TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
TV RENEWALS - CTV/GLOBAL ACROSS CANADA /
DEMANDES DE RADIODIFFUSION -
RENOUVELLEMENT DE CTV/GLOBAL À TRAVERS LE CANADA
Centre de Conférences
April 23, 2001
le 23 avril 2001
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
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
TV Renewals - CTV/Global Across Canada /
Demandes de radiodiffusion -
Renouvellement de CTV/Global à travers le Canada
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Chairperson of the Commission / Président du Conseil
Commissioner / Conseillère
Commissioner / Conseillère
Commissioner / Conseillère
Commissioner / Conseiller
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Hearing Manager and Secretary / Gérant de l'audience et secrétaire
Legal Counsel / conseillers juridiques
Director, English-Language Radio-Television Policy / Directeur, politiques Relatives à la Radio-télévision de langue anglaise
Centre de Conférences
April 23, 2001
le 23 avril 2001
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PAGE / PARA NO.
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR
Cochran Entertainment Incorporated
1329 / 7126
Alberta Motion Pictures Industry Association
1342 / 7186
Le Groupe Columbia Communications Inc.
1367 / 7314
Association of Canadian Advertisers
1381 / 7381
Jim Pattison Industries Limited and Telemedia Radio (West) Inc.
1406 / 7513
Atlantic University Sport
1443 / 7690
Mr. Michael J. Doody
1450 / 7755
Cinefest, Sudbury International Film Festival
1454 / 7778
Sault Ste. Marie Symphony Orchestra
1457 / 7796
Mr. Joe Clark
1461 / 7819
Pro Canada Committee
1473 / 7860
City of Niagara Falls Business Development
1486 / 7937
Variety Club of Manitoba
1488 / 7955
Mr. Ken Howland
1490 / 7968
Ms Susan Lamb
1495 / 7997
Mr. Shael Gelfand
1501 / 8029
Mr. Charles White
1507 / 8059
Indigenous Arts Service Organization
1509 / 8081
British Columbia Film
1512 / 8100
Hamilton Chamber of Commerce
1532 / 8186
Mr. Matt Hayes
1534 / 8205
Assiniboine Community College
1538 / 8228
Saskatchewan Science Centre
1544 / 8259
Saskatoon & District Chamber of Commerce
1552 / 8299
Ms Elaine Brathwaite
1557 / 8321
1564 / 8347
1566 / 8360
1574 / 8396
Diefenbaker Canada Centre - University of Saskatoon
1576 / 8411
Hull, Quebec / Hull (Québec)
--- Upon resuming on Monday, April 23, 2001 at 0830 / L'audience reprend le lundi 23 avril 2001 à 0830
7116 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back to our proceeding where we are hearing the licence renewal applications for CTV and Global.
7117 We have now completed the first phase of our proceeding where we heard from the CTV and Global and their group licence renewals and the individual stations across the country.
7118 We are now moving to the next phase of our proceeding where we will hear from the various supporting, opposing and commenting intervenors.
7119 I might say at the outset that there are quite a few intervenors that we will be hearing from over the next three days. We will have quite a full agenda.
7120 We will be taking quite a few interventions by audio teleconference perhaps later this morning and definitely through the afternoon today.
7121 I just want to indicate that in order to hear all of the interventions -- particularly with some of the supporting ones -- we may not be asking a lot of detailed questions of the intervenor. That's not to indicate that we don't value the intervention. We simply want to make sure that everybody has an opportunity to be heard and we do value all of the interventions -- the written ones, the appearing ones and the ones by teleconference.
7122 So with that, Mr. Secretary, shall we turn to our first intervenor?
7123 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7124 Our first intervenor this morning is Cochran Entertainment Incorporated and we have Mr. Andrew Cochran.
7125 Good morning, sir.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7126 MR. COCHRAN: Good morning. Thank you.
7127 Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners.
7128 My name is Andrew Cochran of Cochran Entertainment based in Halifax. We are a diversified, multi-platform content company, otherwise known to you as an independent producer.
7129 Thank you for inviting me to appear before you and thanks especially for providing such a convenient spot here in the lead-off position in today's order. I can only imagine that by commencing the day with someone from Halifax, you are recognizing that every important day in Canada begins from the East, and important days these are dividing as you must the nation's media landscape for the next seven years.
7130 Especially when you consider seven years ago few had heard of the Internet. The worldwide web was in its infancy with only a handful of test and trial home pages. Seven years from now, I venture to say the Internet and web will be so ubiquitous that we will look back and be grandly amused by all the fuss that it created.
7131 And television, specifically CTV television, what will it look like some seven years from now? Will have it been swept into some sea of digital waves all converging to overtake some distant shoal? Well, in the Maritime we know a thing or two about boats and we know that one of the truest boats afloat is a dory. As you know, when you are in a dory you are always row pushing fearlessly ahead, but your eyes are always fixed on where you have been. So that's where I propose to spend the bulk of my time before you this morning -- with my experience to date with CTV and what it suggests to me about their future.
7132 I will even save you the suspense with a peak of my last page. I believe in CTV, its people and what they are doing. I think they are deserving of your support in the decision you will render from this hearing. But for now come on back in the dory and I will tell you way.
7133 Thirty-one years ago almost to this month, a very wise person took a chance and hired a restless teenager to join the CJCH newsroom in Halifax as a reporter. Within the year, CHUM consolidated CJCH radio and TV and I had a career in television. I have loved it ever since.
7134 After some years at the naissant ATV, together with my time at Dalhousie, I got a job with a network in Toronto, first field producing with W-5 and then later producing Canada AM. I felt I was in the big leagues, and in many ways I was. It was the middle 70s. The network was expanding with new Canadian programs and better execution of its existing programs and there was a heady spirit about the place. We didn't have nearly as much programming money as the CBC and there was relentless competition from the U.S. networks on cable.
7135 So we had to meet the competition by outthinking them with an endless supply of original ideas, raw enthusiasm and even some stunts to win the audiences' attention and loyalty, and we did. All that seemed to me to wean with the end of the 70s and to my view disappeared at CTGV through the 80s and much of the 90s. I thought it possibly would never return.
7136 But today, starting with the management team, I see that esprit de corps has come back. Reemerged in the culture of CTV is a common belief in the idea that many things are possible and we will never really know until we try. I have to say I find that as infectious today as I did then.
7137 Today my view is from the outside as a supplier. We deal with the programming people at CTV on a regular basis for a collection of projects we have in various stages of development with the network. In a consistent pattern, we find an uncommon commitment to making each program fully, richer, with more depth of experience, and there is always some considered constructive thinking about how to have the program reach its greatest potential, notwithstanding that it may even take longer and even increase the cost of the network.
7138 As a private business person who cares deeply about the product of our work, this is a very refreshing approach. I know it commends our best efforts and know it likewise to commend the best from others.
7139 I'm sure that this practice can only yield better and better Canadian programs each responding to CTV's mantra that they are seeking the best show period, not matter what the genre or Canadian postal code of origin.
7140 I must say I find this universal attitude towards excellence particularly positive, coming as I do from what is so commonly called a region. You see, I don't think of myself as a regional producer, but rather as a program producer that by happy circumstance lives outside Toronto.
7141 We think of our programming as programming for Canadian networks and for the world market.
7142 It is though important to point out that CTV has made all of this the more possible by having a strong network programming office in Halifax. Their two-person team on the ground at home greatly eases the flow of progress and meaningful collaboration. This is largely, I suppose, because CTV operates this office not as some kind of caseworker in an interland outpost, but instead as a real network programming office, plugged in, respected and able to make things move.
7143 Now, I mentioned our work in the world market. As well as our sales and programs in international territories, we have been closely following the evolution of the world market involving new media for television.
7144 I know that much of this is already being contemplated in the Commission's consideration of digital channels and during your deliberations on the BCE transaction. My purpose today is simply to underscore my belief that there is a particularly acute role here for CTV to play.
7145 Canadians can be leaders in this sector and instead right now we seem to be barely keeping pace.
7146 Two weeks ago, we returned from the NET TV market in France, which I know is familiar to most of you as one of the regular destinations on the international circuit for buying, selling and co-producing programs. Now, there is a database of those attending and it reveals some interesting numbers.
7147 In listing their areas of activity, 531 companies attending included new media, 137 listed themselves as buyers. The number of buyers from Canada, 3. In enhanced television, the number of active companies was 182, buyers 46, Canadian buyers, 2: CTV and the Open Learning Agency for British Columbia. There were only two Canadian productions companies, by the way, one from Quebec and ourselves.
7148 Admittedly now, this survey is neither exhaustive nor intended for anything other than as a way for like-minded companies to contact each other at the market, but still to me it feels representative of the current intersecting points between traditional television and new media and there are precious few in Canada today.
7149 For our skills, competitiveness and export ability to grow, I believe we need audience gathering for-profit aggregators to be the bridge between Canadian infrastructure and Canadian content. Lest you think otherwise, our thinking in this respect is not to suggest new media for new media's sake, but rather as a way to facilitate the kind of increased production profitability that comes from horizontal integration, horizontal integration of content. In essence, mining from the same raw collection of material and re-purposing it to best suit its platform of delivery.
7150 Viewers benefit from content more closely tailored to the preferred form of access. Networks benefit from richer content offerings with which to build audiences, and producers benefit from amortizing gathering costs over a broader range of revenue.
7151 It is this kind of orderly use of bandwidth that CTV is perfectly poised to realize over the course of its new licence. I know they can't fill this void by themselves, and nor should we expect them to, but with initiatives like their already announced ground-breaker series plus their sheer mass, appetite for even programming and new corporate pedigree, I look forward to CTV providing some much needed acceleration in multi-platform production.
7152 I would be remiss not to mention the important efforts that ATV undertakes in the Maritime community. I and others, in our written interventions, have already highlighted ATV's very significant contribution to making possible the annual IWK Hospital Telethon and the Christmas Daddy's telecast, two crucially important fundraising drives in the Maritimes and how these efforts are widely appreciated in the community.
7153 I also think "Live at Five" and the "ATV Evening News" have a significant role in deepening our sense of what is around us in the Maritime community. For example, in our field of filmed entertainment, ATV has always been there to cover the latest made in the Maritimes production, whether it's destined for airing on ATV or a competitor.
7154 Many of you know that a year ago we launched a 65-foot sea-worthy tugboat, complete with a shiny red ball-cap and five-foot smile, built to be an ocean-going replica of our children's character "Theodore Tugboat". Even though it's a long-running CBC series, ATV covered the story at length and continues to cover the story port by port around the Maritimes throughout the summer.
7155 One of those times I asked a reporter whether this had been controversial in the newsroom and he said it had been discussed but on balance the feeling was that it was a great local story and that's what counted more than anything else. Self-interest aside, I find that to be a refreshingly grown-up attitude.
7156 Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, I have already told you what is on my last page, but allow me to repeat it for emphasis. I believe in CTV, its people and what they are doing and I think they are deserving of your support in the decision you will render from this hearing.
7157 Thank you.
7158 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Cochran.
7159 You talked about a new sense of -- I forget the exact words you used, but I think you referred to a new sense of excellence or a new spirit that has been rekindled from what used to be there some time ago.
7160 To what do you credit that?
7161 MR. COCHRAN: I am not close enough to the internal culture of CTV to be able to examine too much of its derivatives, I guess. I think CTC has put together a really terrific management team right now. I think they are a great collection of people, talented people that care about what they do. They get along well together and have kind of a "storm the barricades" attitude. I think that that can only ripple through the operation.
7162 From my outside view looking in, it seems to have.
7163 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you are rowing the dory and Mr. Fecan is sitting at the back telling you which way to steer or which we to row, you would be hoping that he is hollering out the directions for another seven years.
7164 MR. COCHRAN: I would say that I think the best thing that could happen would be to keep the present management team, the whole length and breadth of them, in place as long as possible.
7165 THE CHAIRPERSON: Given the benefits that came from the CTV-CHUM transaction, which presumably helped kindle some of the activity that has been going on in the last couple of years and will for the next few, how much of what has gone on would you credit to the benefits package as opposed to this new sense of excellence?
7166 What is your confidence that that is going to continue on beyond the period of the benefits that are there?
7167 MR. COCHRAN: This is a delicate subject, because I don't want the Commission to think that we are anything but appreciative of your efforts in brokering benefits packages when decisions take place.
7168 I do have a bias that often times prescribed programming or benefits derived initiatives can sometimes have the effect of almost ghettoizing the resulting programs. In other words, it is a program done for the sake of satisfying something rather than a program that is there to serve audiences, to gather audiences, to make a profitable proposition for the network.
7169 It is the latter that we feel more excited about participating in. I think it is always better to be in a situation of trying to say our program was chosen as part of the network stream because it was the best program that was being advanced at the time, not because it was some kind of a regional incentive package.
7170 As I say, I would be the last to try and look a gift horse in the mouth. Please don't feel you need to stop doing the kinds of benefit packages that you do.
7171 I think that this kind of emphasis on excellence that we are seeing right now from TV does seem to be genuine, does seem to be driven by a programming philosophy that says we want to find the best programs, whether they are from Ecum Secum or Vancouver or Toronto, or wherever.
7172 I find it frankly tremendously energizing to be on that kind of level playing field, feeling that the resulting go-ahead is really meaningful.
7173 THE CHAIRPERSON: In your written presentation and again this morning you made note of the fact that you don't consider yourself a regional producer; that you are an independent producer, and you don't seem to support the notion of quotas. You particularly address that in your written submission.
7174 I took it that was more directed at the regional aspect of it.
7175 What is your view of the sense of quotas for independent production as opposed to in-house?
7176 MR. COCHRAN: I like to think that independent production makes good business sense for any or most of the networks involved. In other words, the ability to be able to draw on a much wider pool of ideas and financing ability than one can ever marshall in-house I would hope is a compelling enough model to stand any move towards vertical integration of production in-house.
7177 I hasten to add that, as an independent producer, I am a professional optimist and that sometimes that kind of optimism is important to have that view prevail, I guess.
7178 I would, on balance, hope that there is sufficient business sense in having that diversity of programs there as opposed to returning to having a lot of in-house overhead.
7179 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you think the Commission should share your optimism from a regulatory point of view going forward? I am speaking about both CTV and Global in terms of the relative amount of independent production.
7180 MR. COCHRAN: I think the Commission has done a good job in the past in the way it has handled these issues. I would suggest that in taking the wider view that the Commission needs to, you should continue your course in the dory and keep seeing where you have come from and stay the course.
7181 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Cochran. We appreciate your coming here today.
7182 Mr. Secretary, please.
7183 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7184 I would now like to call upon the Alberta Motion Pictures Industry Association to come and present its intervention.
7185 Ms Connie Edwards...?
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7186 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Ms Edwards.
7187 MS EDWARDS: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Connie Edwards, and I am here today as President of the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association to present comments on behalf of the Board of Directors.
7188 AMPIA is here today to offer support in the licence renewals of both Global and the CTV stations specifically in Alberta. We would like to make sure that the Commission is aware that we value our very positive relationships with our friends at CTV: Trina McQueen, Louise Clark, Bob Culbert, Fred Filthaut, Allan Brooks and Pat McDougall have always been accessible to us for meetings or phone calls and have been very supportive of our industry.
7189 While the Global stations are new to Alberta, we have had an ongoing very positive relationship with Loren Mawhinney over the years and look forward to working closely with Jim Resnick and Barbara Peterson in Alberta.
7190 While AMPIA does support the renewal of these licensees, you will no doubt have noticed from our written intervention that we do have some concerns.
7191 Also, to be very clear, it is our understanding that any commitments made by these applicants will be incremental to any benefits that were offered as part of the large transactions that occurred last year.
7192 For 27 years AMPIA has represented independent producers and members involved in all aspects of the film and television industry in Alberta. The mandate of the association is to ensure the growth and development of the indigenous industry at the producer, technical, talent and craft levels.
7193 Central to this mandate is maintaining an environment in which Alberta producers, writers and directors can initiate, develop and produce films and programs over which they have creative and financial control.
7194 AMPIA would like to clarify how we arrived at some of the recommendations that we made in our written interventions. We hope to illustrate for the Commission why we think that these are important.
7195 AMPIA strongly recommended that all commitments that the CRTC implement as a result of this licence review, including regional programming commitments, be made conditions of licence for these licensees.
7196 AMPIA is concerned about the execution of commitments for the previous licence term in relation to development and investment in the Alberta production community. As Global stated in their deficiencies letter, for example, CICT committed to invest an average of $1.67 million annually, for a total of $11.7 million over the licence term.
7197 Global states that CICT has managed, on average, to comply with its commitment toward program development, at least until the year 1999-2000, based on the data that was provided.
7198 However, Global then states that CICT, given the presence of the A Channel in the market, has been precluded from fulfilling its commitment to invest $1.67 million per year in the under-represented categories.
7199 On page 34 of Global's deficiency report a chart indicates that WIC only spent $3.4 million of the $11.7 million. The Alberta community in essence lost over $7 million.
7200 Global also notes that development moneys were administered by WIC Entertainment Group, a non-regulated entity within the WIC group of companies. We believe that development funds are commitments made by licensees in their respective markets and should be spent in those markets.
7201 To be fair, it is important to note that these commitments were administered by WIC, not Global, for the majority of this licence term.
7202 AMPIA expressed its concern that in Schedule 10 of the CFRN application, it indicates that a CRTC licensing decision relating to A Channel has impacted on CTV's ability to sustain their promise of performance in relation to the CFRN program fund.
7203 Notwithstanding this, we understand that CFRN will continue to meet their commitments until the end of the licence term.
7204 This is all just to illustrate that we are concerned that some broadcasters may not consider expectations or commitments made at licence renewals to be binding on their performance during a licence term if these benefits are not specifically a condition of licence.
7205 AMPIA recommended that each licensee contribute 10 per cent of its IBITA each year to an independent third party arm's length provincial fund. This was to be used for development and financing of Canadian programming by independent producers in that licensee's province. We further recommended that any recoupments received be respent by that fund in the same manner.
7206 Allow me to explain how we arrived at that recommendation. The CFCN production fund expires in August of this year and it provided $1.5 million annually over five years. Additionally, in August of 2002 CFRN-TV's program fund will end its one million dollars per year commitment.
7207 Global station CICT committed $1.67 million over seven years. Therefore, in Alberta in the next year we will be witnessing the loss of over $5 million per year.
7208 CTV has submitted they will provide $50,000 in development per station for a total of $100,000 per year while Global has pledged $110,000 in development per station for a total of $220,000 per year. There are no commitments in relation to licences or other production investment.
7209 We have heard during these hearings that both Global and CTV are committed to high quality Canadian programming. AMPIA shares that commitment and that vision. In the past we have stood before this Commission and talked about how critical development and production investments are to our province.
7210 The CFCN fund alone provided up to 20 per cent of production costs to successful applicants through equity investments. This will be a large gap to fill in order to continue to produce high quality programs. Frankly, it will have a negative impact on our industry.
7211 Both broadcasters have given some indication in their submissions that they expect to earn substantial revenue from Alberta stations. It therefore seemed only reasonable to ask that all broadcasters should make a meaningful contribution to the production community from where they are generating those revenues.
7212 AMPIA recommended that to ensure diversity and to foster regional reflection that a minimum of three hours of the eight hours of priority programming per week come from the west. AMPIA believes that unless at least each broadcaster takes care to preserve the diverse voices from across this country through firm commitments to develop and licence original works from a variety of writers, producers and directors, we will not have true creative representation of Canadians speaking to Canadians.
7213 AMPIA is in support of sound business practices such as expansion, convergence and mergers. AMPIA only wishes to ensure that the air waves that belong to the Canadian public truly mirror and reflect Canadians from every region of this vast country. This reflection should come in part from stories told by culturally and geographically independent voices.
7214 Just, for example, last week a woman in Alberta told me her story about her husband who is a peacekeeper working in Bosnia and how she suffers every time that his e-mail is late or the phone call doesn't come on time. She wants to tell the story of the ones left behind when their loved ones go to war-ravaged countries, the loneliness, the fear.
7215 This is the kind of story that would capture the attention of many Canadians. Would this story find a voice if it was no more than a news clip, if there is nothing to ensure that it would be heard? A commitment to three hours out of eight of priority programming from the western region would give it that opportunity.
7216 The concept of a detailed annual report by the licensees as proposed by the Commission at these hearings is a great idea. AMPIA is concerned that the report by itself will not ensure that there is a reasonable balance of regional programming.
7217 The licensees have asked the Commission to trust them in their efforts and have offered to be called back if the Commission is unhappy with their performance. We would suggest that it would be better to impose the regional three out of eight as a condition of licence. The licensees could apply for relief from the Commission if there is a good reason as to why they could not fulfil this condition. This places the onus on the broadcaster rather than on the Commission.
7218 AMPIA recommended that there be a cap of 25 per cent for priority programming devoted to entertainment magazine shows to ensure that they don't overwhelm other priority genres in prime time. We strongly support the inclusion of entertainment magazine programming as an eligible genre for priority programming and commend the Commission for doing so. These programs can help bring Canadian audiences to Canadian priority programs and help to create a star system in this country.
7219 AMPIA also recommended that the Commission set a minimum benchmark for distinctively Canadian drama. We further recommended that this minimum level be set at 40 per cent of priority programming.
7220 While magazine programs and documentaries are important to viewers, Canadians should also be engaged by meaningful, thoughtful, provocative trim dramatic programming from all regions of this country. We fear that the distinctively Canadian drama may be an endangered species given the high cost and high risk. Given the economics, we could see a vast majority of Canadian drama on conventional broadcasters being the six out of ten industrial drama series creatively driven from the U.S. and in no way reflecting Canada to Canadians. Putting in this condition of licence will ensure that Canadians view themselves.
7221 We are also concerned that without expenditure requirements, licensees could produce eight hours of inexpensive priority programming and still fall within the Commission's requirements. For example, a stand-up comedy show, a number of lifestyle shows.
7222 In their renewal applications, the licensees have filed their projected expenditures on priority programming and AMPIA recommended that the Commission make these projections a condition of licence, with a caveat that the number would be adjusted in relation to actual total revenues as the years progress.
7223 Without some kind of minimum spending requirement we are not assured that the broadcasters will attempt to meet their spending requirements.
7224 AMPIA recommended that the Commission continue to ensure through its licensing divisions that a diversity of voices from across this country continue to be heard. We recommended that the Commission continue to be heard. We recommended that the Commission require licensees to commit to 95 per cent of priority programming being produced by independent producers as per the Commission's definition.
7225 We then further recommended that the Commission require licensees to commit to a specific portion of that 95 per cent that will be spent with independent producers through a not related or affiliated in any way with CTV or Global who own the copyright to their programming and who control its distribution.
7226 We also recommended that a minimum of 50 per cent of priority programming be produced with SMEs, small and medium size businesses, as defined by Telefilm Canada who hold the copyright to programming and control its distribution.
7227 As broadcasters become producers and have interests in distribution and production companies, we continue to urge the Commission to establish clear public policies that avoid potential self-dealing practices for all broadcasters. More than ever we believe that the CRTC has a vital and crucial role to play as the guardian of the independent story-tellers across this country.
7228 We would like to thank the Commission very much for the opportunity to present our thoughts. I would like to just mention that the Saskatchewan Motion Picture Producers Association has formally offered support for our position.
7229 AMPIA believes that we need to have firm and tangible commitments to preserve the independent production community. We believe that it is vital that the Commission make all commitments a COL.
7230 Thank you and I would be happy to answer any of your questions.
7231 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Edwards. For that we will turn to Commissioner Cardozo.
7232 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thanks very much, Ms Edwards, for coming and presenting these views.
7233 We have had the chance to read over your written submissions. They are very helpful in us understanding clearly what your thoughts are. There are a number of issues you have raised. What I will do is just go through a few of them where I just want some more information, but the ones I don't touch we do hear you well.
7234 Do you have the original that you sent? If I can just relate to a few things.
7235 MS EDWARDS: I have two originals.
7236 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Right. I will go by the one on the CTV renewal, and the points you raised are the same in both. The points I will be talking about are the same in both submissions, but the paragraph numbers are different.
7237 In paragraph 13 you talked about recoupments from existing funds go to an arms' length agency, an Alberta-based agency. I'm just wondering what you thought about why you are talking about an independent and arm's length agency.
7238 MS EDWARDS: Yes. We have found that with the CFCN fund that it was an arm's length board. It worked extremely well. We thought that it worked in the interests of the broadcaster and the independent production community.
7239 We want to make it very clear that we believe we are partners in this. We want to work together. We want to find very creative solutions that will make things work that we can all move forward towards developing and producing the best quality programming.
7240 Having an arm's length board just allows again for some more independent thought to come into the process and we found --
7241 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: It's an interesting idea. I'm wondering whether you are thinking that more or all of the benefit funds or more of the benefit funds should be administered independently.
7242 MS EDWARDS: We found that it has been very, very successful and I believe for the broadcaster as well and that's why we put that forward.
7243 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay.
7244 Paragraph 19, you have talked about distinctively Canadian programming. We have talked about this extensively at our hearings on Canadian television policy about two and a half years ago, and I am wondering two and a half years later how would you -- how do you define a distinctively Canadian program? I want to get a sense of whether this is an evolving concept from a couple of years ago, whether the key elements are the same.
7245 MS EDWARDS: I would have to --
7246 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Are you looking at something more based on the points system or is there -- or can you talk about an agenda?
7247 MS EDWARDS: What we are trying to get at is that we are concerned that there may be an erosion of Canadian stories. That we want to make sure that there are still dramas that deal with Canadian issues and Canadian people that are seen by the people of Canada, instead of say some generic programming.
7248 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. But from the point of view of producers, who you represent, is there not a benefit of the generic program too because you are employing people, training people, developing the industry?
7249 MS EDWARDS: Absolutely. I think they both walk side by side. It's very important we do a number of productions that do precisely that, that put folks to work in Alberta and we are very thankful and grateful for that. We just don't want our voice -- our own individual voice to get lost in that process and I think there is a benefit to having both walking down the road.
7250 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay.
7251 Paragraph 36, and may this is one of your key recommendations is the issue of three hours out of eight of priority programming, and I am glad that you have had a chance to hear what we have talked about last week with the two applicants. I think I would summarize it much the way you did because it trusts us and you can call us back if we are so wildly out of this kind of range.
7252 Certainly neither applicant would like to see a three out of eight a condition of license. But I just want to understand your proposal a little bit more clearly first.
7253 Is that a year-by-year amount that you would like us to calculate? I think at one point perhaps in the Global brief you had suggested it be calculated every six months.
7254 MS EDWARDS: I think we would like to be open on that particular point. It could be averaged over the seven years.
7255 I think the people at both Global and CTV, we think that there is a real commitment and a dedication from those folks to reflect the country. Our concern is that so many things changed so very quickly. In the last two years we have seen so many things change. So we are not sure who is going to be in charge two years from now and that is why we are asking for some of these things to be conditions of license because it ensures that there is some kind of mechanism to make sure that there continues to be that representation.
7256 So whether it is on a six month basis or over the course of a year or every two years, whatever seems to be reasonable that is workable for the Commission we would be very supportive of.
7257 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. Because this is certainly a bit more flexible than the way I had read your submissions.
