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 7, 1999 Le 7 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 7, 1999 Le 7 juin 1999
- ii -
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
Intervention by / Intervention par:
Canadian Cable Television Association 3148
Communications, Energy & Paperworkers 3180
Union of Canada
Center for Research-Action on Race Relations 3204
National Film Board of Canada 3224
Alberta Motion Pictures Industries Association 3239
Newfoundland Broadcasting Company 3254
S&S Productions 3270
Fédération nationale des communications 3279
Corporation of the City of Windsor 3293
Aysha Productions 3311
Daryl Duke 3326
Telefilm Canada 3349
Canadian Conference of the Arts 3386
Canadian Independent Film Caucus 3409
D.C. Dawson 3435
Hull, Quebec / Hull (Québec)
--- Upon resuming on Monday, June 7, 1999 at 0900 /
L'audience reprend le lundi 7 juin 1999 à 0900
15704 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
15705 As Commissioner Langford is saying, don't be -- comment dire? Ne vous faites pas prendre. It's not India, it's Ottawa, but it is quite warm today. So if anyone wants to take their ties off, it's fine.
15706 Madame Bénard, would you please introduce our first intervenor of the week?
15707 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
15708 The first presentation will be by the Canadian Cable Television Association / l'Association canadienne de télévision par câble.
15709 Mr. Watt.
15710 MR. WATT: Thank you.
15711 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
15712 MR. WATT: Good morning, Madam Chair, Commissioners.
15713 My name is David Watt and I am Interim pPesident of the CCTA.
15714 With me today, on my right, are Gary Pizante, Vice-President of Economics; Andrew Briggs, Director of Economics; and on my left, Bev Kirshenblatt, Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs.
15715 The Canadian cable television industry has been a key partner with programming services, working towards ensuring the success of the Canadian specialty services, including Newsworld and RDI. CCTA's goal, which is shared by its partners in the Canadian broadcasting system, is to provide Canadians with the greatest choice of high-quality programming at affordable prices.
15716 As you all know, wholesale affiliation payments make up a very large part of the cable company's business. In 1998, the Canadian cable industry paid $566 million to Canadian specialty and Pay-TV licensees. This is approximately 30 per cent of its operating expenses and represents the cable industry's single largest expense item. For this reason, we believe that it is very important that requests to increase wholesale fees be based on sound forecasting assumptions and that they receive rigorous scrutiny.
15717 On May 5, CCTA filed an intervention opposing the rate increase requests of both Newsworld and RDI. In that written intervention, we focused our comments on Newsworld's proposed rate increase. We also supported the written intervention submitted by the ACQ opposing RDI's proposed rate increase.
15718 Our comments today will focus on Newsworld's application for an increase in its authorized wholesale rate -- a 15 per cent increase -- from the current monthly rate of 55 cents to 63 cents per subscriber.
15719 CCTA believes that Newsworld's forecast of subscribers is flawed, causing Newsworld to severely underestimate its future revenues. If the appropriate adjustments are made to Newsworld's projections, Newsworld will have significantly more funds available than they have forecasted.
15720 In addition to the text, I have handed out a package of slides that I will be referring to during the comments.
15721 As shown on page 2 of the package of charts we have provided to you, you can see that Newsworld says it will reduce programming expenditures by $24 million over its seven-year licence term if it does not receive an 8 cent rate increase.
15722 When corrections are made to Newsworld's revenue forecasts, this projected shortfall is more than fully offset. After correcting Newsworld's forecast, as shown in the middle column on page 2, we estimate that Newsworld will receive $37.3 million more in revenue that it has forecast. In fact, this is sufficient for Newsworld to also meet its five proposed goals, which it says will cost $35.8 million over its licence term.
15723 Simply put, Newsworld can do everything it wants to do without increasing subscriber fees.
15724 The main problem with Newsworld's business plan is that it assumes virtually no additional subscriber growth. It overlooks the impact of two key factors.
15725 First, Newsworld's forecast overlooks the growth in subscribers from new distribution undertakings such as DTH satellites which have extended the reach of Newsworld to uncabled areas of the country. Proper recognition of this growth will provide an additional $11.4 million to Newsworld. You can see the $11.4 is the bottom section of the middle column on page 2.
15726 Second, Newsworld overlooks normal growth in TV households. Proper recognition of this growth provides an additional $17.7 million to Newsworld. These growth factors will lead to a substantial increase in subscribers and a corresponding increase in advertising revenues, estimated at $8.2 million, as more subscribers will translate into more viewers.
15727 Turning to the specifics, page 3 of the handout shows Newsworld's assumptions regarding subscriber growth. The number of cable subscribers stays flat, while DTH subscribers will increase from 218,000 to 239,000 over seven years.
15728 Newsworld says that DTH subscribers may grow by more than this projection but that this additional growth would be at the expense of cable subscribers and would leave its forecast of total cable and DTH subscribers unaffected.
15729 As a result, Newsworld projects that total subscribers will increase from a starting point of 6.422 million in Year 1 to 6.443 million in Year 7. This represents growth of 21,000 subscribers over seven years, for an annual growth rate of only 0.05 per cent per year. That is one-twentieth of 1 per cent per year.
15730 Contrary to Newsworld's assumption, the number of subscribers to Newsworld are increasing at a very significant rate. Page 4 of the chart handout shows a comparison of March 1998 and March 1999 Newsworld subscribers in English Canada as compiled by Mediastats. As you can see, the total number of subscribers has increased by 7 per cent or 434,000.
15731 At 55 cents per subscriber per month, this alone amounts to an annual subscriber revenue increase of $2.9 million for Newsworld. The biggest source of subscriber growth is DTH, which added 245,000 English Canadian subscribers in just one year. Most importantly, this growth was not offset by a decline in cable subscribers, which also increased by 3 per cent or 175,000 subscribers.
15732 Thus, even with no increase in its subscriber wholesale rate, Newsworld stands to enjoy a substantial revenue increase from growth in the number of cable and DTH subscribers.
15733 Let us look more closely at the problems with Newsworld's DTH projections. At present, 10 per cent of Canadian households are not passed by cable, while another 22 per cent of TV households that are passed by cable do not subscribe to cable.
15734 DTH provides Newsworld the opportunity of reaching these 32 per cent of TV households that are currently not receiving specialty services. This is a brand new market for Newsworld and other specialty services. Newsworld overlooks this large element of the DTH market and instead, as mentioned earlier, assumes that most of DTH's new subscribers would come at the expense of cable.
15735 Page 5 illustrates a substantial gap between Newsworld's view of DTH subscriber growth and an RBC Dominion Securities forecast of DTH growth. This portion of the RBC forecast includes only customers who did not previously take cable service, the point being that from Newsworld's perspective these are new customers.
15736 Using the RBC Dominion Securities forecast of DTH growth in non-cabled areas and of non-cable customers it rises up to $709,000 in Year 7. The CCTA estimates that based on the existing rate of 55 cents per month these DTH subscribers will provide Newsworld with an additional $11.4 million in revenue. As you can see in every year but the first year, the RBC Dominion Securities forecast exceeds significantly the Newsworld's forecast.
15737 This $11.4 million in revenue was shows to you on page 2 of the package we have handed out. Remember, this is new additional revenue and does not include any revenues from cable customers who have migrated to DTH.
15738 Second, let's look at household growth. Historically, household growth in Canada has averaged approximately 1.5 per cent per year. Again, Newsworld's forecast overlooks this growth. As we noted earlier, by growing DTH customers in its financial forecast by only 1.5 per cent per year from its small starting point and not growing cable customers at all, Newsworld's forecast grows overall customers by a mere 0.05 per cent per year.
15739 Based on Newsworld's current 55 cents per month rate, and assuming household growth of 1.5 per cent per annum in the cable universe, we have estimated that additional subscribers from new household growth will generate $17.7 million in revenues for Newsworld.
15740 There are additional problems with Newsworld's forecast of advertising revenues. As illustrated on page 6, during the period of 1995 to 1998 Newsworld increased its advertising revenues by an average rate of 9 per cent per year. Nine per cent growth is certainly a substantial gain.
15741 However, now Newsworld is forecasting an abrupt reversal in its growth trend. After forecasting a 14 per cent decrease in annual advertising revenue from 1998 to 2000, Newsworld forecasts annual advertising revenue growth of only 2 per cent per annum during its licence period.
15742 Our corrections to Newsworld's forecasts do not include any adjustment to the period 1998 to 2000. Instead, our third correction follows from our adjustments to its subscriber growth forecasts.
15743 Because Newsworld has ignored subscriber growth from normal household growth and from the extended coverage of DTH, it follows that its forecast of views and advertising revenue is also underestimated. We have therefore increased its forecast of annual advertising revenues in proportion to our projection of its additional subscribers. This results in additional revenues of $8.2 million over the licence term.
15744 Newsworld responded to the association's intervention by submitting a Media Buying Services study that examines the Canadian television advertising market. The association notes that this study does not address any of the adjustments we put forth in our written submission regarding subscriber growth and is therefore largely irrelevant to our points.
15745 This summarizes the specific adjustments we have made to Newsworld's forecasts. We wish to make two additional general observations regarding Newsworld's forecasts.
15746 First, Newsworld received a substantial rate increase in 1993 from 32 cents to 55 cents. It is interesting to note that Newsworld's actual 1998 subscribers exceeds the forecast from its previous licence renewal application by over one million subscribers. In this renewal application, we believe Newsworld is once again underestimating its revenue levels.
15747 Second, it is interesting to note that when applying for a new French-language service last year, CBC projected considerably higher subscriber growth in Canada from both cable and DTH. These projections are shown on page 7.
15748 In this case, CBC applied an average annual growth rate of 2 per cent. This stands in stark contrast to the 0.05 per cent annual growth in this renewal application.
15749 In conclusion, we believe that with the appropriate adjustments made to Newsworld's financial projections, you will agree that Newsworld will have sufficient resources to accomplish its goals.
15750 If the 55 cent rate is maintained, subscriber revenue will continue to increase and will, in fact, provide Newsworld with $37.3 million in funds than Newsworld has forecasted. This will more than offset the $24 million shortfall that Newsworld is projecting. This will provide Newsworld with sufficient financial resources to do everything it wants to do, including its five proposed goals.
15751 Thank you, and we welcome your questions.
15752 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
15753 I would ask Vice-Chair Wylie to address the questions, please.
15754 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good morning, Mr. Watt, Madame and gentlemen.
15755 You apply, I gather, to both cabled and non-cable areas the same growth factor. We have 22 per cent of TV households that are passed by cable and do not subscribe to cable. What percentage do you ascribe to them subscribing to DTH, the same as non-cabled areas?
15756 MR. WATT: There is no explicit assumption made on that point.
15757 Just to clarify exactly what was done, the additional subscribers are broken into two pieces. One is the piece that comes from non-cabled areas and people who do not take cable. The number there was taken directly from the Dominion Securities forecast. So that is the number going from, I think, 187,000 up to 709,000.
15758 So there is no -- the 1.5 per cent growth in households is not applied in that number. RBC will have some forecast growth in that number. We don't know what it is.
15759 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But there is no differentiation, as far as you know, as to the percentage of growth in cabled areas, where people choose not to take cable, and those areas that are not cabled and that may take DTH. I find it difficult to believe that the same calculation can be applied when one knows that currently there is not a lot of difference between cable and DTH offerings and, if anything, the financial outlay at the outset may be larger.
15760 I find it hard to believe that those households, between 22 per cent and 25 per cent that could have cable and choose not to take it will take DTH in large numbers.
15761 MR. WATTS: Okay. Actually, the Dominion Securities forecast does not make the assumption that the penetration of services in areas that were uncabled is the same as the penetration into areas that were cabled but did not take the service.
15762 We can provide the actual Dominion Securities report to you, and there on page 4 what it shows is it has it labelled "Satellite TV Share of Total Homes" and it comes through and it has a range of years. It goes "Homes not Passed by Cable" and it rises from 15 per cent up to 63 per cent, saying that by the end of the period 63 per cent of those homes that were not served by cable are actually taking DTH service.
15763 When it comes to the second category, that is "Homes Passed by Cable" but who have chosen not to take cable -- I stumble over that -- goes from a number of 2 per cent in the first year up to 8 per cent in the last year.
15764 So I think they have taken into account the point that you are making, that if people have chosen not to take cable it probably indicates that they haven't felt the value was there for whatever reason, either the price or the services that are offered, and now that they do have an alternative, some more people choose to take the programming packages, but not a great deal more.
15765 So it is only an 8 per cent penetration into that market versus the 63 per cent penetration into the market where people couldn't get anything before.
15766 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So if I look at your written intervention at page 6, Chart 1, "Estimated DTH Customers from Non-Cable Areas and Non-Cable Subscribers", the calculation made here takes into account a lower percentage from non-cable subscribers who could have cable and non-cabled areas. Is that what you are saying, that there is a different percentage of take from these two categories?
15767 MR. WATT: Yes.
15768 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And 2 per cent growing to 8 percent, In non-cable areas what is the percentage applied?
15769 MR. WATT: It grows from, in the first year, a 15 per cent penetration up to 63 per cent penetration.
15770 I suspect the thought process that went on with the forecasters there was that these were people who couldn't receive the service.
15771 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And would if they had an alternative?
15772 MR. WATT: Exactly. So it would rise up to roughly the penetration, a little bit less, than what cable has today.
15773 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What does the 2 per cent in first year, 3 per cent in first year -- from cabled areas where people choose not to subscribe, have you calculated separately what that would amount to in dollars?
15774 MR. WATT: No, I haven't done that calculation.
15775 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The total, the 15 per cent and the 2 per cent blended is -- I forget now. That is the growth related to adding DTH subscribers from non-cabled areas and from cabled areas where people don't subscribe.
15776 MR. WATT: That's correct. The total of the two is $11.4 million over the licence period.
15777 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Because you stated this morning again, at the bottom of page 5, as 32 per cent of TV households are currently not receiving specialty services one must make a difference between the two. It's not really 32 per cent, I would say, because people who could have cable and don't subscribe to it are less likely, en masse, to subscribe to an alternative service because they have had a choice until there is a differentiation that is greater between the two. But that has been taken into account in arriving at the numbers.
15778 MR. WATT: Yes, that has been taken into account.
15779 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Even 2 per cent in first year, 3 per cent in second year may be high until there is a greater differentiation that, for some reason, would entice the subscribers to choose a distribution system when they had one and didn't choose to subscribe to it, either in the form of greater differentiation of offering or a lower price.
15780 You also state on page 5 of your written intervention that -- you refer to StarChoice having indicated that 36 per cent of its customers have come from areas not served by cable as opposed to displacing cable. Where do those figures come from? From StarChoice itself?
15781 MR. WATT: Yes, they do come from StarChoice themselves. Their public quarterly financial statements.
15782 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: The rest would have come from areas not served by cable and the rest would be displacing cable subscribers, disconnection?
15783 MR. WATT: Well, it comes down to the same issue we were discussing before. There are really three categories: There are consumers who take cable today; and then there are consumers who could take cable but don't take cable; and then, finally, there are consumers who can't take cable, they are simply not served. This 36 per cent number refers to the latter category, those people who don't have cable available to them. The other 70 or 64 per cent comes from people who could take cable but don't and those who do take cable --
15784 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So it would mean a full 64 per cent of StarChoice customer base would come from areas that are cabled and people didn't subscribe to cable and people who disconnect cable to connect to DTH?
15785 MR. WATT: Yes.
15786 MR. PIZANTE: That last statement they are not sure about.
15787 The way that StarChoice expresses the numbers is in terms of where the subscribers come from in respect of cabled areas. They don't break it down in terms of whether they were previously cable customers or not.
15788 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Oh, I understand. But it is still 64 per cent that would be a combination of those two, people who disconnect cable or people who could have had cable and never were connected to it, or at least at that moment who are not subscribers.
15789 MR. WATT: Yes.
15790 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Your advertising revenue, or your projected increases in advertising revenues, of course, are largely related to your forecasts of subscriber growth materializing.
15791 MR. WATT: Yes. They are directly related.
15792 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Your theory would be because there are more subscribers you would have more chance to increase your advertising revenue.
15793 I don't have any other questions, Madam Chair, but I believe some colleagues may have.
15794 Thank you very much.
15795 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Good morning. I have just two or three questions. Maybe they will grow, but I don't think so.
15796 Let's assume that everything you say is right and everything Newsworld has said is wrong. Just they got it wrong. We are not going to apply motives to anybody. They just got it wrong and you got it right.
15797 Let's assume they still want the 8 cents, because even looking at your numbers, there is a lot of stuff they want to do -- I am just making this up as I go along, but you can make it up as well. You can find a scenario.
15798 They are worried about wage settlements, equipment costs are going up, who knows, rental on buildings. They would still essentially like to spend more money and do a better job. Let us just take a very simple assumption.
15799 Would you still be opposed to the 8 cents? In fact, if they had just come in here and said, "Yes, we are going to make more money in advertising. We are going to make more money on subscribers, but we would still like 8 cents more. We will do a better job."
15800 MR. WATT: I think we would not necessarily be opposed. I suspect we would -- I think the point to make is that if they were to come in and identify what they wanted the additional eight 8 cents for -- which was over and above what they had identified here, because that was a premise of your statement -- and they were able to convince the Commission that those were appropriate things to do, then I think that would be an appropriate way to go at this.
15801 However, it would definitely not be appropriate in this circumstance to say, "Well, undoubtedly, there are other things that Newsworld would like to do with an 8 cent increase" and approve the 8 cent increase.
15802 We have indicated here that, again working from the assumption that our numbers are right, that there will be sufficient funds for Newsworld to perform and meet all the objectives that it has stated in its submission without increasing the rate.
15803 So to approve the 8 cent increase, it would be akin to writing a blank cheque where they would have complete freedom of discretion to do whatever they wanted with that money. It would be money that would not have been reviewed by you with respect to its use.
15804 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Okay, but you are stepping ahead a little. I know my question comes a little from left field but I would like to go back to it if I can.
15805 Let's just leave aside our job, whether they have made the case to us, and let's just look at your relationship with Newsworld.
15806 Let's assume that all your figures are right and they agree, but they feel they need 8 cents more: They want to buy some more equipment, they want to do more stories, they want to have more regional presence, whatever reason you want to put on it.
15807 Would you be opposed to them -- leaving aside all of the battle of the numbers here, would you be opposed to them over the next seven years increasing their rates 8 cents? Would that trouble your association, your association members in some way?
15808 MR. WATT: Again, I will actually go back to my previous answer. I think that is a question for the Commission to rule on.
15809 I know what you are saying, you are saying "What are you going to come and tell us when you are considering that."
15810 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Your previous answers -- I don't like to interrupt, but your previous answer is really clear. I understand it. Probably I agree with it.
15811 I am just trying to get at the relationship between your members, the cable companies, and Newsworld.
15812 Is there something about an increase? It doesn't have to be 8 cents.
15813 I mean, essentially, are cable companies opposed to increases naturally? Do they dislike them? Are they worried about losing subscribers or customers? Is there just something about increases that intuitively cable companies dislike, before we get to the reasons for them and the numbers?
15814 MR. WATT: As a first comment, what cable industries like from the programming service is good quality programming which will make people subscribe to cable.
15815 Having said that, we are always concerned about cost increases, as I mentioned in the first page of our comments this morning. We pay very close to $600 million in affiliation payments to programming services.
15816 So when we see a 15 per cent rate increase request from one of the services, we instinctively get concerned because we take the 15 per cent and we apply it to the $600 million figure and think, geez, if everything went this way, we would be up in the $90 million range and that's a considerable amount of money. That will either flow through to customers, which will hurt the penetration directly, or it will cause us to consider our competitive position relative to other players as to whether we think it is a prudent thing to do to pass through the rate increase and increase our rates, because one has to make a guess as to what the competition will do in our competitive positioning.
15817 I think our key point here today is that the rate increase should be founded on a clear articulation of what will be obtained from the rate increase and then based on proper forecasting methods.
15818 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I want you to know that I am in no way negating the work you have done. It is very valuable work and we appreciate having it. I am trying to get at something a little more basic, a bit of a starting point.
15819 You indicate, if I have written your words down correctly, you said what you would like to have from the program providers is good quality programming that will make people subscribe to cable.
15820 Does Newsworld provide that?
15821 MR. WATT: As you know, Newsworld has the highest carriage numbers of any specialty service on cable and its viewership numbers. So let me return to that point.
15822 So the cable industry certainly sees the value of Newsworld. Viewership numbers. Newsworld has significant viewership numbers.
15823 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Now, Newsworld told us when they came before us, their representatives told us that they kicked around higher numbers, 12 and 13 cents I think they said, but certainly the number 13 cents was there. Whether it was 13 and 15 or 12 and 13, I can't remember, but 13 was one of the ones they kicked around. I guess they sit at a strategy table, like anyone else, and they decided, we are led to believe, that they didn't feel that those numbers would fly. Although they felt they could have used the income, they just didn't feel they would fly. So they settled on eight, somehow. Great Canadian compromise, I guess.
15824 I guess what that tells me is that they perceive a need for more revenues in the future. They are not convinced by your case, obviously, but you may be right.
15825 It is conceivable, though, that if their first numbers were right, they need more than 8 cents. and they may need something like 8 cents plus everything you are forecasting, assuming your numbers are right, your forecasts are right, or maybe 5 cents plus everything you are forecasting.
15826 You are not then, by very nature, opposed to a rise in their rates. They are a valuable program provider, as you say. People like them. I guess they bring customers -- I hope I am not reading into it, but you will correct me if I am -- they bring customers to your members' businesses.
15827 I guess what I come back to again is, if your numbers are right, but their numbers are right too, or their needs are right too, is there anything inherent in the position of your customers which would be against a rise of some sort, assuming that we accepted your numbers but accepted as well that there was a need for more revenue?
15828 MR. WATT: I think the difficulty there is that we, in the record of this proceeding, would not know what that additional money would be spent on, and I think that that is a problem. I think in terms of increasing rates one should know what the increased revenue will be spent on.
15829 Our position is that with respect to everything that Newsworld has said that it wants to do over the seven-year period, the existing rates corrected for subscriber growth will give it adequate money. With respect to whether there are additional things that they would like to do if they were to receive more money, that really has not been explained in this particular proceeding.
15830 So it is hard to say whether that would be a good idea or not.
15831 My answer is simply that it would not be a good idea to approve that, because the necessary information on which to approve that rate increase isn't available and hasn't been studied.
15832 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: The final question: The numbers aside again, are your members -- maybe excited is too big a word, but enthusiastic, keen, positive about the five goals or the five new challenges set out in the Newsworld application? Do you think having more video journalists, more satellite trucks will make for a better product, make for better quality programming, to use your term?
15833 MR. WATT: We haven't extensively canvassed our members on those very specifics of the application. We have had rate discussions with them about the application and the overall numbers. They haven't indicated any great feeling one way or the other with respect to the five objectives.
15834 If we thought that they were not something that was worthwhile, then we would be here today asking that the rate actually be rolled back, because logic would dictate that if the subscriber revenue is growing and the five objectives are not worthwhile then the five objectives shouldn't be put into place, and hence the money wouldn't be needed and the rate actually could be rolled back. That is not the position we have taken here today.
15835 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So we can assume they are probably positive about them? At least they are not negative?
15836 MR. WATT: Yes.
15837 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
15838 THE CHAIRPERSON: Vice-Chair Wylie has an additional question.
15839 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: My understanding of the rate for Newsworld is that it is a maximum rate. Did you take into consideration, in calculating the additional revenues from growth, the fact that there must be a number of subscribers on bulk rates? Are you aware of how many of those there are?
15840 MR. WATT: On bulk rates?
15841 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Because like every other service, that must apply to them too so that the increase has to be tempered by the fact that subscribers of any service, I suspect, in bulk rates is paying less.
15842 MR. WATT: Well, the bulk rate is actually the right to charge by the cable company to the multiple dwelling unit, to the MDU.
15843 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But it doesn't mean that the cable company, if it gets less from the unit, gives the same amount to Newsworld?
15844 MR. WATT: No, I am not aware of that. I can check into that.
15845 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, doesn't bulk work that both the wholesale and the retail rate are lower than the maximum?
15846 MR. WATT: I'm not aware of that.
15847 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Because there was some discussion of that, with RDI at least.
15848 I see that you have some comments and ideas, but we will leave that discussion to the Quebec -- in your written presentation.
15849 MR. WATT: That's correct.
15850 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Now, we really appreciate you doing these calculations, it is helpful to us. But at the end of the day, the Commission has to be satisfied that the rate increase asked for is reasonable and is to cover, in this case, improvement in programming.
15851 You seem to be concerned that we wouldn't know that. We don't think we have any means of deciding which of these five objectives are acceptable to the Commission to justify a rate increase and to ensure that they are actually put in place.
15852 MR. WATT: No, that really wasn't my point. My point was that with proper calculation of revenues, the money does exist to do all five of the objectives.
15853 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Oh, I understand. I understand that.
15854 MR. WATT: Other objectives have not been articulated, so I'm not --
15855 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I understand the number crunching and we appreciate that. They did the numbers in one way, we asked questions, we are going to ask for further breakdowns. They have been asked to provide further breakdowns.
15856 So that is one point of it, is to look at whether or not they underestimated their revenues, therefore their ability to perform under these five goals, or whatever goals, and you have numbers that show greater revenues through various calculations, which shows that they can do all that without a rate increase.
15857 Past that, I thought I heard you express a concern that we ought to know what it is they are going to -- if we were to accept their numbers rather than yours, what they are going to do with the money.
15858 MR. WATT: Actually, what I was doing was responding to Commissioner Langford's question, which was to say that Newsworld in the early stages of its deliberations thought of asking for 13 cents.
15859 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Oh yes, I understand.
15860 MR. WATT: Therefore, now that -- even with the corrected numbers, if you just made the assumption, well, now we make the correction, well, given our druthers, we had initially identified a need for 13 cents, we scaled it back to 8 cents because of the magnitude of it. Now that the magnitude is going to be less, we will stick with the 8 cents to pay for additional objectives which haven't been explained or placed on the record in this proceeding.
15861 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It comes back to my comment that the Commission would hardly be satisfied with that, considering it has asked for what these goals are and has even asked them to break down further how much each of these goals will require, broken down and labour assets, whatever.
15862 You know that the last rate increase that Newsworld asked for, there was some of the projects suggested that were found not to be acceptable as a justification for a rate increase.
15863 My last question: Your concern is mostly that rate increases annoy customers and may lead them to disconnect. Have you experienced great difficulties in raising cable rates in the last 12 months -- or your members, not you, especially since you are only Interim President? I would hate to ascribe it to you.
15864 As a subscriber myself, I have seen my cable bill rise quite substantially in Ottawa. I haven't disconnected yet.
15865 MR. WATT: Our point in appearing here today was not really to address the issue of consumer reaction to rate increases. Rather, it was to address the issue of how to properly construct a forecast of revenue growth so that the review of wholesale fees would be done on a rigorous basis.
15866 So that is really what we are addressing here today in terms of the impact of rate increases.
15867 We know a couple of things. One, we know that the competitors to cable, DTH providers are growing very rapidly, about 30,000 subscribers a month. There are increasingly competitive options available to customers. Cable operators certainly take that into account before they make any changes to their rates and before they add services, et cetera, and how they will treat the addition of those services.
15868 I think that is really all I can say on that point.
15869 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I reiterate that we appreciate the calculations and the advice you have about whether the revenues were underestimated by Newsworld.
15870 Thank you very much.
15871 Thank you.
15872 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before you go, we appreciated so much your contribution in terms of calculation. Would it be possible to put the RBC Securities Study on the public record so that not only we have benefit of it but everybody?
15873 MR. WATT: Yes, absolutely. We can do that.
15874 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
15875 So you could do that before the end of the day?
15876 MR. WATT: I can leave it with you today, yes.
15877 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, great.
15878 Thank you so much.
15879 Thank you madame, messieurs. Thank you.
15880 MR. WATT: Thank you.
15881 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by Mr. Michael Temelini.
--- Short pause / Courte pause
15882 MS BÉNARD: Mr. Temelini does not appear to be here, so we will go to the next one.
15883 The Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada / Sydicat canadien des communications, de l'énergie et du papier.
15884 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam, monsieur, good morning.
15885 MS LEM: Good morning, Madam Bertrand and fellow Commissioners.
15886 My name is Gail Lem, I am the National Vice-President, Media, for the Communications, Energy & Paperworkers Union of Canada. With me is Michael Sullivan, who is national representative of our union and is the servicing representative for our 1,800 members at the CBC.
15887 We represent the technicians, camera operators, graphic artists and so on at the CBC across the country.
15888 Mike will give our presentation this morning.
15889 Thank you.
15890 MR. SULLIVAN: Good morning, Madam Chair and Commissioners.
15891 We are not going to stray very far from our written brief which you should already have, it was submitted some weeks ago, except with regards to Newsworld which, as you know, announced some layoffs prior to this hearing which affected us directly, and we will deal a little bit with Newsworld.
15892 But in general we are supportive of the CBC's application, obviously. We are not very good at biting the hand feeds. Our members earn a living from the Corporation. Our members are very supportive, generally, of the Corporation and there are lots of things we would love to tell the world about about how badly it is managed, but not in public and not for the Commission.
15893 So in general we are supportive of the application by Newsworld for a rate increase, which seems to be taking up a lot of the energies of the Commission because that is the money issue here.
15894 We are in general support of the CBC's plans to move back into regional production in a big way, both with Newsworld and with English television.
15895 We are supportive of radio's plans to improve and expand its services with Radio Three -- although that is not an application here, that is certainly something that you will be talking about -- and with new media.
15896 We also have some comments about the governance of the CBC and how it is managed in the overall. Now, again that is not necessarily at the purview of the CRTC to decide, but it may be something you want to consider throughout your debate about the CBC and its future. They are asking for a seven-year application, maybe their governance should be part of the discussion.
15897 Going specifically to Newsworld -- I only start with that one because of the fact that they did kind of change their plans after their application went in.
15898 We have always been supportive of Newsworld's rate increases. If I had my druthers, I would take the money back from the cable company that is sent to CNN and A&E and give it to Newsworld in a flash, but I can't do that, because nobody knows how much money I send to the United States. I would rather not. I don't have a choice.
15899 So if there is money to be spent on producing Canadian news for Canadians, then let's do that first before we send money south of the border.
15900 With regards to the timing of the rate increase, we understand that your decision, if it is rendered, won't be rendered until some time in December. Unfortunately, our members have lost their jobs -- now that's been put off some by summer vacation work until September, but there will a big gap before Newsworld starts hiring people again.
15901 We have had preliminary discussions with the Newsworld management about taking some of these people and using them to fill the jobs of video journalists and satellite news gathering operators in the regions, which is where these people come from, Calgary and Halifax, and some of them would be quite willing to do that to continue their careers at the CBC.
15902 But they can't do that and put bread on the table if there is no money for Newsworld. They can't do that. They can't keep the 100 or so years of experience that is being laid off in the next few months with the CBC if there is a huge gap between the time that Newsworld can afford to keep them on and Newsworld finds the resources for new jobs.
15903 So they will leave and their expertise and their knowledge and their experience and their -- to quote Newsworld's application, their sense of being a trusted guide for Canadians in the news media in this country will disappear.
15904 Now, you may think of it as, "Well, it is only 14 people in our unit and 7 in another unit", but these are people who are at the core of a lot of what Newsworld does and have devoted their careers to it for the past seven years. Those people -- more years than that for some of them.
15905 Those people are -- well, it is a shame to lose them. It is a shame for Newsworld to have to lay them off. I understand that they are under some budgetary squeezes, I understand that they have moved some resources from Calgary and Halifax to Toronto in order to make more efficient use of their resources, but in so doing they are reducing the resources available in the regions. That seems to be at odds with a lot of what the CBC Television and Newsworld are saying to you, is that they want to reinvest in the regions.
15906 It is hard for us to come to grips with that apparent irony that they are saying one thing and doing another.
15907 We also question the effect of moving wholesale into a regime of video journalists and video journalists only. We have seen what the results of the layoffs in other networks have been. They end up with a few, a very few, a handful of video journalists and not much news production capacity.
15908 So that if you live in Maritime Canada, all of news production for Maritime Canada outside of the CBC comes from Dartmouth and Halifax. There is a few news gathering individuals outside of that, but CBC is all there is anywhere else, in Fredericton, in Charlottetown and in Saint John, New Brunswick.
15909 There is nothing wrong with video journalists per se, but we question the single-minded reliance on video journalists as being the only way to produce news. If that is all the money you have, okay, let's do that. But the experience has shown, we were an active participant in something called "The Windsor Experiment" years ago. in 1994, when they reopened Windsor -- I noticed Mr. Hurst is coming up behind us to talk to you from Windsor -- that that experiment proved that video journalists have their place, that they are, in fact, an important part of the news landscape, but they can't do it all. You can't produce everything you need to produce using just video journalists. We welcome the jobs, welcome the expansion of the CBC's resources and Newsworld's resources, but question it.
15910 Moving to English television, our brief talks in terms of encouraging you to encourage the CBC to put more regional production -- more money into regional production. We question where the money came from that is suddenly now available that wasn't available three years ago when people were being laid off. The CBC and English television decimated regional broadcasting to the point now where all that is done is supper hour newscasts most everywhere, and some sports. We applaud the CBC for still being in sports.
15911 However, English television doesn't have any regional capacity outside of news and we applaud them getting it. We just wonder where the money is coming from. That is a consistent theme throughout our brief is, "Where does this money come from?" As far as we are aware, there haven't been any new Parliamentary appropriations, but if there have been maybe they have snuck them in and haven't told us.
