ARCHIVED - 2 December 2001
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Providing Content in Canada's Official Languages
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.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the hearing.
CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TELECOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
Public Hearing/Audience publique
Call for applications for a broadcasting licence to carry on a television programming undertaking to serve all or any one of Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener, Ontario/Appel de demandes de licence de radiodiffusion visant l'exploitation d'une entreprise de programmation de télévision pour desservir chacune des villes Toronto, Hamilton et Kitchener (Ontario) ou l'une d'entre elles
HELD AT: TENUE A:
Hamilton Convention Centre Centre de conférence
Hamilton, Ontario Hamilton, Ontario
December 7, 2001 7 décembre 2001
A. Wylie Chairperson/Président
M. Wilson Commissioner/Conseiller
B. Cram Commissioner/Conseiller
J. Pennefather Commissioner/Conseiller
S. Langford Commissioner/Conseiller
_ _ _
D. Rhéaume Legal Counsel/
M. Amodeo Hearing Leader/
P. Cussons Hearing Manager/Gérant
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of Contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues officielles, les procès-verbaux pour le Conseil seront bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes
Public Hearing/Audience publique
Index of Proceedings/Index de la séance
Opening remarks by Ms. A. Wylie/ 3515-3517
Remarges d-ouverture par Mme. A. Wylie
Intervention by Ken Wallis, Mohawk College/ 3518-3533
Intervention par Ken Wallis, Mohawk College
Intervention by June Callwood/ 3534-3559
Intervention par June Callwood
Intervention by Arti Chandaria, South Asian
Advisory Committee/ Intervention par Arti 3560-3578
Chandaria, South Asian Advisory Committee
Intervention by Dr. Joseph Wong/ 3579-3606
Intervention par Dr. Joseph Wong
Intervention by Peter Rehak 3607-3649
Intervention par Peter Rehak
Intervention by Elitha Peterson Productions/ 3650-3682
Intervention par Elitha Peterson Productions
Intervention by Redcanoe Productions/ 3683-3720
Intervention par Redcanoe Productions
Intervention by Sandra Savelli/ 3721-3750
Intervention par Sandra Savelli
Intervention by Brickworks Communications/ 3751-3774
Intervention par Brickworks Communications
Intervention by Cineflix Productions/ 3775-3818
Intervention par Cineflix Productions
Intervention by Reel Time Images Inc./ 3819-3841
Intervention par Reel Time Images Inc.
Intervention by Breakthrough Films/ 3842-3864
Intervention par Breakthrough Films
Intervention by John Evans/ 3865-3880
Intervention par John Evans
Intervention by Artword Theatre/ 3881-3914
Intervention par Artword Theatre
Intervention by Ted Nolan/ 3915-3940
Intervention par Ted Nolan
Intervention by Nomadic Pictures/ 3941-3960
Intervention par Nomadic Pictures
Intervention by Solo Enterprises/ 3961-3970
Intervention par Solo Enterprises
Intervention by Joan Schafer/ 3971-3990
Intervention par Joan Schafer
Intervention by Yee Hong Community Wellness
Foundation/Intervention par Yee Hong Community 3991-4010
Intervention by Desalegn Eyobe/ 4011-4025
Intervention par Desalegn Eyobe
Intervention by Evergreen Communications/ 4026-4046
Intervention par Evergreen Communications
Closing Remarks by Ms. A. Wylie/ 4047-4049 Remarques De Clôture par Mme A. Wylie
--- Upon commencing at 0838/L'audience débute à 0838
3515 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order please. Good morning and welcome back to phase 3 of the hearings. We will now be hearing intervenors in the support of the various applicants. I would like to point out before we start that we may not engage in discussions or conversations or questions with supporting intervenors particularly if their reasons for support are clear. I remind intervenors that their written interventions remain on the record and their presentations today are transcribed and form part of the transcript, and that we are interested in hearing you. If we don't engage in discussion, it's more a case of trying to hear as many of you as possible in the time we have. So with that caveat, I invite the Secretary to invite the first intervenor.
3516 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you Madam Chairperson. I would like to make a couple of announcements. First of all, we now have three intervenors who had hoped to be us at the hearing but are no longer able to join us, specifically Sampradaya Dance Creations, Prem Sarin and Fil Fontaine. Of course, we still have their written interventions on the public record.