7258 MS EDWARDS: You know, we are very flexible.
7259 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I am thinking that in one year if you had two really good shows out of British Columbia and you wanted 1.5 between B.C. and the other three provinces then you would in a sense lose out or the station or the network wouldn't be able to go for that half hour.
7260 MS EDWARDS: I think it is very --
7261 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: It was very tightly calculated.
7262 MS EDWARDS: I think it is very important, first of all, to let you know we want to be reasonable. Obviously, we have had to choose some finite points that we wanted to bring forward as some points to begin a discussion. If it's out of B.C. or if it's Alberta, we don't want to sort of put that the minimums become the maximum, kind of the floor or the ceiling.
7263 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes. Yes.
7264 MS EDWARDS: We want to do what is reasonable. What is good for the broadcaster.
7265 Again, we support that they want to do quality programming from whoever has the best idea and whoever will execute that idea in the best manner. But we just do want to ensure that it does -- that they are certain --
7266 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes, I understand that.
7267 Conditions of license are perceived quite differently between a broadcaster who has them imposed on them versus people, producers or the public who feel that that is the best way of having something ensured.
7268 It really is one of the key points that we have to face as the regulator in every decision is if there are objectives that are worth realizing what is the best way of getting there, understanding that a condition of license is a strong way of getting there, but is really perceived in a less than happy way from the broadcaster. Sometimes because the flexibility is really what they need and they can probably get there the same way, over a longer term in a more flexible way and all those other kinds of arguments.
7269 So I am wondering if you have any other thoughts, short of a condition of license, that we could get to the type of objective we are looking for and I am not saying necessarily that we would say it has to work out in a three out of eight even over an average of seven years. But if we came to some kind of either numerical or a conceptual guide, is there another way of getting there.
7270 I understand too, I just want to point out that what you have said today, which I think you hadn't said in writing, was that there be a condition of license and that they can come and apply for relief from it. So it is kind of a condition but not necessarily a condition if they have good reason. So you have suggested something fairly flexible but I am wondering if you have any other thoughts about how one might get there.
7271 MS EDWARDS: Well, part of the issue is that if it's an expectation, you know, our experience with some broadcasters has been that that doesn't always happen. So I understand it's a very, very fine line and we appreciate that conditions of license. That is a very serious thing to put in place.
7272 So I am not a hundred per cent sure of what else there is between just an expectation or a commitment on part of the broadcasters as opposed to kind of putting something very strong in place saying this needs to be here to ensure that we are going to hear from the folks across the country. So I don't have a really easy answer for it.
7273 I would like to have an opportunity to think about it and I can file something with the Commission before the hearing's end.
7274 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Well, let me just ask you one more question about this -- about divvying it up among provinces because the other region that often doesn't get it's fair share or doesn't get very much attention is the Atlantic region.
7275 I wonder if you have had any thoughts about whether there should be any kind of numerical approach to that, whether that should be a fourth hour? Whether regional, meaning the western and the Atlantic, could be part of the three hours or part of four hours?
7276 MS EDWARDS: Again, I think we would be very flexible on that. The objective is to get some programming out of the regions. So whether it is the regions in total, I mean ideally, of course -- very self-serving -- from the west. Three hours that would be wonderful.
7277 You are right there, there could be another mechanism, maybe it's a percentage. I don't know that may or may not work better than an actual finite number of hours. Maybe a percentage is a better way, a more workable way for the broadcaster.
7278 Again, I am cautious about, you know, I don't want to ghettoize producers any more than our friend from the Maritimes, Mr. Cochrane. The objective is we all want to produce programming that the broadcaster is going to be very happy to put on their network. So it's a very, very fine line, but perhaps percentage, perhaps hours.
7279 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes, and there is no question, the objective of getting the stories from across the country on is an important objective, and that is certainly one that the Act guides us to.
7280 MS EDWARDS: I think the concern is while CTV has got a number of programs coming out of the western region and Global has committed to a number of documentary programming, there is nothing really finite in terms of commitments that is going forward over the next "X" number of years. That is why we are trying to find some kind of a formula that will make this work so that we have a little bit of comfort because we are also in business. If there is so much fluctuation, it is very difficult for us to proceed forward as well.
7281 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: But isn't that fluctuation the essence of the industry in that you could have three out of eight commissioned at the beginning of the season and they all flop and what takes off is something from, God forbid, Toronto. One has to sort -- or it may be the other way around too.
7282 You can't commission stuff that ain't good, but, worse, you can't force them to run stuff that ain't good.
7283 MS EDWARDS: No, and absolutely understood. I think that we would like to have the opportunity to get in there and produce those programs.
7284 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I don't want to be beating down on what you are saying. I understand where you are coming from very well.
7285 At paragraph 29, on independent production, you talk about, as I would understand it, 95 from independent production, and 95 of that 95 would be non-affiliated independent?
7286 MS EDWARDS: No. I'm sorry, it was a bit convoluted.
7287 We would like to see 95 per cent of the priority programming being produced by the independent producers as defined by the Commission, which, I believe, you can own up to 29.9 before you are considered to be an affiliated producer.
7288 What we are asking is that broadcasters commit to a specific portion of that 95 per cent that would be produced with absolutely unaffiliated companies.
7289 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: And are you talking about any percentage when you say a specific per cent?
7290 MS EDWARDS: We would love to see 75 per cent. Again, I think it is something that one needs to be flexible on. You know, you can maybe have 50 per cent; somewhere in that range.
7291 We just want to make sure that there is room for 100 per cent completely --
7292 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Right. So you are talking somewhere in the range of 25 per cent to 50 per cent?
7293 MS EDWARDS: No. We would like to see 50 per cent to 75 per cent of that --
7294 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Would be independent.
7295 MS EDWARDS: Would be completely, 100 per cent, independent produced.
7296 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Unaffiliated.
7297 MS EDWARDS: Yes.
7298 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Lastly, I was interested to notice that you hadn't talked about aboriginal production in Alberta, and I am wondering if you could tell us what the status of aboriginal producers, aboriginal production, in the province is like.
7299 MS EDWARDS: We are seeing a growth of aboriginal producers. We have had a number of programs come out of Alberta that we are very happy to see.
7300 It feels that there is more and more that is being done.
7301 Again, we are welcoming that production and trying to assist in getting that out on the airwaves in whatever way we can. That is, again, why we say there is a need for a number of diverse voices; so not just the production company voices, but also the geographically different voices and the voices from the aboriginal people, from the Innu people.
7302 We have Ukrainian producers. We have a number of French producers who are producing wonderful programming.
7303 We feel very privileged to have that kind of community in Alberta that is producing programming that is getting onto the network schedules.
7304 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: With the arrival of APTN, the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, is there growth and is your association involved in assisting the development of aboriginal producers in any way?
7305 MS EDWARDS: We offer various programs through AMPIA, various mentorships, to assist people to get to markets or to get to festivals to promote themselves.
7306 There are a number of seminars that we put on that all of our membership is invited to. And we have had meetings and certainly discussions with our aboriginal friends to find creative ways to assist in any way we can.
7307 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Thanks very much. This discussion is very helpful in finding ways in which we can make some moves on regional production. I appreciate your comments.
7308 MS EDWARDS: Thank you for listening.
7309 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Edwards.
7310 Mr. Secretary?
7311 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7312 I would like to say that, according to our agenda, our next appearing intervenor was to be British Columbia Film, but they have since advised us that they would like to participate via teleconference. So we will be hearing from Mr. Egan later today via that route.
7313 In the meantime, it is my pleasure to introduce le Groupe Columbia Communications Inc., Mr. Jonathan Goldbloom.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7314 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
7315 MR. GOLDBLOOM: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. I have had the pleasure of being associated with Global Quebec from the outset, first as a consultant, and subsequently as a member of the advisory board. In fact, I appeared before you several years ago, along with my colleagues on the advisory board, in support of Global Quebec's original licence application. Thank you for agreeing to this return visit.
7316 The advisory board continues to be chaired by John Parisella, a well known political activist. Members include Owen Carter, Hélène Lee Gosselin and Bruce Hicks of Quebec City, Hugh Auger of the Eastern Townships, and Lise LaChapelle and myself of Montreal. We are lawyers, educators, business people and spin doctors.
7317 What we have in common is that all of us are deeply involved and committed to our respective communities.
7318 As a group, our regional and linguistic mix reflects Global Quebec's twin strategic objectives of being a regional station that covers Quebec in English.
7319 When the advisory committee appeared before the Commission in the summer of 1997, we indicated that our mission was to provide management with feedback on station-produced programming, give advice on community relations, including the selection of special programming, and act as a representative of Global Quebec.
7320 The mission has, in turn, been converted into a concrete action plan. I believe that we have played an important role in the development of regional programming.
7321 Hugh Auger has spent more than two decades working for the public school board in the Townships. As a result of this experience he was the inciting force behind Global's partnership with school boards across the province.
7322 Hugh has also established a regular dialogue with Global's Sherbrooke news team, bringing story ideas to their attention and providing community feedback on the coverage.
7323 My personal involvement has involved establishing stronger links between Quebec's Jewish community and the station. Using the annual March to Jerusalem and the Israeli Street Festival as a springboard, a one-hour special was developed on the history of the Jewish communities of Montreal, Sherbrooke and Quebec City, and on the concerns and challenges they are facing today.
7324 The program has been broadcast on at least two occasions, regionally and nationally. Moreover, Heather Hiscox, the host of the program, subsequently became very involved with several community events, including a series of activities at Temple Emanuel Beth Shalom.
7325 The advisory board has also proved, I believe, to be an invaluable sounding board. In the area of political commentary, we have not hesitated to comment if we felt that the coverage was too one-sided or unbalanced. We have encouraged management to open their airwaves to a variety of opinions, both from within Quebec's English-speaking community and the larger French-speaking community. We in fact were one of the first groups to scream loudly when we heard that the station was advertising on Howard Stern.
7326 I should also point out that we have taken our regional mandate very seriously. At least one of our quarterly meetings takes place on an annual basis in either the Eastern Townships or Quebec City. On such occasions we host a reception with community leaders, which enables us to provide an update on Global Quebec's activities and benefit from their feedback. Our May meeting, for example, is taking place at Bishops University in Lennoxville.
7327 As we look back over the past four years since Global Quebec began broadcasting, the advisory board takes great pride in the progress the station has made. Global Quebec has certainly experienced growing pains, but today it is a stronger and an increasingly important player on the province's television landscape.
7328 Its news teams in Montreal, Sherbrooke and Quebec City provide broader geographic coverage than the competition. Its fast-paced and entertaining morning show is the only Quebec-centred one in English in our market. "This Morning Live" benefits from having anchors in both Montreal and Quebec City. By watching for 20 minutes as you get dressed or dress the children, viewers are brought up to date locally and regionally. Coverage ranges from the success of the Laval football program to traffic problems on the Decarie to the Brome-Mississquoi Hospital fighting for its bilingual status and the meningitis outbreak in the Quebec City region.
7329 I should also point out that Global Quebec's 5:30 newscast, which is a lead-in to its 6 o'clock regional newscast, also distinguishes the station from its competitors.
7330 Global Quebec also reflects the diversity and varied interests of the communities it serves. Regional programs have included coverage of the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Quebec Winter Carnival, the 2000 Junior Alpine World Ski Championships, the Granby Song Festival, and Carifiesta 2000. We have introduced English-speaking Quebecers and indeed Canadians in other provinces to the talents of Jean-Pierre Ferland and Linda Lemay.
7331 Global Quebec has put its promotional muscle to work to support its goals as a community-minded broadcaster serving a large and diverse marketplace. An ever-increasing number of charitable and community organizations are benefiting from association with us.
7332 Among the many charities that we have supported in the past year are the Montreal History Museum, the Brome County Fair, the Missing Children's Network Radiothon of Hope, the Montreal Children's Hospital and the Shrine Bowl.
7333 In looking ahead, Global Quebec has a strong base from which to build. Its personalities like Leslie Roberts, Jamie Orchard and Karen Macdonald are increasingly becoming fixtures in the community. They are involved with organizations like the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation, Generations Foundation and Voice of English Quebec. Its regional programming is consistently attracting more and more viewers.
7334 The Advisory Board will continue to do its part to ensure that Global Quebec continues to provide Quebecers with a refreshing and innovative window on ourselves.
7335 Together we will continue to build bridges of understanding between all Quebecers by covering Quebec in English and providing an outlet for a wide variety of voices.
7336 Thank you very much.
7337 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Goldbloom.
7338 I will turn to Commissioner Wylie.
7339 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good morning, Mr. Goldbloom.
7340 We often have Advisory Councils put forward with applicants, but we hardly ever see them again -- in the front benches at least. So it's nice to see you.
7341 So these will be my questions on how this works and how it helps because you appear to take some credit for any success of CKMI in Montreal. Is that correct that you take some credit with the success of CKMI as a member of the advisory council?
7342 MR. GOLDBLOOM: We take limited credit. I think that management still runs the station, but the Advisory Board is there to participate and provide advice and to be in regular contact.
7343 So management is still managing the station and makes all the final decisions, but I believe we have had some successful input.
7344 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: That's good because we wouldn't want to impose conditions of licence on Advisory Boards, would we?
7345 Do you see yourself as a council or a board as proactive or reactive to the output on the screen?
7346 MR. GOLDBLOOM: We are largely reactive except on the basis of general overview of where the station is going and at our quarterly meetings we will put items on the agenda and we will also encourage the station -- the school board affiliation which now has led to a whole program of teachers' assistance on both the weather and both on technology really comes from us. It was our insisting, particularly Hugh Auger, of getting management together with a representative of the school board. Similarly the work with the Jewish community with the St. Patrick's Day parade.
7347 We have helped start the discussion. It's up to management to pursue it and decide if it makes sense for the station.
7348 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You meet three times a year.
7349 MR. GOLDBLOOM: Four times.
7350 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Four times a year. And do you give advice on programming, scheduling or at a very general macro level?
7351 MR. GOLDBLOOM: We are consultated, particularly on the news programming, one in terms of the timing. When Global first started it was a 5:30 local or regional newscast and advising on the move to 6:00 on the morning program, we were consulted. We have been consulted on some of the participants on some of the political programming.
7352 For example, Global now every Sunday has a discussion between David Payne who is a Parti québécois member of the National Assembly and Tommy Schnurmaker who is a CJAD reporter. We were the ones who encouraged them to have both sides of the fence. We are now encouraging Global -- and I think they are going to be taking us up on it -- that the English community needs to have its wider voices represented as well and Mr. Schnurmaker represents one element in an important facet of the community, but there are other voices that need to be heard as well and that we need to be considering that both on the morning show and on the Sunday programming.
7353 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You, I know, live in Montreal. CKMI was licensed as a regional station, anchored really in Quebec City and retransmitted in Montreal and in Sherbrooke. One of the concerns often is how regional it remains.
7354 Is that something you perceive or your colleagues perceive a difficulty in preventing the station from becoming too Montreal-centric, other than perhaps the Legislature, of course, but apart from that -- which would obviously come from Quebec City whether or not the station was from Quebec City or Montreal.
7355 MR. GOLDBLOOM: The reality is that it's a significant challenge. The largest English-speaking population in the province is obviously in Montreal and so you want to have programming that's attractive to that population group. But at the same time, the Advisory Board, particularly through its membership and that we have the majority -- we have three members from Quebec City and three from Montreal and one from the Townships so at least the majority is off-island -- pays a significant amount of attention one, in liaising with the English-speaking groups that are active and vibrant in the off-island communities and two, in ensuring or providing advice on how best to cover them.
7356 I think Global, to its credit, has not only covered the National Assembly. Every morning when you turn into Mr. Fillion's commentary on Global Quebec and his reports on the morning show, it goes way beyond just what the Premier has said or whatever is going on there. It covers the local stories of Quebec City and our reporter in Sherbrooke is trying to do the same. But clearly it's a difficult challenge finding the balance.
7357 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: This may be seen as an unfair question, but that's my specialty so I will ask it.
7358 Are you supportive of the proposal to have local advertising permitted on CKMI, if you combine it with this difficulty of keeping the station from being Montreal-centric? Do you think there is a relationship between the two? You need not answer if you don't want to.
7359 MR. GOLDBLOOM: Clearly our mandate is to be a regional station, and as an Advisory Board we are very conscious of that. At the same time, we are encouraging Global Quebec to invest more significantly in regional programming whether that is the Quebec City Carnival or whatever is going on in Granby. We were involved in the birthday celebrations of Sherbrooke.
7360 If local advertising is going to help secure the financial viability and be reinvested in regional programming, then within certain limits I would have very little difficulty with that.
7361 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Would you see one of the Board's -- not duty, but one of the roles it can play, should the Commission allow local advertising on CKMI in Montreal, to be vigilant about the direction that the station could take to be more Montreal-centric as a result of the support of local advertisers.
7362 MR. GOLDBLOOM: That's fundamentally our job to be vigilant on this issue of ensuring that not only that Global Quebec lives up to its licensing agreements and we get reports back on where we are in terms of that, but also that it reflect the English-speaking community as a whole regardless of where it lives in the province and that it recover Quebec in English. I think that has been one of the fundamental values that we are insisting on and I would encourage us to be mandated to continue to do that.
7363 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: What do you see as your largest role in the coming few years on the licence term?
7364 MR. GOLDBLOOM: It continues to be to ensure a couple of things. One, Global Quebec is still a new station. Its news teams and its public affairs teams, these programs are evolving and they are getting better and I think it's our role to provide them with constructive criticism when necessary and to help them move into new directions.
7365 I also think that the situation in Quebec is always one where there is a need, a constant need to build dialogue between different communities, whether that's between the culture of the communities and the majority French-speaking community, between our Italian community and the Jewish community, whatever, and between Sherbrooke and Montreal and Quebec City and Montreal. I think that we have a constant challenge of doing that and that Global Quebec can be a vital force in that.
7366 It also is providing a life -- helping the communities, particularly in the off-island of Montreal, whether it's in the Townships or Quebec City, reaching out to those English-speaking communities to ensure that they see themselves on our screens, that that's going to constantly be a challenge as those populations age, as their institutions become that much more difficult to support.
7367 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Do you see this Advisory Board being involved at all with the CJNT station -- perhaps with the English-language part of it or even you have raised the third language or third culture communities.
7368 MR. GOLDBLOOM: Well, I sit on the CJNT Advisory Board as well.
7369 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: As well.
7370 MR. GOLDBLOOM: So I'm one of the links between the two and I think that the CJNT Advisory Board is just getting its legs, it's just starting and we have an enormous challenge within the Montreal community of supporting the new mandate of CJNT to raise the quality of its programming, to reach out and provide quality programming in a variety of languages, but also ensure that the percentage that it's English and French of mainstream type programming be effective as well.
7371 I think that the two in six months or a year probably should be getting together -- the two Advisory Boards -- and learning from each other's experiences and working together.
7372 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You raised the participation of Miss Hiscox. Am I right that you have lost her to Hamilton?
7373 MR. GOLDBLOOM: Yes, she has gone to Hamilton.
7374 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, thank you for coming to speak to us as a member of the Advisory Board in the front seat.
7375 Thank you.
7376 MR. GOLDBLOOM: My pleasure. Thank you.
7377 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Goldbloom.
7378 Mr. Secretary.
7379 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7380 Our next intervenor is the Association of Canadian Advertisers.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7381 MR. LUND: Mr. Chair, Madam Vice-Chair, Commissioners, Commission staff and counsel. We very much appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to elaborate on our written intervention.
7382 I am Ron Lund, President and CEO of the Association of Canadian Advertisers and with me today is Bob Rheaume -- I think most of you know him -- who is the Vice-President of Media and Research for the Association. Judy Davey, our broadcast Chair and Vice-President of Media Promotion unfortunately was called away and couldn't join us today.
7383 The Association of Canadian Advertisers has been exclusively representing our members' interests since 1914 and counts among our members a very broad cross-section of over 200 major companies and their divisions who advertise their products and services in Canada, accounting for over $215 million in sales.
7384 Our member companies come from many industry sectors, including manufacturing, retail, packaged goods, financial services, communications and many more.
7385 Now, I'm sure it will come to no surprise to you when I say that television advertising is in fact very important to advertisers. After years of using the medium to promote our products and services, advertisers feel we have made a very substantial investment in this medium into television, an investment in what is very, very important to us and we want to protect that investment.
7386 Advertising is still the primary funding resource sustaining the Canadian broadcasting system. In all its forms, advertising is estimated to represent an annual of $10 billion investment in the Canadian economy. Of this amount, approximately $2.3 billion is invested annually in television. Of all the diverse sources of funding that support the Canadian broadcasting system, advertising is the largest.
7387 As Mr. Asper reminded everyone last week, advertising is the engine of the system and without its continued contribution dominos will begin to fall.
7388 For many advertisers, conventional broadcasting is still the work horse of building brands and in spite of reducing audiences that we are getting these days. A healthy broadcasting system is critical for advertisers in Canada. Advertising pays for the content and advertisers are in fact silent partners in the system.
7389 Advertisers will only continue to use television as a medium to reach their target if on careful reflection the amount and the quality of viewers for the price paid remains acceptable.
7390 We are here today to register our concern in this regard and give fair warning.
7391 Commissioners, we are opposed to Global's specific request to be relieved of the regulatory obligation regarding advertising limits and the request to change this average to 12 minutes calculated instead on a weekly basis.
7392 The fact is this is a bad idea. While this may indeed be the place to discuss it, we don't believe it is the time to be discussing it.
7393 MR. RHEAUME: Good morning, Commissioners.
7394 Make no mistake, this proposal does not in any way retain the 12-minute limit by averaging it out over a whole week. It will create differing levels of excessively cluttered prime time shows and encourage viewers to further practise commercial avoidance.
7395 It represents a dilution of the television product, a hidden but very real cost for advertisers, and is very short-sighted thinking on the part of the broadcasting industry.
7396 One of the fundamental principles of commerce is the right to know what is being offered before purchase. This scheme would make it impossible for advertisers to know ahead if their ad will be one among 24 or one among 44 -- quite a different value proposition.
7397 Let me illustrate.
7398 An example might be a hockey game. As an advertiser, you agree to buy ten signs at the Corel Centre for a Senators game. In this example, of course, this would have to be for next season. You expect ten signs with your ad out of the 40 in the stadium, but when you show up you discover that tonight there is a total of 65 signs there, not 40. Your expected 25 per cent impact has just been reduced to only 15 per cent.
7399 Or could you imagine say Canadian Club supplying their product at 40 proof today and then maybe 60 proof tomorrow, but with the promise: Don't worry, it will all average out to 80 proof over the long run.
7400 Commissioners, advertisers deserve to know up-front what they are buying. This scheme will make that very difficult, if not impossible. It is a bad idea.
7401 As we have outlined in our written intervention, clutter has already become a serious problem on Canadian television. ACA's research indicates that the environment is already far above the 12-minute so-called limit. In fact, 80 per cent of broadcast hours in Canada currently run in excess of 12 minutes of non-program material at an average of 14-2/3 minutes. This is having an effect.
7402 For instance, average TV commercial recall scores have dropped 16 per cent in just eight years. This is a widely used general measure for memorability; as well, depending on which study you use, somewhere between 50 and 69 per cent of Canadians practise some form of TV commercial avoidance on a regular basis.
7403 New research, as recent as October 2000, indicates that recall scores plunge as the number of commercial units in a pod increases. Commercials in pods with seven to nine units, for instance, have on average 14 per cent less recall, jumping to 21 per cent less effective in pods with ten or more units.
7404 Seven units per pod is common today on Canadian television; ten is not uncommon.
7405 Something is happening to advertising effectiveness on television, and we think we know what it is.
7406 In prime time in Toronto, ACA's own research indicates that fully 91 per cent of programming runs over 12 minutes, with an average of 15 minutes of non-program material and 38 interruptions per hour.
7407 Compare this with specialty stations in prime time with only 66 per cent of shows running at over 12 minutes, and you get a glimpse of one reason why specialties have been so successful in attracting revenue.
7408 Then take a look at Global. Ninety-seven per cent -- that's right, almost all of Global's prime time programming -- runs with more than 12 minutes per hour of non-program material, at an average in fact of 15 minutes and 20 seconds and with an average of 40 individual units per hour.
7409 This ranks Global with the most dubious distinction as being Toronto's most cluttered TV station.
7410 Commissioners, we do need more conventional inventory in most markets in Canada, and providing that will repatriate dollars to the conventional stations. We do not need this new inventory on those stations that are already running at 15 minutes per hour.
7411 We need new conventional stations in Canada with fewer commercials, not more commercials on the conventional stations that we have.
7412 Concerned with the continuing increase in clutter that our studies are showing, ACA conducted two random audits of Canadian broadcasters in two different markets. In both cases we discovered that broadcasters were non-compliant with the 12-minute regulation.
7413 As we mentioned in our intervention, schedules in the U.S. are rife with commercial clutter, with Sunday parts running as high as 21 minutes per hour of non-program material. That is over one-third.
7414 We realize that this presents a special problem for Canadian broadcasters who bring in U.S. shows short on program time. Why do we have to accept that nothing can be done but to rise -- or is it lower -- to their level?
7415 We must find innovative and creative ways to deal with these differences. If t his is largely just a U.S. problem, do we have to assume that our only option is to import it?
7416 As the Commission well knows, commercial time has been deregulated in the U.S. for some years now, as well as radio time in Canada. But there are big differences. There are 600 radio stations in Canada and only 131 commercial TV stations.
7417 Radio has lots of inventory and lots of competition. Not so in conventional TV.
7418 In the U.S. there is an average of six commercial TV stations per market versus only three per market in Canada; again, lots of inventory in the U.S., lots of competition.
7419 We may find the conditions are right to deregulate commercial time on TV in Canada some day, but it is not today, at least not until there is more competition with more inventory among conventional broadcasters.
7420 MR. LUND: Finally, Commissioners, we want to underscore once again that in our opinion such a fundamental change to the broadcasting policy should be contemplated within the context of larger policy hearings. Even the specialty channel increases from 8 to 12 minutes per hour were weighed within the context of the existing 12-minute limit. It was not so much a change in policy but adjustment within that policy.
7421 A new comprehensive broadcasting policy came into effect just this fall. It may seem too soon for some. However, if the Commission feels that it is time to debate these issues again, we would welcome the opportunity to participate.
7422 As you know, advertisers feel there is a lot of room for improvement.
7423 Once again, thank you very much for allowing us to present our presentation. We would be delighted to take any questions you may have.
7424 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Lund.
7425 While you said this morning and in your written brief that if we were to make any change we should have a separate proceeding to deal with that issue, I presume your point of view would be that even if we had a separate proceeding we should not make a change.
7426 MR. LUND: That would be correct.
7427 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned this morning that advertising is the engine of Canadian television, and it is the largest source of revenue that goes back into the Canadian programming for the system.
7428 I suppose one could argue that advertising is one of the main engines of our capitalist free market society.
7429 Considering that, in considering the other elements you have raised about advertising, that clutter drives down the value and setting aside the differences that Mr. Rhéaume just mentioned between Canada and the U.S., why should we need to regulate this at all?
7430 MR. RHEAUME: Commissioner Colville, we may not have to regulate this in the future. The problem is supply right now and competition.
