-subtle pressure to give preference to in-house productions.
15267 (2) There needs to be a transparent mechanism to make apples-to-apples comparisons between in-house and independent productions, as well as a clear statement of the standard terms and conditions of production commissioning.
15268 This is best accomplished through an agreement -- we have called it a Working Practices Agreement and the CFTPA has called it a Terms of Trade Agreement, but it is one and the same thing -- which ensures that independent productions are treated in an even-handed manner both in relation to other independent productions and also in relation to in-house productions.
15269 Our written submission to you made the case for a formalized structural separation of the four core mandates of the CBC. While we obviously feel that there is merit in this full-blown structural separation, what we wish to underline to you today is our view that the most important structural separation is accomplished by having a separate CBC production division.
15270 Separating out the production division combined with entering into a Working Practices Agreement should result in the production of programming for CBC in absolutely the most effective and cost-efficient manner, consistent with high quality and diversity.
15271 We are extremely encouraged that in the course of the meetings leading up to and following the filing of the various submissions in this hearing, CBC itself has clearly recognized the value in a Working Practices Agreement and indeed has stated to you its support for such an agreement. Your formal recognition of the importance of this would be helpful in ensuring that it remains a priority after the hearing process has concluded.
15272 Accordingly, we ask that you consider endorsing both a move to structural separation of CBC's in-house production activities and the entering into of a Working Practices Agreement within a reasonable time and that you consider augmenting this endorsement by indicating a willingness to become involved if you were asked to help mediate the negotiation of such an agreement.
15273 MS SCHUYLER: In the Canadian content segment of the Canadian Television Review, another issue which we addressed was providing enhanced program recognition for programs which were not just Canadian within the bare-bones CAVCO definition but went significantly further and were identifiably Canadian in that their primary purpose was reflecting Canadian life to Canadians.
15274 We made the case that while there was value in all forms of Canadian content, the greatest value lies in the identifiably Canadian programs.
15275 We are pleased to note that the Canadian Television Fund has since modified its eligibility requirements so that funding under either side of the CTF is now provided only to productions that are essentially what we call identifiably Canadian.
15276 In the context of the current hearing, however, this distinction is interesting but virtually irrelevant. The essential nature of CBC is that it is identifiably Canadian.
15277 The CBC has not needed enhanced program recognition or any other incentive to encourage it to produce more identifiably Canadian programs. On the contrary, its weekday prime time schedule for this coming fall is already virtually 100 per cent identifiably Canadian. This is an excellent achievement and should not be underestimated.
15278 There are of course other parts of the CBC schedule which are yet to be so identifiably Canadian. We applaud the significant moves that the CBC has been making, but at the same time, we trust that over the forthcoming licence term, the momentum towards all-Canadian programming throughout the schedule -- and certainly to an all-non-American line-up -- will be carried forward with vigour.
15279 There are those who say that the inclusion of commercials has driven CBC to look too much like a private broadcaster. But examining the CBC schedule, it seems clear to us that CBC has achieved a broad mix of popular as well as niche programming designed to appeal to Canadians in all regions and social strata.
15280 Doing so through the overwhelming use of identifiably Canadian programming is unambiguous evidence that commercial advertising on CBC has not materially affected its prime mandate. As a result, removing commercials would appear to have very little benefit other than some small gains in viewer satisfaction.
15281 The only practical way to replace the lost revenues from commercials and the additional revenues that would be required to acquire the programming to replace the time on the schedule now filled with these commercials would appear to be significantly increased government funding.
15282 As we mentioned in our written submission, in our view, the Canadian government would be better served by stabilizing the funding to CBC by measures such as giving targeted allocations to fund digital conversation and programming acquisition and promotion, and by introducing a guaranteed 50 per cent CBC envelope to the Canadian Television Fund rather than spending hundreds of millions of dollars to remove commercials from the CBC.
15283 MR. STOHN: The inclusion of commercial advertising has not stopped CBC from broadcasting ground-breaking drama programming.
15284 Now in its third season, our own "Riverdale" is a success story. But in the beginning, there was a great risk to launching an English-language soap opera. It was something never done before successfully and the broadcaster willing to take that risk was CBC.
15285 CBC takes great pride in taking risks and in pushing the creative envelope with recent series like "Foolish Heart", "Twitch City", "Gullages", "More Tears", "Dooley Gardens", "Made in Canada" and others, including the new series "In Tha' Mix", which starts "Riverdale"'s own Merwin Mondesir, and a brand new soap opera, produced in Vancouver and aimed specifically at teens, called "Edgemont Road".
15286 In the past, it was CBC who placed faith in a then-fledgling production company and ordered a series which for the first time told non-judgmental stories from the point of view of Canadian teenagers and reached out to teens through the world with a core message which is equally vital today: Whatever difficulties you may face, depression, parents, school, alcohol, drugs, sexuality, abuse, you are not alone. The series was "DeGrassi" and the broadcaster was CBC.
15287 Whether it be introducing low-cost high-volume drama into the English Canadian broadcasting system or taking a chance on new producers or new program ideas, the CBC has been a leader. We think it is important to underscore that it has accomplished this leadership role within the context of a broad programming mix.
15288 It is not a PBS North model which has fostered this programming. Rather, it is a broad appeal model, including commercials and sports programming, in addition to underrepresented programming, within which the CBC's drama and other underrepresented programs have been able to flourish.
15289 Obviously, it is vital that CBC maintain a proper overall balance in its schedule, but depriving CBC of commercials and profit-generating programming like sports would hurt the very programming which advocates of the PBS North model think will be enhanced.
15290 We hope that sharing some of our own experience with you has given some soul to our written support for a strong CBC with a broad mandate to continue its identifiably Canadian programming aimed at all Canadians.
15291 We thank you again for the opportunity to make these remarks and would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
15292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I would ask Commissioner Pennefather to ask the questions.
15293 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
15294 Good morning. In your written submission and your oral remarks today, you have made some very specific suggestions and recommendations regarding the management of the CBC and it is quite clear. So I don't have many questions, but I would like a clarification on one suggestion and that concerns the transmission agency.
15295 You are proposing that an agency be created on the model of the Australian Transmission Agency, which is a separate organization from the broadcaster ABC. As you know, this Agency serves the interests of not only the Australian Broadcasting Corporation but also SBS and 250 clients.
15296 I would like to know how you see such an agency benefitting the CBC and I would also like to know if what you had in mind was transferring from the CBC capital budget approximately $148 million in transmission expenditures to such an agency, and from their operational budget, approximately $69 million in operational funds devoted to transmission, distribution and collection. Was it your proposal to transfer these monies to this separate agency?
15297 Secondly, how would such an agency serve the interests of the CBC, assuming the model you are proposing serves the interests of several clients?
15298 MR. STOHN: We did not propose specific figures, but it certainly was our thought that the existing activities of the CBC in the transmission area would carry on in essentially the same manner and would simply be separated out into a separate division. Where we saw some benefits to this was firstly from a purely managerial point of view that you would then have a management to that entity which was focused specifically on that and we think that there is some benefit to that.
15299 Also, there might be an ability to modify some of the strictures on the CBC which might enable that division to do something that the CBC as a whole has not been able to do until this time, namely, borrowing money in the private capital marketplace. Part of that activity then might also go to something that you discussed in the Australian model where the service is available not just to the CBC but to other broadcast entities who would be willing to pay fair value for the service. So we thought a proper business model could be instituted to create this.
15300 Then our final thought was that if this agency were in effect that it might give some encouragement to the Canadian Parliament to say: Well, we know if we give some money to this agency specifically targeted to digital conversion, which will be an enormous issue over the coming years, we know that that is not going to be siphoned off into some other area of the CBC, that we can give it in this very targeted way and encourage the CBC to move to a digital conversion sooner rather than later without siphoning off funds from programming or other activities.
15301 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But essentially, you are saying then that the government would reduce the capital budget of the CBC accordingly?
15302 MR. STOHN: Yes, absolutely. The total would remain the same but it would be split out into --
15303 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But it would be a separate agency?
15304 MR. STOHN: Yes.
15305 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Not under the direction of the CBC?
15306 That is the Australian model, is that it is not under the -- we didn't go so far as to in our mind say "No, it would be entirely separate from the CBC". Rather, we thought there should be a separate management structure. Whether that is still under the overall direction of the CBC Board or not was something that we didn't address and don't have strong feelings about one way or another.
15307 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay. I thought I would ask since you set it up as some of the four core activities that you want to see managed in a very different manner, and the impact of that on the CBC budget and the results of that for the CBC were important to understand.
15308 Thank you very much.
15309 That completes my questions, Madam Chair.
15310 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
15311 Madame Bénard.
15312 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by Dialogue Canada.
15313 THE CHAIRPERSON: The question is always relative to the understanding and the need for clarification, so sometimes when it is a point that is very clear it allows for shorter questioning.
15314 MR. LEGG: Good morning, Madam President and Members of the Commission.
15315 I would like to thank you for taking the time to listen to Dialogue Canada and the views thereof.
15316 If I jump back and forth from French to English it is certainly not to demonstrate my capacity in both languages, but it is really to pay respect to Radio-Canada when I am making comments and possibly criticisms about them, and vice versa with regard to the CBC.
15317 What we would first of all like to do is say that what the CBC and Radio-Canada do they do very well, and we would like to see both organizations emerge from these hearings stronger, more confident, and I fully realize this is not within your purview, but eventually with more resources.
15318 However, in terms of the main subject of our presentation today, we do not believe that either Radio-Canada or the CBC does a very good job in representing one solitude in terms of their linguistic blocks to the other. More specifically, we do not believe that Radio-Canada or the CBC present the lives or the feelings of Canadians of the other linguistic group as Canadians sharing the same country.
15319 Now, our judgment is based mainly on the two radio organizations, but in discussions with other members of the board of Dialogue Canada I understand that the same type of commentary applies to the television networks as well.
15320 Nous croyons que les Québécois ont l'impression en écoutant Radio-Canada que les Canadiens de langue anglaise existent à peine. J'exagère un peu mais pas beaucoup. Exception faite de la politique fédérale, il y a relativement peu de couverture des événements dans le reste du Canada. Il y a le Québec et puis il y a le monde. Il semble exister un vide entre les deux.
15321 As far as the CBC is concerned, it does an excellent job in telling English Canadians about themselves and about the rest of the world, but we believe they could be telling English Canadians more about French Canadians, principally in Quebec. A small number of excellent initiatives have been taken and we jump to acknowledge these.
15322 First on the list is "C'est La Vie", a program of one half hour from 7:30 to 8:00 on Friday nights, animated by Bernard St-Laurent, a respected journalist who knows Quebec completely.
15323 But daily programming -- and there has been a bit of a debate, I will say, but mainly from one member of our board only who contests this -- we nonetheless believe that in the main programming such as "This Morning" and "As It Happens", coverage of French Canadians in Quebec really does not receive its proportional share. Politics, yes; people, no.
15324 À Radio-Canada, je vous donne trois exemples: le "Midi quinze"(ph), quoiqu'une excellente émission, ne discute que des développements au Québec. Le dimanche matin, sur deux émissions, "Dimanche Magazine" et "Point de Vue", les auditeurs apprennent beaucoup plus sur les Algériens et les Indochinois* que les habitants de Vancouver et de Toronto.
15325 Je dois dire que les informations nationales et internationales -- et je cite, n'est-ce pas, le nom des bulletins horaires -- quand il ne s'agit pas des informations régionales. Les informations nationales et internationales signifient souvent en pratique les informations concernant le Québec et le monde à l'extérieur du Canada.
15326 We therefore recommend that -- and I will give one or two suggestions -- we recommend that both CBC and Radio-Canada do more and use more creativity to inform and promote a greater mutual knowledge among English and French-speaking Canadians of the other solitude.
