ARCHIVED -  Transcript/Transcription - Vancouver, B.C. / (C.-B.) - 17 October 2001

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Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.

In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.

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PRIVATE

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS

FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND

TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION

 

 

 

 

TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU

CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION

ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES

 

 

 

 

 

SUBJECT / SUJET:

 

 

Multiple broadcasting and ownership applications & applications further to Public Notice 2001-32 "Call for applications for a broadcasting licence for an ethnic television programming undertaking to serve Vancouver, B.C.".

Demandes de radiodiffusion et de propriétés multiples ainsi que les demandes suite à l'avis public CRTC 2001-32 "Appel de demandes de licence de radiodiffusion visant l'exploitation d'une entreprise de programmation à caractère ethnique pour desservir Vancouver (C.-B.)".

 

 

 

 

HELD AT:                            TENUE À:

 

Renaissance Vancouver       Renaissance Vancouver

Hotel Harbourside                Hotel Harbourside

1133 West Hastings Street   1133 West Hastings Street

Harbourside Ballroom II & III  Harbourside Ballroom II & III

Vancouver, British Columbia Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique)

 

 

17 October, 2001                 le 17 octobre 2001

 

 

 

Volume 3


 

 

 

 

Transcripts

 

In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages

Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be

bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members

and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of

Contents.

 

However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded

verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in

either of the official languages, depending on the language

spoken by the participant at the public hearing.

 

 

 

 

Transcription

 

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

Telecommunications Commission

 

Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des

télécommunications canadiennes

 

 

Transcript / Transcription

 

 

Multiple broadcasting and ownership applications & applications further to Public Notice 2001-32 "Call for applications for a broadcasting licence for an ethnic television programming undertaking to serve Vancouver, B.C.".

Demandes de radiodiffusion et de propriétés multiples ainsi que les demandes suite à l'avis public CRTC 2001-32 "Appel de demandes de licence de radiodiffusion visant l'exploitation d'une entreprise de programmation à caractère ethnique pour desservir Vancouver (C.-B.)".

 

 

BEFORE / DEVANT:

 

Andrée Wylie                           Vice-Chair Broadcasting

/Vice-Président, Radio diffusion

Cindy Grauer                            Commissioner / Conseillère

Martha Wilson                          Commissioner / Conseillère

Joan Pennefather                      Commissioner / Conseillère

Andrew Cardozo                       Commissioner / Conseiller

 

 

ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:

 

Martine Vallee                          Hearing Manager / Gérant de

                                               l'audience

Marguerite Vogel                      Secretary / secrétaire

Carolyn Pinsky                         Legal Counsel /

                                               conseillère juridique

 

 

 

HELD AT:                            TENUE À:

 

Renaissance Vancouver       Renaissance Vancouver

Hotel Harbourside                Hotel Harbourside

1133 West Hastings Street   1133 West Hastings Street

Harbourside Ballroom II & III  Harbourside Ballroom II & III

Vancouver, British Columbia Vancouver (Colombie-Britannique)

 

 

 

17 October, 2001                                le 17 octobre 2001

 

 

Volume 3


TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES

 

                                                                                            PARA NO.

 

PHASE III

 

 

INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR

 

 

by RTV Productions Ltd /                                                                3191

par RTV Productions Ltd

 

by Pacific Rim Intercultural Action Society /                                      3300

par Pacific Rim Intercultural Action Society

 

by KCTV and Production Inc /                                                          3360

par KCTV and Production Inc

 

by Multivan Broadcast Corporation /                                                 3425

par Multivan Broadcast Corporation

 

by Voz Portuguesa / par Voz Portuguesa                                         3548

 

by Justice Wally Oppal /                                                                 3632

par Justice Wally Oppal

 

by Senator Mobina Jaffer /                                                               3704

par Senator Mobina Jaffer

 

by Honourable Gurmant Grewal /                                                      3741

par Honourable Gurmant Grewal

 

by Raghbir Singh Bains /                                                                 3781

par Raghbir Singh Bains

 

by Prem Vinning /                                                                           3825

par Prem Vinning

 

by May Brown / par May Brown                                                       3848

 

byPo-Ping Au Yeung / par Po-Ping Au Yeung                                   3867

 

by Raj Paul Dhillon / par Raj Paul Dhillon                                          3898

 

by Hanny Hassan / par Hanny Hassan                                             3919

 

by Leslyn Johnson / par Leslyn Johnson                                           3944

 

by Baldwin Wong / par Baldwin Wong                                              4039

 

by David Paperny / par David Paperny                                              4060

 

by Vera Radyo / par Vera Radyo                                                      4083

 

by Cindy Chan Piper / par Cindy Chan Piper                                     4099

 

by Juan Miguez / par Juan Miguez                                                   4150

 

by Sonny Wong / par Sonny Wong                                                  4184

 

by Sandra Wilking / par Sandra Wilking                                            4222

 

by Barbara Brink / par Barbara Brink                                                4243

 

by Milton Wong / par Milton Wong                                                   4266

 

by Dr. Peter Legge / par Peter Legge                                                4316

 

by David G. McLean / par David G. McLean                                      4353

 

by Dr. William Saywell /                                                                  4368

par Dr. William Saywell

 

by Dr. Saida Rasul / par Dr. Saida Rasul                                          4399

 

by Lucy Roschat / par Lucy Roschat                                                4419

 

by Anne Almgren / par Anne Almgren                                               4453

 

by Imtiaz Popat / par Imtiaz Popat                                                   4468

 

by Kevin Pavlovic / par Kevin Pavlovic                                               4487

 

by Marion Toft / par Marion Toft                                                        4534

 

by Alvaro Mendes / par Alvaro Mendes                                             4594

 

by Paul Wong / par Paul Wong                                                        4613

 

by Shirley Chan / par Shirley Chan                                                   4635

 

 

 


Vancouver, British Columbia / Vancouver, Colombie Britannique

--- Upon commencing on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 at 0838 / L'audience débute le mercredi, 17 octobre 2001 à 0838

 

3188    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Good morning and welcome back to our hearing.  Madam Secretary.

 

3189    seq level0 \h \r0 seq level1 \h \r0 seq level2 \h \r0 seq level3 \h \r0 seq level4 \h \r0 seq level5 \h \r0 seq level6 \h \r0 seq level7 \h \r0 COMMISSION COUNSEL:  Madam Chairman, I'd just like to announce that MVBC has filed the multilingual language sales projections as requested yesterday, and it will just be part of the record as Exhibit 8.

 

3190    THE SECRETARY:  Our first intervener today is KCTV and Production Inc.  I'd like to invite Nathan Cho to come forward.  I'm not seeing any movement.  We will recall Mr. Cho at a later time.  Thank you. 

 

3191    Next, then, is RTV Productions Limited.  Would Richard Weichsler please step forward.

 

3192    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Good morning. 

 

3193    MR. WEICHSLER:  Madam Chair, good morning, and members of the Commission.  Thank you very much for taking your time and hearing me on your empty stomachs.

 

3194    I'm Richard Weichsler.  I'm the producer of the German television show, TV Deutsch, which serves the German, Swiss and the Austrian communities.  I'm also publisher of Canada's only quarterly German-language magazine. 

 

3195    My involvement with journalism and multiculturalism started with Horst Koehler 18 years ago.  I began as a producer with CJVB Radio, which is a German show, six days live per week one-hour show for over 13 years.  Five of those years, prior to the sale of the station, Mr. Van Bruchem made me the speaker of the station on multicultural matters.

 

3196    In 1986, I created a German interview show on Rogers, which became a great success and from then on, 15 and a half years ago, I have continuously been the producer of TV Deutsch with Rogers, and now, Shaw.

 

3197    During these years, I have received a number of honours and awards from the Merit Cross of the Republic of Austria, to the Diploma of Honour of the Robert Stolz Society.

 

3198    Programs I have produced for TV Deutsch include full-length films about the north of British Columbia, the Mohave National Park in the Northwest Territories, and the Alaska Highway, the North Pacific Choir Festival at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, the North American Schuhplattler Festival at the Trade and Convention Centre, the story of Austrians in British Columbia, many one-hour long features about our communities and dozens of shorter features, interviews shot in Canada, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

 

3199    Besides that, I produce every week a one-half hour local news show which includes also international segments, and I would be glad to tell you about the content of our next show.

 

3200    During this time, I have done approximately 1,600 interviews with local and international personalities, including German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and an Olympic Gold medallist skier, like Patrick Ortlieb.  In one three-hour telethon for the German Care Home, we raised over $40,000, in three hours, a large portion of the total of 120,000 which we have collected so far.

 

3201    Fifteen and a half years ago, the Rogers cable licence was contingent upon having a multicultural channel.  Rogers helped us independent producers by paying about $40 per hour, per week for our programs.  In addition, Rogers gave us access to camera equipment, studio and mobile time.

 

3202    The producers appealed to the Commission and won a relaxed sponsorship to help us raise more funding to increase the quality of our programming.  But Rogers swallowed the proceeds by first eliminating the payment completely that they made to us and then reducing and eliminating the use of equipment.  Finally, they eliminated the one-year business contracts to replace them with a three-month contract, which made it impossible to plan long-term programming or business commitments.

 

3203    At the same time, they continued to collect the portion of the rate increments they were granted by the Commission to cover the subsidies to the producers.  We haven't seen anything from that any more.

 

3204    In an unprecedented move, Rogers, without telling me, re-broadcast a satellite program from Deutsche Welle, with whom I have the contract with, and to show them to the viewers, they get the program for free and they show them to the viewers for a fee.

 

3205    In effect, Rogers dismembered the efforts of the multicultural producers before the station was taken over by Shaw to set themselves up for this network licence, and these are the conditions under which we are working today.

 

3206    Now, please allow me to point out the reason why I am absolutely opposed to the those applicants.

 

3207    Rogers, LMtv and Multivan have both canvassed the communities by misleading them, with the result that many of us independent producers wasted an enormous amount of time to explain the real situation to those people.  The most prevalent misconception is that there will be an additional multicultural channel which will be free.  Well, who would not subscribe to such an idea and an offer, except that it is not true.  The channel will have to be carried on cable to be seen and no one has told me I will not have to pay for the channel.  I would be the first one to applaud the free cable service, Madam Chair, and I'm sure many people in this room will too. 

 

3208    Once this licence is granted, there is no guarantee that Shaw Multicultural Channel will continue our program.  In fact, there is a very good chance it will not.  We will be out of business and our communities will have less, and not more multicultural programming. 

 

3209    Rogers says that they will bring more quality.  Well, what kind of quality?  Probably the same kind of quality that they have in Toronto and from Toronto.  Please permit me to remind the Commission that their flagship program in Toronto used to be Jerry Springer, which they advertised on every lamppost in Toronto.  So much for quality and dignity.

 

3210    If they are so interested in quality, why have they not approached any of the major multicultural independent producers who have won many awards for their programming and services to the community?

 

3211    The reality is that they have no interest in ethnic programming.  Their investment is primarily in the American programming.  It is only a means to use the ethnic communities to get network licence for American programming.  Once they get the licence, they will come to the Commission and show that ethnic programming does not make any money, which is true, especially local productions, because they will continue to put fewer resources into it, or they may use other proven techniques to downgrade this programming, scrambling the schedule, using producers who are not experienced, who they employ at a fraction of the cost that it would take them to hire experienced, professional producers.

 

3212    Similarly, Multivan points out that programs will be produced locally.  Well, well, don't they know that all of the 25 independent producers are locals?  Over the 22 years, they were all locals.  On top of that, the combined experience of us six producers who were here, yesterday and today, we represent more than 100 years of experience.

 

3213    There is nobody in the major community who has more contacts in and more knowledge about the different communities.  "Free" and "local" are buzzwords they use today to get their licence. 

 

3214    Once they get it, they control the game.  So they may sell it, change the format, or just plain not live up to their promises.  No one can then do anything about it. 

 

3215    I request the Commission to please consider what options you will have in that eventuality.  For example, CKVU was sold to CHUM, thus adding to the multiple ownership and media concentration on this market.  Does anyone care any more what is happening on the B.C. media market?

 

3216    If we look at the business aspects of these applications, both applicants are promising to lose money for several years.  Yesterday, I overheard somebody say it takes about 15 years for one of these applicants.  Is that a sound business plan?  With respect, I would like to propose that the real business plan is to sell the licence to the highest bidder once they have it, or use it as a lever to gain network status.

 

3217    We, the ethnic communities deserve the same protection from such conflicts of interest that you provide to the non-ethnic audiences.

 

3218    We, as independent producers, run our business too.  It is a stipulation in our contract with Shaw and before, Rogers, that our finances are beyond reproach.

 

3219    I respectfully submit to you, Madam Chair, and Commissioners, that there is another more viable option, one that will serve our communities best and that is to allow the opportunity to fulfil our intent to apply for a low power licence as soon as you complete your policy review. 

 

3220    This will provide 100 percent multicultural, multilingual programming for ethnic communities.  Isn't that better for our communities than the less than 45 percent purely multilingual programming proposed by the applicants?

 

3221    Currently, we, the independent producers are handicapped by various regulatory restrictions on our advertisements.  Please allow us the same access to advertising revenue that these applicants want to be granted until we apply for our low-power applications.  This will allow us to do even more and higher-quality programming. 

 

3222    I like to mention that neither the German Canadian Congress of British Columbia, nor the largest German club in Western Canada, the Vancouver Alpen Club, nor the Austria Vancouver Club, and nor the Canadian Benevolent Society have supported either of the applicants.  They are on my side and those are more than 10,000 people that you have right here who oppose that, as well.

 

3223    All of us independent producers have served our communities with diligence.  We are the strongest link to the communities, and this multicultural channel that we have is truly multicultural, and in its conception, a unique and wonderful Canadian idea, which you helped to create, which works.  It just takes a little bit of fixing, and we have the tools and we can do that.

 

3224    In closing, I would like to ask you why you are listening to an application which you have already rejected and this has been put to you now for the third time.  I do not understand it, but I'm sure you have a good answer to that.  I thank you very much for your patience, and I'm glad to answer any questions.

 

3225    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Mr. Weichsler.  We hear the applications we receive.

 

3226    MR. WEICHSLER:  Good.

 

3227    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Commissioner Grauer, please.

 

3228    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Thank you.  I have a couple of questions with respect to your presentation today.  You say here that they, I assume being Rogers, and now Shaw, continue to collect the portion of the rate increment they were granted by the Commission to cover the subsidy to the producers?

 

3229    MR. WEICHSLER:  Yes.

 

3230    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  I wonder if you could just elaborate a bit on that for me.

 

3231    MR. WEICHSLER:  When we received the okay to produce sponsorship mention on television for the first time, we were not allowed to use any kind of moving objects, no telephone numbers, as you know, and just storefronts and the name of the business.

 

3232    We got compensated for not being allowed to use real advertisements by getting $40 a week per program hour from Rogers. 

 

3233    Once we had the relaxed sponsorship, which included using logos and some moving pictures and telephone numbers, these $40 were absolutely stopped right away.  Therefore, my statement that we did not get any money any more from Rogers so the money must have gone somewhere else and so they must have kept it. 

 

3234    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  Sometimes I don't know the answer to the question, but you know, often when there's an acquisition and a channel like this is introduced --

 

3235    MR. WEICHSLER:  Yes?

 

3236    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  -- the licensee will -- is obligated to put up a benefits package, and I'm just wondering if perhaps the initial funding that you received, and whatnot, was part of a benefit package that expired, or whether, in fact, there was an identified portion of what was being charged to the customers was designated for the multicultural producers.  Do you know whether it was one or the other?

 

3237    MR. WEICHSLER:  That was the -- your latter point was actually the point which I understood when I started 15 and a half years ago, that a portion of the cable payments, maybe two cents, or one cent, or half a cent, I don't know, was allocated for the multicultural producers.  And in the meantime, that -- because we got a relaxed sponsorship, the thinking probably was that now that we make so money that we don't really need any more.

 

3238    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  Do you know -- you also say:

 

In an unprecedented move, Rogers, without telling me, rebroadcast satellite programs which were on my show for a fee to viewers.

 

3239    MR. WEICHSLER:  That's right.

 

3240    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  I wonder if you could explain.

 

3241    MR. WEICHSLER:  I think that is something that could easily be a case for lawyer because the situation is that I have the contract with the Deutsche Welle.  I have a contract with the Deutsche Welle since the Deutsche Welle exists in 1986. 

 

3242    First, we actually carried the programs from the University of Oregon, this is by car, to Vancouver, and then we showed the programs here.  Then came the satellite.  We had the contract and we still do have the contract that I can re-broadcast any program from the Deutsche Welle, under certain conditions.  And all of a sudden, while I was using -- in those days, I had 13 and a half hours of programming a week.  While I was using the programs on my show for probably a number of years already, viewers come to me, I moved around in my community in different clubs and so forth.  They say well, "Don't you know that we already have another German television program?"  I says, "You must be kidding?"  So Rogers picked up the program, and the program is free.  It doesn't cost anything.  And Rogers picked up the program, and I know this is a very strong allegation on my part, but it is the truth, and Rogers charged for the program, their customers who wanted to have the program.

 

3243    By the way, Shaw, at the same time, also used the program of the Deutsche Welle in the Okanogan and they did not charge their viewers anything because they got the program free, as well.  The program is there on the satellite, all you have to do is get it down and send it.  And that is the truth.  And how I stood there in my community, how embarrassed I was that I didn't even know that Rogers, at the same time as I, playing the same program as they do, my god.  That is the kind of thing that I absolutely object to.  I mean, this is not business, this is robbery.

 

3244    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  Sorry, you mean the Deutsche Welle channel, is that what you're saying, they started delivering the Deutsche Welle channel?

 

3245    MR. WEICHSLER:  That's right.  That's right.  It's a 24-hour program in three different languages.

 

3246    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  One of the questions that we asked the other producers yesterday was --

 

3247    MR. WEICHSLER:  Yes.

 

3248    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  -- whether they don't see any opportunities with the growth of more multilingual or ethnic program being available, whether it's through a channel that's over the air, should we choose to licence it, or through the increased digital services.  Do you not see opportunities for growth with respect to licensing these services which presumably, should put more revenue in the system?

 

3249    MR. WEICHSLER:  Ms. Commissioner, I would say with -- and I am not very good in technique.  I leave this to other people.  But what I see is that the -- with internet, with digital service, with satellite and everything else, the accessibility to international programming is limitless.  And it's very simple, if I want to see something or read something from Europe, or from South America, it doesn't make any difference, I can get to it.