7431 If you were to deregulate the number of minutes, you should at the very same time deregulate the number of stations. What we have right now is a very few number of stations with a limited supply of inventory that you control by your regulation.
7432 We are not necessarily opposed to deregulation in this area. We just think that there are not enough stations and supply of inventory right now to take that step.
7433 THE CHAIRPERSON: You draw a big distinction, obviously, between the over-the-air stations and local markets and all the specialties.
7434 MR. RHEAUME: There is a big difference. The number of specialties that have been licensed in the past decade has been terrific, and advertisers have supported them wholeheartedly. It creates terrific vehicles to advertise and market our products and services.
7435 The growth has not been as spectacular on conventional stations. As I mentioned, the average right now is still only three outlets per market in Canada. In the U.S. there are six outlets per market for commercial TV sales.
7436 We think that almost every market in Canada could stand another conventional station, or two in some cases.
7437 THE CHAIRPERSON: Setting aside the number of stations, taking the stations that we have in the market, you make your case in your written submission, as you have this morning, that with the existing clutter -- and you talk about the amount of space that is non-programming, so there is the paid commercial advertising plus promotions for Canadian programs and other clutter, to use your term.
7438 You say that there is increasing audience aggravation about those times. People are turning away from those commercials, and it is reducing the value of those ads.
7439 Why would there not instinctively be a synergy between the advertisers and the broadcasters, to say we want to maximize this opportunity?
7440 You referred in your written submission to an agreement with all the CAB members back in 1990 and I guess individual broadcasters, perhaps in their individual self-interest, moved away from that.
7441 Why would the regulator, the Commission, not assume that the advertisers and broadcasters working together would not want to maximize the value?
7442 MR. LUND: I think Bob summarized it. We are working in an almost oligopolistic market.
7443 Going back to your other point, it is not just the value, how much we are paying; it is actual effectiveness.
7444 I think you would also note that not all broadcasters are in favour of increasing from 12 to 14 minutes per hour.
7445 What we seem to have here is a situation where -- and it is a cynical view of it perhaps -- it says we have more audiences than anyone else in prime time, so please allow us to get more money for it. We will average that out where we don't have audiences.
7446 That not only makes it unfair versus other conventional broadcast stations, but it also makes it unfair to the advertiser because they are not coming back to us and saying: And we are going to decrease the cost of that commercial, because we are the only game in town. We are going to in fact decrease the effectiveness.
7447 That is why it is a hidden cost versus a hard cost, because the audiences just are not there. They are switching. There are some other stations.
7448 MR. RHEAUME: If your question is, if I understand correctly, why can't we get together and work this out, I think it is because there are so many disparate self-interests at work here. One broadcaster's fortune at this point in time is another's misfortune. You can't make cats and dogs get along, I guess.
7449 THE CHAIRPERSON: You did mention the working together with the CAB about ten years ago to try to deal with this issue.
7450 Where are you today in working with CAB to trying to get some sort of industry consensus on an approach to this advertising question?
7451 Quite outside of the regulation, I presume that you have a self-interest in wanting to make sure that the advertising that gets on there is the most effective and even if one was within the existing 12 minutes would want to work with the broadcasters in order to be able to maximize the effectiveness of these ads.
7452 MR. LUND: Absolutely. In fact, this is quite a disappointment to us. We have met with one broadcaster to gain some direction, and it was strongly suggested to us that in fact we should speak to the CAB; that we were on to something here.
7453 Unfortunately, we have had a great deal of difficulty getting Mr. McCabe to pay attention. He has had some other pressing issues, but in fact we have been -- not to deminimize the Canadian pot for him. But the long and short of it is that he seems to be disinterested.
7454 So we just have to discuss this publicly instead. It is unfortunate.
7455 THE CHAIRPERSON: Where are you with respect to this issue that we talked about last week, about this notion of virtual advertising or advertising that gets superimposed either within the program or overlaid on top of the program outside of the 12 minutes, or however many minutes of non-programming in the hour?
7456 MR. LUND: Generally speaking, we are in favour of it. We don't look at it quite the same way.
7457 One of the things virtual advertising does do for us is it does in fact get us away from the clutter. It tends to be more in line with programming of products in programs, et cetera, more in program. It is one way we at least can get away from the clutter, because someone cannot decide to switch in the middle of the program.
7458 MR. RHEAUME: I would add that as this develops -- it is a terrific new way to use the medium. As this develops, we must be very sensitive to not having it be overly intrusive so that it ticks off the viewer. So we have to be careful as this develops. But it is anti-clutter.
7459 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, it's early days, I guess, of using this sort of advertising medium. Wouldn't you be just as worried that viewers would get concerned about that and perhaps just abandon the program?
7460 MR. RHEAUME: Yes. We would be very concerned about that which is why it must be done quite carefully. For instance, you couldn't pop up something in the middle of a dramatic moment and start selling soap at that time. It has to be integrated into the narrative. It has to be imbedded into the program. It has to be done very, very sensitively and we are all experimenting with this right now.
7461 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you don't trust the broadcasters to deal with the number of minutes per hour from this point of view in terms of sensitivity, but you do in virtual advertising.
7462 MR. RHEAUME: Until we see that they are not handling it properly, sure, we will trust them to experiment with this. You know, they are not experimenting just on their own. They are talking with our members, advertisers and the professionals advertising, intermediaries, the media advisers who help us. Together we are creating this new approach.
7463 THE CHAIRPERSON: From a regulatory point of view, you seem to want fairly stringent control on the number of minutes that would be devoted to non-program material in any given hour. From a regulatory point of view, how would we deal with this virtual advertising which is outside those minutes, whether it's 12 or 15 or whatever? How would we ever deal with that or should we?
7464 MR. LUND: Well, again, maybe a slight correction. As we said earlier, what we have a problem with is dealing with the 12 minute limit as part of a licensing hearing. We believe that because of the current environment, as Bob described, the competitive environment of regulations on one end, but now we are going to take the regulations off the other end, we believe it should be part of a larger hearing in which case hopefully there would be more competition as well that could ameliorate some of the inventory situation.
7465 When we talk about stringent control, we are saying we already have regulations, let's live by those regulations. That's quite a different thing than the speculation of how some other hearings may turn out.
7466 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, just take up on that point then. Let's assume we stick with the 12 minutes and 12 minutes of advertising per hour is what should be the rule, that is the rule, should we be saying until or unless we hold another proceeding, there should be no virtual advertising?
7467 MR. LUND: No. It's not under that regulation right now.
7468 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, but in effect we are getting more advertising in any event.
7469 MR. LUND: No, but as we explained, our perspective on that right now versus the speculation in the future how much could be too much, we are saying one of the reasons we are for that right now is that it does in fact remove us from that clutter situation. It is anti-clutter.
7470 Right now what happens as commercials come on, one, two or three into the pot, people are somewhere else. Virtual advertising, they are into the programming. If it does go too far obviously, as Bob said, people could turn away from that. We haven't even remotely reached that point just yet.
7471 MR. RHEAUME: It's a different type of advertising too. I won't pretend to suggest whether you should or should not count this and regulate this. We just don't know yet.
7472 It is, you know -- people in their daily lives drink soft drinks and drive cars and what have you. I'm speaking of product placement. In an outdoor scene, you know, there are billboards in outdoor scenes, et cetera. This is quite less intrusive than the normal type of advertising.
7473 If you take a look at a hockey game, you have got billboards on the side of the rink and what have you. If you actually go to a hockey game, the billboards are still on the side of the rink. They are in reality so this type of advertising is more reflective of the environment rather than an intrusive interruption in reality.
7474 It's not to say if it should be or should not be regulated. We can't offer an opinion at this point, no.
7475 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm not looking for more things to regulate. I'm trying to understand the distinction between we must maintain the 12 minutes as commercial breaks within the hour, but don't be concerned, let this other side grow and don't attempt to regulate that.
7476 MR. RHEAUME: Here's the difference from our point of view. Because there are more and more commercials on Canadian television, we know that viewers take off when the commercials come on. It never used to be that way, but they take off.
7477 If they keep doing that, if recall scores keep going down, if we find the medium continues to be less and less effective, it's bad news for everybody.
7478 THE CHAIRPERSON: If that's true, and I don't doubt that it is, are we going to see more virtual advertising then because as viewers take off during the commercial breaks, and they are always at the same time -- if you flip across the channels, all the channels are having their commercial break at the same time -- are we going to see more and more, outside of sports programming where it seems to be a logical fit, are we going to see more virtual advertising?
7479 Are your members going to want more virtual advertising in the content of drama and other entertainment programs?
7480 MR. LUND: If it's effective. I think the jury is out even to see if it's effective yet. If it's effective, people will definitely be drawn to it. If it's not effective in terms of recalling the products, et cetera -- I mean for years, even on product placement, people say, you know, "What was the value of that can of soda? What was the value of whatever product was in there? Was that the same as something else?"
7481 I don't think there is any measurement on that yet as far as I certainly know. If it's effective, I think there would be a move to use more of it, yes.
7482 THE CHAIRPERSON: We're talking about possibly seven year renewals. As Mr. Cochran noted this morning, if you look back seven years, a lot has changed over that period of time. Looking forward, do you think we are likely to see considerable changes in the whole approach to dealing with advertising on television over the next seven years?
7483 Is it your sense that this is likely to be effective and we are going to see a lot more of it?
7484 MR. RHEAUME: Virtual advertising you mean?
7485 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
7486 MR. RHEAUME: I think yes. I think that eventually after enough experimentation someone will find the right way and the most effective way to do this and it will become a useful tool for marketers and we will see more of it. Yes.
7487 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that something that we should be concerned about from a regulatory point of view then because you obviously have concerns from a regulatory point of view about the 12 minutes?
7488 MR. RHEAUME: I think that as we find out how to do this well, there may be a need for some kind of guidelines on what is acceptable, what is not acceptable.
7489 As I mentioned before, during a dramatic moment we wouldn't want a little washing machine to pop up in the corner to start advertising appliances or something. There may come a time where we might need some guidelines on this.
7490 MR. LUND: The other thing is how big does it get. It wasn't that long ago at another hearing where we were all worried that all the advertising dollars from television were going to run to the Internet. Now, of course, the latest word is don't buy a banner ad, you would be wasting your dollars.
7491 So effectiveness is something again that the jury is still out with, virtual advertising. It's in its infancy.
7492 THE CHAIRPERSON: So does this suggest to you that -- again quite apart from the 12 minutes it's something the Commission probably should be reviewing in a few years' time?
7493 MR. LUND: Absolutely.
7494 THE CHAIRPERSON: One last point. On the amount of non-programming avails, you know, we talk about advertising, we talk about engines here -- a lot of people know I'm a bit of a motor-head so it's probably a good analogy, but another engine of the system in Canada is American programming.
7495 If the programs are purchased already with 15 minutes of avails in them, what are you doing in working with your American counterparts to address this issue on a North American-wide basis because if we end up with 50 per cent of the content being American and there's 15 minute slots there -- you referred to all the clutter that comes from even, you know, the promos for Canadian programming and other things.
7496 How does one address this on a North American-wide basis?
7497 MR. LUND: Well, I don't know if you could address it on a North American basis. I mean first of all, we don't necessarily support purchase of American programming over Canadian programming. I think we have before the Commission said before we tend to be very mercenary. We just follow the audiences. That's what we purchase.
7498 An American program that doesn't do very well doesn't get purchased any more than the Canadian program that doesn't do very well, so it really is: is the audience there or not?
7499 Again, Bob and I hypothesized the type of things that could be done. If there is a two minute gap on programming, to take an example, there is a -- and we recognize that's a problem with a purchase -- there could be creative ways such as with that two minutes of programming, let's not have a potential of eight 15 second spots.
7500 Maybe we would like that sold as a two-minute spot or two one-minute spots. Maybe in fact they could then for that particular spot get some Canadian content credit or something. There could be all kinds of creative ways to look at that two minutes, three minutes or four minutes.
7501 Incidentally, in the States, as I believe our intervention states, advertisers aren't overjoyed. It happens to be deregulated, but the advertisers and advertising agencies publish yearly a report that monitors the most cluttered stations and they are given to media buyers and that to beware of the efficacy of those programs.
7502 While there may not be a regulatory body that talks about how much time there is, that same type of regulation is happening through the industry itself, so it's not like everything is A-OK.
7503 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. That's what was at the root of my question. Are your colleagues in the States working with the broadcasters to address this issue?
7504 MR. LUND: Well, actually no. They are -- I would not say working with them. They publish reports about them to avoid buying certain times and certain stations.
7505 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you don't see a solution to this problem in terms of the American programming coming into --
7506 MR. LUND: Not in terms of content, no. In fact, although I haven't seen anything recently, I think it was six or nine months ago, Bob, that stations were trying to in fact decrease content by another minute or two.
7507 MR. RHEAUME: Thirty seconds.
7508 MR. LUND: By 30 seconds more, so no, there doesn't seem to be any abating of the problem.
7509 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Those are all my questions.
7510 Thank you very much, gentlemen.
7511 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7512 We will now hear an intervention on behalf of Jim Pattison Industries Limited and Telemedia Radio (West) Inc.
INTERVENTION \ INTERVENTION
7513 MR. ARNISH: Good morning.
7514 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.,
7515 MR. ARNISH: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Commission staff. My name is Rick Arnish and I am President of the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group. I was born and raised in Kamloops, British Columbia and commenced my career with CFJC-TV in 1969 and have worked in that local broadcast operation since that time.
7516 To my left is Mr. David St. Laurent who is the President of CS MediaGroup West Inc. David's company has represented the secondary market television stations in Terrace, Dawson Creek and Prince George, British Columbia, for the past eight years and is very knowledgeable about advertising patterns for secondary market television in British Columbia.
7517 To my far right is Mr. Hugh McKinnon who is the Vice-President of Telemedia Radio (West) Inc. To my right is our legal counsel, Mr. Chris Weafer.
7518 This intervention is on behalf of Jim Pattison Industries Limited, which operates the sole local television stations in Kamloops and Prince George, B.C. and Telemedia Radio (West) Inc., which operates the sole local television stations in Terrace and Dawson Creek, B.C.
7519 We oppose the application by CTV Television Inc. to distribute CIVT-TV as a distant signal in our local markets.
7520 Of the over 100 stations which have been authorized by the Commission to be carried in our local communities by cable or DTH, we provide the only local television programming services in our communities. This programming is funded entirely by local, regional and national advertising revenues.
7521 Our local programming is of essential importance to the communities we serve, providing local news service, keeping the community aware of local cultural, political and social events, and advising of local weather or emergency conditions. Our local television stations have won numerous community, provincial and national awards for our service.
7522 In summary, we oppose CTV's application to distribute CIVT-TV as a distant signal in our markets for the following reasons: (a) Approval will upset the balance between CHAN-TV and secondary market stations in B.C. (b) Approval will cause material economic harm to the intervenors. (c) Approval is contrary to the objectives of the Broadcasting Act and, (d), the applicant has made no material attempt to reach a commercial arrangement and we believe the Commission should support commercial arrangements amongst broadcasters which preserve diversity of service in a market.
7523 The existence of the local television stations is in part the result of a longstanding local insertion agreement between the stations and CHAN-TV as discussed above.
7524 These agreements have enabled the secondary market stations to serve their local markets by having the right to replace lower mainland and regional advertising commercials of CHAN-TV with local commercials and regional accounts sold by the local television stations. This commercial arrangement was negotiated and approved by the Commission before the station was permitted access to the local television stations' market over 30 years ago. That condition of licence has never been removed and continues to be honoured today.
7525 Approval of this application by the Commission will lead to other Vancouver and Victoria-based stations applying to distribute their distant signals to be carried in the local television stations markets and may possibly result in CHAN-TV, and its affiliate CHEK-TV, applying to be carried as a distant signal as well. This in turn would result in the collapse of the longstanding CHAN-TV agreement.
7526 The opening of the local market to these services and the subsequent loss of revenue to the local television stations will devastate our local operations resulting in the loss of local programming and local service in Kamloops, Prince George, Terrace and Dawson Creek. This is contrary to the objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
7527 This issue was discussed last year with the Commission in the context of the Look Application to bring wireless cable to the interior markets with the carriage of Vancouver signals. The Commission recognized the problem created by that application and instead approved the Craig application which excluded those out-of-market signals.
7528 As an example of local service, the Pattison station, CFJC-TV, operates from Kamloops and provides a broad range of local and regional programming to 170,000 viewers in its broadcast area. CFJC-TV also produces over 14 and a half hours per week of local programming, bringing its viewers coverage of local news, weather and other matters of community interest. Its contribution and value to the community as the local broadcaster will be challenged by the distribution of CIVT in its broadcast area.
7529 Our four stations represent four independent local news voices in our communities. In an era of consolidation of media we urge you to preserve these distinct, local voices.
7530 Examples of community service we provide include:
1. CFJC-TV Kamloops, leading a campaign in 2000 to raise $9.3 million in support of Royal Inland Hospital;
2. The Terrace station, CFTK-TV, produced the CAB Gold Ribbon Award Program "Carving the Future," a chronicle of 30 years of local coverage of that nationally important negotiation of the Nishga Treaty in northeastern B.C. Absent the local coverage over the past 30 years in Terrace, this program could not have been created; and
3. In Prince George, CKPG-TV's news team kept the community aware of the health risk of the oil spill last year near Chetwynd, Br.C. and its impact on local water supply.
7531 Community service, local programming of local, regional and national relevance and key emergency news coverage in our communities are irreplaceable benefits to the Canadian Broadcasting System, which are put at risk by this application.
7532 In Public Notices CRTC 1985-61 and 1993-74, the Commission outlined the criteria that guides its assessments of applications for the cable distribution of distant Canadian signals. One criterion is "the degree of the distant signal's potential impact on the revenue base of the local broadcasters and of their ability to meet their programming commitments." The distribution of CIVT as a distant signal in our local markets will result in a significant loss of audience and advertising revenues to our stations.
7533 Dealing firstly with local advertising revenue, as a result of audience fragmentation, there has been a continuing trend toward reduced local advertising revenue being available for secondary market television stations. This has been a result of the addition of a significant number of primarily eastern-based specialty channels, which compete for audience and advertising revenue. Another cause of audience fragmentation has been the penetration of DTH services which do not carry the local television stations.
7534 The addition of the CTV signal out of Vancouver into these markets will further fragment the audience available to the local television stations, thereby decreasing our reach, which in turn will reduce the value of advertising on these local services. The decreased value of the local television stations' advertising inventory will cause local advertisers to choose not to use local television as a media for advertising. This negative impact will be significant and will only be mitigated by any cover over agreement that CIVT may enter into with the local television stations.
7535 Turning to national advertising, approximately 50 per cent of all national advertising revenue obtained by the local television stations is regional in nature. By "regional in nature" we mean advertising which takes advertising dollars out of a local community and applies them to a province-wide purchase of advertising.
7536 An example would be a McDonald's francishee who provides advertising revenue to the franchisor on a commitment that a certain percentage of that advertising money will be spent in the local market of the McDonald's francishee. A sample list of this category of advertisers is attached as Schedule A.
7537 These advertisers represent far more than the estimated $150,000 impact identified by CTV last Wednesday. Approval of the CIVT application will enable CIVT to pursue advertising monies previously available only to local television stations as a result of existing arrangements. The loss of any part of that revenue, which approximates 50 per cent of the national advertising revenue of those stations, will cause material economic harm to the Intervenors.
7538 In their appearance before the Commission last Wednesday, CTV indicated they felt they were "just another signal coming into the market," similar to the 50 new services recently licensed by the Commission. What is different is that this station will specifically target and deliver the province of British Columbia and take advertising revenue previously relied on by the local television stations.
7539 Historically, the situation of a Vancouver station seeking to enter secondary markets in B.C. has been dealt with either by the imposition of a condition of licence or the negotiation of a commercial arrangement with the major market licensee. In the CHAN-TV situation, a commercial arrangement was negotiated and became a longstanding condition of licence of CHAN-TV. That approach, which we regard as balanced and responsible, has ensured the protection of the local television stations.
7540 In the case of the CBC, the CBC and the local television stations were able to arrive at a commercial arrangement to solve their regional sales differences outside of regulatory intervention.
7541 The arrangements with CHAN-TV and the CBC recognized that the secondary market stations serve an important role in their respective communities by providing programming that is relevant and reflective of the residents of such communities. Both broadcasters make economic commitments to support local broadcasting. CTV should be obligated by the Commission to do the same.
7542 As set out in our written intervention, the difficulty that CIVT is facing is largely the creation of its parent company. The Commission is faced with the difficulty of secondary market cable operators indicating that in order to remain competitive with DTH service providers such as ExpressVu owned by Bell Globemedia, it too needs access to the Bell-owned service of CIVT to avoid loss of local subscribers.
7543 We can empathize with those local cable operators. In Dawson Creek, for example, DTH penetration is apparently at 32 per cent. The loss of that 32 per cent of audience has clearly affected the local television stations as well as they are unavailable to the audience which has moved to DTH services.
7544 As a starting point to achieving a level playing field, it is submitted that the Commission should order that local television stations be provided, at Bell's cost, with access to its DTH services. It appears that Bell is now saying that as it has caused a significant impact on local cable operators by making available its Vancouver television station on its DTH service, the Commission should also now allow its distant Vancouver station access to local cable.
7545 At the end of the day, the local television broadcaster becomes the "meat in the sandwich," as they are seeing their audience fragmented by the existence of an out-of-market service offering no local programming contribution. On the DTH side, they are seeing their audience lost as subscribers turn to Bell-owned DTH services which do not carry the local television stations.
7546 If Bell Globemedia wishes access to local markets for the purpose of selling its DTH service and allowing its Bell-owned out-of-market television signal universal distribution to the detriment of local television operators, it should, at a minimum, be obligated to ensure that commercial viability of the local television operation is sustained by making the local service available on the DTH service.
7547 CTV submits that approval of its application will further the objectives of the Broadcasting Act by encouraging the presentation of Canadian programming and providing viewers with a greater variety of programming.
7548 While the creation and presentation of Canadian programming is certainly an objective of Canadian broadcast policy, it is submitted that precedence should be accorded to the presentation of local Canadian programming over national Canadian programming. Given the preponderance of licensing of national specialty services and the consolidation of ownership of television in Central Canada, it is submitted that it is inconsistent with the objectives of the Broadcasting Act to this further step to further devalue the local television stations in British Columbia by approval of this application.
7549 The Commission should encourage commercial arrangements that preserve the balance between the maintenance of local television service and the objectives of national program providers. We believe the Commission should direct CTV to negotiate with the secondary market stations the opportunity to deliver its signals to the secondary markets on conditions which are commercially viable for the local television stations. This is what the Commission directed CHAN-TV to do 30 years ago, and the issue is even more pressing today.
7550 As Commissioner Grauer discussed with CTV on Wednesday, CanWest made a proposal to work with CTV as reflected in paragraph 47 of Commission Decision CRTC 2000-221 in relation to access to interior markets. Neither that offer nor any negotiation with us has been pursued by CTV in any significant manner since that direction was given last July.
7551 In conclusion, the intervenors wish to unequivocally state that approval of the application as filed will result in the loss of local television service for the communities of Kamloops, Prince George, Terrace and Dawson Creek, British Columbia, and therefore, the Commission should deny the application and direct CTV to work with the local television stations to negotiate an acceptable solution which preserves the existence of a local television service in our communities.
7552 Thank you very much.
7553 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Arnish. You noted that Commissioner Grauer discussed the issue with the applicants and she is going to discuss it with you this morning as well.
7554 Commissioner Grauer.
7555 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
7556 Good morning, gentlemen. As you are aware, we have actually discussed and canvassed this issue fairly extensively with CTV, both on Wednesday and again on Friday. As you note in your oral presentation this morning, when we noted in the decision last year approving the WIC transaction, the offer of CanWest that was extended to CTV to make the transmitters available, we also talked about the importance -- I think we did -- certainly of the CTV service being available throughout British Columbia.
7557 I am just wondering if you have come up with any specific -- you mentioned commercial arrangements. Again on Friday, CTV indicated a willingness to enter into some commercial arrangements, and I am wondering if you can give me your comments on that and on what commercial arrangements you think might be feasible?
7558 MR. ARNISH: Well, as you noted, Commissioner Grauer, in our written intervention and this morning's oral intervention, we are certainly very concerned about the future viability of our television stations in the interior of British Columbia. It is nice to hear that CTV now perhaps recognizes our concerns about what our future might hold if they are granted carte blanche status to come in via DTH to cable head end and then be distributed throughout the Province of British Columbia.
7559 The agreement that we talk about in our oral intervention today, and as the Commission is well aware of, has been in place with CHAN-TV, BCTV in British Columbia for over 30 years. It has worked extremely well. The parent companies that owned BCTV over the last 30 years, and there has been a few of them, have spent considerable amounts of money putting in rebroadcasting transmitters throughout the Province of B.C. and have maintained those broadcasters -- rebroadcasting transmitters for that same period of time.
7560 Through that arrangement, we have had a good opportunity to work with BCTV, with the commercial arrangement that basically protects our interests in the interior to be able to sell again, cover over lower mainland commercials and regional advertising commercials as well and sell them in our marketplace to continue to provide good local programming in all of these markets that we talk about today.
7561 I would also say the same could be said of the Okanagan Valley as well. CHBC Television is the other independent CBC affiliate in the interior but, of course, isn't appearing with us here today because of their ownership with Global.
7562 But we certainly are very open to CTV talking to us, coming up with a solution that at the very minimum mirrors the BCTV agreement that has been in place for the last 30 years and will continue on in our opinion for as long as we are in this business and beyond that.
7563 Some of my other colleagues may have some other comments on that.
7564 MR. WEAFER: Commissioner Grauer, we have negotiated amongst ourselves as to what we think CTV could do, we just haven't negotiated with CTV. But there is a list of say five possible areas of negotiations. One, as Rick identified in his oral presentation, is DTH carriage of the local television stations. They have the ability within their corporate group to try and facilitate that.
7565 The Dawson Creek television station, 32 per cent of its audience is lost to DTH because it is not on DHT in its market and DTH has 32 per cent penetration. A cash payment to the local stations on an annual basis, which is similar to the initial CHAN ARRANGEMENT, in which there was a revenue payment to the local stations to allow CHAN into the market in the 1970s. That is something we could negotiate.
7566 A cover-over arrangement, as Rick has mentioned, either by the Commission directing that CTV do as CHAN did 30 years ago, building a system of rebroadcasters throughout the province -- CHAN incurred that commercial expense in order to have the right to be in the market.
7567 Alternatively, if they wish to negotiate, there may be a way of distributing the signal by delivery to the local television stations, who would insert the local commercials and deliver the program to the cable system for distribution.
7568 So there is a variety of ways to do it. We are not saying that we are standing in the way of CTV coming into the market. We understand the pressure that the Commission is under to make sure that that occurs, but they have to come to the table. They may have better ideas than we have, but there has been no discussion at this point, and there has been plenty of time to come to the table.
7569 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I was just going to say that certainly timing is an issue at this point. It is getting a little late in the day with the September 1 changeover.