15912 We welcome English television's commitment to upholding its promise of performance with regards to news broadcasts, but we would go so far as to suggest that if CBC or any broadcaster fails to meet that particular promise of performance, that they should be hauled before this Commission again to explain themselves, and if the explanations aren't sufficient their licence should be in jeopardy. That should go for the CBC as well.
15913 If CBC makes a promise and can't meet it over seven years, they shouldn't have to wait until the end of the seventh year to explain themselves, as they are doing now. There should be an automatic process by which CBC, and any other broadcaster, comes back here.
15914 We are, in our brief, suggesting that CBC reinvest in in-house drama production. As you may be aware, there is virtually none left. There is certainly none left in the regions and, as far as I know, the capacity for producing drama in the CBC, even in Toronto, is limited to one film a year, maybe two.
15915 As a result of that, unlike French television, CBC has a single-minded dependence on independent producers. Those independent producers have CBC over a barrel, because now CBC no longer has automatic access to Telefilm funds -- or whatever the fund is called these days, because it changes name quite frequently. Cable Production Fund, Telefilm fund, they are all merged together and I lose track.
15916 There is some money out there that CBC used to have some guaranteed access to. They don't now. As a result of their not having any capacity in-house to produce drama in a big way they are stuck. They have committed themselves to a 90 per cent Canadian content, or more in prime time, and more than that throughout the year, and if they can't get it produced using Telefilm funds they don't have the resources to replace it.
15917 French television went a different way. They have about a three-way split between raw independent production, in-house production and what are called co-productions, where there it is about 50/50. That is a much more sane balance. But to rely completely on the outside world to provide your television production doesn't make sense to us.
15918 With regards to a comment on -- the word "complementary" keeps coming up, and it concerns us. It concerned us the last time we were here and it concerns us again. The last time we were here was for the private sector global review of the structural hearings, where the word "complementary" came up. "Complementary" can have so many meanings we want to make sure it is not the detrimental meanings that it can have.
15919 If I was a private broadcaster, I would think "complementary" meant anything I don't want to do and isn't profitable I will leave to CBC. Anything that is profitable that I want to do I will do myself and CBC should get out of it.
15920 You may have heard some of the private broadcasters suggesting in this set of hearings that CBC get out of news.
15921 Why would they want you to do that? Why would they want CBC out of news? It is so they can make the profits in the centres where they want and not to have to worry about competing with the CBC in the centres where they don't want. So they can withdraw their news resources from places like Lethbridge and Saskatoon and Prince Albert, and knowing that nobody else there is going to produce news because somebody has told CBC to get out of news.
15922 I hope that the Commission doesn't pay any attention to broadcasters who make those kinds of requests, but we are very concerned about this constantly reoccurring word "complementary".
15923 If "complementary" means that CBC should be the core, be the foundation upon which the others spring, then that's okay.
15924 But if "complementary" means let's let CBC be a niche broadcaster that does only things that nobody else can or want to do, then that is wrong and that would destroy it.
15925 With regards to radio, there have been, as you probably know, dramatic decreases in resources and, again, radio has some grand new plans, but we wonder again whether those plans will come at the expense of the existing networks. Will they come and reduce Radio One and Radio Two in order to launch Radio Three? Where is the money going to come from?
15926 We are fundamentally opposed to advertising on radio.
15927 We are not opposed to advertising on television for the simple reason that it is a third of CBC is what is generated by the advertising revenue. Until somebody comes up with a way to replace it, we have to encourage the CBC to make as much money as they possibly can in advertising. But radio has successfully managed to stay on the air without advertising. It stays distinctive, it stays something that people want to listen to, and it should stay out of advertising.
15928 Now, the French have a suggestion that where there is an event that is sponsored by an advertiser that the sponsor can get some mention on the air as part of the purchase of the event. That's an okay thing. But not wholesale advertising on any of the radio channels.
15929 We also draw attention to the fact that we are concerned that with the decline in the available resources for radio, in particular some technical resources, that music production in the regions will suffer.
15930 Many, many, many Canadian musicians owe their living to the fact that they got their start with the CBC. They would not have existed without there being a CBC to put them on their drive-home shows between 4:00 and 6:00 in the regions, to let the people of Canada hear them for the first time in a national audience when they were broadcast nationally. That is threatened, we think, by the reductions in resources that are going on in the regions.
15931 Toronto is big enough to absorb a lot of this stuff, but the regions are not. So we would ask the Commission to ask the CBC what they intend to do about music production in the regions.
15932 With regards to new media and other applications, we realize that they are not actually before the Commission, although they are mentioned all the way through this. Again, we say where is the money coming from to launch them?
15933 If CBC is behaving like any other business and borrowing capital to launch a service, if they were to put in an application to purchase TSN, for example, by borrowing money from somewhere to buy it, we would support it. But we have seen no such evidence of the CBC getting into the capital markets to launch new services. If they are robbing from one service to start another one, we question how far that will take the CBC.
15934 We are not questioning the notion that CBC should have more windows, that there should be more places to view it. I wish that I had more channels that were available that were CBC or CBC programming, on television and on radio, but there is a question of financing and a question of resources.
15935 Finally, we draw your attention to the issue of governance. I realize it is not an issue that the Commission itself can decide, but we have noticed an alarming trend -- and maybe it is only a trend, maybe it is only a perception -- that the people running the corporation at the very senior levels tend to be more political appointments than cultural appointments.
15936 Unlike yourselves, who are cultural appointments, the CBC Board of Directors may or may not have conflicts of interest, may or may not have some kind of political bias, may or may not be appointed to be administrators rather than directors.
15937 We are concerned about that appearance. It may only be an appearance, but it is something that we have noticed over the past few years, that in the past board members have spoken out quite vociferously in support of the CBC. There has been very little of that in the last three or four years.
15938 So for us, that is the thrust of our brief and we would welcome any questions you might have.
15939 THE CHAIRPERSON: We certainly do.
15940 MR. SULLIVAN: Oh, okay.
15941 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
15942 I would ask Commissioner Langford to ask the questions.
15943 Thank you.
15944 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I don't have a lot of questions. It is a good brief and I don't believe in asking questions just to make people feel at home.
15945 But I would like to get a little more of your views on -- I don't think questions should be a reward. Some kind of indication that you have done a good job, like a gold star. It is a good brief. It is very clear.
15946 MR. SULLIVAN: They are going to be test questions too.
15947 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It is a good brief. It's very clear.
15948 I wanted to talk to you a little bit about this complementarity, because in one sense you say "I hope the CRTC doesn't pay attention to those urging the CBC out of news". I guess I would say to that, well, of course we pay attention to everybody but we don't necessarily do what they suggest. That is a general rule.
15949 In another sense, though, at another point in your brief you talk about how it is left to the CBC to fill the vacuum left by the privates. That the privates are pulling out, that they are only to be found in the east, in the Halifax-Dartmouth area, and really it is up to the CBC to fill it. So, in a sense, you are kind of "riding both horses at once", aren't you?
15950 I mean, basically, you are saying don't push them out because the privates want it, if I understand what you are saying. Don't push them out of an area that the privates want, but if the privates leave an area that we think is important, push them in.
15951 MR. SULLIVAN: I' not suggesting push them in, I am suggesting don't push them out.
15952 The CBC is already in in areas where the privates aren't, and that has the privates upset because CBC gets the revenue.
15953 What we are concerned about is that somebody will get the notion somewhere that this word "complementary" will suddenly mean that if the privates don't want to do it then CBC has to, if it's non-revenue generating, and that that is all that CBC will do. So if what is left is the dregs, that that will be left for the CBC, and that anything that has any significance, whether it is cultural, political, sports, news, particularly revenue-generating, that that will be left to the private sector.
15954 We are concerned that some people get the notion that the word "complementary" means that there is a role for the CBC that is not that done by the private sector. The the word "competitive" is much more appropriate in some parts of what CBC does.
15955 Sure, CBC is complementary to the private sector in that it doesn't have advertising on radio and the private sector does; in that it produces things, takes risks that the private sector won't and can't take. I understand that. But it also has to be competitive because otherwise there is no incentive for the private sector to continue.
15956 If you are faced with a newscast list market, why would you bother putting one on that would serve the market well. If you are faced with a market that doesn't have a good strong CBC in it, producing news, then the incentive to have local reporters, local people disappears. There is no need for it. You can still produce a newscast in London, Ontario for Windsor, and they do it.
15957 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you for that clarity.
15958 I just wasn't sure of precisely where you were.
15959 Ms LEM: Commissioner Langford, if I could just add one thing to Mike's response, and I say this as a former journalist myself.
15960 The idea that the CBC should not be in news is, I think, a very scary idea. I would hope that the Commission would look carefully at the rationale behind those who are arguing that the CBC should not be news.
15961 One private network that has been most vociferous about this is, arguably, the network that puts the least amount of resources into news. I say this as someone who represents people not only at the CBC but our union also represents employees at private broadcasters across the country.
15962 I guess we are using Atlantic Canada examples rather heavily this morning, but if you look again at the Atlantic Region, with the last layoffs at CTV, there is not a single ENG camera operator outside of Halifax-Dartmouth working for CTV, and whatever small resources CTV puts into news Global puts even less in.
15963 This is, I think, a very dangerous thing, to start giving credence to the private broadcasters who simply want the CBC out of news so that they don't have to compete. We have seen time and again, and we saw it over the last several years of cutbacks at the CBC, that when the CBC reduced its regional and local news programming the privates also reduced theirs.
15964 The CBC provides a standard to which the privates have to compete. It is a very important standard, one that is important to Canadians across the country. We are quite passionate in how we feel about that.
15965 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
15966 I can assure you that the Commission, to quote W.B. Yeats, "casts a cold eye on all that comes before it."
15967 I wanted to talk to you a little bit about VJs, video journalists.
15968 I have heard some words of caution from you this morning, and read in your brief as well I have read them, but I understood that the unions had worked out some sort of an agreement on video journalists in the sense you are all now singing from the same hymn sheet on them.
15969 MR. SULLIVAN: In terms of who represents them only. That's fine. There is no problem there. The problem is one of: Can you do the job with just video journalists? It's not a question of who represents them, but can you do the job appropriately?
15970 If all you have is a video journalist, you can't -- and if I had some video journalists here to talk to you they could tell you, that it is too difficult a job to do all that CBC does by one person. You need the available resource to be able to have two sets of eyes and ears on some stories.
15971 There are lots that can be done by one and the CBC is now one of the world leaders in this technology and how it can be used.
15972 We are just concerned that it becomes a panacea, that it becomes something that will solve all the ills of the CBC by converting all of these people into video journalists, and it just doesn't work.
15973 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So are you seeing this then, to use the oldest cliché, as the thin edge of the wedge, that eventually they will be replacing more bureaus with VJs.
15974 The impression I got when we heard from Newsworld, particularly, on this was that this would be to augment, to add a presence in the regions they don't have and cannot afford.
15975 Do you see this as more than an augmentation, as a movement away from traditional bureaus and towards video journalists, one-person shows?
15976 MR. SULLIVAN: If Newsworld is just augmenting, and is just augmenting with video journalists, then that is one thing.
15977 We saw a pre-release of their brief, so we saw some other kind of scary things that you don't know about and we won't talk about.
15978 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: There are all sorts of scary things out there that we don't know about.
15979 MR. SULLIVAN: I will give you an example of something that was at one point being thought by CBC as a way to get more television journalism out there, is just hand cameras to all the radio reporters.
15980 Now, they already have a full-time job and a full day doing it. It is not going to immediately produce great television to just hand cameras to all the radio reporters.
15981 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: There was a sense of that in their brief.
15982 MR. SULLIVAN: It is being thought about.
15983 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: They did speak about the possibility of multi-tasking radio, if I recall correctly.
15984 MR. SULLIVAN: Yes. There are probably situations where it may be appropriate. Currently, there are, certainly in some of the bureaus, people who work for both radio and television, both English and French, do all four things. They don't necessarily work as video journalists.
15985 A video journalist is a very specialized breed of person who -- television journalism is pictures first, most of the time. There is a story to be told in pictures. It is often difficult to be being the person who can gather that story in pictures at the same time as you are interviewing the next person that you have to interview. You can't do both.
15986 All we are cautioning is that if this is a trend by either the CBC or Newsworld to dismiss all of their camera people and make everybody video journalists as some kind of panacea, it isn't going to work. It cheapens the journalism to the point where nobody will watch it.
15987 That is what we are concerned about. It is not the expansion, by any means. We are in favour of putting resources in places that don't have them.
15988 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Those are my questions.
15989 Thank you.
15990 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci.
15991 Out of curiosity, you were making the comparison between the French and the English networks, saying that in the French network a good proportion was in-house production in drama form. In English there is more sports. Isn't that in-house production, sports?
15992 MR. SULLIVAN: I don't know that there is more sports than on the French side though.
15993 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is much more.
15994 My question is: Isn't sports an in-house production?
15995 MR. SULLIVAN: Sometimes. It's not entirely.
15996 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, hockey.
15997 MR. SULLIVAN: Hockey is generally in-house, though there are sometimes when CBC picks up feeds,from the States in particular.
15998 THE CHAIRPERSON: The Olympics.
15999 MR. SULLIVAN: The Olympics is entirely an in-house production.
16000 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the flagships of the CBC, in French and English, are in-house production?
16001 MR. SULLIVAN: If drama is the flagship of the French, then it's in-house.
16002 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, no. You are making a comparison, talking about drama in-house versus independent producers.
16003 MR. SULLIVAN: Right.
16004 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the day that you have a different schedule in French and English, and you have more sports in English, that means that if you would want to do in-house drama that you would need much more staff people in order to be able to do that?
16005 MR. SULLIVAN: Yes, absolutely.
16006 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. It's just to complete the picture, you know.
16007 MR. SULLIVAN: You are right, there is a greater reliance on English Canada for sports, primarily because of the revenue. That is clearly where that is coming from and we support it. We support that. Our members in some cases earn a lot of living from the sports revenue.
16008 The CBC wasn't afraid to cut back though, particularly in the west where they laid off considerable numbers of people who were attached to sports and they only hire them when they need them. So we are into a situation in which, even in sports, the CBC has lost significant amounts of its resources in western Canada.
16009 I know you did a tour, and unfortunately it was while we were otherwise occupied. But had you been wandering through the halls in a normal day in Edmonton, in Vancouver, in Regina, you would have seen a pretty empty place. There is not very much going on in those places.
16010 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much, madame et monsieur, for your presentation.
16011 MS LEM: Thank you.
16012 MR. SULLIVAN: Thank you.
16013 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
16014 Madame Bénard.
16015 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
16016 The next presentation will be by the Center for Research-Action on Race Relations / le Centre de recherche - Action sur les relations raciales.
16017 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, sir.
16018 M. NIEMI: Bonjour, madame.
16019 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Ah! C'est encore mieux. Bonjour.
16020 M. NIEMI: Je suis devenu un habitué.
16021 Madame la présidente, mesdames et messieurs les conseillers, je vous remercie, au nom du CRARR, de nous recevoir ce matin.
16022 En fait, je devais être accompagné par une collègue, et malheureusement, vous savez, les lundi matin, quand il fait chaud comme ça, c'est pas toujours une garantie.
16023 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Cela nous a passé par la tête nous-mêmes.
16024 M. NIEMI: D'accord. Donc, on va faire ça de manière plus informelle et très agréable, j'espère, avec l'air climatisé.
16025 LA PRÉSIDENTE: J'en suis certaine.
16026 M. NIEMI: Madame la présidente, messieurs et mesdames les conseillers, l'intervention de notre organisme, aujourd'hui, consiste principalement à faire le point suivant en ce qui concerne la représentation, la diversité culturelle et raciale au sein de la programmation et au sein des opérations de CBC et de Radio-Canada. Il faut signaler que dans notre intervention, on fait toujours la distinction entre CBC, qui représente pour nous le côté anglophone, et Radio-Canada, le côté francophone.
16027 Nous avons plusieurs points que nous aimerions peut-être vous soulever pour votre attention. Il est important de signaler que depuis notre fondation en 1983, nous avons eu une relation privilégiée avec Radio-Canada Montréal et CBC de manière générale dans nos interventions et dans les activités de sensibilisation et de recherche afin de faire refléter la diversité de la société canadienne et québécoise à l'écran de la télévision française et anglaise de cette corporation.
16028 Nous avons eu quand même, au-delà de ces relations, disons, fructueuses et privilégiées, de temps en temps, nous avons pris des positions assez critiques à l'endroit de notre radiodiffuseur public national lorsque celui-ci présentait des émissions dans les deux langues, qui selon l'opinion de plusieurs, étaient biaisées et contraires aux normes journalistiques de l'entreprise.
16029 À titre d'exemple, en 1989, l'émission "Disparaître" a suscité de fortes réactions au sein des grands publics francophones et anglophones. Aussi l'intervention récente, en 1997, lors de la couverture des élections fédérales, durant laquelle nous avons noté que le consortium composé de Radio-Canada, CBC, CTV et TVA a largement exclu dans leur couverture et dans leur constitution des panels d'experts de Canadiens issus de diverses origines, notamment ceux des minorités raciales et des autochtones.
16030 Donc, ce genre de lapsus est arrivé de temps en temps, et même plus récemment dans les missions à Newsworld avec Pamela Wallin sur la question parfois émotive de l'immigration où on a présenté des points de vue assez biaisés sur la question. Malgré tout ceci, nous avons trouvé que CBC représente quand même un canal exceptionnel pour la transmission et pour façonner l'identité canadienne, surtout l'identité canadienne moderne, pluraliste et ouverte sur le monde.
16031 We believe that as the country's national public broadcaster the CBC and SRC represents one of the three pillars of the Canadian broadcasting system. It is indispensable to Canadian culture with its linguistic duality, as well as its multicultural character, multiracial character.
16032 It is the principal, distinctive and public broadcasting voice for all Canadians, and it is within this perspective that we hope to make an intervention so that the CBC becomes truly one of the ties that bind diverse Canadian communities and regions in ways that give them a unique opportunity to learn about one another, something that few other Canadian broadcasters, particularly private broadcasters, have been able and willing to do.
16033 We believe that the CBC/SRC is fundamental to the Canadian broadcasting system and culture and, as the previous speaker has said, we are concerned about the use or the concept of "complementary", especially with the rise of the specialty services and the pressure brought on by private broadcasters on the CBC to back away from certain practices that keep it viable in light of the increasing government cutbacks in its budget.
16034 So this is one of the recommendations which we hope -- just to reiterate the point, is that the concept of the CBC and SRC playing a complementary role to private broadcasts in this country be deleted from the CRTC universe and vision for Canadian broadcasting for the 21st Century.
16035 Now, with regard to the role that the CBC has played in dealing with Canadian identity and diversity of Canadian society. In the brief that we made to the Canadian Parliament back in 1988 and again in 1990 during a debate on what is now the Broadcasting Act, we have successfully and vigorously argued for the inclusion of the word "multiracial" in the Bill, because we understand that the word "multicultural" is open to different interpretation from coast-to-coast, and that the word "multiculturally" does not necessarily mean "multiracial", and that it is possible to achieve a multicultural yet monoracial workforce and programming, and we would like to come back to this matter a little bit later.
16036 We also believe it is important to keep in mind that in reviewing the licence of both CBC and Radio-Canada, the concept of multicultural and multiracial be kept in mind because, first, this Crown corporation is subject to the Employment Equity Act; secondly, it is subject to the Multiculturalism Act, which both laws set out certain requirements with regard to the federal institution's obligation towards Canadian society and towards Canadians in general.
16037 Il faut que nous soulignons aussi, avant de rentrer dans les aspects plus critiques des soumissions en français et en anglais des deux côtés du radiodiffuseur, que nous désirons féliciter CBC et Radio-Canada de ses initiatives proactives par rapport à son obligation statutaire de refléter le caractère multiculturel et multiracial du Canada.
16038 Nous savons que ce radiodiffuseur demeure jusqu'à maintenant peut-être le seul radiodiffuseur public national, sinon le seul radiodiffuseur national, qui possède une personne à temps plein qui s'occupe de l'équité en emploi et de l'équité dans la programmation et qui -- et leur soumission en témoigne -- ont investi un nombre considérable de ressources dans la réalisation de cette obligation statutaire.
16039 Donc, nous aimerions le féliciter sauf que dans l'exécution de ce mandat, il faut noter, à plusieurs reprises et selon nos expériences avec ce radiodiffuseur, que la volonté corporative, notamment de la haute direction en ce qui concerne l'équité et la diversité, semble éprouver des grandes difficultés à se traduire en des pratiques ou des politiques au niveau régional et local.
16040 C'est à ce niveau-là que nous croyons qu'il est nécessaire, et c'est une recommandation de la part du CRARR à votre attention, que le CRTC exige que Radio-Canada et CBC élaborent davantage sur les rôles, les responsabilités et les besoins des personnes qui oeuvrent au sein de cette structure en matière d'équité dans la programmation et au niveau de l'emploi et de regarder de manière plus précise les difficultés de faire concrétiser la volonté corporative en matière d'équité et de diversité, aux niveaux local et régional.
16041 Now, let us get to some of the more, we believe, substantive points, particularly as to the future of the television strategy for both CBC and Radio-Canada.
16042 We believe that in the statements and in the submissions to the CRTC there are confusing references which reveal perhaps either a lack of consistent thinking or conceptualization of the place of diversity and programming in broadcasting, or there is an approach which is not very, shall we say, clear as to what one means by "diversity".
16043 We believe that, for example, in the licence renewal submission of the CBC English language television, the expression "cross-cultural" was employed in a context that refers to English and French culture dynamics and co-operation, for example, in paragraphs 139, 301, 333 and 334.
16044 Secondly, the expressions "multicultural minorities" ou "minorités multiculturelles" in French, are used in the section on multicultural representation, perhaps as a result of the decision of the CRTC in 1994 to refer to Canadians who are members of ethnocultural minority groups.
16045 Now, because of the evolution of Canadian society and evolution of the diversity of our demography to refer to Canadians from minorities as "multicultural" and not using the word "multiracial", it seems to us that this requires further clarification and discussion, because it can have serious ramifications on the kind of programming and the kind of operations that the future television in French and English will have.
16046 Également, il faut souligner que dans la nouvelle demande de renouvellement de licence soumise par Radio-Canada, on parle des minorités culturelles au niveau de l'emploi et des efforts de recrutement alors que la Loi sur l'équité en matière d'emploi réfère à des minorités visibles. Donc, on craint que l'expression "minorité culturelle", telle qu'appliquée par Radio-Canada en français, peut être problématique et porte à confusion.
16047 We believe that the legislative intent of the Broadcasting Act clearly foresaw the fact that Canadian society is evolving, particularly to the point where we are now talking about at least 15 per cent of the Canadian population is composed of members of racial minorities and aboriginal peoples, both in French Canada and in English Canada.
16048 But many Canadians from these groups are feeling that they are continually excluded from the national public broadcaster's programming and operations in both languages, and this is the reason why we believe that the strategy for the future and the vision of CBC and Radio-Canada should be very clear on this matter.
16049 Lastly, we would like to talk about the fact that the employment equity data presented in this submission, both in French and English, are not as comprehensive and clear as we would like to see it, We believe that in spite of the Employment Equity Act there could be a more quantitative and qualitative description of how the breakdown is concerned.
16050 We are very concerned also about the fact that the data lumps both the representation in English Canada with the representation in the French language television, because it is generally accepted that in the Francophone sector, French language sector of Radio-Canada, the representation is usually much lower.
16051 It is for this reason -- and this is the main recommendation that I would like to leave with you if our intervention can make any difference at all among the multitude of intervenors on this important issue -- that we suggest that the CRTC break with its tradition of using incentives and encouragement towards broadcasters and towards CBC in general, and to break with the tradition of setting out only expectations by making the representation of cultural and racial diversity in programming and employment a condition of licence.
16052 By breaking with this tradition, we believe that the CRTC can send a very powerful signal to the broadcasting industry and to Canadian society in general as to the kind of direction it wants to lead the country in terms of broadcasting into the 21st Century.
16053 We also believe that this is very important because the renewal of the licence of all the private broadcasters such as CTV and Global, for example, will be forthcoming, and it is about time because of the changing nature of Canadian society and the kind of diversification that our population has experienced in the last 20 years and will continue to experience in the next 20-25 years, this is the time to break with tradition and to make diversity a condition of licence.
16054 Lastly, we would like to mention, and as you have seen the position that we are taking to make diversity a condition of licence has been supported by a number of organizations in the three main cities: Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, including in many national organizations. Because increasingly organizations such as ours and those who are supporting or working towards a more equitable society in the future, we believe that there is no other choice but to send a strong and clear signal to make diversity a condition of licence and we should stop relying on goodwill and incentive, because, shall we say, the flaws in the patterns of mistakes have demonstrated that it takes more than just encouragement to institutionalize diversity in the broadcasting system.
16055 Je vous remercie de votre patience et de votre attention et j'espère pouvoir entretenir vos questions. Merci, madame la présidente.
16056 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci beaucoup.
16057 Je demanderais à la conseillère madame Grauer de vous poser les questions du Conseil.
16058 M. NIEMI: D'accord.
16059 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
16060 I just have a couple of questions.
16061 One is, I know you have raised this question of complementarity, as have several other intervenors, and you have also taken the position that the CBC/SRC is one of the three pillars of the Canadian broadcasting system, which I take to mean it is one of three, the three of which complement one another.
16062 I am trying to get at what in your view is very troubling about the term -- so troubling about the term "complementary" that you would like us not to ever speak the word again, which is what it sounds like, eliminate it from our universe.
16063 MR. NIEMI: It sounds like to delete in a computer microchip.
16064 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Yes.
16065 MR. NIEMI: The position that we have is that the concept of the three pillars is evident and it is outlined in the Act. What we are concerned about is there is a growing pillar that we are not sure where it will fit, it's the specialty channels, particularly those that are promoted by the private broadcasters and also the onslaught on the part of private broadcasters on the CBC in dealing with its advertising and some of its programming practices.
16066 There is a concern, and we have discussed it, to the effect that as long as the word "complementary" is used to reflect the notion of three pillars of the -- in French, we call it des assises -- each having its distinctive, fundamental role within the broadcasting system, that's fine.
16067 But if the concept of complementarity is used to send a signal to the effect that private broadcasters can increasingly, because of market forces alone coupled with the reduction in government funding, and if that concept is used to the effect that the CBC is losing its primary and fundamental importance in the Canadian broadcasting system, then we are concerned about the notion of complementary, and perhaps there may be a need for a clearer demonstration of the intent on the part of the CRTC with regard to that term.
16068 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So it sounds to me like what you are saying is that there has been an intent ascribed to the use of the word which may or may not be there?
16069 MR. NIEMI: Perhaps, yes.
16070 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Perhaps, okay.
16071 MR. NIEMI: This is something that personally I would -- in a sense, if I put the ball in your court to clarify what that word means because it seeps into the stream of consciousness and the next thing you know it will be irreversible, and especially with the decreased support of both financial and perhaps political support for some aspect of CBC, we have to be very vigilant.
16072 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I understand what you are getting at I guess. I think it ascribes intentions. If you look at what "complementary" means, it is not a derogatory term, and certainly we never intended it to take a derogatory meaning.
16073 My other question to you is: You are very supportive of the CBC. I gather you have a very productive working relationship with them. You have made that point very strongly, and yet you take exception, in some cases -- you are very concerned, apparently, about their ability to implement their stated diversity policies. Is that --
16074 MR. NIEMI: It is the notion of having the corporate will and commitment at the top trickle down to local and regional operations, both in terms of operations and in terms of programming.
16075 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Is this something you have discussed with them?
16076 MR. NIEMI: Yes. We have discussed --
16077 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: How have they respond to that when you --
16078 MR. NIEMI: Well, if you look at the structure of the CBC and the office of equity in programming and employment, and now there is an official languages, that is a tremendous responsibility for a small office and it is a national responsibility from coast-to-coast.
16079 It is only recently that the CBC and maison Radio-Canada in Montréal has an advisor and a conseillère en ressources humaines who also plays a role of equity advisor in charge of this issue. But that is a formidable task and it has been constantly been faced with cutbacks and restriction of resources. Most companies dealing with employment equity usually rely on one person to do the job and that one person can be easily shifted, if not having his or her responsibilities downgraded.
16080 There have been a number of, shall we say, mistakes in terms of diversity in programming made. The most recent that we are aware of is our own query of the CBC's lack of diversity during the 1997 federal election coverage. It is not normal to see ordinary Canadians not representing the diversity of this country.
16081 There have been some other -- we call it, shall we say, that mistake was similar to omissions. The Congress of Black Women has asked us to raise the issue of the negative portrayal of black women in one of the most popular shows in French: "Les Héritiers Duval", in which a woman is portrayed as being in a very less than honourable position.
16082 There have been other instances, mostly omissions.
16083 So what we are trying to say is, it is important in assessing the CBC licence renewal to look at, closely, exactly where do the problems lie in having this corporate commitment trickle down.
16084 The corporate commitment is not only statutory, it is not only legislative, but we believe that the leadership of CBC has always been aware, had a vision, when it comes to the local and regional. This is where the -- in Halifax we hear the same thing. In Winnipeg, we also hear the same thing. Often the emphasis is on Aboriginal peoples, but not on the other groups.
16085 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I was going to ask you this, an incident in 1997, as well as the one with the panel on the others you have raised, did you, on those occasions, for instance, go to the CBC and say -- what I am trying to get at is: Do you have an ongoing working relationship so that when these things come up you can deal with them and your members across the country, as well, and are they responsive when you raise this with them?
16086 MR. NIEMI: For our own experience, yes. That is because we have had, since 1985, a very privileged working relationship with the CBC. We know exactly who to call. We know how the system works. We know how to even formulate our quote/unquote "complaint" in such a way that we can get a very constructive response, because the objective intervention often is to sensitize and to avoid future mistakes.
16087 For some other organizations, the experience is not the same. The Congress of Black Women has told us that their objection was addressed to the ombudsman but they never got a final answer.
16088 We must say that usually we always go to the top, the CEO, especially in the case of the federal election. Each time we make an intervention, there is a very thorough quote/unquote "internal search" for facts and reasons. Even way back in 1989 with the show "Disparaître", there was also a mini-investigation done as to what went wrong, what kind of derogation to journalists practices happen.
16089 So we feel that is very useful to have that position. Credit must be given, also, to the fact that the CBC does publicize that it does have an office responsible for that. But what we have been told at the office is less than, I think, the five fingers on my hand to oversee a national operation and that is a lot to do, particularly when one deals with producers.
16090 We have talked a lot in terms of diversity in terms of the employees or the people we see on the air in front of the camera, but we also have to think about whether they have dealt with independent producers.
16091 One filmmaker who produced a film with National Film Board tried to sell her work to CBC, could not. It is because the response to her work was too specific, was special interest and estoteric, but Vision TV picked it up.
16092 So what we are trying to say is, perhaps in each city and each region it depends a lot on the individual in charge. What we are trying to say, is we want it more institutionalized and we would like to make it more systemic in order to overcome some of these patterns of omissions or exclusions.
16093 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I guess what I'm really getting at is, I don't know what this condition of licence would look like, and I don't know how we would measure it. I wonder, can you give us a proposed condition of licence and tell us how we might measure this?
16094 MR. NIEMI: We discussed that. We believe that in the Broadcasting Act there are sections dealing with what to do in the case of a breach of a condition of licence.
16095 COMMISSIONER CRAM: No, no.
16096 MR. NIEMI: So let's start from there.
16097 How are we going to translate that in terms of measuring, in terms of programming content? I believe that the CRTC does have some methodological tools and knowledge to that effect. Also with regard to the analysis of the employment equity being subjected to the Employment Equity Act, an annual report very detailed, very comprehensive is tabled annually with the Parliament of Canada.
16098 So with the combination of those methodological tools for assessment analysis one can establish an analysis grid to come up with some sort of elements of a condition of licence.
16099 This is the same question that was asked almost before I finished college about: How do you impose the conditions of licence and the portrayal of women and gender portrayal and avoid sexism in broadcasting. This is the same step that can be done.
16100 We believe that the knowledge is there, the tool is there, perhaps it is just a matter of the will to move forward and to be bold in setting a new precedent for the broadcasting industry.
16101 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much.
16102 I appreciate you taking the time and presenting us with this thorough intervention.
16103 Thank you.
16104 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci beaucoup, monsieur.
16105 MR. NIEMI: Merci, madame. Merci beaucoup.
16106 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by the National Film Board of Canada / L'office national du film du Canada.
16107 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bonjour.
16108 MS MACDONALD: Bonjour.
16109 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bienvenue.
16110 MS MACDONALD: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Sandra Macdonald. I am a Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada.
16111 With me this morning is Genevieve Cousineau, the NFB's legal counsel and Secretary to the Board of Trustees.
16112 The National Film Board of Canada, as a national cultural agency with a mandate to produce and distribute films in the national interest, shares many goals in common with the CBC, Radio-Canada.
16113 National Film Board films appear frequently on both television networks as well as on RDI and Newsworld. The Board, consequently, has a deep interest in the renewal of the CBC's broadcasting licences, both as colleagues who share the goal of service to the public and as collaborators in the creation and presentation of distinctly Canadian programs.
16114 Our comments will be addressed only to the television services, although we support the renewal of all the CBC's licences.
16115 Clearly, the central issue before the Commission in these hearings is what interpretation of the mandate described for the CBC in the Broadcasting Act should guide the Corporation for the next licence term. The interpretation the CBC itself has presented, one of the many competing views expressed by intervenors before you at this hearing and by citizens who met with you during your consultations earlier this year, may be some amalgam of all of these. As usual, there is no shortage of views about what constitutes the proper role of the CBC.