15327 Now, how to go about doing this? Two possibilities. Two suggestions: The use of simultaneous translation. Of course, this is done. It is done now but it is not done enough of, and I would ask both Radio-Canada and CBC to listen themselves to the excellent programs which are carried on CBC overnight. Here I refer particularly to German International Radio, Finnish, Austrian and Dutch.
15328 What I am referring to specifically is interviews of Canadiens-français ou Canadiens-anglais, and after a sentence or two a voice-over comes and the person is, when it is done well -- and we certainly have the capacity to do this in Canada very well -- it is as though the person himself is talking.
15329 A second specific suggestion, which has actually been tried once. I was probably out of the country at the time but I understand there was a bilingual phone-in program. Whether it was Radio-Canada or CBC which did it, I don't know. It might be the equivalent of "Cross Canada Check-up" or "Tournée d'Amérique".
15330 I understand it was done extremely well. However, it was done in the context of one of our periodic national crises and our suggestion is that this be done periodically. I take the liberty of suggesting quarterly.
15331 To finish our presentation, I realize that I am going slightly into the area of selectivity or representation of reality or not, but let me see the positive side of this.
15332 Chez Radio-Canada, il y a un an et demie, on faisait usage de la phrase qui, pour des Canadiens passionnés, nous mettent en furie. C'est la phrase: le Québec et le Canada. J'ai bien remarqué que pendant le référendum, cette phrase a été -- et je parle du référendum d'octobre 1995 -- cette phrase a été utilisée beaucoup par certains leaders politiques et j'ai remarqué qu'il y avait une tendance très forte parmi les journalistes de Radio-Canada d'utiliser cette même phrase.
15333 Sans avoir fait une étude scientifique et objective, je crois que l'usage de cette phrases est en train de diminuer, mais je dois dire qu'il s'agit de ne pas respecter la réalité. En fait, pour ne pas utiliser des grands mots, il s'agit de... ou un essai de lavage de cerveau. Assez pour cet exemple-là.
15334 J'utilise un autre exemple du côté du CBC. From time to time, I don't really know whether it is because I have missed one or two "Cross Country Check-up". "Cross Country Check-up" has the tendency of calling itself Canada's national phone-in show. Well, it is the phone-in show for English Canadians, but it is not the phone-in show for French Canadians. So it cannot really be called Canada's national phone-in show.
15335 Now, you will say that perhaps I am being nitpicky here, but I don't believe I am. I believe it is showing a lack of respect to the other part of Canada which does not and cannot participate in the phone-in show unless one is a Québécois couramment bilingue.
15336 So to finish our presentation, I would simply say that, as we all know, Canada is a complex country and the fact that there are two separate organizations in our radio and television organization -- and from what we know, they do seem to operate completely independently -- the fact that there are these two is indicative of how complex we are.
15337 However, we believe that if policy direction is given from senior management that both Radio-Canada and the CBC can play a more positive role in promoting greater understanding between the two linguistic groups.
15338 If the CRTC can play a role in any way in encouraging this, the members of Dialogue Canada and the vast majority of Canadians would be very grateful.
15339 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
15340 I would ask Commissioner Cram to -- no, it's not you. I'm sorry.
15341 MR. LEGG: Surprise.
--- Laughter / Rires
15342 COMMISSIONER CRAM: It's a good thing I take notes. I always take notes of everything I say and do, or everything that people say, and they actually tell me that we don't need the court reporter, that I can do it.
15343 Interesting. I never thought of the issue of the national "Cross Country Check-up" being offensive, and yet it is.
15344 As I listen to you, I think we might even be better to eventually work towards one CBC/SRC. Is that sort of what would eventually be your goal?
15345 MR. LEGG: Well, having worked for 31 years within a very large bureaucracy, that is the federal government, and specifically within External Affairs, I do see the advantages of merging groups where there should be emerging policy.
15346 I will give an example. Before International Trade and External Affairs were merged you sometimes had Canadian foreign policy going one way in terms of the political policy, and you had the trade policy going in another way. At one point about 15 years ago they were merged and there was a different culture.
15347 Here, as I talk, I am talking also the CBC and Radio-Canada. There are two very different cultures obviously. There are French Canadians on one side and English Canadians on the other, and the cultures must join to work together. It has worked extremely well in what is now Foreign Affairs and International Trade and I would think it would work extremely well within the CBC/Radio-Canada.
15348 Now, it would take a certain amount of political courage to do this because I would see it as an extremely political move. I understand that you had a presentation recently, that is yesterday, which was extremely political, from Mr. Bertrand.
15349 Now, I have personally had a number of talks with journalists, one yesterday, who said that -- I certainly won't name him, but he talked about "Le Monde aujourd'hui", which of course is the main information program at the end of every day from 5:30 to 6:30. He felt slightly offended that I had not mentioned that program and he insisted that English Canadians and English Canada appeared in the news very frequently.
15350 Well, we had a little bit of a debate about that. But this would be the type of debate which would go on continuously within a merged organization. There would be cross-cultural stimulation, fights, discussions and, frankly, I would love to see an organization about what you have just talked.
15351 I have grown used to, as many Canadians have, of having the two organizations completely separate. But if they were together I think it would be -- well, I congratulate you on the brilliant idea, and if I may help in any way to put this into effect I would love to do so. I think it would be very positive.
15352 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So Canadianization was the first step, and merger of the SRC/CBC is the next?
15353 MR. LEGG: I see nothing but good that would come from it after an initial furor of many political groupings and a settling in period. I think it would be extremely positive.
15354 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much, Mr. Legg.
15355 MR. LEGG: You're welcome.
15356 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, sir.
15357 MR. LEGG: Thank you.
15358 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you part of the movement Mr. Bertrand is representing?
15359 MR. LEGG: Oh, no. No, no. I simply -- we, in Dialogue Canada, simply try to follow all political tendencies, especially having to do with the question of la souveraineté du Québec ou plutôt l'unité du Canada qui est l'autre côté de la médaille. C'est pour cela qu'il faut savoir ces choses-là.
15360 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci infiniment de votre participation, monsieur.
15361 M. LEGG: Merci, madame.
15362 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci.
15363 The next presentation will be by ACTRA Peformers Guild.
15364 Good morning. How are you?
15365 MR. NEIL: I'm fine. How are you this morning?
15366 THE CHAIRPERSON: Very well.
15367 Thank you.
15368 MR. NEIL: As you can see, I am not both Brian Gromoff and Gary Neil. I bring apologies from Mr. Gromoff. Unfortunately a family situation prevented him from coming here today at the very last minute.
15369 My name is Gary Neil, I am a policy advisor to ACTRA and appear in that capacity.
15370 In turn, ACTRA represents more than 13,000 professional performers, actors, singers, dancers, variety artists, stunt performers and co-ordinators, puppeteers, narrators and other categories. These performers work in Canada's performing media in languages other than French.
15371 The principal function of ACTRA is the negotiation of collective agreements which establish the minimum terms and conditions for the engagement of professional artists, both members and non-members, by a wide variety of producers. The agreements are negotiated with and cover the CBC, CTV, Global, other broadcasters, independent film and television producers, commercial producers, the NFB, record producers and new media developers.
15372 The roots of ACTRA stretch back to the early 1940s. In those days CBC was the most significant producer of radio programs in the country, and it is no surprise the earliest union was founded there. It was singers who first joined together as the Four Men of Studio Four and spearheaded a drive to create the Radio Artists of Toronto Society -- RATS for short.
15373 The issues were pretty simple, trying to ensure a written contract was signed and a reasonable remuneration paid in exchange for the performance. Come to think of it, maybe not much has changed. The first collective agreement was signed in the 1940s. It was a pretty basic document.
15374 Soon associations formed at CBC locations elsewhere in Canada -- Winnipeg, Montreal and Vancouver -- and the first national organization was formed in the 1950s. With the move of CBC into television and the establishment of production facilities across Canada, the national association expanded into other areas, including Calgary, Edmonton, Halifax and Ottawa, with Regina and St. John's following later. ACTRA was created more or less in its current form in 1963.
15375 While ACTRA's history is closely linked with the CBC, we have long since grown beyond this confine. Today the CBC directly accounts for only a small proportion of the earnings in our jurisdiction, roughly 3 per cent. Even when you include programs produced primarily for the CBC by Canada's independents, the CBC's importance to Canadian performers is only a fraction of what it once was.
15376 Of course, that statistic tells only a part of the story. The CBC remains a critical part of the production infrastructure, particularly outside the major producing centres, and earnings in certain genre of programming remain important.
15377 The members also strongly support the principle of public broadcasting. The CBC is a cornerstone of Canada's broadcasting system, and as a public broadcaster the CBC has a vital role to play in nation-building.
15378 The Broadcasting Act provides a broad mandate to the CBC. It must have a wide range of programming that informs, enlightens and entertains. Among other things the Act says the programming of the CBC -- and here I quote:
"- should be predominantly and distinctively Canada,
- reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences, while serving the special needs of those regions,
- actively contribute to the flow and exchange of cultural expression,
- contribute to a shared consciousness and identity,
- reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada,
- be made available throughout Canada by the most appropriate and efficient means and as resources become available for the purpose."
15379 And, of course, it must do all of this in both official languages.
15380 In other words, by statute the CBC is required to be all things to all Canadians. That is not to mention the responsibility through RCI to be the world's window to Canada. Yet, in a time of audience fragmentation and technological change, it is required to do all of this with allocations from government that have fallen over the past decade.
15381 In the 1990s appropriations to the CBC decreased by 23 per cent, while the cost of living, and presumably CBC's own costs, increased by more than 16 per cent. The cuts have implemented by various governments and represent a concerted effort to erode the capacity of the CBC.
15382 ACTRA believes that Canada's federal government should make a renewed commitment to the CBC to increase its budget and provide security and reasonable guarantee over a five-year term to permit the Corporation to plan and manage properly.
15383 But we are also realistic. Not only is this far outside the jurisdiction of the CRTC, it is unlikely to happen in the short term. Yet the broad mandate remains, and there must be, in our view, public discussion of how to bridge the gap between the mandate and the resources.
15384 In its brief, ACTRA has again raised the issue of the costs of providing the CBC's television signal to the far corners of the country. Since resources are no longer available and alternatives are emerging almost daily, surely this would be an appropriate area for further investigation and study, and we make that recommendation to you.
15385 ACTRA has raised a range of other issues in its written submission and our principles are clear. The CBC services must be complementary to each other and to the commercial broadcasters; non-commercial; offer a range of programming choices, ranging from news, information and talk, to ballet, opera and drama; be primarily Canadian, complemented by a few quality alternatives from other countries not available elsewhere; and be deeply rooted in a strong regional presence in several genres of programming.
15386 We note in our brief that CBC Radio has achieved these objections, and that is why, in our view, it is both widely successful and strongly supported.
15387 We would be pleased to discuss any of our comments with you.
15388 But let me finish with one other point, an area of ACTRA self-interest that perhaps highlights how the CBC has sometimes been its own worst enemy.
15389 In any relationship that stretches over such a long time problems are bound to arise, and that certainly has been the case between ACTRA and the CBC, but one recent case is more troublesome than most.
15390 One of the most successful CBC television series of all times was "The Beachcombers". The CBC has distributed that series extensively around the world and it is being rebroadcast within Canada, yet in ACTRA's view the performers so fundamental to the success have not been properly compensated. Now, this is a matter that is currently awaiting final resolution under the collective agreement's dispute procedure, but during the process the CBC has battled and obfuscated and refused to provide financial information which it is contractually obligated to reveal in any case.
15391 It has, in short, failed to understand, in our view, that it is a public corporation. It has shown little respect for the very Canadian artists that it relies on in its programming. I am reminded of the old adage: With friends like this, who needs enemies.