7570 MR. WEAFER: On that point, Commissioner Grauer, we don't see that as the local television station's problem, and in fact we don't see that as the Commission's problem. That is their problem. And if we can't make September 1, so be it. They can go on October 1, November 1. It is not the local market's problem. They have created the timing issue, not the Commission, not the local broadcasters.
7571 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: That may be so, but it is the Commission's problem to the extent that it is important perhaps that people in British Columbia get the signal, and I think that we need to be sensitive to the viewers who have been accustomed to getting CTV programming and will find it perhaps gone from their screens on September 1.
7572 I raise it in that we have to be mindful of that piece.
7573 MR. WEAFER: We are willing to sit down with CTV today.
7574 MR. ARNISH: Commissioner Grauer, I could also reiterate as well -- and I can't speak for all of the markets, but certainly CIBT currently is available, or will be available, on the digital service of Shaw Cable in the interior of British Columbia as well.
7575 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So it will be available on digital, notwithstanding this application for --
7576 MR. ARNISH: That's correct. That is my understanding, yes.
7577 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: You are of the view that there is sufficient time to negotiate the commercial arrangements that may or may not require a system of transmitters?
7578 MR. ARNISH: I think that all of us here would agree with that.
7579 It is really unfortunate that we have to be here today in front of the Commission, in my own personal opinion, discussing this issue. As a matter of fact, if I go back almost a year and a half or two years ago with former management of CIBT in Vancouver, when there was talk then of the CTV affiliation moving to CIBT, I had discussions with them, saying that we would be very interested at the end of the day -- very much so -- of looking at a triple stick operation, in a sense, where we in Kamloops and the other markets would have CBC and perhaps CTV affiliation, and then also have our agreement with BCTV as well.
7580 But now we have come down to the 11th hour, and here we are four months away from September 1, basically, and CTV wants to bring the signal into the interior.
7581 And as Mr. Weafer just said, we don't want to deny that CTV does very good programming across the country. We know that. They do regional programming as well. But we would have to, certainly, protect our own local interests, and we believe that there probably is a solution to getting them on the air by the 1st of September, and it may not be through rebroadcasting transmitters.
7582 Just for the Commission's edification, not only has BCTV spent millions of dollars over the last 30 or 35 years with rebroadcasting transmitters, so have we. All of us in the interior have rebroadcasting transmitters all over the place in small communities, and we don't think it is right that CTV bring in a regional service from Vancouver without putting in rebroadcasting transmitters.
7583 But if that is not going to work, then I think there are probably some other technical solutions that we can draw that can allow them to get on the air by the 1st of September, or sometime shortly thereafter, as long as our interests are protected.
7584 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: CTV tabled with us, and I think made available to the intervenors, some revenue projections and impacts, and I wonder if you have any comments on those figures.
7585 MR. ARNISH: As Mr. St-Laurent is getting out some information, speaking on behalf of our panel this morning, we don't agree with their impact analysis. We don't believe the numbers they are talking about at all reflect what serious damage they will do to our stations in the interior of British Columbia.
7586 Talking about northern Ontario -- and no disrespect to northern Ontario -- it is a vastly different area than the interior of the province of British Columbia, and Mr. St-Laurent can address more of those issues.
7587 MR. ST-LAURENT: If we understand their spreadsheet correctly, they are projecting a maximum -- or a 5 per cent impact on our national revenue. We would lose that in the first month, possibly the first six weeks. This is very conservative.
7588 We are estimating, instead, that our stations would lose at minimum, very conservatively, $575,000 per year.
7589 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
7590 I have one more question, and it relates to making sure that I really understand exactly how this arrangement works.
7591 You have listed some examples -- a lengthy list of examples -- of what would constitute regional broadcasters, and as I understand it, these are franchisees, for the most part, who make contributions into a fund for regional advertising on the basis that the advertising is made available to the communities in which they do business.
7592 Is that correct?
7593 MR. WEAFER: That is part of the historic way the accounts have been identified.
7594 I think the better description, as Mr. Arnish described in --
7595 Firstly, just to step back, we filed a copy of the agreement -- the 1970 agreement -- between the stations, and there are two definitions in that agreement, one which says that all that they sell is national. If you look at the agreement, that is what they are restricted to.
7596 Secondly, it talks of accounts that have a storefront in the local market, or a retail account.
7597 There has certainly been a practice of interpreting that agreement, which has ebbed and flowed over the 30 years, as the nature of advertising has shifted; and certainly, in negotiating an agreement with CTV, we would need to make it a more current agreement to truly identify those accounts that are a product where the money is coming out of the local market and, therefore, the advertising revenue should go back into the local market to support local programming.
7598 The debate revolves around what is regional. We had that debate with the CBC a few years ago and we successfully negotiated a resolve to that.
7599 So without trying to pin down exactly what that is with you, Commissioner Grauer, we think we can do that in a negotiation with CTV.
7600 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: My question is, for instance, if it is a McDonald's franchise, is that ad resold by your station, or is there a buy made in Vancouver with pooled money which is then somehow shared?
7601 This has eluded me, to a certain extent; where the line is.
7602 MR. ST-LAURENT: There are national programs and there are local programs. It is not resold, it is sold for the first time at the local level. However, there are national programs from time to time.
7603 MR. ARNISH: We look at regional accounts, too, being -- regional retail accounts --
7604 It has to be a storefront, in a sense. Imperial Oil or Esso, accounts like that, would be national in nature, obviously, but if they have a storefront operation in our communities, then that, to us, is a regional account.
7605 That is probably a simplistic way of defining it.
7606 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Storefront like what?
7607 MR. ARNISH: It could be like McDonald's, or it could be A&W, or it could be Moore's clothing, for example -- any of those. We have a whole list. We can go down the list, and we have Dairy Queen and tire stores, Home Hardware, Home Depot -- accounts like that.
7608 MR. WEAFER: Commissioner Grauer, I just want to point out that, clearly, the agreement is something that has, much as I said, a history as an ability to say specifically to you what accounts they are.
7609 I think there is another point that we need to point out, which is a weakness in CTV's estimate of revenue loss, wherein they point out in their document that on the CTV network there is no commercial deletion. That is incorrect. CHAN does make avails available to the local market after the network programming of CTV, and that has been an important source of revenue to the local broadcaster as well.
7610 So simply because it is national network programming, the local market station has had the ability to insert and sell its own commercials.
7611 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: All right. I think I just have one more thing.
7612 In principle, is what we are dealing with here spill?
7613 MR. ARNISH: As far as allowing CIBT to come into our marketplace without having an agreement?
7614 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Right.
7615 MR. ARNISH: Yes, I would say that.
7616 David, would you agree with that?
7617 MR. ST-LAURENT: I would certainly agree.
7618 MR. ARNISH: I would say this, Commissioner Grauer: If CIBT is allowed to come into our marketplace without any agreement being in place or being forced to put in rebroadcasting transmitters, as well, and do a parallel deal with us that we have similar to the BCTV agreement, they will simply sell the interior as spill.
7619 I don't think there is any guarantee, for a moment, that they are going to recoup any of their -- they would not at all recoup any of their network revenue losses that they suggest they are going to lose because of the programming leaving BCTV and moving over to CIBT. They will simply sell the interior spill.
7620 I would say that if that agreement happens, or if we didn't have an agreement and they were allowed to come into the interior the way they want to today, I think that CHAN would be back to the Commission asking for that condition of licence with our long-term agreement being in place -- to be relieved of that condition of licence.
7621 They would then sell the interior spill as well. They would certainly get -- I guess you could look at it as spill or bonus, or whatever the case may be.
7622 Then I would suggest to the Commission, as well, that you have the same opportunity then for BCTV or Global to apply to bring in CHEK-TV, and then you are going to have CHUM wanting to bring in Victoria, and maybe the new station, CKBU in Vancouver, if you approve their application that is going to be coming before you, and I guess you could say that of perhaps the new ethnic station in Vancouver as well.
7623 Where does that put our companies at the end of the day?
7624 In the scheme of things, we are peanuts in the broadcasting industry when it comes to national and regional revenue, and I guess local revenue, for that matter.
7625 But we are here today in front of you because we care about our stations, we care about our people, we care about our families. We are here today because if the Commission doesn't mandate something that will allow us to continue to survive if we don't have an agreement in place, we are out of business.
7626 And we are not blowing hot air here, even though we are from British Columbia, one of the red neck provinces in Canada. We are here because we are going to be put out of business at the end of the day.
7627 The Commission knows with our returns that our revenue is diminishing year over year over year, and it is being exacerbated year after year as well by, again, more choice -- and we don't deny that the consumer should have more choice as well. But with more specialty channels, more pay-per-view channels and so on and so forth happening -- more competition -- our audiences are being fragmented, daily almost, and that is fragmenting our revenue.
7628 This, again, certainly has the position to put us out of business at the end of the day.
7629 We are here because we care about our television stations, and we care about the community. I think our record speaks for itself: we provide a vital local service to our communities.
7630 It is interesting; we have watched the hearing over the last week as well, and there has been great dialogue here, which I think is fantastic, because we are getting into dialogue with all of the consolidation going on in the industry as to what is the future of the television industry in Canada. Are we going to have two, three or four voices speaking for the rest of Canada?
7631 I don't think that is right. I don't think we should. I think we need to have much more diversity in voices, and we need to have the local broadcasters being there to reflect their community. That is in the best public interest.
7632 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you, Mr. Arnish.
7633 Do you want to --
7634 MR. McKINNON: From our standpoint, too -- and I have worked in small markets all of my life -- this is really about creating a level playing field for the small broadcasters, and it still won't be level. This just gives us an opportunity, at least, to go forward and try to compete with them and provide the local services.
7635 We are the ones on the street that, when we have to cut our local service, we take all of the flak. We don't want to cut local service; we want to increase the local service because that will also help us. But if we have other spill and other things coming into the marketplace, it will eventually erode and all of a sudden the regional account will just blend in to be a national account. There will be no defining lines and we will lose the small local television stations, which are fortunate enough in those markets. We don't see a lot of people putting applications out for new small television stations. These markets are fortunate to have them, and we would like to be able to maintain them.
7636 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
7637 I know you have all come a long way. I don't know if you have any sort of last words.
7638 MR. ARNISH: I just have a couple of comments, and my other colleagues may as well. Just to tag on to Mr. McKinnon's comment, you know, even at the end of the day if the Commission -- and we do hope that the Commission does hear us and will say to CTV, "As a condition of licence you have to have an agreement with the B.C. interior stations", and if we do, we are still going to lose though.
7639 Just because we have an agreement in place with BCTV and CIBT, at the end of the day we are still going to lose because we are going to have another service coming into our marketplace and they are going to be able to sell national advertising, pure national advertising, which is going to impact our stations as well. So even though we have an agreement we are still going to lose at the end of the day.
7640 With that we have to run a profitable business. We are not in the business to lose money and that's going to cut into our local programming. That's going to cut into our staffing levels and that's something that we, as a group of interior television stations, readily recognize. And I would say that of our compatriots at CHBC-TV in Kelowna as well. They do 17.5 or 18.5 hours of local programming, we do 14.5 in Kamloops, for example, but if we don't have an agreement in place, they are going to have to cut their programming, I believe as well.
7641 I can't speak for their parent company, but if I was to look at them as a stand-alone television station, they are going to have to look at cutting programming and staffing as well, and that to us is not correct.
7642 But I would say in just a couple of closing comments, Commissioner, that we hope the Commission will take the step to preserve the existence of our four television stations in the interior of British Columbia by one, requiring Bell to put our local stations on their DTH service so we can access viewers in our local market, and two, direct CTV to negotiate with us to arrive at an arrangement which will preserve the viability of our local television stations. Absent disagreement, CIBT should not be permitted to enter the markets, and three, confirm that CHAN-TV will continue to honour their condition of licence consistent with what we negotiate with CTV.
7643 We thank you very much for your time.
7644 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before you go, Vice-Chair Wylie has a question or two.
7645 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Mr. Arnish, both in your presentation this morning and then your intervention before, I believe, you make the domino-effect point. If you allow this, the CHUM station will be allowed in and even stations that have not been licensed yet such as a multilingual station will be allowed in, and so on.
7646 Do you not see a difference between allowing CTV in the interior of British Columbia since it was there before and it is the private network, without necessarily the Commission allowing all these stations to also be carried on the same terms.
7647 There seems to be no faith in the judgement of the Commission and not allowing this domino effect, and therefore I would ask you what is your view about the CTV situation separate from this fear that then everything will be allowed in B.C. to your disadvantage. I understand your concern, but I'm a little puzzled about mixing in this domino effect that then everybody will be allowed in on conditions that are not equitable.
7648 MR. WEAFER: Mr. Arnish asked if I would answer the question, Commissioner Wylie, because I think where we say the domino effect, it is really if CTV comes in without any commercial arrangements struck with the interior market broadcasters. If we can continue with the precedent struck with CHAN, which is effectively to give the local television station the franchise of the market, and allow others in perhaps we can make it work. It's licensing VTV without any agreement with the local market broadcasters which will create the precedent which will definitely devastate the local market stations. If one is in without condition, the others will certainly wish the same result.
7649 If you can mandate that we strike a commercial agreement with CTV, if others apply we would again be back to you making the same point.
7650 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But you have no faith in others being differentiated by the Commission from the desire to have CTV available everywhere. Let's say there is an agreement, it's not to your satisfaction or it's not exactly what you want. You seem to be convinced that then the whole thing will fall apart and there will be more and more stations allowed in without --
7651 MR. WEAFER: To be frank, I think it will just take one to cause the impact that has been brought to the table. The others, by the time they get in, it may not be an issue.
7652 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So it's not really as important -- the domino effect is not as important as --
7653 MR. ARNISH: But it could happen though and you and I, Commissioner, had this discussion a year ago on the LOOK application, and I think we were betting $50 bills at the time whether we would be back to you at some point in time with this very scenario. And here we are just a year and a half later back talking about a scenario that is relevant today that I talked about during the LOOK application as well, that the stations in Vancouver would love to get the interior market. There is a million plus people in the interior of British Columbia that they would like to try to go and sell to national and regional advertisers.
7654 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But I thought that in fact the application for MDS was one that was responsive to your concern.
7655 MR. ARNISH: It was very responsive and one we very much appreciate.
7656 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And that was the one that was licensed.
7657 MR. ARNISH: It was Sky Cable that was licensed, that's correct.
7658 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. So we did it right.
7659 MR. ARNISH: You did. Thank you.
7660 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Thank you.
7661 THE CHAIRPERSON: So who won the bet?
--- Laughter / Rires
7662 MR. ARNISH: I haven't paid yet.
7663 THE CHAIRPERSON: I just have a question. When you refer to the fragmentation from DTH, do you have any sense how much of that fragmentation has gone to ExpressVu and how much has gone to StarChoice?
7664 MR. WEAFER: No, we have the numbers for movement to DTH period, but not between the two different services.
7665 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have only addressed the issue of some sort of arrangement with ExpressVu. Is that simply because it's the same owner as the television station involved here?
7666 MR. WEAFER: That's the application before the Commission, so clearly there is a company you could deal with right now.
7667 We certainly would -- we feel quite confident that if the local station was on one of the DTH service providers, that the other would want to match the product. Mr. Arnish's news program in Kamloops draws a 40 share. It's a pretty attractive service and we would hope that the other DTH provider would -- by all means, we would ask you to order both, but today we are dealing with Bell.
7668 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much, gentlemen. We appreciate your being here this morning.
7669 MR. ARNISH: Thank you.
7670 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will take our morning break now, and I guess, Mr. Secretary, after the break we will commence the teleconference.
7671 MR. CUSSONS: Yes, sir, that's our plan.
7672 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's hope it works.
7673 We will take our break for 20 minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1050 / Suspension à 1050
--- Upon resuming at 1300 / Reprise à 1300
7674 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to our proceeding.
7675 First, I should apologize for the rather lengthy lunch break that we had today. We were having some technical difficulties with our teleconferencing facilities.
7676 I suppose one might wonder the regulator responsible for regulating telecommunications in this country might have a better facility to make sure that this sort of thing works. In any event, we did have a few technical problems. We think they are overcome now, and the plan for the afternoon then is to hear about 30 some odd telephone intervenors via the telephone.
7677 As I indicated this morning, there are a number of them, and we want to make sure we have an opportunity to hear everybody. So if we don't ask questions of an intervenor it's not because we are not interested. We certainly value the interventions, particularly those from across the country in addition to the ones we have been able to hear here in the room.
7678 So if we are not asking questions, it's simply because your intervention is very clear and understandable and we want to give everybody an opportunity to be heard.
7679 So with that, Mr. Secretary, I will turn it over to you and hopefully this will work.
7680 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7681 I would like to introduce our first intervenor via teleconference, Mr. Phil Currie.
7682 Mr. Currie, are you there? Mr. Currie? Mr. Phil Currie, Atlantic University Sport?
7683 MR. CURRIE: That's correct.
7684 MR. CUSSONS: Sir, can you hear me?
7685 MR. CURRIE: Yes, I can hear you.
7686 MR. CUSSONS: We would like to welcome you to the CRTC public hearing, sir.
7687 MR. CURRIE: My pleasure to be there.
7688 MR. CUSSONS: And we are eager to hear your presentation.
7689 Please start now.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7690 MR. CURRIE: My name is Phil Currie. I'm the Executive Director of Atlantic University Sport based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. I represent 11 universities in Atlantic Canada and our sporting endeavours here related to university sport.
7691 We do host three major championships here in Atlantic Canada of which CJCH TV or ATV-CTV are partners and have been for approximately three years.
7692 Their support has been responsible and outstanding in reference to assisting us in our growth not only of the events, but of Atlantic University Sport and in general university sport in Atlantic Canada.
7693 I would just like to offer my support of their licence to the CRTC and the continuing of that licence as their support over the years has helped us grow and will, I am sure, in the future through our partnership with group continue to allow us to grow university sport in Atlantic Canada. I think that the community fosters that relationship as well.
7694 That would basically be about it in reference to what I have to say today. I just think it's important to have a voice and to share that with you people in reference to that application.
7695 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Currie.
7696 It's David Colville, the Chairman of this panel in the Commission, and we thank you for your intervention today.
7697 MR. CURRIE: David, I thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate that.
7698 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thanks.
7699 MR. CURRIE: Okay.
7700 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary.
7701 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7702 I would now like to introduce Dr. Peggy Watts.
7703 Doctor Watts, are you there? Dr. Watts, Dr. Peggy Watts?
7704 DR. WATTS: Yes, hello?
7705 MR. CUSSONS: Hello. I'm Peter Cussons, Secretary and Manager of the CRTC public hearing.
7706 DR. WATTS: It's a pleasure to have you with us this afternoon.
7707 DR. WATTS: Thank you very much.
7708 MR. CURRIE: And I understand that you are replacing Dr. Chris Beckett who unfortunately suffered a loss in his family.
7709 DR. WATTS: Yes, that's right. Unfortunately, he has gone to England.
7710 MR. CUSSONS: Please convey our condolences to him and we would be pleased to hear your presentation, Dr. Watts.
7711 DR. WATTS: Okay. Are you ready for me now?
7712 MR. CUSSONS: Yes, Madam.
7713 DR. WATTS: Okay.
7714 I would like to thank you, first of all, for the opportunity to provide our comments from Mount St. Vincent University with regard to our partnership with the Atlantic Satellite Network and their contribution to post-secondary education.
7715 MR. CUSSONS: Sorry, Dr. Watts.
7716 Can I ask you to just hold for one second? There is a small glitch here we are just trying to sort out with the sound.
7717 Just one second, please.
7718 DR. WATTS: Sure.
7719 THE CHAIRPERSON: We can hear you -- this is David Colville -- we can hear you in the room, but our court reporter is not getting the sound through to get it on the transcript.
7720 DR. WATTS: Oh, I see.
7721 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm just hoping fixing his problem doesn't make another problem for us.
7722 DR. WATTS: Right.
7723 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you going to be reading from a prepared text?
7724 DR. WATTS: Well, I have some notes that I will read from, yes.
7725 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
7726 DR. WATTS: I won't be reading the whole speech though.
7727 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I was just thinking if it was a prepared text you could fax it to us for transcript purposes.
7728 DR. WATTS: Yes, I can provide you with a copy of my notes.
7729 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. We will go ahead, Doctor, if you can perhaps commence your presentation again.
7730 DR. WATTS: Okay. I would just like to thank you once again for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of Mount Saint Vincent University in support of the effort of satellite network and contributions to post secondary education particularly.
7731 I should point out that I'm speaking as Director of Distance Learning and (Technical difficulties /Difficultés techniques).
7732 A bit of background. You are probably aware that Mount Saint Vincent University primarily do credit courses, but also non-degree courses in foreign languages, two adult learning (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) for over 20 years. As a result of that (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) broadcasting courses on the FM.
7733 Recently we have added online delivery, but television broadcasting media is very popular. In fact, in the current year, beginning say last June (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) Since March we have attracted over 5,300 course registrations through the televised courses, so you can see that that is a very big part of our delivery of distance education.
7734 Since the early 1980s when we began to deliver distance education (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) Department of Educational Broadcasting allowing them to be staffed with people throughout the Atlantic Region of Canada. (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) is now more than 20 hours per week broadcast time available to the university at no charge and thus ASN played a major education role in the Atlantic region.
7735 I would like to point out two ways that are important to us in terms of the contribution that ASN is making to education (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques)
7736 First of all, ASN has been very active through the (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) education acceptable to those who would not otherwise be able to (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) geographically in family responsibilities as former (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) or health needs.
7737 As you know, our economic development is a priority in this region in particular and education is (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) people appreciate their lives and prepare to play strong roles in various economies.
7738 Secondly, I would like to point out that the American canvass only university educated dedicated primarily although not exclusively to the education of women and for many women in the Atlantic provinces, television is the only feasible medium for business course delivery because it is the most acceptable and the most affordable.
7739 ASN's contribution to broadcast time for the (Technical difficulties / Difficultés techniques) women's access process in education.
7740 Over the past 20 years Mount Saint Vincent University has become a leading provider of distance education in this region and I would like to emphasize that we could not have reached this status nor achieved our goals of accessibility and service to women learners without the technical assistance and the broadcast resources of ASN.
7741 Thank you for the opportunity to make these comments.
7742 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Doctor. We appreciate you taking the time to outline the educational programming on ASN.
7743 DR. WATTS: Thank you very much.
7744 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks a lot.
7745 DR. WATTS: Goodbye.
7746 THE CHAIRPERSON: Goodbye.
7747 Mr. Secretary.
7748 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7749 I understand our next intervenor is Mr. Michael Doody, The Easter Seal Telethon.
7750 Mr. Doody. Mr. Doody. Mr. Doody. Mr. Michael Doody.
7751 MR. DOODY: Good afternoon, sir.
7752 MR. CUSSONS: Good afternoon, Mr. Doody.
7753 MR. DOODY: Good afternoon to you.
7754 MR. CUSSONS: It's nice to have you with us at the CRTC hearing. Please proceed with your presentation.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7755 MR. DOODY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission.
7756 It's a pleasure to speak to you today in support of the renewal licence application for MCTV, CITO, CFBL. I do so with a background of being a mayor and councillor over 30 years municipally here in the City of Timmins, but also as a past President on two four year term occasions as President of the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association and presently a member of the Board of Governors of Northern College.
7757 I think it's important to point out, if my memory serves me correctly, that our station here in Timmins is the smallest of the CTV affiliates but serves the largest area, which is something like 290,000 square kilometres, the population being only 155,000.
7758 I think it's important to point out, certainly from my background, the region that we cover: in the north of Moosonee and Moose Factory, to the south New Liskeard, Haileybury and Cobalt and to the west Chapleau and eastwards into Kirkland Lake, but also serving Rouyn-Noranda and Val D'Or. In all these communities basically our livelihoods are on mining, lumbering and tourism and the station here in Timmins plays a very pivotal role in letting us know what is going on throughout our community.
7759 For instance, people in Timmins wanting to know what is on in Moosonee or Moose Factory, what they may going through or to the west of us in Chapleau, even over in Rouyn-Noranda and Val D'Or.
7760 I think that certainly my involvement with the television station the last two years after I retired is that coordinator of the Easter Seal Telethon which I work in cohorts with the television station for the past two years, also working with the television station as they sponsor the largest cultural festival within the whole viewing area which is held every year and sponsored directly by the television station.
7761 Also, the sponsorship of the television stations which runs a Christmas card campaign and has for the past couple of years in supporting the Timmins and District Hospital fundraising initiative for new equipment which they raise in the area on an average of about $60,000.
7762 I think it's very important as we have a shrinking population base with many of our young people once they leave here and go to university and, if I remember correctly, only two in five return to our community.
7763 The regional coverage of local news is very important. MCTV provides that very important link of our community which we call in this part of northeastern Ontario which is really the electoral riding of Timmins-James Bay and Timiskaming-Cochrane.
7764 I was involved in the media for many, many years working. I think a lot of people don't realize -- for instance, to give you an example -- first, to the north of us, which certainly watches our station, if there is a story that happens in Hearst and has to be covered by the station here, it means putting a reporter in his station wagon. It takes him three hours to get up to Hearst. Whether it's an hour or two hours to cover the story and another three hours to get back to Timmins, that's north. It's the same thing if they have to go to New Liskeard, Haileybury or Cobalt, even further if they have to go over into northwestern Quebec.
7765 I know that they cover all the municipal elections in that area, both provincially and federally, so I think people have to understand if they possibly can and get a grip on the distances involved just how important the communications link is that MCTV provides to the population. It's very important.
7766 That's basically what I wanted to say. If there are any questions, I certainly will be agreeable to answer any.
7767 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Doody, for your presentation. We don't have any questions but I would just note that some of us are coming to check out the television station in Timmins next week. As you may know or you may not know, we are having a hearing on the telecom side in Timmins next week, so some of us Commissioners are going to be in your fair town.
7768 MR. DOODY: Well, we certainly are looking forward to having you come to Timmins which, remember, is the city with a heart of gold.
7769 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we are looking forward to that. Thank you for your presentation.
7770 MR. DOODY: Thank you, sir.
7771 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7772 Our next caller I believe is Ms Tammy Frick.
7773 MS FRICK: Yes. Hello.
7774 MR. CUSSONS: Ms Frick, I believe you are with the Cinefest, Sudbury International.
7775 MS FRICK: Yes. The International Film Festival.
7776 MR. CUSSONS: It's Peter Cussons at the CRTC public hearing. Welcome to our hearing. We would be happy to hear your presentation, Ms Frick.
7777 MS FRICK: Great.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7778 MS FRICK: I will just begin basically by giving you a quick little history lesson on Cinefest Sudbury.
7779 The festival is in its thirteenth year. In relation to CTV-MCTV in norther Ontario, they have been involved right from the beginning. They were involved during the inception in 1989 and came on as a sponsor partner in the beginning. George Lund at the time was actually the President of the committee and helped on the steering committee to incorporate some type of feasibility study that enabled the festival to take root in northern Ontario.
7780 MCTV has grown along with the festival. The festival now actually ranks as the fourth largest film festival in Canada. The reason we really wanted to speak today was basically it couldn't have happened without the help of MCTV.
7781 Not only have they been our presenter status sponsor, but they have definitely a medium of choice when it comes for us to get showcase, film trailers and film clips and film information out to the northern public.