16116 As a national cultural institution with a similar public interest mandate, the NFB has wrestled, on a smaller scale, with many of the same problems which confront the CBC: A mandate couched in such broad terms as to imply that the institution must be all things to all people, shrinking resources, a rapidly changing communications environment, and a need to clearly distinguish what we do from what the commercial industry does.
16117 Our reflections led us to many similar conclusions, so in fact we find the general orientation which the CBC has adopted very familiar and, in our view, quite appropriate for Canada's national public broadcaster at the end of the 20th Century.
16118 In our written submission, we address several aspects of the CBC's programming strategy for the next licence term. Given the limited time here today, and the context of the recent decisions with respect to French-language specialty services, we would like to concentrate this morning on the constellation strategy and on the place of documentaries on the CBC.
16119 Public institutions like the CBC and the NFB have a unique role to play in ensuring that the linguistic, cultural and social diversity of the country is explored and celebrated so that the bridges of understanding we exist to foster do indeed get built.
16120 Contributing to a shared national consciousness and identity, as the Broadcasting Act requires of the CBC, demands that at least a respectable proportion of the programming offered be popular, in the sense of seeking to reach many people. While there is obviously a role which a public broadcaster must play with respect to more specialized fare with commensurately smaller audiences, a public broadcaster which offers only niche programming would find it very difficult to play its mandated and essential role in our national public life.
16121 Finding the right balance between broad and narrower appeal programming is an enormous challenge. The ability to simply have more broadcasting hours in the day in which to program is an obvious way of responding to that challenge. For that reason the NFB believes that the CBC's strategy of seeking additional outlets through more specialty services and the Internet is a logical approach to serving Canadians better.
16122 This is not a new idea. As the Commission well knows, the CBC has been seeking additional outlets since it applied for CBC 2 more than 20 years ago. Over the last decade it has become part of the conventional response of broadcasters to fragmenting markets to broaden their portfolio of outlets and, in effect, become their own fragmentation. All the major Canadian broadcast ownership groups have branched out into specialty services with the Commission's blessing.
16123 As a maker of niche programming, our experience has been that the advent of speciality services has offered the Canadian public an unparalleled opportunity to see our films, both current releases and older works.
16124 We have also been very pleasantly surprised at the cumulative audiences which can be achieved on specialty services. An audience of 20,000 once may not be impressive, but that same audience for each of 10 plays is very worthwhile.
16125 Last year our films had accumulative broadcast audience in Canada of about 175 million, in large part due to multiple plays on specialty services.
16126 In the fragmented market all broadcasters occupy, it is inevitable that the audience share of conventional general service broadcasters will decline. The ability to maximize the public's investment in production by offering several viewing possibilities for a title makes good sense. It makes good sense for the CBC.
16127 Obviously, there are pitfalls to be guarded against. New services should enhance rather than drain the programming capacity of the general, over-the-air services, and new services should not become a ghetto for programming with smaller audience and advertising potential.
16128 While one of the things which distinguishes the CBC from private broadcasters is its programming of documentaries. It is a concern for the NFB, and presumably for all documentary producers, that the CBC television networks devote so little of their broadcast schedule to documentaries. This is a particular concern with Radio-Canada, which has had only sporadic slots available for documentaries outside of news and current affairs.
16129 Documentaries typically address themselves not to the news of the day but to longer-term issues. They frequently have, as mentioned earlier, deep regional roots which help to balance the naturally centrist tendencies of national news programs, and because they have a point of view, they provoke discussion and debate in a way different from, and sometimes livelier than, conventional journalism. The debate which has taken place in Quebec on forestry policy in the wake of "L'erreur boreal" is a good example.
16130 We believe that documentaries have an important place in the pantheon of information programming and should be considered an essential part of the CBC's information service.
16131 In terms of the audience for documentaries, research performed at our request by the CBC's own research service demonstrates clearly that at least on the English network, which has regular documentary slots, the audience performance and quality rating index of documentaries is very healthy. These figures were filed with our written intervention.
16132 Because the French television network currently has no regular documentary slot, similar comparisons could not be made. On the occasions where our documentaries have appeared on "Beaux Dimanches", for example, they have done well in the ratings, usually exceeding 500,000 viewers.
16133 Furthermore, documentaries tend to be notably less expensive per hour, both in terms of overall budgets and in broadcast licences, than drama, for example. The cost-to-audience ratio is actually quite favourable in comparison. As an element in the continuing Canadianization of the English service, this may be a factor which deserves consideration.
16134 Both for cost and audience reasons, and because one of the things which truly distinguishes the CBC English network from the competition is its programming of documentaries, we strongly advocate a greater presence for documentaries on both networks, but particularly on Radio-Canada, where obviously there is much further to go.
16135 We, like most other who have come before you to discuss the future of the CBC, are really focussing on the present or even the past. It is what we can speak about with some certainty.
16136 I would like, in closing, to try to really talk for a minute or two about the future.
16137 Since the last time CBC network licences were awarded, the broadcast environment in general, and the CBC's in particular, have changed in ways that no one predicted at the time. The huge cuts to the CBC's budget were not anticipated. The degree of consolidation, of communications ownership groups were not anticipated.
16138 The blurring of boundaries among production, broadcast and telecommunications entities, if notionally anticipated, have taken some surprising turns. The addressable decoder and pick-and-pay, which were expected to be pervasive by now, have not materialized. Meanwhile, the internet has taken on a dynamism quite unexpected seven years ago. We must expect that the licence period about which decisions are being taken now will produce as many surprises as the one now ending.
16139 The tendencies I see in my own crystal ball are for the resources available for distinctively Canadian programming to be under continuing seige; for the larger Canadian producers and private broadcasters to aggressively pursue foreign opportunities, with consequent effects on the Canadianness of their programming; for addressability to finally arrive, causing a shake-out among specialty services; and for bit-streaming technology to give major American studios a way to deliver their products direct to a worldwide audience, altering the supply equation for unrelated broadcasters and for the efficacy of regulation.
16140 If even some of these potential scenarios become reality, the effect for Canadian viewers will be, as it had been for the past 60 years, that the bastion and defense of Canadian expression will be the CBC. We need it to be strong.
16141 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
16142 I would ask Vice-Chair Colville to address the questions.
16143 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Thank you very much.
16144 Good morning, Ms Macdonald, Ms Cousineau. Welcome to our hearing and thank you for your presentation this morning and your written brief.
16145 Just a quick question on the constellation issue, and this is a question that I posed to another intervenor.
16146 In supporting the constellation notion, do you believe the CBC has any particular right to specialty licencesm or would your view be that the approach that the Commission has taken in the past, that CBC can apply with other private broadcasters, and consider its applications among many others at the time that it is considering those applications?
16147 Ms MACDONALD: Well, I think that my answer today for the future might be a different one than I might have given a few years ago, because -- as the Commission itself has recognized with the last round of specialty hearings in English where there were a number of licences awarded that were contingent on future events occurring.
16148 At some point, the degree of fragmentation in the market presumably means that the Commission has to take a more permissive approach and a less perhaps structural one in the sense of saying: This niche is now occupied, nobody else will be there.
16149 So what I would be inclined to say is that as the availability of various kinds of spectrum enlarges, whether it is via the Internet or through direct broadcast satellites, or whatever it is, that the ability to take areas where there is a mandated or a previously licenced cluster of programming, news and current affairs for example, or children's programming or arts programming, if you are already in that field you have obligations in that field. It seems to me that your ability to multiply the uses of the material that you have already invested in and paid for is something that should give you some kind of prior claim.
16150 I'm not sure that it is absolute, but I think that it should be at least something that means that the people who have made those investments are entitled to special consideration.
16151 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Focusing on one of the other issues that you have stressed in your written brief and again this morning, and I think the words were almost exactly the same in this morning's brief and your original written one. I am looking at page 3 of your written brief. You talk near the top of the page about:
"... the importance of an active programming presence beyond news and sports on CBC's regional outlets cannot be overstated." (As read)
16152 You went on to say:
"We believe the documentaries have an important place in the pantheon of information programming and should be considered an essential part of the CBC's information service." (As read)
16153 Then, finally on this point, as preface to this issue or question:
"Furthermore, documentaries tend to be notably less expensive per hour, both in terms of overall budgets and broadcast licences than drama." (As read)
16154 I am wondering your views in particular on the CBC's proposal with respect to putting monies into regional non-news programming and the specific proposal that they had put forward in the context of your particular concern for documentaries.
16155 Ms MACDONALD: Certainly, we regard it as a very positive and exciting step that they were ready to make some commitments to programming other than news in the regions, and the opportunities to have some local air time and some resources available for documentaries seems to us to be a wonderful opportunity.
16156 As you know, people make documentaries all over the country. We make documentaries all over the country. Some of them have more of a regional than a national interest. This is normal. It is sometimes difficult to find a place for those to be seen on a broadcast outlet. The CBC ought to be the place where those things can be seen.
16157 To some degree that is true, but certainly the enhancement of that, I think, is good for the films we make and the people we work with, but we think that it is good for creators from everywhere and certainly for the local audiences because many of these programs draw on and reinforce a sense of community that is, I think, part of the role of the CBC to help support and enhance.
16158 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Do you think on an individual regional basis that the proposal is adequate to do the kind of productions that you are familiar with in this genre of programming? Do you think the proposal is adequate?
16159 Ms MACDONALD: Well, I would have to say that I haven't analyzed it in detail.
16160 I could obviously say there is no limit to the resources that one could spend if one wished, however I think that the balance that the CBC has to maintain with having a strong network presence means that finding the right equilibrium between regional programs and national ones is a constant weighing and I would not wish to jeopardize a strong network schedule by going too far in taking the resources out of that.
16161 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: That was going to be the last question I was going to ask you because you raised that issue in your brief too. A lot of people posed questions to us in that,but I guess I would like to turn the question around to you and ask: What do you think is that appropriate balance?
16162 Ms MACDONALD: Well, it comes back, of course, to a resources question, and one of the unknowns is, in the scheme of things, first of all, the CBC for non-news and sports programming is now so dependant on other sources of government funding for the programs that are aired. A documentary typically gets a licence from the CBC of 10 per cent and then the other 90 per cent is found elsewhere, usually from other public sources of one kind and another.
16163 If anything should happen, if, for example, next year when the government has to renew the Canadian Television Fund, it decides either not to renew it or to renew it at a lower rate, then in fact the capacity to make a good proportion of the programs that CBC airs on the network and regionally to the extent that non-news and sports programs are there, will be deeply compromised.
16164 Similarly, if the advertising revenues, for one reason or another, diminish, then the capacity to pay for the entire panoply of services, even at these levered rates of 10 per cent and 20 to 25 per cent for drama, are going to be severely compromised.
16165 That is a terrible equation to try to respond to, but my reaction would, I think, have to be that if you have to choose I think you have to have a network.
16166 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Okay.
16167 Thank you very much.
16168 Those are all my questions.
16169 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam, merci beaucoup.
16170 MS MACDONALD: Merci.
16171 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will take our morning break and be back in 15 minutes.
--- Short recess at / Courte suspension à 1105
16172 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Alors, Madame Bénard?
16173 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
16174 The next presentation will be by Alberta Motion Pictures Industries Association.
16175 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bonjour. How are you?
16176 MS EDWARDS: Very well, thank you.
16177 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome.
16178 MS EDWARDS: My name is Connie Edwards and I am here representing the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association.
16179 My associate, Diane Janzen, is our consultant with project management and research.
16180 I would like to begin by thanking you very much for the opportunity to present the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association's point of view and recommendations on the CBC licence renewals.
16181 For 25 years the Alberta Motion Picture industries Association has represented independent producers and members involved in all aspects of the film and television industry in Alberta.
16182 The mandate of this association is to ensure the growth and development of the indigenous industry. Central to this mandate is maintaining an environment in which Alberta producers can initiate, develop and produce films and programs over which they have creative and financial control.
16183 We are here today in relation to CRTC Public Notice 1999-3 the CBC Licence Renewal. Our comments will relate to that portion of the CBC's mandate to be found in Paragraph 1, Section III, Item 2 of the Broadcasting Act which states that:
... CBC programming should reflect Canada and its regions to national and regional audiences while serving the special needs of those regions.^ (As read)
16184 It is our opinion that for this part of the mandate to be realized it is critical that the CBC be strong in all regions of the country and that it develop licence and invest in Canadian programming produced or co-produced by independent producers based in the regions who either own or co-own these programs.
16185 The region where we see ourselves situated encompasses the three prairie provinces and our primary focus today is on Alberta independent production.
16186 A year ago in response to membership concerns about: one, the current trend toward longer broadcast licence terms; and, two, the lack of annual review by the CRTC of broadcaster promises of performance to the independent sector, AMPIA commissioned project management and research to undertake a study titled "A Watchful Eye".
16187 The first part of that study entitled "Report I: Conditions of Licence" was delivered to AMPIA on December 15, 1998. This was a comprehensive review of all Alberta-based broadcaster promises of performance in their current licence terms regarding the independent production sector.
16188 This document is utilized by AMPIA as a benchmark for the purpose of comparison to the actual expenditures incurred by the broadcaster. It is interesting to compare the differences between the private Alberta stations and the CBC Alberta stations.
16189 The second part of this study entitled "Report II: The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - CRTC Promises of Performance and Broadcaster Report Card" was delivered to AMPIA on January 31, 1999.
16190 In the spirit of collegial disclosure, AMPIA sent a draft copy of Part II of the study to Joe Novak, Regional Director for CBC Alberta for his input. AMPIA felt that it was important that the CBC have the opportunity to provide feedback so that the final version would be absent any inadvertent errors and/or omissions.
16191 Mr. Novak forwarded his comments on March 1st, which were reviewed by project management and research, and the information was integrated into the final version of Part II of the study. We have left you copies of both studies of this material for your own review and analysis.
16192 To briefly review the findings of both Part I and Part II of the study, we would like to draw your attention to the following points: In the not too distant past, support by the CBC for Alberta independent production has been relatively strong. However, since 1995-1996 it declined by more than 50 per cent.
16193 Calgary and Edmonton CBC licences lack any quantifiable commitment to the Alberta independent production industry, with no identification of budgets or the establishment of funds to assist in the development of the industry. There are no commitments from the Alberta stations to purchase programming from the independent production sector in Alberta.
16194 Not only is that inequitable with regard to private Alberta broadcasters, all of whom have made such commitments, some of whom are also network affiliated, but the result is that there is a little impetus for the CBC at the network level to direct expenditures to independent producers in Alberta.
16195 In our opinion, this negatively impacts the CBC mandate of reflecting the regions to ourselves and to other parts of Canada.
16196 A recent schedule review shows: one, an overall lack of commitment to Alberta regional programming; two, a lack of commitment to independently produced regional programming and, three, a lack of support for production outside of local news.
16197 For example, if you look at a typical 1999 weekly CBC Edmonton schedule which consists of 132.5 hours you would find the following: 106 hours of CBC network programming or 80 per cent of the schedule; eight hours of regular regional programming all in the news category and representing 6 per cent of the schedule; 18.5 hours of foreign programming or 14.5 per cent of the schedule; zero hours of regular regional programming in the categories of drama, music/variety, documentary or children's production; and zero hours of regular programming produced or co-produced with the Alberta independent production community.
16198 In fact, if you are a CBC Alberta viewer, you do not have the opportunity to watch any regularly scheduled Alberta-produced drama, children's documentary or music variety programming, but you can watch six hours a week or 312 hours a year of "Coronation Street" and "The Simpsons".
16199 It should be mentioned that we share these concerns about CBC regional programming with others such as The Mandate Review Committee, CBC, NFB, Telefilm commissioned by the federal Minister of Canadian Heritage in 1996 and chaired by Pierre Juneau, the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, who recently conducted a study on declining regional television production and concerns expressed by the CRTC itself in the last two national CBC Broadcast licence renewal hearings.
16200 While the CBC has been highly successful in the Canadianization of its schedule, for Albertans these increases have not seen more Alberta programming, more Alberta stories told, or more access by the Alberta public to Alberta programming in anything but news programming.
16201 Finally, certain national licence requirements such as those relating to quotas for the purchase of television programming from the independent production sector -- 40 to 50 per cent -- are not carried through at the local level. In total, we believe that the CBC and its Broadcast Act-driven mandate has been severely compromised by its budgetary cuts which has forced restructuring that has negatively affected regional operations across the country.
16202 AMPIA supports the CBC as a strong national public broadcaster rooted in the regions. We believe that in order for the CBC to meet its mandate nationally, and in Alberta, it must commit itself philosophically and financially to strong regional operations and to a revitalized relationship with the Alberta independent production community.
16203 We expect the recent appointment of the new CBC Regional Director for Alberta is a signal that there is a new level of commitment to a strong CBC Alberta presence and a desire for a renewed relationship with Alberta independent producers.
16204 We would like the CRTC to consider the following recommendations with regard to the CBC and its mandate, specifically in relation to its support for Alberta independent production.
16205 As a condition of its licence, that the CRTC support the continued Canadianization of the CBC schedule.
16206 That the CRTC, through its approval process of both the national and the Alberta station licences, make a commitment to the importance of regional programming by requiring that CBC Alberta operations designate five hours over and above its current licence requirements for local news programming per week of programming, schedule time and prime time, with other available slots to be filled with programming in the under represented categories of drama, children's programming, documentaries and music variety that is produced or co-produced by Alberta independent producers.
16207 That the CRTC require the CBC at a national and regional licence level, Edmonton and Calgary, to commit to the development and airing of Alberta independent productions by establishing a regional production fund of no less than $2 million in cash annually to support script and concept development, licences and airing of Alberta independent productions. We urge that this fund be administered and decisions be made at a local Alberta level.
16208 On that last point, in terms of precedent, it should be noted that the A Channel, who also have two Alberta licences in Edmonton and Calgary, have committed $2 million per year from the A Channel Drama Fund. CFRN in Edmonton has a commitment of $1 million per year through the CFRN TV Fund, and CFCN in Calgary has a commitment of $1.5 million per year through the CFCN Production Fund. In the latter two examples, both CFRN and CFCN are CTV network-owned stations, yet their independent production expenditure commitments are over and above the network's commitments.
16209 Finally, we recommend that the CRTC require that the CBC network purchase at least 50 per cent of its programming from Canadian independent producers up from its current licence requirement of 40 per cent.
16210 What all of this adds to is what we believe that the Alberta public and Alberta producers merit and are entitled to a proportionate and fair share of CBC funding.
16211 I thank you very much for the opportunity to present our point of view.
16212 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
16213 I would ask Commissioner Grauer to address the questions of the Commission.
16214 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you very much.
16215 This is a very comprehensive presentation you have made, and particularly I want to thank you for the bedtime reading you have left with us.
--- Laughter / Rires
16216 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I was going to ask you for the report. I am delighted we have it.
16217 Actually there were a few questions I was going to ask that are really, for the most part, covered in your oral presentation today.
16218 I just want to make sure that in your detailing of the commitments that the A Channel and CFRN and CFCN have made, are these all the private broadcasters in Alberta? I mean, is there anybody else?
16219 MS EDWARDS: There are some. Some of them are.
16220 MS JANZEN: Yes, WIC stations, Western International Communications, has CICT out of Calgary and CITV out of Edmonton and they are under licence committed to $11.7 million each over seven years.
16221 So the pattern that you are seeing in terms of $1 to $2 million annually is not an anomaly. I would say it is sort of a normal pattern for Alberta stations at this time.
16222 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So there is a pretty consistent commitment on the part of the private broadcasters who have conventional licences in Alberta to be making these kinds of commitments?
16223 MS JANZEN: Yes.
16224 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: It may be in your study, but I wondered: What is the regional non-news programming time commitments made by some of those other broadcasters? Did you look at thatç
16225 MS JANZEN: That is an issue held not only by CBC but other broadcasters. Most Alberta broadcasters are airing less than 1 per cent of their schedules with Alberta independent productions. The highest in the review that I looked at was 6 per cent and that was by WIC in Edmonton.
16226 So when you look at that issue -- and we also reviewed the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting study on the reduction of regional programming, they looked at Winnipeg and Vancouver, but that issue extends as well very highly to Alberta. I think some of it is due, in large part, to the proliferation of networks that can develop more economies of scale and, of course, in order to keep costs down the economies of scale mean that you can put more on regional stations from the network to limit the costs.
16227 So the issue here is consistent as well with the other issues in Alberta.
16228 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Okay.
16229 With your proposed conditions of licence -- I know that you have talked about specifically Alberta, but in your view would this be something we should consider for all regions and all provinces?
16230 MS EDWARDS: I think to properly reflect the mandate of the CBC it would certainly be a consideration.
16231 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Have you had any discussions with the CBC? I know you have said you have given a copy of your report to the Regional Director. Have you had any further discussions with them about the report you have done or any of the results here? Have you had any feedback from them?
16232 MS JANZEN: I think that they are definitely interested in a better relationship with the independent sector and have listened well to the issue of shelf space. Again, I mean I think the almighty dollar question comes into question.
16233 One of the things that AMPIA is quite concerned about is in the strategic plan. I believe they referred to putting in $50,000 regionally for the first year in terms of investment and $250,000 for a series. If you look at a series costing, a 13-part series, say in the neighbourhood of $6 million, anywhere from $350,000 to $500,000 an hour. It is not taking you anywhere.
16234 The other point with CBC is, in 1993-1994 they invested close to $5 million in Alberta and the bottom has just dropped out of that. So I think that in principle, CBC at a regional level would love to do more, but that their hands are somewhat tied, as well. I don't sense, at all, an adversarial relationship and if we could move forward on that I think it would be great.
16235 MS EDWARDS: Not at all. In fact, we had a meeting when the new regional director was first brought on board and certainly he was very open to discussion and to suggestions. So we feel that there is a dialogue that is continuing, but we are certainly concerned about the monetary issues.
16236 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes, I was just going to ask you, where would you think the $2 million for each region would come from?
16237 MS EDWARDS: Out of the current budget. I don't think it is unreasonable to request that amount of dollars to a region such as Alberta.
16238 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So $2 million times 10 provinces, let's say, that's what, $20 million a year.
16239 Can you identify any particular area of the overall budget that --
16240 MS EDWARDS: I'm not familiar with the overall budget. I'm sorry, I can't.
16241 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Have you had any discussions, aside from the regional people, with any of the national network people, the kind of people that --
16242 MS EDWARDS: No. I mean, I think that AMPIA is trying to be realistic in terms of understanding that CBC is likely maybe not going to be able to get a whole lot of extra resources, that what they might have to do is to look internally at restructuring the way in which they disperse their monies across the country.
16243 I know that whenever you say the words "regional envelope" people will flip out, but I would suggest to you that that is something that really needs to be looked at. Because the regional mandate of the CBC, as we have said in our presentation, I think is basically under seige. There is nothing other than local news and information programming on a regular basis.
16244 So I think we would suggest an internal review and some kind of a look at better reflecting our regional concerns equitably across the country.
16245 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I don't actually think I have any other questions. I think it is quite clear.
16246 I don't know if you have anything you would like to add before we conclude?
16247 MS EDWARDS: No. We are finished.
16248 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much.
16249 MS EDWARDS: Thank you very much.
16250 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Madame Chair?
16251 THE CHAIRPERSON: No.
16252 Thank you very much. Thank you.
16253 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by Newfoundland Broadcasting Company.
16254 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
16255 MR. S. STIRLING: Good morning.
--- Off microphone / Sans microphone
16256 THE CHAIRPERSON: We understand. We have been victims of that flu ourselves.
16257 MR. S. STIRLING: It is going around. Okay.
16258 THE CHAIRPERSON: We even have cough syrup, we have all the -- I have some Vicks here.
16259 MR. S. STIRLING: Maybe a suppressant.
16260 Madame Chairperson and Members of the Commission and ladies and gentleman, my name is Scott Stirling and I am President and CEO of Newfoundland Broadcasting Company Limited.
16261 At the table with me today is Mr. Doug Neal, General Manager of Newfoundland Broadcasting; Mr. Greg Stirling, who along with me is a shareholder in Newfoundland Broadcasting. Also present, Mr. Keith Soper, our Sales Manager at NTV.
16262 NTV is appearing here today because we believe the commercial practices of CBC are slowly destroying the private broadcasting industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. In today's economy it is especially unfair to pit a subsidized Crown Corporation with the might of the CBC against a small regional broadcast network like NTV, but that is precisely what has been done up to now.
16263 We are here today to ask that the CBC be relieved of the burdens of billing, accounting, traffic orders, salaried sales people and their managers, the overhead of offices, as well as all the other costly paraphernalia required to make money through local and regional sales.
16264 We believe if the Commission does not act upon what we are saying here today, and what we have said in our written intervention, you will discover that the future of private broadcasting will be in jeopardy, not only in Newfoundland and Labrador but perhaps in the entire country.
16265 We believe that Newfoundland and Labrador represents a microcosm of the national scene. CBNT in St. John's is charging both advertising airtime and production rates which bear no relationship to the ratings or their operating costs. So let's consider the rates.
16266 In our written submission, we clearly offer evidence of CBNT's unrealistically low advertising rates. We ask that the CBC be required to show you its records in order to allow the Commission to verify our belief that it has engaged in unjust, unfair and uncompetitive sales practices in Newfoundland and Labrador. We have uncovered this through access to only a few of their contracts, which support what we have long believed to be true.
16267 We also believe that CBNT's costs are significantly higher than the revenues generated locally by its sales of advertising and commercial production.
16268 CBNT's sales activities depress the marketplace in Newfoundland and Labrador. As the Commission is aware, private broadcasters of course live and die on their ratings. We use those ratings as the basis for NTV's advertising rates. The revenue generated from the sale of advertising based on a good rating pays the bills. If NTV has the ratings and the sales, but our revenues are depressed due to under selling on the market's cost per point, it will be difficult for NTV to survive in an increasingly fragmented broadcasting system.
16269 Simply put, we won't be able to generate the revenue required to improve or even maintain today's levels of service that we need to survive in today's television universe. Meanwhile, CBC will continue to go along skimming the fat from the top, offering low rates to those potential advertisers who will purchase a local television spot, thereby depressing the cost per point in our marketplace and the other markets served by the CBC.
16270 As we stated have in our written intervention, CBNT offers unrealistically low advertising prices for even its top-rated show in Newfoundland, "Here And Now". It is an easy sale for CBNT, representing some extra money, regional or local, but they don't consider the implications this has on other media operating in our market.
16271 Even if an advertiser has no intention of buying CBNT the knowledge of these low CBC prices for a show with comparable ratings to NTV is used by advertisers as a stick to beat down our rates, and thus beat down the overall value of advertising in the market of St. John's.
16272 CBC has become very aggressive on the cost-per-spot approach for their special packages that include their top shows such as "Here And Now", "Land And Sea", et cetera. These packages are targeted towards accounts that are advertising on NTV.
16273 In the local market, the only major stumbling block with clients comparing NTV and CBC is absolutely price per spot for comparable shows in package deals for weekly, monthly or yearly buys.
16274 We feel that CBC is pricing below what the market can bear with no relationship to cost recovery or, of course, profit.
16275 Overall, the CBC is having an effect by forcing the price to be kept down in an industry where expenses are continually increasing.
16276 Some years ago, the CBC was selling "Here And Now's" cut ins for the west coast of Newfoundland at $25 for a 30-second spot. NTV complained, but the Commission felt at that time that it was better to maintain the CBC presence in those communities. As a result, NTV was forced to close our Cornerbrook station because we could not compete with those rates.
16277 Some years later, fairly recently in fact, a local radio station started in Cornerbrook, but was reduced to selling 30-second spots for $7.00 because that is all they could get. CBYT was selling local TV spots for $35. The owners of that radio station eventually sold to Newcap Broadcasting. CBC, in the end, closed its station after its public funding was reduced.
16278 It would appear that the CBC knew, as we did, that they could not continue operation selling at those rates without their heavily subsidized budget. Since NTV has no subsidy, Cornerbrook was closed. NTV's Grand Falls-Gander TV studios also were closed just prior to our closure in Cornerbrook.
16279 It is obvious that the CBC's practice of underselling results in forcing out the private broadcaster. Then, faced with budget constraints, the CBC themselves abandon the small markets first, resulting in little or no direct community involvement by either broadcaster in those communities.
16280 A potentially similar situation exists today in St. John's where CBNT's unfair selling practices have severely depressed the advertising market and significantly affected our revenues. In our view, Cornerbrook is a microcosm of St. John's. If another downturn in the economy yields more drastic budget cuts for CBC in the future, they could decide to remove their studios from St. John's in favour of a regional presence centred out of Halifax.
16281 Newfoundland Broadcasting is Newfoundland owned and operated. If we are going to survive, it will be in Newfoundland. We have been here for almost 50 years but, unlike the CBC, we have nowhere else to go.
16282 In order to generate the revenue to purchase and produce the programs, to provide the capital necessary to buy our equipment, to employ our staff, to pay the taxes and the operating expenses, NTV must be allowed to sell at rates which are considered reasonable by our clients. Since the local CBC severely undercuts our rates, when both "Here And Now" and "The NTV Evening News Hour" enjoy almost equal ratings, if you were a potential customer, what would you do?
16283 There is a condition in CBNT's licence that requires it to sell at fair and competitive rates. A copy of the conditions were attached to Decision CRTC 95-654 and they are appended. If you don't mind, I would just like to review those which directly talk about sales practices.
16284 This on their Cornerbrook station as well as their St. John's station:
"The CBC may continue to solicit and broadcast local commercials on television in Newfoundland on the condition that:
a) CBC rates charged for commercials will be fair and competitive with the private sector, and will be based on current industry criteria such as cost-per-thousand and/or cost-per-rating point;
b) the CBC will not expand its sales force for the purpose of increasing its proportional share of the television advertising market in Newfoundland;
c) rates, discounts and conditions of sale are formally authorized and published will be strictly observed;
d) the CBC will ensure that its commercial practices in Newfoundland are consistent with those in other parts of the country;
e) the CBC will not vary its discount prices in Newfoundland from the framework consistently applied to all its stations;
f) the Run-of-Schedule discount plan which applies uniformly to all CBC local sales operations, may be subject to minor adjustments from time to time in Newfoundland but will not substantially change character or impact."
16285 It is apparent to us, that they have not complied with these conditions, nor has CBNT lived up to its promise of performance to produce 8.3 hours of news each week. There is, therefore, no reason for the Commission to believe they did or will abide by the conditions regarding their sales practices.
16286 NTV asks the Commission to consider that CBNT's new mandate in this coming licence term should be to get out of local and regional markets altogether in Newfoundland.
16287 We believe that there is evidence which indicates that CBNT has not complied with its past conditions of licence and NTV does not want to endure another round of this unfair competition during the next licence term of CBC.
16288 On the national selective TV advertising scene, all broadcasters face the threat of fragmentation. Cable and Direct-To-Home will bring even more channels into our market. So we must compete against major stations from the U.S., on one hand, followed by the seemingly inexhaustible numbers of low budget, 24-hour, automated specialty channels, repeating whole blocks of programming daily.
16289 These cable and DTH-delivered specialty channels with no over-the-air transmission expenses can offer very reasonable national rates. NTV will lose an estimated $1 million to these services in this year alone.
16290 Advertisers and their agency of record pit specialty TV against national selective TV, another example of the brutal pressure we face in rate erosion. Further compounding this is a CBC publicly funded entity pricing itself without relevance to cost or market forces and market value.
16291 In general terms, recognizing the size and importance of the Newfoundland market within the framework of today's national TV sales climate, any increase in the supply of airtime for sale without a corresponding increase in demand for that airtime will mean, for this market, a reduction in available national revenue.
16292 Static demand plus increased supply equals fall in price. Agencies will play the market at the same rate or lower than last year and adopt an even more inflexible negotiating position on rates. This will mean an effective reduction in the overall market revenue pie. More players will be competing more ferociously for a smaller share of a smaller pie.
16293 With advertising sales declining and fragmentation increasing, private broadcasters will be forced to implement cost-cutting measures imminently.
16294 In Atlantic Canada a major station, ATV, has already laid off 28 people, citing their decreases in national revenue due to increased fragmentation as the cause. NTV is no different. Layoffs and cutbacks will occur if corrective measures are not put in place now.
16295 While not much can be done about the fragmentation threat, the solution to CBC's local underselling is presently within the Commission's grasp. You have a window of opportunity existing today, the next CBNT licence renewal may be too late. The Commission alone has the power today to correct these unfair, unjust and un-competitive practices.
16296 Madam Chairperson and Commissioners, it is all about revenue. In order for NTV to improve the levels of service required to compete for adequate ratings in an increasingly fragmented market, NTV will have to produce local programs that are relevant to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. That takes money.
16297 To deliver the technical quality and programming designed to entice the viewer to watch and thereby garner ratings also takes money. To keep the transmitters on, the satellite feeds up, the employees required to make it all happen, takes money. The CBC certainly has more money than we do. They can, and we believe do, compete unfairly.
16298 As a point of what we believe is historically significant we quote what Ann Boden, Senior Vice-President and National Media Director of McKim Advertising, said in 1990 regarding the CBC's venture at that time:
"Although this is great news for advertisers and agencies, I predict that private broadcasters will once again be vocal against the CBC. They do have a point, given CBC's government subsidy." (As read)
16299 The CBC is using its economies of scale, economies which are supported by government subsidies to effect an unfair competitive advantage over the private sector, the private broadcaster.