15392 But ACTRA can see beyond the immediate management difficulties and put the discussion into the broader context. Accordingly, we come before you today and urge that all of the CBC's licences be renewed, subject only to the comments we have recorded with the Commission.
15393 Thank you.
15394 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
15395 Commissioner Grauer. No? I think I will go and take a rest this weekend. I'm a bit confused, I'm sorry.
15396 MR. NEIL: Your notes are not quite in order.
15397 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no, they were. It's me who is not in order. I'm sorry. I apologize.
15398 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: She is not the Duracel bunny. She has run down over the week.
15399 Thank you very much for that. I have read your written brief as well, which is very comprehensive and raises a lot of issues, and obviously we can't get into all of them today.
15400 I wanted to just touch on the notion -- because neither one of us, I assume, are engineers or auditor general's, but to touch on the notion that you are kind of urging the CBC away from conventional broadcasting, over-the-air broadcasting, and towards using cable and satellite and whatnot, more modern -- why would that be of interest to ACTRA? Is it simply because if they save money they can hire more actors?
15401 I just can't understand quite why your brief goes down that trail. The other ones seem to be logical extensions of your history and where you are going, and I don't question anybody having views on anything, but that struck me as just somewhat out of context with the rest of your brief.
15402 MR. NEIL: It is a question of limited resources, absolutely, and the most effective use of those resources.
15403 It is our view that the central part of the mandate of the CBC is to be a producer -- is to produce, acquire and distribute programming. It is about content, it is not about hardware. It is about a range of content, in a range of different media.
15404 And to the extent that money is spent on physically making that product available, incrementally to Canadians who live in the far reaches of the country, seems to us to be an area that is worthy of further investigation and study and review, because there may be tremendous savings to be achieved in looking at alternatives to that traditional form of distribution of the signal. So it would allow for the production and acquisition of more content.
15405 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I have to tell you and I am sure you will agree with me that we can spend our time more wisely this morning, but I have to tell you that I have read studies by people who say that it would cost more to go the other way, for instance, CBC owns their infrastructure now and not only would it cost more to go the other way at this point -- and that may change later, but at this point, it would be more costly. But there are a lot of people because of the angle of satellite delivery and whatnot, who might be actually cut off by such a move and --
15406 MR. NEIL: Let me just make a final point. I have never seen those studies. It has been a source of frustration for me over many years that, in fact, accurate information about the real cost of the distribution infrastructure are simply not available. They are not available publicly. The Commission may have some of these, but they are certainly, in my experience, not available publicly.
15407 But I would question -- because basically what we are saying is maybe in the short term there will be a small proportion of Canadians who up to this point have the signal available to them who would no longer have the signal to them until alternative forms of distribution emerged. But in our view, if the saving were sufficient, that would be a legitimate cost to bear. And those studies may be, assuming that the CBC would have to continue to make its signal available to the roughly 98 per cent of Canadians that currently get it.
15408 We note in our brief that at the present time, cable passes 91 per cent of Canadian households. So you are immediately seeing only a 7 per cent, if you were to introduce new regulations with respect to cable distributors. You would be then -- we would be only talking about 7 per cent of the population and how we can make alternatives available to those.
15409 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You would get no argument from the cable companies if we were to pass that sort of regulation, but we will leave it there for now.
15410 I am interested, as well, on one hand you are saying, let's cut costs where we can and let's put the money into product. And on the other hand you seem to take a bit of a leap of faith, if I may characterize it and I am sure you will bring me up shortly if I am wrong -- but you seem to take a bit of a leap of faith in saying, "Well, though resources are tight and though we have to look everywhere for money, go ahead with your constellation theory, get into more specialties -- even though we know that the specialties they have now are not turning a profit -- go ahead and get into the Internet, go ahead and get into Radio Three".
15411 And I just wonder whether I can be forgiven for asking you whether they might not be stretching themselves a little thin if they go down all those roads with the current fiscal problems they have?
15412 MR. NEIL: The basic position that we take here is the following: On the one hand, in the final analysis we believe that government -- the public and through its government have a responsibility that is not being properly fulfilled and the CBC appropriations ought to be increased. We take that view, absolutely, fundamentally, clearly.
15413 In the meantime, we say the CBC should be doing all that they can to maximize their own resources and that is why we say in the short term we accept that the CBC will have advertising, the CBC will have sports programming, all of those things. We believe CBC ought to continue to have guaranteed access to the CTF funds.
15414 So we say on that side, until we can achieve that objective, the CBC ought to be able to do whatever they can to maximize their resources.
15415 Then we get down to talking about these kind of trade offs. If the CBC is going to be investing in new services or if they are going to be investing more in regional programming, what is the trade off within the limited envelope that they have. And that's where we say that we would like to see a thorough examination of this question of the distribution as being a potential answer for that.
15416 In the meantime, yes, we do support the CBC's moves in all of these areas. Presumably the CBC is able to, even within its current envelope, find a way to make these things happen. And we hope that we can work with them and that you will work with them in bringing these things about and again look to a more permanent solution on the distribution side.
15417 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Just one last question. I am delighted to see someone taking the broader view because we do get our share of people who are looking for a slice of the pie or a bigger slice of the pie here, and that's legitimate.
15418 MR. NEIL: Canadian performers want that, too.
15419 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: That is what the expression is all about, I guess.
15420 But let me just take a narrow last question. Why would you not be in favour of saying to us, "Discourage the CBC, for example, for spending $20 million on the Internet. Put it instead into production, leave the Internet to other people"?
15421 MR. NEIL: Very clearly because the future, if you look to the future where we are going to continue to see an explosion of the number of signals available, we are going to see an explosion of distribution through the Internet, in my view, once the technology reaches a state where audio/visual signals can be delivered to us quickly and in reasonable quality, we will see more and more distribution in that mechanism.
15422 Our view is Canadian material has to be available in all of these different media. Absolutely, we need to have a substantial supply of Canadian material available for our own purposes. And the CBC, the public broadcaster, has a role to play in all of those areas. And so we would urge you very, very strongly not to try to hinder their development in any of these fields, because if we don't get into them now it will be pretty tough ten years from now to play catch-up.
15423 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
15424 THE CHAIRPERSON: May I ask a question?
15425 You are recommending a five-year term. I was wondering if it is a five-year term because you think that given all the rapid change, it would be better to just set a scope of five years, or are you aware that it could be a seven-year term?
15426 MR. NEIL: I don't know that we recommended a five-year term, but I don't think we have strong feelings about a five or seven-year term, frankly.
15427 However, I would note that we do -- this is an opportunity, obviously at licence renewal time for there to be public discussion and debate about the CBC, about the public broadcaster and we don't have that opportunity all the time. And in that sense, we do welcome these kind of opportunities very much and if that means a five-year term, then that's fine.
15428 On the other hand, we recognize that licences are generally issued now for seven years and would feel very comfortable in the CBC having a seven-year licence renewal.
15429 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
15430 If we were to make the same statistics for UDA then we have here for ACTRA, do you think the 3 per cent would be a similar figure in the French system?
15431 MR. NEIL: It is probably not quite as low amongst our colleagues in UDA. There is still a little bit more production by the CBC for Radio-Canada.
15432 What we find on the English side now is that virtually all of the programs that cost substantial amounts of money are produced independently, including ones very closely identified with the CBC like "Royal Canadian Air Farce" or "This Hour Has 22 Minutes", all of the major dramas even where CBC is heavily involved in the first window and has many windows, all of those are produced independently. So I would expect that the number for our French colleagues would be higher than the 3 per cent.
15433 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you wouldn't be as concerned as the independent producers were this morning?
15434 MR. NEIL: No.
15435 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your participation. Thank you.
15436 MR. NEIL: Thank you very much.
15437 MS BÊNARD: I would now invite Mr. Peter Wintonick to come forward.
15438 THE CHAIRPERSON: Everybody is reminding me that once you will be done with your intervention, it is going to be Commissioner Grauer doing your questioning.
15440 MR. WINTONICK: Thank you.
15441 This is the first time I have ever had experience with this.
15442 THE CHAIRPERSON: You will see, it is almost delightful.
--- Laughter / Rires
15443 MR. WINTONICK: I know like Andy Warhol had the idea that everybody had 15 minutes of fame, but I guess in Canada it is only 10 minutes because of the exchange rate or something. A discount. You have to discount me. Actually, I am just in the middle of a production about the history of Cinéma Vérité. I am a documentary filmmaker and Cinéma Vérité was kind of documentary movement that the Canadians actually really started. It is not as old as the CBC, it didn't start in 1936, but it is almost that way.
15444 So I spent all day yesterday studying all of the Internet stuff that CBC had put out and the CRTC had put out and wrote my oral presentation which seems a contradiction in terms.
15445 It is sort of nice to be following Michael MacMillan and Alliance Atlantis, because I really started out in filmmaking with Robert Lantos and about four other people down in Montreal when they were called RSL, and failed to make them move down Highway 401.
15446 So I just had this vision that I could have been sitting here with those guys and those women, but I am glad I wasn't. I sort of took the vow of poverty and became a documentary filmmaker. I don't which one of those words you can put in quotes.
15447 THE CHAIRPERSON: The poverty.
15448 MR. WINTONICK: The poverty, for sure.
15449 I don't really want to micro-manage the CBC. I am really here to have written the six pages, you can probably read it, but I will scan through it because I know we don't have much time. But I really would just like specifically, I guess, to really talk about CBC Television and mainly Newsworld. And I really want to talk from a kind of personal perspective. And I want to really make it clear that I am not speaking on behalf of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus, which is a group of about 400, mostly documentary filmmakers. A group that I helped start about 15 years ago and I was the co-chair of that last year. I am just really talking as myself, not as a media critic or film professor or the other kinds of things I have done to survive while I am making films. But I am really speaking as a kind of independent documentary film and TV director and producer or what some would call a "cultural worker" or "media artist". One who has been working professionally, mostly in Montreal for the last 25 years building up a small production house called "Necessary Illusions" and those are the types of illusions that I think you have to have if want to work in this business.
15450 So again, I just really want to speak as plainly and simply as a regular citizen -- consumer, we will say of the CBC and a kind of regular citizen in this democratic and civil society.
15451 I am actually quite impressed by the kind of work you are doing. I was looking in the other room back there and there are all these black binders, thousands of interventions. I didn't steal this one, this is some of the stuff I printed off the Internet of your proceedings the other day.
15452 With all these single page interventions and comments and handwritten notes and e-mails that people had sent, I guess you went across Canada in March and really got a sense of the way Canadians feel about the CBC and I would sort of echo all of those comments, as well.
15453 I just scanned through them, I didn't see really more than one kind of negative comment in all the stuff that I looked at back there, so I would just remind you guys about that, too.
15454 Now, I just wanted to be quite serious and attend on my civic duties in regards to your Commission, so I poured, as I say, through this -- your transcripts and web sites and printed out only a fraction of what, I guess, is there. It makes for a lot of reading, so I really appreciate what you have to go through.
15455 I am going to skip through some of this, you can read it for your entertainment.
15456 But in 1988, I wrote an article for our then national film magazine called Cinema Canada in which I called for a kind of Maple-leaf Manifesto. In essence, it was a kind of cry to replace the kind of americontinental dream of manifest destiny in our cultural industry with one which was more indigenous and local and well, you know, like, Canadian, eh.
15457 It is the kind of thing -- I think the CBC is one of the only places, it seems these days where that kind of Maple-leaf Manifesto can actually be embodied, perhaps the National Film Board, as well.
15458 But it is my fear that the kind of budget cuts and pressures that the government has been putting on these institutions and kind of the pressure from what I call "media privateers" and "corporate pirateers" who really don't have a kind of sense of the national or the cultural and who had perhaps refused the CBC and other national institutions that which they themselves live from. In other words, kind of public subsidies which seem to be diverted from the public institutions to the private ones.