3517 I should also that had we will not entirely be following the original order in the agenda. Various intervenors have had scheduling conflicts and so on and, of course, we've tried to accommodate them, so there are some changes that have happened since the agenda was published last week. Having said that, I would like to invite our first intervenor of the day, Mr. Ken Wallis of Mohawk College, please.
3518 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning Mr. Wallace, and welcome to our hearing.
3519 MR. WALLIS: Thank you. To help move things along, this will not be long presentation.
3520 THE CHAIRPERSON: Until the bell rings.
INTERVENTION BY KEN WALLIS, MOHAWK COLLEGE/
INTERVENTION PAR KEN WALLIS, MOHAWK COLLEGE:
3521 MR. WALLIS: Good morning Madam Chair, Commissioners. My name is Ken Wallis and I'm coordinator of the television broadcasting and communications program at Mohawk College here in Hamilton. Mohawk strongly supports CanWest Global's proposal for "Purely Canadian." Basically, I am here to show support for their show '101' which is a proposed show that would be produced by post-secondary students.
3522 The concept of a half hour weekly show produced by media students in post-secondary would provide a practical outlet for students to showcase their abilities and talents. When students know that productions will be aired, they put a much more concentrated efforts in their productions because they know their efforts will be seen in the real world. It is a huge opportunity for students in all secondary institutions.
3523 Madam Chair, there were several questions that you asked on one day about this concept that I would like to address. First of all, the issue of financial backing came up and how much or how involved CanWest Global would be involved in it. I would like to say in many cases cost would be minimal to Global simply because many colleges have the equipment and the facilities needed. In essence, Mohawk could certainly jump in and contribute to this. Mohawk's television program is basically a practical, hands-on program that basically concentrates on production. Currently we have over 260 students in our television program, and if you add in 110 broadcast journalism students, we have over 370 media students that would be available to work on these productions.
3524 There may, indeed, be some nominal cost to Global, but basically Mohawk is a very well-heeled program that could participate in this show. We have over 10 edit suites, both linear and non-linear, and we have 15 field cameras. We use broadcast quality formats with JVC Pro Digital and Betacam SP. We currently have two studios for production and plans are in the works for a third studio.
3525 Currently, we produce four magazine shows a week that are very similar in concept to 101, plus numerous other productions such as news and interview shows. What we do now would be an easy fit into Global's program, 101.
3526 Madam Chair, you also raised the question about quality. Students are not professionals, we all know that. Then again, they are only with one step away from being professionals. With the help of faculty, who have all worked the industry, I can assure broadcast quality productions are the goal. As an example of this, every year Mohawk's TV students produce a show called Mohawk Media Fest which airs on CH TV. We also have been chosen as the college to produce the Broadcast Educators Awards that air on TV Ontario.
3527 If CanWest Global were to be granted this licence we are certainly willing accommodate the production of 101, and I am sure all other colleges and universities would say the same. One other note of significance is Global's desire for some local programming. It could lead to co-operative productions with our college. We have a full-blown mobile with digital recording facilities. Currently, we cover such events such as the B'nai Birth Celebrity Sports Dinner, as well as the CYO Celebrity Sports Dinner. These are just the two examples of the types of shows that we produce that could certainly air on Purely Canadian. Purely Canadian would provide a strong incentive for the students at Mohawk College and at all other colleges and the universities.
3528 In closing, I would just like to say that it's with solid enthusiasm that Mohawk College supports CanWest Global's application. I would also like to congratulate them on having the foresight to include a show produced by post-secondary students. Their inclusion of the 101 show demonstrates that they're willing to foster post-secondary students who will be our future Canadian broadcasters. Thank you.
3529 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Wallis. Commissioner Pennefather, please.
3530 MS. PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Wallis. Mr. Wallis, I do have one small question for you. I was just curious -- you did answer some of the questions and thank you for that, some of the practical information is helpful. Can you tell just you us in the student body what the breakdown is, men, women, and the cultural diversity of the group?
3531 MR. WALLIS: Sometimes it's hard to assess that because we don't really look at that. Speaking from experience, I have been at the college 15 years now and when I started, males certainly outnumbered females. It's broken down now to almost a 50/50 breakthrough and we are seeing more and more females that are interested in the technical side of the operations as well, which is very encouraging.