16300 NTV asks that the Commission take action in this licence renewal to correct the damage of the past and allow private broadcasting, in the light of the perils of emerging fragmentation, a chance to maintain its place in the Canadian broadcasting system free from the CBC's commercial involvement in its local and regional marketplaces.
16301 The CBC's viewers will even be impressed.
16302 Thank you.
16303 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
16304 I would ask Commissioner Pennefather to ask the questions.
16305 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
16306 Good morning, gentlemen.
16307 MR. S. STIRLING: Good morning.
16308 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you for being here today.
16309 Thank you for your written submission and your comments this morning. They are very thorough and you have presented your points very clearly regarding your concerns about CBNT's advertising practices.
16310 I really have no questions, since your presentation was very clear and detailed, and we look forward to CBC's reply on this matter.
16311 I only have one area perhaps for comment outside of that whole discussion.
16312 Clearly, your concern deals with CBC advertising practices in the local regional market. That's clear.
16313 In your written submission you did make a comment regarding the absence of local weekly programming other than news.
16314 I was wondering whether you have any comment on CBC's commitments announced during this hearing to do two new weekly half hour series of non-news programming and in terms of increased regional production and in terms of increased regional presence the national network. Do you have any comments on that?
16315 MR. S. STIRLING: I read their application and I guess that came out here in the hearings. So I am not very familiar with it except what they have put out. But it is not on their schedule. So it is a rather vague commitment. It is not apparently going to actually air in the fall, but perhaps it will down the road.
16316 I guess one thing they said in their pamphlet that they have here on the table, it says:
"To not have regional programs reflecting the community and the region from which they are drawn would be at odds with the very nature of this country and at odds with the reasons why CBC was created in the first place." (As read)
16317 I mean they have Newsworld. I mean, there has got to be more to Newfoundland culture than just news. But I haven't seen what they are promising. I mean, it is a great thing to come in and make a promise in the twelfth hour.
16318 I also noticed that in Newfoundland they normally cut back to a half hour newscast in the summer, and this year they are going to wait until these hearings are over I guess.
16319 I think they are obviously putting their best face on it.
16320 We don't have anything against CBC, it's just that we want to survive. We want to continue to offer our viewers in Newfoundland a service. That's really the problem.
16321 Right now we have 65 employees, they have 380. They have four times our revenue and we are producing twice as much news as they are. So what is wrong with that picture?
16322 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Just so I'm clear, you do agree that CBC should have a local regional presence?
16323 MR. S. STIRLING: Yes. We are not saying they should be removed.
16324 We would be happy if you could have enforced the conditions of licence last time. We would be happy to keep those licences in and not ask them to get out of local. But it is impossible to police. It is impossible to enforce.
16325 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: All right, yes. That is very clear from your presentation and we will look to CBC's reply in that matter.
16326 I have no further questions.
16327 Thank you.
16328 MR. S. STIRLING: Thank you.
16329 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you for being here today.
16330 MR. S. STIRLING: Thank you.
16331 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
16332 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen, for participating.
16333 Ms BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by S&S Productions, Mr. Steve Smith.
16334 MR. SMITH: Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, thank you for allowing me the privilege of coming here and speaking to you today.
16335 I am here to support, with vigour, the CBC licence renewal application.
16336 I have been an independent producer for over 20 years, producing almost 500 half hours of television, the most notable being the Red Green Show, which runs nationally on CBC and is on 85 PBS stations in the U.S.
16337 I have worked with most of the private broadcasters and my company is currently doing several productions for the specialty channels.
16338 Let me begin by giving you my perspective of the CRTC.
Laughter / Rires
--- Off microphone / Sans microphone
16339 MR. SMITH: I will do it publicly.
16340 Very early in my producing career I met with a broadcast executive to pitch a program idea. He started the meeting by telling me that: Every Canadian broadcaster only needs three employees, one to purchase the American programs, one to sell ads for the American programs, and one to push a button so the American programs go on the air. Now, what was it you wanted to talk about?
16341 There is no doubt in my mind that the CRTC regulations are the main reason I have been allowed to work in my chosen profession in my own country. So naturally I support any broadcaster who embraces the CRTC agenda. That's why I'm here today.
16342 The CBC goes beyond just meeting the letter of the CRTC regulations. It actually meets the intent.
16343 The CBC can't bury their Canadian programs or schedule them as throwaways or package them with American shows. Canadian shows have to work well on the CBC schedule, because they are the CBC schedule.
16344 The CBC and I are fundamentally in the same business: producing, marketing and promoting Canadian shows that Canadians want to watch. To me, the CBC is the spirit of a group of us working together, jousting at windmills, masters of our own domain. Together, we focus on the job at hand, which is making our voices heard.
16345 This is a big one. Our bosses are not in L.A. or New York. And, with all due respect, they are not even in Ottawa. They are in livingrooms and family rooms from Gibson's Landing to Joe Batt's Arm. More and more of them are showing up in the ratings books watching Canadian shows on CBC.
16346 Why? Yes, the shows are high quality but that is not the reason. Canadians watch the CBC because it is relevant to them and it is relevant to them because it reflects their culture.
16347 I was hoping I wouldn't have to say the "C" word, because it is so overused, but it is also the fundamental reason for the existence of the CRTC and the CBC and the entire Canadian broadcasting industry. So I felt I should at least mention it.
16348 Television is a cultural medium. For Canadian television to endure with purpose it needs to be a cultural endeavour with a business component, rather than the other way around.
16349 I believe the CBC is on that track.
16350 I travel extensively in the United States, meeting thousands of Americans every year face-to-face. Hundreds of them make the trip to come up to the CBC broadcast centre in Toronto to watch the taping of my show.
16351 I am here to testify that American culture and Canadian culture are significantly different, and that is important. Unfortunately, it is not important to the Americans. So it is up to us to draw the line.
16352 We all know that the way people see themselves determines who they are and who they eventually become. Every year more and more Canadians see themselves as American, because those are the images that dominate the media.
16353 CBC is working hard to get Canadians to see themselves as Canadian.
16354 Yes, the CBC is financially subsidized, but it is not culturally subsidized. You get what you pay for.
16355 I know there is room for improvement at the CBC, as there is in almost all large corporations, but it is better to do the right thing with flaws than to do the wrong thing to perfection. CBC is doing the right thing.
16356 In closing, I believe that broadcasters should be judged by what they add to the viewer's menu. American simulcast adds nothing. The CBC adds Canada.
16357 Thank you.
16358 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
16359 I would ask Commissioner Langford to ask the questions.
16360 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thanks very much.
16361 Thanks for coming out, as they say.
16362 MR. SMITH: I live in the area.
16363 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I'm glad you didn't bring your chain saw and make us a green salad. We can't afford the furniture.
16364 I want to ask a little bit based on your success, especially this Red Green Show you do. There are various voices that we have heard already, and we will hear more of judging from the written interventions that we have read ahead on, who paint this kind of a picture of the CBC's role. I think I could characterize it that they see it as an incubator kind of role.
16365 They see the CBC as getting out there and taking chances on shows that other people won't touch, that the privates won't touch. But then they seem to take it an extra step and say that once those shows get successful, whether it is the "Air Farce" or "This Hour Has 22 Minutes", or other shows, that they should let those go and let the private broadcasters take them. That they shouldn't bid to hold onto what they have created. That they should view themselves as incubators and say, "Okay, that one was a success, we will kiss it goodbye. We will go out and look for the next zany, next new development, whatever it might be, whether it is in drama or in comedy."
16366 MR. SMITH: Right.
16367 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: How do you respond to that?
16368 MR. SMITH: I just don't agree. There is a huge gap in that logic for me.
16369 For one thing, working as a producer I can't overestimate the value of the environment in which you are working. If you working side-by-side with a broadcaster who is completely at risk with you in terms of, as I said in my presentation, is in the same business. They live or die on the success of their Canadian programs.
16370 That brings a whole different light to it. You do your best work. You value their opinion more, because they are right along side-by-side with you fighting the same battle.
16371 If someone has another main agenda, if there is another engine driving that broadcaster's main business, then that relationship just changes tremendously and would affect the whole process. So there is one issue.
16372 Another issue is, I don't understand why the CBC would be penalized for success when they do what you ask them to do, take the chances, develop the shows, stay with the people when others won't, and then make it a success, and they are penalized? I don't get that.
16373 If I was working there on the inside, that would completely demoralize me. What you would be looking for is mediocrity, because you know you can keep it.
16374 There are a few holes in that for me that could be filled, but they need to be filled first and then we could look at it.
16375 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I just have one other area that I want to explore, just to sort of trade on your experience.
16376 We hear a lot here about PBS as a comparison, and we have been told ferociously that CBC shouldn't be "PBS North". We have been told just as ferociously that they should be.
16377 There seems to be a lot of schizophrenia out there on what PBS means and how it works. Can you give us any guidance?
16378 You have worked with both. You are working with both now. I don't want you to bite either hand that feeds you, so you can keep it as positive as you want, but we are just trying to get a sense here as to the difference between a PBS and a CBC environment, and with you as an independent producer, you might be in a position to do that for us.
16379 MR. SMITH: Okay. Well, in a way you are asking me what colour is plaid, but I will do my best.
16380 I mean, who would think the "Red Green Show" would work on PBS. We say it is an educational channel, we are a recess. We do this kind of stuff to try to break the mould.
16381 But the elements of PBS that I relate to are that it is very much a bottom-up network, it's a ground swell. If the people are there to support it. If they feel passionately about the television they are watching, then on PBS you can keep your program on the air and allow it to flourish.
16382 The down side of PBS, in my mind, is that there is a tendency for it to be elitist, that you get so high-brow actually no one is watching. We are doing all these great shows and nobody is watching.
16383 In my presentation I wanted to stress to get our voices heard -- to get our voices heard by the most number of people. Great ratings on the CBC is what we are after, not just great shows that nobody sees or great cultural breakthroughs that nobody watches. It won't affect anybody who didn't see it.
16384 So my major complaint with the PBS would be, number one, it is elitist; and number two, they don't really rate that well and it tends to be not on the agenda for most viewers.
16385 CBC is already a million miles ahead of that. CBC has tremendous ratings. When I told you about that meeting I had early in my career, if you would have told me that there will be a Canadian broadcaster sometime in the future that will win its time slot with 100 per cent Canadian programming in prime time, I would have fainted.
16386 The headway here has been tremendous. I think, in fact PBS, as they get more involved with CBC, will try to emulate them, the other way around.
16387 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So how do you feel about the CBC?
--- Laughter / Rires
16388 MR. SMITH: Oh, I'm kind of ambivalent.
16389 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I thought so.
16390 Those are my questions.
16391 Thank you.
16392 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
16393 Thank you, Mr. Smith. Thank you.
16394 Mme BÉNARD: Merci, Madame la Présidente.
16395 La prochaine présentation sera celle de la Fédération nationale des communications.
16396 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour.
16397 Mme LAROUCHE: Bonjour, Madame la Présidente, mesdames et messieurs du Conseil bonjour.
16398 Je me présente, Chantal Larouche, présidente de la Fédération nationale des communications. Je suis accompagnée de mon confrère, le secrétaire-général de la Fédération, Pierre Roger.
16399 J'ai joint à notre présentation verbale un document qui est une déclaration solennelle qui a été faite hier par les quatre présidents vivants, disons-nous, de la CSN depuis 1965 à savoir MM. Marcel Pepin, Norbert Rodrige, Gérald Larose et le président en titre, Marc Laviolette.
16400 La Fédération nationale des communications est une fédération processionnelle qui est affiliée à la Confédération des syndicats nationaux. La Fédération représente 105 syndicats dans les secteurs de la télévision, de la radio, de la presse écrite, de l'édition donc 7 000 membres au total. Nous représentons tant les journalistes que les techniciens et l'ensemble des employés de soutien de même que les pigistes qui oeuvrent dans l'industrie de la production indépendante, soit l'Association des professionnels de la vidéo du Québec et l'Association des journalistes indépendants du Québec.
16401 La FNC croit que le mandat de la Société Radio-Canada défini par la Loi de la radiodiffusion doit être maintenu et soutenu.
16402 Depuis le début des années 90, Radio-Canada a subi des diminutions de crédits parlementaires de plus de 20 pour cent ce qui complique considérablement la concrétisation de son mandat. La SRC doit de plus financer ses opérations de radiodiffusion à partir de revenus obtenus à la télévision.
16403 Ce contexte contraint Radio-Canada à recourir aux variétés et aux sports pour attirer des auditoires et des revenus. Ce type d'émissions, pourrions-nous dire, altère le mandat de la SRC mais elles s'avèrent utiles et même nécessaires compte tenu des besoins de revenus en auditoires.
16404 Nous croyons, cependant, que la SRC doit bien sûr faire des efforts particuliers pour devenir un radiotélédiffuseur complémentaire et offrir au public des contenus qui se distinguent de ceux diffusés par le privé. Nous croyons que la Société assumerait ainsi pleinement le rôle qui lui est confié par la Loi sur la radiodiffusion.
16405 Nous ne pouvons cependant faire abstraction de la situation financière de la SRC et lui imposer d'offrir une programmation marginale qui la rendrait davantage vulnérable. Elle doit pouvoir diffuser des contenus qui attirent des auditoires et des revenus publicitaires.
16406 Toutefois, Radio-Canada doit aussi déployer les énergies nécessaires pour occuper des créneaux laissés pour compte par l'entreprise privée. La SRC doit en conséquence offrir aux téléspectateurs des émissions, des catégories d'émissions canadiennes qui ont tendance à être sous-représentées dans les grilles horaires des télédiffuseurs canadiens, notamment les dramatiques, les émissions de musique, les émissions pour enfants et les documentaires.
16407 Rappelons qu'au Québec les télédiffuseurs privés généralistes ont réduit le nombre d'heures d'émissions destinées aux enfants et ce depuis l'adoption en 1980 de la Loi sur la protection du consommateur qui interdit la publicité commerciale destinée aux enfants de moins de 13 ans.
16408 Dans son avis d'audience publique 1999-3, le conseil écrit que:
"La SRC, à titre de radiodiffuseur public national, mettra en oeuvre son mandat dans un marché plus fragmenté et plus concurrentiel."
16409 Le Conseil poursuit:
"Un radiodiffuseur public national canadien fort est indispensable dans ce contexte."
16410 La Fédération nationale des communications partage cette analyse. C'est pour cette raison qu'elle presse le Conseil de résister aux demandes de plusieurs diffuseurs privés et de commentateurs qui revendiquent une restructuration radicale de la programmation de la Société.
16411 La Fédération ne croit pas que les objectifs de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion seront atteints en forçant la Société Radio-Canada à se retirer massivement des catégories d'émissions les plus populaires. Elle est convaincue qu'une telle approche se traduirait inévitablement par une baisse généralisée de l'écoute, y compris pour les catégories sous-représentées.
16412 Dans son plan stratégique la Société écrit que:
"Radio-Canada présentera également aux Canadiens ses promesses de réalisation annuelles portant sur la programmation et d'autres points précis."
16413 Cet engagement nous apparaît un bon moyen de voir à ce que la Société Radio-Canada joue son rôle de diffuseur public. Encore faut-il que les auditeurs qui sont aussi des contribuables capables de définir ce qu'ils entendent par service public aient la chance de se faire entendre.
16414 La Fédération demande donc au Conseil d'obliger Radio-Canada à diffuser largement ses promesses de réalisation annuelles ainsi que d'autoévaluation annuelle des résultats de la Société. La haute direction de Radio-Canada devrait aussi être tenue de discuter du contenu de ces documents à l'antenne de chacun de ses réseaux.
16415 Par rapport à l'information, la SRC soutient que RDI fournit des bulletins de nouvelles aux trente minutes à chaque jour, des émissions spéciales sur les grands événements de l'actualité, une fenêtre quotidienne sur toutes les régions du pays.
16416 Nous constatons que la SRC doit cependant améliorer le traitement accordé à l'information à caractère régional. L'expérience démontre que peu d'énergies sont consacrées à adapter l'information pour le public auquel elle est destinée.
16417 Il est primordial que la SRC s'assure que les nouvelles régionales présentées sur le réseau soit mises en perspective de manière à intéresser la population canadienne. La Société Radio-Canada devrait s'inspirer de l'émission notamment "Le Midi 15" et le bulletin de 13 heures diffusés au Québec pour définir convenablement l'information à caractère régional. Ces deux productions font un effort valable pour présenter correctement l'information régionale.
16418 La Société Radio-Canada devrait en fait préciser quelles émissions ont une vocation régionale et définir par écrit les objectifs visés et les moyens retenus pour atteindre cette partie du mandat. Cette information devrait aussi être communiquée aux artisans des émissions.
16419 La Loi sur la radiodiffusion précise que la Société Radio-Canada à titre de radiodiffuseur public national devrait offrir des services de radio et de télévision qui comportent une très large programmation qui renseigne, éclaire et divertit.
16420 Pour accomplir ce mandat, la SRC doit disposer de ressources suffisantes mais aussi d'une sécurité financière. Pour être en mesure d'assumer réellement la diffusion d'une programmation qui renseigne et éclaire, la SRC doit jouir d'une réelle indépendance éditoriale. Cette indépendance est constamment mise à l'épreuve.
16421 En effet, les décisions budgétaires ne sont pas neutres. La menace qui pèse depuis plusieurs années sur la situation financière de la SRC peut générer des choix et des comportements nuisibles à la capacité de la SRC d'offrir une programmation qui permet réellement de renseigner et éclairer la population canadienne.
16422 Les conditions de financement de la Société doivent circonscrire toute forme de pressions politiques partisanes, même non apparentes.
16423 La Fédération nationale des communications a bien sûr un intérêt pour qu'un équilibre soit établi dans l'industrie de la radiotélédiffusion de manière à permettre la viabilité du secteur privé et public de la radiotélédiffusion ainsi que celle du secteur de la production indépendante.
16424 Nous croyons que dans un contexte de convergences technologiques et de multiplication des services de radiotélédiffusion canadiens et étrangers le CRTC doit veiller à assurer la viabilité des services canadiens et l'adhésion du public à ces services ce qui nécessite, à notre avis, la production de contenus canadiens originaux de qualité et la présence d'une offre suffisante de services canadiens de télévision généraliste et spécialisée pour encourager l'écoute de contenu canadien.
16425 Quant au financement nous croyons que le financement de la production d'émissions destinées à la télévision doit avoir pour principal objectif la protection, la diffusion et l'écoute de contenus canadiens.
16426 En ce sens, la FNC croit que l'industrie de la production indépendante ayant fait ses preuves, le CRTC devrait laisser aux télédiffuseurs le choix des moyens pour atteindre les objectifs de protection, de diffusion et d'écoute des contenus canadiens.
16427 Nous croyons que les deux modes de production, soit la production interne et la production indépendante peuvent bien servir l'intérêt public et nous pensons qu'il est possible de faire mieux pour davantage stimuler la production, la diffusion, la promotion et la mise en marché d'émissions canadiennes de haute qualité, notamment en permettant à toutes les composantes de l'industrie de s'engager envers la qualité des contenus.
16428 Plus que jamais la réglementation et les politiques de subventions doivent viser à augmenter l'écoute des émissions canadiennes. Jusqu'à maintenant les efforts ont été placés dans la production et l'offre de services canadiens. Nous avons aujourd'hui une production indépendante bien établie et une offre sans précédent de canaux généralistes et spécialisés canadiens. L'heure est venue, croyons-nous, de développer les obligations et les incitatifs appropriés pour amener les diffuseurs à présenter des émissions canadiennes à des auditoires plus vastes.
16429 Les fonds de financement de la production doivent être distribués sur la base des objectifs définis en matière de diffusion et de production de contenus, sans pour autant garantir un pourcentage fixe à quelque intervenant que ce soit, qu'il s'agisse des télédiffuseurs ou des producteurs.
16430 Par ailleurs, au niveau des technologies, la convergence des technologies de la radiotélédiffusion et de l'informatique évolue de telle sorte qu'on ne peut prédire avec exactitude son aboutissement.
16431 Le CRTC doit permettre l'expérimentation et la diversification des activités de manière à sauvegarder l'avenir des acquis actuels de l'industrie des communications.
16432 Le travail accompli pour promouvoir et diffuser la culture canadienne doit pouvoir subsister aux changements technologiques en cours.
16433 En conclusion, nous croyons que le mandat de la Société Radio-Canada définit par la Loi de la radiodiffusion doit être maintenu et soutenu. En raison de la diminution des crédits, la SRC doit pouvoir recourir à une programmation variée pour conserver et attirer des auditoires et des revenus.
16434 La SRC doit faire des efforts particuliers pour devenir un radiodiffuseur complémentaire et j'insiste ici pour dire complémentaire dans la mesure où nous avons une marge de manoeuvre financière qui nous permet de nous distinguer, et offrir aussi au public des contenus qui se distinguent de ceux du privé.
16435 La SRC doit diffuser largement ses promesses de réalisations annuelles ainsi que l'autoévaluation annuelle des résultats de la Société. En matière d'information la Société d'État doit jouir d'une réelle indépendance face aux pressons politiques qui se reflètent trop souvent par des décisions économiques.
16436 L'espace réservé aux régions doit prévoir un traitement de l'information en fonction de l'auditoire auquel elle est destinée. Un équilibre doit être établi dans l'industrie de la radiotélédiffusion de manière à assurer la viabilité du secteur privé et public ainsi que celle du secteur de la production indépendante. Les fonds de financement de la production doivent être distribués sur la base des objectifs définis en matière de diffusion et de production de contenus sans garantir un pourcentage fixe à quelque intervenant que ce soit.
16437 Dans un contexte de changements technologiques, le CRTC doit permettre l'expérimentation et la diversification des activités de manière à sauvegarder l'avenir des acquis actuels de l'industrie.
16438 Voilà ça complète notre présentation.
16439 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci, Madame Larouche.
16440 Je demanderais à la vice-présidente, Madame Wylie, de vous poser des questions.
16441 Mme LAROUCHE: Merci.
16442 CONSEILLÈRE WYLIE: Bonjour, Madame Larouche, bonjour Monsieur.
16443 Si je comprends bien c'est l'équilibre pour vous qui compte donc même dans l'interprétation du mandat de la Société comme il est inscrit à la Loi elle-même, il s'agit d'équilibre.
16444 Donc au départ vous préféreriez que le radiodiffuseur de l'État soit complémentaire mais si il y a manque de fonds à ce moment-là vous préconisez aussi qu'il se lance plus dans la programmation plus populaire qui attirera des auditoires plus larges et donc des revenus.
16445 Est-ce que je comprends bien?
16446 Mme LAROUCHE: Vous comprenez bien dans la mesure d'autant plus où Radio-Canada, depuis, les tous débuts a été quand même un télédiffuseur généraliste qui a reflété adéquatement à notre avis la culture canadienne bien qu'on puisse questionner quelques émissions, nous constatons que ces émissions qui font souvent l'objet de critiques de la part des télédiffuseurs privés sont quand même le reflet de notre réalité en tant que société.
16447 CONSEILLÈRE WYLIE: Donc même s'il y avait des fonds suffisants pour le faire vous ne préconiseriez pas que la Société Radio-Canada recours seulement à devenir un radiodiffuseur complémentaire et offrir au public des contenus qui se distinguent de ceux diffusés par le privé. Même s'il y avait des fonds suffisants ce n'est pas pour vous un but que d'interpréter les mandats de cette façon-là complètement?
16448 Mme LAROUCHE: Non, parce qu'on pense que Radio-Canada a une rôle, bien sûr, de complémentarité mais ne doit pas se limiter à cette mission, d'autant plus que la crainte que nous avons c'est qu'en marginalisant à l'extrême Radio-Canada, en la confinant à des catégories d'émissions, je dirais peut-être un peu trop limitatives, on aurait tendance, on pourrait, je pense, faire fuir les auditoires de Radio-Canada et limiter ainsi la chance de notre société de profiter des contenus qui ont été développés peut-être pour enrichir davantage la population.
16449 CONSEILLÈRE WYLIE: Alors voilà les objectifs. Si ce n'était pas une question de revenus en ce moment, quel changement ou redirection trouveriez-vous nécessaire à l'offre de Radio-Canada pour interpréter son mandat comme vous le voyez, s'il n'y avait pas de considérations financières?
16450 Mme LAROUCHE: Nous croyons qu'au-delà des considérations financières, Radio-Canada devra toujours faire un effort particulier pour offrir des contenus que d'autres radios ou télédiffuseurs n'offrent pas. Cependant, nous sommes bien conscients qu'à ce moment-ci Radio-Canada, pour être en mesure d'assumer pleinement ses responsabilités, doit recourir parfois à des choix de programmation je dirais un peu plus légers de manière à aller chercher des auditoires et améliorer sa capacité d'offrir de la programmation.
16451 Mais en tout temps, Radio-Canada -- et je pense qu'on fait un effort à ce moment-ci déjà pour offrir à la population une programmation qui se distingue mais on a des limites financières qui font qu'on donne parfois peut-être un peu plus dans la variété qu'on voudrait le faire normalement si on avait une situation financière un peu plus sécuritaire je dirais.
16452 CONSEILLÈRE WYLIE: Je vous remercie. Merci Madame, Monsieur.
16453 Mme LAROUCHE: Merci.
16454 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Madame, Monsieur, merci beaucoup.
16455 Nous allons interrompre nos travaux pour l'heure du déjeuner. Nous reviendrons à deux heures.
--- Suspension pour le déjeuner à /
Luncheon recess at 1225
--- Upon resuming at / Reprise à 1400
16456 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame Bénard.
16457 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
16458 The next presentation will be the Corporation of the City of Windsor.
16459 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon and welcome to this proceeding.
16460 MR. HURST: Madam Chair, members of the CRTC, good afternoon.
16461 Let me say first of all that I very much appreciate your staff working with me to accommodate my schedule. I was supposed to be here this morning. I was asked by the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada to stay at home because he had a wonderful announcement to make, and I can share with you that the Organization of American States will be having their Summit in the Year 2000 in Windsor, Ontario. So it was certainly a good piece of news for us in Canada South.
16462 THE CHAIRPERSON: Congratulations. It was worth staying home.
16463 MR. HURST: Thank you very much.
16464 THE CHAIRPERSON: We understand.
16465 MR. HURST: My name is Mike Hurst. Again, I am the Mayor of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. With me is Hugh Edmunds, formerly of the University of Windsor and Professor Emeritus of the University of Windsor, Department of Communications.
16466 I last appeared before you almost seven years ago. Both Hugh and I were young. We had jet black hair at the time. That is no longer, unfortunately, the case. At that time Windsor and area were without any local television service at all. My appearance was in support of Baton Broadcasting's plan to bring some local television to Windsor as part of its buy-out of the CFPL-TV properties in London, Ontario.
16467 A year earlier, John Milson, my predecessor, vividly described to you the sorrow, the anger, the feelings of abandonment, even betrayal felt by our citizens when the CBC had terminated its local TV service. Eight thousand protestors demonstrated in the streets one cold December afternoon, school children donated loonies to the cause, and within one 10-day period 57,000 citizens signed petitions. These, we would submit, were unheard of numbers of people demanding to receive Canadian broadcasting services.
16468 In its time the Commission has certainly heard many a protest to permit more and more American services. Here was a much larger instance of protest. It was a case of Canadians passionately demanding Canadian broadcasting services.
16469 The demonstration, as I already mentioned, had been triggered by the loss of the local CBC TV news and information, but really at its core the protest was about the deep sense of loss, of abandonment by people living in a sea of American content. The concerned demonstrators were people who love this country, who wish to fully participate in it and desperately want their children to grow up as real Canadians. It is with this in mind that I appear before you today.
16470 Really, as no other Canadians, Windsorites know how important it is to have Canadian services. After all, we are awash in U.S. media. Adjacent are six strong U.S. TV stations, six less powerful ones, and about 54 U.S. radio stations.
16471 Late in 1994, after almost four years' absence, the restoration of local television services began. The Baton plan for a separate Windsor news feed from London went ahead and the CBC restored a large part of their former service.
16472 You know, in a sense we have been, and we would submit are, the future, a predictor of what will happen in the rest of Canada. Prior to CBC cancelling local service its strong efforts to fully cover local news and current affairs had succeeded in producing some very respectable ratings in spite of the immense competition from across the border.
16473 When CBC cuts its local service and reduced its local staff by two-thirds, the results were unconditionally disastrous. Without local content, the CBC station quickly lost almost three-quarters of its audience. It appeared as well to lose a great deal of advertising revenue and what had been a strong lead into the rest of the evening evaporated.
16474 The CBC experience probably showed that the removal of the local element in early prime time severely reduced viewing of later programs, and even though rapid channel surfing is more prevalent now, larger audiences in the earlier hours, through exposure to program information and promotion are, in our estimation, more likely to look for this content during the later hours.
16475 The City of Windsor would strongly urge the Commission to conduct research into the past impact on the viewing of national prime time CBC programs in the wake of the removal of local services. What happened in Calgary might be a cautionary tale.
16476 In reviewing the role of the national public broadcaster, it is particularly important for the Commission to recognized that the local service on the CBC is not only very important to communities, it is probably vital to the future strength of the CBC. It is our belief that the shedding of local TV service by the CBC significantly damaged the Corporation in its larger role as the strongest purveyor of those programs which the Commission most wishes to support.
16477 The City of Windsor is not opposed to strengthening national programming in those areas indicated by the Commission as under represented. However, recent public hearings seem to indicate that the Commission assumes that local television is either already well taken care of or that market forces will ensure that this need is adequately served.
16478 It is the contention of the City of Windsor that local broadcasting services are fundamental to building and protecting audiences for these national programs as well as being necessary in determining and responding to the needs of our community.
16479 The Windsor situation, you must know, is unique in a number of aspects. With the exception of the CBC transmitter, no private Canadian television station, Global, CTV, CHUM, and so on, can locate a conventional transmitter close enough or strong enough to provide a clear signal into most Windsor homes.
16480 To do so would mean that any U.S. content on that signal would have to be purchased at Detroit market prices which are greater than those charged for release in all of Canada outside of Windsor. Only cable -- only cable makes it possible to view most of our Canadian channels. There is no need to subscribe to cable in order to view American channels.
16481 While a reasonably good level of local service has been restored to our community, to the return of the CBC local news and the licensing of CHWI-TV, it is a level of service, in our estimation, considerably less than in Canadian markets of comparable size. Particularly in view of the large spillover of U.S. media, local television is our first line of defence, and this spillover is a particularly potent competition because much of the U.S. local service is relevant, of course, to the entire Windsor-Detroit area.
16482 During the absence of the local TV service, it was more difficult to pursue a number of initiatives for strengthening our local economy and increasing the quality of our citizens' lives.
16483 But I am happy to tell you that our plans for increasing tourism, developing our riverfront, revitalizing our city centre with the Daimler-Chrysler Canadian headquarters and expanded convention centre, a sports and entertainment complex, are proceeding quite well. The restoration of local service has improved greatly the breadth of community involvement, community input and, perhaps most importantly, community support.
16484 As all of you are well aware, municipalities are under increasing pressure to provide more services as the federal and provincial governments download their prior historical responsibilities. With this occurring as a background, changes in broadcasting regulations, which do not recognize the necessity of maintaining and promoting solid community information choices, have a very real potential to work to the detriment of the interests of municipal government.
16485 The Commission, in our estimation, must safeguard the community's right to define itself through the televised media available to it. If it does not ensure that there are enough local choices to fulfil this role, we believe decreasing awareness of issues on the part of our citizens and a consequent decline in their participation in municipal democracy will result.
16486 In our estimation, CBC Radio and Television are integral parts of the community playing an active role in enhancing our quality of life, and they do this by getting out into the community, providing media sponsorship of cultural events and reflecting our community to itself.
16487 In spite of its huge market, Detroit no longer has a quality music radio station because market economics could not support it. We are fortunate, then, in having the CBC and CBC Radio Two.
16488 You know, the situation in Windsor is much improved from five years ago, yet we think further improvements should be made. For example, from Friday night to Monday morning nothing happens, period. There is no local live reporting on weekends, and there are still no local programs produced in content areas other than news or public affairs.
16489 In the past there have been a few unfortunate situations with respect to public safety when important information simply was not available to the public. In one case, a paint factory might have required a major evacuation and only a Detroit station was on the scene to communicate emergency instructions. Most recently, the only notification of a killer tornado just a few miles across the international border came from U.S. stations.
16490 Since then, our Canadian stations have made sincere efforts to improve the situation but, members of the Commission, a city and a community of 350,000 needs the capability to have televised emergency messages seven days a week. The situation has steadily improved, but weekends remain problematical.
16491 You know, at a time in our history when unity and identity are consuming issues, it is discouraging to think that the broadcast media concerns of Windsor, which require a strong and even strengthened CBC local presence may be jeopardized.
16492 Certainly more and better national programs are most desirable. But for those of us who look across the river and see the United States of America, we know that the strong Canadian content we want must be supported by strong local radio and TV services that only the CBC can provide in this area.
16493 Changing technologies and distribution systems will have a profound effect on viewing patterns. The advent of the direct broadcast satellite brings no local service in its program schedule. This poses two problems in Windsor.
16494 U.S. dishes are readily available and switching to local stations really means also accessing cable since rabbit ears or a modest antenna simply will not suffice. And you know, it may be that in the larger picture of Canada as a whole, stations with a firm base and local programming are the bastions of the national expression of our Canadian objectives and without this base our stations become purely marketing devices in a plethora of choices.
16495 With specific reference to your questions: Yes, the CBC is vital to Canadian life as a national broadcaster. In the new millennium, in the face of ever proliferating program choices, the CBC, in our estimation, must strengthen its local and regional grasp of the audience embracing the new technologies such as the Internet to further this goal.