7782 They have been a huge contributor in our successes and we are very pleased that they have continued along with us and they are still a big part of the festival and they are looking forward to growing with us in the future as well.
7783 Through them we have been able to incorporate an educational component to the festival. Through their development fund we have incorporated a screen writing workshop. This is where we invite industry representatives to come up and share their expertise with different educational institutions, including the university and colleges in Sudbury.
7784 Besides that, the other area we would like to comment on is MCTV are not only looking at today, but they are definitely looking at the future with us. They have incorporated different prize award structures, so they present an award for the best Ontario film every year and we are presently in the developmental stages of incorporating a video, digital video prize, as well that we are looking to for the next few years anyway.
7785 They don't stop there. They always seem to go over and above.
7786 Just as a final comment, not only from a corporate standpoint but I have to also give a lot of credit to their on-air personalities who have always donated their time to help with the festival and they come out and act as MCs, they help us with film introductions, guest introductions and they have really been a big part of the whole process as well.
7787 That's pretty much what we have to add.
7788 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Frick.
7789 MS FRICK: Thank you very much.
7790 THE CHAIRPERSON: We appreciate you taking the time to state your views on this.
7791 MS FRICK: Okay.
7792 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary.
7793 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7794 Our next intervenor is Ms Patti Gardi. Ms Gardi, are you there?
7795 MS GARDI: Yes, I am.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7796 MS GARDI: Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and panellists. In my capacity as the General Manager of the Sault Symphony Orchestra, an association that was founded 28 years ago in the Sault, I would like the CRTC to know that we have used MCTV's commercial vehicle to promote our concerts and our various fundraisers.
7797 MCTV provides all non-profit groups with a 50 per cent discount in their regular advertising rates. This is extremely helpful to small non-profit groups. Without this discount, our access to the Sault Ste. Marie MCTV station would be very limited.
7798 I would like to make a number of suggestions on how MCTV could expand their support to the arts groups in the Sault.
7799 Number one, there are a number of program capsules that MCTV insert into their daily telecast schedule that capture the character and the style of Sault Ste. Marie. These are great. An example would be the montage of scenes that incorporates the city's waterfront, including the boardwalk, shipping run, St. Mary's River, Roberta Bondar Pavilion and other attractions.
7800 I would like to recommend that the communities arts groups be included in these MCTV capsules of community life. Per capita Sault Ste. Marie is one of the largest and most active cities for the arts. I refer here to the visual arts with our art galleries, theatre with musical comedy and drama and, of course, music with our 60 piece symphony orchestra.
7801 Number two, MCTV telecasts on a Monday to Friday basis a feature titled "Local Look". It's scheduled in the six to seven p.m. news hour and is very popular with the community.
7802 Since this segment is videotaped prior to broadcast, I see no reason why it could not be re-run as part of the following day's noon edition on MCTV. This would provide additional exposure for the many local groups that use this segment.
7803 Three, MCTV provides excellent regional coverage of news programming, exposing events in news and other northern Ontario markets to Sault Ste. Marie viewers. Similarly, North Bay and Timmins get exposed to news events which occur in the Sault.
7804 However, when we see coverage on a weekend cast for the Sudbury Symphony and we are unable to obtain similar coverage for the Sault Symphony, you can understand why our Board of Directors gets quite upset.
7805 MCTV's news director has told us that there is a limited news crew on duty over the weekend, and as a result, there is no time to cover our concert presentations. This is most unfortunate. We feel that this is not fair because it projects a false image that Sudbury is the only symphony orchestra in northern Ontario. In fact, there is a very active and successful symphony in Timmins, one in North Bay, as well as the Sault and Sudbury.
7806 I would suggest that since the 2001/2002 season brochures are now available, the news directors in the cities involved agree to a coverage plan that would give all four orchestras news coverage on a weekend that they have a concert and do this on a rotation basis. This would be fair to all concerned and would project an image that the north is culturally alive.
7807 I certainly do support the renewal of MCTV's license. I am confident that the management of this CTV group of stations want to achieve a strong local awareness with their viewers. It is our wish that the local MCTV station here in Sault Ste. Marie will continue to expand opportunities for our community to access their local stations. This is vital and contributes to expanding the community's respect of MCTV.
7808 Thank you and I hope you have much success with your conference.
7809 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Gardi. I'm sure that MCTV will take your specific recommendation into consideration when they are choosing to reflect their own local community. We thank you for those.
7810 MS GARDI: Thank you very much.
7811 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye-bye.
7812 MS GARDI: Bye-bye.
7813 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, our next intervenor is Mr. Joe Clark. Mr. Clark, are you there?
7814 MR. CLARK: I am here.
7815 MR. CUSSONS: Please proceed, sir, and nice to have you with us.
7816 MR. CLARK: The pleasure is all mine.
7817 Can someone please explain what the format of this is. I'm used to the televised interventions and I don't quite know what to do.
7818 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Clark, it's David Colville, the Chairman. If you would just go ahead and make your presentation. The panel is sitting here and we are just sitting here listening to you just as if you were here in the room with us.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7819 MR. CLARK: All right then.
7820 I'm pleased to intervene in the matter of the CTV license renewals specifically on the topic of media access and in particular audio description. Let me give you some background about myself.
7821 I go back over 20 years in the field of media access. Back when I was a teenager I started watching caption television, this was well before closed-captioning was invented, and I have stuck with it ever since.
7822 I have written over a dozen articles on captioning and audio description. I was a working journalist for ten years with over 390 published articles. Gave an early paper back in 1989 about captioning requirements for high definition television. I briefed a Parliamentary sub-committee on the Broadcasting Act, which now regulates the CRTC as a matter of fact. I run the media access mailing list on the internet, which you can find if you go on line at joeclark.org/access. Many of my links are available there.
7823 I have signed a contract with New Riders Publishing, and I am writing a book on the topic of web accessibility, to be called "Building Accessible Websites," and that is coming out in October 2001. I have sufficient renown or infamy that a journalist is writing a profile on me for the Atlantic Monthly, to be called, "The King of Closed Captions," and that is scheduled for the July 2001 issue.
7824 If there is anyone in Canada who knows more about accessible media, I haven't met that person.
7825 Now, I have got a couple of things to say about the topic of audio description in general. First I would like to commend CTV for having the guts to be the first Canadian broadcaster to actually commit to do some audio description. I should really credit BCE because the first inkling we had that there would be some commit to real audio description was with the category 1 digital speciality channels, Réseau Info Sport and the Women's Sport Network which are now BCE properties committed to a hundred hours a year, I believe, of audio descriptions.
7826 So we knew that good things were coming down the pipe. There was also the two million dollar contribution to Audiovision Canada which gives them the base funding for five years.
7827 So I am actually pleased to see that CTV has committed to, in the fullness of time by their end of their license term, two new hours of Canadian described programming a week and two hours of repeats. That should actually be upgraded to four new hours of Canadian programming. It should be on a par with the Americans. It is a bit of chintzy, I think, to put through your license commitments for accessibility through the back door of repeats.
7828 Now, let's talk about audio description in general.
7829 First, a very important procedural note. The CRTC broadcasters and intervenors have been making a serious mistake for the last two years in consistently referring to audio description as descriptive video service or descriptive video. Those are not generic terms. The descriptive video service is a unit of the WGBH Educational Foundation. They do audio description through offices in Boston and Los Angeles. Descriptive video service and DVS are registered service marks of the WGBH Educational Foundation.
7830 You have no more right to refer to audio description in general has DVS or descriptive video, than you do to refer to tissues as Kleenex. Everyone may do it. The fact remains that in this particular issue DVS may have become synonymous with audio description because they do more of it than anyone else in the world, but DVS and descriptive video are not generic terms per se.
7831 So it's important for the Commission and the Commission broadcasters and all intervenors to start referring to audio description by its true generic term, which is audio description.
7832 Now, the FCC has unfortunately muddied the waters a bit by introducing the term video description into the legislative record in the United States. We have to live with that synonym now being on the books, but it is not the case that DVS and descriptive video or descriptive video service are generic terms for audio description. So from this point forward, now that the CRTC really knows that they have been doing something wrong, I hope that all future documents and discussions can refer to audio description and not DVS or descriptive video programming.
7833 Moving right along, I wonder -- it strikes me as odd that after nearly 20 years of closed captioning, the CTRC seems so eager to recapitulate the mistakes it made with the introduction of closed captioning, now with the introduction of audio description. The Commission seems to be treating audio description as some kind of new technological or medical breakthrough that gets written up in a medical journal, and something we are cautioned that will not have widespread applicability for five to ten years.
7834 In reality, audio description on North American programming has been a fixture since 1988 which is when the first tests were run, what would then become the descriptive video service of WGBH. It's a regular feature of broadcast television over the air, cable, speciality channels since 1990. It is very late in the day for the Commission even to pretend that audio description is a new concept that is only now being applicable to the Canadian broadcasting system.
7835 In fact, broadcasters in Canada have been remiss for the last ten years in not providing any substantial amounts of audio described programming. I think it is incumbent on the CRTC to acknowledge its own failings in this regard.
7836 Now, the Commission is not renowned for being completely up to speed on popular culture or what is actually on television. I really get the impression that the CRTC Commissioners and staff don't watch a lot of TV and don't know what is going on. Certainly we could not possibly have gotten that impression from the recent Bell ExpressVu porn channel problem.
7837 Now, it would be nice if the Commission could acknowledge that audio description has been going on every day of the week with no particular problems for ten years in the United States and that it is coming to the party rather embarrassingly late about this. Moreover, the Commission blew it in a very substantial way with the category 1 digital specialty channels licenses. Pretty much whatever the applicants proposed for captioning and audio description, both, were particularly rubber-stamped by the Commission.
7838 In fact I spent several weeks going over the commitments for our broadcasters and the requirements by the CRTC when it comes to captioning and audio description. I collated all that information and put it into a big table which is available on my website at joeclark.org/access; you will find the link there. I found out no matter what the broadcasters proposed for captioning and audio description it was simply approved.
7839 If, for example, a broadcaster promised to do ten per cent captioning the first year, that was accepted. If a different broadcaster promised to do a hundred per cent captioning the first year, that was also accepted. If a broadcaster pledged to do no audio description whatsoever because they had no plans, as for example most of the French language broadcasters said, we have no plans in this area, short and sweet for them, then that was accepted.
7840 If, however, in the two cases mentioned before, the Réseau Info Sport and Women's Sports Network, the broadcaster did actually have the courage to say that we would commit to audio scheduling. That too was accepted.
7841 Now, the Commission has not been in the forefront of requiring accessibility to the broadcasting service. We have heard complaints for years, I mean since day zero of captioning that accessibility is too expensive. In fact, in the Broadcasting Act broadcasters are required to provide services for disabled audiences where funding permits. I'm just paraphrasing the Act. You all know what it actually says.
7842 Isn't it a funny thing though that broadcasters have consistently said for almost 20 years that accessibility cost them too much money but they always managed to find the funds to start new digital specialty channels and new analogue channels. Isn't it a funny thing that CTV claimed for years that captioning cost a lot of money, but later they started satellite networks like the Comedy Network and Outdoor Life Network in which they have a full ownership or partial.
7843 It's a very strange thing. I mean we get this from all the broadcast conglomerates in Canada, CHUM Ltd., Chorus, all of them. They will all complain that some kind of accessibility whether it is captioning or audio description costs too much money, but they always manage to find the money to put together even just the applications for dozens of broadcasting channels, which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars just to complete.
7844 So the claim by broadcasters that it doesn't -- that it costs too much money to provide accessibility is clearly false. The Commission has been complicit with broadcasters in perpetuating the lie that accessibility is too expensive for the Canadian broadcasting system. If that were really true, we wouldn't have so many dozens of Canadian speciality channels because the broadcasters wouldn't have been able to afford them. If they can't afford to make existing television channels accessible, how can they afford to start up new channels.
7845 Besides it has hardly been stated by what is currently the monopoly provider of audio description in Canada, Audiovision Canada, that they do description for about $2,500 per broadcast hour.
7846 Now, if we are doing four original hours a week, that is about $10,000 a week, which is half a million dollars a year. Now I am sure it cost CTV more than to schlep 20 people to Ottawa for these hearings. It cost -- I mean the cost to produce audio description are a drop in the bucket. It's true that the technical infrastructure costs are substantially more expensive but it is not as thought a large corporation like CTV owned by an enormous conglomerate like BCE can't actually afford that expenditure.
7847 Moving right along, it seems that since audio description has been on North American television since 1988 but we are only now talking about having a commitment to regularly scheduled audio description in Canada, by the end of the broadcast term, the license term that we are discussing now for CTV, seven years from now, that will be about 2008, at that point a whole 20 years will have passed since the introduction of audio description on Canadian television and its reasonably widespread use on the regularly scheduled airways in Canada.
7848 Now, if you are a deaf or hard of hearing person who had to wait 20 years for captioning or a blind or visually impaired person who had to wait 20 years for audio description, even though you were paying the same rates for your cable television and for your specialty channels as everyone else, would you think that there might be something amiss with this. Can you say lost generation?
7849 Why is it exactly that -- since we are now getting our act together and doing much more captioning in Canada, even though the quality -- it just isn't there at present for pre-recorded programming, we are still expecting blind and visually impaired people to have waited 20 years since it was introduced on American television before we get regularly scheduled amounts of audio description on Canadian TV.
7850 Now, could it possibly be that not only have the Canadian broadcasters tried to pull the wool over our eyes and claim that they have not been able to afford audio description or captioning, for that matter, over the last 20 years, but the CRTC has actually gone along with this and sort of covered it up and found much more interesting things to talk about it.
7851 Oh, I don't know. I seem to recall the license renewal for Much Music, what two or three cycles ago, which spent five or six pages discussing whether the program "Ren and Stimpy" was properly categorized, was a musical program. It didn't even mention captioning even though I intervened on that specific topic.
7852 I think the performance of the CRTC is quite poor in this regard given that it is commendable for CTV to put its money where its mouth is and finally commit to providing audio description in large measure on Canadian television. It isn't sufficient. We need more -- we need conditions of license for all broadcasters from now going forward into the future is make sure that the people -- that blind and visionally impaired Canadians who are paying the same amount for television services as non-disabled Canadians at least have access to that resource.
7853 I would be pleased to answer questions at this point.
7854 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Clark, for your presentation. I don't think we have any questions, but I would just note, if you have been following the discussion over last week between the Commission and CTV and Global, that they have both agreed to move on this issue. I think that the question about too expensive has been taken off the table and that both groups have agreed to proceed.
7855 Notwithstanding that, we certainly appreciate your presentation and your support of us moving on this audio description issue, and we will try to be more mindful of using the correct term as we go forward.
7856 Thank you for your presentation.
7857 Mr. Secretary?
7858 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
7859 Our next intervenor is Ms Maureen Hemphill of the Pro Canada Committee.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7860 MR. CUSSONS: Ms Hemphill, are you there?
7861 MS HEMPHILL: I am.
7862 MR. CUSSONS: Please proceed with your presentation, and welcome to our hearing.
7863 MS HEMPHILL: Thank you very much.
7864 For over a decade the Pro Canada Committee has represented and advocated for Manitoba's ethnocultural communities. Our present mandate is to examine Manitoba's broadcasting system to see if ethnic communities are fairly and adequately represented by Canadian broadcasters.
7865 The CRTC broadcasting policy states that the Canadian broadcasting system is required to reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canada, and in particular to provide access for underserved linguistic, cultural minority communities.
7866 This suggests that we start from a position of underrepresentation of minority communities, and this is a matter of concern to everyone, particularly Canadian broadcasters and the CRTC.
7867 Those given the privilege of holding a broadcasting licence are required to give special attention to these underserved minorities.
7868 Manitoba is the most multicultural province in Canada. Our ethnic communities account for over one-half of Manitoba's total population.
7869 So the questions we are here to ask today are: Is Global Television's local television adequately and fairly representing Manitoba's ethnic population, and do their programs adequately reflect the multicultural nature of this province?
7870 For the answer to these questions, we examined Global's application for renewal, their answers to the CRTC questions on cultural diversity and their response to the interventions filed on this topic. We do not feel that the information provided by Global on existing programs adequately reflects the multicultural nature of Manitoba.
7871 We looked at programs of two minority communities, the aboriginal and ethnocultural. We assumed the examples provided by Global are an accurate reflection of their priorities.
7872 The program list under "Aboriginal Communities" -- and these are Global's words:
"We are particularly proud of our work with First Nations communities. This has produced programming that deals with the tough social issues those communities face. These programs have only been possible because of the constructive relationship being developed with First Nations communities." (As read)
7873 In their limited programs they state that in 1995-97 CKMD produced six half-hour specials entitled "First Nations". They tackled highly relevant issues, such as self-government and aboriginal education.
7874 Under the news reflection of the community, Global's words are that their news coverage provides a comprehensive, inclusive reflection of the Winnipeg community.
7875 Under the news category, Global created a special aboriginal category. They listed at 15 topics under this category that dealt with many very important issues: suicide epidemics on northern reserves; aboriginals in prison -- too high a percentage compared to their numbers in society; and the aboriginal diabetes crisis, to name a few.
7876 In their effort to represent aboriginal communities, Global produced programs that dealt with issues highly relevant to the aboriginal people, and we commend them for their efforts to fairly represent these communities. This minority is clearly one of Global's top priorities.
7877 We were interested to see if the same effort was made to adequately and fairly represent Manitoba's ethnocultural communities. Manitoba's ethnocultural communities did not warrant a special category. They were put under a category called "Distinct Groups", where they were lumped in with the Christmas Cheer Campaign, the Parade of Lights, breast cancer, the Salvation Army, and homophobia.
7878 The category "Distinct Groups" listed 17 topics. Four of them represented ethnocultural communities: black history conference on minorities; Filipino community classes; Sikh and Muslim celebrations; Kosovo and Sierra Leone refugees come to Winnipeg.
7879 The category "Community Production" listed 24 topics, three representing the ethnocultural community: Italian coffee bar; Curacos(ph), an immigrant family operating Winnipeg's best known business; and a profile on an African American drummer.
7880 They also had a news special: "Swept Away: Hurricane Mitch", which captured the connection between the devastation left by the hurricane to Honduran immigrants living in Winnipeg.
7881 The category "Providing Diversity" had one topic: multicultural and folklore festivals in Manitoba.
7882 These stories are simply reporting on community-sponsored activities and simply profiling ethnic individuals. Where is the coverage of the highly relevant social issues facing the ethnocultural communities of Manitoba?
7883 In comparison, Global's news coverage in Calgary lists 13 topics and 11 represent ethnocultural communities: Filipinos working as nannies; reports from the Latin American community on racism and police brutality; and local Tibetan communities concerned over China's atrocities in Tibet.
7884 Alberta has a very small ethnic population, but they are focusing on social issues of great importance to these minority communities.
7885 The differences between the Calgary and Winnipeg ethnic programming is a clear demonstration of what can happen when local station managers are responsible for deciding how to implement CRTC policies and regulations.
7886 Under "Roles and Responsibilities" Global suggests that we leave local programming to local station managers, who are in the best position to reflect their communities. We believe that broadcasters are responsible for programming, not station managers.
7887 Global is very reluctant to issue guidelines to protect minority communities either for their documentaries or to their station managers.
7888 Minorities are protected through guidelines and regulations. The CRTC regulations are in place to give directions to broadcasters. Where are Global's guidelines to give directions to station managers?
7889 Global wants a flexible regulatory framework in order to compete in a highly competitive market. We agree that they need flexibility, except in the case where a fundamental principle of the CRTC is not being followed.
7890 In this case the CRTC has a very important role to both encourage and require broadcasters to meet their regulatory requirements.
7891 We believe that Global is not adequately or fairly representing Manitoba's ethnocultural communities and does not at this time accurately reflect the multicultural nature of Manitoba's population.
7892 We have five recommendations: (1) that the CRTC carry out a study to determine whether or not Canada's minority populations are adequately and fairly represented by the Canadian broadcasting system; (2) that Global Television develop a partnership with the ethnocultural communities of Manitoba in order to find opportunities to better represent them in all levels of programming -- news, specials, documentaries and community production; (3) that Global develop policies and guidelines for local station managers to produce programs that adequately and fairly represent the ethnocultural communities of Manitoba and that reflect the multicultural nature of Manitoba; (4) that Global priorize Manitoba's ethnocultural communities as an important segment of Manitoba's population and one that deserves to be adequately and fairly represented; and (5) that Global set very clear and specific guidelines for their 36 hour-long regional documentaries they are planning so that the minority community interests will be represented in the documentaries.
7893 Our conclusion is that one of the most important measures of any regulatory body is how they treat our minority communities. Our Canadian broadcasting system helps define who we are as a nation and as people.
7894 We ask the CRTC to protect the rights of our minority communities, which are still underserved and still underrepresented by the broadcasting system.
7895 We thank you for this opportunity to speak for and to advocate on behalf of the ethnocultural communities of Manitoba.
7896 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Hemphill.
7897 I believe that Commissioner Cardozo has a question or two for you.
7898 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Hello, Ms Hemphill. Thanks very much for your written communication and your presentation today.
7899 Can you hear me okay?
7900 MS HEMPHILL: I can.
7901 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: I want to tell you first that your presentation -- I think, with a few others on the same subject -- has been quite instrumental in moving this agenda ahead over the past week. The Commission had similar concerns and views voiced in our TV policy a couple of years ago, but it has been very helpful to have your detailed analysis that you have outlined today.
7902 There are a couple of things. First, we got a more detailed response from Global, dated April 9. I don't know if you have a copy of it, but I am sure they will be willing to send you a copy.
7903 MS HEMPHILL: Yes, I have the one dated April 9.
7904 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: In that there is quite a bit more information about some of the things that they have done over the past term across the country.
7905 MS HEMPHILL: Yes. I went through it very carefully, because we had asked in our original written presentation -- we said that it doesn't reflect -- you don't reflect it in what you are saying.
7906 When I got this next document, I looked through it very carefully, and while it does spell out across the country some very good initiatives, the items that were raised and listed relative to Manitoba were exactly the same ones that had been listed in previous documents.
7907 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay. We talked to a number of local managers, as well, from across the country, from Winnipeg and elsewhere, and there was quite a bit of coverage, I thought -- more in terms of multicultural issues -- perhaps a bit more in the area of festivals and events, and perhaps a bit less in the area of human interest and hard news.
7908 MS HEMPHILL: Yes. That is the point we were trying to make here.
7909 First of all, the terms of --
7910 And we are not even suggesting that the aboriginal community is adequately presented and represented. At this point we are not in a position to say that. But when looking at the two of them, it was clear that they were receiving a higher priority, that they had a larger number of all types of programming, and the big point was that they were dealing with hard, tough social issues that really were important issues to those communities, and there has been very little of that kind for the ethnocultural communities in Manitoba.
7911 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Okay, I hear you there.
7912 Let me tell you, in terms of this discussion with Global, at the end of our discussion they made a few commitments. They agreed to participate in a task force that the Commission had endorsed the idea of back in 1999, an industry-community task force, which I think would really deal with the kind of thing you were talking about in your first recommendation, in terms of a CRTC study on the status of things now.
7913 MS HEMPHILL: Great.
7914 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Second, if we request it in our renewal decision, they will be willing to file a detailed action plan. They outlined six points. I don't have them all right here. Seeing that I am not the PR person for Global, I won't go overboard here, but I will just say that they outlined a number of points, which included employment equity, reflection of minority programming issues, news issues, and they were also willing to file an annual report on their progress in this area.
7915 Is this the kind of --
7916 MS HEMPHILL: That is very helpful. I think it is very helpful.
7917 I didn't deal with those other issues because of the time constraint. You really have to decide to focus very narrowly to try to make a point, not all of the points.
7918 In what they filed, they are focusing a lot on visible minorities. They talk a lot about visible minorities. And, of course, our visible minority population is about 75,000 in Manitoba, and a very small portion is in our ethnoculture communities. So there is a big area there.
7919 But I think that would be very helpful, those two things.
7920 But I think the issue of not producing guidelines is a really important issue. When they explain that it always sounds so good, because the flexibility is for the local programming people who know their communities and are in the best position to reflect what the needs are, and not to have the direction come from above.
7921 But I think when you are dealing with minorities you have to have some guidelines that are passed on to the station managers so that they have something to follow. Otherwise, you get the disparities and the differences across the country, where some station managers are doing a lot better job than others on the minority issues, where all communities are entitled to the same access.
7922 It is kind of like a fundamental principle that they cannot hand over to the station managers that hold the responsibility for it, and I think the way to ensure that is to provide some fairly basic guidelines on the requirements of station managers to meet some of the minority communities' needs.
7923 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Can I just ask you then in closing, whether this is an ongoing priority of your Committee and whether you would be interested in being part of this industry community task force and pursue precisely that type of issue among any others --
7924 MS HEMPHILL: Yes, I think that it has been the start of -- we have actually started a number of months ago with the cablevision. People had the -- the ethnic programs in Manitoba were all brought by cablevision. So that became our first issue and we became interested in what the other broadcasters were doing. And so it has been a major ongoing issue for the Committee.
7925 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Yes, we have heard from you on that issue.
7926 Okay. Well, that covers my questions.
7927 Thanks very much for your presentation and also for the detail that you had provided and I hope you will be interested in continuing to work on the issue and moving the issue forward.
7928 MS HEMPHILL: Thanks very much.
7929 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks.
7930 MS HEMPHILL: We appreciate the opportunity.
7931 COMMISSIONER CARDOZO: Not at all. Thanks. Bye-bye.
7932 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, our next intervenor is Serge Felicetti, the City of Niagara Falls Business Development.
7933 Good afternoon. Am I pronouncing your name correctly, sir?
7934 MR. FELICETTI: Yes, you are.
7935 MR. CUSSONS: Excellent. Welcome to our hearing.
7936 Please proceed.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7937 MR. FELICETTI: Again, I just wanted to reconfirm our support of CH's application.
7938 We have had a very successful partnership with them for the last three years on several events that we do here in the community.
7939 One is called the "Festival of Lights" which runs from November to January and they are a major partner with us in televising our New Year's Eve show which features basically only Canadian artists and they are also involved with another event we do to launch our spring season, spring/summer, called the "Blossom Festival" here in Niagara that actually commences May 18th and runs until the 28th.
7940 So they are very much involved with our community in several special events, in promoting the events, and actually becoming corporate partners with us.
7941 So I can almost say that without their support, we would not have realized the success that these two events have brought to the community. The "Festival of Lights" draws over a million visitors and last year at the "Blossom Festival", which was our first year, we drew something like 250,000 visitors and CH was instrumental in helping to deliver all these visitors to our community.
7942 So they have been a great partner. We are working with them on several other initiatives so the relationship has been topnotch with CH.
7943 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that your presentation, Mr. Felicetti?
7944 MR. FELICETTI: Yes, I think it was just a comment on how we work with them from our end and that they have been a key integral part of some of the events and activities that we have been hosting in this community.
7945 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much for taking the time to voice your support then.
7946 MR. FELICETTI: Thank you.
7947 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye-bye.