15459 In fact, we are all subsidized by the public, even small production houses like mine. These forces seem to have effectively dismantled over the last ten years the social safety net and they are weakening Telefilm and the NFB and also the kind of arts support structures south of the border, as well.
15460 So I am not really what you would want to call an extreme nationalist by any definition. In fact, I abhor the idea of nationalism, although I did toy around with the idea of appearing here sort of wrapped up in some kind of multi-coloured flag or in a beaver suit or something, but I think that this country, however you want to define it must share some kind of common vision and wisdom, and not so much in the sense of morality and familial values, we will say, in that kind of neo-consensus, but in common culture, one which is sort of paradoxically diverse and tolerant.
15461 So I am really here briefly to support with all my possible personal force, the renewal of the CBC Newsworld, SRC, RDI and the Radio licences, in fact, all the local licences as well in the regions.
15462 And I will just respond here with a few specifics and I don't know if you will have time to ask me questions or if you want to. I will keep it short anyway, because I will just really limit my comments to things I really know about, which is Newsworld and RDI and CBC and I will be blunt.
15463 Without public TV and radio, this country is sunk. And I am sure you all know this in your heart and soul. Without public discourse, democracy is dead. Without the enlightened presentation of news and views and current affairs, which is really what Newsworld and RDI embody so well, we might as well pack it in and go live in Kansas, and that's not somewhere over the rainbow, it might be just right around the cyber corner.
15464 The CBC is our only local defence against what I call mono-media, whether that is domestic or foreign grown, and you know what I am talking about too, I guess transnational corporatization of media. And what I call the privatization of the public memory or the CNN-ization of the world.
15465 So the only way I can see to preserve the CBC is as the main highway in Canadian culture and not as a picturesque, seldom frequented sideroad, which is, I guess, a CRTC kind of poetic phrase out of one of your documents. The only way to preserve this indigenous culture, our music or even the French language, the communication side of culture is to make the CBC in a generic sense of the word, and Radio-Canada, more viable.
15466 In fact, we should all work to strengthen its budget and its innate right to government support despite what some of the less informed reformatists luddites might be saying, the CBC is actually an enlightened cave within which we have to sort of find our own collective identity.
15467 I just want to speak on two specific, kind of, case studies which involve myself, actually, and Newsworld.
15468 I have really had the most incredible support from CBC Newsworld and especially Jerry McIntosh and his team, who have allowed me, and I really speak for a lot of others, actually, countless dozens of young filmmakers. I wouldn't really count myself as a young filmmaker, but -- I know if you look there list of programming, you will see names of infamous and famous and emergent filmmakers. They have offered filmmakers, up and coming filmmakers a chance to experiment and push back the boundaries of information programming in order to offer Canadians new sights into the public policy issues, but usually within the kind of their ideas of journalistic balance.
15469 So I think -- they are kind of a lean and mean kind of machine and more than any other, kind of specific broadcaster, Newsworld has been the engine, I think, which has given more impetus to the preservation and extension of documentary form than any other kind of broadcaster has.
15470 I can cite you two examples. I have made a film for Newsworld called "Ho! Kanada" which looked at the idea of Canadian identity from a very kind of oblique and humorous perspective, essentially I wanted to demystify the idea of other, it was a kind of bilingual film, it was Japanese and English. And we looked at the way the Japanese tourists were looking at Canada, so it revealed a lot about the kind of common ground and ambiguous thing we call Canadian identity.
15471 Then last year, Patricia Tassinari and I made a documentary for Newsworld and for RDI and SRC, it was one of these unique kind of partnering, another bilingual film called "The Quebec Canada Complex" which we sort of looked at what I call the "neurotic notion of the nation", it was kind of comedic documentary in which we posited that the two nations, "Le Quebec" and "Le Canada", as I call it, were almost like a married couple and in need of some kind of marriage therapy. So in order to find what Freud calls a talking cure, we actually found eight different kinds of psychiatrists and psychologists and therapists across the political spectrum and interviewed them and got them to apply their kind of psychiatric theory to the Quebec/Canada problem, if you want to call it, and pathologize it.
15472 It was kind of humorous and one might question why it was on a kind of network like -- and it was kind of innovative -- a network like Newsworld and RDI, which was almost -- it was kind of simulcast and again, it was a bilingual film which is unusual and a thing which should be encouraged.
15473 But in fact, last month, it won the kind of top prize of the Canadian Association of Journalists Awards which -- and it was sort of over a lot of other kind of what I would call serious current affairs documentaries.
15474 So on Newsworld and RDI, I have found for me as a kind of old filmmaker with a kind of large track record a way of perhaps escaping the bounds of form and a kind of place where one can experiment, we will say with new kinds of documentaries. So, I have been, along with a lot of others have been pretty fortunate to work with Jacinthe Brisebois and Francois Ayotte at RDI and with McIntosh and his crew at Newsworld.
15475 MS BÊNARD: Mr. Wintonick?
15476 MR. WINTONICK: Yes.
15477 MS BÊNARD: You have gone over your 10 minutes, so if you could resume.
15478 MR. WINTONICK: This is why I brought my alarm clock.
--- Laughter / Rires
15479 MR. WINTONICK: Well, I have some very specific support for RDI and Newsworld, in fact, they are kind of -- their five major priority goals are highly laudatory and I think must be financed. I really support their desire to reconnect with the regions and I really like this idea about the kind of video/journalist, the digital VJ's that they are trying to support.
15480 As well as these kinds of examples of cooperation with RDI, they did a series last year with a lot of young filmmakers, I think you had to be under 30 which put me out of the picture, called "Culture Shock" and they want to renew that. So I think they really should be supported in those kinds of areas. They have to really be financed, essentially. And I think the best way to do that is really to -- I notice in their documentation that they really need to have an increase in their base rate from, is it 55 cents per month per subscriber and the wholesale rate to another few cents.
15481 I will just finally put in my own two cents worth of advice. It seems to me that it only costs the average Canadian about three cents a day to be exposed to meaningful and useful Canadian viewpoints on the national and international events and issues which are shaping our lives. This goes for both the CBC and Newsworld. And Newsworld seems to do it better than anybody else 24 hours a day.
15482 So I am not really sure of the math here, but it seems to me that there are choices to be made and there is a price to pay to keep the whole of the CBC functioning at levels it needs to be functioning at to provide the services that we Canadians have come to expect and to respect and to love and to ensure that the CBC has a future so my daughter, Mira, can be exposed to these kind of whole new world of constellations and spectrums of the future of television.
15483 So I don't think it is too much to ask for a few pennies to preserve the idea of this nation and this civil society. I am willing to pay for it and I bet the vast majority of Canadians are, too. So as an article of faith, I am willing to put my own money -- I think it is going to cost $20 per person to keep the CBC alive and to do the projects it wants -- so I will put my $20 down and hope everybody else does.
15484 It's lunch money.
15485 COMMISSIONER GAUER: No, the theatrics and the humour, believe me, are welcome at the end of what has been a very long couple of weeks.
15486 I don't have any questions of clarification, really. I want to assure you that all of this will be on the public record, even the parts you didn't get a chance to read.
15487 MR. WINTONICK: Yes, there were some more specific recommendations. I do work in the practical world, I am a filmmaker and I rushed down here early this morning to be here because I really think it is important really as a person to participate in this process, which is kind of unique for me.
15488 COMMISSIONER GAUER: Well, it is important to us, too, to hear from you, and as I said, I don't have a question of clarification, I just -- one small thing I wouldn't mind is hearing a little bit from you about your experience in doing the Quebec Canada --
15489 MR. WINTONICK: Complex, yes.
15490 COMMISSIONER GAUER: Yes, the bilingual production and in your experience, was this one of the first times that there had been that kind of collaboration between RDI and Newsworld to do this type of production?
15491 MR. WINTONICK: I believe so. They have done it perhaps with another colleague in Montreal, Ina Fishman, the film about the role of the Jewish community in Montreal. I think that might have been a co-production, I am not sure if it was with RDI and Newsworld. I know at the National Film Board they did a kind of big co-production with many different filmmakers around the Referendum which eventually got seen and Jacques Godbout, a very famous Quebec filmmaker worked for both networks at the same time.
15492 COMMISSIONER GAUER: Yes. I am thinking in particular we have had several representations and discussions on just this area of more cooperative cross-cultural programming, if you would like between SRC, CBC Newsworld and RDI. I think this is the first specific -- you are the first actual filmmaker we have had that has done a project.
15493 MR. WINTONICK: Yes, I think it was maybe a bit avant garde then, maybe working it is shock troops for the possibilities of cooperation, but I really had some great experiences working in the kind of creative collaboration with the RDI people and with McIntosh and crew. I'm not really concerned about it, you know, keeping editorial control whenever I can and there wasn't that kind of interference at all. I mean, we were really tuned in to the objectives of the journalist principles and everything.
15494 And it was a kind of -- it took a while, I guess, about a year, essentially, to put the financing together. This was a problem, actually with Newsworld, they don't have a -- Rough Cuts, anyway, they don't have access to the EIP part of the Canadian Television Fund because of like the way, internally, at CBC they work.
15495 And I think that is a recommendation you people can make to the CBC is that they do open up part of whatever envelope will exist in the future for Newsworld and Rough Cuts which will enable more films to be made. I know they have ambitions to make another ten documentary -- commissioned at a kind of high level, $60,000 on Newsworld and that is really something that should be financed and encouraged, too.
15496 So there was a really good collaboration there which might have been a precedent, but I don't see why there aren't more bilingual productions on the national network. I wouldn't go so far as an earlier colleague to say that one should merge SRC and CBC at all, at all. But perhaps when CBC is given its more, we will say, places on the digital spectrum, there will be possibilities, perhaps, throughout one of those digital channels to have bilingual tracks so you can be watching the same images and tuning in either French or English or why not Hindu and other languages, too. I mean, I think -- I mean, I have been living in Quebec for 25 years and I really love, I am from Canada, we will say, from Ottawa, actually.
--- Laughter / Rires
15497 COMMISSIONER GAUER: It is still in Canada.
15498 MR. WINTONICK: The last time I was in Hull I think it was at a bar across the street when I was a kid.
15499 It is really a positive thing and I think there are some of those initiatives within the Newsworld proposal that really specifically address cooperation with RDI.
15500 COMMISSIONER GAUER: Well, thank you very much and I thank you very much for taking the time to come and speak to us today.
15501 MR. WINTONICK: Okay.
15502 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I would like to share in the $20, so I have a question.
15503 Did you understand Mr. Legg's suggestion as a merger in the sense of bilingual programming and one service, or did you understand him as suggesting that the managerial level be merged and left separate so that there is more cross-pollination between the two and if it is the latter, do you think that that has any value?
15504 MR. WINTONICK: I am all for efficiency and for me the kind of model in broadcasting is Channel 4, which is a real lean shop, almost like, we will say Newsworld is relative to the Canadian spectrum. So I am a kind of anti-merger kind of, de-centralist person, not in the libertarian sense, I just really think things can be more effective on smaller levels. There can be cross-pollination without the need to merge bureaucracies.
15505 COMMISSIONER GAUER: In the same sense as the one that you think is of value between RDI and Newsworld could be valuable in the core network, as well.
15506 MR. WINTONICK: I think --
15507 COMMISSIONER GAUER: That's the way I understood that the suggestion was a perspective which is less discreet would possibly be advantageous to all Canadian viewers, even though the program offering would be in the language of the majority of one or the other of the official language majorities viewing the specific reflection of it.
15508 MR. WINTONICK: Yes. I am really for the exposure, I guess, of Canadians to the experience of Quebec, because I feel I am a Quebecoise and there's not enough of it. So anyway that that can happen, that is one of the motivations from those last two films I cited.
15509 There is not enough of it. So any way that that can happen. That was one of the motivations for those last two films I cited, really.