3532 MS. PENNEFATHER: Thank you, very much.
3533 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Wallis. We were a bit worried yesterday because a graduate from Ryerson started a production company called Bigfeller Productions, and he didn't seem to have any plan to have a "Little Women" division. Thank you for coming. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to see us. Mr. Secretary, please.
3534 MR. CUSSONS: Madam Chair, our next intervenor is Ms. June Callwood.
3535 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Ms. Callwood.
3536 MS. CALWOOD: I apologize for not having a written brief I hope you will permit me to just --
3537 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's good; it keeps us on our toes.
INTERVENTION BY JUNE CALLWOOD/
INTERVENTION PAR JUNE CALLWOOD:
3538 MS. CALWOOD: Thank you. You might think because I have been a journalist for a long time that I am here with some special interest, but I'm not. 60 years ago, when I had a job at the Toronto Star, it only lasted for two weeks and I was fired. But it was fortunate for me because I went to the Globe and Mail where I got a job and married a man on the Globe and Mail and 50 years later the two of us were back at the Globe and Mail with columns, and we intend to go back to the Globe every 50 years. So I am not primarily a Toronto Star journalist.
3539 I am here because I like the programming that's been offered by the Star, but I would like to address something I think more important than the programming that's promised. As an aside, I was on the founding board of WTN Foundation and I am extremely distressed at what has happened to WTN. So I want to talk about integrity.
3540 I am in a position to know quite a bit about the integrity of the Toronto Star. I have witnessed the Star's care of the community, knowledge of the community, its social conscience, which I always thought the fifth estate represented - it's the way I think the fifth estate should operate and the Star's prime example of how that is done. They truthful people. They wear their heart on the sleeve but the sleeve is cashmere because they're very smart business people, they know what they're doing and they deliver. These are not snake oil salesmen that you have seen before you promising a great deal and breaking their promises, which we have seen a lot -- too much of.
3541 Community programming at the Star would really have a resonance. I was -- a fast example, I don't know what 10 minutes is. A fast example community programming City, which is very joyful and fun to watch, I was once doing a fundraiser for something and it was a disaster, there were 16 people in the audience, City arrived. The man was sweaty and young and underpaid and said, what is it that you're doing? We're fundraiser for this event, this cause. And what is the program? Well, it's going to be stand-up comics and he said, how much do you expect to raise? And in the background there is 16 people and I said, close to a million, and he said good, thanks. Back to the studio. Now, that's -- that's very entertaining community programming, but it doesn't represent substance and I think the Star does and -- two fast stories, I hope fast.
3542 A group of us decided to protest the cuts to the CBC. I think we called ourselves, "Save the CBC". We had no money and nowhere to start. We phoned John Honderich. John, we're going to try to save the CBC cuts and would you give us free office space and he said sure, 17 floor is yours. It was empty, big space. John, we would like some desks and maybe telephones? Sure. John, it would help us if we had computers and printers and he said sure. We didn't save the CBC but the Star certainly enabled us to try.
3543 And very recently -- I am now involved in child poverty, I am a champion of lost causes -- I asked John Honderich, we have a full page ad of 51 Companions of the Order of Canada who are concerned about child poverty, would you give us a break on the price? And he said sure. I don't know any major player in communications in Canada who would have said yes to either of those requests. I have been turned down by all of them, so I have some authority in that field.
3544 These are - this is a new voice and a voice with a conscience, these are honorable, decent people and you don't see many, I don't think, like that. Thank you.
3545 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Cram?
3546 MS. CRAM: Thank you. I am the Regional Commissioner for Manitoba/Saskatchewan and as a result certainly know about WTN. And part of the problem was the same thing you're talking about; that WTN performed very well.
3547 MS. CALWOOD: Yes, it did.
3548 MS. CRAM: The Foundation performed very well.
3549 MS. CALWOOD: Really well.
3550 MS. CRAM: As a consequence it appears there is no necessity for us to enforce the continuation of that by what's called a condition of licence. Which now means there is nothing upon which we can stand to enforce its continuation.
3551 MS. CALWOOD: You got taken.
3552 MS. CRAM: Well the lesson I learned is that honorable people apply for licences, honorable people with integrity apply for licences, and the licence gets sold. And so as much as I am certainly not questioning anybody's integrity at all, but how would you suggest if we granted the licence to Torstar that we would guard against it being sold and - as I normally use the term - morphed into something other than what was first envisaged to be?