7948 MR. CUSSONS: Next, we have Mr. Wayne Rogers of the Variety Club of Manitoba.
7949 Mr. Rogers, are you there?
7950 MR. ROGERS: I am.
7951 MR. CUSSONS: Welcome to our hearing, Mr. Rogers.
7952 MR. ROGERS: Thank you very much.
7953 MR. CUSSONS: We are happy to hear your presentation.
7954 Please proceed, sir.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7955 MR. ROGERS: Well, I just wanted to certainly lend our support to the licensing application for Global in Winnipeg. They have been a huge supporter of Variety over the past 20 years, certainly in regards to their commitment to the community.
7956 I know we have held a telethon every year for the past 20 years and certainly without Global's support it wouldn't have been attainable, and we have raised well over $17 million in that period of time. I know Global has been particularly generous with their support and production capabilities, or whatever, over the past 20 years. So their support to us is just incredible really.
7957 Certainly in regards to the staff, the Global staff, production staff, on-air staff have been extremely supportive over the years as well in regards to their public service fundraisers that they attend on behalf of Variety, but certainly in regards to the Global's commitment to Variety over the years it has been rather extraordinary and we appreciate everything they do for us and have done over the past 20 years.
7958 I don't know if there are any question on that end or not in regards to what Global does, but basically with their involvement with our annual telethon, and certainly throughout the year with their support, it's really quite extraordinary really.
7959 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you, Mr. Rogers, for your presentation this afternoon.
7960 MR. ROGERS: My pleasure and thank Global.
7961 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye-bye.
7962 MR. ROGERS: Bye-bye.
7963 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear an intervention from Mr. Ken Howland.
7964 Mr. Howland? Mr. Ken Howland? Mr. Howland, are you there, sir?
7965 MR. HOWLAND: Yes, I am.
7966 MR. CUSSONS: Welcome to the CRTC hearing, Mr. Howland.
7967 Please proceed.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7968 MR. HOWLAND: Thank you very much. I appreciate the Commissioners providing this opportunity for people to have input from distance places such as Saskatoon.
7969 While the majority of my comments will focus on CFQC Television in Saskatoon, I do wish to acknowledge the integral role that CFQC Television plays in the CTV network in Saskatchewan.
7970 As you know, Saskatchewan has a small population and there is significant movement between the major urban centres. As one who has lived in Regina, Moose Jaw, Prince Alberta and now Saskatoon, I am interested in what is happening in each of those communities. The CTV network in Saskatchewan with stations in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Yorkton, provides province-wide coverage of news, cultural events and sports.
7971 A reporter from one of those stations will invariably be present to cover stories of local interest and provide that throughout the provincial network.
7972 Certainly one example that I'm familiar with in their involvement on a provincial cause was for our professional football team, the Saskatchewan Rough Riders, who undertook a major fundraising effort to raise funds for a new artificial turf, and a former executive with CTV and CKCK Television in Regina, Bruce Cowie, chaired that very successful effort to raise over one million dollars.
7973 For the past 15 years, I have been an active community volunteer in Saskatoon. During that time, I have come to fully appreciate the sustaining and central roles CFQC Television plays in supporting and enhancing the quality of life in Saskatoon through their support of a broad range of community initiatives.
7974 Employees at CFQC Television, from production staff to on-air personalities and management play an active role within Saskatoon's volunteer and charitable sector as volunteers themselves in addition to providing their professional and production expertise to support community projects and causes. And certainly the announcers with CFQC Television are popular choices to serve as MCs for a host of community functions.
7975 As examples of their contributions, as a key corporate citizen in Saskatoon, I offer you the following:
7976 When Saskatoon started its "Crime Stoppers" program in 1987, CFQC Television volunteered to produce the weekly crime reenactment for the program. Fourteen years later, they are still devoting staff and production facilities to produce the "Crime of the Week" as a community service at no charge to this community-based program.
7977 In addition, unlike the producing television stations in most other cities across North America, CFQC Television has been willing to share the "Crime of the Week" video with other television stations and our cable station in Saskatoon to ensure the widest possible viewing audience and thus enhance the effectiveness of the program.
7978 "Crime Stoppers International" each year provides awards in recognition of outstanding video reenactments and CFQC Television has received such awards.
7979 For 34 years, CFQC Television has sponsored Saskatoon's "Citizen of the Year" program. This prestigious award attracts great interest in Saskatoon and has served to provide public recognition to outstanding citizens in our city. CFQC sponsors a public luncheon to honour each year's recipient.
7980 CFQC Television has been instrumental on the success of Saskatoon's United Way Campaign on an annual basis. Without the volunteer commitment of management and staff, supplemented by marketing assistance, public service announcements and a donation of production and air time, the United Way in Saskatoon could not have achieved the successes that it has.
7981 The Saskatoon Foundation is Saskatoon's community foundation. CFQC Television produced at their cost a promotional video which has proved very useful in educating the public about the role of the Saskatoon Foundation and building the case for support of this foundation which does so much to enhance the quality of life in Saskatoon.
7982 Family Service Saskatoon is a charitable organization that provides counselling services and employee assistance programs in Saskatoon. One of their major fundraisers is a dinner and auction. CFQC Television is a major sponsor and through they CTV affiliation they arranged from Mike Duffy in 1999 and Jeff Hutchison in 2000 to be the celebrity guest speaker. Staff from the station volunteer on organizing committees and through public service announcements to ensure the success of this essential fundraiser.
7983 Saskatoon has been privileged to host many national events such as the Jeux Canada Games, Memorial Cup and Labatt Brier in 1989, the World Junior Hockey Championships in 1991, the Canadian Special Olympic Winter Games in 1992, the University Cup Hockey Championships in 1998 through 2000, and the Labatt Brier in 2000.
7984 CFQC Television provided outstanding local coverage and support for each of those events and others which created an awareness and support for the events.
7985 I have had personal involvement with personnel from CFQC Television for most of the activities I have discussed briefly with you. Other volunteers in Saskatoon would have an equally long list of other community events and causes that CFQC Television has supported.
7986 They take their role in contributing to this community very seriously and they are a valued corporate citizen.
7987 Without qualification, I fully support your licence renewal and I know that their renewal will be viewed in Saskatoon as well deserved.
7988 I look forward to their continued leadership in promoting and enhancing the quality of life in the community they serve.
7989 Thank you very much.
7990 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Howland for your presentation today.
7991 MR. HOWLAND: Thank you. Bye.
7992 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye-bye.
7993 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, our next intervenor is Ms Susan Lamb.
7994 Ms Lamb, are you there?
7995 MS LAMB: I am.
7996 MR. CUSSONS: Ms Lamb, please proceed with your presentation.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
7997 MS LAMB: Thank you.
7998 Mr. Colville, Commissioners. I am pleased to support CFQC TV in Saskatoon in their presentation before you.
7999 I want to talk about CFQC as a community-minded station who is very involved in supporting community endeavours all through Saskatoon.
8000 I currently am the Chief Executive Officer of a conservation agency that is responsible for about 80 kilometres of river in around Saskatoon and before that I ran the local Tourism Authority. So I have had a lot of opportunity to see CFQC as it has played its part in this community.
8001 CFQC has been in Saskatoon since 1954, so almost a half a century since they first went on the air, and they now have become a part of the fabric of our city.
8002 What I am going to do is talk to you briefly about some of the things they are involved with, some very specific things, and then talk more generally at the end.
8003 Some of the civic things include a partnership with the Kinsmen Telemiracle Foundation and they have had that for more than 25 years and they rely very heavily on CFQC for public awareness and promotion. The telethon last 20 hours and raises up to $3.5 million for worthy causes mainly to do with handicapped people.
8004 I remember when that started 25 years ago and they raised a million dollars that first year and everyone said, "You can't do it, you can't do it" and they did. It's record breaking.
8005 They also work very closely with the school boards as a means of getting important educational information to the community and I know Bruce Shepard will be or has told you about their involvement with the Diefenbaker Centre. So I won't go into detail about that, but it has to do with citizenship and leadership in Canada.
8006 They support the United Way through voluntarism by staff and management, but they also provide PSAs, marketing assistance and technical expertise.
8007 They support the Saskatchewan Youth Talent Search in conjunction with the Prairie Land Exhibition and that helps youth throughout our community and showcases young talent from across the province.
8008 They support the Saskatoon Police Service through "Crime Stoppers" -- it's one of the most successful in North America -- and the Crime Stoppers Student Program is a model for other school programs across North America.
8009 They also work very closely with the hospital foundations and the one particular, the City Hospital Foundation, raises funds for the purchase of medical equipment and they have done free on-air promotions, local news, talk shows, news coverage.
8010 The Hospital Foundation has a very major event, the Festival Trees and the Enchanted Forest. They have worked very closely to help promote those two events. Those events are involved with another program that very specifically is going to enter these events on a nation-wide competition. I know they are going to win because they get tremendous support in the community but also tremendous publicity for our community as a local destination and as a tourist destination.
8011 They have been involved with the food bank for many years through the Tree of Plenty fundraiser. I think it's really interesting that in the first year they got 3,000 kilograms of food and $3,000 in cash. They now raise annually 113,000 kilograms of food and $141,000 in cash. That was in 2000. That's 30 per cent of the bank's annual budget.
8012 For Mewassin(ph), they are currently supporting our chemical national Mewassin campaign with $125,000 in public service and free advertising which really helps us as we go out in the community to try and raise awareness of Mewassin and the conservation work we do in the community.
8013 The other thing that I think CFQC that I see them doing is playing a really strong leadership role in the cultural and racial diversity of our community, particularly the aboriginal people in Saskatoon are playing a more and more important role in the social and economic future of this community. CHQC has been a real leader in helping that take place. It's critical to the future of this province that the aboriginal peoples, Indian and Metis, take their rightful place in the community.
8014 They work through things like the Junior Chamber of Commerce, the Metis Nation of Saskatchewan and the Saskatoon Tribal Council to implement entrepreneurship among the youth through these communities. They have also done things like Race Relations Month, International Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Natural Aboriginal Day and FolkFest. All have benefited from that.
8015 I think part of the reason that they are so successful in that is that it's a Saskatchewan network so there's Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Regina and Yorkton. The four stations feed off one another so that we in Saskatoon see stories from Regina or Yorkton or Prince Albert so it reflects the community very well. It reflects our provincial community and also helps reflect the aboriginal community because many of those are in northern Saskatchewan.
8016 CFQC provides a very valued news service and they are the television news in this city. I don't think anybody would question that. They are an excellent source of information.
8017 In nearly 50 years CFQC has always been part of this community. They continue to be that. It's ever-increasing. I appeal to Gerry McLeod, the local Manager, that we have got to stop meeting like this because he seems to be out there in the community very often, at all the charitable events and supporting the community.
8018 They are really a player in Saskatoon and they are a key component in telling us about ourselves, our strengths, our weaknesses and our problems and I am proud to support them today.
8019 Thank you.
8020 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Lamb. Your presentation and others are giving us a good flavour for the local reflection of various stations across the country. Thanks again.
8021 MS LAMB: Good.
8022 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye, bye.
8023 MS LAMB: Bye, bye.
8024 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, our next intervenor is Shael Gelfand.
8025 MR. GELFAND: That's correct. Shael.
8026 MR. CUSSONS: Shael. Thank you for the correct, sir, and welcome to our hearing.
8027 MR. GELFAND: Thank you very much for the invitation.
8028 MR. CUSSONS: And we are happy to hear your presentation.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8029 MR. GELFAND: As you mentioned, my name is Shael Gelfand and my company is The Media House here in Calgary. It produces television and videos for a variety of clients. We also have a growing media consulting and training business.
8030 I am here on the phone with you to intervene and support the CFCN-CTV licence renewal application.
8031 I think first of all it's fair to say that no one can fully predict the directions Canada's broadcasting industry will take in the next decade. Just at these hearings there has been considerable discussion about cross-ownership issues, particularly in the newsroom, newspaper and television newsrooms of Canada. In fact, it's interesting to see the amount of coverage and the kind of coverage CTV, Global, Southam and the Globe and Mail provided on these proceedings, but I think that's for another discussion.
8032 Suffice to say that having spent almost 20 years as a broadcast journalist, one thing I can predict is that we will continue to see television and newspaper newsrooms working closer together. It won't be too long when newsrooms are advertising for the hybrid print/broadcast --
-- Off Microphone
-- tell them to be ready to be working in both mediums and that the next generation of journalists will be expected to write for the paper and at the same time have good broadcast presentation skills.
8033 The lines are merging and there's nothing wrong with that as long as it's planned and done in the best interest of viewers and readers.
8034 Now, while CTV and its many local affiliates are now part of one of Canada's largest corporate entities, Bell, I am supporting their licence renewal because of the things that are happening on the ground in dozens of communities across Canada.
8035 I will focus on CFCN here in Calgary, but I do know for certain that the same things are happening at CFRN in Edmonton and many other affiliates across the CTV network.
8036 CFTN is managed and staffed by some of Canada's most experienced and talented broadcasters. I have a great deal of confidence that while being part of a large network, as Calgarians they will strive to make sure that CFCN remains a vital part of the community. They are the ones who are best positioned to lobby for the interests of their communities and their viewers.
8037 I am talking about people like Pat McDougall, the Vice-President and General Manager at CFCN, Brian Vos, the Communications Manager, Len Perry, the CFCN News Director and, of course, up in Edmonton Fred Filthaut, the Vice-President and Al Bourkes, the Executive Producer. All have done so much for broadcasting in Alberta.
8038 They are committed to their communities and in ensuring that Alberta viewers are well served by the network. These local people, because of their expertise and their knowledge and their experience, they command the respect that makes CTV executives in Toronto sit up and listed.
8039 The case in point on that, last year's Calgary Stampede. For decades CFCN has provided daily prime time coverage of the rangeland chuck wagon derby, the Stampede chuck wagon races.
8040 When CTV decided to drop the coverage, hundreds of viewers complained to CFCN. CFCN managers in turn insisted to the network that they must respond to these viewers. Our local people drew a line in the sand. Thanks to their efforts, by mid-week the chuck wagon races were back on the air and in prime time.
8041 CFCN is one of Calgary's highest profile companies. It is an institution, the station is. Their 6:00 p.m. news anchors, Barb Higgins and Darrel Janz, are certainly among Calgary's most recognizable faces. Every year they MC or participate in literally hundreds of community activities.
8042 Just looking at their efforts alone show how CFCN is such a vital and vibrant part of the community. In fact, I read it in the paper just last week, Barb Higgins won a Calgary White Hatter award for her contributions to the city.
8043 Over the past five years CFCN has promoted, sponsored, participated in thousands, literally thousands of community events from sponsoring things every year like a huge food bank drive that raises I think almost $300,000 worth of food and money to ethnic celebrations like Africana Days, the Alberta dragon boat races. The station has, in my opinion, made a true commitment to Calgary and Calgarians.
8044 At the same time, through the station's extensive and comprehensive news coverage, they have made a commitment to broadcasting these events and the many issues facing our city.
8045 CFCN is Calgary's number one rated newscast because of a dedicated, experienced and motivated news staff. It has provided the opportunity for meaningful work, a place where television people can enjoy a long and real career without being forced to move to Toronto. I am confident that this tradition and commitment to local news will continue and in fact expand.
8046 Over the past five years CFCN has also produced a considerable amount of local programming outside of news, "Crime Stoppers" specials, Calgary Stampede coverage, the Alberta Youth Talent Contest, just to name a few.
8047 While I'm thinking about it, I should mention that through CFCN's youth talent contest, a singer by the name of Paul Brandt was discovered. Of course, he is one of our most popular country music entertainers, but CFCN through its youth talent contest provided the production and air time and opportunities for Paul to make his mark. I am confident and believe that the station will work hard to expand the opportunities for local programming.
8048 I support CFCN's application because I am confident that as Bell and CTV push ahead with their plans, CFCN will speak out for me as a viewer and for me as a producer. CFCN's will be the strongest lobbying voice, ensuring that Toronto doesn't become the centre of the universe.
8049 The network executives understand and appreciate the quality of work that Albertans produce. The CFCN people will make sure that CTV lives up to its commitments to the regions of Canada in terms of regional programming, air time and opportunities for Alberta producers like myself.
8050 In fact, in conclusion, I would like to say that the local affiliates are to me the strongest and most Canadian part of the CTV television network.
8051 Thank you.
8052 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Gelfand.
8053 MR. CUSSONS: Our next intervention is by Mr. Charles White. Mr. White. Mr. Charles White.
8054 MR. WHITE: Yes.
8055 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. White, good afternoon. Welcome to our hearing.
8056 MR. WHITE: Good afternoon, sir. Good morning from British Columbia.
8057 MR. CUSSONS: It's good morning to you, sir. Welcome to our hearing and please commence with your presentation.
8058 MR. WHITE: Yes.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8059 MR. WHITE: My name is Charles White of Sydney, British Columbia. I have been closely involved with CHEK-TV since its beginning 45 years ago. I helped prepare the original application for licence. I chose the call letters, C-H-E-K, and I was Vice-President and General Manager of the station when it went on the air in December 1956.
8060 I have been involved with CHEK almost continuously since then as adviser to management and as a corporate director of BCTV for over 30 years. I watched the morale of the staff deteriorate in recent years when the future ownership of the station was in doubt.
8061 There has been a remarkable resurgence since the steady hand of Global management has taken over. Their commitment to providing a distinct service from CHAN-TV in Vancouver allows the local staff to better serve Vancouver Island.
8062 CHEK personnel are excited about the opportunity to increase their local coverage of news and community events. They want to be an integral part of the lifestyle of this unique island.
8063 We all look forward to a strong Global presence in the Victoria market. Their western slant to the national newscast is important to the viewers on Vancouver Island. We are different and appreciate having those differences reflected by Global.
8064 I strongly support the application by Global for renewal of the CHEK-TV licence. It will allow my brainchild to grow and serve this market better than ever.
8065 Thank you for the opportunity to present my views.
8066 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you, Mr. White, and we hope you continue to be proud of your child.
8067 MR. WHITE: Thank you very much.
8068 MR. CUSSONS: Hello, Ms Jack.
8069 MS JACK: Hello.
8070 MR. WHITE: No. Charles White here. Are there any questions or anything that I need to follow through with?
8071 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, Mr. White. Again we thank you for your presentation and we will bid adieu.
8072 MR. WHITE: Thank you.
8073 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye, bye.
8074 MS JACK: Hello.
8075 MR. CUSSONS: Ms Jack?
8076 MS JACK: Yes.
8077 MR. CUSSONS: Our next intervention is Ms Tracey Jack on behalf of the Indigenous Arts Service Organization. Welcome to our hearing, Ms Jack.
8078 MS JACK: Thank you very much.
8079 MR. CUSSONS: Nice to have you with us. Please begin your presentation.
8080 MS JACK: Okay.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8081 MS JACK: Please accept the support of the Indigenous Arts Service Organization for Global TV's licensing application, file No. 2000-2282-2.
8082 The Indigenous Arts Service Organization strongly believe that the renewal of the application will benefit the aboriginal community locally as well as the Canadian Broadcasting System as a whole.
8083 Years ago CHBC Television introduced the "Native Correspondent" program. This particular program has been very successful by providing insight and firsthand voices and news from the aboriginal community and perspective. The success presented a diverse aboriginal perspective to the general public on the news. The program was triumphant for all communities.
8084 Although the "Native Correspondent" program is currently not in place, CHBC continues to be supportive of aboriginal programming and initiatives. More recently, CHBC broadcast an independent aboriginal production titled "Settling the Okanagan", an independent production to create education, interest, diversity and positive relations to native and non-native audience.
8085 CHBC is a community driven station striving to ensure access to all groups within all cultural diversities. Commitment to an ongoing support of opportunity continues to be the goal of CHBC. Examples of programs that are highlighted within the station and Aboriginal interest can be noted with the People of Vision series, which best seller author, reflected Canadian author Ginette Armstrong(ph) and the Young Achievers series, Shane Kruger(ph), with an Aboriginal actor and new media professional budding.
8086 It should be noted that CHBC also received recognition from the provincial organization, the Indigenous Art Service Organization, for the prestigious sponsor and contributor award in 1997. The award was presented to CHBC for the innovation and the support of the native news correspondent program.
8087 CHBC television continues to provide partnership assistance and ongoing support with our organization and other Aboriginal organizations for venues such as the visions for future conference in December of 2000, the Aboriginal Media Arts Symposium, and more recently CHBC has also expressed an interest to work with local Aboriginal producers to provide special in-house programming on Aboriginal issues.
8088 It is of no hesitation on behalf of the Board of Directors of the Indigenous Arts Service Organization that we wholly support Global Television, CHBC-TV, for the diversity and the insight that it has brought to Aboriginal communities and as well the interests of the local communities.
8089 That would conclude my intervention with the CRTC. If there are any questions, I am open for questions.
8090 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't think we have any questions, Ms Jack. We appreciate your presentation this afternoon.
8091 MS JACK: Okay. Thank you very much.
8092 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye-bye.
8093 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, we will now hear from Mr. Rob Egan. Mr. Egan.
8094 MR. EGAN: Hi there.
8095 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Egan, welcome to our public hearing.
8096 MR. EGAN: Thank you.
8097 MR. CUSSONS: You represent British Columbia Film?
8098 MR. EGAN: That is correct.
8099 MR. CUSSONS: We are pleased to have you with us and we would be happy to hear your presentation, sir.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8100 MR. EGAN: Thank you. Thank you very much for the opportunity to participate in the hearing by conference call.
8101 As you know, I am Rob Egan. I am President and Chief Executive Officer of British Columbia Film. We are pleased to present our comments to the Commission as part of this important hearing process to renew the licenses of Global and CTV. We would like to take this opportunity to expand on our written submission as well as respond to Global and CTV's comments in response to our intervention.
8102 Let me begin by addressing a number of concerns and criticisms levelled at us in Global's response to our written intervention.
8103 Firstly, Global dismissed the western production studies that we presented as being out of date. Of course, we would be pleased and would welcome the opportunity to work with CTV and Global to update these studies. Nonetheless, we feel that the trends outlined in these reports remain valid historically regarding the lack of regional programming being initiated in the west by these large national broadcasters.
8104 Global also interpreted one of our comments as being snide. We simply stated that big sound is the only Canadian drama series broadcast by Global whose production company is not related to a large Toronto-based production company given that Salter Street is now owned by Alliance Atlantis.
8105 This was not intended as a negative comment aimed at Salter Street but as a regional comment. Salter Street, in fact, is a company with which we have a high degree of respect and one whose production track record is enviable.
8106 We do not see how Global could purposely take it as a snide remark, and we were disappointed and distressed to see our comments characterized in this manner.
8107 Additionally, Global's concern in our written submission is that we do not give Global credit for the BCE New Producer Fund or the Seawest Fund. We do think that these are valuable and important initiatives and are ones that we supported at the previous WIC hearing. We are pleased that Global is honouring their WIC benefits commitments. In fact we had hoped that the BCE benefits would be more directed to western priority programming production.
8108 However, we are under the impression that this hearing is concerned with CTV and Global's commitments as contained in their license renewal applications, not related to the initiatives resulting from last year's hearings and decisions.
8109 As well, we acknowledged in our written submission that during the new license term Global has committed to producing six documentaries in British Columbia. However, we remain concerned that this seems to be the only B.C.-based programming commitment that Global is prepared to make for the next seven years.
8110 Global also takes British Columbia Film to task for not acknowledging that Global does three drama series in Vancouver, not just Big Sound. However, these other two series, Andromeda and Outer Limits are industrial Canadian productions driven primarily by the U.S. syndication market. Global may wish to take credit for these series, but in fact without U.S. syndication it is unlikely that these series would have been shot in Vancouver with or without Global.
8111 While we acknowledge that a number of Canadian broadcasters license these types of industrial Canadian drama series and we acknowledge the economic benefits that derive from this type of production, we do not feel that this type of production supports and promotes to the same degree regional Canadian creative talent and its reflection on these national networks.
8112 Next in turning to CTV's response to our intervention, we note that they did not respond to our concerns regarding CTV's intention to abandon the programming and production commitments made by CIBT as part of being awarded the new TV license in Vancouver.
8113 At the 1997 hearing it was discussed that the CTV affiliation agreement with the WIC stations expired in 2001. However, CTV did not, at that time, state that if their new station became the CTV affiliate they would then abandon their promises to the BC independent production community.
8114 The notion that CTV can now unilaterally decide to renege on these promises amounting to tens of millions of dollars for the BC production community have made it part of the competitive hearing process and we trust that the Commission will not allow this to occur.
8115 Ultimately our written submission and our presentation to the Commission today are concerned with Global and CTV's license renewal applications and their commitments to producing priority programming in all regions of the country. Our focus, quite naturally, is indigenous Canadian prime time priority programming through which western voices and stories can be expressed at times when Canadian audiences are available to watch. How else can we build an audience for Canadian programming.
8116 We are also concerned that appropriate development dollars be spent in the regions across Canada as well. We feel it is important for large broadcasters to make commitments to development funding in each of their respective markets and to spend these monies in those markets.
8117 Fundamentally our priority is to ensure room for regional voices and stories on Canadian prime time screens. As we stated in our written submission, the Canadian public has a right to return for its investment in the Canadian broadcasting system. Therefore, as noted in our written submission, our key recommendation is that these national private broadcasters be required to provide a minimum of three hours of regional programming as part of the eight hours per week of required priority programming in prime time.
8118 This level reflects the dollars of advertising that these broadcasters take out of the west. These should be conditions of license to ensure compliance and should include a requirement to undertake the majority of such production with small and medium independent production companies.
8119 We also suggested that the Commission ensure 35 per cent of Canadian priority programming expenditures are spent on western Canadian production. However, as stated in our written submission, the regional priority programming category, as established by the CRTC in its TV policy, only encourages regional production in the categories of education, human interest, religion and game shows.
8120 CTV's response to intervention notes that we suggest this category be removed and we stand by this recommendation. Policy is always subject to change when valid objectives are not being met and these hearings only confirm the concerns we raised at the time of the TV policy hearings.
8121 Is the Commission prepared to accept that prime time regional programming may consist only of game shows, human interest, and educational programming? Is this the intention of the TV policy? If not, how is the Commission going to ensure that this does not occur?
8122 We believe it is critically important for the Commission to ensure that prime time regional programming should be derived from the priority programming category in drama, documentary, music and variety. We do not believe that regionally produced game shows or human interest programming provide the necessary vehicle through which regional voices and stories can truly be reflected to audiences across our nation.
8123 In their renewal applications, both Global and CTV express little or no intention of pursuing this category of regional priority programming as these genres are limited in their appeal to prime time audiences in any event. However, we are concerned that these private broadcasters will, in future, avail themselves of these categories of inexpensive programming in order to meet any new regional programming obligations.
8124 We do not consider that programs such as game shows, educational or human interest programming, shot in studios outside of Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver to be as important and culturally valuable to Canadian prime time audiences as regionally created and produced dramas, documentary, music and variety programming.
8125 Therefore, we strongly urge the Commission to support as conditions of license, minimum levels of regional programming in the significant priority programming categories of drama, music, variety and documentary. We expect these conditions to apply to both CTV's eight hours and Global's 16 hours of priority programming obligations.