15510 I have been doing a lot of international projects, issues of peace, and I made a film with Norm Chomsky(ph) about international media, but I have been starting to localize my kind of interest on Canada and I really sort of would like to see more co-operation, whether that's sort of top, down, or from the bottom up.
15511 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. Any structural organization that would enhance that, I understood Mr. Legg to say, would be positive.
15512 MR. WINTONICK: Yes.
15513 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It doesn't mean that you wouldn't have two distinct services at the end of the day, but they may be different in their distinctiveness as a result of the structural changes.
15514 MR. WINTONICK: I also saw in the main CBC proposals there were also several initiatives to connect the two halves of the brain, the country's brain.
15515 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Thank you.
15516 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. But I will have to ask you to take your $20 because, as we have been saying all week, and even when we were doing the regional consultation all across Canada in March, we are not the ones who write the cheque and neither can we take the money.
15517 MR. WINTONICK: Okay.
15518 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, sir.
15519 Madam Bénard?
15520 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
15521 The next presentation will be by the Canadian Association of Film Distributors and Exporters/Association canadienne des distributeurs et exportateurs de films.
15522 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour, monsieur Paradis.
15523 M. PARADIS: Bonjour, madame la présidente. Je sais où envoyer mon 20,00 $.
15524 LA PRÉSIDENTE: J'aurais dû dire: monsieur le président.
15525 M. PARADIS: Merci.
15526 Madame la présidente, mesdames et messieurs les membres du Conseil.
15527 Je me présente. Je suis Richard Paradis, Président de l'Association canadienne des distributeurs et exportateurs de films.
15528 L'Association représente les intérêts des plus importantes entreprises, sous contrôle canadien, de distribution au Canada. Parmi celles-ci, on retrouve: Alliance Atlantis Releasing, Behaviour Distribution, Film Tonic, Forefront Releasing, France Film, Les Films Lions Gate, Motion International, Odeon Films et Red Sky International.
15529 En se présentant devant vous aujourd'hui, l'Association vise un objectif fort précis. Nous voulons assurer au cinéma canadien sa juste part dans la programmation offerte au public canadien par la société Radio-Canada. Nous sommes d'avis que la télévision est un médium extraordinaire pour diffuser des longs métrages canadiens ainsi que pour éveiller l'intérêt des téléspectateurs pour de tels films.
15530 Mais avant de rentrer dans le vif de notre propos, permettez-nous de vous dire que nous ne faisons pas partie de ceux qui doutent de l'utilité de notre diffuseur public national. Nous sommes d'avis que la télévision publique a et doit jouer un rôle de premier plan dans la vie des téléspectateurs canadiens, un rôle qui toutefois doit se différencier de celui des télédiffuseurs privés. La SRC/CBC se doit d'offrir une programmation de qualité qui est le reflet de nos valeurs et de nos histoires.
15531 Comme vous le savez, l'ensemble des intervenants du domaine du cinéma canadien ont travaillé au cours de la dernière année à revoir, avec le ministère du Patrimoine, notre politique nationale dans le domaine du long métrage. Dans le rapport qu'ils ont remis à la Ministre Sheila Copps en janvier, créateurs, producteurs, distributeurs, propriétaires de salles et le public canadien s'entendent pour dire que les télédiffuseurs doivent jouer un rôle plus important dans la production, la promotion et la diffusion de notre cinéma national.
15532 CAFDE believes strongly that the Commission must use the renewal of the CBC television licences to formally recognize the important role of Canadian feature films in the programming schedules of both the French and English language public television networks.
15533 It appears quite evident that Canadians want broadcasters to play a more important role in providing viewers with more opportunities to see Canadian films.
15534 In a study undertaken in 1998 by the research group Angus Reid for Heritage Canada, one of the first studies ever done in this area, the authors canvassed 1,500 Canadians across the country to survey their views on Canadian movies: 69 per cent of respondents strongly agreed that it is very important that Canadian feature films be shown on Canadian television. Approximately six out of 10 respondents strongly agree that:
"people would watch Canadian feature films if they were promoted and advertised better."
15535 CAFDE also believes that the present review of the CBC/SRC by the Commission should take into account recent proposed government policy initiatives in the area of feature films.
15536 When Heritage Canada launched its Canadian Feature Film Policy Review, it was clearly stated in the department's Discussion Paper:
"With respect to broadcasting, many have suggested that Canada should build on the success of broadcasters such as the U.K.'s Channel 4 or Canal + in France. These broadcasters have demonstrated a strong commitment to their respective national film industries by participating actively in their financing, promotion and broadcasting. Another possibility is modifying broadcast licences upon renewal to encourage Canadian broadcasters to dedicate more financial resources and broadcasting time to feature films."
15537 Following the launch of the film policy review, Canada's Heritage Minister called together individuals from the feature film industry for guidance in this area.
15538 The 13-member advisory committee, representing a cross-section of the disciplines involved in the production, distribution and exhibition, made public its report to the Minister in January. The committee recognized the critical role broadcasters should play in promoting and broadcasting Canadian films:
"We believe that the Canadian broadcasting system must play an even greater role in the financing, promotion and airing of independent Canadian feature films. The federal government and the CRTC must encourage public and private broadcasters to increase their financial participation in feature film production and exhibition - and make it a condition of licence renewals ...
... relevant public and private broadcasters should be required to devote a portion of their air time to the broadcast of Canadian features, scheduling of these films should be during peak viewing periods when the greatest number of Canadians are able to watch them ..."
15539 The advisory committee also had specific recommendations regarding the CBC:
"The committee recognizes that the CBC has a valuable role to play in fostering domestic audiences for Canadian feature films. In its submission to Canadian Heritage's policy review, the CBC put forward a feature film strategy modelled on the experiences of the U.K.'s Channel 4 [in the U.K.]. Instead of developing an in-house film unit, we recommend that the CBC be required to dedicate at least $25 million of its budget to the production of feature films by the independent production sector through licence fees and equity participation ...
In order to sustain this commitment over time, we recommend that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) examine in detail the CBC's future plans for feature film support at its television licence renewals next year. The CRTC should ensure that the commitments to feature film are commensurate with its role in the Canadian broadcasting system. These promises should be made conditions of licence."
15540 CAFDE was pleased to see the CBC's renewed interest in Canada's feature film industry in its submission to the film policy review and in its return this year as the official broadcaster of the annual Genie Awards, celebrating Canada's cinema.
15541 We believe the CBC has an important role to play as broadcaster and promoter of Canadian films, much like the BBC does in Britain, but it should not get involved in other activities such as concept development, production and distribution. The CBC, in our view, should not try to do things that the private independent sector is in a position of doing.
15542 CAFDE has, with great interest, taken note of the recent announcement of the SRC's intention to invest $20 million over the next five years -- why they haven't said seven years, we wonder; maybe they only want a five-year licence -- towards the production and promotion of Canadian feature films. This announcement was followed as recently as Monday of this week by a commitment from English CBC of $30 million over five years. This money is to be used:
"to support the independent sector through development arrangements, pre-buys, equity investment, acquisitions, direct and indirect promotion, and sponsorships ..."
15543 While we are pleased with these announcements by the CBC, we note that they come late and fall short of the recommendation of the feature film advisory committee of the CBC being obliged to commit $25 million a year to supporting Canadian theatrical feature films.
15544 CAFDE believes the Commission should require the CBC to be quite clear on what efforts it is prepared to allocate to improving its performance in promoting and broadcasting Canadian feature films in prime time. It is unfortunate that the CBC proposals are being announced piecemeal during the process of these CRTC renewal hearings.
15545 It would have been preferable that they be part of an initial proposal to the Commission and that all of us would have had more time to analyze what seemed to be at the outset interesting proposals. Notwithstanding this, we feel the Commission should review with the CBC its proposals for the feature film sector and ultimately turn such proposals into specific conditions of licence.
15546 As many of you know, Canadian independent feature film producers and distributors have to deal on a daily basis with the overwhelming domination of American product -- it doesn't just happen in magazines -- on our theatre screens -- Canadian films still only have a 2 per cent share of screen time -- and in the programming schedules of Canadian conventional broadcasters. On French language broadcasters such as TVA, 89 per cent of the programming of films is American films.
15547 CAFDE believes that the CBC in its role as a national public broadcaster should make air time available to promote Canadian feature films when they are in theatres. Such an initiative would contribute to increasing awareness of Canadian films in the minds of Canadians and would, in effect, ultimately benefit the CBC if it buys the television rights to broadcast a given film later on.
15548 In addition, the CBC should make every effort to broadcast such films in prime time and promote such screenings on air before the actual broadcast. Once again, we are encouraged by the announcement last Friday by the English Television Network that it plans on having Canadian feature films within its next season program schedule on Thursday and Sunday evenings in prime time.
15549 While we are pleased with this proposal, we would prefer to see such a commitment be part of conditions of licence as opposed to issuing a press release and then changing one's mind as we get closer to a firm programming schedule. In that, I would just note that the program grid that the CBC has provided for all of you on the fall season for 1999, there is no mention of Canadian films on Thursday night.
15550 CAFDE agrees with the producer associations who believe that there must be more on air promotion and media campaigns around Canadian audio-visual productions. In the area of feature films, particularly in English Canada, there must be new programming initiatives developed to promote not only our filmmakers but also our creators and artists.
15551 Canadians watch "Entertainment Tonight" religiously and only on occasion get to see Canadian stars that have become successful in the United States. Why has the CBC not yet found an appropriate programming formula to nurture a Canadian star system for both Canadian television programs and feature films?
15552 Before we conclude, we would like to add that what we are suggesting for the CBC applies just as much to Canadian private television broadcasters. Their record on supporting Canadian feature films, with the exception of City TV, is even more desolate than that of the CBC. But that is a subject to be developed at other renewal of licences and we will be there.
15553 CAFDE believes that the proliferation of new Canadian and foreign specialty services and the growth of private conventional television networks over the last 20 years should serve as a guide to the Commission in reviewing the role of our national public broadcaster, and CAFDE proposes the Commission focus in its deliberations on how the CBC can actively and effectively support Canada's creators, producers and distributors of Canadian feature films.
15554 Time is running short for our feature film industry and the CBC renewal offers an opportunity to engage the CBC in some new initiatives which will support our industry.
15555 CAFDE believes that the present review of the CBC offers a unique opportunity to finally integrate the Canadian feature film industry as a full-fledged partner in developing quality Canadian content which can effectively contribute to adding value to the program schedules of the CBC.
15556 We recommend the Commission use this opportunity to finally recognize the importance television can have in supporting our domestic film industry, just as you have done in the past for drama and children's programming. Canadian feature films should be an integral part on an ongoing basis in the planning, scheduling and promotion of both television networks of the CBC.
15557 Nous vous remercions de votre attention et sommes disposés à répondre à vos questions.
15558 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci beaucoup, monsieur Paradis, de votre mémoire écrit et de votre participation ce matin.
15559 Compte tenu que dans votre intervention orale ce matin vous faites bien référence au fait que vous avez bien suivi les audiences dans la mesure où vous avez enregistré les nouveaux engagements que Radio-Canada et CBC mettent sur la table, je comprends bien que vous dites que ce n'est pas tout à fait ce que le comité consultatif recommandait: loin de là, au fond. C'est cinq fois moins.
15560 Quelle est votre position à ce moment-ci? Je comprends bien que vous dites au Conseil de s'assurer que ce soit des engagements fermes. Donc, on pourrait imaginer des conditions de licence.
15561 Mais si vous teniez notre main au moment où on va écrire la décision, quelle serait pour vous quelque chose qui serait réaliste, qui rencontrerait bien les objectifs que votre industrie poursuit, ceux du comité consultatif, tout en tenant compte de ce qu'on a entendu aussi pendant toute l'audience, à savoir les moyens limités de Radio-Canada et de CBC?