16496 In a world according to the Disney Corporation where our literature is reversioned, our heroes forgotten or replaced by another culture's toy action figures, we must have a CBC which can tell our story. As our few magazines become victims of split-run economics, as commercial media interests gain entry into our classrooms, we must have our voice.
16497 The question posed recently in The Globe & Mail was this, and I quote:
"Should the CBC be good or should the CBC be big?" (As read)
16498 In our estimation, if we treasure Canada, it must be both.
16499 Thank you.
16500 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
16501 I would ask Commissioner Cram to ask you the questions.
16502 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, Mr. Edmunds.
16503 I must say, first, that I was in Windsor on our consultations and I agree with your concept of the area being awash. Simply standing looking at the U.S. border and the size of Detroit is a little bit --it actually shows the picture very well.
16504 Anyway, I just had a few questions.
16505 The one that was interesting to me is: If you have a conventional broadcaster there, they have to pay Detroit American rates for the rights for any American show. Is that what you said?
16506 MR. HURST: That is my understanding.
16507 Perhaps I could defer to --
16508 MR. EDMUNDS: Yes, it is of no matter whether the border actually lies in the middle of the Detroit River, it is what penetrates with a clear signal into Detroit, and since they have, of course -- at one time they even had a network station -- the market price is simply the Detroit market price because of the presence of the program.
16509 If you will recall, at one time Global put in a station and backed off their transmitter roughly 30 miles away from Windsor. It wasn't sufficient. So therefore for a long time they had to run all their programming with the American content blacked out. So from about 8:00 until 10:30 at night they would operate in the black. Then finally the transmitter burnt down and I think they got a few dollars for it and they backed way off.
16510 We have the same thing with London put a station down. It had to back off 93 kilometres from a Toledo station on the same frequency. Again, if the signal is good enough to be really seen well in Windsor, it is too good to be allowed -- the Detroit market.
16511 They are not disallowing the station, they are disallowing the sale of those programs because their market price is larger than the rest of Canada.
16512 Now this has worked in reverse a couple of times, the channel and the series and the CBC years ago would not be released on the CBC station in Windsor because it might have predicated a future sale to North America -- that is the U.S. -- because it was seen in a major U.S. market. Of course, we have black out rules that effect hockey and so on.
16513 I have probably over-extended the answer.
16514 COMMISSIONER CRAM: But you can get the CBC off-air?
16515 MR. EDMUNDS: Oh, yes. At one time they had to cover all their American content with programming that either they had purchased or was Canadian that didn't bother. You see, it's the programs that bothered the Detroit station. If you are running --
16516 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Well, I wanted to talk about "The Simpsons", because up here in Ottawa, or anywhere else in Canada, they have "The Simpsons" on at 5:30 every weekday.
16517 MR. EDMUNDS: No.
16518 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Do you not get "The Simpsons"?
16519 MR. EDMUNDS: No. That would be a good example.
16520 The only U.S. content the CBC might run in Windsor, or did, was something that was so stump-end that they could buy it at a Detroit price. I mean, it got rock bottom.
16521 No, we do not get "The Simpsons", they start a news program at 5:30 in the Windsor area.
16522 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I wanted to get another -- and I looked at your written intervention and you talked at paragraph 20 about:
"CBC must strengthen its local and regional grasp of the audience." (As read)
16523 How would you advise CBC to do that? It is line 3, Mr. Hurst, of paragraph 20.
16524 MR. HURST: Yes, I am not suggesting that I have the answers, that I possess the magic bullet.
16525 I think the point that we are trying to make is that if there is a strong grass roots support level for the national CBC, it certainly enhances the probability of the success of CBC. If the CBC is going to be in a position to meet its quote/unquote "financial requirements", then it just seems to me that the CBC has to pay a lot of attention to the individual local communities who certainly would be prepared, based on my experience, to support the programming schedule of the CBC.
16526 So again, no suggestion that there is a firm answer. A caution, perhaps, to spend some time thinking about the real connection that must exist between the CBC and individual local municipalities in order to allow the CBC to succeed financially on the one hand and to serve the interests of communities like the City of Windsor on the other hand, who very much want to be, I would argue, real Canadians.
16527 COMMISSIONER CRAM: When you talk about the term "regional", and you talk about a regional grasp, what is a "region"? Is it, you know, the five or six counties that surround Windsor and are Windsor? How do you --
16528 MR. HURST: As I recall, there was an effort to introduce the concept of regionalism. I can recall seeing some news stories about Windsor on a Toronto broadcast. That certainly is not what I'm talking about. It certainly is something less than that.
16529 Perhaps in our particular instance it is the Windsor tri-county area. But I believe if you go any further than that, you are probably heading down a path that will not provide the benefits that we think could be provided.
16530 MR. EDMUNDS: There is a period then when I think the CBC got caught up in an idea that they could keep local advertising money without providing local service if they defined a province as a region. From this they got a marvellous idea that they had a whole new programming concept of regions which really involved a transmitting -- or owned and operated station in the provincial capital, and somehow this, by trading with a few other -- and not taking into account the fact that the time at which they were broadcasting was not CBC network time, it therefore would never be shown on the affiliates. So we got a provincial concept to it.
16531 But I think, as Mayor Hurst has said, it is somewhat less than a province and occasionally somewhat more.
16532 As you heard this morning, the Maritimes with local origination in just Halifax-Dartmouth and the rest of the Atlantic provinces being somewhat without locally developed news and public affairs.
16533 It is fundamental. The idea that the CBC should become only the purveyor of national content, probably of an unexciting cultural nature, and no interference to the money-gathering of the CBC -- or get the CBC out of that money-gathering business, is the death knell of the CBC. If it doesn't have the local roots and the grass roots participation, then it will no longer --
16534 I think Windsor proved that, that the public in a sea of American content desperately wanted the grass root CBC connection, and from there they built.
16535 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I don't know if you heard last week, English TV was proposing that over the next five or so years they would add first a half an hour and then an hour full to each region for regional programming, and it would come out of prime time and be devoted to the region for them to do their own programming.
16536 Is this too little? Too much? Enough?
16537 MR. HURST: Would it be in addition to their local programs?
16538 COMMISSIONER CRAM: As I understood it, yes.
16539 MR. HURST: I think that is positive.
16540 MR. EDMUNDS: It is a very difficult concept. The CBC found an absolute disaster when it programmed the half hour of so-called regional programs when they took feeds from Ottawa, Windsor and Toronto and called it an Ontario regional program. It not only didn't attract an audience in Ottawa and in Windsor, they lost their audience in Toronto. They had a real disaster I think.
16541 How you make the appeal of a regional program as a magazine-type thing I think is a very difficult programming concept.
16542 They have always had trouble with reflecting the regions to each other. I think it begins with as much of a grass roots as you can get, money permitting.
16543 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much, gentlemen.
16544 Those are all my questions.
16545 Thank you for coming up here and giving us your advice.
16546 MR. HURST: Thank you for the opportunity.
16547 Thanks very much for the opportunity.
16548 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor.
16549 Sir, thank you.
16550 Ms BËNARD: The next presentation will be by Aysha Productions.
16551 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon and welcome.
16552 MR. CUFF: Thank you for allowing us this 10 minutes to express some of our concerns about this licence renewal.
16553 My name is John Haslett Cuff. This is my partner, Sun-Kyung Yi. Sunny has asked me to speak first and she would be happy to contribute and answer any questions you might have.
16554 I am a little overwhelmed after listening to the presentation from Windsor because I have for a long time been fundamentally opposed to regional broadcasting and the whole idea of the CBC having regional programs. But I don't want to get into that here, I want to talk about the bigger issues.
16555 To begin with, I am speaking here wearing a number of hats. I was a television critic for The Globe & Mail for a good number of years and it gave me, I think, a unique opportunity to watch and study the television environment as it was unfolding and, of course, react to some of your decisions.
16556 I also come as a documentary producer with my partner, Sunny.
16557 More importantly than both of those, I come as a citizen of Canada.
16558 I heard a lot of talk here about grass roots and all of that. I think I know what that means but, I mean, I am living in Toronto and I don't think that makes me any less grass roots than anyone else. While I haven't lived in Toronto my entire life, I have lived in other parts of this country and I am a Canadian citizen first and foremost.
16559 I would like to say that I am here for the first time because I do fully support the renewal of the licences for the CBC and for CBC Newsworld. I have never felt more passionately in my entire life than I do -- this thing is really bugging me. What it is?
16560 Can you hear me?
16561 I am very, very passionate about public broadcasting, and the CBC represents public broadcasting in this country.
16562 Watching what has happened in the past 15 years with the extraordinary growth of cable television and viewing alternatives, it has become more and more apparent to me that public broadcasting is now more important than it ever was before.
16563 There are two main issues here for me, and the one again that I can't really address fully, but I have said this for the last 15 years, I think the CBC has an unrealistic and a terribly outmoded mandate to follow and to try to live up to.
16564 I think the CBC Newsworld, the folks at CBC Newsworld, the folks at CBC Radio and CBC Television, have had an extraordinarily difficult job trying to actually make some decent programs while dealing with this impossible mandate, this mandate which seems to ask them to please absolutely everyone in the province from one-legged people to Aboriginals to -- name it, it doesn't matter what. It is an impossible job. It is simply overwhelming.
16565 That, plus something like $400 million in cutbacks financially has placed an enormous burden on them as well.
16566 Now that I am involved with the business of trying to make television I know how hard that is and how difficult that is. It amazes me that the CBC has produced as many good programs as they have under these enormous pressures and difficulties.
16567 In some ways, it makes me kind of upset to see the people of the CBC, the national broadcaster having to sit and be accountable to any body, given that there are so many television outlets out there and so many private broadcasters who have been making a fortune off the public airwaves and off the public of Canada, producing very little of any consequence.
16568 I mean, good bad or indifferent, whatever the quality of CBC programming, they have consistently over a great number of years produced many fine programs and, more than that, they are constantly trying to do something which is, in itself, worthwhile.
16569 They are trying to improve civic discourse and public dialogue, trying to inform the citizens of this country, in a way that I don't see anyone else doing. In terms of drama, in terms of comedy, in terms of news and information, there is no one out there in the private sector that comes close to achieving what they have achieved so far under these enormous difficulties.
16570 I do get very emotional about this, because long before I got involved in production I felt this was fundamentally a democratic issue, that in an environment where there are so many pressures from American broadcasters, from the private broadcasters -- the Mayor of Windsor was pointing out this idea of Windsor being awash in American programming. Well, that is true of all of Canada. You don't have to be in Windsor to be awash in American programming, you can be anywhere in Canada and turn on your TV and you are awash in it. You are awash in American programming from Global television, you are awash in American programming from CTV and all the cable alternatives that are out there as well.
16571 So what this says to me is that public broadcasting is the last bastion of free expression and the last bastion for Canadians, the last bulwark they have against this incredible multinational corporate swamp of American programming.
16572 The values that are represented by American programming -- and whether it is an American program produced in Canada or in the States -- are serious values and they are important values and we need something to counteract that. I think a public broadcaster is probably the only institution that can, on behalf of the citizen, on behalf of you and me, offer opportunities for diversity of expression and opinion and ideas that just simply would not exist if they weren't there.
16573 So obviously the point I'm making is, you have on the one hand a television environment which is 99 per cent corporate commercial consumer's ideology. That governs everything they do. They can call it news, they can call it information programming, whatever, but that is the governing ethos. That is what drives it.
16574 What do we have to counteract that in any way? Well, what we have is the CBC. What we have is an opportunity that does not exist probably anywhere else. For someone like Sun-Kyung Yi, who is a Canadian citizen but once upon a time an immigrant, to tell stories and express things that would not be allowed to be expressed anywhere else. I think it is important that she be allowed to do that and that other filmmakers like her be allowed to do that. It just simply wouldn't exist if there wasn't a CBC.
16575 If I had anything to urge you, it would be simply this: Don't harass them. Don't give them unreasonable conditions to fulfil. Do everything in your power to make sure that they remain strong, that they get stable funding, and that they continue.
16576 Thank you.
16577 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
16578 That is quite, not only emotional, but very convinced and very clear.
16579 I will turn the questioning to Commissioner Pennefather.
16580 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Good afternoon.
16581 Thank you both for being here and for sharing with us your concerns and thoughts about the CBC.
16582 I didn't know what you would say when you came here and I wrote down a question, and it was this: Some say the CBC's public interest mandate means it has to be all things to all people.
16583 I think that is the unrealistic mandate you are referring to, or not. Could you comment on that? Do you agree with that interpretation? Is that the challenge you see as unrealistic.
16584 MR. CUFF: I think that touches upon it, yes. I think that encompasses it.
16585 I have always had a particular idea about the CBC, which is an ideal. I mean all of public broadcasting to me is an important democratic ideal that I support, but I have always seen it achieving what it should achieve best by being incredibly national, incredibly strong and centralized, in the sense that it is taking the best that there is in the country from all the regions and everywhere else and producing the very best kind of programming that it can do.
16586 I mean, the models of public broadcasting that exist out there, of which the CBC is a kind of amalgam in some respects, each have something different to offer, but the broadcaster I keep going back to that produces the best kind of public programming, or the best kind of television period, tends to be a central one.
16587 I understand the concerns of regions. I understand the importance of having those regions heard. But I think that the way you do that best is by finding the talent that is out there and giving them a chance to be heard.
16588 You don't necessarily have to have a large infrastructure out there to do that. I don't think that is true at all.
16589 But, yes, trying to be too many things to too many people, trying to meet too many mandates is just not realistic and not possible.
16590 I think if it has any mandate at all, it should be to produce excellent programming. Above all else, to produce excellent programming and programming that reflects the diversity that is this country.
16591 The standards of excellence should apply to everything that they do and it should not be different standards for women, different standards for Aboriginals, different standards for whoever. It should be just this central emphasis on making excellent program.
16592 I'm sure if you ask Thompson Highway, who has had stuff on CBC and will have it again, is he there because he is an Aboriginal? No, he is there because he is a very talented individual with something to say. I am sure he would resent the idea that he is there only because he is Aboriginal.
16593 So this is an idea that I think we have to deal with ultimately down the road. We have to change that mandate or we have to ask something different of the CBC from what we have been asking. It is just too much.
16594 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So you are right, or what is the mandate then? How would you describe the mandate of the CBC?
16595 MR. CUFF: It has to be, as you said, all things to all people. It has to in some way try to represent every person out there, every community out there in the country. And, yes, I think it has to do that, and the best way it can do that is by producing excellent programming that will reflect something of their concerns, something of their ideas, and will entertain them and engage them and contribute to the debate about democracy, which is more important now than ever.
16596 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: When you say "it is more important now than ever", do you refer then to the new technological environment? You mentioned cable distribution, but I know you have written on new media.
16597 What do you think about the CBC's role in new media? Where does that fit in?
16598 MR. CUFF: I have to be honest with you and say I don't have a tremendous amount of interest in new media, Internet or any of that sort of thing. I have always wanted to be, and always believed in the power of story telling, and I think ultimately that works more than anything else.
16599 I don't want to comment on -- if you ask me flat out: Should they be sending a lot of money on new media? I would say no. I would say take the $15 million and put it into documentary or drama or something really, really valuable. But that is another issue.
16600 I think they should be focusing, as I said, on making excellent programs.
16601 I mean so much has happened in the past few years which again has highlighted for me the difficulty under which the CBC operates. I would think, for example, the thing that happened with Terry Milewsky, that reporter. That man was kind of gagged and stifled. A situation like that where the government is coming down and clamping down on the CBC frankly terrifies me. Frankly, it really worries me as a citizen, because the CBC to me is, and should be, able to operate in a controversial and stimulating way without having to worry about the Prime Minister taking issue with something that they are doing or some story that they are telling.
16602 All around me in the last 15 years, I see truth being stifled. I see everything being overwhelmed and everything having a dollar value put upon it.
16603 I mean, the corruption that has happened to the CBC purely as a result of having money taken away and being forced to become more commercial has already done a tremendous amount of damage. I would like to see a way in which that could be stopped.
16604 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay. I think that is clear.
16605 Do you have anything you want to add?
16606 MS YI: I don't think I can top my partner here.
16607 We are basically here, especially myself, to represent the independent filmmaking community from Toronto.
16608 I got my start in documentary in CBC Radio with idealist program and I was very fortunate to be the first western journalist to be allowed in North Korea for about three weeks to a month to cover a very big event there.
16609 I know for a fact that if it wasn't for the support of the CBC Radio that that opportunity would not have existed, especially myself being a freelancer at the time.
16610 From there I went to make documentaries for CBC Newsworld, "Rough Cuts", which again, given the story ideas that I presented to them, would not have been accepted by any other private broadcaster.
16611 John and I enjoy a lot of privilege in that we are still continuing to make documentaries for both CBC Newsworld and the main network, "Witness".
16612 Over the past few years, my first documentary was broadcast on "Rough Cuts" and it was one of the first documentaries that was also broadcast on "Witness" and enjoyed a number of awards. From then on I continued to make documentaries for "Witness".
16613 One of the issues that I would like to bring up and emphasize is that as an independent filmmaker we do have a lot of frustrations, a lot of difficulties trying to make one hour documentaries for CBC, or any other broadcaster, especially for CBC Newsworld, for "Rough Cuts", because we have no access to Telefilm. It has been a tremendous problem for independents.
16614 I mean, we don't exactly make that much money to start with but it is getting to the point where we have to get a second and third and fourth job just to be able to have the privilege to make the films.
16615 If I can only say one thing this afternoon, it is to urge that whatever mandates, whatever guidelines that you come up with, do not exclude CBC Newsworld from Telefilm.
16616 MR. CUFF: If I could just add to that little thing, because there was a point I wanted to raise.
16617 What is happening in the industry, in the environment in which the CBC operates, is that there is a tremendous amount of consolidation, and I have seen it from day one.
16618 All of the companies they are in competition with, The Alliance Atlantis Group and Global and CTV, are all managing to consolidate their resources and recycle stuff and make money in a way that the CBC doesn't seem to be allowed to. There seems to me I am getting an impression that you are constantly forcing Newsworld and CBC to somehow become separate and discreet.
16619 If I would urge you to do anything, it would be able to somehow allow them to use the fullness of their resources together and operate fairly in an environment in which the odds are stacked against them, frankly, considering the growth that has happened in the private sector.
16620 Thank you.
16621 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you both very much.
16622 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
16623 I apologize. I had misunderstood that you were speaking first and that you were speaking second. I'm sorry, I kind of cut you short by not asking you. I am sorry. I apologize.
16624 MS YI: Thank you.
16625 MR. CUFF: That's all right.
16626 MS BÉNARD: I would now invite Mr. Daryl Duke to come forward.
16627 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
16628 MR. DUKE: Good afternoon.
16629 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's nice to see you again.
16630 MR. DUKE: Thank you.
16631 It is a little warmer than when you last put out to sea on the west coast.
16632 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, indeed, yes. I kind of brought back a big cold from Vancouver.
16633 MR. DUKE: A cold?
16634 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, yes.
16635 MR. DUKE: I'm sorry to hear that.
16636 THE CHAIRPERSON: It wasn't your fault. I wasn't dressed properly.
16637 MR. DUKE: I think that chill is still in the air out there, or it was last night.
16638 LA PRÉSIDENTE: La parole est à vous.
16639 MR. DUKE: Thank you, Madam Chair and Members of the Commission.
16640 I appreciate very much this opportunity to speak to you. My name is Daryl Duke. I am a film and television director and producer.
16641 In the course of my career I have worked for the CBC in Vancouver and Toronto, for all three of the main U.S. networks, and for most of the major studios in Hollywood.
16642 My work in TV and film takes me to many countries and I often see first-hand the enormous value of a public broadcaster such as the CBC.
16643 I have also been an owner and a founder in the private sector, appearing successfully before the Commission in 1975 to establish and head up CKVU, Vancouver's then independent TV station.
16644 I thank you for this opportunity. I am conscious of the heavy schedule you have with these hearings and over what a great number of days you must maintain a focus and a concentration of one of our country's most important issues, the future of this public broadcaster, the CBC.
16645 I am also conscious as I make these remarks of the many talented people who have laboured throughout their working lives to make the CBC the valuable institution it is today. I am aware too that the CBC staff who appear at these hearings are labouring under financial constraints and often vindictive political attitudes which, taken together, must sorely test even the most confirmed optimist among them.
16646 As I stated in my written submission, I support the CBC and its licence renewal. To urge otherwise would be to lobby for madness, for a kind of national suicide of the spirit.
16647 My support of the CBC, however, is not unqualified. As I have but a few minutes before you I wish to raise, in a brief manner, a few fundamental questions regarding today's CBC. These questions will, I hope, help you to put into perspective the wishes of the CBC that in terms of the future appears to act on the assumption that it can be business as usual and that the only challenges it faces are ones of the changing technology and the increased competition of the media world.
16648 I would argue the opposite. Change is very necessary, but for different reasons. I seriously question how the CBC is governed. By that I mean the quality of its management as well as the make-up and competence of its Board of Directors.
16649 I question the political appointment process of the CBC's President and its members of the board. I hope the Commission might examine the selection process and ask why the board members seem to contain only the politically faithful? Why are members so heavily weighted in business? Why it ignores important people in labour and the union movement and ignores a significant range of persons in the arts, journalism, broadcasting, filmmaking, health care and so on.
16650 I would also like you to ask why is there no ethnic diversity on the CBC Board, no Chinese Canadians, Iranian Canadians, Seikhs, North Africans, and others, so that this public body may be led by a truly representative group of our citizens.
16651 Next, I question how the CBC is staffed and whether that staff is representative of the country I see around me and whether after years of downsizing, there remains the erudition needed to program for this diverse country.
16652 Finally, I must ask: Is such a heavily centralized network as the CBC is today proper for a public broadcaster, or must more regional and local influences shape the decisions and the programming of a renewed CBC?
16653 It is not new media, Members of the Commission, not the Internet or the establishment of new specialty channels that must preoccupy the CBC, but I submit the examination of some of the most basic aspects of the CBC's existence.
16654 American essayist, Phillip Moffat, wrote in a piece called "A Tribute To Difference":
"What gives a society its life and breath is the communal and often unspoken effort by the members of the society to make it a just and enlightened one." (As read)
16655 Moffat continues by speaking of the:
"... process that every healthy society must experience: a continuing debate about its history to discern which events matter and how they occurred. This is an organic process of redefining values and exploring new interpretations of the past, and this is the only way for a society to reach a consensus from which a vision of the future can emerge." (As read)
16656 It seems, Madam Chair, that the CBC leadership gives short shrift to such a redefining of values and that the task falls upon this Commission to see that value, knowledge, culture are given full consideration and the network be not simply driven by demographics and a rating point delivery.
16657 What is the meaning of "culture", as those running the English Network of the CBC think of it? Indeed, what is English Canada in their minds?
16658 For me, there is the need to redefine the very word "content". What should a public Canadian broadcaster be programming? Are we seeing the right things, the right kinds of dramas, the right sorts of newscasts to satisfy the needs of a complex population?
16659 Are we hearing the range of music we should, a range that taps into the rich and diverse backgrounds of all our citizens and not just that of the superstars who have entered the hallowed halls of American superstardom?
16660 Do we betray the traditions of our civilization by not presenting on the main service the classics of music and drama and dance of all the world, not just those with European origins?
16661 Will our children never see the top Canadian performers of the National Ballet or Ballet B.C., nor an opera, nor a symphony, because of a program decision taken by a few individuals at CBC Toronto? This was a move that shifted music to radio and left our screens and our talent bereft.
16662 Will the sense of spectacle for our young merely be the half time show at the Grey Cup or the Super Bowl or the retirement party for Wayne Gretzky?
16663 The trouble with TV, public or private, is that we know what we get but we just do not know what we do not get.
16664 Can we trust the CBC's program arbiters to act in the public interest on the issues and entertainments that we have a right to expect?
16665 What should be on the main service of CBC Television, only hockey, commercial drama, and mainstream news or much, much more?
16666 Should the main television network feature different types of dramas, different music, classic performances, the literature and the great works from all the world?
16667 Must we be on guard that Canadianization not be a cruel hoax, trapping us all into some kind of intellectual prison farm?
16668 Should the main TV channel be the network of record for all Canadians, the network which reestablishes the concept of universality amongst us all, not shunting us off into different specialties but unifying us with the surprise and abundance of our world?
16669 Should we go beyond news and seek understanding and cohesion by returning to the public affairs programming that the CBC once did so well?
16670 These questions, Madam Chair, could tumble on and on. They deserve answers and I hope you will find some time to deliberate upon some of them.
16671 I have two concerns in particular and it is these I would like to dwell on in wrapping up these remarks.
16672 First, the issue of local broadcasting.
16673 Second, the CBC's failure to provide significant multicultural broadcasting.
16674 In terms of local broadcasting, a kind of cultural clear-cutting has been going on in recent years, every bit as repellent as that waged by any logger on our mountainsides. CBC Vancouver was a significant member of Vancouver's entertainment and cultural scene and a significant contributor to the national network.
16675 No number of episodes of that fine series "Da Vinci's Inquest" can make up for the freefall that local programming was sent into by a single pronouncement of former CBC President, Gérard Veilleux. Appearing before the Commission at the beginning of the 1990s, he proclaimed that henceforth the regions would be served -- and that was his word -- by the supper hour news.
16676 Gone at a single stroke were decades of commitment to talent, to a fine and highly trained staff, to a robust in-house production capacity, to the citizens sense of themselves and their community.
16677 Local broadcasting and multicultural programming. These two issues are pivotal for any renewed CBC as it tackles the future.
16678 On the multicultural front, the question is: Do we have a broadcasting of inclusion or exclusion? Is the CBC as a public broadcaster going to reflect all the people or only some of them?
16679 As you know, Madam Chair, we have many diverse groups in this country and in Vancouver in particular. Chinese Canadians, for instance, make up a sizeable percentage of Vancouver's population. They have two cable channels in Cantonese and Mandarin, which of course they pay for.
16680 This population plays no role on the CBC. Its culture and its activities are invisible. The issue for today's CBC is simple: Is the Corporation going to leave the Chinese Canadians on their own, even though, by the way, they are taxpayers like the rest of us, or is it going to include them before it is too late, before they don't even need a CBC or even think of a CBC, and who will be the loser? Not just the Chinese Canadians but the CBC and, therefore, all the rest of us.
16681 We are not talking about some fringe numbers but a sizeable population of Canada's west coast. Some 31 per cent of the Vancouver school district has a Chinese language, Mandarin or Cantonese, as its home language. Other Asian communities would bring that language total used in the home to around 44 per cent.
16682 Across Canada, the number of Chinese Canadians reach into the hundreds of thousands, even soon to approach a million. The heritage of these Canadians, their poetry, their novels, music, pop entertainers, filmmakers, language, history and present day participation in Canada is, on the CBC, next to zero. Not even a Mandarin or Cantonese reporter on the news.
16683 Recently I took part in Vancouver in a day-long panel on the freedom of the press. There were journalists from around the world. One whom I chatted with during coffee breaks was a reporter from Indonesia. He had had his own considerable troubles with the Suharto regime so the subject of the forum was close to his heart.
16684 But what really excited him about his visit to Canada and to Vancouver was the great mix of nationalities on our streets. He thought we were creating a new and energized city of the Pacific which reflected all the countries around that great ocean until, however, he went to his hotel room and turned on the TV.
16685 It was a shock, he said. Suddenly, all the people of colour, all the races and nationalities he saw in our streets vanished. Cleansed. Our TV was a different country, sanitized, back in time, in some never, never white world.
16686 What I heard at this hearing, Madam, about the CBC's plans for minority hiring do not give me confidence -- too little, too late, too slow -- and certainly not revolutionary enough to get the job done. Content must be redefined. Airtime must be opened up to include all Canadians.
16687 Multicultural Canada is us. We are they. There is no other kind of English Canada. The English Canada of my great grandparents does not exist. We don't have to globalize, Madam Chair. This is a silly delusion. We are globalized already with our richly diverse population. We should tap into that resource.
16688 Local broadcasting must be opened up. A sense of adventure, of experiment, of innovation must return to those empty CBC Vancouver studios which used to house so much. Now, they are rented out and we are the losers.
16689 So are we doubly the losers if CBC does not meet its responsibilities to a multicultural Canada, the real Canada. We are a country which reaches into every country in Asia and around the globe.
16690 Thank you, Madam Chair and Members of the Commission for this time to address you on these concerns.
16691 I wish you well in your deliberations.
16692 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Duke, thank you very much.
16693 I would ask Vice-Chair Colville to address the questions.
16694 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Thank you very much.
16695 Welcome, Mr. Duke.
16696 MR. DUKE: Thank you.
16697 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: As someone from the other coast, it is a pleasure to meet you in the middle.
16698 MR. DUKE: All right. Thank you.
16699 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Although my colleague, Commissioner Cram, will remind us that Winnipeg is actually the middle, I guess.
16700 MR. DUKE: Actually the middle.
16701 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: You have posed a lot of questions, in your presentation this afternoon to us. Let me turn it around, I guess, a little bit.
16702 Towards the end of your written brief, you said:
"I respectfully urge the Commission to make the CBC redefine itself in the light of both its obligations and the stunning new opportunities for program content which emerge from this new Canada." (As read)
16703 How would you propose we do that?
16704 MR. DUKE: Well, I think you could start doing it by next week. I am not being flippant or facile.
16705 There are other ways of defining how to arrive at program content the moment you say it all doesn't have to be made in Canada but can be abroad if it is appealing to significant portions of our population.
16706 The Canadianization drive was to limit U.S. programming, which was a very worthy goal but even in this latest New Yorker, the Chinese actress, whom I directed in "Tai Pan", Joan Chen, worked as a Director and has a new film out which was in Vancouver last year at the Vancouver Film Festival and was looking for a Canadian distributor and Canadian releases. Today, it gets a very good review in the New Yorker.
16707 If we could start certain vehicles that could show material like that, that would be one way.
16708 Other ways are through literature. Some of the finest novels, short stories in the world are being written in South America, in Taiwan, and Vietnam has marvellous literature. Some of these can be adapted and even shot in Canada. They don't necessarily have to be shot in Asia and we do have coproduction treaties with many countries.
16709 I always remember that one of the finest Vietnamese films I saw recently was "The Scent of Green Papaya", which was shot in a studio in Paris. The Director just had every detail right and you didn't miss not being in the heat and humidity of Vietnam.
16710 There are ways of including Chinese, Seikh, Vietnamese reporters in newscasts. There has been a hue and cry about the federal government's cutback to funding for ESL classes. The CBC could make an enormous contribution by giving some time on Saturday morning and creating for itself, and for others around the world, a very definitive lecture series or program series on the teaching of English as a second language.
16711 When I was working in Thailand, I heard in the middle of the night, being awake on jet lag, the BBC World Service doing a remarkable show on teaching people to learn English.
16712 I think there are many ways to connect with that side of content that is just not being addressed.
16713 I was at Emily Carr College in Vancouver when Vancouver's sister city, which is Yokohama in Japan, was opening an art exhibit and donating paintings to Emily Carr and Emily Carr was sending a show to Japan and the place was filled with officials, dignitaries, artists, Vancouver artists. There wasn't a single camera there. There wasn't a single radio microphone, nor a camera.
16714 A week ago, I had dinner with one of Asia's finest writers who had been in prison in Indonesia for 14 years on a prison island. He wrote the "Baru Quartet"(ph), his name is Premu Genatatour(ph). He had been written up in the New York Times. This is his first time out of the country. After he got out of prison, he was kept in house arrest and even when he got a major award in Asia he couldn't travel to get it. He is now being spoken of or nominated for a Nobel Prize.
16715 I went to the hall where he was going to speak for the first time in Canada -- he is the author of some 14 books -- and the hall was packed and there were about 20 Vancouver organizations who were sponsoring his appearance. He is, as I say, a major writer. He is 74 years of age. He has gone through hell to keep writing.
16716 Penn Canada(ph) supported him. Again I have the sad story, there wasn't a single camera there. There wasn't a single microphone there. His visit would have gone unrecorded, except I grabbed a cameraman that I knew and said, "You have to come and shoot this for me because I want a record of it".
16717 I could go on with details like this for as long as you would wish me to and it is a kind of pathetic story of opportunities missed and opportunities overlooked.
16718 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Let me ask you -- I'm sorry.
16719 MR. DUKE: It has been too long and too sad a story.
16720 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: You mentioned in your oral presentation that there were two issues that you were particularly concerned about. One was local broadcasting, the other being the multicultural programming or the reflection of Canada's diverse cultural nature today on television.
16721 Taking the first issue, local broadcasting -- and I presume you mean other than news and public affairs programming -- you have talked about regional programming and you mentioned earlier about the Internet.
16722 I am just wondering, are you familiar with the CBC's particular proposal in terms of doing non-news regional programming, and how would you contrast that with the CBC's expenditures on the Internet?
16723 MR. DUKE: Well, I think I would put the priorities as certainly very handy, I am one who uses it and uses that Internet source, and I have. During the APEC story I certainly looked up the CBC's Internet Web site, and prior to Premu Genetatour's visit a couple of weeks ago I got an enormous amount of material about him.
16724 So that is valuable, but I think it is not a priority concern, nor a priority expenditure right now that the CBC has other thinking that it has to do and other analysis of what are we in this country, and should a centralized network -- is that the proper vehicle for the expression of public affairs programming.