8126 In their renewal applications, both CTV and Global avoid making specific commitments to regional programming in prime time. They seem to be saying to the Commission, "Trust us." Yet in B.C. and across the west for that matter, Global's past history is not convincing. Global promised to do better as noted in the WIC decision and the Commission promised to review Global's commitment to regional drama at this license renewal hearing. Meanwhile, CTV is currently attempting to reduce their commitments to B.C. producers.
8127 Canadian broadcasters are accountable to their shareholders and we respect this. But they also have an obligation, and most particularly these national networks, to provide regional reflection to Canadian audiences. The Commission has a responsibility under the Broadcasting Act to represent regional concerns and it seems only by way of conditions of license do these broadcasters meet these obligations.
8128 We urge the Commission to incorporate regional programming in drama, documentary and music and variety programming as part of these broadcasters' prime time commitments to Canadian audiences. Regional and national groups, including the CFTPA, AMPIA and Manitoba Film and Sound all agree on this. These licensed terms are potentially for a seven year period and as noted in our written submission, the Commission should undertake annual reviews with these broadcasters to ensure that policy objectives, including regional diversity in prime time programming are being met.
8129 This may well be the last chance for the Commission to put into effect their words of support regional production, including regional drama production as voiced in the TV policy decision.
8130 Thank you very much for the opportunity to present our views in this important process.
8131 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Egan. Commissioner Grauer has a couple of questions for you.
8132 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
8133 Thank you, Mr. Egan, for your presentation today and of course your written presentation. I don't know if you followed the proceeding last week. We had discussions with both CTV and Global on this very subject.
8134 I think we canvassed fairly extensively, discussed with them fairly extensively the fact that this has been an ongoing irritant for producers in western Canada. Not to say that it isn't an issue in the Atlantic, but it is one that has certainly been raised for a number of years in western Canada and again in this hearing, with interventions from the Western Producers Association and funding organizations.
8135 What was clear from these discussions was that I think that we all -- that there appears to be common agreement that it is an important issue and that these broadcasters do have a responsibility to reflect in peak time programming the regional diversity and balance in the country and that includes drama and the priority categories.
8136 They have expressed great reluctance, however, to be constrained by quotas or restrictive measurements which would inhibit the flexibility they feel they need to deal with the cyclical nature of, in particular, the drama production business.
8137 So I wonder -- it is not as easy to have a dialogue on the phone, but I guess in my own view what is really important is, is there a will and a commitment on the part of these broadcasters, notwithstanding --
8138 I appreciate the issues that have been raised by all the organizations with respect to the past. I think that Global, in particular, said "It is a new Global and we are turning over a new leaf". I think that they have put, in particular, annual commitments to developments -- script and concept developments -- being made over the licence term, and the same is true of CTV, notwithstanding the issues around Vancouver, which we also canvassed with them.
8139 I wonder if you could just give me your response if you have heard that. As I say, they also indicated a willingness to report annually if we can find some sort of criteria that would be publicly available and perhaps measured and assessed over a period of a number of years rather than annually.
8140 Could you give me your views on that?
8141 MR. EGAN: Thank you for your question, Commissioner Grauer. I agree that dialogue is not most effective over the telephone, but I feel that I have an obligation to ensure that my bronchitis remains here on the west coast and as far away from you folks as possible.
8142 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you.
8143 MR. EGAN: I think that we certainly understand the difficult challenge and balance that the broadcasters face in ensuring that they are able to be accountable to their shareholders, that they have the necessary flexibility in programming and financial decisions that they require in order to meet their obligations to their shareholders.
8144 That is certainly something that we appreciate and understand.
8145 Nonetheless, we do maintain that there is a quid pro quo here, that these broadcasters do derive a significant benefit from the public, and we think that the public is entitled to a return on that investment with respect to some specific commitments around priority programming in the regions of the country.
8146 I also concur with your view that there are difficulties with respect to quotas that can be too constraining with respect to the objectives of the broadcasters. If I had the solution, I would be the first one to put it forward.
8147 We have suggested here some specific recommendations around specific hours of programming, and of course the broadcasters may find that too constraining. But I think that we, at least, need to look at a minimum expectation, at the very least.
8148 We acknowledge, as I said, the challenge faced by the broadcasters, but it is so important for there to be an understanding of the importance of the broadcaster's commitments in the regions as well.
8149 In the case of CIBT and CTV, "Cold Squad" -- in the production of "Cold Squad" in Vancouver -- it was an important production that helped kickstart a sagging television production industry in the mid-nineties.
8150 Staff in Vancouver -- for example, Louise Clark -- in recent years have been tireless in their efforts on behalf of the broadcaster to support the independent production community.
8151 We ourselves have undertaken a small partnership with a documentary initiative with CanWest Global.
8152 So it is very important that we all understand and acknowledge the important role that these broadcasters play in development and production in the regional production centres.
8153 As I say, I think that it is always difficult when we start getting into specific recommendations around hours per week and expenditures and so on and so forth, but at the same time I don't think we can just leave it and rely upon it as an act of faith either. I think we have to find a way of attaching some requirements through the licensing process.
8154 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you. One other question. You referred to the representative revenues generated by the broadcasters and you suggested using this as kind of a guideline. I wonder if you could elaborate on that at all -- how we might do that.
8155 MR. EGAN: I think, Commissioner Grauer, that it is important. We thought about this to some degree and tried to determine a method by which we might approach this problem.
8156 We made the recommendation that spending requirements be at the 35 per cent level for priority programming. We calculated this 35 per cent based on information from the CRTC television statistical and financial summaries from 1996 to 2000. Essentially what we did was, we took the amount for Canadian private broadcasters as the total for Canada and we subtracted out Quebec revenues, for simplicity's sake, to reflect English Canada only.
8157 Private broadcasters in Canada outside Quebec generated about $1.5 billion in revenue. We then compared this with the CRTC's breakdowns by region.
8158 In British Columbia alone private broadcasters generated approximately $214 million in revenue, about 15 per cent of the total, and in the prairies more than $280 million, or about 20 per cent of the total.
8159 So using the CRTC's regional designation of B.C. and the prairies, in matching revenues to expenditure levels, a total of 35 per cent of the Canadian programming in these private networks should come from the west.
8160 That is the method that we used. We certainly accept that there may be some flaws or imperfections with that method, but, again, we were trying to find ways of finding that balance in terms of, as I say, the fundamentals of the broadcasters' obligations to their shareholders and their need for flexibility, which we have heard much about and certainly understand, but also trying to look at the quid pro quo and trying to find some level of priority programming hours and expenditures, and a methodology that perhaps made some common sense to us.
8161 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you. I have one last question, and it is not specifically related to your presentation, but it is something that I would appreciate hearing your views on.
8162 In our discussions over the last two days of last week, we struggled with the notion of what is local programming, particularly at a time where we have seen over the last 10 to 15 years a lot of decline in what formerly constituted local programming, and in fact what historically were a lot of local initiatives undertaken by broadcasters with producers in their communities.
8163 One of the things that struck me as we talked about this last week -- and I would appreciate your views on what role you think priority programs, for instance programs like "Cold Squad", in fact do reflect the place at which they are produced, and in a way --
8164 If you are looking at the extent to which a community sees itself reflected on television and across the country, what role do you think these kinds of shows play?
8165 MR. EGAN: I think they play a very significant role, and I think that this is very much a work in progress as well.
8166 I think that funding agencies, broadcasters, federal funding agencies, CTF -- I think that we are all trying to address this challenge of ensuring that when a television set is turned on in New Brunswick, Toronto or Kamloops, British Columbia, that Canadians have an opportunity to see something of themselves and that the programming speaks to the history of their communities or looks ahead to the challenges that their communities face.
8167 I think that that reflection is important in helping us to have a better sense of our own identity as Canadians, and to understand as well that we have the creative talent and the creative drive to produce this kind of quality programming that not only enables this reflection to occur, but also enables us to share that on the international stage.
8168 I also think that these shows and this kind of programming is enormously important in developing talent in the regions. It allows actors, writers and crews the opportunity to work their craft over time, and it plays an extremely valuable and important role in nurturing that talent and allowing it to grow and develop.
8169 One thing I know for sure is that you don't get better at your craft if you don't have an opportunity to practise it, and this kind of programming, I believe, is extremely important in allowing the creative talent that we have in our communities to, in fact, develop and enhance their skills and their craft.
8170 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Equally, of course, it would apply to shows like "Blue Murder" and "Bob and Margaret" and whatnot. But I am also interested to know what role -- and I know this isn't your bailiwick -- shows like Gabereau, Bullard, the new national news out of Vancouver, and the national public affairs show out of Alberta -- what role you think they play in that mix.
8171 MR. EGAN: I think that they are an important element of it. One of the things I have seen just in the last year is the kind of pride that the community demonstrates when we are able to see a national news broadcast emanating from Vancouver and produced in Vancouver.
8172 I think it adds to the diversity of voices and the diversity of views that are so important and that we value, I think, particularly in light of the discussions that you have been having over the last couple of weeks around the whole issue of media concentration.
8173 I think that one of the concerns that certainly I have heard in the coverage of your hearings is how the issue of diversity and diversity of opinion can be addressed during this period of media concentration. I think that one of the ways that can be handled is by ensuring that there are these kinds of current affairs, public opinion and news broadcasts from centres across the country which demonstrate to all Canadians that we are not a homogeneous, monolithic culture, but that we are a diverse multicultural society with many different points of view on many things that can be expressed through this medium.
8174 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Those are all of my questions. Thank you very much, Mr. Egan.
8175 MR. EGAN: Thank you so much for the opportunity to participate.
8176 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Egan.
8177 We will take a break now. We have gone through just about exactly half of the folks that we had on our list, so we will take a 20 minute break now and then reconvene to go through the rest of the list, and hopefully we will be able to reach all of the rest.
8178 We will take a break and reconvene in 20 minutes.
--- Upon recessing at 1455 / Reprise à 2h55
--- Upon resuming at 1520 / Reprise à 1520
8179 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to the teleconference interventions and I will turn the microphone over to Mr. Secretary.
8180 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
8181 Our next intervenor is Mr. Ian Cowan of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.
8182 Mr. Cowan, are you there?
8183 MR. COWAN: Yes, I am.
8184 MR. CUSSONS: Welcome to our hearing, Mr. Cowan.
8185 Please proceed with your intervention.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8186 MR. COWAN: Thank you.
8187 My name is Ian Cowan. I'm President of the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, the oldest, largest and most broadly based business organization in the Hamilton economic region.
8188 We have been the voice of business in Hamilton since 1845, pre-dating even the city itself, and today we comprise 1,600 individuals representing over 1,000 companies and organizations that collectively employ 75,000 people full time from all over our new City of Hamilton and beyond. In addition, we also have about 90 not-for-profit organizations as members. So we think we can speak on behalf of CHTV.
8189 One of the commitments that station made during its proposed sale was that it would intensify local news and public affairs programming and that has been done. Its newscast certainly have a pronounced local focus and its new morning show with an emphasis of news, weather, traffic reports, is providing useful information to viewers on a daily basis. The station has also introduced other regional local programming since its sale and appears committed to further enhancements.
8190 In the community, the station continues to be a willing partner and promoter of many initiatives and the Chamber of Commerce realizes that it can't be all things to all people, but its efforts to try and accommodate those seeking its help are very noticeable.
8191 For example, the station is a significant partner with the Chamber in the Distinguished Citizen of the Year and Youth Volunteer of the Year program, and we expect that to continue into the future. The station also is a member of the Chamber and its senior staff make their expertise available to us when required.
8192 We at the Chamber recognize that there are limits to what any broadcast outlet can deliver and to a great degree those limits are set by financial limitations.
8193 To date under the ownership of CanWest Global we are satisfied that the resources promised by CanWest have or are being delivered and as a result the viewers in the station's local broadcast area are being better served. We believe its application for licence renewal should be looked on favourably.
8194 That is my comment.
8195 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your comment, Mr. Cowan.
8196 MR. COWAN: Thank you.
8197 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
8198 MR. COWAN: Good afternoon.
8199 MR. CUSSONS: Our next intervenor is Mr. Matt Hayes.
8200 Mr. Hayes? Mr. Hayes?
8201 MR. HAYES: Yes?
8202 MR. CUSSONS: Good afternoon, sir. Welcome to the CRTC hearing.
8203 MR. HAYES: Thank you. It's nice to be heard.
8204 MR. CUSSONS: Well, it's great to have you with us and we are ready to hear your presentation.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8205 MR. HAYES: Thank you very much.
8206 I just have a few remarks that I would like to make, and I make them as an employee of CHTV and I have been there for almost 20 years, and as well as a member of the community of Hamilton where I have lived all my life and being an on-air personality I get a fair amount of feedback from the viewers. So I feel that I can kind of touch on a lot of different areas with this. So just a few thoughts for you.
8207 To start with, I will tell you what difference a year makes. It was last April when the Commission was determining the faith of stations like what was then referred to as OnTv. Under WIC rule we turned our back from the local audience in Hamilton, Niagara and Oakville. We seem to be doing everything possible to get our viewers to tune out, and they did. With another pending sale, the future was uncertain and morale was at an all-time low.
8208 With the proposals that were put forth by CanWest Global, they appeared to be the white knight. That's why I pledged my support for CanWest when I appeared at the hearings in Vancouver last April. I believed that if they followed through on the promises, we might see a return to the glory days of CHCH-TV.
8209 I would like to thank the Commission for making what I feel was the best decision in awarding the licence to CanWest, and I am pleased to report that the newly revitalized and reborn CHTV is finally moving on the right track.
8210 CanWest had ambitious plans for returning CH to its roots and so far I feel they have been delivering. We have a new three-hour morning show and it has been receiving rave reviews. We have expanded our six o'clock news to one hour. We have maintained our packages at noon and eleven, along with the weekends and added a daily phone-in show along with a weekly public affairs program and there is still more promises of more programming down the road.
8211 The public response to all of this is overwhelming. As an on-air personality I'm accustomed to getting feedback from our audience wherever I go.
8212 In recent years, little of it has been very positive, but in the last six months, it has been gratifying and refreshing to hear people applaud our efforts to reconnect with the community. It makes me feel good about where I am working again, and I'm not alone. There has been a definite improvement in morale brought on by the stability of the sale to CanWest along with the better quality programming we are putting out.
8213 The hiring of some new young energetic staff has added vitality to the entire station. Our management has been providing more direction and focus than I have seen in my 20 years with the station. I am thrilled that I can speak so positively about all of this one year later.
8214 But now to the future. One thing that has struck me about this process is that it's a lot like running for office: make whatever promises necessary to get elected. I am certainly not centring out my employer on this because I'm sure they are sitting there, but I'm directing this to all broadcasters.
8215 CanWest has done plenty with CH already and I hope they will continue to do more. My question to the Commission is: How do you keep our broadcasters on track honouring their commitment and obligations? On this my motives are somewhat bias. I want to continue to work with my talented colleagues at CHTV turning out quality programming for many years to come.
8216 I hope that the Commission can ensure that this will continue to happen. I don't know if anybody has any questions or comments or concerns.
8217 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I don't think we have any questions, Mr. Hayes. We appreciate your calling in and commenting this afternoon and I would note that the folks from Global are here sitting in the room taking notes.
8218 So you can expect to continue getting your pay check, I would guess.
--- Laughter / Rires
8219 MR. HAYES: Oh, that's very good to hear.
8220 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks a lot.
8221 MR. HAYES: All right. Thank you.
8222 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye-bye.
8223 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, our next intervention is the Assiniboine Community College, Mr. Bob Creighton.
8224 Are you there Mr. Creighton?
8225 MR. CREIGHTON: Yes, I am.
8226 MR. CUSSONS: Welcome to our hearing. We are happy to have you with us.
8227 Please, commence your presentation.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8228 MR. CREIGHTON: Thank you.
8229 My comments are going to basically come from two perspectives. The first is from my role as a broadcast educator, the second from some 36 years as a broadcast professional.
8230 I would note that in those 36 years, that I have never been an employee of Global Television and/or CanWest Global Communications.
8231 From both my personal experience and as a member of the Broadcast Educators Association of Canada, I think that I can speak very highly of Global's significant contributions to education.
8232 I see those contributions coming in three primary ways. The first is in the form of financial support, and that's the awards and bursaries that come at both local and national levels. Their national awards are, I believe, probably the most substantial to be found anywhere. These are in such areas as aboriginal awards and awards for people with disabilities.
8233 Could they do more? Well, I think that they probably could. It would be nice to see some of the others come up to their level first of all. Their employment of graduates from the media training programs that exist across the country, particularly on the technical side, are rally outstanding. I would like to see some more opportunities for beginning announcers and reporters, but I also have to recognize the realities of the very competitive market places in which they operate.
8234 The third area, and again this is educational based, is their willingness to share they production expertise with those that are training for careers and media, and that sharing of expertise happens basically in two ways.
8235 They allow us the use of their productions in the classroom as training models and secondly, they provide staff to come out and interact with students as guest speakers. This is something that I find particularly significant in the case of Assiniboine since we are at least a 2.5-hour drive from the nearest Global station and these are things that they provide to us on a fairly consistent ongoing basis.
8236 On the other -- and speaking in general about Global as a broadcaster -- first, I am obviously most familiar with their Winnipeg operation because of where we are located, but I'm also quite aware of their Regina, their Saskatoon, and their Toronto operations because I have had dealings with all of those as well.
8237 Basically, my background is as a journalist. So I would comment first of all on their news programming. I think its style is quite distinctive. It's certainly set apart from any other offerings in the individual marketplaces. Their programming in terms of news I think is certainly relevant regional coverage, and when you look at what the other service providers are putting out there, the Global offerings are certainly on par.
8238 Would I like to see them do more? Yes, certainly. I think regional coverage is very important, but reality also tells me that we have to consider available resources and sometimes those things just can't happen.
8239 I'm certainly looking forward to their launch of their new supper newscast in September. I think that the more options that people have in terms of getting good-quality national coverage is really important.
8240 I'm certainly impressed by the fact that they have managed to get Kevin Newman back from ABC to sit as their principal anchor. That is going to be quite impressive, I think.
8241 Global has certainly been a key player in terms of promoting community initiatives. It's something, of course, that all broadcasters are expected to do, but it's something that I really honestly believe that in many instances Global's involvement comes from a passion to be involved in their communities.
8242 The one that comes to mind basically is the Variety Club Telethon. That's a pretty extensive undertaking that is devoted to helping raise for children with special needs and it's a program that is quite dear to their particular hearts. It's one that we frequently get involved in as well.
8243 I did want to mention a couple of other initiatives that are almost certainly tied to their Global network that now exists because of their acquisition of the WIC properties.
8244 I'm looking forward to their public affairs program, "This Country". I have seen some indications of it becoming a real source for those of us who sort of follow the nation's political life, and I see it as being something different in terms of covering this aspect of Canadian reality.
8245 As a fairly long-time documentary producer, I'm always interested in new entries that appear in this genre and the "Our Country" series certainly looks like it's going to be really regionally diverse, and that I think is important.
8246 I'm also enthused about it because it's going to give some local independent producers an opportunity to come up with the components parts and that is going to add some of their own particular in, and I think significant perspectives to the stories that they are going to tell.
8247 Now, I know that I had a time frame that I was going to be able to speak in, but I think that that basically summarizes the things that I wanted to cover.
8248 By all means, if there are any questions or anything that Commission Members might want to direct to me, I would certainly be happy to try and answer those for you.
8249 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I don't think we have any questions, Mr. Creighton, but we appreciate you updating us on programs at the Assiniboine College and for your support for the applicants today.
8250 MR. CREIGHTON: Thank you for the opportunity.
8251 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8252 MR. CREIGHTON: Bye-bye.
8253 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, our next intervenor is Wayne Hellquist of the Saskatchewan Science Centre.
8254 Mr. Hellquist.
8255 MR. HELLQUIST: Yes, good afternoon.
8256 MR. CUSSONS: Welcome to our hearing, sir. It's nice to have you with us.
8257 MR. HELLQUIST: Thank you very much.
8258 MR. CUSSONS: And we would be pleased to hear your presentation.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8259 MR. HELLQUIST: Thank you very much. I will try to keep my presentation as brief as possible.
8260 Let me first of all give you a little bit of background, my own personal background and my involved with CTV and the local affiliate, CKCK Television.
8261 I have lived in the community for about 12 years, having moved here to take a position at the University as the Athletic Director.
8262 Following that, I have worked in the community in a variety of capacities, but spent a number of years with the United Way of Regina as the Chief Executive officer.
8263 I started as the Chief Executive Officer at the Science Centre approximately a year ago, so I have certainly all in those capacities had many opportunities to work with CK Television in those capacities and to work with them on a variety of projects in the community.
8264 Certainly I have been very impressed with the involvement of CKCK Television, CTV, in our community. They have done a tremendous amount I think to strengthen and enhance the community. I would like really to touch on three main areas where I think that their involvement has been very much appreciated and then give some specific examples of projects and activities in the community that they certainly have been instrumental in supporting.
8265 The three areas I want to touch on are community coverage or event coverage in the community. The second one is their support and sponsorship of community activities. The third, which I think is very important but a somewhat overlooked area of involvement, is their support and the support of their staff in volunteer activities in the community.
8266 They again have been very instrumental in not just providing sponsorship support but also access to human resources in the community. I would like to just touch on those three areas very briefly and then, as I mentioned, give you some specific examples.
8267 First of all, CK Television has been very instrumental in covering community activities. They are always available to provide support for community activities and are very aggressive in ensuring that a wide range of community events, a wide range of community activities are certainly promoted in the community and are covered, whether it's on news coverage or special event coverage or through the use of public service announcements.
8268 They do a tremendous job, I think, of providing information to the community through that coverage and certainly ensuring that people within southern Saskatchewan, and throughout the province in fact, are kept informed of events and activities that are happening, but also certainly newsworthy activities in and around the community.
8269 That's certainly very important I think to the organizations that I have been affiliated with, but it certainly I think adds a great deal of value and strengthens the community fabric. Without that kind of support, we certainly don't have the depth and breadth of knowledge and understanding and involvement that we do in our community.
8270 The second area I want to touch on is their financial support and their support through the use of product of things in the community. CKCK Television is always available to provide not just event coverage, but also a great deal of support to events that are happening in the community.
8271 It doesn't matter whether it's the Grey Cup happening here or whether it's the Memorial Cup which is coming up in a few weeks, CK Television is always available to provide very good support for those in terms of public service announcements, in terms of the production of advertising and information for those events and in addition are always prepared to provide more than adequate air time, either on a donated basis or certainly on a preferred rate basis to ensure again that organizations which might not otherwise have the opportunity to have their event covered or promoted in the community are available to do so.
8272 They are very generous with their production time which again is something that very few organizations at the community level can always afford to purchase.
8273 The third area that I have learned to value with CK Television is their involvement of their staff as volunteers in community activities. Certainly many of their staff members serve on boards and organizations within the community. Many of them are very active in special events that happen in the community. Again, through that involvement I think they add a great deal of richness and willingness to share their expertise with other groups in the community which might not otherwise be able to access that.
8274 That kind of involvement I think is often overlooked, but is greatly valued I think throughout the community and certainly by the organizations that I have been involved with. I have traditionally had somebody from CKCK Television involved in those various organizations that I have been involved with and have both appreciated and respected their input.
8275 I would like to give you just some examples of the things that I have seen in the community where CKCK Television have added great value. I'm reminded of things like our turf project where CKCK Television took the responsibility for fundraising to replace the turf at Taylor Field, which is our local football stadium, which is enjoyed not just by our Saskatchewan Rough Riders whom some of you may have heard about, but also by many of our high school and local football teams and certainly our Regina Rams, our local university team.
8276 It's a very heavily used facility. It was in desperate need of refurbishment and again, CKCK Television took on the project of raising the funds to refurbish the field and raise some $1.7 million, not just in Regina but throughout the province and actually across Canada.
8277 That's $1.7 million that perhaps might would not otherwise have been found. Either the field would not have been replaced or it would have had to have been replaced through taxpayer dollars.
8278 I'm reminded as well by other projects in the community. They just finished being a partner with a project with the Greek community in this city. The event was called Evening in Greece and the proceeds of it were going to promote a renodialysis unit at the hospital. Again, in an evening they raised with CKCK Television's help $68,000 which again goes to support equipment that would otherwise not be available.
8279 In my own personal experience, CK Television has generously been a partner with the annual United Way of Regina golf tournament which typically raises anywhere from $50,000 to $75,000. Over the last decade it has raised well more than a half a million dollars to promote human services in our community.
8280 CK Television has been a partner in that from the initial year and, again, provides production assistance, volunteer support and is actually one of the funding sponsors of the event. Again, their involvement has provided great value there.
8281 They have also been supporting events like the Sandra Schmirler Foundation through their golf tournament and have raised some $15,000 in last year's tournament for that project as well. They are very instrumental in a wide variety of other community activities such as Crime Stoppers, the Chamber of Commerce, our local symphony and Opera Saskatchewan.
8282 With my own experience here at the Saskatchewan Science Centre, they are one of our preferred media teams. They produce all of our advertising for the Saskatchewan Science Centre and provide air time at a very preferred rate, which enables us again to promote the activities of our science centre and get information out to our community about upcoming events and activities.
8283 They are also tremendous at providing their promotional support, particularly through their news anchors. We are frequently asked to participate on their noon hour talk shows with Bill O'Donovan or with Tara Robinson or Tom Brown on the weather or news shows. Again, that kind of promotional support and news coverage elevates our information to a somewhat higher level and gets I think a much wider viewership. Plus Tom Brown and Tara are very active in serving as Masters of Ceremonies that we hold at the Science Centre, but also that other community associations hold in the community.
8284 Again, they have been very active at the Saskatchewan Science Centre in helping us to create our advertising plan, helping us to deliver on our advertising plan, giving us advice, not only on television advertising, but how do we integrate the messaging on television with what we are doing with print and radio advertising. So they have become very much a part of our creative and support team which goes well beyond simply a relationship between supplier and purchaser.
8285 That's just a few examples of the kinds of activities that they continue to support in the community, certainly the kinds of activities that I have seen and benefited from our involvement with. I would certainly strongly support and endorse their application for their licence renewal.
8286 I would be happy to answer any questions that anybody might have.
8287 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, I think you, Mr. Hellquist. I don't think we have any questions. You certainly have given a detailed overview of the support in your community and we thank you for that.
8288 MR. HELLQUIST: Thank you very much for the opportunity to do so.
8289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye, bye.
8290 MR. HELLQUIST: Bye for now.
8291 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear from Mr. Kent Smith-Windsor of the Saskatoon & District Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Smith-Windsor.
8292 MR. SMITH-WINDSOR: Hello.
8293 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Smith-Windsor.
8294 MR. SMITH-WINDSOR: Hello.
8295 MR. CUSSONS: Can you hear me?
8296 MR. SMITH-WINDSOR: Yes, I can, sir, very good.
8297 MR. CUSSONS: Welcome to our hearing. We would be happy to hear your presentation.
8298 MR. SMITH-WINDSOR: Okay. Thank you very much.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8299 MR. SMITH-WINDSOR: First of all, it's great to actually be able to do this in some sort of live format. In the past we have intervened on a number of media proceedings in Saskatoon expressing our support for the work that they have done and it has been typically in a single letter format.