15562 M. PARADIS: Écoutez, je pense qu'on est sensibilisé au fait que Radio-Canada a des ressources limitées. Mais je pense qu'il faut aussi entendre le message du gouvernement qui se préoccupe du fait que la télévision peut-être n'a pas donné la place qu'on devrait donner à notre cinéma pour pouvoir appuyer son développement parce que si vous prenez un film comme par exemple, "Liste noire", pour lequel il y a eu 210 000 entrées au cinéma, qui a été un film assez bien accueilli au Québec, quand Télé-Métropole l'a montré en ondes, en heures de grande écoute, avec une très bonne promotion pendant les deux semaines auparavant, il y a eu au-dessus d'un million et demie de personnes qui l'ont regardé, ce qui est un succès dans le marché du Québec, un million et demie, et puis encore autant au Canada anglais.
15563 Donc, je pense que ce qu'on trouve un peu triste, surtout dans le domaine du cinéma, Radio-Canada a l'air à toujours réagir à des situations qui sont délicates pour eux. Par exemple, quand ils ont décidé de ne pas diffuser les Genies, l'année dernière, pour toutes sortes de raisons -- il n'y avait pas assez de monde qui le regardait -- cela n'aidait pas les revenus publicitaires. Bien là, toute l'industrie a été prise de court et puis on n'était même pas capable d'avoir la démonstration qu'il y avait une certaine partie de notre cinéma qui avait du succès.
15564 Ils sont revenus sur leur décision cette année. Ils ont fait une diffusion. J'imagine qu'ils vont faire une diffusion l'année prochaine, mais on est préoccupé par le fait qu'ils décident toujours des choses à la dernière minute. Là ils ont vu la sortie du rapport du comité consultatif. Ça dit 25 millions par année, ce qui fait 125 millions sur cinq ans. Eux, ils nous arrivent avec 50 millions sur cinq ans.
15565 De façon réaliste, si on avait dans une décision du CRTC: Merci beaucoup Radio-Canada, vous avez parlé de 50 millions, on s'attend à ce que le 50 millions soit là. Je pense que notre industrie déjà trouverait que ce serait un premier pas très positif pour l'industrie, dans le contexte des ressources qui sont disponibles pour Radio-Canada.
15566 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Dites-moi: Voyez-vous une distinction, parce que vous parlez de la question de la promotion aussi comme étant un outil très important pour le développement et la santé de votre industrie... Est-ce que vous voyez que la question de la promotion est un problème tant du côté SRC que CBC?
15567 M. PARADIS: Oui, puis je vous dirais même du côté des radiodiffuseurs privés. Dans les discussions reliées au comité consultatif, les radiodiffuseurs ont déjà entrepris, du côté de l'Association des radiodiffuseurs privés, de regarder la possibilité d'avoir des pauses publicitaires à l'intérieur de leur grille-horaire, surtout en heures... presque dans des heures de grande écoute, mais pas nécessairement là, pour faire la promotion de films quand ils sont sur les écrans. Le problème c'est que quand vous regardez la télévision, les seules promotions que vous voyez sur les ondes, de films, sont des films américains parce que ces films-là bénéficient d'un budget absolument incroyable du marché nord-américain pour faire la promotion de leurs films.
15568 Nous, on n'est vraiment pas en mesure de faire ce genre de promotion-là avec les ressources qu'on a et puis on pense qu'on devrait... une des choses qu'on peut négocier avec les radiodiffuseurs c'est qu'ils rendent disponibles du temps d'antenne publicitaire. D'ailleurs, ils vont peut-être un jour venir vous voir pour vous demander des crédits additionnels de contenu canadien, s'ils le font. Mais on pense qu'il faut trouver des mécanismes pour favoriser la promotion en ondes télévision de nos films parce qu'on a des films qui sont... il y a toute sorte de commentaires sur les films canadiens. Mais il y a des films qui sont très bons et on est très déçu quand on regarde les chiffres au niveau du box office. Mais il faut voir que c'est une industrie qui est absolument enterrée par la promotion américaine.
15569 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Vous parlez de promotion dans le sens, au fond, de message publicitaire. Qu'en est-il des autres formes plus des invités au sein de talk-shows, de "Info Culture", par exemple à Radio-Canada? Est-ce que ce ne sont pas là des façons de faire parler des films canadiens?
15570 M. PARADIS: Certainement. Puis du côté du Canada anglais, on pense qu'ils n'ont pas réussi encore à trouver la formule d'émissions qui pourraient rendre cette chose-là. Il y a des choses sur Newsworld. Une personnalité qui est souvent dans les journaux, Pamela Wallin, souvent dans son émission au réseau Newsworld, sur son émission, parlait souvent à des comédiens canadiens qui performaient aux États-Unis. C'est intéressant mais encore-là c'est dans le créneau horaire où ça se situe. Puis encore là, c'est une des émissions les plus regardées, de toute façon, à Newsworld.
15571 Mais du côté du Canada français, on n'est plus... Radio-Canada a plus de succès, mais comme vous savez, on a déjà un star system au Québec et Radio-Canada, des émissions comme "L'Écuyer" qui réussit à faire la promotion des films quand ils sont en salles. Télé-Métropole fait un excellent travail dans ce domaine-là aussi. On va avoir "Elvis Gratton II" qui va sortir au début juillet, je pense. Puis déjà, à TVA, il y a une grosse promotion en ondes en heures de grande écoute pour ce film-là.
15572 Alors, il y a des situations... mais au Canada anglais, c'est comme si on était vraiment dans le désert. Il n'y a absolument rien dans ce genre-là.
15573 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Puis, ce que je comprends c'est qu'il n'y a comme pas, outre la question de la publicité comme telle... il n'y a comme pas la coquille d'émissions pour permettre...
15574 Il n'y a pas le type "Info Culture" du côté de CBC comme il y a à Radio-Canada, l'espèce d'élément culturel à l'intérieur du "National" ou enfin du bulletin "Le Soir"? Non?
15575 M. PARADIS: Moi, je dirais qu'il n'y a rien qui se compare du côté du Canada anglais. Il n'y a vraiment rien. Puis une des raisons pourquoi Radio-Canada anglais dit souvent qu'ils n'ont jamais réussi à trouver la formule c'est parce qu'ils disent: On a de la difficulté à avoir le star system canadien anglais parce que nos stars s'en vont aux États-Unis.
15576 Mais je ne suis pas sûr. Avec les moyens qu'ils ont, je penserais que la CBC pourrait... éventuellement, il faut mettre des gens de création ensemble, puis développer des projets, puis les essayer. Mais moi, je ne peux pas dire que pendant les cinq dernières années qu'ils ont fait de grands efforts. Puis, il n'y a rien.
15577 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Vous êtes en pourparlers avec eux? Il n'y a pas que le comité aviseur. Vous avez été régulièrement en contact et en dialogue et vous le demeurez?
15578 M. PARADIS: Oui, puis je pense que ce que vous propose Radio-Canada dans ses différents communiqués de presse cette semaine et la semaine dernière c'est qu'ils mettent un certain montant pour investir dans des films et ils mettent un certain montant qu'ils appellent, eux autres, "promotion". Nous, on pense que cela veut dire qu'ils vont mettre en ondes de la promotion pendant les heures d'écoute pour certains films. Mais c'est encore à définir.
15579 On trouve que c'est, comme on a dit dans notre mémoire, un peu tard et puis un peu triste parce que vous allez avoir à prendre des décisions. Puis on se fait prendre avec ça à la dernière minute.
15580 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Mais comme vous le savez, l'audience n'est pas terminée. Il y a une période dans cette audience qui invite le détenteur de licence à faire la réplique aux intervenants et puis à nous aussi de poursuivre au moment de cette réplique, avant notre temps d'analyse et de décision.
15581 Alors, merci d'avoir pris le temps de venir plus fermement encore exprimer vos intentions. Merci beaucoup, monsieur Paradis.
15582 M. PARADIS: Merci.
15583 MS BÉNARD: We will now have the final presentation for today: the Coalition seeking balance on CBC.
15584 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. Thank you for your patience. We are concluding our week with you.
15585 MS LA PRAIRIE: I would just like to say before we begin that you must be very tired and very hungry.
15586 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, no. The interest is really with the interventions, and the dialogue we are here establishing is keeping us alert and makes us forget that we are hungry.
15587 MS LA PRAIRIE: Well, we will try not to put you to sleep or to bore you.
15588 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, I am sure you won't.
15589 MS LA PRAIRIE: Before we begin, I would like to introduce ourselves. To my right is Diane Watts; she is National President of Women for Life, Faith and Family. To my left is Karen Murawsky; she is National Director for Public Affairs of Campaign Life International. I am a lesser light; I am only Vice-President of the National Capital Region of Real Women and I am starting.
15590 We have a challenge for the CRTC which is supposed to see that the CBC lives up to its mandate to provide accurate, balanced and fair news and public affairs programming as well as a wide variety of points of view on the issues of the day.
15591 At the Open Forum at Carleton University last November, Alex Frame, Vice-President for English Radio, made the comment that:
"There are those who complain that we are too left-wing, but others complain that we are too right-wing, so we must be doing something right!"
And he laughed.
15592 We have a challenge for him too and for other CBC executives who are using the same tactics to excuse their doing nothing to bring about more balance. We urge you to do this by employing some conservative producers and hosts.
15593 Political commentator Barbara Amiel who once worked for the CBC, in her book "Confessions", in the chapter entitled "The Media Gliblibs", wrote the following:
"The entire CBC has not got one single conservative producer on its Public Affairs staff..."
15594 She added:
"This may be fair in a private broadcaster but a bit thick in a tax-supported one."
15595 There have been some improvements, like the appointment of Red Murphy as host of "Cross-Country Checkup". He is unfailingly courteous to everyone who phones in and any calls the producer might not agree with don't appear to have been screened out, in contrast to programs in the past.
15596 We recall one in particular about the benefits the feminists were supposed to have brought to Canada. Not one caller who disagreed with feminism was allowed on the air, although we heard of a number of women across Canada who held different views and tried to get on but were screened out.
15597 Callers on recent phone-ins about the CBC itself had these complaints:
"CBC is for the elite, academia, the arts community..."
"...it's not for all Canadians, it's for the sacred cows: radical feminists, homosexuals, native Indians..."
"...too many like-minded guests..."
"CBC is biased against social conservatives, it doesn't have people like Ted Byfield on."
"...it talks about Evangelical views with disdain..."
15598 Another caller:
"I'm not an Evangelical, but that's exactly what's wrong with the CBC, labelling anyone who disagrees with it as right-wing, a fringe group, as if our views are not important."
15599 Of course, the CBC does have its ardent supporters, those belonging to the "politically correct groups" and the "Friends of Public Broadcasting" who fiercely defend the CBC, deploring any cutbacks to its public funding because it reflects their ideology and is a constant platform for their views.
15600 Someone said of the CBC, that it is known as the propaganda tool of the left of centre. What is missing to make the CBC live up to its mandate?
15601 To quote Barbara Amiel again, in a MacLean's article about the CBC, she wrote:
"So often it is not what is said on air, but what isn't. Distortion can begin most effectively by excluding subjects, quotes or commentators from a schedule..."
15602 Re excluding commentators, one of Peter Stockland's columns in the Ottawa Sun was entitled, "The tale of the two Judys." It concerned the retirements of Judy Rebick after three years as President of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women, and that of Judy Anderson after three years as President of REAL Women of Canada.
15603 Judy Rebick was interviewed at length on each of the CBC's flagship public affairs programs. Judy Anderson's retirement was ignored. Indeed she had tried, as President, to present views other than those of the feminists on CBC, but always an excuse was found to keep her off.
15604 In our own publication "Reality", under the caption "REAL Women of Canada Policy Supported by Majority of Canadian Women" appears the following:
"Feminist editor, Sally Armstrong of Homemakers magazine must have had quite a shock from the results of an extensive poll of women it commissioned Decima Research to carry out. The cross-Canada poll was commissioned to find out the views of Canadian women on family, feminism, careers and the future...