16725 When I first produced programming in Vancouver -- and I did the very first show that CBUT did in 1953, and I stayed in the CBC Vancouver for five years -- well, I just one of six or seven producers and we were busy constantly on a range of programming from -- I did a variety series that had dancers and choreographers and comedians and writers. I did a classical chamber music series by one of the west coast's best string quartets. I did a series with Arthur Erickson(ph), the architect, who wasn't well known then, but we covered the painters who were emerging in B.C. in the 1050s.
16726 I did a film with Bill Reid, who later became famous as the Haida carver; a pilot for a folk song series that went for many, many episodes. You know, I could go on. I mean, it was a very busy place. I did a nightly magazine show.
16727 As I say, I am not trying to make this an exercise in ego, I was but one of half a dozen and everyone was very busy. There was a great deal of contact between all the arts in the city and all the cultures in the city. The symphony was not some strange bunch that never gets spoken to or the art gallery never visited.
16728 So there was a unity approach that, as things were stripped away, the CBC no longer maintains, and I think that's why I referred to that Commission hearing in the beginning of the 1990s when the regions were suddenly going to be served by a supper hour news.
16729 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: The CBC is proposing to spend about $20 million a year on the Internet and about $2.5 million a year on regional non-news programming. Do you think the CBC should think about flipping those expenditures around?
16730 MR. DUKE: I certainly do. In fact, I would urge that it be even increased for local news. Because what I also noticed, both at the local level and national level, there is a tremendous lack of innovation and experimentation. That's the only way we are going to get new programs and new series and new ventures for the future, is through innovation and experiment.
16731 I was aware, you know, with -- I think somebody said here earlier that they were going to give half an hour a week to the regions or something. Well, this is an insult.
16732 I mean, what they should be doing is saying, for instance, last August on the 50th anniversary of the independence of India, they should give Winnipeg or CBC Vancouver, or whatever -- I'm not lobbying just for Vancouver here -- but they should just give it to Vancouver and say, "We give you the evening. This is the most important democracy, one of the world's most important democracies, rich with literature, filmmaking, religion, history and with many, many of its citizens living in our country, we are going to give you from 8:00 to 11:00 and we want you to put together a multifaceted show of both documentary and music and comment and drama."
16733 Instead, they sent one Beta cam reporter, Satinder Bhinder(ph), who went around and visited his home village. A couple of short news reports. That is not satisfactory because Canadians needed to know essential things about that 50th anniversary which they never got to know.
16734 So that is, to my mind, the kind of -- that is where you redefine what local broadcasting is. It is not spoon feeding out some little mouse of a program, but having imagination and size to capture viewers' imaginations and capture viewers' attention.
16735 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Last question.
16736 Your last point was on the multicultural programming, and I think the example you gave was quite striking, of the gentleman who saw the diversity on Vancouver streets and then watched the television.
16737 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: How would you propose that we, as a regulator, deal with that issue relative to the CBC?
16738 MR. DUKE: Well, that is a tough one and I don't have an answer.
16739 I remember when Madame Bertrand chaired a hearing in Vancouver in September of 1996, there was a young man, a fourth generation Chinese Canadian, who addressed the Commission and said he was tired of looking at the television screen and not seeing people who looked like himself.
16740 I was at the funeral of an elderly -- not so elderly Sikh man, and after the ceremonies at a reception his widow -- and they were second generation Sikhs -- was complaining that their children, now grown up and third generation, they spoke no Punjabi or Hindi or Gurarati, they know nothing about their own culture. They know nothing about their own past, because anything on cable is not in a language they understand.
16741 So there are pressures building that the CBC could take advantage of and tap into enormous loyalty and populations and attentions.
16742 How you, as a regulator, I think other than making it a condition of licence or a licence renewal, saying "This has to be done", that you cannot have a tax-supported organization that leaves out significant numbers of taxpayers and their concerns and, by the way it defines itself, eliminates much of the significant programming that we all, whether we are of those cultures or not, all of us need to know now. There is no such thing as being able not to know something.
16743 You mentioned my reference to the Internet. The interesting thing about the Internet is that it has no centre. I remember in the 1960s the Toronto Star did an interview with me and I remember saying -- and it came back to me thinking about it this afternoon -- that whoever holds the camera stands at the centre of the world.
16744 I think that some rethinking has to be done by the CBC so that a new kind of focus of attention and inclusion is done, because there is a lot of content out there that would meet your concerns, would answer very quickly a lot of mine, that Canada be properly represented. Because, you know, I certainly believe there is no "they" and "us". They are us now and we are them, because wherever you go in this country it is a totally different country than my great grandparents came to.
16745 I think if you could put that into being -- both about local, because they kind of go together, because if you exclude local you exclude a lot of multicultural things, and if you exclude one, you exclude the other. That is, to me, the building blocks of the future.
16746 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Duke.
16747 We appreciate you coming all this way to give us your advice.
16748 MR. DUKE: Thank you.
16749 Well, it is a pleasure to be here and I do wish you well in a really tough but important deliberation.
16750 Thank you, Madame Chair.
16751 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for making the trip to come and participate again, because you were active in the regional consultation and here today.
16752 MR. DUKE: Thank you.
16753 Those were very useful, I have had a lot of comment about them in Vancouver that you came and took that trouble to put them together.
16754 Thank you.
16755 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
16756 Have a safe trip back home.
16757 MR. DUKE: Thank you very much.
16758 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by Telefilm Canada.
16759 M. LAPIERRE: Bonjour.
16760 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour.
16761 M. LAPIERRE: Madame la présidente, mesdames et messieurs les commissaires, I wanted to take you to Roleveau(ph) for wine and we could have had our session there because it seems to me that the days must be long and long and long and long and I feel sorry. Every now and then, of course, Daryl Duke comes around and the Prophet is with us. Consequently, we listen.
16762 With me today is monsieur François Macerola. My name, by the way, is Laurier Lapierre, and I am the -- what am I? I am the Chairman of Telefilm Canada. With me is monsieur François Macerola who is the Executive Director of Telefilm Canada.
16763 We are very pleased to participate in the Commission's deliberations on the future of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBC, and la Société Radio-Canada.
16764 The last time we appeared before you, last fall during the Commission's deliberations on the future of Canadian television, I spoke to you about my dream for Canadian television: that I wanted my grandchildren to be in full possession of Canada's stories so that they will have the passion of the country. I would like to continue that theme.
16765 This time I have come to tell you that to achieve my objective, I have in my arsenal no more privileged an instrument than the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I wish that this were so, or taken to be so, within the interior of the walls of the CBC and Radio-Canada as across this beloved country.
16766 No one in his right mind can deny that in these days of globalization and of limited national cultural sovereignty, a national sovereignty that continues to be more and more restricted, Canadians and Canadiens must have an effective, strong and true public broadcaster.
16767 In polls and in consultations across the country we, the people of Canada, demand a strong, effective and true CBC and Radio-Canada. You have heard much on how this is to happen, and out of what you have been told I wish to make two comments.
16768 It has been said that the CBC must expand its reach. I would like to tell you that to expand its reach the CBC need not build an empire.
16769 Secondly, you have been given much information and proposals by the private broadcasters, and it is very well to remember that the CBC in its mission is not complementary to the private sector and that it should therefore occupy only those areas that private broadcasters do not want to occupy.
16770 The CBC/Radio-Canada's mission in a multichanneled universe is to be Canadian and only Canadian. There is no other mission.
16771 I have been around a long time -- many, too many, would say perhaps too long -- and coming out of that lengthy experience, I can affirm without fear of being contradicted that the CBC knows quite well how to interpret and how to live its mandate. It has done so more often that its critics like to admit, and it has done so with innovative, intelligent, passionate, and risk-taking programs that are in the national interest.
16772 More often than not the CBC has placed Canadians and Canadiens in the centre of national and international news and issues.
16773 Through the CBC, I have learned to question the intricacies of life about me and those who make it so.
16774 Through the CBC, I have discovered and have come to love ballet and opera.
16775 Through the CBC, I have found myself and the people to whom I belong, through the dramatic programs I have watched on the CBC.
16776 Through the CBC, I have laughed at myself and at the Canadian human condition.
16777 Children have told me that they became aware that a square is not a rectangle on the CBC.
16778 Furthermore, there was a time in which the regional voice I had found expression on the airwaves of my CBC.
16779 I can now also say without fear of being contradicted that much as been lost, no doubt due to all kinds of reasons. I dismiss them all as immaterial and self-serving and, if I may be so bold, you should too.
16780 What is at issue here is that Canadians and Canadiens want the CBC/Radio-Canada to focus only on high-quality programming which is not found anywhere else on TV. We want to be able to ask every day: What on earth are they up to today?
16781 We don't want something that is all concocted in the dungeons of the CBC in Toronto or the dungeons of Radio-Canada. We want spontaneity of expression. We want to be able to find ourselves in the process of it.
16782 We the Canadians will take the risk to watch the CBC and Radio-Canada in larger numbers, but only if they themselves take the risk to be unique, to be truly different and, above all, to be passionate.
16783 Le temps est venu pour la CBC et Radio-Canada, pour le gouvernement fédéral, le CRTC, le secteur privé, le Fonds canadien de télévision, Téléfilm Canada et les autres joueurs de faire fi de leur propre réalité institutionnelle et de participer collectivement à la recherche de solutions qui permettront d'atteindre cet objectif. Cela suppose également que tout le personnel de la CBC et de Radio-Canada ait la volonté et la passion pour adopter une nouvelle attitude et de nouvelles façons de faire afin de nous offrir le diffuseur public que nous désirons vraiment et que nous avons le droit d'avoir.
16784 Voilà, madame la présidente, c'est la fin de mon sermon pour aujourd'hui. Amen.
16785 Monsieur Macerola.
16786 M. MACEROLA: Je vais continuer, si vous permettez.
16787 Dans un premier temps, madame la présidente, messieurs et mesdames les conseillers, j'aimerais vous présenter Maria DesRosa et Guy DeRepentigny, qui travaillent à Téléfilm Canada.
16788 Je dois vous dire que j'ai également une vision du rôle que Radio-Canada et que la CBC devraient jouer dans les systèmes de radiodiffusion canadiens. Cette vision s'appuie sur une expérience de plus de 25 ans dans le secteur culturel, en particulier, dans le secteur public.
16789 J'estime qu'un des défis majeurs de Radio-Canada et de la CBC est de se réconcilier en quelque sorte avec le gouvernement et avec son public. Ceci devrait se traduire par un engagement ferme à offrir une programmation distincte, à prendre plus de risques au niveau des formats, du contenu et des idées, que Radio-Canada et la CBC soient en fait la pierre angulaire du système de radiodiffusion canadien, comme l'indique la Loi sur la radiodiffusion.
16790 Radio-Canada et la CBC doivent se repositionner dans un univers télévisuel en pleine transformation. Ce nouveau positionnement pourrait prendre appui sur un certain nombre de réflections.
16791 Nous à Téléfilm Canada, nous sommes d'accord avec nos principaux partenaires, notamment les producteurs indépendants que Radio-Canada et le CBC doivent recevoir un financement stable afin qu'elles puissent continuer à établir des partenariats avec les producteurs indépendants et les autres diffuseurs de toutes les régions du pays dans le but d'offrir aux Canadiens une programmation distincte.
16792 De toute évidence, un financement stable est une condition nécessaire mais pas suffisante. Le gouvernement pourrait aussi vouloir modifier le présent équilibre entre l'allocation parlementaire et les revenus tirés de la vente du temps d'antenne. Aussi, il appartient à Radio-Canada et à CBC de démontrer au gouvernement et au grand public la valeur de leur investissement public, dans un premier temps, et aussi l'utilité d'injecter 1 milliard $ par année dans une télévision publique, ce qui n'a jamais été fait, quant à moi.
16793 À titre de directeur général de Téléfilm Canada, j'appuie une société Radio-Canada et une CBC vigoureuses car elles constituent des partenaires de premier plan pour les producteurs indépendants. Inutile de rappeler ici qu'elles ont été impliquées au fil des années dans des émissions qui comptent parmi les meilleures que le Canada ait produit.
16794 Parallèlement, j'estime qu'il est nécessaire que Radio-Canada et la CBC veillent à bâtir une programmation qui est bien enracinée dans toutes les régions du pays, ce qui signifie non seulement d'en être le fidèle reflet mais aussi un contributeur au développement des industries locales.
16795 Nous sommes particulièrement heureux à Téléfilm Canada de voir que Radio-Canada et la CBC comptent toutes deux accroître significativement leur contribution au long métrage canadien. Comme vous le savez, le long métrage est au coeur de nos préoccupations et Téléfilm Canada cherche à faire en sore que plus d'argent y soit consacré, que de nouvelles approches de financement soient développées et même que l'on envisage sérieusement la création d'un bureau de promotion du long métrage canadien.
16796 Ces décisions de Radio-Canada/CBC viennent d'être prises il y a peut-être un mois d'injecter plus d'argent dans le milieu du long métrage et je dois vous dire que cela a été admirablement bien accueilli par le milieu et par Téléfilm Canada qui faisaient les mêmes demandes depuis très longtemps.
16797 Nous appuyons les initiatives mises de l'avant par Radio-Canada et la CBC dans les nouveaux médias et l'Internet. À titre d'administrateur de Fonds pour le multimédia, nous savons que l'industrie canadiennes des nouveaux requiert une bonne dose d'expérimentation et d'innovation pour atteindre graduellement le statut acquis par l'industrie canadienne de la télévision.
16798 Among other things, Radio-Canada and the CBC should do more program exchanges and partnerships with other public broadcasters around the world. They should work more closely with the NFB, enabling the Board to brand their programs on the CBC/Radio-Canada.
16799 On an international level, the CBC/Radio-Canada should take a leading role in bringing us the best of programs from around the world that would enrich Canadian television in a way that is not being done by private television.
16800 On the whole, the CBC/Radio-Canada must focus on fulfilling their core mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain with programming that is distinctive. I believe that only then can the Corporation find its ways back to what it was intended to be: dedicated to Canadian content.
16801 Et voilà, cela termine mes commentaires. Merci.
16802 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci. Est-ce que c'est un sermon, vous aussi?
16803 M. LAPIERRE: Il ne fait que des commentaires.
16804 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Mais c'est bien senti aussi.
16805 M. LAPIERRE: Il ne fait que des commentaires.
16806 M. MACEROLA: Je n'ai pas le sermon très fort. Je suis plutôt porté à faire des commentaires.
16807 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Je pensais que c'était le frère de monsieur LaPierre qui faisait les sermons.
16808 Je vais demander à la conseillère madame Pennefather de poser les questions s'il vous plaît.
16809 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: Merci, madame la présidente.
16810 Messieurs. Good afternoon.
16811 MR. LAPIERRE: Good afternoon.
16812 MR. MACEROLA: Good afternoon.
16813 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I was saying to my colleague, Commissioner Grauer, before we began this afternoon, that although I found the written submission very interesting, I asked her what she thought the best question would be to get you both to tell us what your vision is for the CBC and its future. You have done that and I thank you very much for that.
16814 We welcome you and we welcome your eloquent and experienced views on this important institution.
16815 If I may, I would like to explore some of the ideas you have tabled this afternoon and then go to the written submission where there are some questions just to clarify your proposals.
16816 Monsieur LaPierre, I think what I found amongst the many ideas that are here -- I would love to hear more about all of them, but there is one area where it would be, I think, very useful to hear you a little more.
16817 You say on page 3 of your oral comments:
"What is at issue here is that Canadians and Canadiens want the CBC/Radio-Canada to focus and only to focus on high-quality programming which is not found anywhere else on TV."
16818 On the previous page you note, with some concern, I think, about this whole question:
"Its mission is not complementary to the private sector occupying only those areas private [sectors] do not want to occupy."
16819 When we put these two comments together, there are some who would conclude that what we are proposing here is a CBC which may become very narrow in its focus, very niche-focused. Some have used the term "marginalisé" en français. Some have said that this will mean an elitist form of programming.
16820 Could you elaborate a little bit on your key issue here, which is that you will find on CBC programming you won't find elsewhere versus CBC is there to do what the private sector won't do? Does that marginalize the CBC?
16821 MR. LAPIERRE: Well, Madam Pennefather, I was objecting to the attitude which I have seen, or at least perceived in the presentation of private broadcasters to you that the CBC should remove itself from any areas of programming largely because the private broadcasters want to use them alone for revenue and other purposes and that it should therefore deal with programming that the private broadcasters do not want to do.
16822 I think that is a pile of nonsense and it is not even to be given any attention to because I don't think that is the way that it ought to work. Therefore, the CBC is not complementary to them. It is not there to exist in order to fill the voids that they have to fill. The private broadcasters have their responsibilities within the system, as does the CBC.
16823 What I am trying to say here is that -- I will give you a little example.
16824 When the Canadian Television Fund decreed that we would support with the Fund Canadian programs that had a high -- and we defined that by creating various criteria. People said, "Well, we won't be able to do this and we won't be able to do that and we won't be able to do this." I said, under Canada or Canadian, every human emotion, every human avenue, every human process encounter that is found on the planet is within the Canadian.
16825 So what I am trying to say here, when I say they don't see it this way, it isn't the subject matter, all right -- and Daryl Duke, I think, has touched upon that -- but it is also in the method of presentation.
16826 Plasticization has taken over the broadcasting world that I see on my screen. You can interchange anybody with anybody and it seldom makes any difference whatsoever, all right?
16827 Consequently, it seems that it is the risk-taking that I am talking about and the passion that I am talking about that I do not see elsewhere on my channels. But if I don't see it at the CBC I see it nowhere. What I object to the CBC and I think that it has lost is the passion to move, is the passion to go from A to B with creativity, is the passion to animer l'âme afin qu'au bout du chemin il va être possible pour les Canadiens de prendre conscience de ce qu'ils sont et ce qu'ils sont essentiellement dans l'ensemble de la planète."
16828 That is what I'm talking about.
16829 I have another example that goes, Madame, before you were born, and it has to do with "This Hour Has Seven Days", this little program that has turned out to be much more significant now, some 45 years later or 1,000 years later than it was then.
16830 People at the CBC kept saying, "You cannot have a public affairs program which is popular because there are not enough intelligent Canadians to understand public affairs." I used to call them the 40,000 immortals.
16831 Consequently, what you must do if you have a public affairs that is fun, that takes risks, that makes you call your station in a rage, that makes Parliament, both the Parliamentarians in the Senate and in the House of Commons, ask questions Monday morning, that sends the administration of the CBC around the block 10 times and almost dying of a heart attack, if you do that, then that means that you have cheapen the content of public affairs to do that.
16832 Now, I am using that example to demonstrate to you that the CBC can very well decide what it can do. My problem is the method that it uses, the content of its program, its inordinate fear -- its inordinate fear to create some form of "badeng" which is an Internet word that the Klingons would use.
16833 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I know that language.
16834 If that is the case, I know it is a big question and I don't expect you to take us all the way down that road, but what is the key to changing that fear?
16835 MR. LAPIERRE: Hiring people who have guts.
16836 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Anything else?
16837 MR. LAPIERRE: Hiring people who have a vision. Hiring people, you know, who are capable of saying, "I don't care if I have a cent. I am going to make a damn good program out of this. I don't care."
16838 Now it seems to me that nothing gets done, or it takes a long time to get anything done or people are saying, "We cannot do this, we cannot do this because we have no money." That is such an irrelevant, boring issue. It is as boring as the alienation of the west, all right? It is as boring as separatism. It is as boring as everything you can think of. I am tired of the CBC saying it has no money, all right?
16839 The CBC has a lot of money. All it has to do is to know what to do with it.
16840 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Which leads me to --
16841 MR. LAPIERRE: By the way, I must tell you that Téléfilm has no views on these matters.
--- Laughter / Rires
16842 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And now it's your turn.
16843 Bonjour, Monsieur Macerola.
16844 M. MACEROLA: Bonjour.
16845 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: Continuons avec le même thème mais je peux peut-être diriger la question à un point que M. LaPierre a soulevé dans sa présentation aussi quand il a fait la remarque qu'on a perdu quelque chose: "The regional voice I had found expressed on the airwaves of my CBC."
16846 Toute la question d'une diversité qui vient des régions, la programmation anglaise et française, soulignée d'une façon très importante aujourd'hui et dans votre soumission écrite.
16847 Vous parlez surtout du rôle de Radio-Canada avec le secteur indépendant en région, en anglais et en français, comme parmi d'autres télédiffuseurs et je vous cite en anglais:
"Telefilm depends on Canadian broadcasters including CBC/SRC to trigger these productions in the regions." (Tel que lu)
16848 Ce n'est pas question que c'est le fait qui m'intéresse mais que vous dites que Radio-Canada et les autres télédiffuseurs un peu sur le même ordre d'idées sont là pour faire avancer la production en région.
16849 Qu'est-ce qui fait la différence avec CBC/Radio-Canada dans cette idée? Est-ce qu'il y a un rôle spécifique pour Radio-Canada ou est-ce que c'est la même chose que le secteur privé en terme des productions régionales?
16850 M. MACEROLA: Vous vous rappelez que la dernière fois que j'ai eu le plaisir de comparaître, on avait parlé de la définition d'une production régionale et j'avais mentionné qu'à Radio-Canada/CBC une production régionale c'est ce qui est fait localement, indépendamment de l'origine du réalisateur ou de l'équipe de création alors que chez nous à Téléfilm Canada, ce qui est important c'est d'où viennent les créateurs. Et partant de là c'est bien évident que quant à moi Radio-Canada/CBC a un rôle très important à jouer au niveau de la régionalisation non pas simplement qu'en reflétant la réalité mais en aidant à mettre sur pied des infrastructures de création des productions qui éventuellement vont permettre aux populations locales d'être capables de transporter leur réalité à la télévision.
16851 Par conséquent, vous vous rappelez sans aucun doute qu'on a discuté très souvent de l'enveloppe de CBC, de Radio-Canada et cetera et un des problèmes qu'on avait à Téléfilm Canada à l'époque c'était d'être capables de justement cerner cette réalité-là de la régionalisation. On ne voulait pas que les projets qui supposément étaient "de nature régionale" soient des projets qui viennent de Toronto ou de Montréal mais qui soient tournés à l'extérieur de ces deux centres.
16852 Par conséquent ça prend une définition de la région qui est réellement ancrée dans la réalité du milieu et dans le processus créateur.
16853 CONSEILLÈRE WYLIE: C'est un peu ça de dire qu'est-ce que c'est le rôle spécifique de Radio-Canada dans ce sens-là parce que j'ai eu l'impression dans la soumission écrite que c'était un rôle qui appartenait aussi au secteur privé.
16854 M. MACEROLA: Oui, ça appartient aussi au secteur privé. On ne peut pas dire que le secteur privé, sauf peut-être quelques exceptions, joue ce rôle-là avec beaucoup d'enthousiasme mais à un moment donné les organismes publics, que ce soit l'Office national du film, Téléfilm Canada, Radio-Canada vont comprendre que si on veut être réellement organisme public il va falloir adhérer à des mandats qui sont différents de ceux du secteur privé et un des mandats importants dans ce pays au niveau culturel c'est de tout simplement être capables de transmettre la diversité culturelle du pays.
16855 On ne peut pas être un organisme public comme Radio-Canada/CBC, l'Office national du film ou Téléfilm en essayant de décrire la réalité de Montréal ou de Toronto et je pense que présentement il y a des efforts qui sont faits à Radio-Canada/CBC mais il faut continuer dans ce sens-là de façon encore plus importante.
16856 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: Vous êtes au courant des propos que Radio-Canada et CBC ont fait pendant ces audiences concernant une production en région à part des nouvelles. Cela veut dire à peu près 25 millions de dollars en région pour les productions d'une demie-heure, et cetera, vous êtes au courant?
16857 M. MACEROLA: Oui, oui.
16858 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: Est-ce que pour vous c'est assez ou c'est...
16859 M. MACEROLA: Moi je suis un peu comme mon président. J'ai de la misère, comprenez-vous, à accepter l'idée qu'avec un milliard de dollars on a de la difficulté à développer des programmes imaginatifs qui réponde réellement aux besoins du public et à ce moment-là c'est une question de priorité et je pense qu'à Radio-Canada/CBC les gens sont conscients que depuis une dizaine d'années la ligne qui démarque le privé et le public a été franchie tranquillement. Les gens sont conscients de ça et par conséquent il s'agit de prendre des mesures pour redresser cette ligne-là et une des mesures c'est la régionalisation.
16860 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: C'est dans ce contexte-là que vous l'avez indiqué à l'intérieur d'une présentation sur Radio-Canada, vous avez utilisé, je pense, le mot "critical".
16861 M. MACEROLA: Oui, absolument.
16862 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: Pour l'avenir.
16863 M. MACEROLA: Oui, moi j'arrive d'une tournée du Canada. Je ne vais pas seulement à Cannes, je vais ailleurs aussi, et j'arrive d'une tournée du Canada où j'ai rencontré des producteurs et tous les producteurs, que ce soit des producteurs de langue française ou de langue anglaise, se plaignaient sur le fait qu'il n'y avait pas suffisamment de projets qui naissaient dans leur coin et à Téléfilm Canada vous savez que nous on ne fait pas naître les projets, on ne fait que les financer, et ça prend une lettre d'un diffuseur et les gens trouvaient que ces lettres-là étaient de plus en plus rares à obtenir.
16864 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: Vous avez mentionné un élément très important dans toutes ces discussions. C'est de trouver que le mandat soit décrit d'une certaine façon et quelles sont les priorités en conséquence. Vous venez de mentionner que la production en région c'est une priorité.
16865 M. MACEROLA: Oui.
16866 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: Mais en même temps on introduit un projet pour les longs-métrages et les indications qu'on a c'est qu'il n'y pas de l'argent nouveau pour cette priorité, cette initiative disons. On ne voit pas où se trouve en effet quand on voit les prévisions financières pour la Corporation, on ne voit pas exactement où se trouve ce programme-là.
16867 Est-ce que vous avez les informations qui vous indiquent que ce programme sera vraiment financé comme décrit et deuxièmement est-ce qu'il y a la possibilité qu'il en supporte un? Les longs-métrages on va laisser tomber d'autres projets comme mini-séries, dramatiques, et cetera.
16868 M. MACEROLA: C'est certainement une question de choix à Radio-Canada/CBC. Maintenant, je n'ai pas été impliqué d'aucune façon même si à Téléfilm Canada on gère 50 millions de fonds dévoués au long-métrage en production et en distribution, on n'a pas été nécessairement impliqués et ce que je connais de ce programme c'est ce que j'ai lu via les communiqués de presse. Mais, d'une autre côté, je pense que c'est important que Radio-Canada joue un rôle aussi au niveau du long-métrage.
16869 Dans tous les pays du monde qui ont une cinématographie qui se respecte c'est un effort collectif de financer des projets de longs-métrages et la télévision privée et publique joue un rôle très important et aussi, bon, la télévision privée pourrait jouer un rôle très important.
16870 Maintenant, à ce moment-là, Radio-Canada va devoir possiblement faire des choix et présentement, comment je vous dirais bien, il faut s'éloigner de la philosophie qui essaie "to be all things to all people" et essayer d'établir des priorités en expliquant au gouvernement canadien que ce ne sont pas tous les services qui ont être capables d'être gérés et administrés malgré que je reviens à mon affirmation du début. Avec un milliard de dollars, avec une transformation de la morphologie du dollar, de dollar administratif en dollar de programmation, je pense qu'on peut faire énormément.
16871 Maintenant libre aux gens de Radio-Canada de prendre des décisions qui s'imposent au niveau de l'établissement de leurs priorités.
16872 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Is this what you are referring to when you spoke of revisiting the current balance of funding between Parliament and advertising revenues?
16873 M. MACEROLA: Moi, voyez-vous, ma philosophie c'est qu'il y a environ une douzaine d'années quand le gouvernement a commencé à réduire les appropriations parlementaires des agences publiques, la tentation la plus facile pour un directeur d'agence -- et je le sais parce qu'à l'époque j'étais à l'Office national du film, c'est-à-dire on va augmenter nos revenus et Radio-Canada a si bien augmenté ses revenus que présentement ses revenus-là totalisent 300 millions de dollars.
16874 Maintenant j'ai écouté, j'ai lu beaucoup sur ce qui se passe au CRTC et on nous dit que la grille est établie et ce n'est que lorsque la grille est établie qu'on va voir les acheteurs, et cetera, mais moi je vous dis que c'est bien évident que la volonté de Radio-Canada d'augmenter ses revenus joue sur la pertinence de la production et de la programmation et que, par conséquent, il va falloir à un certain moment donné rééquilibrer le tout.
16875 Où est-ce qu'on arrête? Est-ce qu'on continue à augmenter les revenus ou est-ce qu'on décide d'augmenter l'allocation parlementaire? Je ne vous dis pas que Radio-Canada, comme les diffuseurs privés l'ont dit, ne devrait pas avoir accès à des revenus commerciaux mais il n'en demeure pas moins, cependant, qu'il y a une ligne encore une fois qui est là et qui est très fragile et on ne me dira pas moi que Radio-Canada quand ils achètent un long-métrage anglais ou quand ils achètent un long-métrage canadien -- et j'ai vécu l'expérience -- et exigent qu'en "package" on leur donne deux films américains, que c'est au nom de la culture canadienne. C'est tout simplement en fonction de la cote d'écoute et, par conséquent, la cote d'écoute est synonyme de revenus pour tous les diffuseurs et je pense qu'il va falloir rééquilibrer ça et donner à Radio-Canada un traitement juste et équitable.
16876 Et quand je mentionne que Radio-Canada soit se réconcilier, Radio-Canada doit se réconcilier avec le gouvernement. Ils doivent faire la démonstration qu'on a besoin de "Y" millions de dollars ou milliards de dollars pour avoir un organisme qui se respecte et qui fait de la radiodiffusion dans ce pays. Ils doivent se réconcilier avec les citoyens pour que les gens sachent qu'un dollar chez Radio-Canada c'est aussi important qu'un dollar en santé.
16877 Et partant de là, quand ces réconciliations-là auront été faites il y a aura possibilité que le gouvernement, via des conditions de licences, je ne veux pas m'embarquer là-dedans je ne suis pas l'expert en arrive à un nouvel équilibre qui va plus ramener Radio-Canada de l'autre côté de la ligne -- et quand je parle de Radio-Canada c'est CBC aussi, qu'il ne l'est présentement. Il est plus là qu'il ne devrait l'être quand à moi.
16878 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Mr. LaPierre?
16879 MR. LAPIERRE: There is another thing that has preoccupied me about this business of giving money because you produce programs that bring in the money in order to have more money of course and do other things with it, but also it is based on ratings.
16880 Outside of "les argents commerciaux", outside of commercial money, there is also the fact that we cannot escape, that too much encrusted in the political will of this country is the feeling that if the Canadian taxpayer pays $800 or $900 million to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation there should be a return upon that investment that is really, really accountable and, consequently, they tend to see that it is the ratings that determiner whether that $800 million has been well spent. More and more I speak to politicians and they tell me that, "But we spent $800-$900 million on the CBC and nobody is watching them."
16881 That in the first place is a lie. In the second place, it is the same attitude and mentality that prevails in all of our arts, in all of our culture in this country. If 10 people look at an opera that the CBC does it is as important that it ought to be done. It is not that the 10 people are elitist, it is just that it is important that the opera be done.
16882 Furthermore, it seems to me that the Canadian taxpayers do not give subsidies to Téléfilm, do not give subsidies to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. What they do is invest public money in cultural assets and we have got to change the national mind-set and the political mind-set on that issue and that it is as important to spend money on an opera, on a film or television program, as it is to spend money on building an aeroplane.
16883 It is very important that we keep repeating that over and over again, because the battle -- at least the struggle will never be resolved.
16884 Thank you.
16885 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I have one last question.
16886 You bring diversity into your proposal and you state its importance, and we just had a discussion with Mr. Duke on that matter.
16887 What would you suggest we do here at the CRTC in regard to diversity and the CBC/Radio-Canada as you have underlined its importance in your paper? What does that mean in terms of the CRTC? Do you have any particular recommendations for this?
16888 M. MACEROLA: Il y a toutes sortes de façons d'arriver à -- comment je vous dirais bien -- à une programmation qui pourrait être dévouée mais si on prend pour acquis que la programmation de Radio-Canada/CBC devrait être publique, devrait être généraliste, devrait être distincte cependant et devrait être à l'écoute des besoins du public et, par conséquent, il n'y a rien qui empêcherait Radio-Canada/CBC sans nécessairement d'avoir à passer via le CRTC et d'organiser des assises générales où on rencontre le public, où on discute avec eux.
16889 La seule façon, quant à moi, et on a démontré que c'était rentable de le faire c'est en établissant des enveloppes de production. Cela ne veut pas dire nécessairement que tous les projets vont être programmés mais ça veut dire cependant qu'il va y avoir une banque qui va se constituer et les projets tranquillement vont atteindre le petit écran. Et c'est peut-être une façon de le faire.
16890 CONSEILLÈRE PENNEFATHER: Merci. Merci beaucoup, Messieurs, pour vos commentaires, votre temps, votre présence aujourd'hui.
16891 Merci, Madame la Présidente.
16892 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci.
16893 J'aurais plusieurs questions mais j'aimerais ça une en particulier. Compte tenu votre expertise et le lieu privilégié où vous vous trouvez, différemment de nous, mais un peu comme nous vous avez un regard sur l'ensemble du système de radiodiffusion via les projets qui vous sont acheminés tant du côté privé que public en même temps que provenant de l'anglais, le français toutes sortes en fait de points de vue qui vous sont acheminés.