 

3250    To have another channel in Vancouver, first of all, we have -- well, first of all, it will, what I heard from the applicants, not provide the service that we, at the multicultural channel, provide.  And second of all, what they cannot provide, absolutely not, is the direct contact with the community, with the different communities that we have built up over so many years, and every one of us is, in our community, a respected person for what we have done for our community.

 

3251    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  So you are also of the view, are you, that there aren't opportunities for you to do work with them, but also you're persuaded that the Shaw won't exist so there won't be complimentary services?  Do I take it that --

 

3252    MR. WEICHSLER:  I would neither work for Rogers, nor for -- absolutely not for Mr. Ho, and but this is a different matter altogether.  Things will change, obviously, they always do, but my question is really, you know, why not help us multicultural producers who have done such a good service?  Actually, because it was your idea, CRTC's idea in the beginning that Rogers got actually the licence to run a cable service by providing a multicultural service.  We have done this over the last 22 years.  Why not -- you know, I mean, give us a pat on the back and say, "Well, you've done a good job."  Don't send us away, just give us a chance to fight fairly.  I mean, it means that we should get the same kind of opportunity to sell advertisements, and then it goes on with Shaw and so forth.  So we are in the position to discuss business then. 

 

3253    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  Well, this is my last question, but we don't have anything -- we only act on applications we have in front of us, and I'm not sure what we are to act on with respect to community producers, given that we don't have an application in front of us.

 

3254    MR. WEICHSLER:  Well, we have made the first step.  You knew our concerns.  We have been very outspoken about what we want.  We all know exactly.  We go the same direction, and to give us a chance to do advertise, this would be only fair.  Why should Rogers or Multivan have the opportunity to sell advertisement to my community when I do a much better job than they will ever be able to do, and I cannot advertise for my viewers, or for my businesspeople, for my sponsors, and for my advertisers.  Thank you.

 

3255    COMMISSIONER GRAUER:  Well, thank you very much, Mr. Weichsler, and I appreciate you taking the time to come here today.

 

3256    MR. WEICHSLER:  No problem.

 

3257    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Mr. Weichsler?

 

3258    MR. WEICHSLER:  Yes?

 

3259    THE CHAIRPERSON:  You're providing, obviously, some foreign German language programming on the channel at the moment?

 

3260    MR. WEICHSLER:  We bring -- you would be surprised what we do on our show.  We bring a couple of programs from Germany.  We bring segments from Switzerland.  We bring one program in English, which is called, "You are Being Journalled," which is also from the Deutsche Welle, but it is in English.  The reason why it is in English is because I made the decision to do so because I have the feeling that also Canadians should understand, and hear, and see what is happening in the world from a European point of view.  And then I have a local program which is called Lokal Nachrichten, which is local news, which I produce every week, and it's a half-hour program, and going through the difficulties to produce it is absolutely phenomenal, with the regulations imposed by Rogers, and now by Shaw.  That is I have to, for example, on Monday, put in a request for another promulgation of the program for the next three months, and I have to list in this contract offer that I -- whom I will interview from December -- from January to March, the name of the people I have to interview, I want to interview, the topic of the interviews, and so forth, and so forth.  So you can imagine how difficult it is to want this local programming, but I do that because I think it is the most valuable service on television that I can give my communities.

 

3261    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Mr. Weichsler, I understand, then, that you produce, yourself, what we would call a local program?

 

3262    MR. WEICHSLER:  That's absolutely true, yes.

 

3263    THE CHAIRPERSON:  And how -- what proportion of what you offer on the channel is locally produced?

 

3264    MR. WEICHSLER:  I didn't understand you.  What question of what?

 

3265    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Of the hours a week or a month --

 

3266    MR. WEICHSLER:  Oh, I see, yeah.

 

3267    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- that you provide, rather, to the channel.

 

3268    MR. WEICHSLER:  How many percentage, then?

 

3269    THE CHAIRPERSON:  How much is actually produced locally, as opposed to purchasing the rights and bringing it into Canada?

 

3270    MR. WEICHSLER:  This half-hour program is absolutely produced locally.

 

3271    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Half an hour a week?

 

3272    MR. WEICHSLER:  That's right.

 

3273    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Now, you just said that you were not a technical person?

 

3274    MR. WEICHSLER:  No.

 

3275    THE CHAIRPERSON:  What facilities do you use at the moment to provide that half hour?

 

3276    MR. WEICHSLER:  Yes, we have our own cameras.  We have our own equipment that we can replay and get ready for broadcasting, and then we use the edit suite of Shaw.

 

3277    THE CHAIRPERSON:  You have heard, of course -- have you been here in the last few days?

 

3278    MR. WEICHSLER:  Yes, I have.

 

3279    THE CHAIRPERSON:  And you're aware that all the research that has been done appears to indicate a desire by the multicultural community for local programming that reflects them.  I understand that it probably wouldn't be the case for imported programming, but how difficult would it be to join one of the applicants to produce half an hour of German-language programming per week?

 

3280    MR. WEICHSLER:  I have not been approached and this is one of the situations where I say that if they really meant that my experience and my contacts, and what I know about the community is valuable to them and not threatening to them, then we would have talked, but we did not.

 

3281    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Well, you are aware that all these application plans are often very competitive exercises, and that many of your fellow producers have, themselves, indicated that they intended to apply, and so on.  So it's not that easy before the fact to actually --

 

3282    MR. WEICHSLER:  That's right.

 

3283    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- to make contacts and promises, et cetera.

 

3284    MR. WEICHSLER:  Yes.

 

3285    THE CHAIRPERSON:  So I know what you mean, you want to see some good will, but in the end, if we were to licence the service, that service would have to provide programming, and both applicants have tried to convince us that what they need is local programming.

 

3286    MR. WEICHSLER:  That's right.

 

3287    THE CHAIRPERSON:  So obviously, they'll have to find somebody in the community who can help them put together something, if they really mean that they want a local service.

 

3288    MR. WEICHSLER:  That's exactly my way of thinking, as well, yes.

 

3289    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Yes.  And that service, I'm sure, will not have the -- well, I'm not sure, but in all likelihood, when you look at the plans and the schedule, will not have the ability to provide hours and hours of German language programming that's imported.  So there may be a complementarity there that will end up to your advantage, where you can provide them with what they say they're going to provide and continue providing the other.

 

3290    With regard to whether the programming you purchase from Deutsche Welle is you have exclusive rights, we're unable -- we're certainly not in a position to say whether you were granted exclusive rights, or whether somebody else could also broadcast it, or just use it on another channel.

 

3291    MR. WEICHSLER:  Madam Chair is absolutely right.  Anybody can pick up the satellite dish.  Anybody can buy themselves a satellite dish and pick up the satellite program from Deutsche Welle.  It becomes a different matter when it is being used commercially and being sold to the public, and I think that is something that you might want to look into.  When this happened, I thought -- not only I felt betrayed by Rogers, because they could have told me beforehand.  I mean, at least I would have been prepared to -- I mean, to stand before my community, to have a good answer, but no, I had to hear it --

 

3292    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Well, perhaps you should speak to Deutsche Welle as to why they --

 

3293    MR. WEICHSLER:  No, I do not --

 

3294    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- they provide you with programming and then they, themselves, then make it available is really -- from our perspective, that's how it works.  They're on the eligible list.  It's their programming and they sell some to you, you have to look at your contract as to whether they're responsible for selling it to somebody else as well.  I find it difficult to see something wrong with a cable operator supplying it if Deutsche Welle lets them, but that is not a matter, of course, that we know much about.  It's a commercial arrangement between you.  But as I did with one of your producer colleagues yesterday, I urge you to put a more optimistic cast on this than you do.

 

3295    MR. WEICHSLER:  Madam Chair, thank you very much.  I am very optimistic, otherwise, I wouldn't be here.  I'm sure that you make the right decision.  And as to my productions what I do, I have done programming for Switzerland, Germany and Austria, programs that you can see over there about our communities, and I think I contribute a lot to understanding within our community that we provide a very valuable program, and all of us producers do that, and we will try our best to do it in the future, as well.

 

3296    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Yes.  Thank you, Mr. Weichsler for getting up early.  Some people stay up late, others get up early to speak to us.  We appreciate it.  It's difficult for everybody to make choices.  The world moves on and so on, but we appreciate your concerns.  Thank you. 

 

3297    MR. WEICHSLER:  I'm a morning person.  Thank you very much, ma'am.

 

3298    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I remind people, it's very rude to have telephones and beepers ringing when someone is addressing us, that they must be turned off.  Madam Secretary, please.

 

3299    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Our next intervener this morning is Multicultural Broadcasting Network Inc.  I invite Mr. Ibrahim to come forward.  I'm not seeing any movement.  We will recall Multicultural Broadcasting Network later. 

 

3300    Next on the list is Pacific Rim Intercultural Action Society.  And Madam Chair, for the record, Mr. Gordon Kadota will be addressing you on behalf of Mr. Horita.

 

3301    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.  Good morning, would you kindly spell your name for me, please.

 

3302    MR. KADOTA:  My name is Gordon Kadota K-a-d-o-t-a.

 

3303    Madam Chair, ladies and gentlemen of the Commission, I appreciate this opportunity to make a presentation. 

 

3304    We had submitted a written letter to the Commission to appear at this hearing, and my presentation, oral presentation will essentially follow that which was presented before.  There are a few additions that will be made orally.

 

3305    The Pacific Rim Intercultural Action Society, and if I may refer to this organization as ICAS, we've taken the initials of Intercultural Action Society to call the organization ICAS, and I will refer to ICAS as that in this presentation. 

 

3306    ICAS is a non-profit community organization that was founded in 1985 and received charitable status in 1989.  ICAS has been actively engaged in the production and broadcasting of Japanese-language television, as well as initiating and participating in promoting the interchange between the Japanese/Canadian community and other ethnic organizations.

 

3307    When Rogers Multicultural Channel was initiated in 1979, there were eight ethnic productions, including Japanese.  However, the individual who was producing the Japanese program faced insurmountable financial difficulties, owing to the high cost of program acquisitions and subsequently, consulted the community.

 

3308    The community expressed the continued need and support for Japanese Canadian television programming, and ICAS was founded in 1985.

 

3309    Subsequently, unlike the other ethnic productions, our program productions and agreements with Rogers Cable, which is now Shaw, have been conducted as a non-profit Japanese Canadian community organization.

 

3310    Apart from the two nominally-paid staff, ICAS is operated by eight directors and some 100 volunteers, and donations from the community, and some grants from government agencies in order to provide a vital service to the Japanese Canadian community of the Greater Vancouver area.

 

3311    This broad support is evidence of recognizing the need for this service.  It is also evidence that a multicultural channel must be made available as, of course, multiculturism is now the reality in our Canadian society.

 

3312    Currently, there are two applications for one multicultural commercial station.  And while we recognize the granting of such a licence perhaps may be the reflection of the times in the situation of our society today, both proposals are obviously commercially oriented and market dictated and will contain very limited hours for some of the ethnic groups and including Japanese.

 

3313    We see this with the multicultural channel, CFMT TV in Toronto, for which there, I understand, is only 30 minutes per week of Japanese programming.  The Japanese Canadian community could not be served with such limited hours and production input. 

 

3314    In this regard, we respectfully request to know if Shaw Multicultural Channel, which was first Rogers, will continue to present multicultural format when the licence for a new multicultural channel is granted. 

 

3315    At a recent LMtv presentation, it was clearly stated by the LMtv representatives that Shaw is obligated to maintain the multicultural channel.  And we wish to know if that is mandated by the CRTC.  We ask this question specifically because we were recently informed by Shaw that Shaw cannot commit to any programming beyond March, 2001 -- I'm sorry, 2002.  Next year.

 

3316    The Japanese community television programming is vital to the Japanese Canadian community.  It is an integral part of today's multicultural society, and in particular, serves as a constant reminder of the special place of Japanese Canadians in the history and culture of Canada. 

 

3317    In summary, ICAS, as a duly registered, non-profit society has, through the Rogers/Shaw Multicultural Channel, provided four to five hours per week of TV programming to the Japanese Canadian community of Greater Vancouver for the past 16 years.  And while ICAS firmly believes that both applicants of the current application process cannot or will not provide anywhere near this level of programming time-wise, and, therefore, content-wise, then there is a greater concern also that Shaw may discontinue or substantially alter the present multicultural channel, given that we were informed that we could not schedule any programming beyond March, 2002.  So this is the dilemma in the situation of ICAS.

 

3318    Unfortunately, executive producer, Mr. Horita, had to be at the studio this morning so I, as a director of ICAS for the past seven years, also having served the Japanese Canadian community over the past forty years, both locally and nationally, I am representing ICAS for this presentation.  I thank you for your time.

 

3319    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Mr. Kadota.  Commissioner Cardozo, please.

 

3320    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Thank you, Mr. Kadota, very much for being here. 

 

3321    Just let me ask you to clarify how many -- you said that you have provided, was it, 14 hours a week?

 

3322    MR. KADOTA:  A week, four to -- four to five hours per week.

 

3323    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Oh, four to five, okay.

 

3324    MR. KADOTA:  It has varied over the past 16 years, but --

 

3325    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Okay.  And tell me about the language in which you do the programming, is it in Japanese, or English?

 

3326    MR. KADOTA:  It's in Japanese, and there are a number of programs, or the drama that is imported or brought in from Japan has subtitles in English, and there has been, over the past recent years, specific programming plans for English programming directed to the younger Japanese Canadian members, whose first language would be English.

 

3327    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  All right.  So at this point in Vancouver, what's the proportion of new immigrants to second, third, fourth generation?

 

3328    MR. KADOTA:  Yes.  Over the past 10, 12 years, or so, the way of defining or describing our community of the Greater Vancouver area, today, I use the -- the explanation is Japanese-speaking members of the community and English-speaking members of the community.  And in this regard, it is estimated that there 20 to 25,000 -- 25 to 30,000 people of Japanese descent in the Greater Vancouver area, of which approximately one-third, probably somewhere between 10 to 12,000, whose language is Japanese, or first language is Japanese.

 

3329    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Okay.  Now, on the matter of the status of the Shaw Multicultural Channel, I think I can tell you that they're not obligated to continue, that they are a community service that they have provided and that we have not obligated it in the past so we couldn't -- I mean, we'd have to go through some sort of process if we wanted to obligate that in the future, and I don't know whether we have the tools to do that.  And so I think it is more or less, well, we've heard that Shaw has said that they will make a decision, or what various people have said in the past couple of days is that they will make a decision on the future of that service based on the outcome of this decision.

 

3330    So as some people have pointed out, you would -- one way of looking at that situation is you could end up with a 100-percent ethnic service being replaced by a 60-percent ethnic service, and then others would point out that a lot of that 100 percent is foreign content.  And then what we've also heard in the last couple of days, today and yesterday, is that there was not a lot of resources put in and that's how we've ended up with a lot of foreign programming.

 

3331    That's about all I can tell you as far as I know.  We can't offer you any assurance that that's going to continue.  There has been a couple of letters of intent filed by community producers here to either revamp such a service, or to have a low-power service.  That would be, I think we talked about, 100-percent ethnic.  And that's about all I can tell you in terms of where I think it's going now. 

 

3332    Now, what you're telling us is that four to five hours, I think, is not what either -- I haven't checked just now, but I don't think either of the applicants are suggesting --

 

3333    MR. KADOTA:  Well, if both applicants -- whichever is granted a licence, if either of them go according to what the market dictates, shall we say, and I think that's the way that it will go, then obviously, the Japanese Canadian market is very small and I do not know if either applicant has in their plans -- I know that one of them has listed producers and so forth, but in terms of program content-wise, as well as time-wise, I don't know if there is any significant expression of the time allotted for -- for instance, for Japanese.

 

3334    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Well, the issue of -- I think one has -- 1.6 percent.  Well, how do you suggest the issue of market demand be considered?  We're looking at commercial applications here.

 

3335    MR. KADOTA:  Yes.

 

3336    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  So there would be a fair amount of market consideration.

 

3337    MR. KADOTA:  Yes.

 

3338    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Does that mean that -- well, that means the smaller groups will get left out?

 

3339    MR. KADOTA:  It means that the smaller groups will get, of course, proportioned a smaller amount of time.  And that's, of course, dictated by the market, and that is obvious.

 

3340    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Yes.

 

3341    MR. KADOTA:  I have no problem with that.  It's just that what will happen is that if and when a licence is granted to either applicant, that more than likely, the amount -- and as we see in Toronto, the amount of time for Japanese programming will be maybe 30 minutes a week, and in that 30 minutes, it is certainly not possible to produce anything near what is being produced today through the Shaw Multicultural Channel.  And even though there are a number of problems with that that Mr. Weichsler, the previous speaker, just referred to, it is vitally important that somehow that multicultural channel continue, but I have now been informed that Shaw is probably not obligated to continue. 

 

3342    I was under the impression that that multicultural channel was initiated.  I thought it was through the government in promoting multiculturalism, and I believe that's the case, but I wasn't sure under what mandate, or what obligations there were in continuing that channel.

 

3343    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Well, certainly, it might have been obligated at an earlier time, but certainly, we have reduced the regulation in that area, and the argument that the cable companies made to us was that in a competitive situation with cable and satellite, the presence of community cable will give them an advantage over satellite, and therefore, market will determine that they would continue to have and flourish community cable.  I'm going to suggest that that hasn't -- that isn't the way it's worked out.

 

3344    MR. KADOTA:  I understand.  I suppose, in summary, that if a licence is granted to one of the two applicants, then the amount of time for a certain -- a number of the ethnic programming, including Japanese, will be greatly, greatly diminished regardless of which applicant receive their licence.  And if the Shaw Multicultural Channel is drastically either changed in its formatting, or if it's discontinued, then these several multicultural programs are just going to disappear.

 

3345    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Yes.  So let me ask you, then.  If we were to licence one of these two applications, and there was a language the multicultural channel could continue, the Shaw Multicultural Channel, perhaps revamped with advertising, is that an option that you would find -- would you be able to carry on the program?

 

3346    Like, as I understand it, if the Shaw Multicultural Channel continued --

 

3347    MR. KADOTA:  Yes.

 

3348    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  -- you really don't care whether or not we licence one of the two applicants?  I shouldn't say "don't care," but it doesn't affect that?

 

3349    MR. KADOTA:  It should not, no.

 

3350    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Okay.  Okay, thanks.  Could I just ask, were you a member of the National Association of Japanese Canadians?