The results fall completely within the objects and goals of REAL Women of Canada ... which has always supported equality for women and has promoted traditional family values. The results also show that even after twenty years of relentless feminist pressure, aided by a sympathetic media, (especially the CBC) and millions of taxpayers' dollars handed out to feminists ... Canadian women are not impressed. They know who they are and what they want and it's not feminism."
15605 A recent survey in the U.S. shows the same striking results that a majority of women there also disagree with the feminists. Yet everything concerning so-called women's issues is presented on CBC from the feminist point of view. Moreover, CBC consistently ignores the annual conventions of REAL Women of Canada and the wall qualified speakers who come to address us in wide range of subjects.
15606 John Crispo, former member of the CBC's board of directors, in a MacLean's article subtitled, "A vocal critic pleads for fairness at the CBC", wrote the following:
"... what I expect of its Public Affairs shows is a thorough airing of every controversial issue. This means having equally articulate and bright protagonists on the major sides of such issues and letting them go ahead at it, preferably live and unedited. Then listeners and viewers can judge for themselves where they stand, safe from any editing or filtering, i.e. distorting or twisting by CBC producers."
15607 We care really second that idea!
15608 There is no real debate on vital issues on CBC, whose idea of a panel of differing views was for years to have Liberal MP Eric Kierans, NDP Stephen Lewis and PC Dalton Camp, well known to be a red Tory. Is there any real difference between a red Tory and Liberal? There was seldom, if ever, a fundamental clash of ideas. What was needed on that panel was a social conservative, but we were simply treated to different shades of liberalism.
15609 Of course today, the Reform Party being the official opposition, CBC cannot completely ignore its members, but most commentators, reporters and guests still seem to fit into the Liberal left mould.
15610 Phone-in programs do enable listeners to hear different points of view from across Canada. Nevertheless, the bias remains on CBC news and public affairs programs. Individuals, organizations or groups who are not politically correct are targeted and deliberate efforts made to discredit them in one-sided reporting with words taken out of context, no chance of rebuttal given or only tokenism allowed to give the appearance of fairness.
15611 Therefore, our challenge to the CRTC is this: Do what should have been done long ago and insist the targeting of organizations in order to discredit them cease and that real public debate take place on CBC. If the CBC's license is to be renewed, it must be closely monitored to ensure there is proper balance on controversial issues. If that is accomplished, the CBC will finally be worthy of the public's trust.
15612 MS MURAWKSY: I'm Part II of this presentation. I represent Campaign Life Coalition which is a national pro-life organization which works in the political arena to obtain protection for all human life from conception to natural death.
15613 We believe that the news coverage offered by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation is biased against pro-life people of Canada. We have isolated just a very few recent examples of what we consider to be this type of reporting and we ask you to look at them with us and examine the role the CBC plays in influencing Canadians with presentations which incorrectly portray the pro-life message and unfairly depict pro-life individuals. I will not read all the examples I have before you but I would like to pick some of them.
15614 October 24, 1998, after the shooting death of Barnet Slepian, Campaign Life Coalition issued a press released in which president James Hughes stated:
"We condemn the shooting of the Buffalo abortionist and all acts of violence against those involved in the abortion industry."
15615 The CBC newscasts that day at 4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. had a clip of Mr. Hughes as he decried the violence and commented upon how we might comprehend the anger of those who are injured by abortion.
15616 In later broadcasts, at 6:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., his declaration against violence was omitted and it was made to appear the Campaign Life Coalition sympathized with the murderers. We had many calls from our own members questioning that and asking why he did so. Not only that, one well known pro-abortion picketer screaming outside Campaign Life Coalition offices held a Campaign Life Coalition sign. In the clip it was left to look as if she were a pro-life protestor.
15617 Sins of omission can have deadly results: in this case, a twisted, inaccurate, damaging report. I have a video with me, should any want to see it, of this and other related news stories which will be mentioned.
15618 January 19, 1999, a documentary was aired in connection with the shooting of Barnet Slepian again. It was on the "National Magazine" and was entitled, "Thou Shalt Not Kill." The program was composed of reactionary, biased coverage using films clips crafted in such a way as to make peaceful pro-life demonstrators in Canada appear to be violent, cursing mobs.
15619 An attempt was made to connect Canadian pro-life organizations to a radical American group. The Canadian film clips, we believe, were out of context and, in one case, showed a pro-abortion "rent-a-mob" and gave the impression that these were unruly pro-lifers. The sign in the crowd, "Keep abortion legal" gave away their true origins. To quote one TV watcher, Brigit Kane, of Sillery, Quebec:
"It is telling that the only video clip that could be found showing frenzied, hating, screaming agitators (was one of) pro-abortion demonstrators (listen to the words)."
15620 It has been suspected that Will Offley, the radical B.C. pro-abortion activist and media-type was involved with this program and indeed on January 15th, in a widely distributed e-mail, he cackled at the "exposé" to be aired, which he said would show:
"... the connections between mainstream Canadian anti-abortion groups and some of the most dangerous of their counterparts in the US."
15621 He revealed generally unknown details of the program scheduled for January 19 -- four days later -- on the CBC.
15622 This show did indeed attempt to establish such links, although there was not one instance of violence by Canadian pro-lifers mentioned on the program. There as been no major act of violence by pro-lifers in 30 years. There wasn't one they could find.
15623 "Thou Shalt Not Kill", the title of the program, we believe, is an insult to the Corporation and an insult to CBC watchers. It is an affront to all people who are inclined to believe what they see on television and reveals discrimination against pro-life people in Canada.
15624 February 3rd, CBC "News Magazine", with Carol Off, interviewed Maria Cusillo, manager of a Toronto abortion site, who the reporter said had been:
"...harassed for years by elements in the anti-abortion movement in Canada. She had death threats."
15625 This claim was never substantiated and none of the accused, who are the whole pro-life population of Canada, were interviewed considering these actions. If the CBC is looking for violence, we ask them to look at the violence of an abortion.
15626 This particular news item stands as a prime example of biased, one-sided work. Ms Off's story followed on the heels of her early work, "Thou Shalt Not Kill."
15627 May 6, 1999, on "As It Happens", there was a long interview with Mary Lou Finlay with a writer from "Esquire Magazine" concerning James Kopp, wanted at that time for questioning in the murder of Slepian. The reporter referred to pro-lifers as people who:
"... think those in jail did the right thing. Those in jail are folklore heroes for killings or damage to clinics."
15628 Did the reporter ever speak of those in jail like Linda Gibbons, prisoner of conscience, who has served most of the last five years for peacefully praying at an abortion site? Not at all.
15629 May 14, 1999, was an important day for pro-life people in Canada. I have here a media search report from Bowdens Media Monitoring for the day of May 14, 1999. Bowdens is a well-respected service and does a thorough job in radio and TV monitoring.
15630 On May 14, called "Canada's Day of Infamy", 2500 people, from every province in Canada, joined the March for Life to Parliament Hill to demand protection for all human life. They were met there by clergymen, politicians, Muslim leaders, Jewish leaders, evangelical leaders and many leaders of pro-life organizations.
15631 They also had the most wonderful visuals on the Hill. Over 400 handmade "Precious Life" quilts were arrayed on eight-foot scaffolding and totally surrounded the green lawn. It was very visually spectacular and yet it behooves us to wonder why there was a total of 95 seconds coverage of this event by the CBC when another large private broadcaster could give excellent coverage totally as high as five and one-half minutes.
15632 This was a national event, speaking to federal lawmakers, with a large national attendance, in the National Capital of Canada and the national broadcasting service couldn't find time to give a decent report of something that was happening right under its nose.
15633 We are not saying, only, that the CBC lacks a balance in reporting on certain issues, we are saying that when it concerns matters of abortion, the killing of a child in the womb, the CBC has a strong pro-abortion bias. To maintain that bias is morally wrong, unfair and an example of the poorest journalism. Is the CBC afraid of truth? We have to believe so.
15634 To retain its licence, the CBC should correct the bias, present fair and honest and balanced coverage relating to the issue of abortion.
15635 Thank you.
15636 MS WATTS: Thank you.
15637 I am Diana Watts, from Women for Life, Faith and Family, with Part III of our presentation.
15638 Canadians over-burdened with excessive taxation are more keenly aware than ever of the responsibilities of tax-funded broadcasting. The CBC is no longer a luxury we can afford to indulge. It is being called to fiscal and moral accountability as many question whether it meets the needs of Canadians.
15639 Women for Life, Faith and Family is a Catholic organization with representation across Canada, founded to rectify misinformation, disinformation, bias and hatred towards our Catholic traditions. Over 12 million Catholics in Canada are bound by their Baptism to adhere to Catholic Church teaching.
15640 Although the CBC may not be the most vulgar in its expression of anti-Catholic bigotry, its programming is, nevertheless, interwoven with intolerance of Catholic thought. The CBC capitalizes on dissent in the Church by interviewing, ad nauseam, a minority of reactionary dissidents and propagandists whose animosity towards their church is exploited. Rather than help them return to fidelity, the CBC highlights their erroneous idealogies, while omitting authentic information from Catholic sources. It appears that the more intellectually challenging Catholic teaching is not tolerated. This stifling of more profound thought exposes the doctrinally-challenged dissidents to ridicule and cheapens our tax-supported broadcaster.
15641 The constant parade of disgruntled, misinformed, neo-Marxist, ex-nuns, ex-priests and ex-Catholics has lead to a deep-rooted loss of credibility for the CBC. In fact, anti-Catholic rebels have been so over-exposed that the exercise has turned into a joke among educated Catholics.
15642 Rather than Canadians being informed with the more elevated thought found in the Catholic religion, we are consistently assaulted with the antinomian, anti-intellectual, indifferentist, sacrilegious, heretical, irreverent, superficial dronings of contemporary lesser lights. Catholics would welcome an improvement. It can be a window of opportunity for renewed, more authentic programming. Meanwhile, Canadians must continue to turn elsewhere for unbiased information.
15643 Superficial coverage of scandals within the Church deliberately suppresses Catholic teaching on the sacrilegious and immoral character of the sinful behaviour in question, the state of the soul of the predators and Catholic moral teaching. This promotes hatred towards the Church and towards Catholics. It is reprehensible that by the omission of religious content our publicly-funded CBC consistently engages in this subtle form of hate-mongering.
15644 The Catholic Church, by its nature, is family-oriented rather than sex-oriented. The Church's moral teaching is part of this family-friendly heritage. The Catholic has a duty to live his faith in everyday life. But when a Catholic dares to use his right to freedom of religion and religious expression by publicly supporting the Church's moral teaching, he gets no support from the CBC -- which he is forced to support through the taxation of his income. In one instance, a Canadian M.P. who stated the Church's moral teaching was attacked with particular venom and hatred on the CBC. To our knowledge, there has been no apology or balancing of this injustice.
15645 My footnotes give examples of all these statements.
15646 Catholic parents would welcome help rather than obstructive anti-Catholic libertinism from the CBC in their efforts to hand down the Catholic culture and Catholic moral directives to the next generation. The rights of Canadian parents are not respected by our tax-funded CBC. Family-oriented and God-oriented Canadians often see the CBC as a hindrance rather than a help to their parenting. Stiff fines threaten Canadians who utter a word of criticism of sexual orientation. Equally stiff fines should apply to anyone at the CBC, or quoted on the air, who has the same attitude towards the dignity of family-oriented and God-oriented Canadians.
15647 The Catholic character of Canadian history is another area which has been distorted on the CBC. This also contributes to anti-Catholic hatred. An effort to elevate the mind rather than sow discord, suspicion and hatred towards the religious orders which founded schools, hospitals and helped all segments of society in the early years of Canadian life would do much to improve the CBC's reputation. Research free of anti-Catholic bias and hatred is desperately needed for documentaries.