8300 We are operating a little bit in a vacuum as to whether it was addressing the concerns or issues that the CRTC was weighing on this. Thank you for trying a slightly different approach and hopefully I can learn something if there are any questions raised with me in terms of the kind of thrust we should be taking in our presentation in the future.
8301 With regard to CFQC Television, I have been actively involved both as a volunteer and an administrator for many organizations in Saskatoon and am well familiar with their work that they have done, both on the more hard commercial side that I wear that hat today, but also in terms of social and cultural activities.
8302 As a volunteer in Saskatoon, I have been actively involved in health issues, in heritage, most particularly with an architectural heritage focus, cultural and arts perspective, with things like a jazz festival, children's festival, many community social interests organizations.
8303 Many years ago I was involved in Telemiracle and a number of Kinsmen operations that we are dealing with, helping the community grow and develop. I have always found CFQC very responsive to the requests that we made in terms of helping to highlight activities that would be of benefit to the community, both from a participation perspective but also by way of information to help the community better understand itself and the issues that it faces.
8304 From a Chamber perspective, we deal with several issues in terms of getting the viewpoint of the business community out for public discussion and again talking about how to build a better community.
8305 Most specifically, we have had several things that have been more on the hard news side and we have always found not only quick response times but also fair and balanced reporting from CFQC that is critical in its approach to our discussion points but at the same time does its utmost to provide a balanced point of view.
8306 Finally, in terms of promoting and helping the community get better, one of the things I would like to talk about for a second is some things that we have been involved with in one of our subcommittees relating to the future of agriculture in Saskatchewan.
8307 We believe that there is a strong future for those that wish to adopt new approaches to what they have done perhaps in traditional ways. We have been involved in a major initiative that would engage the media in talking about things that people that are involved in agriculture, both from the business and from the farming side, might be able to do to improve their results into the future.
8308 We had a very enthusiastic response from CFQC to help get that message out as a sponsor and promoter of providing new ideas, concepts and ways to enhance the productivity and profitability of our farmers.
8309 That's something that we just started with them about a month ago and we got an immediate yes, a very quick turnaround and we look forward to putting that out to the community across the province. I think that is a unique tool that CFQC brings to the table in terms of being able to get that message out across the province.
8310 I can't think of anything that has the potential to more solidify the culture of Saskatchewan than providing a brighter future for our farm community that is so important to rural Saskatchewan and of which places like Saskatoon and district benefit so much.
8311 So I can't think of a circumstance where I have made a request to CFQC where they haven't responded in some sort of facilitative fashion. They obviously haven't given us everything that we have asked, but they have always responded in a fair and businesslike way in that they give us responses with which we can adapt and change and get messages out. As I say, that crosses everything from the hat that I am wearing today from a business side, all the way through to many, many volunteer organizations that I have been involved with.
8312 I have found them facilitative, actively involved and a sincere effort on the part of the station management team and their staff team to be involved in community and committed to improving Saskatoon.
8313 That really represents the thrust of my presentation, but if anybody has any specific questions about our views on their work in Saskatoon, I would be happy to try and address those at this time.
8314 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you, Mr. Smith-Windsor, and we appreciate the comments and the compliment on the process here today. Just to comment to you that one of the issues we are dealing with is how the stations participate in and reflect their local community. So your submission today has been very helpful in that respect.
8315 MR. SMITH-WINDSOR: Very good.
8316 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
8317 MR. SMITH-WINDSOR: Thank you very much.
8318 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bye-bye.
8319 MR. SMITH-WINDSOR: Bye-bye.
8320 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, our next intervenor is Ms Elaine Brathwaite.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8321 MS CUSSONS: Ms Brathwaite, are you there?
8322 MS BRATHWAITE: Yes, that is correct.
8323 MR. CUSSONS: We are very pleased to have you join us this afternoon, Ms Brathwaite. Please make your presentation.
8324 MS BRATHWAITE: Yes, thank you.
8325 I appreciate this opportunity to speak in support of CFCN-TV of Calgary. Speaking from a community perspective and by virtue of my role with United Way of Calgary and area, and I would like to speak to the important and actually unique role that CFCN-TV plays in creating social connectedness in Calgary.
8326 Now, why link it to social connectedness? There are a few reasons for that and I will do that first before I get into the CFCN part of it, and I will be very brief, by the way, if that is any comfort to you.
8327 Social connectedness is vitally important for a healthy society. There is no doubt about that. Social connectedness is important because government responsibility for the care of citizens is devolving to the community, and the community needs that social capital, the social capital of civic engagement to meet that challenge. We can't be doing it alone.
8328 Another reason is because social connectedness fosters involvement of people. If people feel connected with their community, different dynamics begin to happen. We don't have to look very far south of the border and maybe even closer to home to see where society has polarized into gated communities and ghettos with resulting social problems and high social costs.
8329 In fostering this social connectedness, media has a very, very important role to play in building that sense of community and reflecting that sense of community. In Calgary in particular, I think we are very proud to say that the dominant value of Calgary is it's sense of itself as a community, no matter how large we appear to be growing. We also have quite an overwhelming sense of volunteerism of which United Way is certainly a beneficiary. It's Expedition and Stampede is another thing that operates almost exclusively on volunteerism.
8330 Calgary, our main concern at the moment of a lot of people, a lot of community leaders here is that Calgary is growing at the rate of some 50,000 people a year and has been for the last few years, and that is the size of a small city. Someone once said that 55 people a day move to Calgary bringing 67 cars. You can imagine that in that environment that it becomes increasingly important to give voice to the values that make Calgary such an attractive place to live. It's not just the money and the opportunity that is attracting people.
8331 In this environment we have all of those global forces that are, if you will, taking people away from that core sense of community we have. Because of technology we have virtual relationships with the world. We have privatized and isolated ourselves in our leisure time largely because of technology. Nice to have, but takes you off the front porch.
8332 As you well know and I'm sure you have heard many, many times, our proliferation of information choices, particularly through television, has really not fostered any sense of local connectedness. It is lovely to have choice but where do we find community.
8333 I believe that just as the railroad train knitted together the country at a different time and place, that media today is where we need to be finding community because it gives such a broad voice to community potentially. Not all media, of course, do the same thing or do the job very, very well. We are all aware of the profound changes that are happening within media ownership and the community and it makes it difficult in some cases.
8334 But what sets -- from our perspective what sets the CFCN-TV apart is, and has always been, perhaps one word, if I may be so arrogant, it's sustainability.
8335 CFCN-TV has been uniquely sustainable not only in its relationship with community at large, i.e., its viewership, but in how it approaches its community partnerships.
8336 The news package, for example, is where local station and local community really connects and that is where a station really connects with its community, and clearly CFCN is doing something right. Whether its the stability of its on-camera personalities and their high, high profile involvement in community, it is hard to say. It is certainly reassuring to know and to trust the people that you see on the evening news or whenever it is you watch it. It may be the content that reflects what is important to Calgarians and I think every station attempts to do that.
8337 But whatever it is, CFCN-TV continues to this day to be top of the market. So clearly, something important and something right is happening within the news package.
8338 But I think -- I better get to the point that I know most about -- the way CFCN approaches its community partnerships is highly sustainable. They really take the long-term view. Yes, they will do one ofs with the community, but far less so in a way than other stations. It is not a question of not supporting the community but they had a very strategic, I think, and involved approach. They are prepared to commit to their community partners, in the charitable sector I am speaking of now, and do so over the very, very long term.
8339 I have personally a seven year history with CFCN-TV in terms of United Way, my association with United Way. That relationship has been built on understanding each other's business, where each person is at and what they need and finding a new way to develop that relationship. CFCN-TV is just an amazing media outlet from that point of view, and their people there have always been wonderful and often the same people year after year, which is grand.
8340 I know that Volunteer Calgary, Calgary's volunteer centre has also benefited from a long-term, ongoing relationship with CFCN-TV to develop volunteerism in Calgary. I know that for eight years CFCN-TV has co-sponsored Friends Helping Friends, which is a major, major food drive with Co-op Stores, which is a food store chain here in Alberta and the Food Bank, and eight years is a long time to sustain that kind of good relationship.
8341 I think what is perhaps most unique and I believe you have heard about this earlier in the week, the In Touch programming that was launched in Calgary is quite a remarkable product in that it is a designated space that allows true public access. In many respects it is public service in its purest form.
8342 I think CFCN-TV have done it quite right in having a live face, in having, in other words, a live on-camera face delivering the messaging consistently over time. They support well in excess of 200 organizations and I know this program runs in six cities in Alberta, including Calgary, and I can only speak to Calgary. But the intimacy of the In Touch program, the importance that Calgarians feel about it, it is quite amazing the viewership and the way it affects people to see and hear things on In Touch that matter to them.
8343 I think that why this has become so important is that we in the charitable sector are doing a difficult job. Like everyone else who is in difficult circumstances, has experienced not attrition in the media but a different mood in which there is a stronger imperative to deal with hard news, to deal with the expedient, to deliver value to stakeholders and to reduce costs. "In Touch" is an oasis of community within that, and I have to credit and applaud CFCN-TV for maintaining that oasis because it plays an extraordinarily important role in our community.
8344 That brings me to my conclusion of my support for the renewal of the license of CFCN-TV. Thank you.
8345 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Brathwaite. Again, we appreciate your presentation this afternoon.
8346 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Chairman, we will now hear from Daniel O'Grady. Mr. O'Grady is with Volunteer Calgary.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8347 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. O'Grady, are you there?
8348 MR. O'GRADY: Yes, sir. Good afternoon.
8349 MR. CUSSONS: Welcome to our hearing. It is nice that you could join us and we would be happy to hear your presentation.
8350 MR. O'GRADY: You are very welcome.
8351 I am currently, as you mentioned, Chair of Volunteer Calgary. I have been a board member for the last three years. I have been a resident in Calgary since fleeing Toronto in 1989. Calgary is home.
8352 I guess a brief presentation in terms of highlighted comments would include that CFCN over the past nine years have been offering the community of Calgary an innovative recognition program that was launched in the city to increase the awareness and profile of volunteers during National Volunteer Week.
8353 Five years ago CFCN Television extended the program to create an annual recognition time of all volunteers profiled throughout the year, donating probably since -- over the last five years about $75,000 worth of very valuable air time and the production of public service announcements for a selected non-profit organization. Exposure that many of the grassroots organizations in our city could not otherwise afford.
8354 The result was the creation of the Volunteers in Profile Award program, part of Volunteer Calgary's annual salute to volunteers event and the annual leadership awards that is happening, in fact, in two day's time.
8355 The community perception, if I may, in support of the CFCN license renewal is the recognition of this television station of being a community builder, a strong community builder as an adhesive through their communication vehicle. I think that the heightened interest in supporting their license this year is coupled on two counts, the proclamation of the United Nations Year of the Volunteers and secondly the ongoing voluntary sector initiative, the partnership between the federal government and the voluntary sector in strengthening that relationship.
8356 The increasing awareness that CFCN Television brings to the Calgary community is that volunteer action helps build the current quality of life that all Calgarians have been enjoying over the past years and hopefully in the future.
8357 Thank you.
8358 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. O'Grady for your presentation.
8359 MR. CUSSONS: Our next intervention is by Mr. Ron Purcell.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8360 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Purcell, are you there?
8361 MR. PURCELL: Yes, I am here.
8362 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Purcell, you represent Laurentian Enterprises. We are very pleased to have you at the CRTC hearing. Would you begin your presentation, please.
8363 MR. PURCELL: Thank you very much. Good afternoon. I am the Executive Director of Laurentian Enterprises, which is the new business arm of Laurentian University, which is situated in Sudbury, Ontario.
8364 Laurentian University previously supplied a letter of support for the licence renewal of MCTV and it is in further support of this renewal that I speak to you today, and I thank you for the opportunity.
8365 I have been a resident of Sudbury since the latter part of 1995, when I was transferred here as the Vice-President, Northern Ontario, for the Bank of Montreal.
8366 Over the last five years I have served as a member of the Board of Governors at Laurentian University, as well as the director of our Mining Research Institute, MRCO(ph). I have also served as a director of the YMCA Centre for Life.
8367 My other community involvements have included participating in a number of economic initiatives for the chamber of commerce, the city, the regional government, and various charitable and cultural organizations.
8368 At the bank I travelled extensively throughout my geographical area of responsibility, which was virtually the same as that of MCTV. I have, through frequent trips throughout northern Ontario, had many opportunities to observe MCTV's involvement, both corporately and through their personnel.
8369 My comments reflect my observations over the last five years, both in a Sudbury and a northern Ontario context.
8370 I would like to comment on MCTV's involvement, which I have personal awareness of in three areas, namely: news coverage, community involvement, and, finally, involvement with Laurentian University.
8371 My comment on news coverage is simply that in observing MCTV's coverage, both in Sudbury and in other locations, I have found it to be thorough, consistent, balanced and neutral as to its position.
8372 I would also say that it clearly focuses on local issues primarily.
8373 With respect to community involvement, I find that the corporate and individual involvement of MCTV is, again, what I would refer to as extensive and consistent. These involvements include board memberships by senior personnel in organizations such as the chamber of commerce, the YMCA Centre for Life, and Cinefest(ph).
8374 Of special interest to the business environment is their support for the northern Ontario business awards, which is the north's premier business event annually and for which MCTV has produced the television support for the five years of the event that I have been able to attend.
8375 In the area of cultural, charity and sporting events, MCTV's presence is, again, extensive. This involvement includes both personnel participation, as well as news and publicity coverage in the case of Sudbury, covering events such as the Sudbury symphony, "Northern Lights", "Cinefest", our regional initiative called "Music and Film in Motion", broadcasting and contributing to telethons for our critical health fund and issue, the Heart and Soul Campaign, as well as their long-term support of the MCTV Lion's Club Christmas Telethon, which I understand is the longest running telethon in Canada.
8376 This list is far from complete, but I have observed both in Sudbury and during my stay in cities such as North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and on Manitoulin Island that MCTV can be counted on for participation in coverage in any number of diverse events and causes.
8377 Finally, I would like to focus on MCTV's involvement with the university. I would start by indicating that their coverage of other northern Ontario post-secondary educational institutions -- again I would characterize as consistent, thorough and fair. As with Laurentian University, coverage and support ranges from cultural, social, educational, as well as sporting events and our news stories.
8378 As mentioned in our president's letter of support, MCTV is a strong financial and on-air supporter of our Laurentian Voyageurs athletics. As a matter of fact, they even hired one of our star Lady V basketball players for their sales team. I know that she has cracked the lineup and is doing very well.
8379 For each of the past three years MCTV has contributed over $30,000 worth of advertising time. This time has been critical to the marketing and promotional success of our Voyageurs' athletic program and the university's profile in general.
8380 That coverage has been described as fantastic by our coaches, players and athletic director, but, most importantly, by the community at large.
8381 The last example I would like to describe to you is particularly exciting, and MCTV's role is pivotal.
8382 Laurentian University's Department of English has launched a film studies program. I would like to quote Dr. Hoi Chu(ph), our English department professor and originator of this program, concerning his philosophy on this new initiative:
"Liberal arts skills, creativity, critical thinking and communications proficiency are in high demand in this century's new economy, but these abilities are often overlooked because humanities students need to obtain the practical skills required to accomplish their tasks. In order to equip students with the necessary knowledge and experience for the information age, the media production program is designed to inject practical and technological components into the current film studies division at the English department. By exposing the students to various media technologies and aesthetic principles, the media production program encourages students to establish their production profile in media art and, in turn, prepares them for active participation in Canada's visual culture and high tech infrastructure." (As read)
8383 MCTV's contribution has two elements to this. Firstly, they have provided a $50,000 endowment for the university. Dr. Chu and myself are currently designing the guidelines that will see the endowment proceeds support our students in a variety of creative initiatives. Even our students' diverse backgrounds and the various disciplines reflected on our program's enrolment, and particularly the exciting work they produced in their first projects -- we see great potential to support MCTV's objective of fostering the ongoing development of northern Ontario talent and the production of Canadian film and television initiatives that reflect our heritage.
8384 This will also permit the university to better support the regional economic initiative that I have previously referred to, called "Music and Film in Motion".
8385 The importance of this endowment is the capability it provides to link our curriculum to the practical creative projects that our students will undertake to apply their learned competencies.
8386 For example, the course Creative Writing will form a logical link to the practical application of script and story development.
8387 The opportunity to showcase our students to the community through their projects, supported by this endowment, will also, we expect, significantly increase their employment opportunities locally.
8388 The second element of MCTV's contribution is, again, consistent with their usual practice, as we have included in the program practical experience for the students at MCTV's facilities and participation by MCTV personnel in our classroom environment.
8389 I will conclude my remarks by renewing Laurentian University's and my personal support for the renewal of MCTV's licence, and we would be pleased to answer any questions.
8390 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentation, Mr. Purcell. It is an interesting program that is going on at Laurentian and we wish you and all the folks at Laurentian success in the continuation of that program, and particularly the new one.
8391 MR. PURCELL: Great. Thank you.
8392 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thanks a lot.
8393 Mr. Secretary?
8394 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Knowles?
8395 MR. KNOWLES: Yes, it is Ken Knowles from Edmonton, Alberta.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8396 MR. CUSSONS: Mr. Knowles, welcome to the CRTC hearing. We are happy to have you with us.
8397 MR. KNOWLES: Thank you. I am pleased to be with you.
8398 MR. CUSSONS: We would be delighted to hear your presentation, sir.
8399 MR. KNOWLES: It will be very brief, but I certainly want to express, on behalf of our organization, support for the licence renewal of CFRN-23 TV.
8400 You probably don't know about our organization. We are a not for profit community organization, a volunteer organization, and we attract, roughly, three to three and a half million people with the various events we produce and host here. In order to do that in our community, we certainly need good community partners, and there is no question that CFRN-23 TV has been, as far as we are concerned, an excellent community partner.
8401 The events that we produce entail the summer exhibition, which is a 10 day summer exhibition, which is called Klondike Days. We have a parade associated with it that CFRN is very involved in.
8402 In the fall we produce "Farm Fair International" in the Canadian Finals Rodeo. Again, CFRN-23 TV has proven to be just an excellent community partner.
8403 Other events that we attract are of national and international magnitude, and, again, we rely on the support from media and community partners, and, again, I speak very highly of the relationship that we have with CFRN-23 TV. Their on-air personnel have proven to be very active in the community, as far as getting involved in fundraisers and charitable organizations. One that particularly comes to mind is the Good Neighbour Fund. That certainly is a strong charitable organization in this community and has excellent support from CFRN-23 TV.
8404 What we as an organization -- and I certainly as general manager of this organization -- have found is that their on-air personnel, aside from getting involved in community activities, are very responsible in their reporting.
8405 As I say, we have a close working relationship with all personnel at the station, and it has proved to be very beneficial for our organization in taking us forward in the community and producing and hosting the number of events that we do for this community.
8406 THE CHAIRPERSON: Does that complete your presentation, Mr. Knowles?
8407 MR. KNOWLES: Yes, I think so.
8408 THE CHAIRPERSON: We thank you for that and we wish you well.
8409 MR. KNOWLES: Thank you.
8410 MR. CUSSONS: We will now hear from Mr. Bruce Shepard.
INTERVENTION / INTERVENTION
8411 MR. CUSSONS: Welcome to the CRTC hearing, Mr. Shepard.
8412 MR. SHEPARD: Thank you very much.
8413 MR. CUSSONS: We would be pleased to hear your presentation.
8414 MR. SHEPARD: First of all, thank you to the Commission for inviting me to speak with you today, and my compliments on your innovative approach. I have attended CRTC hearings in person in the past, but never in this way. It is an interesting experience.
8415 I would like to begin by giving you a bit of background about the centre that I am proud to manage and why the service provided by the CTV service here, CFQC Television, is so important to us.
8416 John George Diefenbaker was the 13th person to be Prime Minister of Canada. He served this country from 1940, when he was first elected as a member of Parliament, until his passing in 1979. He served 39 uninterrupted years in Parliament, and of course was our Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963.
8417 Mr. Diefenbaker was a personal friend of the late President Harry Truman and visited the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, Missouri, and returned to Canada and told people that that is what Canada needed more of: regionally based but nationally focused institutions; that not all of the country's history should be centralized in Ottawa -- a sentiment I happen to share.
8418 Mr. Diefenbaker, being the person that he was, was going to do something about it, and he proceeded to begin to develop the Diefenbaker Centre here at the University of Saskatchewan.
8419 The centre has been in existence since 1980. We opened in June of 1980. We have just finished our 20th year.
8420 We have, interestingly, not received any federal support since 1990, when our funds were cut off, and we have never received provincial support, other than a few periodic project grants.
8421 For all intents and purposes, we are self-supporting. We are maintained by the interests from three trust accounts, from our admission fees and from the revenues from our gift shop. It is because we are largely self-supporting that our partnerships are so crucial to us. One of the most important partnerships that we have in this community is with CFQC Television, the CTV outlet here.
8422 We approached CFQC Television because of their previous support for us -- they had been very supportive over the years in broadcasting our public service announcements -- but also because of their reputation in our community. They are very much a community oriented station. They are involved in everything that goes on in Saskatoon and in this part of Saskatchewan.
8423 Our partnership with them -- the one that we proposed, and which they have accepted -- allows school groups to visit the Diefenbaker Canada Centre for programming free of charge. Our educational programs are curriculum based and grade specific, and they deal with what might be termed the civics side of Canadian political history. We leave the partisan politics to those who know it best. Our programs deal with civics.
8424 For example, one of our programs is called "Diefenbaker for the Defence". In it grades 5 and 6 students come to the centre. They can dress in costume, and we conduct one of Mr. Diefenbaker's trials. They have cards which they are given. One of them is chosen as judge, another a crown prosecutor, the rest become the jurists, and so forth, and they learn something about how a Canadian courtroom works. This serves as a counterweight to some of the American courtroom dramas which appear on our television airways regularly.
8425 In addition, we have a program called "Land of the Midnight Sun", which introduces students in this community to life in the Arctic and the Inuit peoples. It was designed in collaboration with an Inuit educator, who happens to work in our College of Education here at the university, and has been extremely well received by the teachers and students in kindergarten and grade 1 here.
8426 In addition, we have a program called "Cabinet", which is designed to give young people some idea of how the Canadian cabinet system works. We have an exact replica of the Privy Council Chamber, or cabinet room, here at our centre. Because it is largely a replica, we allow the students to use it. The teachers are sent a package of material in advance. The students are assigned portfolios, which they are expected to research and know something of the departments they represent. They then come to the centre and conduct a cabinet meeting here in the replica of the cabinet room.
8427 The topic which we give the senior high school students in grades 11 and 12 is whether to reinstate the death penalty for capital crimes. Our guide serves as the Prime Minister, and as the discussion unfolds, if the discussion is going more toward reinstating capital punishment, the role of the guide interpreter is to give examples of where that has not worked or not helped. If the debate moves more toward maintaining the current abolition, we open up a discussion on issues related to proper punishment.
8428 The whole idea is to give the young people a sense of the difficulty and complexity of these issues and how elected officials have to grapple with very serious questions and issues.
8429 At the end of that particular program, a vote is taken and regardless of which way the Cabinet votes, the Prime Minister vetoes their decision. So he gives them a taste of real "politiques" as well.
8430 I should perhaps warn you that we have a very independent minded generation coming up. The last time we conducted this program, when the Prime Minister vetoed their decision, the entire Cabinet resigned and the government fell.
8431 But they do get a very good idea of how decisions are made in our civics system and the teachers have been very generous in their praise. All of our programs are offered throughout the school year from September to June and the teachers choose when to bring the classes here, when it would fit best into their curriculum plans and do the most good for the classes.
8432 I mention these programs because it is through our cooperation with CFQC television that we are able to offer these free of charge to the schools of Saskatoon and area and we could not do that otherwise. Given our limited resources, we would simply have to charge the schools, who are themselves, of course, faced with very difficult financial questions. There is absolutely no question in our mind that we would be seeing far fewer school groups coming through if it wasn't for our partnership with CFQC.
8433 CFQC gives us air time, which we could not otherwise afford. I must make a comment that they are wonderful people to work with. Jan McLurin, the writer/producer that has been assigned to work with us has developed a real sense of our needs and what we are trying to accomplish and is just an absolutely delightful person to work with.
8434 We always make sure that we send our press releases to Jim McQuarry(ph), the local weatherman. As a family facility, we are very sensitive to weather as a factor in our visitation and Mr. McQuarry(ph) always makes sure that we are mentioned when our announcements come up. He mentions our particular program during the weather forecast and we know it has an impact simply because of the number of people that have commented upon it.
8435 Gerry McLeod(ph) and David Fisher(ph) have been very, very supportive, not only of these initiatives but other initiatives that we have been involved with. For example, we are currently one of the participants in the Historica Foundation National Youth Heritage Fair Program. As we speak, I am discussing with Jan and David how we can get the local Saskatoon Youth Heritage Fair a bit more publicity over the airwaves with CFQC-TV.
8436 CFQC, I believe, has the highest ratings in our area. It's because they have earned the trust and respect of the people who live here. We not only benefit from working with them, we enjoy it. It is my belief that their licence should be renewed because we need them to continue to provide the level of service and support that we have come to expect.
8437 I would be pleased to answer any questions you might have of our experience with them but we certainly do support CFQC's licence renewal.
8438 Thank you very much.
8439 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Shepard. I'm wondering whether you have created a model of the CRTC in your Diefenbaker Centre.
8440 MR. SHEPARD: Not yet.
8441 THE CHAIRPERSON: You could debate some of these relatively simply issues like cross-media ownership. I would be interested to see what the students would have to say.
8442 MR. SHEPARD: It is a very interesting question and it is something that we should perhaps look at. At this point we are offering seven programs but we are currently reviewing them, and I will take that idea to our educational programmer. It is a very interesting one. This is certainly a media literate generation. We see that all the time in our dealings with them and it might be a very interesting discussion to hear their input on questions just like that.
8443 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Shepard, for your presentation this afternoon.
8444 MR. SHEPARD: Thank you.
8445 THE CHAIRPERSON: We have now heard from 25 of the 31 folks who had registered to intervene by telephone. I understand from our secretary that three people have dropped out of participating for whatever reason: Mary Dolton, Sandra Hanmer and Larry Gravelle. I understand despite several attempts, we have not been able to reach Greg Barrett, Rod Ziegler and Dr. Alec Cooper. Is that correct, Mr. Secretary?
8446 MR. CUSSONS: That is correct, Mr. Chairman.
8447 THE CHAIRPERSON: So with that then, that completes our teleconference interventions for today. I want to just take the time to thank all of those who have participated. I think despite a little bit of a hiccough at the start to get this thing working it has worked quite well. I want to thank all of those who did participate for their thoughtful and articulate interventions this afternoon. I am sure that we will continue to develop this process to allow people to more easily participate in the CRTC hearing process in the future.
8448 So I thank you all. That ends our proceeding then for today. We will reconvene tomorrow morning at 0830 when we will again begin to hear from appearing intervenors here in Hull. So that ends our proceeding for today. Thank you very much.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1630, to resume on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 at 0830 / L'audience est ajournée à 1630, pour reprendre le mardi 24 avril 2001 at 0830