 

3351    MR. KADOTA:  I'm the initial president of it. 

 

3352    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  I thought so.  I think we met many years ago at an earlier --

 

3353    MR. KADOTA:  We may have, yes.

 

3354    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  -- reincarnation of mine, but it's very nice to see you again, and I thank you for being here.

 

3355    MR. KADOTA:  Thank you.  Thank you.

 

3356    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Kadota for appearing and expressing your concerns and position.

 

3357    MR. KADOTA:  Thank you.

 

3358    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Madam Secretary, please.

 

3359    THE SECRETARY:  Our next intervener this morning is the Asian Television Network International Limited.  Would Shan Chandrasekar come forward, please.

 

3360    For the record, Madam Chair, I just want to check again to see if KCTV has arrived.  Would you come forward, please.

 

3361    MR. CHO:  Good morning. 

 

3362    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Good morning.

 

3363    MR. CHO:  I was delayed this morning. You called me first thing in the morning, but I couldn't answer.

 

3364    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I'm persistent.  We called again.

 

3365    MR. CHO:  And thank you for giving me another chance.  Hello, Commissioners and ladies and gentlemen.  My name is Nathan Cho, a Canadian with a strong Korean background. 

 

3366    I have been president of KCTV, a Korean ethnic programming on Talentvision, and on Rogers Multicultural channel, and now Shaw Multicultural Channel, until last year, when I had to take a leave for personal reasons.

 

3367    However, I'm here today because KCTV has been the business of my family for many years, and because my brother, who is currently president of KCTV is unable to give a speech today.

 

3368    I will make a case on behalf of KCTV today, however I would like to remind you that I also filed an email intervention as a private citizen.

 

3369    As you may recall, KCTV wrote a letter of intervention to show our position to both of the applications, MVBC TV and LMtv.  There were several reasons as to why it opposed licensing of these two applications, yet among those reasons outlined in the letter, what matters the most was the fear of competition.

 

3370    The Korean programming has been going on very well on Talentvision and Rogers Multicultural Channel.  KCTV's position over the years has been to keep the status quo so that Korean programming should remain intact for viewers and that the market should continue to be viable for the business. 

 

3371    Over the years, KCTV has been especially vehement in its opposition to Rogers' application.  As you may recall, Rogers once offered only a half hour of Korean programming when it made a gesture to take over Talentvision.

 

3372    The viewers' right was at stake, because Talentvision had been programming 14 hours per week of Korean programming already.  This is a good example of how a new entity can disrupt the operation of existing entities, of how viewers are robbed of their rights in the name of free capitalism, and of how important it is to have a proper consultation with the public in the television industry.

 

3373    Not only did viewers wish to keep their rights intact in the turmoil, but KCTV also wanted to keep the status quo of its operations. 

 

3374    When I had a talk with a member of Rogers at the time, he said that there were many Korean producers available in the market and could not guarantee job opportunities for members of KCTV who had been, thus far, working exceptionally well with Talentvision.

 

3375    There was no doubt that we were to be in limbo in the change of ownership.  I'd like to let commissioners know that the shock from this experience is still reverberating in the mind of KCTV members.

 

3376    So you understand why the Korean public and KCTV are together in their effort to maintain the status quo of the current affairs.

 

3377    I'm now going to speak as a private citizen apart from the official position of KCTV, my family business.  Even though KCTV has opposed the idea of any new multilingual channel, I as a private man, would like to say that the birth of a new channel is now imminent.  Let's have a reality check.

 

3378    We are now living in the digital world, a world where many TV channels are being created, and viewers are being offered more choice than ever.

 

3379    Korean viewers are now welcoming the idea of a new channel, and new Korean programming.  The situation is not that KCTV is currently offering the viewers poor programming, but that they simply expect something new that will complement the current programming.

 

3380    Since viewer choice is the foremost consideration, I regard the arrival of a new channel not as a threat, but as an opportunity that will benefit Korean viewers.

 

3381    Furthermore, despite the fact that KCTV does not like competition in any form from any new channel, KCTV and, for that matter, any current existing ethnic TV station will have to face the reality that the new channel will affect them to a degree.  The plan is, how well the CRTC commissioners could establish devices to the fact that the impact might be minimized. 

 

3382    Now, I'd like to talk about whether I support MVBC TV or LMtv, if a licence is to be granted to such channel.  As I said earlier, Rogers past track record shows that it was short of consulting with the Korean community when it attempted to set up a new channel in the past.

 

3383    It did not give any indication as to whether Korean programming would be sustained on the new channel.  Its position has been the same over the years, that the Korean market is not strong enough in Vancouver to sustain the programming.  That the Korean programming would have to be subsidized with revenues generated from the other English-language programs like famous American drama, therefore that the Korean programming cannot stand on its own right on the new Rogers channel.

 

3384    Furthermore, Rogers did not show any clue as to whether it will compete against or complement the Korean programming on Talentvision, and Rogers -- rather Shaw Multicultural channel.

 

3385    Neither did Rogers mention about hiring Korean producers like me, who am now an independent producer and eager to provide talent upon Rogers' demand.

 

3386    In short, there has been so much entrenched distrust between Rogers and the Korean community, that the new application by Rogers is not received favourably at all by the community.

 

3387    On the other hand, I'd like to support MBTV if the commissioners are indeed determined to give a licence to MBTV.  One of the reasons why MBTV deserves credit is the strong local background of its owners.  Unlike the people of Rogers, who come from the east and do not seem to understand the feelings of local people in Vancouver, the people of MBTV seem to have the common touch.

 

3388    You will recall how Rogers stirred turmoil in Vancouver when it introduced a negative billing policy.  Rogers finally gave way to public anger and changed this policy.

 

3389    But this incident exemplifies the way Rogers regards the local people in Vancouver.  On the other hand, Robert Lee, one of the owners of MBTV, is a true Vancouverite.  He's a businessman, but contributed a large sum of money to the University of British Columbia by developing land on its campus.

 

3390    I also had a talk with James Ho, president of MBTV.  He came to Vancouver, Canada when he was 15 years old, and understands firsthand the feelings of first generation, or 1.5 generation immigrants, meaning generation in between first and second generations, who are the viewers who will be watching the new channel.

 

3391    Mr. Ho said that he was open and sensitive to concerns of the Korean community.  One of the major concerns of the Korean people was the programming hours of the Korean language.  MBTV slated a whopping four fours per week of the Korean language.  Mr. Ho suggested that MBTV's Korean programming would be differentiated from that of KCTV in order to ward off competition against that of KCTV.

 

3392    He also pointed out that producers like me would have the opportunity to participate in MBTV's programming because there's ample amount of hours for any talented Korean producers to handle.  Mr. Ho said that the Korean programming is one of the programs that MBTV is paying a lot of attention to. 

 

3393    In conclusion, Commissioners, the TV broadcasting business is not simply a free enterprises driven by money.  It has to come together with public input.  I would like to point out that over the years, Rogers has failed to listen to the Korean community in Vancouver and build public trust.

 

3394    On the other hand, MBTV is a brand new entity of Vancouver native television, a group of credible people well positioned toward the concern of the Korean community.  It is all for those reasons that I would ask the commissioners to grant a licence to MBTV.  Thank you very much for listening.

 

3395    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Mr. Cho, you are representing yourself and your brother --

 

3396    MR. CHO:  That's right.

 

3397    THE CHAIRPERSON: -- at KCTV Productions?

 

3398    MR. CHO:  That's right.  We are together.

 

3399    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Now, we have you, of course, as the negative intervention, and I notice that your brother although also not in favour of either, at the end of his intervention which is separate from KCTV's said that he would form a more concrete opinion --

 

3400    MR. CHO:  Mm-hmm.

 

3401    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- about whether he supports one or the other by the time he appeared before us.  Do I take it then that both of you now --

 

3402    MR. CHO:  We are together.  That's right.

 

3403    THE CHAIRPERSON:  In support?

 

3404    MR. CHO:  Yes.

 

3405    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Now, do you retain your view, however, that your first alternative is that we not license either?

 

3406    MR. CHO:  Yes. I retain that view because one of the reasons why we oppose those two applicants is fear of competition.  So I do retain that view, but on the other hand, I can't change the tide of technology and the new world we are living in.  I have to adjust and reposition myself to the new environment.  In that regard, I want to choose one of the two applicants as a new licensee.

 

3407    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Mr. Cho, and I'm sure your brother will be also thankful that you spoke for both of you.

 

3408    MR. CHO:

 

3409    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.

 

3410    MR. CHO:  No questions?

 

3411    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Well, do you want the question?  I'll ask you one.

 

3412    MR. CHO:  I do.

 

3413    THE CHAIRPERSON:  If you're prepared to support one of the two interventions, then you are familiar with them somewhat, I suppose.  Why do you see in your written intervention that ethnic programming is relegated to not important parts of the program schedule.  Are you aware of what the commitments of the two applicants are with regard to prime time?

 

3414    MR. CHO:  Yes.  I think the sentence is in part wrong, because I think either one of the applicants are putting lots of hours on the ethnic language during those prime time hours.  So I believe they are making effort, sincere effort, to include ethnic languages in the prime time hours.

 

3415    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Yes.  You see, insisting that I ask you a question made you have to say that you were wrong.

 

3416    MR. CHO:  I am willing to say I'm wrong.

 

3417    THE CHAIRPERSON:  You would have gotten away with it otherwise.  You also seem to think that an over the air station using a frequency of some importance or significance would be possible, 100 percent multilingual.  How do you come to this conclusion in saying that that has been tried and found difficult?  That's been tried in Montreal for example.  Is it because the Vancouver market is different or as a business person, why do you think you could have 100 percent and not have this subsidy from pitching some programming to mainstream, or pitching some mainstream programming to the population?  I'm sure some ethnic population also watch American programming.

 

3418    MR. CHO:  Yes.  I disagree with my brother on that, so -- but I am now here and --

 

3419    THE CHAIRPERSON:  It's not doing well for you, is it?

 

3420    MR. CHO:  Yes.  Yes, but at the beginning of my speech, I said we were together, okay.  So please understand.  Yes.  Ethnic programming -- you cannot show only ethnic programming in the hours.  You have to -- if you are a businessman, I think MBTV and LMtv are bigger, shrewd businessmen so they would understand that it's not possible to have the ethnic languages only in their programming hours.

 

3421    So it's good that they are putting together those English language programming with ethnic programming hours, but they have to walk a delicate line between them, so that they don't embarrass the ethnic language communities by putting too much focus on the English language programming during those prime hours, or the overall programming hours for that matter.

 

3422    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Mr. Cho, what you're speaking about of course are very important matters, but we appreciate your sense of humour as well.

 

3423    MR. CHO:  Thank you.

 

3424    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Have a good day.  Madam Secretary, please.

 

3425    THE SECRETARY:  I would like to recall Multicultural Broadcasting Network Inc.  Mr. Ibrahim, would you come forward, please?

 

3426    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Good morning, Mr. Ibrahim.

 

3427    MR. IBRAHIM:  Good morning, Madam Chair, and good morning, Commissioners.  Welcome to Vancouver.  Thank you for accommodating me and it gives me great pleasure.  I'm delightful.  This is the third Commission I get to see after Monsieur Spicer, and I have made efforts --

 

3428    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I'm better looking.

 

3429    MR. IBRAHIM:  I hope you are, and it's a pleasure.  And as a brief introduction, since this is my first meeting with you, I would like to give an introduction about MBN which was an applicant for the first basic multicultural channel way back in 1993, and there was a typo in the original things.  That's why I've given a new brief to your secretary.

 

3430    Since then, CRTC never opened or accepted any calls for a basic multicultural application until now.  MBN and its subsidiary, Community Digest, Multicultural Publications, which has been serving the multicultural communities in the print medium for the last 20 years, since late Premier Trudeau introduced multiculturalism to our country, and we have been serving it in two official languages in Canada, in English and in French, and in the three provinces, including B.C., Alberta and Ontario.

 

3431    We started the French edition when the long-standing paper, La Soleil went defunct, and we have been trying to serve that market.  Since then, of course, La Centre de Francophone Colombie-Britannique has of course started their own paper, but that's serving strictly the subscribers and members of its own centre, whereas we go throughout the whole province of British Columbia, to all the libraries, and community centres.

 

3432    However, even though the CRTC has made several inroads, this one area which I feel a little -- where you lack and you can do a lot of progress, is despite my several requests, both to the commissions here in 1996, if you look at the transcripts then, and in person when Mr. Munfeld was here -- Michael Munfeld was here.  I spoke to him.  And I have made the requests both at your Vancouver office and department in Ottawa regarding the dissemination of information on calls to the multicultural community and advertising regarding public notices, but it was been to no avail. 

 

3433    And I hope the good-looking Madam Chairperson can do something about it.  Of course a separate request is formally being made.

 

3434    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I do not ask for these comments.

 

3435    MR. IBRAHIM:  Sure.  It's my pleasure.  I am making a separate for a change in procedure which is being forwarded to the secretary there. 

 

3436    But anyway, coming back to the Rogers application when they applied way back in 1996, when it was called LMtv, the Lower Mainland TV, and subsequently CFM TV in 1999, it was not the LMtv, a totally multicultural station that is applying today.

 

3437    Of course, it still is a subsidiary of Rogers, and they just started outside B.C., and strangely enough their press release or material doesn't even bring the word Rogers in -- mentions it even once.

 

3438    And one doesn't need to guess - you've been hearing all the interveners - the popularity of Rogers in the Vancouver area.  They were interested in taking over Talentvision in the first call, and 60 percent ethnic programming in the second one.

 

3439    But in any case, upon this second failure in July, 2000, I did approach the Chair of LMtv and Mobina Jaffer, whom I have known for the last 20 years serving in the diverse multicultural community in different capacities.  We've been doing it in different way, and she's a pioneer in hers, and I've been in the print medium.  And I'm interested to share my vision of the multicultural channel, the kind that I had envisioned in 1993, and expressed my interest in getting some sort of an alliance with Rogers, or any other interested party, because she had been with this case for a few years.

 

3440    I interested her with my plans and because not only I know her and have supported her in the past attempts when she ran for the federal elections through my publications and through write-ups, but both of us come from the same country back from Africa, and out of the same ethnic descent and religion.

 

3441    She did promise to get back to me, and since she was so enthusiastic about an ethnic channel, an ethnic voice, and what more could one expect then to have one which is owned and operated by the ethnics themselves?

 

3442    So, I thought that basically  ‑‑ I was positive of her conviction from the outcry she had expressed in the press, resulting in the failure from the second application, the CRTC 2000/219 decision as a black there for the ethnic community, et cetera, et cetera.

 

3443    At that point, I didn't know if she was still an employee of Rogers or done with the failure of the public application and given up with the whole idea, or ‑‑ because there were a few changes going on, Rogers has closed their shop here and moving away, and if she meant what she said, then she would definitely -- I will definitely get her support in my project.  But she, of course, never kept her promise and I have never heard from her since then.

 

3444    The next thing I did hear, however, and this is where the CRTC comes in, and this is where we can somehow have more liaison and be friendly in this area where you have not made any inroads, is when the two applicants called a press conference and wanted, of course, support and interventions.

 

3445    Between then and now, much to my astonishment, I was flabbergasted when I found out that Ms. Jaffer has supposedly led a community-based federal cabinet appeal, as the president of YWC of Canada, in which she stated that we have listened building partnership with local ethnic communities, and individuals.  She even forwarded a courtesy copy of this Governor in Council petition to rival broadcasters, but not to the one she listened and promised especially, when the very thrust for argument was the decision does not treat Canada's ethnic community equitably. 

 

3446    Of course, even as the president of MAES, that is the society registered in B.C., the Multicultural Arts and Entertainment Society, of which I am a president, we were never even informed, asked for an input, or anything with regards to this petition.

 

3447    And basically the petition is for the Lower Mainland, and I will get to the petition in a moment, but even then, this was never mentioned even once.  I was not informed, not consulted.  And knowing Mobina for all these years, I know that she is the epitome of equality and justice with an extensive record of achievement in this area, she could not be equitable to her own fellow ethnic Canadian brother.  And I don't think that a multinational like Rogers would even care to do justice to the integrity, values, aspirations and feelings of a multicultural community at large.

 

3448    Now, I don't want to take the time, and I don't want to go through the extent of all the ideas and the project that were used in filing this application, which of course I shared with Ms. Jaffer.  Because my concept was like a United Nation broadcasting where all the communities work and join hands which I coined starting from the days when I was writing press and World View pay channel came into existence.

 

3449    This very concept of 24 language for 24 groups is somewhat reflected -- which was in my application -- is reflected in LMtv.  And for that very reason, I think that they should be disqualified and a new call must be announced to all ethnic communities at large, who are concerned with this particular major step that CRTC is taking.  But this should only be done after factual figures from the 2001 census which took place in this year will be out in the middle of next year.  Because until then, we are basing everything on the census four, five years back, and a lot of demographics have changed, and this will indeed give a true ‑‑ what everyone wants, an equitable picture of the racial and ethnic mix desirable and deserving equitable representation to the unrepresented.

 

3450    But just to briefly give you ‑‑ touch on the petition, which really appalled me, was that the petition in Council which was sent is a little misrepresentation, because it is signed by two attorneys who are sending it, and one would think it's being sent by the United Way or by YWCA.

 

3451    Now, I was trying to get that copy of that petition.  So I made efforts from my end on calling this organizations, and much ‑‑ this is where the nickel drops here.  I was surprised that they didn't even have a copy of the petition, and in fact, the United Way said that they are not even supporting either of the application.  They are basically neutral in their position, and that this was not sent by them.  It was sent on their own.

 

3452    And I'm thinking, in the interest of the community if this petition is indeed sent, then of course people like me, who have approached and would like to be part of it should have been contacted, but then when I finally got the petition, it didn't surprise me because --

 

3453    THE SECRETARY:  Mr. Ibrahim, I'm sorry to have to interrupt you, but we're past the 10 minutes.  So if you could conclude quickly --

 

3454    MR. IBRAHIM:  Sure.

 

3455    THE SECRETARY:  -- we'd appreciate it.

 

3456    MR. IBRAHIM:  Thank you.

 

3457    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you.

 

3458    MR. IBRAHIM:  So eight out of 10 petitioners are out in the east and most of the commentators are also from the east, and failure to go through their past contracts, I feel that the fact the petition is probably written even by the Rogers machinery in the east, using the technical jargon. 

 

3459    The petition states and initiates that two ethnic programming air and the national programming stuff that they want to recycle, but basically I would like to share with you and conclude that the problems in the petition that exist ‑‑ and I can go through all that, and we don't have the time, until the cows come home.