3553 MS. CALWOOD: This is a low-cost solution. The strings on the licence go with the sale. And cannot be -- cannot be dissolved.
3554 MS. CRAM: So we would have to impose conditions of licence to ensure --
3555 MS. CALWOOD: Caveats, is that what are they called?
3556 MS. CRAM: They're called conditions of licence here. I know in other parts of law it would be caveats. So would you suggest that if we granted the licence, that the conditions of licence would be very strenuous in that regard?
3557 MS. CALWOOD: I would hope so. This is a vulnerable time and our communications industry needs to be more -- as concerned with delivering a service to the public as it is with profits.
3558 MS. CRAM: Thank you very much.
3559 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms. Callwood especially at this early morning time. Mr. Secretary, please.
3560 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chair. I would now like to call on the South Asian Advisory Committee, Ms. Arti Chandaria to present their intervention, please.
3561 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Ms. Chandaria.
INTERVENTION BY ARTI CHANDARIA, SOUTH ASIAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE/INTERVENTION PAR ARTI CHANDARIA, SOUTH ASIAN ADVISORY COMMITTEE:
3562 MS. CHANDARIA: Good morning. Madam Chair and Commissioners, I thank you very much for this opportunity to speak before the CRTC. My name is Arti Chandaria. I am a founding member of the South Asian Advisory Committee at the Royal Ontario Museum, and I also serve on the ROM foundation's board of governors. I am a supporter and advocate for arts and culture and have facilitated public and broad community forums like the ROM to showcase community talents. I also serve on the Board of Trustees for Bishop Strachan School, a private girl's school in Toronto.
3563 Since migrating to Canada 15 years ago, my goals have been to fuse the Indian and Western views of art, culture, and education into a view vibrant paradigm; to ensure that the next generation of South Asian Canadians have an opportunity to understand and appreciate their heritage and culture; to support and advise on multiculturalism and diversity. Through my involvement with several Canadian institutions, I have been able to do ground-breaking work to achieve these goals.
3564 I am here today for a very important reason. I believe there is some ground-breaking work that can be undertaken in the Canadian broadcasting system to make it truly inclusive of the community it serves. Each day as we make our decisions, as you, distinguished panel, are doing today, we have to make choices. These choices help us move towards our goals to the bigger picture of a paradigm. My choice to speak with you is my role and responsibility as member of, and as an advocate for the South Asian community which I take very seriously. I believe that what I have to say will be helpful and important to you in the choice you make in this licence hearing. My choice and endorsement is for Hometown Television.
3565 When I heard about Torstar's Hometown Television and its vision and plan from Mr. Galloway what stood out to me was a carefully planned community strategy of local inclusivity, particularly the Community Advisory Forum. It was explained to me that this advisory body will guide the management of Hometown Television in the effective production and presentation of programs truly reflecting the local community. I find this very exciting. This is exactly what we have been waiting for. I have, personally, experienced the positive possibilities of such advisory bodies in enhancing the representation in the community. And where there is a will, there is a way.
3566 Let me give you an example of this in context of the Royal Ontario Museum. In 1995, we had a dream to nurture the South Asian cultures by creating a permanent presence of South Asia at the ROM. The success of this initiative was due to the partnership forged by the Museum and the community. What was just an idea six years later became a reality with these important achievements: the establishment of the Friends of South Asia; more than 60 public programs showcased; more than $3 million fundraised; the establishment of a permanent foundation gallery and an endowment for the curatorship of South Asian civilizations. The announcement for this curator's appointment was released this week, Wednesday. I will be interested to see which media will cover this story and how they will portray it. I pondered this because this partnership at the ROM has now been fully told. You, and many others, would therefore not know that it brought people of all South Asian countries together. The funds that were raised from the community did not come from the wealthy few, it came from a child parting with his $20 allowance, to religious institutions who historically only take money. The community rose to the occasion because of the pride that came upon them to know that their culture and story of its civilization would become available for all Canadians to experience and enjoy.
3567 Hometown Television may be a relatively new player in broadcasting, but they're not new in their rule and commitment to local community. As I said earlier, when I heard the facts, the statistics and Hometown Television's broad programming range, that integrity of the commitment was real to me. I know this rare story of the South Asian's community contribution to the ROM, a major cultural institution in Canada, and the story behind the story would be given full coverage on Hometown Television, be it as a documentary or the non-news programs like My Town, Talk Time or Local Heroes.