16894 Beaucoup de la discussion, en particulier avec Radio-Canada -- on sait l'importance de la dramatique à l'intérieur de la programmation de Radio-Canada -- beaucoup de ce qui nous a été amené par Radio-Canada est empreint de l'inquiétude du fait que les fonds ne seront plus garantis pour Radio-Canada commençant l'an prochain, je crois?
16895 M. MACEROLA: Oui.
16896 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bref, et que donc ça peut avoir toutes sortes d'incidences sur d'une part leur stratégie, d'une part leur cote d'écoute, enfin tout ce qu'on sait. J'aimerais ça, compte tenu votre expertise -- je sais que vous ne manquez pas de personnes qui font la queue dehors quand vient le temps des projets -- j'aimerais savoir dans votre connaissance du milieux, votre connaissance de la capacité de la collaboration avec le secteur indépendant et la Société Radio-Canada et CBC à cet égard-là, comment vous évaluez leur capacité d'aller chercher une quote-part qui met ou ne met pas en péril en fait leur futur de ce point de vue-là?
16897 M. MACEROLA: Moi, voyez-vous, j'ai certaines difficultés. Quand vous avez des gens qui viennent ici et qui disent, "Radio-Canada/CBC devrait se retirer des commerciaux" et en même temps ils disent, "Radio-Canada/CBC ne devrait plus avoir d'accès à une enveloppe. Par conséquent, il faudrait qu'on soit un peu, quant à moi, logiques dans la façon dont on traite Radio-Canada/CBC et que si on lui enlève un privilège de nature privée à droit, peut-être que le privilège de nature publique lui pourrait être mieux évalué.
16898 A Téléfilm Canada, avant la mise sur pied du Fonds canadien de télévision, on avait une entente avec le ministère qui disait que Radio-Canada avait droit jusqu'à 50 pour cent et c'était parfait parce que ça nous mettait dans une position de négociation, au niveau des régions, au niveau des petites et moyennes entreprises. On était capables de s'asseoir en disant, "Écoutez, ce projet-là, hmm-hmm, maintenant celui-là qui répond réellement aux besoins de la régionalisation, peut-être" et Radio-Canada utilisait en moyenne 40 pour cent.
16899 Du jour au lendemain, suite à des pressions, Radio-Canada obtient 50 pour cent. Bon, bravo, tout le monde est content. Et l'année d'après ils se retrouvent avec plus rien. Par conséquent c'est très difficile quant à moi de gérer une boîte quand vous vous promenez de même et vous ne vous promenez pas avec cinq millions mais vous vous promenez avec 50 millions de dollars.
16900 Maintenant, ça peut avoir un effet négatif mais, en même temps, ça peut aussi avoir un effet positif. Si Radio-Canada décide réellement d'augmenter ses coûts de licence, si Radio-Canada qui produit des émissions de très grande qualité financées de façon équitable et juste et raisonnable pourrait avoir accès à plus de fonds. Moi ce que je soupçonne c'est que la part du Fonds canadien de télévision va diminuer à Radio-Canada/CBC et à ce moment-là, avec les conséquences que ça va entraîner.
16901 Cette année Radio-Canada avait 50 pour cent de Téléfilm Canada ce qui fait 50 millions, avait un autre 30 quelques pour cent du droit de diffusion, ça fait à peu près 80 millions. Si du jour au lendemain vous vous trouvez -- et c'est ça que je n'aime pas. C'est l'idée de dire, "Écoutez, là vous allez compétionner avec le secteur privé." Par conséquent avec un chapeau on leur dit, "Allez vous battre avec le secteur privé pour un dollar" et avec l'autre chapeau on leur dit, "Oui, mais faites attention, par exemple, vous êtes publics, vous êtes distincts, vous êtes ci, vous êtes ça".
16902 Par conséquent, je pense qu'il faudrait réellement réfléchir à cette procédure-là et moi en tant que responsable à Téléfilm Canada je dois vous dire que le "Opt Two" me satisfaisait énormément. Je pense que ça satisfaisait aussi mes collègues de Radio-Canada/CBC et ça injectait une quarantaine de millions de dollars chez Radio-Canada et ça leur a permis, selon ce qu'ils ont dit ici, de canadianiser leur programmation.
16903 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Mais est-ce que je dois comprendre de votre commentaire qu'il pourrait y avoir un retour par rapport à la décision prise?
16904 M. MACEROLA: Écoutez, ça c'est une décision que ne relève pas de Téléfilm Canada. C'est une décision qui relève de la ministre, c'est une décision qui a été prise à l'unanimité par un conseil d'administration et par conséquent je ne vois pas le jour où cette politique va changer mais je vous dis que l'autre avait aussi certaines vertus et si on avait plus de temps, je pourrais autant vous faire la démonstration que l'absence d'enveloppe ne nuirait pas nécessairement et pourrait éventuellement, mais de prime abord -- et la semaine passée on a rencontré des producteurs, Laurier, et eux autres c'est un peu leur crainte que tout à coup Radio-Canada se retrouve complètement éjectée de tout le processus et que leur implication dans le domaine de la dramatique diminue radicalement. C'est une crainte.
16905 Moi ma crainte n'est pas celle-là. Je ne pense pas que ça va diminuer radicalement mais cependant Radio-Canada va certainement revenir à la charge pour avoir une garantie.
16906 MR. LAPIERRE: And it will be given to them, for the sole and simple reason that I predict that within five years the private broadcasters will ask that the Canadian Television Fund cap the CBC.
16907 M. MACEROLA: Un peu comme ce qu'on avait avant.
16908 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Du côté de Téléfilm, oui ou de crainte qu'il n'en prenne trop de la part du lion.
16909 M. MACEROLA: C'est ça.
16910 MR. LAPIERRE: The problem, though, that we have to bear in mind is that we are asking in the Canadian Television Fund and at Téléfilm Canada the very high, high, high degree in criteria of Canadian content for everybody, and since we do not make decisions on "grilles horaires" but only on project-to-projet which are been submitted with a license, then it is up to the broadcaster to determine how valuable that program is on his or her "grille horaire". Consequently, this is bound to happen in due course, I would think, and furthermore the possibility of the CBC having access to the fund I think will grow and it has now.
16911 Furthermore, if I may be so bold, Madame, to give you a piece of advice, if you agree that the CBC should have less minutes of commercial time, say fine, and impose upon the private broadcasters to return that into a fund to be put in the Canadian Television Fund only for the CBC so that you will "sauver le chou et la chèvre" en même temps, Madame.
16912 Merci bien.
16913 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Une dernière question avant que vous ne partiez. Je m'excuse, j'avais noté ça. Vous parlez qu'il est important d'avoir des infrastructures en région. Dans l'importance du reflet et de l'activité en région, vous parlez d'infrastructure. Or, et on peut se chicaner le niveau des ressources, les choix qui sont faits, mais ça nous a été dit en particulier par Mme Fortin, mais un peu aussi par les gens de CBC, M. Redekopp aussi, que si les dollars sont rares -- ou enfin, les dollars -- le choix est davantage d'aller vers le programme et ne pas revenir à une étape d'infrastructure.
16914 Quelle est votre évaluation? Vous semblez, vous, penser que la question d'infrastructure est importante. Est-ce que j'ai mal compris?
16915 M. MACEROLA: Mon président pourra s'exprimer, mais moi quant à moi je ne parle pas d'infrastructure aucunement. Pour moi ce qui est important c'est d'avoir la présence en région mais c'est bien évident que quand je parlais tantôt de transformer la morphologie du dollar c'est d'être capable de plus en plus d'investir dans des programmes, d'investir dans du talent et surtout d'oublier les éléphants blancs qu'on voit un peu partout quand on fait une tournée du Canada. Ce n'est pas de ça que les gens ont besoin.
16916 Moi ce que je trouve c'est que les Canadiens ont un besoin d'identification à un grand organisme culturel et Radio-Canada/CBC pourrait tellement être cet organisme-là qu'on n'a pas besoin d'avoir d'immenses studios un peu partout dans le Canada, on a simplement besoin d'avoir des messieurs et des madames Radio-Canada/CBC qui sont prêts à établir le contact avec la communauté.
16917 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci infiniment, Messieurs.
16918 M. MACEROLA: Merci.
16919 M. LAPIERRE: Merci, Madame.
16920 Nous prendrons une pause et nous revenons à 4:15.
--- Courte pause à / Short recess at 1600
--- Upon resuming at / Reprise à 1615
16921 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Alors... alors.
16922 Madame Bénard, avant que nous passions au prochain intervenant, legal counsel have a big document to put on the public record.
16923 Mr. Stewart and Ms Pinsky.
16924 M. STEWART: Merci, madame la présidente, c'est simplement pour informer les personnes que le Conseil a reçu une lettre du Conseil des directeurs médias du Québec Inc., en date du 4 juin, qui traite de plusieurs questions qui ont trait à cette instance publique. Compte tenu que cette lettre a été envoyée très tard dans le processus, le Conseil ne peut l'accepter comme une intervention. En conséquence, la lettre ne fera pas partie du dossier public et sera retournée au Conseil des directeurs médias du Québec Inc. Merci.
16925 MS PINSKY: I would just like to note, as well for the public record, that the CBC has filed its responses to several undertakings that it had made during the course of questioning for the CBC English Radio application, and specifically they are the responses to the information relating to quality control program relating to the base line review.
16926 Secondly, the position of English Radio and the use of Canadian composers to meet Category 3 music requirements.
16927 Thirdly, the clarification of financial information related to spoken word programming.
16928 Fourthly, the use of repeat programming by CBC Radio.
16929 Fifth, information about the new voice initiative.
16930 Sixth, specifics on how CBC Radio strives to be accountable to its listeners.
16931 Seventh, an estimate on the impact of the proposed condition of licence and sponsorship in terms of increased programming.
16932 Thank you.
16933 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by the Canadian Conference of the Arts / La Conference canadienne des arts.
16934 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
16935 MS WILLIAMS: Good afternoon.
16936 MR. CRAWLEY: Good afternoon.
16937 MS WILLIAMS: Madame Chair and Commissioners, my name is Megan Williams, I am the National Director of the Canadian Conference of the Arts and I am joined by my board member, Alexander Crawley, who is the board member for film and broadcasting.
16938 I have submitted a brief to you in May, More Than Just a Broadcaster, which I am sure you all have copies of. I have a short set of remarks that I want to make and then I would welcome any questions that you have.
16939 It has been a very interesting afternoon here and many of the things that the CCA included in its brief have been touched upon by the previous intervenors.
16940 Ever since its inception in 1945, the CCA has been a strong and steadfast advocate for the CBC and that is the tone that we are bringing to this presentation this afternoon.
16941 We approached the licence renewal hearing in the same optimistic and constructive spirit we always bring to discussions of the CBC. That is because the CBC has been a primary force in the remarkable development of Canadian arts practice and cultural expression that we have witnessed in Canada since mid-century.
16942 As Canada's oldest and largest arts advocacy organization, it is only fitting that the CCA should be among CBC's biggest supporters.
16943 Now, I just have a few remarks to make here.
16944 The timing of the licence review is unfortunate, coming as it does on the heels of months of labour unrest, years of staff layoffs and an impending change of leadership. It will be important for CRTC to take this into account in making its recommendations for licence renewal.
16945 Other witnesses have come on the CRTC's influence in the growth of the music industry and the broadcast industry. CBC has prospered under the regime of CRTC's regulation now producing nine of the top 10 Canadian English and four of the top five programs in French.
16946 On the flip side of this is Canada's recent success in selling its broadcasts internationally. So we have seen a lot of growth in our cultural industries thanks to CRTC's careful regulation.
16947 CCA fully supports the CRTC in its efforts to foster excellence in Canadian programming for both TV and radio, although we would have appreciated more attention to our recommendations for production of Canadian content in new media.
16948 The main focus of the brief that the CCA submitted is CBC's role as a public broadcaster. In the words of Perrin Beatty, there has to be a public broadcaster that sees Canadians first as citizens and secondly as consumers.
16949 Our brief also makes recommendations regarding the importance of regional production, about the crucial links that CBC develops with arts, community and independent producers. These are specially evident in the regions.
16950 I commend the recent proposal of CBC to add half an hour of prime time programming to its regional broadcasts. We think this is very important.
16951 We also commended the proposal for the Land and Sea channel, which didn't receive its licence, but which would have worked to show Canadians to each other. We believe that regions of the country should be presented to each other through more national broadcasts of regional programs.
16952 When the CCA was in Newfoundland recently, we were asked an interesting question by our Newfoundland members, who wanted to see more translations of Quebec programs in Newfoundland.
16953 The CCA has made many presentations to the CRTC and the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and we have always maintained the position that Parliament should commit stable multi-year funding to the national broadcaster so that would enable it to phase out commercial revenue generation.
16954 This is the only way for it to differentiate itself in its role as the national broadcaster.
16955 Equally, we advocate that coverage of professional sports should be greatly reduced and replaced by more coverage of amateur sport and community events, but artistic and cultural. We advocate the use of more independent productions on CBC, which would reduce the cost while promoting development of producers where they live.
16956 We support a phased introduction of aspects of the constellation that CBC has proposed -- although I realize that since we wrote our brief several of these have been denied -- as long as they can be maintained commercial free.
16957 The emphasis should be on arts programming and youth and children's radio. We note the success of CBC Radio in establishing its position of one of the ties that binds our country together. We believe that a national children's radio network would contribute greatly to both social cohesion and development of audiences and artists of the future.
16958 The proposed use of sponsored names for arts programming is interesting and the CBC's track record in linking with the arts community gives us confidence that this will be handled sensitively.
16959 Finally, I was very impressed by what Mr. Daryl Duke had to say earlier about the structure of the board of the CBC and we had included recommendations about this in our brief.
16960 It is very important that the CBC board should have the power to appoint its own president. The president's loyalty should not be divided between the Prime Minister's office, which appoints him, and the board of directors, which he or she serves.
16961 We would also like to make recommendations about board appointments so that the board would more accurately reflect the diverse Canadian experience. In selecting the president, consideration should be given to a wider circle than the current process affords.
16962 So those are my few remarks and I would like to ask Sandy to add to them.
16963 MR. CRAWLEY: Thank you very much again for having us here today.
16964 I have been very impressed with what I have heard today here as well from previous intervenors this afternoon.
16965 I was just reflecting on the fact that Daryl Duke gave me my last job in a real Canadian feature film, Laurier Lapierre taught me about 10 years ago how to present myself in public without a playwright's words, and Monsieur Macerola currently provides the core funding for the organization which I now head up as my first job. I finally grew up. So I felt like I was in good company, and we are in good company.
16966 But there are some points that we make in our brief.
16967 We are very supportive, obviously, of the CBC and, like many other groups that have been represented here, as Megan said in her earlier brief, bashing the CBC is a national pastime: Everyone loves the CBC, they just don't like the one they have got.
16968 Obviously there does need to be a new vision, I think, for the role of public broadcasting. But we do have to remember that it has been our compass in cultural development across the country. We wouldn't have orchestras and theatre companies across this country if we hadn't had the public broadcaster rolling itself out across the country and developing the regions in that way.
16969 So I would, on behalf of the CCA, strongly disagree with Mr. Cuff's remarks earlier that regional broadcasting is not what the CBC is supposed to be about. It is a difficult thing to maintain. There are all kinds of factors, but I think we at the board of the CCA, who really do draw our representation from across the country, are very, very aware of the importance of the public broadcaster across the country and somehow they have to find that balance and they can't pull it back all into the centre. This would be a self-defeating exercise, I think, for the public broadcaster.
16970 The other thing which we touched on, which is more of a nuts and bolts issue that you are dealing with now is this issue of professional sports being no longer the purview of the CBC, and we would support, again, I think what Mr. Beatty said to you is that we can't deny that hockey, for instance, is Canadian culture and that perhaps now there is a business for the privates to take on that responsibility, but they have to pay for it.
16971 So in other words, if that revenue -- and Mr. Macerola was exploring this in some detail, as well. That the private broadcasters have to be willing to pay for that. If they want to take on that responsibility they have to put some of those resources back in through the CBC. It could be done by a direct levy on their revenues from that transfer, or it could be done, as I think Mr. Macerola said, not you, but Parliament decided that they were going to make up the difference, and I think it would be in our interest to pay a little bit more than 10 cents a days for Canadian for the service that we are getting from the CBC.
16972 So although it is not about money, in some ways I totally agree with what Laurier said, obviously, the CBC needs adequate resources to fulfil the role it has been playing and to develop its new role.
16973 I would just underline what Megan said about the governance issues, that CBC really needs to have its independence underlined and I think it needs to take a look at that. It is unfortunate that this hearing was timed before new leadership was coming at the CBC, which we assume is going to happen.
16974 I think that is all I have to add really.
16975 Thank you.
16976 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
16977 I would ask Commissioner Grauer to ask you the questions.
16978 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you, Madame Chair.
16980 I have a couple of questions I want to ask you just to elaborate a little bit.
16981 As you know, one of the principle goals that we are here to do is to look at the CBC's priorities with respect to their budgets and their activities and their plans for the licence term. I know you supported the proposed radio initiatives, which we aren't actually considering at this hearing.
16982 I think one of the things that has been raised, as you know, is that there have been cutbacks which the CBC has had to make choices with respect to their various programming services, English and French television and radio. Now it is a matter of looking forward to the next seven years and what are their priorities.
16983 I know that you have talked about the importance of focusing on their core services in here and in particular, you touched on the regional programming.
16984 So in that context, I just wonder if you could elaborate a little bit on what specifically you would suggest we might do with respect to the regional initiatives they have made, which is, I think, $2.7 million per year over the term of the licence, in the context of, I think Commissioner Colville mentioned earlier, $20 million a year for new media, the half an hour a week as opposed to -- I mean, should they be doing more? Do you think this is sufficient?
16985 MR. CRAWLEY: I don't know. I'm afraid I haven't done enough homework on whether those monies are coming from the same envelopes.
16986 You may know better than I do, but I am not sure that the initiatives in new media, which I think are important for the public broadcaster to make, whether they could simply allocate those funds to the regions.
16987 I know that the board of the CCA would want to see a lot more than $2.7 million spent in assuring that we are reflecting ourselves to each other across the country. There are many ways to do that. But, as I said before, the presence in the communities of the public broadcaster has made a huge, huge positive effect on developing, as I said, theatres and orchestras across the country. You don't think of it in that way ,but if you are a working artist, a freelance artist, that is the reality. That is how we have done it over the last 20 years or so.
16988 This is something that we have always emphasized in terms of defending a substantial allocation to the CBC, is that it serves a tremendous human resource development function in the country. I mean if you look at the private broadcast sector and how it has grown up, many, many of those people who are working in that sector have come through the CBC and they have learned certain values, which I think are reflected. You can see the difference between our private broadcasters and those south of the border, for instance. I think ours are more interesting, for us anyway, and more useful.
16989 So I think that that is something that is kind of taken for granted and it is hard to measure it, although you can measure it. But the CBC has a tremendous human resource role to play. It is those regional offices -- I mean I forget where our national news reader came from, I think it was Churchill, or something, where he started his career.
16990 Sometimes people forget, once they are sitting in the centre that, oh, we don't need those people out here. All the smart people are here. If they are any good, they come here anyway. This is a dangerous trend.
16991 I don't know whether it is actually written down anywhere but the decisions that are made and the economies that are made there always seems to be this need to protect the centre, protect that structure, that hierarchial structure which the huge corporation is bound to develop.
16992 I hope that the next future vision that comes out strong with the new leadership will spread that back out into the regions. I can't give you a sort of Board-approved formula of how they should do it, but they must do it. It should be a priority.
16993 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I don't think the question is Board approved. I think it is important to understand that when we ask these kinds of questions it is not that we are necessarily being critical, we are trying to say "Here is an opportunity for all of us to have this public discussion."
16994 In terms of what organizations, like yours and the others, and individuals that have been here, what they think the priorities of the CBC should be, and when you talk about priorities is where do you put your resources.
16995 I think that you clearly feel fairly strongly and with some passion that, as many people have said, including the CBC themselves, that their strength is in their roots in the regions.
16996 MR. CRAWLEY: That is right.
16997 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: This feeds the centre, if I could put it that way.
16998 MR. CRAWLEY: Absolutely.
16999 Ms WILLIAMS: I would just like to add something to that.
17000 The example that I am most familiar with is the regional broadcast centre in Halifax, since I recently left Halifax, much to my dismay. In the last month or so a group of arts organizations, which share accommodations in the CBC Radio building in downtown Halifax, made a sort of public manifestation of their support for the CBC in the form of a postcard campaign, and there are at least six organizations in that building which have developed a sort of synchronous relationship with the CBC.
17001 Speaking as an arts organization, and Sandy touched on how important the CBC has been to the development of individual artists in the country, it is also very important to the arts infrastructure to the support of festivals and training and that kind of thing.
17002 So I don't know what world John Haslett Cuff was talking about, but I think he had in his mind some kind of local cable news about lost dogs or something when he was talking about regional broadcasts. When you look at the broadcasts that are coming out of the Atlantic region, which include "22 Minutes" and "Street Cents" and "Emily of New Moon," I mean these are not regional in any sense. They are sold internationally and they are of interest to anyone who lives in the world in the present day.
17003 So it is extremely important that CBC re-establish its relationship with the regions of the country.
17004 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you.
17005 As I say, it is a matter of us getting a sense of what the priorities are from people like you and organizations like yours.
17006 MR. CRAWLEY: I think that would be a priority. We still, obviously, are working on creating a critical mass of a drama of our own stories, and the CBC is indubitably still the leader in that area.
17007 So I wouldn't want to say we will do regional programming at the expense of having drama. I mean we can't make those tradeoffs, obviously.
17008 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: No.
17009 MR. CRAWLEY: I don't think that the CBC should sort of withdrawn from a world of new media and exploring what that is going to be in the public interest as opposed to people who are doing it in the private interest.
17010 The other thing, I guess, and one of the things that I would just reflect on was the -- Laurier LaPierre is a great speaker and I tend to believe everything he says, but he said what we need on the CBC is programs that we won't see anywhere else. There is some truth in that.
17011 However, 10 years ago people wouldn't have contemplated the public and private broadcasters sharing windows on programming, which they are doing now. That is creative and that is, again, the way to go.
17012 We are hoping in the arts community, particularly in the film community, that we are going to make some progress, perhaps in a difficult climate, towards the Canadian feature film industry and the development of that.
17013 Again, as Monsieur Macerola has said, the broadcasters, there are great models in Europe and so on, but the broadcasters, both private and public, have to play a role there and the CBC has a real leadership role to play there. I don't know whether it is being articulated, but certainly in the community we would expect, as with emerging issues of rights management for artists and so on, and the status of the artists and all those things, the CBC has a job to play as a broadcaster, but it also has a job to play as a cultural institution with its partners, and we would think that the independent artists in the country are some of its most important partners.
17014 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I think for us it is a matter of what is the right balance between all of these competing issues.
17015 I wonder if you could just elaborate for me a bit on your position on sponsorship.
17016 I know you have said today that you are convinced that the CBC can handle this matter sensibly. This is on the radio side.
17017 I think in your written submission you suggested a period of consultation and working with organizations, and certainly that is what we have heard from some others who have been before us.
17018 Are you suggesting today that you think the revised sponsorship proposal -- that we should approve it at this point?
17019 Ms WILLIAMS: Obviously, the revised proposal came out subsequent to the writing of this document.
17020 Given that the CBC is a very important partner of many radio broadcasts especially, and they have developed successful partnership models with all sorts of jazz festivals, new music festivals and that kind of thing, if this proposal is to the benefit of these arts organizations, as it seems to be, then we will support it.
17021 We think it is very important that they have clarified that, whatever financial benefits accrue from this, go to the arts organizations which are partnering with the CBC and not directly to CBC itself.
17022 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: One of the concerns that has been raised with us is that there needs to be some mechanism in place to ensure that this issue of the sponsorship funds, even though they would go to a third party and not to the CBC, that no programming decisions of the CBC could be influenced by the exchange of sponsorship funds, if I could put it that way.
17023 I am just wondering if this is a concern to you and if you have any suggestions about how we might deal with that.
17024 MR. CRAWLEY: It is to me. If I can steal Laurier's trick again, it certainly is to me, as an individual and as an artist and so on, I think there is a slippery slope there. It's pretty tough.
17025 But I think, as Megan has said -- and we have taken the position because we don't just represent film makers and broadcasters but the whole arts community -- that if it is handled sensibly along the line and consultations are there and some criteria and some transparency is developed, as long as it is not seen simply as a much needed revenue generator for the CBC because its allocation keeps shrinking.
17026 First of all, we are certainly historically on the record of being against shrinking the allocation. We think that was a mistake. Maybe it was something inevitable that had to happen. Perhaps we will be able to do something about that in the future with the political will.
17027 It is an unsettling development that we should be moving towards, something that looks like advertising or even sponsorship on the one communications channel we have that is completely and mercifully free of advertising, as long as it doesn't come off as advertising. I mean the thing is that --
17028 Well, I think I am just babbling now, but I have concern about it.
17029 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I think the question is: What can we do to provide the assurances that you are talking about and others have talked about?
17030 MR. CRAWLEY: I guess it would have to do, I think -- and correct me, Megan, just jump in -- it would have to do with this relationship directly with arts organizations and cultural events and so on. There would have to be some transparency in the process so that, in fact, the arm's length between the CBC and private corporations and arts organizations wouldn't start to diminish our freedom of expression or a sense of our own freedom of expression. Set up a chill of some kind. That would be the danger. I haven't got an instant formula that would preclude that.
17031 Ms WILLIAMS: If I could just add to that, that in the part of our paper that discusses the CBC's relationship with independent producers, which we think is very important and fruitful, we recommend an ombudsman who would deal specifically with that relationship. Maybe that is the sort of answer we are looking for. Because when you mentioned programming decisions, it is very difficult to track that kind of thing. No matter how much transparency is built in, you would always heard people complaining and griping about decisions that might or might not have been made.
17032 So maybe the answer is to appoint an individual, for at least the transition period, who would be responsible for looking after complaints and regulating that.
17033 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Is that a valid concern in your view, that it might affect programming decisions?
17034 Ms WILLIAMS: I think it could, yes.
17035 The example I used in my paper was intentionally mischievous because I mentioned the DuMaurier New Music Festival and I know that CBC would not want to mention the DuMaurier New Music Festival. Perhaps they would decide not to broadcast anything about it because of the odious name of the sponsor. So certainly that could happen.
17036 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: One last question.
17037 You supported the phased introduction of the constellation model on the condition that it be commercial-free.
17038 Again, as you know, the issue of funding for the CBC is a major one and I am wondering how, again a matter of priorities, how you would see this happening. If it was to be commercial-free, where would the revenues come from?
17039 MR. CRAWLEY: I guess we haven't been at all disappointed that the concept of mandatory carriage hasn't disappeared altogether in the country. Perhaps maybe there is a clue there for you.
17040 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: A clue?
17041 MR. CRAWLEY: As to how you might be able to avoid -- I mean that people might be willing to pay. In fact, there has been some research and we allude to it in our brief, that people are willing to pay for quality broadcasting in the public interest, despite some editorial departments in a number of newspapers that don't think it is a good idea.
17042 Apparently, there are people in Canada who think it is worth it and they are willing 10 or 15 cents a month, maybe extra, for some of this depth.
17043 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes, you have alluded to it in your brief. I wasn't sure if you meant that the entire cost of these channels, if there were news ones, might be borne by the subscribers.
17044 MR. CRAWLEY: Again, I think maybe we are getting into the strictures that are placed on the Corporation through its governing structures and models and so on that, with the best of intentions, the Commission has tried to influence as appropriately you do.
17045 This is again where I think the new vision is what we are waiting for, because I think there should be a way for some cross-subsidization to happen within those public services. I think. I understand that the privates don't like that, and I understand why.
17046 As Laurier said, it's not their job just to complement the privates, they have to look at the big picture and make the best contribution that they can make in the big picture. I don't know, I can't give you a very, very clear answer on that, but I think --
17047 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: It is helpful.
17048 MR. CRAWLEY: I think certainly from the point of view of our board and our organization, we would love to keep the new public interest broadcasting that will happen commercial free. I think it works better that way for people.
17049 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you very much.
17050 Those are all of my questions.
17051 Thank you, Madame Chair.
17052 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, madame, monsieur.
17053 Thank you very much for your participation. Thank you.
17054 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by the Canadian Independent Film Caucus / le Caucus canadien de la vidéo et du cinéma indépendent.
17055 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe I should mention that whenever we have a cough attack and we go into the other room we are provided with the sound of everything that is discussed here so that we are not cut off from any important interventions.
17056 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bonjour.
17057 MS COHEN: Bonjour.
17058 MR. BOWIE: Bonjour.
17059 Good afternoon, Madame Chair and CRTC Commissioners. We are happy to be here and be able to participate in these important hearings. It was very enjoyable to hear Daryl Duke and Laurier Lapierre particularly. I support many of the things they have said.
17060 My name is Geoff Bowie and I am the National Chair of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus. My colleague is Barri Cohen, who is an Ontario member of the National Executive of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus.
17061 As you may recall from the Canadian television policy review and the new media hearings that you conducted last fall, the CIFC, as we call ourselves, or the Caucus, represents over 350 independent documentary producers and filmmakers. We are an organization that has been instrumental in securing documentary strands on our public sector broadcasters like TV Ontario, CBC and Newsworld.
17062 At this point I would like to hand the floor over to Barri Cohen, who has been responsible for leading our intervention concerning the CBC.
17063 MS COHEN: Thanks, Geoff.
17064 I must say that after hearing what we have heard today, certainly hearing what I have heard today, I kind of feel like some of our remarks are a bit redundant. So I beg your indulgence in advance, I guess. Forgive me if you have heard all of this before, and I am sure you have.
17065 We are here today to argue for renewal of the licences, but also to do so within a framework that contains several recommendations for a substantive change within the CBC structure, programming and corporate culture. We realize that the Commission can only go so far in imposing conditions upon the CBC, SRC and Newsworld, RDI, et cetera. So consider our brief and our remarks as a much needed opportunity for critique and dialogue, not just on the CBC but on the entire question of public broadcasting.
17066 Does Canada presently have a national public broadcaster? Some would argue that we do not. Many, though not all of our members in the Caucus, would argue that we do not, while others would argue that at best we have a contradictory system. I think we all know that.
17067 But make no mistake, despite our concerns with how the main English network, in particular, runs itself, we are fervently passionate supporters of national public broadcasting and for all the reasons that many of the intervenors spoke about today. The Ameri-continentalization of our culture that has gone one since at least radio broadcasting went mainstream, the current globalized tendencies of potentially unbalanced trade regimes that have and will continue to challenge the sovereignty of our culture, its forms and its cultural workers, the overall consequence of these tendencies and forces that create a climate of poor expectations, where mono-cultural forms or homogenized TV product becomes the new standard.
17068 We don't need to rehearse these arguments, as we say, they have been stated and we endorse them whole-heartedly. Indeed, it is because of our passion, our idealism with respect to public broadcasting, that motivates our participation in these hearings, yet we are strongly committed to the process by which renewal must occur within a context of rigorous constructive critique.
17069 Now, we offered recommendations in our brief and I would like here to summarize some of the key ones which we hope will make a modest but necessary intervention to really, once and for all, make the CBC the -- well, what I call the jewel in the cultural crown, if you will if that is not too old fashioned a term.
17070 First and foremost, we wish the CBC were truly a public broadcaster. It is not, and we know it and they know it and many other Canadians know it. As Mark Starovich(ph) has put it in an article that was published in the Ryerson Journalism Review, I think it was last June of 1998, quote:
"This is an intensively commercialized network driven to the point of distortion by the exigency of commercial revenue that is, itself, inimical to the documentary form ..." (As read)
17071 Which is obviously our concern.
17072 Now we think there seems to be a concern out there that if you criticize the CBC then you are halfway on the road to privatizing it, and we think that that is nonsense and we are big enough to recognize that.
17073 So rather than blaming private broadcasters and their ad revenue shares or simultaneous substitution allowance or blaming the historical enmity between successive governments of the day and the Corporation or the present government's current funding cutbacks, we would rather start in a different place and ask: What is public broadcasting? What is reasonable to expect in the Canadian context?
17074 Now, these are weighty questions indeed, and we can't possibly do more than offer a few directional and structural suggestions. But if these questions are not asked in any substantive way, then we are overlooking the heart of the matter.
17075 Now, for us a public broadcaster is a trend setter, not a follower. You have heard this phrase before, it is the risktaker in a system dominated increasingly by homogeneity. A risktaker who anticipates and crafts programming needs for an intelligent audience, not one that needs to be talked down to nor necessarily an elitist one. We think audiences are sophisticated enough not to fall into one or the other camp as we so often dismayingly hear from the Corporation's senior managers.
17076 If public TV is not challenging the hearts and minds of audiences, or if programmers are afraid of audience reaction, then it is not contributing to civil society and an exciting critical public discourse.
17077 A public service programmer is one who is not seeking to be a generalist with every program, but across the program schedule. A public broadcaster is one that puts programs ahead of maintaining an outmoded technological infrastructure.
17078 Public broadcasting -- and this is the real no-brainer -- is not driven by ratings, nor driven by competition vis-à-vis other broadcasters within a system. To paraphrase Starovich again, distortion is inevitable when programs are selected for marketability and shoved into 47 minutes. But it is the nature of the Darwinian world of prime time where only that which draws ratings survives.
17079 To become public, then, means not relying on advertising as the driving force in programming.
17080 We know, despite mandates and good intentions and policy directives, that there is a corporate or programming psychology that governs the chase for ad revenues. This means the programs, of course, are the free lunch for selling audiences to advertisers.
17081 We thus feel that central to the restructuring of the corporation should be its uncoupling from advertising, especially around under represented categories.