 

3460    But I don't know if this Commission which regulates people can go back and say to them, that, "You know, you guys mentioned in 1996 you will not disconnect the channel 20 which was a multicultural channel", they went around, bit the system, sold the whole thing, and here we are today stuck with Shaw, which is trying to dismantle the channel.

 

3461    So in conclusion, the multicultural community in British Columbia is a vibrant fabric of the entire provincial population.  To be fair to every member of this community, I feel the application process for a new multicultural station should be given the greatest possible public reach, and not be confined to only multinational organizations from non B.C. jurisdiction.

 

3462    I also believe that no one ethnic minority, no matter how powerful or financially strong, or in population size, should be given the opportunity to win such a license by default of successful businessmen who have shown no interest in supporting all minorities whose history seems to show a bias towards business and profit without helping the average citizenry to an effective extent. 

 

3463    I trust you will seriously look at the lack of applications before you, their quality and hopefully allow further input from the general public to ensure that this process truly reflects the best interests of all British Columbians and not only select wealthy who I understand do not truly have the multicultural media background needed and related to sell the best interest of programming and through the community.  Thank you, ma'am.

 

3464    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Mr. Ibrahim.  Commissioner Cardozo, please.

 

3465    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Thank you, Mr. Ibrahim.  I've got a couple of questions for you, but I would like to say that I -- before I ask them, I'd like to stay clear of the discussions you've had with any individuals, and disagreements that you might have had, and to keep the discussion on the matter of the applications and the concepts.

 

3466    As I understand it, you would either have liked to have headed up an application, or been part of an application which you say was the concept of a United Nations approach.

 

3467    MR. IBRAHIM:  Right.

 

3468    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Right, and your feeling is that neither of the applicants today have taken that approach?

 

3469    MR. IBRAHIM:  Yes.  I agree with that, but more so, I also have a case against CRTC, in the sense that --

 

3470    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  I'll come to that in a second.

 

3471    MR. IBRAHIM:  Sure.  Okay.

 

3472    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  So you have come up with the United Nations concept for a channel, and as I understand it, neither of them have taken that idea.

 

3473    MR. IBRAHIM:  That's right.

 

3474    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Okay.  So your idea is still yours?

 

3475    MR. IBRAHIM:  Well, they --

 

3476    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Well, let me ask you then, the kind of thing you were talking about, would it more like one of the other ideas that is around, as you may ‑‑ I don't know how much time you've had to be here in the last couple of days, but there's been a couple of letters of interest have been filed with us to the effect that we should either have a low power TV, which would be 100 percent ethnic, perhaps owned or controlled by community producers.  And the other idea was a revamped version of the Shaw Multicultural channel which would allow for advertising, and that would be 100 percent ethnic, as opposed to the 60 or 68 percent ethnic that the applicants have put before us.  Are those kind of ideas more in line with what you would like to see?

 

3477    MR. IBRAHIM:  My vision is sort of a blend of all of this, in part.  It's a little bit of what we have of Vision TV, a little bit of brokerage programming, a little bit of what you just suggested.

 

3478    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Okay.  So --

 

3479    MR. IBRAHIM:  It's a mixed bag.

 

3480    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  So if I can understand then to license -- if we were to license one of the two applicants, that doesn't take away from your idea.  Could your concept work with there being one of the two applicants licensed?

 

3481    MR. IBRAHIM:  No.  It would not work.

 

3482    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  And why is that?

 

3483    MR. IBRAHIM:  Because basically, you see you held this pie.

 

3484    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  You have?

 

3485    MR. IBRAHIM:  A pie.

 

3486    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  A pie.

 

3487    MR. IBRAHIM:  Three hundred sixty degree.

 

3488    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Yes.

 

3489    MR. IBRAHIM:  And that's a limited pie we have for Lower Mainland, and no matter how many pieces you try to make, it's still the same pie.

 

3490    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Right.

 

3491    MR. IBRAHIM:  And if you take away that, you as a Commission never saw even room for one channel.  Now, if you give license to this ‑‑ and there will only be this one channel, because I have been following CRTC for last 10 years.

 

3492    If you give away this license to one of them, that's the end of it.  People like me, or all this other things will not work.  It's taken so long to even get you to listen, I don't know whether you'll give a license to one, but the fact that you even come to listen ‑‑ and you still have a lot of inroads to make even in the listening part but --

 

3493    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  But you just said you don't believe in license when you were asking us not to license one.  All right.

 

3494    MR. IBRAHIM:  Yes, because you see the point is that if you give a license to one --

 

3495    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Yes.

 

3496    MR. IBRAHIM:  ‑‑ where do people like me and aspiring people stand?

 

3497    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  I guess what some people are saying is we could have ‑‑ we, meaning Vancouver could have two services.  One would be the commercial 60/40 ‑‑ 60 or 68 percent model that one of the two candidates are putting forward, and then there could be the second service, which would be either low power or revamped Shaw Multicultural service.

 

3498    MR. IBRAHIM:  I don't think there is room for that, Commissioner.

 

3499    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  And not room in what sense, that there's not enough demand, or that there's not enough advertising? 

 

3500    MR. IBRAHIM:  There's not enough advertising.  Also the fact that as you see now, there is no shortage of programming.  If you add up the programs from Vision, from various ethnic stuff we get now from NOW TV that you licensed, but it's basically the type of programming, the type of communities that are underserved and you have to know all these things in order to approach that.

 

3501    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Are you a producer yourself?  Are you interested in producing certain programs, or are you just interested in the concept happening?

 

3502    MR. IBRAHIM:  I'm interested in the concept.

 

3503    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Okay.  Tell me then about your process concerns about the CRTC, and you've filed another letter and may go over that in detail at another point.  So I'll just take a minute or two.  With regards to this, we don't put our press releases a whole lot, and partly the problem is who do we send it to, and who do we not.  So as you know, certain things are advertised in newspapers, but our website is the most ubiquitous or at least includes everything that we say, of the decisions of public notices.  So daily there's stuff there. 

 

3504    Now, I appreciate that while some larger companies may have ability to have somebody whose job it is to look at our website every day, the average individual or small producer can't do that.  Did you not hear about the call that was ‑‑ you know, there was some reference in the newspapers, news stories, people were talking about it.

 

3505    MR. IBRAHIM:  No, Commissioner, and I am in the media, and let me tell you something.  On a day-to-day basis, I meet four to five people in press conferences, colleagues in the newspaper business, and I have asked them, and you can do yourself a favour after me.  You can ask the interveners if they are under oath, that when did they first hear about this intervention, and most of them will tell you that they heard after ‑‑ and if you ask them anything about the petition they probably wouldn't have seen the light of the day, how the petition look, how many pages it is.  So --

 

3506    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Well, the petition isn't something to do with us.  It's a petition between people --

 

3507    MR. IBRAHIM:  I know, but you are here as ‑‑

 

3508    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  -- and the federal government.

 

3509    MR. IBRAHIM:  ‑‑ a result of that.  You are here as --

 

3510    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Well, but I just want you to understand.  The petition to the federal cabinet doesn't have anything to do --

 

3511    MR. IBRAHIM:  Oh, yes.

 

3512    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  -- with our process.

 

3513    MR. IBRAHIM:  I realize that.

 

3514    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  It's separate.

 

3515    MR. IBRAHIM:  I realize that, but this is the outcome of that.

 

3516    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Yes.

 

3517    MR. IBRAHIM:  And that is why we are here today.  You would not be listening to us if that wasn't ever ‑‑ if that never came around.  But the point is that if you for the first time are going to serve the community, the 800,000 community, don't you think, in fairness that the community should be given that opportunity ‑‑ because I know what your norm is, to put it in one major newspaper. 

 

3518    That's fine and dandy because of whatever ‑‑ but when for the first time you are going to the community that you never approach, you never license, and you are even beginning to just listen.  We don't know if you'll even license this.  Don't you think it's just in fairness that an opportunity be given to aspiring applicants within this 800,000 community that if they have anything to do, that they can come forward, join forces, a public forum be held, a debate be shared with, so that we know where we stand? 

 

3519    I mean, isn't it just fair, because here you want to solve that community but that community is not getting a chance, and after the decision is done, we'll get a channel and we'll be stuck with that.  And so I think it's just fair if, unless you only want to be stuck with the five major, and be bored with hearing them, you know, hearing after hearing.

 

3520    I think this is one opportunity where we can be friendly in --

 

3521    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Yes.  I think you for that very much.  I'm not sure I'll look into whether indeed we did put out a press release on this, but even then I think it's a good point is to ‑‑ for us to think about calls of this particular nature, whether, you know, the degree to which we do reach out.  You're right.  Different issues can be ‑‑ we can conduct specific targeted outreach to suit the particular issue at hand.

 

3522    So I thank you for raising that with us, and we will certainly keep looking at that, and I hope you keep in touch with us on these matters and processes so --

 

3523    MR. IBRAHIM:  I have made efforts but it has not gone anywhere.  So I hope, you know, you take this seriously, and I have a request for Madam Chair.  I hope this will have some impact, and I won't have to send a petition.  Just kidding.

 

3524    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Thanks very much. 

 

3525    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Mr. Ibrahim, after your earlier comments I will remember you a long time.

 

3526    MR. IBRAHIM:  Pleasure.

 

3527    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Mr. Ibrahim, you are quite familiar with the petition that was sent to the government.  When did you become familiar with it?  When did you know that it was filed?

 

3528    MR. IBRAHIM:  Just about two months ago, when I received a press release stating that the applications had been filed and --

 

3529    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I thought we hadn't issued a press release.

 

3530    MR. IBRAHIM:  No, a press release from the applicants, stating that they want us to give an intervention in favour of their station.

 

3531    THE CHAIRPERSON:  So you were never aware of the fact that we issued a report to the government as a result of the petition --

 

3532    MR. IBRAHIM:  No.  I didn't even know anything about --

 

3533    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- and that had a press release as well.  So it was a long process.  It was a petition as I said in my introductory remarks on Monday morning, a requirement by the government for us to report on the Vancouver situation, and then we did report, issue that report publicly, and I believe the same day issued a call for applications.

 

3534    But you've only become aware of the petition after all this?

 

3535    MR. IBRAHIM:  Yes.

 

3536    THE CHAIRPERSON:  And therefore you were not aware of the report, nor of the call for applications?

 

3537    MR. IBRAHIM:  That's right, ma'am, because I see in your very notes -- not your notes, but the Commission's note that you said most expeditious manner, an immediate call for application, and boom boom.  Soon after you got this order in council, you decided to ‑‑ and you made this report which I subsequently got for your good offices, you issued this call.  And that was it.  And by a certain date you have wanted the letter of intent filed, and all this took like, one, two, three, and we are here today. 

 

3538    And I think this is a ‑‑ you just have to realize that we are new community to this medium, to the air waves, and I think you should be subtle in trying to educate us and bring awareness rather than do what you ‑‑ because that's what you've been doing.  That's your job, and I know you don't have time to go into all the subtleties, but when you are approaching this particular community, I think it's just fair that everyone gets a crack at it.

 

3539    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Mr. Ibrahim.  As you know this process has been a long one.  After the petition Commission received the Order in Council, and then issued a call for comments, and then issued a report, and then a call, and then the notice of public hearing.  We always of course, try to improve the way we reach the community and we appreciate your remarks.  We do take them into consideration. 

 

3540    You're probably aware from your contacts with the Vancouver office that we issue thousands --

 

3541    MR. IBRAHIM:  Oh, yes.

 

3542    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- of decisions a year, and it's very difficult.  Perhaps people you're associated with in the community as well have to find some way of having their ear to the ground, so to speak, to help us get to you, because it's a very endeavour for us from the west to the east to --

 

3543    MR. IBRAHIM:  Sure.

 

3544    THE CHAIRPERSON:  But we do get these concerns and complaints many times and we do try to take them into consideration, especially using the new technological means of diffusing information, but we certainly appreciate your expressing your concerns and to the extent possible, we'll take them into consideration.

 

3545    MR. IBRAHIM:  Very kind of you.

 

3546    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Mr. Ibrahim.  Madam Secretary.

 

3547    THE SECRETARY:  Madam Chair, for the record we've been informed that Asian Television Network International Limited cannot present today.

 

3548    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.  Other than Voz Portuguese, this is the end of comments or negative intervention; is that correct?  Do we have Voz Portuguese here?

 

3549    THE SECRETARY:  Yes, Madam Chair, they are here.

 

3550    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Perhaps we should hear them, and then take a break and then go onto the supporting interveners.

 

3551    THE SECRETARY:  Would Maria Fonseca ‑‑ have I done that even close to right?  Fonseca, welcome.

 

3552    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Good morning.

 

3553    MS. FONSECA:  Madam Chair, Members of the Commission, good morning.  My name is Maria Fonseca, a first generation Canadian whose parents immigrated to Canada in 1954. 

 

3554    I am executive producer of the television program Voz Portuguesa on Shaw Multicultural Channel, which has served the local Portuguese speaking community in Greater Vancouver for the past 10 years.  This program offers a wide range of news and entertainment both produced locally and from abroad.

 

3555    In addition, until my recent resignation on September 16, 2001, I was a producer of the radio program Voz Portuguesa, serving the Portuguese-speaking communities of Vancouver and Victoria since February of 1994. 

 

3556    This program aired on CHMB AM 1320, a station owned and operated by Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation, with Mr. James Ho as chairperson, president and chief executive officer.

 

3557    I would like to clarify that unlike the producers that previously appeared, I produce both television and radio programs on a voluntary basis.

 

3558    The Portuguese community is too small to financially sustain the programs.  It was difficult enough to break even as license rights to air foreign programs are expensive.

 

3559    My livelihood is my full-time job.  I am chief financial officer of a local prominent engineering firm.  My active career, two children and the 20 average voluntary hours I spend on the programs kept me very busy.

 

3560    It was my dream and passion to maintain ethnic ties to my parents' homeland that brought me to produce the Portuguese programs.  What is an accountant doing producing programs, one might ask.  This accountant has a brother with extensive broadcasting experience, who trained the other volunteers and myself to fulfill the passion he had and was unable to carry due to conflict of interest with his employers.

 

3561    It was this Multivan application, the FM radio license application that Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation applied for earlier on this year, and the politics that these applications created at CHMB that led to my resignation on September 16th.

 

3562    Reasons for my resignation:  I was one of the founding producers that came before you in support that Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation attain a multicultural AM radio programming license.  At that time schedules were done and ethnic communities were promised hours of air time, which the Portuguese Community was promised seven hours of weekly programming.

 

3563    Shortly after Mainstream Broadcasting was granted the license to operate AM 1320, the local Portuguese community saw the previous commitment for programming on CHMB reduced to two hours per week.

 

3564    This came as a complete shock to the local community, especially after the overwhelming support from our listeners during the Mainstream Broadcasting's application process.  This reduction in programming was also felt by other languages on CHMB at the time.

 

3565    Mainstream Broadcasting then went through partnership difficulties and there was a management change.  This change in management brought about the hiring of an executive whose personal conflict of interest brought unrest to the voluntary team that worked on the Portuguese program.  Without my knowledge, that same executive approached one of my volunteers, Mr Mendes, and launched a Brazilian program, official language also Portuguese. 

 

3566    We were previously playing Brazilian music on Voz Portuguesa, and covered some Brazilian news and had a Brazilian volunteer on the program.  Mr. Alvaro Mendes is not of Brazilian origin.  I'll slow down.

 

3567    I questioned why I was not made aware of this before it was announced on air, or given the opportunity for the team to produce the Brazilian program.  The official answer was that the executive was not aware who was the producer of the Portuguese program, as the list had disappeared from the station.

 

3568    This is ironic, as I had just recently been invited to their annual dinner with Mr. James Ho.  In addition, he advised me that the station was applying for an FM license and could not go before the CRTC without the required number of ethnic programs. 

 

3569    The producers had to be different to count as another ethnic program.  I was not allowed to let Mr. Mendes go from our Portuguese program, as the fellow volunteers requested, and which we would have minimized the confusion in the community.  I was told I no longer had the authority and autonomy to make that decision.

 

3570    I was asked to obtain letters of support from the Portuguese Community for the FM station, with a promise of more Portuguese programming, yet with no assurance that the hours would not be decreased as happened the first time.

 

3571    Even though the executive did not allow me to discuss my concerns with Mr. James Ho, I once again put my faith in Mr. Ho, and obtained approximately 400 signatures on form letters, of support produced by CHMB. 

 

3572    Once signed, these letters were to be picked up by CHMB for the addresses and dates to be word processed onto the signed form letters.  These letters are still at my home as Mr. Mendes was told to duplicate the same effort in the same community.

 

3573    The final straw that led to my resignation was Multivan's application before you today, an application that as a member of their team, I expected to hear of the news directly from them, and not from outside sources.

 

3574    Regardless of the fact that I was not part of their chosen television producers, I still considered myself part of their team and would have appreciated the courtesy of sharing in their announcement to the community.  I was now being treated like an ethnic minority.

 

3575    A direct quote from their application, "MVBC understands that Vancouver's ethnic population deserves to be understood, respected and treated with civility and courtesy". 

 

3576    How can MVBC treat local Multilingual groups with acceptance, make them feel a sense of belonging when Mainstream Broadcasting, locally owned, failed to do this with a small group of past producers on CHMB AM 1320, myself being one of them.

 

3577    I therefore resigned from producer of the program and appointed a successor who had the respect of the community and the team of volunteers, the technical knowledge, the mandate to continue producing quality live programs to professional standards, and the same passion and dream to create a bridge for the Portuguese speaking community.

 

3578    The community was ecstatic at the appointment, which was quickly revoked by CHMB.  Even after numerous complaints, CHMB signed an agreement with Mr. Mendes to produce both the Portuguese and Brazilian programs.

 

3579    Contrary to what they had previously stated, the requirement that both shows have different producers no longer existed.  Once again they did not understand, respect or reflect the Portuguese community's needs. 

 

3580    In addition, in response to the complaints about the appointment of Mr. Mendes, the callers were told that Mr. Mendes had obtained over 450 letters of support and that I did not produce any.  Very difficult for me to do if I was not made aware of the application.

 

3581    From Appendix C, Producer Biographies, Mr. Mendes is portrayed as "producing Voz Portuguesa, serving as television host, announcer, reporter, cameraman and editor.  Mr. Mendes performed the majority of the functions for the two years he was there.  In addition, he began hosting Voz Portuguesa radio program on CHMB, which began airing in 1997."  This statement is ironic, as the program was one of the first programs on the station since 1994.