15648 For the new millennium, we recommend and end to anti-Catholic bias. Particularly offensive is the regular ridiculing of the spiritual head on earth of nearly half the population of Canada, the Pope. We also ask for an end to the immature attitude of giddiness and flippancy in the face of religious issues. Narrow, superficial and irreverent coverage of Catholic issues is deeply offensive to the Canadian population. In fairness to all Canadian taxpayers, because of entrenched, systemic, mindless anti-Catholic bias and bigotry, one solution to the recent history of intolerant broadcasting would be the privatization of CBC. That way, Catholics wouldn't feel responsible for funding this.
15649 Finally, we ask each and every one of you: Why have you, as guardians of fair broadcasting, allowed all of this bias to go on unchecked for so long? And I have many examples, and many examples could not be included here.
15650 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
15651 I would ask Vice-Chair Madam Wylie to address you the questions.
15652 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good afternoon, mesdames. I am sure you are as hungry as we are. We appreciate you patiently --
15653 MS La PRAIRIE: Well, we had a chance to have a bite --
15654 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- waiting to hear from us and us from you.
15655 There seems to be two trends in your presentations. The first presentation seemed to be an allegation of more an endemic problem of liberalism being unbalanced vis-a-vis a more conservative view of issues and, then, two presentations that focused on very particular items where you would want to see more balance, one being the abortion issue and the other the religious issue, particularly the Catholic issue.
15656 Would that be correct?
15657 MS La PRAIRIE: Well, it's also -- I mentioned that it's so pro-feminist. And yet, they are the minority -- they claim to be the minority -- but polls, from legitimate pollsters, show that that is absolutely false and yet, CBC shuts off the majority of Canadian women who are not feminists. They do not use us. As I said, everything on so-called women's issues -- some issues, there are men and children involved. It's not just women. But it's always women's groups. And the women's groups are the feminists. They never consult many groups that aren't feminists. That's what I mean.
15658 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Have you, as a group, or groups, that sympathize with that view or empathize with that view actually been refused access to the CBC on particular issues?
15659 MS La PRAIRIE: Well, I mentioned Judy Rebick, how they treated two presidents --
15660 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, I meant more a desire to put a certain view forward that has been refused access.
15661 MS La PRAIRIE: Well, I mentioned the program before Rex Murphy's time, and we feel the problem is that there are a lot of feminist producers. They seem to be in control. Why is this happening? We all pay our taxes. And according to the polls, the views that we hold, family value views, it's the majority. And yet, you only hear from the feminists. You hear ad nauseam from the Status of Women. They not elected and here they are getting all the -- most of the millions of dollars over the years, and CBC gives them a platform. Why is this? Why isn't it more balanced? We don't mind hearing their views, but we want to hear it balanced. It seems to me that's fair.
15662 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Is it your view that the private sector does a better job of balancing? I'm thinking, in particular, of -- and I may make a mistake here, depending on -- I believe it's Linda Frum, for example. She is Barbara Frum's daughter-in-law, that's why -- I think she uses the name Frum -- who has just published a book which is more, I would believe, oriented towards the real woman's view or the --
15663 MS La PRAIRIE: The conservative view. The conservative, traditional view, let us say.
15664 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- and has just published a book ,and I certainly saw her interview but I can't recall if it was on the CBC or on CTV. But, as an example. Is it your view that the private sector does a better job of covering -- because this particular woman's work, which is very recently, was given extensive coverage.
15665 MS La PRAIRIE: Well, I recall a book by Betty Steel [ph], a few years ago. She wrote "The Feminist Takeover". She was never interviewed. Yet we are constantly hearing interviews of books written by feminists. And I'll tell you a station who has Dr. Laura -- I don't know whether any of you have heard her, but there is a traditional woman who promotes traditional views and she has a tremendous -- 148 newspapers that she's got a column, and she's on many stations, and she's going to be given a daily program. It's because people are sick and tired of hearing this left-leading, permissive society. They want to hear something solid. And here she is, giving counsel with people who have gone down all that road and got into all kinds of trouble and she's trying to help them get back. I would like to have somebody -- hear somebody like that on the CBC.
15666 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Are you aware of whether there is more -- less -- as what you perceive to be an endemic lack of liberalism on the CTV? Is it your view that the SRC is the same, that Société Radio-Canada in Québec is the same? Or are you only involved with --
15667 MS La PRAIRIE: Well, I do listen my mother tongue. I'm fluently bilingual but my mother tongue is English. So, when your mother tongue is one or the other, you are more inclined to listen to that. So, I would imagine it's about the same, but I cannot say exactly for true.
15668 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You had a comment?
15669 MS MURAWSKY: I would like to respond to your question, you know, "Are the private broadcasters preferable in this case?".
15670 I'm thinking more of coverage of events which we have been involved in, the Campaign Life Coalition. We are political organization and we do political lobbying and try to effect political change, so we don't put on that many educational events or something like that. But we certainly know that in coverage of things that happened, of crises in the country, or anything like that, that the private broadcasters, yes, they do do a fairer job.
15671 We are not asking that the issue be buried or go away. In fact, we welcome debate, we welcome discussion, and we welcome interviews and we welcome presentations, but they have to be fair. And I would say, consistently, that the ones in the CBC -- and I have been working with the Pro-life Organization since 1974 -- I would say, consistently, they have not been fair in the CBC, whereas they are better in some of the private broadcasters. This was one event, in May, that was a beautiful place for, particularly, television to use what was going on and it was really quite disparate in the CBC and I was deeply disappointed because all the preliminary work had been done, you know, they had received all their notices and everything, and that was their option to choose to do that, and I don't think that was fair coverage.
15672 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You know, of course, that both the Broadcasting Act and the Commission's policies require balance on that --
15673 MS La PRAIRIE: Yes. That's why we are here. And to live up to its mandate --
15674 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- which would include such issues as abortion and as fair religious coverage, but that balance has to be achieved over a period of time. We don't have --
15675 MS MURAWSKY: Twenty-five years is a pretty fair period of time, I think.
15676 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- and I'm wondering whether you have ever taken advantage of that policy to complain about a particular --
15677 MS MURAWSKY: This is not the first time I have been before the CRTC. I remember 20 years ago I appeared before the CRTC on these --
15678 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, I meant more during the life of the licence, when there is a particular issue --
15679 MS MURAWSKY: Yes.
15680 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- over a period of time.
15681 MS La PRAIRIE: Could I just say here that two of us were involved with the Committee for Fairness in Broadcast and we had monitored, over several years, chapter and verse, program, the producer, the program host, the title, the guest and where the bias was. It was enough evidence to nail the CBC to the wall with their bias -- just what you are asking -- over several years, all the dates. We came in front of the CRTC -- and I don't see -- I'm exonerating all of you because I don't recognize any of your faces. Would you believe it was totally ignored? Totally ignored. They didn't even name us in their report. They didn't even have one line: Some people object to some of the things. That was the CRTC.
15682 Now, our only conclusion is that the same people who were involved, the producers, the hosts, where the bias -- they were appointing people to the overseer who had the same ideology, so they didn't want to do anything about it. But we are Canadians. We all pay our taxpayers. Is it supposed to be a democracy? And what is going on, really, is that special interest groups are running our country and they have got into key positions everywhere.
15683 I recently saw a wonderful analysis of the 1991 census. Eighty-two per cent of the country declared themselves christian. Now, we all know they are not going to church. But they cared enough -- and 45.7 per cent were Catholics -- cared enough to put that on the census. And yet, in this analysis -- and less than one million said they had no religious affiliation. She said, "Is it from that much smaller number, a fraction of the total, that they have got into all the key positions? And she said, "The laws that are going on, they seem to have taken over our legal system, our judicial system", and what we are talking about here, our communication system, our educational system.
15684 So what kind of democracy do we live in that this is happening? And you, I beg of you, you are people who can do something about it. We can't. We have tried everything. And we didn't want to come here. We said we didn't know if we would be in front of hostile people who we could tell, by their faces, if they, "Oh, who are these three?", you know.
15685 But many, many people feel like we do. We haven't much voice. And we came because we said, "If we don't make an effort, five more years of this terrible bias". Why is the head of the Catholic religion, the spiritual head on earth, as Diane mentioned, of nearly half the population of Canada, of nearly a billion people in the world, ridiculed on our CBC. A man dressed up to look at him -- to look like him, looks like him in his white robes, and what is coming out of his mouth? One of them is in the end notes that Diane has, making him out as if all he cares about is money. Then they have an audience laughing at this. How do you think the Catholics feel?
15686 It's getting worse, not getting better.
15687 They are twisting history. Revisionist history is going on. We have to listen. We wish these producers were here and we deeply regret they weren't here to hear us. They probably won't even see this. But many of the producers right here probably were guilty of revisionist history, putting on all of these things that are very, very offensive. From our consensus 82 per cent.
15688 MS WATTS: I would like to add that objective coverage of issues is much more interesting than one-sided coverage, and journalistic balance is much more interesting to Canadians than the imbalance. Many people react with irritation to constantly hearing the same views over and over again.
15689 I have in my footnotes a list of dissenters in the Catholic church who are forever being interviewed, giving their views on the CBC without ever giving a balanceing view which in my view, and in views of most people, is much more interesting than the slogineering that you hear from these people. Ex-priest Gregory Baum, ex-nun Joanna Manning is forever being interviewed, given a tremendous opportunity to attack the church's personages, attack the Pope, attack the church's teaching on abortion, about women, promote priestesses in the church.
15690 Yet the other side to this discussion is very interesting. There are a lot of interesting points why the church follows her teaching, and these are never exposed. People who read can expose themselves to this material and it is very interesting. The material is available on the Internet for people to do research, but obviously the producers are not doing research. It is just easier for them to get the same group of people, ex-nun Mary Jo Leddy, ex-nun Mary Daly, Joan Chichester, anti-Vatican Francis Kissling. These people are very often interviewed.
15691 It is the same repetitive slogans that are put on. It is boring to us who know more than this. It is boring to informed Catholics who read about what is going on in the Catholic church and who discuss what is going on in the Catholic church. There is plenty of material available, very readily available to the producers. It would be much more interesting.
15692 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, we thank you for your patience in waiting to speak to us and in presenting your views. We have them in writing as well and we assure you -- I don't know if you -- CBC are you hearing you. This is on the CBC here, and it is also on CPAC .
15693 We do hear many, of course, revendications, in French, or allegations or preoccupations by many groups who feel that there isn't a sufficient balance or sufficient coverage of their issues. Of course, they are not always the same issues that you put forward, but there are many views that are put forward and feel that they don't have the proper balance.
15694 But we thank you very much for your presentation.
15695 MS WATTS: I think it's important to remember that Canadians turn off. It is very easy to turn of the television, turn off the radio. That is what happens when the material is irritating.
15696 MS LA PRAIRIE: Or biased. We know many people who won't listen to the CBC. They are sick and tired of the bias. It is a shame because there are many wonderful things on CBC, and it is just a --
15697 So I repeat, we beg of you: You are the only people who can do anything about it. The producers should be brought in front of this and say, "Explain this." That's what you can do. We can't. We did our duty in coming here.
15698 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, you certainly did.
15699 Thank you very much for your participation.
15700 MS LA PRAIRIE: Thank you for listening to us.
15701 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
15702 That concludes the works of the day. We will be starting again Monday morning, continuing with the intervenors at nine o'clock.
15703 We have to be careful, apparently there is going to be work on the roads here, so we might as well plan to leave earlier if we want to start at 9:00.
--- Whereupon the hearing concluded at 1340, to resume
on Monday, June 7, 1999 at 0900 / L'audience se
termine à 1340, pour reprendre le lundi 7 juin 1999