17082 We note that ads for major sports events should continue, and yes, we do support the continuation of sporting events, especially NHL games because we believe these games are as much culturally as commercially significant. After all, as you have doubtless heard, about 40 per cent of ad revenue, I think, for the English side for the orporation derives from advertising around the NHL.
17083 We feel that the broader context of broadcasting will have to be re-examined if the CBC is to be thoroughly restructured. This will require looking at the role of other broadcasters in support of a truly public service, as well as reinstating the CBC's access to the CTF.
17084 Now, by that essentially I am thinking of Mr. Lapierre's comments about potentially thinking about private broadcasters contributing a portion of revenues to a fund or to the CBC. I don't know that there will ever be any consensus around such an approach and our concern at the Caucus would be the extent to which private broadcasters would require concessions on Canadian content if they were to do so.
17085 That is just a caution at this point, but we do feel that these things should be explored, and that if the CBC were to uncouple itself from advertising, then the cap that presently exists at the Canadian Television Fund should be removed.
17086 Now, in corporate cultural terms, it must be objectively recognized that the staff and current managers cannot possibly know what "public" means, because they have never been allowed -- or at least not for decades -- to operate within its terms. Their corporate culture is governed by a frame of reference that has always been and might well continue to be that strange mixture of public interest programming and audience satisfaction.
17087 We need to have debate on what these things actually are. I can tell you that we couldn't really find them amongst the nostrums cited in the many pages of the CBC's strategic plan or licence renewal applications. We do know that they are not necessarily reflected in something called ratings.
17088 Now, in our own brief we focussed a lot -- well, primarily on specific recommendations around relations between independent documentary filmmakers and the networks.
17089 Now, relations between the independent production community and the CBC is rather strained, to say the least. Part of the historical legacy, to my mind anyway, of the CBC, once being the only broadcaster in town, means that the Corporation's unions, for example, still hold tremendous power to argue against more independent production. Now, this is truly a difficult situation, but it must somehow be overcome.
17090 We are not experts in this area, so we can only speak to improving present relations. Here we offer up some suggestions, both in terms of, well, what I have called, perhaps inelegantly, business issues and aesthetic or cultural ones.
17091 On the business front, the CIFC will participate with the CFTPA, the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association, to negotiate a terms of trade agreement with the CBC. We are aiming for a terms of trade agreement similar to the one that is in place between the BBC -- that is BBC One and Two -- and any independent producer or filmmaker who approaches them or is engaged in an independent coproduction with them, whether in England or outside.
17092 What this is is a set of protocols that governs a relationship regardless of who initiated a particular project. It requires clear and consistent programming mandates, a respect for all producers to get back to them in a timely fashion about the status of their projects, proper rights sharing and creative control parameters, et cetera.
17093 We are pleased that the CBC in fact did recognize in their licence application renewal that they -- they recognized the need for such a regime as well, and we hope their enthusiasm for this initiative remains after their licence renewal process is over.
17094 Now, we cannot stress enough the importance that rights sharing plays in this negotiation.
17095 I will now turn it back to Geoff to address you with this issue.
17096 MR. BOWIE: Thanks.
17097 I want to deal right off with a concrete example around rights which came up in the response by the CBC to interventions filed by the CFTPA, the CIFC and the ACT on a letter dated May 21.
17098 In this document the CBC states that rights is a primary concern for CBC. I quote:
"Owning inventory allows a broadcaster to maintain profile and it means potential revenue, particularly in foreign sales. The CBC reinvests that revenue into supporting even more programs, a situation unlike the private sector where revenue often means profit."
17099 To me this statement surprised me, it was so baldly stated. It reveals that at bottom the CBC sees itself as a competitor with our members. As a broadcaster, a distributor and a program producer, it is behaving as a vertically integrated corporation in the public sector and acting predatorily against independent documentary filmmakers who are neither broadcasters nor distributors following the same business strategy as the largest media conglomerates in the private sector. I think Mark Starovich's quotes that Barri mentioned bear this out.
17100 The CBC is using its public financial resources to unfairly compete against small independent documentary companies. We see this as a contradiction with the part of their mandate that speaks about supporting the independent sector.
17101 The CBC claims hiring freelance directors on service contracts is one way in which they support the independent community. A share in the rights is not offered these directors. While this work is important to the directors involved in this climate where self-employment is becoming the norm, it does not help create a viable independent documentary production community. In fact, quite the opposite, it shuts out documentary companies.
17102 The CBC goes on in their response document to insult independent documentary filmmakers by insinuating that they cannot be relied upon to do a complete and meticulous job of research.
17103 Finally, the CBC maintains that the "History" series is mandate programming, programming which performs a public service, programming the private sector isn't likely to produce. Well, their view of the private sector demonstrates an ignorance of what independent documentary filmmakers are all about, and they should know that because they have dealt with enough of us.
17104 The CBC has worked with enough independent documentary filmmakers to know that our companies are mostly small with a few mid-sized companies, and that public interest programming almost defines independent documentary filmmaking.
17105 The CIFC would like the CRTC to do whatever it can to urge the CBC to abandon its arrogant fortress-like stance in favour of a partnership with independent documentary filmmakers and a fair sharing of rights. Independent documentary filmmakers could and should be the CBC's greatest ally.
17106 An alliance could be mutually beneficial and is the best way to muster the creative and financial resources that are urgently needed to revitalize Canadian public broadcasting.
17107 But what is revealing about the CBC's remarks about the "History" series is their policy decision to be a public sector vertically-integrated media corporation in the American style, vying to be a winner in the global television marketplace. This strategic policy, their response to cutbacks is causing them to compete unfairly with independent documentary filmmakers and distorting their role as a public service broadcaster.
17108 MS COHEN: I am winding into a conclusion here.
17109 As for the cultural and aesthetic issues, being in the vanguard of programming means that the public broadcaster must seek out new talent. Again, you have heard a lot about this today and I'm sure on other days. It does not entail using the same set of filmmakers and producers, as has often been observed about the programming and commissioning practices of the documentary unit at the main English network.
17110 We observe, for instance, that according to the same Ryerson Journalism Review article of last year, by way of example, of 49 original documentaries aired on "Witness" in the seasons from 1995 to 1997-1998, about half were produced or directed by current or former CBC employees, including seven by one team alone. For us, this is not the way to fulfil the programming mandate of broadcasting diversity.
17111 Now admittedly, in the last year I would say, the documentary has opened up somewhat, but merely to let new players in, not to change the rules.
17112 For the CIFC, we said in our brief that changing the rules would require a vastly pared down commissioning editing system, not unlike that which exists at Newsworld and TV Ontario, both broadcasters that we have high praise for.
17113 TVO, for instance, has a staff of one commissioning editor and two associate producers who program and commission work for more than three documentary strands, independently produced documentary strands for which programs are acquired and/or coproduced.
17114 Moreover, the commissioning editor is not part of the old current affairs culture, the old journal culture, but comes from an independent perspective. It is an approach and style which has proven immeasurably helpful in other broadcasting entities, like the ABC in Australia or Channel 4 in Britain, or the BBC --
17115 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Cohen, you have exceeded your time by about five minutes.
17116 MS COHEN: I'm sorry.
17117 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you could summarize, please.
17118 MS COHEN: Yes. I will just move on there.
17119 Anyway, the idea is that key to our -- to summarize our recommendations then, is to uncouple from advertising to create a commissioning editing system ,to vastly restructure the Corporation so that issues of diversity in regional production can continue but not necessarily with a regional infrastructure.
17120 Anyway, I will leave it at that.
17121 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sure through the questioning there will be ample chance --
17122 Before I ask Commissioner Langford to ask the questions -- no?
17123 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I guess so.
17124 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes? It's because I have made a few mistakes over the week, so I'm just kind of --
17125 I want to reassure you that it's true that it may seem that we are hearing the same kind of comments, but that proves the value of a very thorough public process. That really brings many intervenors to the table, plus all the written briefs we have had, which are really the basis for us in order to learn about the reality of today and the vision of tomorrow.
17126 So please don't be intimidated by the fact that you are coming towards the end of the proceeding and kind of not having the scoop that others may have had, but it is very, very important that we hear, and the more we hear the same comments there are always nuances and you will see, through questioning, there is always a way to really get the flavour and your particular contribution.
17127 Commissioner Langford.
17128 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thanks very much.
17129 I will stay on the counselling theme here. Be assured as well that your brief is on the record and all your recommendations, of which there were many, are on the record. So it is not the end of the world that you didn't get every point out today. It is all there.
17130 I also hope you will forgive me, because I have that in mind in kind of framing the questions. I don't really want to till that field again. It's not that I think the field isn't worth tilling, but it is there and it is on the record. You have said most of it again today.
17131 Just a couple of little points, because we can't do everything in a few minutes, at 5:00 or whatever.
17132 I am tickled a little bit, intellectually that is, by this whole ratings thing. Laurier LaPierre, I assume, in his usual flamboyant style, said he didn't care if 10 people watched. I'm sure if it dipped much below 12, he would be concerned.
17133 You are saying ratings aren't the game. But there has to be a point somewhere. I mean, there just has to be.
17134 I ask you to kind of share with us some notions of where that point is. I mean, it is trite to say it, but taxpayers are paying for this. They want some sort of bang for their buck, more than 10 of them, I would assume.
17135 Can you give us some guidance of where your members are on that question of popularity versus public broadcasting in its purest form and where the line should be?
17136 MR. BOWIE: Yes. I think one way of putting it is ratings sort of link it to money, essentially. Ratings and commercial advertising are what are linked together. While money needs to be a consideration of public broadcast production, it shouldn't be the last word. It can be a word, but not the last word. I think that is a big difference.
17137 I think the motivation for, especially documentary programming, which is our concern, is that they should be willing to take on some of the most important issues facing all of us, and that can make the shows incredibly popular.
17138 Yes, Barri.
17139 MS COHEN: I was just going to say exactly what you said, which was, and make it popular.
17140 MR. BOWIE: Yes. If you are taking on those issues, you can discover -- and they really are the issues that are important to Canadians -- they will be popular. But I think that the first consideration has to be getting at those issues, not getting at how can we secure ratings first? It is all revolving around a game that is set by the commercial broadcasters.
17141 MS COHEN: Just to add to that, if you don't mind, just briefly. I think ratings you have to -- look, I mean my perspective personally, and I think this would be shared by many of our members, is that ratings mean different things in different contexts.
17142 What do ratings mean in a public broadcasting context? That is a question that has to be asked and answered in a sense.
17143 What does it mean in the commercial context? They mean two different things. Consequently, popularity and success indicators are going to mean different things.
17144 Do success indicators mean great reviews, foreign sales? If we were to use ratings for an Atom Agoyan film, he would never have been funded after his first two films. But he was successful outside of Canada, and I don't even know how many Canadians actually see his films now to be quite honest.
17145 But ratings aren't the only indicator. I would just advise you very strongly to think very carefully about how it is defined in a public broadcasting situation, which does require, I think, thinking a bit in a vacuum because we don't have one.
17146 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: But do you concede that there is a downside to low ratings?
17147 I am not trying to paint you into a corner, but I really find it -- we had -- who is the real "Red Green"? I can't remember all the names.
17148 Steve Smith was before us today. He was quite clear. He wants people to see his stuff. He wants to do good shows, but he doesn't want to do them and sit around only with his family and watch them. He wants lots of people, as many people as possible, to see his shows.
17149 MS COHEN: Well, we do too. We want many people to see our programs. It is hard to know how successful they are or they are not.
17150 We addressed this in the fall actually when we were before you at the hearings at that time. When there is no promotion -- we addressed this in our brief -- when there is no promotion because it is not national, because of the nature of the affiliate agreements and the way in which our so-called national documentary programs are not in the absolute reserve section but they are in the optional section.
17151 So I don't want to get arcane here, but when there is not a fair chance even at promotion, let alone the fact that CBC doesn't even promote properly feature films and that kind of thing, when there is not a priority placed on that, then it is hard to really talk about ratings and what success is.
17152 I am not trying to be elusive here. I think it is a very complicated issue and it is fraught with contradictions.
17153 MR. BOWIE: An example I would like to give, on CBC is a show called "The Trouble With Evan". I don't know if anyone saw that. It was about three years ago. It was a very interesting documentary about the kind of mental and physical abuse of a 13-year-old boy, directed by Neil Dokerty(ph) inside CBC. I think it was a very, very popular show. The ratings were huge for it and it appealed to Canadians of all kinds.
17154 Yet, the inspiration for that show -- the drive for that show was not: Is this going to be the blockbuster of all time? It came from a public interest place.
17155 So it can be extremely popular, depending how well you can do that, how talented you are, how you can tap into those ideas that are those most important issues and how creatively you do them.
17156 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Yes. I was looking more at the point that not only can it be popular, but shouldn't it be popular?
17157 MR. BOWIE: Yes. That's the goal. Yes, that is the goal.
17158 MS COHEN: Difficult work though, I must say. Difficult work sometimes requires creating an audience and not necessarily just serving it.
17159 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Moving right along, as they say, the question of independent production versus in-house production.
17160 We have heard a little bit about that, as you can imagine. We have heard more from you. I was kind of tickled by the notion -- here I am being tickled today, cerebral tickles all around -- that you were quoting Starovich(ph) who, on one hand, is I gather setting himself up as something of a guru, and on the other hand is putting together the biggest in-house production in history.
17161 Are you feeling a little schizophrenic about this gentleman?
17162 MS COHEN: Can I address that?
17163 I think that we have complex, not so-called black and white reactions to individuals, and we think he is a very smart fellow who does know the Corporation probably in its politics better than we do, and certainly anybody else, and he is fairly savvy about what he is up against.
17164 That doesn't mean that we don't disagree. It is possible for two things to be true at once: (a) that we disagree with an approach and an ideological approach and so on, but that we also agree with him in the broader view of what the fundamental contradictory and structural problems are that beset the Corporation.
17165 MR. BOWIE: I would like to add that I think he is very perceptive, but he is also very accepting. He is accepting of a strategy for the CBC that we disagree with, and he is very articulate about it. I think in the response about rights vis-à-vis the independent sector, he is saying the same thing. That is what the CBC is about now. It is about market-driven things, because that is the way of the world. Well, that is not a Canadian solution and it is compromising our public broadcaster.
17166 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: But should the CBC be allowed to do in-house production or would you strip it completely of that role?
17167 MR. BOWIE: Perhaps there is an argument that could be made for news and current affairs to be kept in-house, but I think all the under represented programming could be done in co-operation with the independent sector.
17168 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You don't find that just a tiny bit self-serving? Is there no argument that could be made for in-house production?
17169 MR. BOWIE: I think it could be a partnership. I don't see why -- why shouldn't it be.
17170 There are people in our -- our filmmakers, I mean we are filmmakers, that want to do public interest programming. I mean, there is no barrier there as far as: Well, there is a certain kind of programming that only in-house CBC people can do.
17171 Ms COHEN: Can I just address that?
17172 I think a distinction has to be made between in-house and still working with independent artists, creators, filmmakers, producers, and co-productions.
17173 I don't think you would get consensus amongst our members that everything should be a co-production.
17174 But at the same time, using "History" project as an example, if they are working with independent filmmakers on contract, in service contracts, there should be rights sharing.
17175 The BBC's agreement that they have with independent producers, there are several negotiated options you can have. It all comes under the rubric of an independent production agreement.
17176 One is, they pay for the whole thing. They own the rights, they hire you. It is maybe still your idea. You come to them. You have a great idea. It requires the commitment of a public service broadcaster and its resources, but it is your idea. They will hire you, they will pay you, and they will share rights. But they will be in charge of distribution and they will have shelf product and so on.
17177 The other option, and it is a bit of a continuum, the other option is, yes, the co-production situation where there are different kinds of creative control parameters and different rights sharing regime.
17178 With the BBC, I mean it is not the ultimate model and there are other kinds of models, but that is an example where, yes, there is a role for in-house production, but not necessarily in-house generated ideas.
17179 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You have given us a huge meal here of many, many courses and I wish we could sit around with the candles lit and the wine and talk about it longer, but we have to give other people a turn too. So those are my questions. There may be others, but those are mine.
17180 Thank you very much.
17181 THE CHAIRPERSON: Indeed, Commissioner Colville has a question for you.
17182 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Just one question.
17183 If the CBC was doing all of its non-news and public affairs programming, if all of that programming came from the independent sector, I am struck by the comments that you and several other groups have made in that respect, while at the same time saying how important CBC is.
17184 What does the CBC become, then, any more than simply a scheduler of independent programs?
17185 MR. BOWIE: I think one of the most important things CBC has is its mandate, and that is a mandate that the private broadcasters don't have and aren't interested in.
17186 There could be a much more sort of harmonious world between the public broadcaster and the independent production community if they would make sure that their mandate is met but in partnership with the independent sector.
17187 Their statement that this is mandate programming and so the private sector is not interested in it, well, they are talking about a different private sector than the one that we represent.
17188 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Madam, Monsieur.
17189 Ms BÉNARD: I would now invite Madam Dawson to come forward.
17190 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
17191 Thank you for being that patient with us.
17192 Ms DAWSON: I was just thinking of what a long day you people have had and how tired you must be. Since I drove 12 hours plus to get here --
17193 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you? Where are you coming from?
17194 Ms DAWSON: From Saint John, New Brunswick.
17195 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, well, we appreciate.
17196 Ms DAWSON: So we will hope to wrap this up.
17197 THE CHAIRPERSON: Take all your time. You certainly deserve to be heard properly, and we appreciate the fact that you came all that way to meet with us. It says a lot about your attachment to the CBC.
17198 Ms DAWSON: Exactly.
17199 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: We would have had you bring a trunkload of lobster, if we had known you were coming in.
17200 Ms DAWSON: I should have too, yes.
17201 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: We have missed our chance here. You could have really influenced this Commission.
17202 Ms DAWSON: I should have. I never thought of that. We are not in season right now. It is Nova Scotia season.
17203 I live in Saint John and I am a second generation CBC listener, which makes my grandchildren fourth generation CBC listeners.
17204 Through the years I have lived in five provinces from Nova Scotia to Manitoba and my children have lived in three others, and the thread that connects us is the CBC.
17205 What has been allowed to happen to Canadian radio and television in recent years to pursue the almighty dollar is truly discouraging.
17206 That is why I was so disappointed I was unable to get to Moncton when you were there, because of the icy roads that day, because I believe it is crucial to our survival as a nation that Canadian radio and television broadcasting reflect the people, the history, the culture and the environment of this wonderful land.
17207 We have writers, singers, classical musicians, bands, comedians, technicians, actors, journalists, who have been given an opportunity to hone their skills, and it is obvious they are in demand all over the world because that is where many of them have gone.
17208 That is why I considered it so important to travel from New Brunswick today to bring to your attention the needs of communities outside of the Ontario view. Their proposal that CBC remove itself from local programming -- and I went down to our local station to look at that pile of stuff in that binder, and discovered that we are not considered local programming, we are called sub-regional. I do love jargon.
17209 The biggest clue in my mind is the lack of understanding that I feel CBC has -- does not have to keep Canadians in touch with each other. Cuts to funding, and perhaps not the best use of resources -- and when I arrived this morning and bought a paper I was pretty stunned by this article which brought two things to my mind. One is "fiduciary responsibility", a term I learned of recent years; and the other is, "it must appear to be just." So I leave that with you on that.
17210 The cuts to funding have affected people. They have gutted the ability of the Corporation to present talent, as well as to provide the opportunity for its development and dissemination. It was a little later, I didn't hear everybody who was here today, but I certainly agreed with a goodly part of what I heard.
17211 The intrusion of politics into the CBC has been conspicuous for some years. More than one party has attempted to influence the way events are portrayed. This is a direct contradiction to the purpose of a public broadcaster.
17212 While CBC is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its service, forces within Canada seem to be working to destroy this jewel. Don't we like that word. Everybody has taken a fancy to it.
17213 I beg you to understand how important CBC is to Canada. It is obvious to the most casual observer that there is plenty of room for improvement. I am concerned that the voices of Canadians are not heard at the board level. I am most distressed that management in Toronto has no idea what goes on in the rest of the country and I am totally disgusted with their campaign to centralize everything.
17214 I watched at home while Mr. Beatty and Mr. Frame talked about focus groups. I was a little disappointed that nobody asked them where they got these focus groups, because my guess is they came from York University and U. of T. which was handy to the office.
17215 New Brunswick at this time gets two hours of provincial coverage on afternoon radio per day. We get three hours of local coverage in the morning, and we are pretty happy to say that in Saint John, New Brunswick our CBC morning program has the largest audience in the area. We get one-half hour of television news five days a week that originates in New Brunswick. So that is for a total of 27.5 hours per week for New Brunswick, and my guess is that must be the smallest coverage of any province in the country.
17216 Now, it is my understanding that CRTC makes decisions about what is shown on Canadian cable television and I want to know why it is mandatory to have those American stations? I don't know why Newsworld isn't on basic cable. I, personally, would like to see CPAC on basic cable, and that is not even CBC.
17217 A member of my family who lives in the States wonders why Newsworld is not mandatory as a trade. If we are going to have to have those American stations, they why can't we trade Newsworld to American cable companies. Perhaps they don't want Americans to see what a good channel Newsworld is, because we do have a lot of Americans who are great CBC fans, particularly in the border states.
17218 I would like to thank the CBC and congratulate them for the long-running metropolitan opera sponsored by Texaco that is a memory of mine as far back as I can remember.
17219 I would like to shake the hand of the person who introduced "CBC Overnight". As a former night worker I am often sort of wakeful in the night and it is really, really interesting to turn on the radio and listen to Canada as viewed from somewhere else. It is fascinating.
17220 I would like to see CBC board members chosen from ordinary Canadians who would volunteer to serve and who understand the broad national view and be willing to perform this service with remuneration only for expenses, or perhaps salary replacement, if a person had to leave their work in order to be present.
17221 I am most distressed that management in Toronto has no idea what goes on in the rest of the country.
17222 The final straw is this proposal by CBC brass that we have advertising on radio, which they insisted really isn't advertising, because national public radio does it so nicely.
17223 I can see it now. I sat down and tried to figure out how this would work, and so this is what I came up with.
17224 We could have" Ideas" presented by Dow Chemical; or "David Suzuki" presented by Talisman Energy; or "The World at Six" presented by the Prime Minister's Office; or the "New Brunswick News" presented by Irving Oil; or "Agriculture" by Monsanto, or, my last one, "As It Happens" by Paramax. There is just no end to the possibilities.
--- Laughter / Rires
17225 MS DAWSON: Last week, I was extremely irritated. I was watching nicely on Newsworld while they covered the unveiling of the statue of René Levesque on the Legislature grounds in Quebec City. The next time I came by the television it was gone. Some fellow that I never saw in my life before from New York wanted to talk about Kosovo, as if we haven't talked about that forever, and they just cut if off in the middle. It was very well covered and I really enjoyed it on RDI, but I have no idea why Newsworld cut off a Canadian historical event to put on some fellow from New York. I was not happy.
17226 New Brunswick suffers from news coverage influenced by very large companies and the CBC gives us a view of the world which is not available to us from any other source. Please understand how important CBC is to New Brunswick and to Canada. Our country depends on our ability to speak to each other.
17227 Now, if I could figure out my notes here I would be all set.
17228 There is nothing to stop programming for children being done on the radio right now. It was there when I was young, and believe me that was not yesterday. Surely it is time for CBC to be run by people who understand Canada and Canadians and radio.
17229 I am not a big television fan, so I am not as -- you know, I don't have a lot of opinions, I guess, about television. It is not my thing.
17230 But the hands-on staff in CBC have ideas, they have expertise. I listened to Laurier Lapierre talking about the opportunities that are within the corporation that aren't being used. Their input is rarely sought, and on occasions when suggestions have been made that I have heard about, they have been ignored. Canada and Canadians and the CBC workers deserve better.
17231 Canada's survival depends on our ability to communicate. Please, listen to us.
17232 Thank you.
17233 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
17234 I would ask Madame Pinsky, because I don't want to confuse you any further, but your assessment of what are the obligations, for example, of the mandatory carriage --
17235 MS DAWSON: Yes.
17236 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- of U.S. signals.
17237 Did I take you by surprise, Madame Pinsky. I'm sorry.
17238 MS DAWSON: We had to spend several years getting rid of Detroit off of our cable.
17239 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, there is no obligation there. It is available to cable.
17240 MS DAWSON: So if we were to lobby our local cable company to say we would rather have Newsworld than NBC, we could do that? I will start first thing in the morning.
17241 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
17243 MS PINSKY: Yes.
17244 The mandated services are Canadian services in terms of what the cable company would have to carry, so it would be your CBC station, local stations and then they sort of go out from there in terms of regional. But there would be no obligation, strictly legally, to carry the American programming.
17245 THE CHAIRPERSON: What we could do in order to help you is we will discuss your presentation and on that particular question maybe we can advise you on what are the possibilities that are open to you in terms of trying to get the kind more the kind of line-up you would like from your cable system.
17246 MS DAWSON: Thank you very much.
17247 We would certainly appreciate all the help we can get.
17248 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is Commissioner Cram who is asking the questions for the Commission. So I leave you in really good hands. She is from the prairies, but very open to the regional issues.
17249 MS DAWSON: I have heard us described as "Outer Canada" one time.
17250 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, she is not that outer, it is Commissioner Grauer, she's on the other side of the Rockies.
17251 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Halifax, Vancouver, Manitoba.
--- Laughter / Rires
17252 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you for coming, Mrs. Dawson.
17253 It seems the weather really -- first there is snow in March and then you are here 40 degrees with the humidity. It has been quite a drive I think.
17254 MS DAWSON: Yes, exactly.
17255 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I wanted to talk to you about some of your suggestions and sort of go a little further into them.
17256 I have read your written paper too, and you were talking about "There is plenty of room for improvement."
17257 What improvements do you think would be on your priority list if you were on the board of CBC?
17258 MS DAWSON: Well, I am very concerned about the attitude that everything should come from the national. We are a country of places. I would like to see a lot more exchanges. We have great reporters in New Brunswick, television reporters and radio reporters and half of the radio ones we have exported across the country in the last couple of years. I think it may well be a matter of planning of how to make these exchanges.
17259 Because if Vancouver doesn't know that we did a thing on Atlantic salmon that -- you know, we are all interested in salmon these days. One area's concern can affect and perhaps provide information that would be helpful to another area that has basically the same problem at the other end of the country.
17260 But we tend not to exchange the -- I spent two months in Calgary last year and the best news of New Brunswick that I got was on the Weather Channel. So it seems to me that there is programming out there that would be of interest, it is Canadian, done by our own people, and I think it is interesting that the independents have some concerns about how to have their programming onto the network, because that is where it gets seen.
17261 I don't think whether you are a private producer or you are a CBC producer there is any money-back guarantee that the program you produce is going to be welcomed with opened arms by the viewers on any particular night, you know.
17262 That isn't the point of CBC. CBC is to provide opportunities for talents to develop and for people to be able to hear something different. When I turn my radio dial I know the minute that I hit the CBC, and it doesn't matter whether I am in the States with my shortwave and my ear up to it because I can't stand down there radio, it's so awful.
17263 But when you do that with the television, you don't know. You don't know. I'm in a hotel that -- I can't tell what station I'm on, and this particular machine -- mine at home tells you when you flick the channel, it gives you the number to tell you where you are, and this is an older machine so it doesn't do that. I could go up and down that whole dial without knowing for sure where I am with any given program.
17264 So we have to make Canadian television every bit as distinctive as our radio is to a viewer, just, you know immediately when you see it: That is CBC.
17265 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Do you think that part of this is exchanges between the regions of information?
17266 MS DAWSON: I would like to see much of that, yes.
17267 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I know exactly how you feel, because when I am here in Ottawa and I want to know what's happening in Saskatchewan, you are right, the Weather Channel --
17268 MS DAWSON: This is our election day and there is no CPAC in my hotel room. I'm pretty annoyed. I hope there is good coverage on Newsworld tonight.
17269 COMMISSIONER CRAM: There may well be.
17270 So what you are talking about is exchanges within the radio and within the TV networks?
17271 MS DAWSON: Yes.
17272 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. Then you talk about interaction between CBC and Radio-Canada. Are you talking about --
17273 MS DAWSON: I would like to see -- as one lady said while I was here this afternoon that in Newfoundland they would like to have some translations of some of those great Quebec programs. I would like to see some bilingual programs. I could use the practice.
17274 But I don't get the impression that the Canadian people or the people who work at the hands-on level for CBC are considered when these people, wherever they are up there, make these decisions. They just don't seem to connect with those of us that are on the receiving end and I think there needs to be a great deal more contact between the people who handle the money and supposedly make the decisions and the people who are going to receive the end product.
17275 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Sort of like consultation groups across the country kind of a thing?
17276 MS DAWSON: Well, I don't know. I don't know how you would do that. Everyone that I have ever gone to, and I started with the Charlottetown Accord and worked my way down, left me with the impression that you could talk until you are blue in the face, but it didn't mean that anybody who had the power to make a change really intended to do anything.
17277 I find that the most frustrating part of the whole thing, is that the people who could do it, don't, whether because, as Mr. Lapierre said, they are too tied up with: Well, they might not get the right ratings or it might offend somebody or whatever, or whether they just don't understand what the country needs. Because I heard somebody say today that nobody should be allowed to vote in Canada until they have gone by train from one side to the other to really see it. If we can't see it on the television and we don't hear it on the radio, where are we going to hear it?
17278 I mean, we have never needed more for people to understand what a fabulous country this is. I always find I spend two weeks in the States and I could kiss the ground when I get home. I'm sure it is a fine place, but Canada is a fabulous country and I think we should be out there waving the flag and making sure that our children and our grandchildren know what a great place it is.
17279 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Mrs. Dawson, you were talking about the advertising on the radio, and I don't know if you were listening last week, the people in Toronto changed their minds somewhat and talked about it being essentially almost the same as the Metropolitan Opera --
17280 MS DAWSON: But it's not. It's not.
17281 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You don't think so?
17282 MS DAWSON: It is the news by Paramax(ph).
17283 COMMISSIONER CRAM: They do say --
17284 MS DAWSON: -- environment by the oil company and it is the possibility of the influence of that. It's fine and dandy to say, "Oh, it won't influence our programming". I don't believe that for a minute and I don't think anybody else does.
17285 If there is a sponsor, by whatever name somebody chooses to call you, it is still to have an influence and there is the self-regulation that comes with that kind of thing. You know, I watched -- and I don't even like hockey, I watched "Net Worth" the other night because when I flicked by it caught my attention. It was a fabulous piece. I don't know that any other network would have even made it, never mind shown it.
17286 This is the kind of thing that CBC is there to do. It is to do the things and to show the country each part to the other so that we can all be as proud as we should be of the wonderful place that we have and how lucky we are to be here.
17287 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So even if we narrowed it down to non-news, non-information programming, the money going to a third party, not the CBC, and it ended up being the National Ballet sponsored by the Royal Bank, but the Royal Bank paid the Ballet and CBC simply aired it.
17288 MS DAWSON: Yes, but they do that now. When you go to the -- we have a beautiful new theatre in Saint John, a remodelled treasure that everybody's welcome to come and visit, it is well worth -- and every time you go to something there the supporters in the community are on the program. But to have it on the radio to say that this program is virtually sponsored by the Royal Bank, I don't know. There has to be a better way than that.
17289 I agree that the funding of the CBC is an investment, it is not a debt. And as long as we can make people understand that it is an investment, it is not a debt, then all of this complaining about how expensive it is and broken down to per person per year, it is, you know, two cups of coffee and practically nothing. So it is a question of trying to get across to Canadians that this is a valuable thing that we have here and we would be very foolish to let it go.
17290 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You say you don't watch TV, but you do watch Newsworld.
17291 MS DAWSON: I watch, yes, Newsworld and -- yes, news and current affairs.
17292 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Do you know they are asking for a hike in the rates?
17293 MS DAWSON: Yes, I saw that in something I was reading there today.
17294 COMMISSIONER CRAM: If you had a ballot, how would you vote?
17295 MS DAWSON: For what, 6 cents a month --
17296 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Eight.
17297 MS DAWSON: Eight cents. Worth every penny, although I must admit, I can only take so much of "Antiques Roadshow".
--- Laughter / Rires
17298 COMMISSIONER CRAM: By the way, that is one of the most popular programs.
17299 MS DAWSON: I know. Every time I look at it, I can't understand it, but somebody likes it, that's fine with me.
17300 COMMISSIONER CRAM: My mother does.
17301 MS DAWSON: Well, there.
17302 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, Mrs. Dawson.
17303 You can go out and paint the town, and drive home carefully.
17304 MS DAWSON: Okay. Thank you very much.
17305 That is exactly what I plan to do, and I think you people deserve a rest.
17306 Thank you very much.
17307 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame Dawson, thank you so much for making the trip.
17308 MS DAWSON: Thank you for having me.
17309 THE CHAIRPERSON: I hope you win your election. Isn't it tonight?
17310 MS DAWSON: Who do you think we want to win.
17311 THE CHAIRPERSON: I hope you don't need to kiss the ground when you come to New Brunswick after having been in the capital.
17312 MS DAWSON: It's a wonderful city, I love it. It's a great place.
17313 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for coming. We have enjoyed your participation.
17314 Thank you so much.
17315 That concludes the list of intervenors for today. We will be back tomorrow morning at nine o'clock.
17316 Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1745, to resume
on Tuesday, June 8, 1999 at 0900 / L'audience est
adjournée à 1745, pour reprendre le mardi 8 juin
1999 à 0900