 

3582    To clarify, Mr. Mendes was one of twelve volunteers.  In two years, even for a professional, working full time, attaining such high credentials in the broadcasting industry, with no past educational or practical knowledge is admirable.  However, for a part-time volunteer, this is unbelievable.  I was the producer of both programs and the editor was always a paid employee.

 

3583    Recently some members of the community brought to my attention that they did not know what they had signed when they signed the letters of support for this Multivan application.  Mr. Mendes had received most of the signatures outside of our local church, where people were told it was to obtain more Portuguese television programming.

 

3584    All of the form letters were in English, and the majority of them do not read English.  Even my sister-in-law signed a letter thinking the increase of programming hours was for the Shaw Multicultural Channel.  Others believed it was for the application that SIC, a national station from Portugal who were trying to acquire broadcasting rights in Vancouver, as they had been successful in Toronto.

 

3585    These concerns prompted me to review all the Portuguese form letters on Monday afternoon.  The following errors were found; duplication of letters, letters being backdated from the original date of signature, signatures not matching with the name and addresses typed on the letters.  Only two letters of the 265 I read had reference to the Portuguese community.  Incorrect names and addresses, obviously not typed by the person signing the letter, or even a Portuguese typist. 

 

3586    I always tell my employees, limit as much as possible number of errors in letters, but never misspell names.  Why not just sign a petition and create less paperwork for the CRTC and kill fewer trees?

 

3587    In principle, I agree with the establishment of a new commercial broadcast television station serving Vancouver's multilingual community.  I am not here for personal gain, or to request you to grant a license that favours the producers working for the Shaw Multicultural Channel, of which I am one.

 

3588    I welcome the competition that LMtv or Multivan will bring to Vancouver, as long as they're on the same level playing field.  However, I want you to be aware of the misleading statements that the owners and management of CHMB Radio have given to our local Portuguese Community, and in turn to the CRTC. 

 

3589    Why else are so many members of the Portuguese community angry about finding out that they signed letters for something completely different from what they were led to believe they were supporting?  Even if the Portuguese community feels mislead by Multivan's application, how many other communities may still be in the dark about what they are supporting?

 

3590    English is a second language to many of the people whose signatures you find on these letters.  So they cannot be faulted for perhaps misunderstanding this application.

 

3591    We in the Portuguese community feel we have been used, mislead, and then simply cast aside until Multivan's next application.  Please consider CHMB's track record when you review Multivan's promises with this application.

 

3592    Rogers has been front with us right from the start.  They have encouraged our community to write our own letters, and when it came to the former Rogers Multicultural Channel, they treated the Portuguese community with respect and fairness.

 

3593    Madam Chair, and members of the commission, whatever your decision may be, and if a license will be granted please ensure that the successful applicants have a proven record of keeping their promises to the CRTC and to its program producers.

 

3594    In closing, I would also like to thank you, Madam Chair, and members of the Commission for all the hard work and detailed questions you posed to the applicants and the interveners.  I appreciate that my tax dollars are being spent wisely.  Thank you for your time.

 

3595    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.  Thank you, Miss Fonseca.  We adore positive comments.  We don't get many.  We're doing well this morning.  Commissioner --

 

3596    MS. FONSECA:  I'll comment on Commissioner Cardozo.  He's handsome, but I can't flatter you.

 

3597    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I hope you prefer my hairdo?

 

3598    MS. FONSECA:  Yes.

 

3599    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Commissioner Pennefather, please, or you can flatter me if you like. 

 

3600    COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:  Thank you for your presentation, Ms. Fonseca.

 

3601    MS. FONSECA:  Fonseca.

 

3602    COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:  Fonseca.

 

3603    MS. FONSECA:  Yes.

 

3604    COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:  I'm very sensitive to that.  My name is mispronounced a great surprisingly.

 

3605    MS. FONSECA:  That's okay.

 

3606    COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:  I do want to concentrate a bit on the support you've given for the idea of such a service.  You've made your points very clearly, and I think we need to go into that further, but two basic areas. 

 

3607    You say that you do agree with the establishment of a new commercial television station serving the multicultural community, multilingual community.  Can you tell me why you support the establishment of such a service?

 

3608    MS. FONSECA:  The applicants have come forth with what seems to be quality programming.  As long as the commissioners and Madam Chair realize that the Shaw Multicultural channel has been there for years, give them the same level playing field, allow them to advertise, put a cap on the programming of the major communities that the applicants are going to carry.

 

3609    We just don't want to see this as two applicants coming forth as a business venture, hoping to get the larger South Asian and Chinese, capitalize on that market, and then forget about the other communities. 

 

3610    Rogers has been there for years, carry a lot of different ethnic communities, and a lot of them, like since 1998 have stopped local programming for a reason that you have heard already. 

 

3611    So the new applicants, if you're going to grant a license, as long as there is strict guidelines, and that they have to meet their promises, I think it'll be great for the community.  As long as everybody's on a level playing field because my co-producers, I have all the confidence in them that they can produce good programs and will be able to financially make the channel work as long they have the same rights as the new applicants.

 

3612    COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:  Okay.  You did add the words, level playing field to your text, and so you've just taken my second question, what you meant by that.  So you do see opportunities for producers with this multilingual, third language producers with this proposed service, be it one or the other applicants.

 

3613    One of the challenges that you raised this morning and in your letter though is the challenge of serving as many communities as possible with as much as possible, and I think that's one of the points behind your complaint, if we can look at it from the angle of the fairness with which all communities are treated and your concerns about that. 

 

3614    With that in mind, how do you about getting that balance if you look at the realities of bringing enough service to the variety of communities, and yet run a viable operation?  What I'm talking about is obviously the choices we can make between a 60/40 model with some English language programming, and 100 percent ethnic community channel, or 100 percent multilingual programming. 

 

3615    Do you have any comment on that as to which model works?  I mean, obviously with 100 percent you have the chance of serving more communities, or do you?  What works for you --

 

3616    MS. FONSECA:  I guess it's all the return -- yes, sorry.  It's all the return on the investment that the applicants want to get.  The producers that on the Shaw Multicultural Channel, they have a passion for what they are doing.  They do not look at the bottom line all the time. 

 

3617    They want to produce programs to serve their communities, and I have full confidence that if they are on the same level playing field, that they have the ability to sell advertising, they know their communities, that they can make the Shaw Multicultural or the low powered station that they're applying for viable.

 

3618    The applicants, on the other hand, might want that 60/40 split because they want a higher return on their money, and they're looking for the English-speaking programs, the American programs to make that advertising dollar from.

 

3619    So, you know, for all the applicants I heard, I've been here for two and a half days, and like I said I'm not a broadcaster.  I'm not a producer.  I'm a producer on a voluntary basis, but not professionally, and I've sat through and listened to all the applicants and all the question, and all of them saying that they have this passion and you know, wanting to help the communities, and I just sat back, saying, you know the Shaw Multicultural has been there for years. 

 

3620    If they really wanted quality programming, which I'm not saying that Shaw does not have, but that's what the applicants are saying, there is a lot of wealthy people in this audience, and I even look back and say, well maybe I'm doing the wrong thing.  Instead of putting my voluntary hours, let's take care of my career and hopefully become as wealthy as some of these members of the council to sit on one of those boards. 

 

3621    But they have the wealth so they could have supported the producers on the channel years ago, and helped them by giving them advertising dollars, or tax deductible donations to help the quality increase and give them the state of art equipment that they wanted.  But of course, the return on investment for that particular person was not there.

 

3622    So these applicants have come forward with a 60/40 split, hoping for a greater return on investment.

 

3623    COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:  Well, the theory also is that in a commercial environment it support the presence of the ethnic programming, which --

 

3624    MS. FONSECA:  Correct.

 

3625    COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:  -- is in addition to what the community and the producers have.

 

3626    MS. FONSECA:  But I believe that if the Shaw ‑‑ it's my opinion that if Shaw is also granted the advertising capability of selling advertisements on this channel, that they can do 100 percent ethnic and still survive.

 

3627    COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:  Thank you very much for your comments this morning, and for being here.

 

3628    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you very much for your appearance.

 

3629    MS. FONSECA:  Thank you.

 

3630    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I'm glad somebody stayed to listen.  Thank you.  We will now take a well deserved 15-minute break.  We'll be back in 15 minutes.

 

‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1030 / Suspension à 1030

 

‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1050 / Reprise à 1050

 

3631    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Welcome back.  Madam Secretary.

 

3632    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Our first presenter after the break is Justice Wally Opal.  Please go ahead when you're ready.

 

3633    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Before we proceed, I want to repeat what I said yesterday for those of you who weren't here, that the Commission has attempted to allow as many interveners as possible to appear before us in support of the applications, and as a result, we may not find it necessary or required to make the time longer by engaging into discussions or asking questions of the interveners, especially when their position is very clear, and we want to make sure that you don't read this as a lack of interest.

 

3634    Your written intervention will remain part of the record, and so will your appearance through the transcript.  So it's not a lack of interest, it's more a desire within the time that we have to hear as many of you as possible.  Proceed now, thank you.

 

3635    JUSTICE OPAL:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  My name is Wally Opal.  I'm here in my capacity as president of Law Courts Education Society, and I just want to make it clear at the outset that I'm here as an independent intervener, because Law Courts Education Society is a public legal education society which is independent, and as well because I'm a justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court, it would not be appropriate for me to endorse any particular application.

 

3636    But my purpose in being here, is to endorse in the strongest possible terms, the establishment of a multilingual television station for the Lower Mainland.

 

3637    Law Courts Education Society was established in 1989, and it was established as an outcome of the Hughes Commission which was a Royal Commission on access to justice, and the purpose of the society is to bridge the gap between the community and the courts.  It's to foster a better understanding on the part of the public as to how the criminal justice system and the civil justice system operates.

 

3638    And as such, we in the society are involved in a number of programs, wherein we go into the aboriginal communities, to the multicultural communities, to the schools, and to various other communities in order to advise the people as to how the system becomes accessible to them.

 

3639    It is really a partnership with the British Columbia court system to provide legal education programs within the educational system.  The society's essential mandate is to build bridges between the courts and the community, but most of all our mandate is to ensure that the public has a knowledge of their rights to access to the courts, to the police and to social agencies.  And accordingly, any access barriers based upon age, gender, ethnicity or disability are important factors in the work that we do.  And while we initially were established to care for this task in this province, I should tell you that our successes -- is grown beyond leaps and bounds and we are now working in an international atmosphere. 

 

3640    The government of South Africa has asked us to go there, and we provided a major report to them with CIDA on access to justice.  We've been to mainland China.  They've been here.  We have also been to Bosnia, Somalia, a number of American jurisdictions in order to assist them in providing education in such matters as victims of crime, how they access to courts, spousal violence, youth violence, judicial education and matters of that nature.

 

3641    It is with that in mind that we strongly support the establishment of a multilingual television station for the Lower Mainland.  There has been a tremendous change in the demographics of the Lower Mainland and in British Columbia within the last 15 to 20 years, and I'm sure the commissioners have already been apprised of the numbers and the impact of those numbers, but I think some of those numbers might well bear repeating.

 

3642    Forty percent of the City of Vancouver is now classified as visible minority.  Close to 50 percent of the City of Richmond is Asian.  Close to 35 percent of the City of Surrey is Indo-Canadian in origin.  Spanish is now the second largest language of use in the provincial courts in the Lower Mainland. 

 

3643    Last year in almost 2,000 cases, we required Spanish interpreters.  Vietnamese interpreters were required in 3,498 cases in the provincial court.  I'm not even talking about the Supreme Court in Vancouver.  The Cantonese interpreters were required in 1,231 cases.  The Punjabi interpreters in 689 cases.  That really indicates to us the significant and the dramatic change in demographics in this province.

 

3644    I was born and raised in British Columbia, and I can tell you that without even looking at the statistical data, if you just walk the streets of Vancouver, and particularly the outlying areas, the suburbs, you get a true picture of how dramatically this society has changed.  And because of that change, it is obvious that the justice system, both the civil system and the criminal system must reach out and make itself accessible to the persons of various ethnic backgrounds.

 

3645    The Law Courts Education Society have done extensive research in eight of the largest ethno-cultural communities in this province, and we've documented some of the assumptions that the members of these communities have concerning our legal system, and the misconceptions that many people have.  And it is with that in mind that we strongly urge this Commission to grant a license to a multilingual station so that the workings of our justice system, both criminal and civil, be made known to the members of our society. 

 

3646    Many of these people have no idea as to how our system works.  Many have come here with misconceptions from their own society.  For example, many immigrants of this province have come from mainland China.  The Chinese criminal legal system is entirely different from ours.  Those that are arrested in that country are assumed to be guilty, and the presumption of innocence is a principle that is not applicable there.  Rather, an accused person has to prove his or her innocence in the workings of their system.

 

3647    People are treated differently depending on the needs of the community.  We have found that many people are afraid to come forward and testify in our courts because of a fear of reprisal.  Those are attitudes and beliefs that they have brought with them from their homelands.

 

3648    This is particularly so in cases involving youth gangs where there is a fear of reprisal, and I'm sure that you can appreciate that one of the desirable objectives of the criminal justice system has to be to bring forward those victims of crime, so that they can come forward and tell their stories to us, and to tell those people that the criminal justice system is amenable and is friendly to their stories.

 

3649    We hear many stories where the justice system, the police are to be distrusted in many societies from which the people come to this country.  I've personally spoken to people of Vietnamese background who have told us that they have no trust of the police at all, and we have to tell them here that with our focus towards community-based policing, that the police are instructed to take their complaints seriously.  And that unlike incidents that take place in their homelands, they have no fear of disappearing while they're in the hands of the police in this country.

 

3650    We have to tell them to come forward to deal with these very important issues.  So I've attended workshops in the South Asian community that deal with spousal violence and alcoholism.  I can tell you that women in the South Asian community are not always aware of the availability of the resources, and the institutions that are available, transition houses.  They're not apprised of the availability of these.  Many, many women who are victims of spousal assault are afraid to come forward and tell their stories to the police for fear of reprisal.

 

3651    Many are afraid to come to the courts and to testify, because they feel they will not be believed.  And it is our mandate to go into the communities and to hold workshops with victims of violence and to tell them that our system is accessible to them regardless of their backgrounds, regardless of their monetary standards or their standard of living or anything of that nature.  That they will be treated equally when they come before our courts.

 

3652    Our society has worked with victims of spousal violence, victims of child abuse, young offenders and people who come in contact with auto crime.  We tell the newcomers about the rule of law and about our democratic system, about the legal rights that they're entitled to under our charter of rights, and how our democracy works.

 

3653    I recall that when I was a criminal lawyer, many immigrants who were charged with crimes assumed that the charges could be withdrawn by a simple payment to the police or to the judge and we tell them our system does not work in that fashion.  That we work in a system that is fair and will listen to both sides of a dispute.

 

3654    That really brings me to the focal point of why I'm here.  A multilingual station is absolutely essential to sell our message and to convey the message of the criminal and civil justice systems to our changing society.

 

3655    The media as we know it, the mass media, the public media has not kept pace with our changing demographics and I'm being charitable when I say that.  If you were to watch the 6:00 news in this city, you would not know that 40 percent of this city is visible minority.  You will see very few non-whites on camera.  The mainstream media has generally ignored the needs and the demands of the visible minority community.

 

3656    THE SECRETARY:  Excuse me, Justice --

 

3657    JUSTICE OPAL:  It is therefore --

 

3658    THE SECRETARY:  I'm sorry.  Excuse me.  We are past the time, if I could ask you wrap up, please.

 

3659    JUSTICE OPAL:  All right.  I'll just wind it up in two minutes.

 

3660    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you.

 

3661    JUSTICE OPAL:  I find this as somewhat novel that somebody's cutting me off for a change, and in my day job I cut other people off, so I --

 

3662    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I can assure you we are more polite when we're before the court.

 

3663    JUSTICE OPAL:  I said that outside, as a matter of fact.  I marvelled at your patience and how polite you were, and so I appreciate your kindness and your courtesy.

 

3664    I want to say one more thing, and that is in the mid 1990's, I was asked by the Province of British Columbia to conduct a Royal Commission on Policing.  And we held 57 days of public hearings, and at the conclusion of the Royal Commission we filed a 700-page report with the provincial government. 

 

3665    The report is said to be the last word in policing in Canada.  And I can tell you that the major concern in that study was the failure of the police and the failure of society to communicate with one another.  Our report was entitled, Closing the Gap, the Police and the Community, and nowhere was our work more important than in dealing with the ethnic societies, and to dealing with the misunderstandings that the multicultural people have with the workings of the police and the mandate of the police. 

 

3666    We only have to look at the Americans to find out the difficulties that they have had and it's for that reason that it's important that we have a multilingual station that explains the workings of the police to the public. 

 

3667    I want to say one more thing, and I'll shut it down here.  You have two issues before you.  First, should you grant a license, and secondly, if you grant a license to whom should it be granted?

 

3668    And I want to address the second issue now, since I've already dealt with the first.  I've told you at the outset that I'm not in a position to endorse any particular application, but I would urge with the greatest of respect that you carefully examine the backgrounds of the people who have appeared before you in asking for a license.  I would ask that you carefully look at and then examine their community records.  What proposals do they have for making our society better by being granted that license?  How can they assist us in solving the social issues that we have confronting us with the changing demographics? 

 

3669    I would look carefully at the backgrounds and the track records of the people who have come before you.  As I've said, it would be inappropriate for me to endorse any particular group, but I am urging you, and I'm sure you will pay careful attention to the track records and the curriculum vitae and the records of the people, and what they have done in our community in the multicultural issues.  And how they have attended and dealt with their very real street issues that many of us have dealt with, and I'm not talking simply of appearing at dinners and fundraisers and matters of that nature.

 

3670    I'm talking about who's gone into the community and worked with the people who are poor, the people whose voices can't be heard.  And I would urge this Commission to pay careful attention to the track records of those people who have come before you and have asked for the license.  And I am sure, and I have confidence that you will do the right thing at the end of the day.

 

3671    I again thank you for the courtesy of listening to me, and I apologize for being over my allotted time.  Thank you.

 

3672    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, and welcome, Justice Opal.  I hope you're impressed with the fact that our staff is trained not to give favours even to Justices.

 

3673    JUSTICE OPAL:  I have the utmost confidence in the Commission when you tell me that.

 

3674    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Yes, but don't leave right away.  I have --

 

3675    JUSTICE OPAL:  All right.

 

3676    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- a question or two.  This Law Court Education Society of British Columbia, it's not part of the Law Courts.  It's an association that you spend volunteer time with?

 

3677    JUSTICE OPAL:  That's correct. It was established as a partnership between the courts, between government and various segments of the community.

 

3678    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Now, if we do grant a license would you see it as part of the mandate of the Society to ensure that there is a link with the successful applicant so that the issues that you have spoken to are taken into consideration?

 

3679    JUSTICE OPAL:  We would, within our power, ensure that the issues that have been dealt with before you are dealt with and not forgotten, and that's the second part of my application, and that is that you ensure that whoever gets the license has a true commitment to assisting the multicultural communities.

 

3680    THE CHAIRPERSON:  But once we have granted a license, if we do, we will not be the ones involved in making sure that the advisory committee or the managers of the station keep this contact.  Do you see that as part of your mandate?

 

3681    JUSTICE OPAL:  It's a good question.  I'm not sure if it's a part of our mandate, but we have been asked to be involved in a number of organizations, not quite like this, but to assist people in multicultural issues and how we can best get the message of the multicultural community out to the community at large and to our institutions, and I would expect that we would have some kind of strong role to play in that.

 

3682    THE CHAIRPERSON:  I don't know how familiar you are with the applications, but both of them have made commitments for what is called in the industry public service announcements.  Would that be an avenue, for example, for some of the concerns that you want to --

 

3683    JUSTICE OPAL:  Absolutely. When I say --

 

3684    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Because part of their application is to offer not only the airtime, but also the expenditure that goes to ‑‑

 

3685    JUSTICE OPAL:  Absolutely, and you know, this has become ever so important since September the 11th.  We've all read about the backlash that's taken place among certain members of our society. 

 

3686    It's therefore important that whoever gets the license takes some kind of proactive ‑‑ when I say proactive, funding is what I mean, that they get into the community, provide real funding to address issues of racism that very much are alive, regrettably here.

 

3687    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Before you leave, I thought I'd give you an anecdote.  If you don't know or read it -- not read it.  Maybe you can use it, but I read in a newspaper just, I think, a month ago, that in Germany, which speaks to the force of television to do exactly what you're concerned about, that in Germany when people are arrested sometimes they watch Law and Order, and then NYPD so often, that they say to the police right away, "I want to be mirandized", or "I'll take the first" or the 5th or ‑‑ and to the point where the article followed by saying that the German government was trying to look into perhaps encouraging the production of a German type of Law and Order.

 

3688    JUSTICE OPAL:  Yes.  Yes.  We get the same reactions of people that come into our courts.  I've had people testifying before me who want to take the fifth.  You know, and they watch ‑‑

 

3689    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Oh, so I'm not telling you anything new.

 

3690    JUSTICE OPAL:  No.  Yes.

 

3691    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Shucks.

 

3692    JUSTICE OPAL:  And the Miranda warning is a perfect example of that.

 

3693    THE CHAIRPERSON:  It's interesting that the German government would actually look into what we've got and correct this by having a popular program of that type --

 

3694    JUSTICE OPAL:  Yes.

 

3695    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- using our system and our own jurisprudence.

 

3696    JUSTICE OPAL:  It's very important to remember that our system is, while it has some basic similarities, it's not like the American system, and that ‑‑

 

3697    THE CHAIRPERSON:  No, but it speaks to the force of using public service announcements, using programming where possible that reflects the realities here to the communities that we're talking about.

 

3698    JUSTICE OPAL:  Right.

 

3699    THE CHAIRPERSON:  We appreciate your presence, Justice Opal, and of course the work the Society is doing is marvellous.

 

3700    JUSTICE OPAL:  Thank you.

 

3701    THE CHAIRPERSON:  And we hope that you'll find some -- and if we do give a license an extra voice for your work.

 

3702    JUSTICE OPAL:  Thank you.

 

3703    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.  Madam Secretary, please.

 

3704    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you Madam Chair.  Our next presenter is Senator Mobina Jaffer.  Would you like to come forward, please?

 

3705    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Good morning, Senator Jaffer.

 

3706    SENATOR JAFFER:  Good morning.

 

3707    Madam Chair, members of the commission, I am Mobina Jaffer, Chair of the LMtv Advisory Board.  Thank you for allowing me to appear before you today in support of the application by LMtv for a new multilingual television station to serve the Lower Mainland.

 

3708    I was born in Uganda.  My family came to Canada in the 1970's as refugees.  For the past 30 years, Canada has nurtured my family and I.  In this great country, I've had a chance to work for and to achieve my dreams.  I was the first woman of South Asian origin to practice law in British Columbia.

 

3709    On Sunday, in Victoria, I represented the federal government at the wreath-laying ceremony.  Madam Chair, and members of the commission, where but in Canada in today's highly charged climate, could a Muslim woman refugee preside at a function for our country's armed forces?  We truly live in a great country.

 

3710    The people of this country have built a very tolerant and accepting society.  I owe a great debt to Canadians for the society that they built, a society that freely and equally allows men and women of all races, religions and cultures to achieve their dreams for themselves and for their children. 

I seek to repay my debt to Canada by working to strengthen the acceptance of diversity in our society and to ease the integration of new immigrants.  Over the years I have played leadership roles in a wide variety of organizations and associations, including the West Coast Women's Network, Immigrant and Visible Minority Women of British Columbia and the YWCA of Canada.

 

3711    But the journey of my family in Canada has not been easy.  I have felt the uncertainty and confusion of a new immigrant, faced with customs, cultures and practices that are new and different.

 

3712    As a refugee, when I walked into a prominent hotel in Vancouver, I was asked to use the side entrance.  I didn't know that a person who looked like me was supposed to be a dishwasher.  I found that out the hard way.

 

3713    As a young lawyer, I was called an interpreter or even the accused.  I didn't know that a woman who looked like me was not supposed to be a lawyer.  I found that out the hard way.

 

3714    As a mother of a daughter, and only as mothers can say, the most gorgeous daughter in this world, my daughter's teacher tearfully called me and informed me that my daughter was the only girl who was not invited to her best friend's birthday party because of the colour of her skin.  I didn't know colour of skin mattered for children's birthday parties.  I found this out the hard way.

 

3715    My commitment to multilingual television broadcasting and to the LMtv application is deeply rooted in all of these things.  In my own experience as a refugee, the real needs of new immigrants and in my commitment to multicultural Canada.

 

3716    In 1993, I met with Tony Viner and Leslie Sole to discuss multilingual television.  We agreed that a multilingual television station such as CFMT was needed here in Vancouver.  We formed a partnership to make that dream a reality.

 

3717    We visited many communities and consulted widely.  We ate many samosas and spring rolls.  And Phil Lind, Tony Viner, Leslie Sole and Madeline Ziniak, with the community, have never wavered in pursuing our dream.

 

3718    The application that LMtv presented to you reflects more than eight years of partnership and wide community consultation.  It is an exceptional application in all respects.

 

3719    I would like to highlight four key elements of the LMtv application; one, community involvement, two, the high quality programming, three, empowerment, and four, positive portrayal.  Four commitments that are very important to us here.

 

3720    Firstly, community involvement.  I have attended CFMT Advisory Board meetings.  CFMT management regularly represents their plans to the Advisory Board for their review and comments.  Individual members of the board are actively involved in the life of the station, and in the communities that it serves.

 

3721    I agreed to chair the LMtv Advisory Board because I know that it will be a strong and effective voice for community involvement.

 

3722    Secondly, high quality programming.  LMtv will meet real needs in our communities by giving the highest priority to local news, public affairs and information programming.  I will never forget the first time I attended CFMT studios and saw all the different language teams come together to reflect the news and interests of the community.  Madam Chair, you will be interested to know they were led by a very strong woman who was telling all these men what to do.  That really made me feel good.

 

3723    Third, empowerment.  LMtv will ensure that our communities are not cut off from the world, and will allow us to work together to address shared concerns.

 

3724    For example, my grandfather was from Bhuj, the area of India that was struck by the earthquake last year.  My family supports a girls' boarding school in Bhuj.  Three students died in the earthquake.  Here in Vancouver, it was hard to get information on the earthquake, or to organize our communities to respond. 

 

3725    In Toronto, CFMT provided detailed coverage of the earthquake and helped to coordinate the contribution of the local South Asian community to the international relief effort.  In fact, CFMT was the first to make contact with the Red Cross in Bhuj, and was able to help locate families for people in Toronto.  LMtv will do that for our communities here in Vancouver.

 

3726    Fourthly, positive portrayal. I want to commend the Commission for the steps that you have taken to address portrayal issues, including your important initiative. 

 

3727    The tragic events of September 11 and their aftermath have highlighted the problem of negative portrayal.  However, as the Commission knows, this is not a new problem.  As a member of Canada's Muslim community, a visible minority and a woman, I can tell you from personal experience that the risks arising from negative portrayal have never been greater, and the need to find ways to promote positive portrayal has never been more urgent.

 

3728    Media coverage of the difficult issues in the South Asian community here in Vancouver, such as the murder of Mr. Hayer and the disputes in the Gurudwaras have raised serious concerns in the community.  The upcoming Air India trial will soon be part of our daily media environment.  Media coverage of those trials could cause great damage to our communities through careless stereotyping or negative portrayal.

 

3729    LMtv will help to overcome negative stereotypes by presenting ethnic communities in high quality, professionally produced local television programming.  It will combat prejudice and discrimination by facilitating cross-cultural communication.

 

3730    We need an experienced multilingual television broadcaster to change things for the better in our communities.  LMtv will have the experience and the necessary expertise.

 

3731    Madam Chair, members of the commission, for eight years -- just to give you an idea of what eight years is in my life, my son did his first degree, he went one year to Mexico, he did his second degree in law and he's now my law partner.  That's what eight years has been in my life.

 

3732    I deeply believe that LMtv will make a profound contribution in my community.  It will give new Canadians their best opportunity to integrate fully into the life of the community and into Canada.  It will give all Canadians an opportunity to understand each other better at a time when the events of September 11th have made such understanding even more urgent.

 

3733    Allow me to just give you one example of how September 11th has brought absolute fear in all our lives.  We in the North American continent have lost our innocence.  Yesterday, Manpreet Grewal talked about intent and proven record.  Multivan, Monica Deol  and Joe Segal have spoken very eloquently about their intent, and I don't envy your position.  They certainly have shown that they have an intent.  But Madam Chair, and members of the commission, with intent you have to have a proven record.

 

3734    Last night, we all went home late as you know.  I unfortunately fell asleep watching television news while my husband went to get the groceries.  I've got him trained well.

 

3735    THE SECRETARY:  Excuse me.  You're past the time.  Could I ask you to wrap up, please?

 

3736    SENATOR JAFFER:  I am.  Thank you.  When he returned, he had forgotten the house keys, and he knocked the door loudly.  I was absolutely engulfed in fear, the kind of fear I felt when Idi Amin soldiers in Uganda came to get my husband as I helplessly watched with 20 other family members them dragging him away.  I have not had those fears and nightmares for the last 20 years.  We all know that all our nerves are at an edge.  All Canadians are nervous at this point.

 

3737    Madam Chair and members of the commission, at this time, we need more than intent.  We need a proven record.  We need the experience and the expertise.  Thank you very much.

 

3738    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Senator Jaffer.  Your position is quite clear.  We have no questions.

 

3739    SENATOR JAFFER:  Thank you.

 

3740    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you for your participation.  Madam Secretary, please.

 

3741    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Our next presentation will be via teleconference, and it will Honourable Gurmant Grewal.  I believe they're just putting the call through now.  Is that Honourable Gurmant Grewal on the line?

 

3742    HONOURABLE GREWAL:  Yes.  Hi.  Good morning.

 

3743    THE SECRETARY:  Good morning.  We are ready to go ahead with your presentation whenever you're ready.  Please go ahead.

 

3744    HONOURABLE MR. GREWAL:  I regret, Madame, that I couldn't appear in person due to the nature of my schedule, as you can imagine, and I thank you for allowing me to be heard over the telephone.  I hope the line will be clear.

 

3745    Madam President as you may know, I'm the MP for Surrey Central and currently I'm the Official Opposition's Critic for Foreign Affairs for Asia-Pacific as well as the Critic for Scrutiny of Regulations.  In my two terms as Member of Parliament I've held many portfolios, among them I have been the Chief Critic for Multiculturalism and a member of the Standing Committee of the House of Commons for Canadian Heritage.

 

3746    I have lived in and visited many countries in the world.  So I will be talking to you from my personal perspective as I was living in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.  My constituency of Surrey Central is one of the largest in Canada in population.  Because many immigrants live in Surrey I have very enriched experience in listening to the diverse newcomer population, understanding their issues and problems and dealing with them on a day-to-day basis.

 

3747    Canada is the most diverse country in the world.  Diversity is our asset not a liability.  Diversity strengthens the multicultural fabric of Canada.

 

3748    But let me mention that in many nations, diversity in population, when not managed effectively, has led to civil and ethnic wars and strife, for example, we all know Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and so on.

 

3749    I was, Madam Chair, Assistant Professor of Management at the University of Liberia.  Liberia is in West Africa and it is embroiled in a bloody civil war.  Out of its population of one million people, over a quarter million have died in civil war.  The reason for the civil war - a disparity in ethnic diversity, unfairness in distributing government resources and segregation of population based on ethnicity.

 

3750    I'm optimistic that Canada will continue to be an example to the rest of the world and show that the diverse population of Canada not only getting along but also lives in harmony and prospers together.  But the role of our government and its partnership with communities must enhance this positive trend rather than diminish it, inform and educate them adequately, and get them involved as equal Canadians.  I think the media has its work cut out for them.

 

3751    We all have condemned the despicable terrorist attacks on September 11th.  There were reports of backlash against some ethnic minorities, particularly Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and people of Arabian origin, and these people have been living in fear.  This highlights the need for strong ethnic ;media and the need to inform, create awareness and educate all Canadians.

 

3752    To further make my point in establishing the need for stronger ethnic voice in the media, as we know, fuelled primarily by waves of immigration from Asia-Pacific, greater Vancouver is the fastest growing and one of the most ethno-culturally and linguistically diverse urban areas in Canada.  Over half its population is of an ethnic origin whose mother tongue is neither English nor French.  The South Asian community is the third largest ethnic community in British Columbia. 

 

3753    Madam President, we know the ethnic community needs to build their talent. They need access and a balanced voice in the media to build their communities.  And we all know that stronger communities make a stronger nation.  They need media in their third languages and there is no funding from any level of government to do that.

 

3754    The Canadian Television Fund contributed about $200 million in 1999-2000 to support the independent production of television programming; 66 percent of the funds were spent on English and the remaining 33 percent was spent on French language productions.  Absolutely no funding was available for ethnic or third language programming.  So this fundamental inequality needs to be addressed.

 

3755    Current ethnic print, radio and TV media is neither fully professional nor fully evolved yet.  The mainstream media sometimes portrays the negative side of designated ethnic minorities.  There is a need for local TV media from and for the ethnic communities that redress the fundamental inequality in Canada's broadcasting system.  And there is a need to support future generations of broadcasters, like students studying ethnic journalism, broadcasting and communication.

 

3756    There are problems in the community like alcoholism, drugs, gangs and shootings, extended families, arranged marriages, increased divorces, women and child abuse, male dominance, family expectations from youth, seniors issues, the generation gap and differing cultural values.  These issues remain unaddressed.  People should not a feel a bottle-neck in the community that could lead to eruption.  Home is where the heart is.  I hope LMtv will bring the world home to us.

 

3757    Madam President, I can tell many stories that I have heard from my constituents to the panel members but I'm cognizant of time.  They often run into problems because of poor understanding and difficulty in adapting to a Canadian lifestyle.  By the time our courts deal with such evils in society, it is not only too late and too expensive but little can be done at that stage.

 

3758    New Canadians and immigrants need help with learning and to trusting the system so that they can understand how the system can work for them and this will eliminate the misuse or abuse of it.  We need to teach them essential information about our education system, medical services, courts, policing, governments, and democratic and political systems.

 

3759    They need to become good neighbours and integrate into Canadian life rather than being ghettoised.  They need to get involved in our society and participate more fully in Canadian life and become contributing members of our community at large.

 

3760    They have the right to knowledge without discrimination and need their voice heard in Victoria and Ottawa and should be able to hold our politicians to account.

 

3761    We need to ensure that people who need help know where to get it.  Media like LMtv can be that opportunity for them.  Media can guide and educate the ethnic groups and respond to the needs of the community.

 

3762    There is a need for multilingual, multicultural and multiracial TV programs that will reveal their real and genuine voice, reflect and portray them fairly and accurately, offer them a variety of diversified quality programs.

 

3763    There is a vacuum of interactive cross-cultural, inter-generational, community-responsive and ethno culturally-sensitive communication at this time.  Madam President, so far we see a tunnel at the end of the light and not light at the end of the tunnel.

 

3764    After talking to its management and reviewing their strategic plan, I'm satisfied that they have funding and the resources to carry out the project successfully.  I understand that LMtv will contribute over $80 million.  They have a professional approach.  Roger group has been in multilingual broadcasting for over a quarter century building an inclusive multicultural society.

 

3765    LMtv has the experience of sister stations CFMT and CJNT.  They have pioneered and have been operating CFMT, an award winning multilingual TV station.  Their knowledge and technical and financial resources will make an impact and create synergies from LMtv and CFMT.  They will provide fully digital facilities plus mobile units and news bureaus.

 

3766    I have visited the CFMT studio and their state-of-the-art studio in Toronto.

 

3767    They have close community connections here and they have the ability to conduct research, consult and carry on discussions, sessions and forums to have input from the ethnic communities.  As I understand, LMtv will provide programs in 24 languages to 24 ethno-cultural programs and it will be free.

 

3768    It will provide over 60 hours of locally produced ethnic TV programming each week, of which half will be new and original.  It will offer daily, weekly news and magazine style programming from local, national and international perspectives in many local languages.  Its program schedule will not be brokered to third parties.  And I also know that a community-based advisory board that has already been in place, having eight years of experience, will advise it.

 

3769    I expect that LMtv will provide unique and significant expertise, vision, unwavering commitment, a strong and innovative content and voice.

 

3770    It will create 135 new local jobs.  There will be $30 million direct benefits to the community over seven years.  So it will develop an advertising market for ethnic TVs --

 

3771    THE SECRETARY:  Excuse me, Mr. Grewal, we are past the time.  Could I ask you to wrap up, please.

 

3772    HONOURABLE MR. GREWAL:  So I will conclude that LMtv will stimulate growth and contribute towards development.  It will be uniquely positioned to showcase Greater Vancouver and its people to Canada and to the world.  It can become an incredible resource within the Lower Mainland.  I expect that LMtv should be able to reflect the diversity of the ethnic voice in a fair, balanced and professional manner and be able to meet the present, new and emerging programming needs.

 

3773    And I'm confident, Madam President, that LMtv will not only meet but also exceed the CRTC's policy and regulatory expectations.  This application is in the best interest of the ethnic communities.  It is in the best interest of the general public and the national interest.  It will promote Canadian values, unity and integration of the communities.  It will enhance productivity, prosperity and harmony and economic, social and cultural development; therefore, their application should be approved.

 

3774    I congratulate LMtv for their hard work, persistence and determination to succeed, and I thank you, Madam Chair.

 

3775     

 

3776    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Mr. Grewal.  You can hear us? 

 

3777    HONOURABLE MR. GREWAL:  Yes, I can.

 

3778    THE CHAIRPERSON:  We could hear you and your position is quite clear in your support and we have no questions.

 

3779    HONOURABLE MR. GREWAL:  Thank you very much.

 

3780    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Madam Secretary, please.

 

3781    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  For the record, Catherine Murray will be unable to make her presentation this morning, but I do believe that someone else might be reading her speech for her.  Is there someone in the audience?  No, there appears not to be, so our next presenter will be Raghbir Singh Bains; if I could ask you to come forward, please.

 

3782    MR. BAINS:  Good morning, Madam Chairperson and Commission members.  Before I submit the presentation, I would seek your permission to introduce my colleagues who are with me here. 

 

3783    Here is Mr. Jawanda.  He got his education in England, and he is working with West Coast Cylinders.  He's a committee member on Khalsa Diwan Society, on Ross Street Vancouver, which is the first Sikh Society in Canada. 

 

3784    He had the privilege to work as a national president of the World Sikh Organization from 1993 to '97.  These days, he's Chairperson of Singh Sabha Gurdudwara in Surrey, and he's very much active in the community. 

 

3785    Next is Jaspindeer Singh Brar.  He started his career in CN Railway as a labourer, but thereafter he was elected, and elevated to different posts, and he was a Chairperson of the CN Railway Employees' Union.  He is these days director of CN Railway Pension Board, and now he's director on the board of Five River Society of British Columbia also.

 

3786    With me next is Sadhu Singh Nijjar. He is rep from different societies and institutions.  Sadhu Singh Nijjar is President, Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Gurdwara, Surrey in British Columbia.  He has been treasurer of Guru Nanak Sikh Temple, Surrey, also.  So, as a president of the Dasmesh Darbar Sikh Gurdwara, he organizes Sikh parades every year, and almost more than 70,000 people are in attendance in those parades. 

 

3787    My next colleague is Principal Gian Singh Kotli.  He is literary person.  He worked as a principal, then a priest at Khalsa Diwan Society, Vancouver.  He is a known writer in the Sikh world. 

 

3788    And my next colleague is Ajaib Singh Sidhu.  He did his M.A. in History in Punjabi, diploma in Comparative Religions.  He's chief editor of Des Pardes newspaper, which is published in Surrey.  He is General Secretary of the Punjabi Bazaar Association, Surrey, Delta.

 

3789    And about me, my name is Raghbir Singh Bains, and I'm author of the Encyclopaedia of Sikhism.  That is the first multimedia encyclopaedia of its kind in the world.  I have got the privilege to work on so many advisory committees in this land of Canada.

 

3790    So my submission today is that we are here to support LMtv and to represent the case of Sikh culture and growth of Punjabi language in Lower Mainland.

 

3791    We are Sikhs, Your Honour.  The  majority of us migrated from Punjab, a progressive province of India.  Our population in the Lower Mainland region is around 150,000.  We have a distinct and unique culture. 

 

3792    Our spiritual philosophy is unparalleled.  The places of our worship are universal and open to everybody, irrespective of caste, colour and creed.  Our history is more than five centuries old.  Sikh heritage is really exceptional.  Our dress - as you might see that we are wearing, my friend is wearing a kortebjama - our dress, ceremonies, customs and traditions are distinct.  The Articles of Sikh faith are unique.  Our mother tongue is Punjabi and we are proud of it.  When I was a child, Your Honour, my mother used to sing me lullabies in Punjabi so that I could enjoy a sound sleep.

 

3793    Respected Commission members, still we have a long way to educate the television media as to who the Sikhs are in fact.  Respectable members of the Commission, we are not here to ask for special treatment, but we are here to ask for fair and square treatment by the television media in this multicultural and multilingual land of Canada.

 

3794    The Sikhs are in Canada for the last more than 100 years.  With sweat on our brow, we worked hard to bring honours to Canada and Canadian society.  We are proud of our achievements, and many a times we feel offended when we are shouted as "Paakies" and with other names.  We do not know whether it is a misconception or otherwise.

 

3795    To coerce women is not the code of our conduct.  Marriage in our culture is a sacred tie.  More than 500 years back our gurus strongly stood for human liberty, equality and fraternity.  We believe in universal brotherhood, universal peace and prosperity.  We daily pray for welfare of entire universe.  Have all these human values been ever highlighted on television in Canada?  No, not at all.  We want somebody to run our true and factual stories on TV media.  Keeping in view the past history of CFMT-TV, we feel that LMtv will continue to serve the minority cultures in their linguistic set-up.

 

3796    Respected Commission members, 100 years ago when our forefathers migrated to Canada, we were suffering from language and cultural barriers, although it's not today.  We were under the impression that television media would provide us with opportunities to grow culturally.  It would portray the values of our culture, language, traditions and freedom of our religious mores.  But alas, Madam Chairperson, it has been a dream unrealized.

 

3797    The present TV media has not so far been able to acquaint dominant Canadians about our identity, whether we the turbaned Sikhs belong to Sikh culture, Sikh religion, or if we belong to some other faith.  We are unique Canadians.  Sikh culture is unique.  I'm a baptized Sikh.  I am wearing a Kirpan on my body also.  This is an article of my faith. 

 

3798    Media has not been successful in one century to acquaint the Canadians so far that Kirpan is an article of Sikh faith.  Some ignorant people shout at our traditional dresses.  Some of us are wearing traditional dresses also.  Perhaps they don't get the right information from television media. 

 

3799    We cannot reach each and every Canadian to explain the articles of Sikh faith, our ceremonies, customs and traditions that we love the most.  Canada is our home, and we value this beautiful land.  Sometimes we are named East Indians, sometimes we are named Indo-Canadians, and sometimes by other names also.  Media is not right, Your Honour, to term anybody as fundamentalist, moderate, Indo-Canadian or East Indian.  This is something to do with lack of cultural sensitivity, Your Honour.  We are simply Canadians and Canadians only. 

 

3800    We have been yearning for years for somebody to listen to our story.  We understand the LMtv has a team of professionals, culturally sensitive and experienced people.  We are sure that LMtv will deal with us on equal basis, and we would be able to watch our stories in their right perspective through LMtv.

 

3801    It is unfortunate that the Sikh youth are ignored on Canadian TV.  Issues of Sikh women and especially seniors have always been relegated behind.  Respected members, every community has its own issues.  We, the Sikhs have our language heritage and social issues.  These issues should be addressed by making the Sikh people as part of the solution, sensitively under the desired cultural situations.  We feel bad when Sikh culture is projected to our youth as prideless culture.  Sorry women are shown being oppressed and suppressed on television.  Madam Chairperson, sorry to say most of the media makes mockery of the minority cultures and tells negative stories.

 

3802    Please understand, Commission members, when language, culture, and value system of a person is snatched away from him or her, he or she will be forced to live in a vacuum, and that vacuum is sure to create confusion which is not in the best interest of the community itself, and the country at large.  We feel that every person should have freedom to practice his or her culture, thus adding to the prosperity of Canadian multicultural and multilingual fabric.  Who will fill this vacuum?  Only experienced professionals with vision can fulfil the vacuum and we think that is LMtv.

 

3803    Many a times, Sikh cultural stories are concocted, distorted, maligned, polluted and mistold.  We need a true storyteller without bias, and for that reason, we rely on professionalism of LMtv that will be having expert staff capable of running sensitive cultural stories of the Sikh community.

 

3804    We see Mobina Jaffer as Chairperson of LMtv Advisory Board, and T. Sher Singh, a well-known Sikh involved at a high level.  They are balanced in their outlook, which is in the larger interest of Canada and the ethnic communities.

 

3805    No doubt we get daily news from India in Punjabi and Indian languages, but here in Canada we deserve the latest news and stories concerning Sikh community.  LMtv is sure to fill the gap by using their long experience and expertise in multicultural programming.

 

3806    Madam Chairperson, ours is a rich culture.  We have produced great politicians, ministers, reformers, judges, mathematicians, doctors, writers and lawyers to add into the prosperity of Canada.  We have the right to get fair share of TV for broadcasting true stories of our culture in Punjabi language.  Respected members, when off-the-beam stories about Sikhs are shown on TV, we do not have ways and means to bring truth before the public.

 

3807    Whom should we look for telling our success stories?  Sikh community believes that LMtv can broadcast true stories of our community because LMtv has a cultural vision for minorities.

 

3808    We feel that LMtv is financially capable to produce quality programs for the multicultural and multilingual minorities in the Lower Mainland.  LMtv has a mandate to create jobs for journalists, producers, anchors and TV crews for all the communities, irrespective of their back home country and colour.

 

3809    LMtv has vision to build bridges for mutual understanding between different communities.  LMtv has national experience and vision for national unity.  It is capable to inform and enlighten people of different cultures on different issues.

 

3810    LMtv has a social and cultural vision for diverse communities.  Its mandate is to spend more than 75 hours for multilingual and multicultural programming per week, backed by CFMT television.

 

3811    Keeping in view the merits, we strongly support licensing for LMtv.  LMtv program will be our program.  So thank you very much once again, Commission members, for giving us a patient hearing.  Thank you.

 

3812    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you to you, Mr. Bains and to your colleagues to have had the patience to all come in numbers to our hearing this morning.  We appreciate the interest.

 

3813    MR. BAINS:  So that we don't waste your time that's the reason that we put all the efforts in one, and just --

 

3814    THE CHAIRPERSON:  And you were the mastermind behind collecting all these people --

 

3815    MR. BAINS:  Yes.  No, everybody is mastermind.

 

3816    THE CHAIRPERSON:  -- at the right hour?

 

3817    MR. BAINS:  It's not exactly LMtv.  It's our mastermind.

 

3818    THE CHAIRPERSON:  It's you.

 

3819    MR. BAINS:  It's our mastermind.

 

3820    THE CHAIRPERSON:  It's you, Mr. Bains.  Well, you were here before Commissioner Cardozo this morning.

 

3821    MR. BAINS:  Pardon?

 

3822    THE CHAIRPERSON:  We had to wait for him for 10 minutes, but I see your people were there on time so congratulations to you.

 

3823    MR. BAINS:  So thank you very much.

 

3824    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.  Madam Secretary, please.

 

3825    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Just for the record, we are doing a little bit of bouncing around in the order, in order to accommodate people whose schedules are a little bit tight.  So our next presenter to be called will be Prem Vinning.  Would you like to come forward, please?

 

3826    seq level0 \h \r0 seq level1 \h \r0 seq level2 \h \r0 seq level3 \h \r0 seq level4 \h \r0 seq level5 \h \r0 seq level6 \h \r0 seq level7 \h \r0 THE CHAIRPERSON:  Welcome to our hearing.

 

3827    THE SECRETARY:  Please begin whenever you are ready.

 

3828    MR. VINNING:  Good morning, Madam Chair, and Commissioners.  My name is Prem Vinning, and I am a proud Canadian, who emigrated to England from India with my parents at age 7.  This is my wife, Jagir Vinning.  She nearly chickened out on me.

 

3829    THE CHAIRPERSON:  You had to show you had as much authority as Mr. Baines.

 

3830    MR. VINNING:  Well, in our household, that is true to a certain point.

 

3831    THE CHAIRPERSON:  That's what he told us.

 

3832    MR. VINNING:  Times have changed.  I was raised and educated in England, and graduated with Honours as a Rolls Royce engineering machinist.  I came to Canada in 1976 to join my brothers, working up from the green chains to becoming a director of Chakmire Forest Products group of companies, a forest products business with customers throughout the world.  I have been happily married to my wife, Jagir, for 21 years, and we have four children.  Our two daughters are in University, with our two sons in French Immersion, high school.  My 100-year-old auntie also lives with us in our home in Surrey.  I am also a founding member of the Khalsa Credit Union, now with five branches throughout the Lower Mainland.

 

3833    Since 1977 to the present, our late father, and my brothers and I built Sikh temples throughout British Columbia, contributing our form of sweat equity.  To the 16 communities we volunteered our labour and provided the expertise. 

 

3834    My involvement in the larger community is also extensive.  I have served the community of youth in B.C. as a councillor.  I will try to keep my involvement to the Sikh community for this presentation.

 

3835    I have travelled this province from one end to the other, many, many, many times.  I have worked with, and know the Sikh community at the grassroots level.  I am here today in support of LMtv because I believe it is the best applicant to deliver ethnic television in Vancouver.  LMtv has experience in multilingual television broadcasting, and they propose to work on, and strengthen, national unity.  Only the LMtv folks have a strong social vision for building acceptance and advancing multiculturism within Vancouver and Canada's diverse community.  Only LMtv has consistently, and respectfully, reached out to work with the community to create a TV station that can be ours.  Canadian ownership is what is important; local ownership is too limiting.  Minority communities from Victoria to Toronto, want, and need to know, about sister communities.  This is something a local station cannot accomplish.  A station needs to showcase a community in a professional way.  It also needs to talk about issues and challenges minority communities face.

 

3836    The major problems facing South Asian and Punjabi communities today is illicit drugs, alcohol abuse, and prostitution.  Ten to 15 years ago, these issues were unheard of in my community.  These issues need to be talked about in order to engage the community in serious discussion, leading to resolution. This is how LMtv can reach out to work with the community to provide in-depth coverage of such matters.

 

3837    The larger media, the mainstream media, picks up these stories, and you will see a story in the Vancouver Sun front page, and that is the end of it, and you will see it on the six o'clock BC TV News, and that will be the end of it.  There needs to be more depth where the community needs to get involved.  I heard Justice Wally Oppal speak, and how these things need to interact. 

 

3838    I believe LMtv is in a perfect position to provide the level and quality of service that ethnic communities need.  LMtv is big enough with the resources to provide a high standard of programming.  Perhaps even more importantly, they are big and experienced enough to understand, and withstand, and I underline withstand, the pressures of internal ethnic politics inherent to ethnic groups. 

 

3839    As a businessman, I understand the importance of a proven track record, and I see it in this new ethnic TV station that has national experience and national vision.  For three decades, Rogers has delivered multilingual/multicultural television broadcasting in Canada.  It was a social vision put into practise that resulted in a much expanded role for multiculturism in this country.  It's been Rogers alone who has committed to providing service to ethnic communities.  I am confident that LMtv is capable of actually doing what they say.  They will do it because they have had eight years of consultation with my community.  

 

3840    You know the horrors of Golden Temple, Indian, the Tiannamen Square in China, and the slaughter of 800,000 Rwandans seemed very much in the distant past.  But that was until the event of September 11th, that touched my family, our family, and particularly our daughters.  It was in our backyard.  It happened to a society that they are part of, and that they relate to.  My daughters, especially, experienced overt racism for the first time in their lives.  My children had the opportunity to participate in the larger community at various levels, and to give an example of that, on her 16th birthday she had the wonderful opportunity to have tea with the Prime Minister and his wife at 24 Sussex.  And the September 11th event was something that I cannot -- I don't have words to express to you, that what that did to my two daughters and our family.

 

3841    Indeed, after receiving many calls from the community on the late evening of September 13th, I was forced to put a call into the mayor of Surrey to have him call the Surrey RCMP superintendent to explain a serious, and possibly, explosive situation that was developing at Khalsa School; youth with, who knows what intention they had in mind, they were milling about and causing fear in the community.  It brought home the serious nature of racism in our own backyard. 

 

3842    I am convinced that thoughtful, thought-provoking programming to deal with such issues is lacking in our community, and I am convinced it is a void that LMtv can fill by drawing from their experiences in quality multilingual/multicultural programming.

 

3843    I submit to you that it is only through cross-cultural dialogue, such as would be available through this very powerful television medium, that understanding will begin to overcome such fears in this community.

 

3844    In closing, let me emphasize that local ownership would be too restrictive.  Canadian ownership is important to make the connection between communities located from Victoria to Toronto, and I urge you to choose LMtv as the applicant that will best serve the interests of minority ethnic groups. 

 

3845    Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation.

 

3846    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you very much, Mr. and Mrs. Vinning, and please give our best wishes to your daughters.

 

3847    Madam Secretary, please.

 

3848    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Our next presenter will be May Brown.  Would you like to come forward, please.

 

3849    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Good morning, Ms. Brown.

 

3850    MS. BROWN:  Madam Chair, and Commissioners, my name is May Brown.  Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a short presentation on the issue of licensing a multilingual television station in the Lower Mainland and Victoria areas of British Columbia.

 

3851    May I take a minute or two to give you some background on myself.  I do this only because I think it has some relevance in this particular situation.  I'm a long-time resident of the area.  I was elected to the Vancouver Parks Board, and later to Vancouver City Council.  I served a total of 12 years in these positions.  I also served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Vancouver Regional District, which includes the many cities and municipalities of the Lower Mainland.

 

3852    As a director of the GVRD for eight years, I also worked on a number of committees for the area, including planning and hospitals.  I've been active on many boards and commissions throughout our province, including the Vancouver YWCA Board, and International Affairs Committee, St. Paul's Hospital Board, the Art Gallery, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.  I served on the B.C. Press Council for six years; associated with the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden Society.  When the city was giving a good deal of assistance to our large Canadian Chinese community to establish cultural facilities, I represented City Council all through the early stages in that initiative. 

 

3853    I currently serve on the Board of the Minerva Foundation for B.C. Women, and at the federal level, on the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the Selection of Members of the Immigration and Refugee Board.  I would also mention that I have been honoured to be appointed as a member of the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia, and have been given the Freedom of the City by Vancouver City Council.

 

3854    I feel I know our city and province well, and have a feel for the issues we face.  In awarding the multilingual television license to this area is of great importance to this community.  After studying many aspects of this issue, I believe that LMtv is the group most capable of making a success of this project. 

 

3855    Education and awareness of racial intolerance must continue to be given emphasis on an ongoing basis.  Complacency must not be allowed to take over our way of life.  The September 11th bombings, and the backlash against certain ethnic groups has shocked us all, and has strengthened our resolve in this matter.

 

3856    An incident I experienced many years ago has stayed with me over the years, as it made such an impression on me.  I was brought up in Surrey, one of our neighbouring municipalities.  Our community was about 50 percent Japanese/Canadian, our friends and neighbours.   In 1942, I was teaching in one of the local schools.  Word came down that all Japanese Canadians were to be evacuated from the Coast.  Families were given 48 hours' notice and told they could take one suitcase each.  These students were Canadians; they were born in Canada.  Yes, we were at war, but this group was singled out because they were a visible minority and could be identified by the colour of their skin. 

 

3857    The trauma caused by these events was so significant, we must not let it happen again.  Television is a powerful tool in today's society.  It can be very effective, or just marginally so.  Good, well-resourced programming can be educational, as well as entertaining.   We must be sure that we don't miss out on an opportunity to use television programming to promote better understanding between all people, young and old.  I'm sure you're aware that the Vancouver area has become a very diverse community.  With projections that Canada will continue to maintain at least the current level of immigration, we can expect our ethnic communities to grow in numbers.

 

3858    Naturally, in this province, the Lower Mainland and Victoria, attract many new Canadians because we have friends and relatives here, and more services are provided.

 

3859    Our communities, to date, have been quite successful in promoting good relations amongst all ethnic groups.  The multicultural nature of these areas has truly enriched the social and cultural life of British Columbia, however, this harmony doesn't just happen.  It takes continual effort and planning - yes, long-term planning.  Consultation with the community is important, discussions with various groups gives insight to the issues.  Thoughtful programming, built on experience and know-how, is key. 

 

3860    Over the past eight years, LMtv has been doing this type of planning.  They have been meeting with groups and listening.  Their proposal has changed as they have learned from the community what the needs really are.  LMtv has committed 80 million dollars to program expenditures and community benefits. With the necessary resources, they will produce sound, well thought-out programs of high quality, to reach 24 different groups.

 

3861    It is so important to have the resources to produce quality programming.  We have heard complaints for years that the quality of the technical aspects of multicultural television is inferior, and therefore, portrays ethnic groups as second-class citizens.  The necessary funds are required for staff training, for first-class equipment and facilities, and facilities to obtain new, relevant information and news. 

 

3862    In putting the programs together, one needs to know the different cultures; know the sensitivities involved, and know the challenges faced by the different groups.  To program and operate a station that will offer consistent, high-value programming for 24 groups is a major undertaking.  Experience and resources will be the key.  I believe LMtv plans show they can be successful in this regard.  They are allocating the resources, and they have the experience.

 

3863    The last point I would like to make is the issue of ownership.   LMtv will be Canadian owned.  To me, that is the only issue in regard to this topic.  Personally, I don't want to think provincially.  That is too narrow a view when it comes to communications.  I would like this new television organization to have a national social vision, with bureaus in the Asia-Pacific region, in Ottawa, in Vancouver.  As well as offices in Vancouver, LMtv will be in a position to bring up-to-date information from a wide area.

 

3864    I'm sure we all agree that a new multilingual television station in this area would add a great deal to the cross-cultural work already being done.  I believe LMtv will do an excellent job, if given the opportunity, and I trust you will give them your consideration.  Thank you very much.

 

3865    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you very much, Ms. Brown.  We appreciate our appearance at our hearing.

 

3866    Madam Secretary, please.

 

3867    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Our next presenter is Po-Ping Au Yeung.  Can I ask you to come forward, please. 

 

3868    MS. YEUNG:  Good morning, Madam Chair, and member of the Commissioner.  I am here in support of the application presented by LMtv.  My name is Po-Ping Au Yeung.  I am a producer and a casting director who has been working in the film and TV industry for over 20 years.  About a year and a half ago, I optioned a Canadian bestseller, Concubines Children, by Denise Chong.  The book was based on the compelling true story of a grandmother's struggle for survival in Vancouver's Chinatown in the 20's.  The book was short-listed for the Governor-General's Award, and it won the City of Vancouver Book Prize.  Because of its historical and cultural significance, it is also a required textbook for many colleges and universities in Canada and in the U.S.

 

3869    For three years, I was in competition with some big names in Ontario and in B.C. for the rights to option the book in order to adapt it for the screen.  After months of negotiations the author decided to give me a chance because she was excited that I wanted to do the movie in Chinese mainly.  I told her that the dialogue, when delivered in Chinese, would bear the distinctive nuances of style and flavour or Chinese culture and life in Chinatown in the 20's.  She agreed, and that began my labour of love for the last year and half, and what a struggle it has been. After spending a lot of time, and my own money, I am still unable to get funding to develop a script.  There isn't a film company, funding agency, or broadcaster in town, and possibly in the country, that has the commitment, the courage, or the mandate, to fund this project, because it is a Chinese language picture, but this is a Canadian story written in English.

 

3870    The book has already been proven to be very successful among non-Asian and second generation Chinese Canadians, however, very few new immigrants even know it, because some of them can't read English well enough.  They have had little interest, because most of them have no, or very little understanding about the hardships that early Chinese immigrants had to endure. 

 

3871    We have the responsibility to tell them the story; to tell them how difficult life was for early Chinese immigrants.  Six months ago I relinquished option on another Canadian film called the Supreme Moon Café by Skye Li.  This book was also a Canadian Chinatown story, short-listed for the Governor-General's aware in 1990.  I have one and half years left on my option on Concubine, and I will fight to the very end to develop it.  There are companies in China and in Hong Kong who are interested in co-producing with me, but no one there will commit until they see a script.  If LMtv is awarded the license, it will be the only broadcaster that will have the courage and the financial commitment to help me to develop my script.

 

3872    My story has a home on LMtv.  You see, I have a very expensive hobby:  optioning unique human interest stories that are hard to get financing to develop.  But they are Canadian stories that I am passionate about.  That's what I do for my soul. 

 

3873    For money, I work as a casting director for film and for TV commercials.  Though I  don't do Asian casting exclusively, I do get calls from Hollywood, and even from Hong Kong, when they need Asian actors because they know Vancouver is the place to look.  I have done Asian casting in Vancouver on films such as Taipan, directed by Vancouver's Daryl Duke, The Last Emperor, by Bernardo Bertolucci, and Steven Spielberg's yet to be made, "Memoirs of a Geisha", which I received over 1,200 submission in B.C. for one 16-year-old Japanese female role.  Of course, most of them were not professional actors, but it tells me that there are 1,200 young Asian girls out there who want to be seen and heard.

 

3874    For Lethal Weapon 4, I suggested to Warner Brothers, an actor from Hong Kong who now lives in Vancouver, and he got the part over all the actors who auditioned in Hollywood. 

 

3875    Sometimes I also line produce movies shooting in B.C., and they are from Hong Kong, so I speak with knowledge and confidence about the Asian/Canadian film and TV community we have in B.C.  Though unknown to most, there are many, many A-list actors, cameramen, make-up artists, writers, and directors from Hong Kong and other parts of Asia living in B.C.

 

3876    Three years ago I compiled the Asia-Canada creative directory for Telefilm Canada, listing most of the Asian-Canadian film and TV professionals in this country.  You can check it out; it's on the Telefilm website.  Many of them have turned to other types of work now, and are still struggling to find a job in the industry.  They are dedicated professionals, and they want to work on high-quality productions that showcase their talent.

 

3877    I am also the past vice-president and a current member of the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, a national organization with 450 members nationally, with 350 members in B.C., including Denise Chong, and Reson Choi from Ontario, Skye Li, Evelyn Lau, to name a few from Vancouver.  Believe me, there is a huge, untapped Asian/Canadian talent pool in this province, both in front and behind the camera, both creatively and technically, in documentaries and in dramas, they have been waiting for far to long for a platform to share their vision.  They, too, need a home on LMtv. 

 

3878    We don't want to put our faces on camera to talk about Kung Fu or how to mix sweet and sour pork anymore.  We have come a long way, and don't take us back, please.  We have wonderful stories to share within our own communities and with the rest of our country.  What we have to say is important.  We do not want tokenism. 

 

3879    The other applicant has never talked to me, or to Colin Laurel, a well-respected Chinese/Canadian broadcast journalist, and a filmmaker whose documentary is opening the Asian film festival here in November.  Or have they talked to Tan Sham, a Chinese/Canadian film and documentary producer, whose documentary is getting a Gemini this year.  This is amazing.  Since we are the very few bilingual Chinese/Canadian producers and filmmakers in Vancouver who work in both the multicultural field and in the mainstream, so how important is it that they are locally owned when they are not even interested in, or aware of their own local resources.

 

3880    In my opinion, local ownership should not be the overriding consideration in these proceedings.  If we are going to have a multilingual TV station here in Vancouver, let's do it right.  I have two proposals.  By far, LMtv is much more superior in terms of the track record, the financial commitment, and their experience in multilingual TV broadcasting.

 

3881    I am most impressed with the independent producer's initiatives.  The financial commitment to project development, for third language programming, is unavailable anywhere else in this country.  Their commitment is long-term, and it's here to stay to serve the best interests of the local community by nurturing local talent and developing local stories and issues that are challenging, or regional or provocative.

 

3882    Even then LMtv's ownership is not based in this province, the hands-on management is deeply rooted in this province.  I believe that LMtv is committed to local production of high-quality programming in third languages. 

 

3883    What is important for me is not where you have your headquarters, but where you have your heartquarters, and where you have made your commitment in terms of spending, and how dedicated you are to reflecting the local community and including it in your programming decisions.  For me, clearly, there is only one choice, and that is LMtv.  Thank you.

 

3884    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Ms. Yeung.  Commissioner Cardozo, please.

 

3885    COMMISSIONER CARDOZO:  Thank you very much, Ms. Yeung.  I just have a question for you.  It's quite a delight to have you here.  I know the Concubine's Children, the book very well, and I also happen to live in the same neighbourhood as Denise Chong, so I --

 

3886    MS. YEUNG:  In Ottawa?

 

3887    COMMISSIONER CARDOZA:  In Ottawa.  So I will have something to show off to her when I see her next, and tell her I met her.

 

3888    MS. YEUNG:  I've got to pay her some money.

 

3889    COMMISSIONER CARDOZA:  I won't go into detail.

 

3890    MS. YEUNG:  I'm two weeks late paying her.

 

3891    THE CHAIRPERSON:   You never know what comes up.

 

3892    COMMISSIONER CARDOZA:  I hear what you have to say, very clearly, about the funding that LMtv has offered for third language, and also the other attributes that you've described, and you've put that forward very powerfully.  I want to ask you about the larger systemic question, though, that you've raised, which is the funding of third language film.  This is a chronic problem, and I think, as you've indicated, we're talking Canadian film production; it happens to be third language, but it's about Canadians, about Canadian stories.  And I'm just wondering if you have had discussions - I guess you have - discussions, with other funding agencies, whether federal, provincial, or private sector?

 

3893    MS. YEUNG:  Yes, Telefilm, B.C. Film, they do not fund third language productions; only French, English or Aboriginal languages.  There's nowhere to go, absolutely nowhere.  And LMtv would be the only place for people like me, and like, all these wonderful stories - I don't know whether you guys have read this book, this is just beautiful - Disappearing Moon Café - I just lost it two months ago -- two or three months ago, because I could no longer keep paying the option on something nobody would give me the money to do.

 

3894    COMMISSIONER CARDOZA:  Well, I thank you for raising the issue of the funding, especially from you, who is an accomplished filmmaker. I appreciate you coming here.

 

3895    MS. YEUNG:  Thank you.

 

3896    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you.  I think we will break for lunch, and we will resume at 1:20.

 

‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1225 / Suspension à 1225

 

‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1330 / Reprise à 1330

 

3897    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Madam Secretary, please. 

 

3898    THE SECRETARY:  Thank you, Madam Chair.  Our next intervener today is Raj Paul Dhillon.  Please go ahead whenever you're ready.

 

3899    MR. DHILLON:  Good afternoon, Madam Chair, and Commissioners.  My name is Raj Paul Dhillon, and I'm a journalist, writer and television producer from the South Asian community in Vancouver.  I am here to support the LMtv's application for a new commercial multicultural, multilingual television station.

 

3900    A little bit about my background.  After graduating from Simon Fraser University in 1992 with a degree in Communications and Filmmaking, I began working for a South Asian/Indo-Canadian newspaper called The Link.  At the time, the newspaper carried very little news from the local community and served the function of being a bridge between the homeland and the community here.  But that was not my experience.  I was not interested in reading the news from back, which in many ways was irrelevant to my existence here.  I wanted to know what was happening in the community locally.  Essentially, I wanted to tell the stories of our people here, so that we, as a community, could move from being immigrants to a new land to being full-fledged Canadians with their own distinct voice and culture.  By doing so, we would be actively contributing to the multicultural fabric of Canada, and at that same time, celebrating who we were in this great Canadian mosaic.  So it began slowly with the coverage of local news, but soon I began profiling the personalities who made the local South Asian community tick.  Over the years, as the media has developed in the community, it has helped propel South Asians of diverse background, language, religion and culture to the political, business, professional, trade, sports and arts spheres.  We have been telling our stories while on this micro-media level in Canadian society.  But we are now ready to take our stories to the next level, which is the medium of television.  They say that television is the most powerful modern medium of communication.

 

3901    The challenges for this new medium remain the same as those that I faced almost a decade ago:  How do we move from the current environment of multicultural television, which primarily shows musical and other entertainment programming from the homeland, to telling our unique stories from the community's rich fabric here in Canada?  Well, the first thing we have to do is to make sure the people who are going to be in charge of running the station know what they're doing so that they will work effectively with South Asian community producers to tell our stories in the most professional, creative and awe-inspiring way.

 

3902    Professional South Asian producers have long been seeking a television station which can act as an avenue for their creative expression; a professionally run station where they can see and tell their own stories in their own native language here in Canada. 

 

3903    I attended the first ever meeting that Rogers held more than eight years ago at the Pan Pacific Hotel.  At the time, I was just out of the university and their proposal to start a commercial multicultural station really appealed to me.  The community multicultural station that Rogers operated at the time was not doing an effective job of telling local stories.  The South Asian programming on the station was dominated by one producer, and the program was not up to par because of the financial limitations, and really a lack of creative local programming.  So I dearly welcomed this new proposal at the time, which would, in fact, be similar to CBC or BCTV and would offer professionally-produced local programming for the community.  However, that station did not materialize for whatever reason, and probably set ethnic producers back a decade.  So I feel very encouraged to know that the CRTC will be licensing a multicultural station this time around, hopefully.

 

3904    I believe that that station should be LMtv because they have the expertise, experience and financial clout to run a professional television station and make it a success.  As an ethnic producer who is having to scrap together miniscule leftover funding from agencies like Telefilm Canada, after they have finished emptying their coffers to the largely white establishment, it is heartening to know that if licensed, LMtv will be injecting a very significant amount of cash into multicultural/multilingual production.

 

3905    LMtv has proposed to spend $80 million in their various initiatives to ensure that B.C.'s ethnic communities get a "world class quality" television station.  I believe their total over a seven-year license period is more than $228 million.  The best news for ethnic producers is that they are proposing to create a $27 million B.C. producers initiative that will give ethnic producers, like myself, the resources they need to create original programming aimed at their linguistic and cultural groups. 

 

3906    As part of this $27 million package is a $4 million development fund.  This is truly groundbreaking because ethnic producers have never had this kind of funding available to them for the production of third-language programming.  And it is also encouraging because, hopefully, Telefilm, and other funding agencies at the provincial and federal level will recognize this and begin infusing much needed cash into the productions that will come about if LMtv is licensed.  All this money translates into more local content.  In fact, LMtv's monetary commitment means that they will provide 20 percent more local content than their competitor Multivan, which is claiming to be local, but has very little in the way of solid local programming. 

 

3907    I would like to point out that I have reviewed both proposals thoroughly, and only then made my decision to support LMtv.  In fact, it is my opinion that the LMtv's proposal outranks Multivan on so many levels there is really no comparison.  We're talking apples and oranges here, dear panel.  But even if we put aside the monetary commitment, there is no denying that LMtv has done a great vast amount of outreach work in the ethnic communities, including the South Asian community.  They have consulted many prominent community members, and have asked for and taken their input in designing their latest proposal, which, among other things, makes South Asian community the third major linguistic and cultural group after Mandarin and Cantonese that LMtv will focus on.

 

3908    The South Asian community is proud to have people like Mobina Jaffer, who is a well-known local member, as well as a senator now, as part of LMtv's board, which assures the community that the station will deliver on its promises.

 

3909    On the other hand, Multivan has done very little South Asian community consultations and has totally ignored the Punjabi community in Surrey, which now numbers more than 60,000 people of South Asian descent, making it the municipality's dominant ethnic group.  Multivan has chosen people to be on their board who have little, or no connection to the South Asian community, which goes against their claim of being "local." 

 

3910    I'm backing LMtv because it is the best proposal for the South Asian community, based on their track record, resources, and successful existing multicultural television operations in Toronto.

 

3911    Multivan is simply pushing "local ownership" without showing it will be able to provide the kind of quality and professional programming we currently lack.  At one of its meetings that I attended, Multivan officials bragged about putting local ethnic dance shows on their station.  If that is what constitutes programming on their station, then they have failed to grasp the purpose of this new multicultural station licence.

 

3912    Anyone who watches TV, or the local community multicultural station will tell you that if it's dance you want, it is already in huge supply on the local CHUM affiliate and any number of dance shows on Shaw's multicultural channel.  But LMtv seeks to take us beyond the dance and into the new realm of programming, which for the South Asian community, will include a daily Punjabi language news broadcast, as well as a magazine format, educational and entertainment programming. 

 

3913    I have faith in Roger's long history and their more than 20-year operation of Toronto-based CFMT, and their more than 20-year operation of Toronto-based CFMT tells me that they are committed on a long-term basis.  Their advisory committee and their investment, which is now in the millions, would convince even the die-hard sceptic that they are committed to serving the local ethnic communities and bringing unique programming that caters to their needs.

 

3914    Speaking as a South Asian producer, my choice is clear:  LMtv is the only one.  Thank you, dear Madam.

 

3915    THE CHAIRPERSON:  Thank you, Mr. Dhillon.  Your position is clear and we have no questions for you.

 

3916    MR. DHILLON:  Yes.  Thank you.

 

3917    THE CHAIRPERSON:  But thank you for coming and being part of our proceeding. 

 

3918    Madam Secretary, please. 

 

3919