3568 Hometown Television plans to bring to the three diverse regions of Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener a new voice and an opportunity to be part of the community through reflection, participation and real job opportunities. I know that Torstar is deeply connected to the community and understands the value of partnership. I strongly believe that Hometown 's commitment to local programming and local content will show a balanced reflection of the larger community.
3569 I know that Hometown Television's proposal for a local station is in the English language which is a shared common denominator within the South Asian communities as well as the larger community. It will bring the cosmopolitan nature of the entire community to light. The English language can and will serve as a bridge among communities for sharing ideas and culture.
3570 For me, the Toronto Star has been a trusted lens of the community. It has provided me with a deeper understanding of the local and larger community in which I live. Because of the Toronto Star, when I was new in this country I became more knowledgeable about the crime wave in the Jane/Finch area, the taste of Danforth and Greek town and the valley in Jagar. I can imagine this cross-cultural exchange transformed into fair, accurate and innovative programs on Hometown Television. I expect to see a broad range of programming.
3571 For my own personal interest, I expect I would see the story of 10,000 Villages, a co-operative run by the Mennonite group in the Kitchener area and how they work successfully with retailing gifts and crafts from their counterparts in Africa, and countries like India and elsewhere. Also as a survivor of two episodes of cancer, I hope to see a debate about our hospitals and research and initiatives of our doctors. I want to be reassured and aware that the care and services available to me in my home town.
3572 In closing, I am convinced that the key features in Hometown Television's application are realistic and they will deliver on their promises. The type of television programming proposed would keep us not only informed but would make us participants too. Torstar has not only the will but also the respect and support of the community to be successful with Hometown Television. Thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of Hometown Television, in my view the most worthy applicant for this licence. Thank you.
3573 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Chandaria. I gather from your comments that your organization's focus would be on local programming for the community, --
3574 MS. CHANDARIA: That's right.
3575 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- rather than -- presumably there is also room for, or interest in, what we will refer to as foreign programming as well, in the languages coming from the countries of origin of the people you represent.
3576 MS. CHANDARIA: It is a very interesting point you raise, because while working on this initiative with over 60 programs done, it is to note that none of these talents have been duplicated, there is so much talent within our local community which need a voice, which need showcasing and I think I could count on my fingers what has been, you know, put forward in mainstream television and media. So there is enough scope with the continuously immigrating new population and the local talent and information which is -- so my experience is with the local, and I feel a new voice and new support would be very important.
3577 THE CHAIRPERSON: We thank you very much. Very courageous of you to be here so early in the morning.
3578 MS. CHANDARIA: Thank you.
3579 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, please.
3580 MR. CUSSONS: Madam Chair, we will now hear the intervention by Dr. Joseph Wong.
3581 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Dr. Wong.
INTERVENTION BY DR. JOSEPH WONG/
INTERVENTION PAR DR. JOSEPH WONG:
3582 MR. WONG: Good morning. Thank you Madam Chair, Commissioners, good morning. I am grateful for the privilege to speak before the CRTC today on a matter which I consider to be of utmost importance to every Canadian citizen: that is, appropriate use and access of our public air waves in a democratic, multicultural society.
3583 To put this in context, let me take you back to 1979 to one of my first experiences with the Canadian television industry and the CRTC. You may recall a private television network program which inequitably and wrongfully portrayed Canadian students of Chinese descent as foreigners who took university places away from Canadians. This overt stereotyping and this representation was broadcasting at its worst and it took a peaceful but powerful Chinese-community-led protest, joined by various other ethno-cultural groups, community leaders and unions, and the CRTC's intervention to finally wrestle a public apology from that broadcaster.
3584 In one word, to find a bright light in this unnecessarily long battle for retraction and resolution, it was in the birth of the Canadian National Council, a human rights group that I founded shortly after this incident it that continues today, 20 years later, with 29 chapters from coast to coast which promote equality among all Canadians. I have come to learn about the powers of the media from this racism in the media incident, and so my community work with civil liberties, cancer treatment and research, children, old people, food relief in China, North Korean family relief, United Way of Greater Toronto, Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, Harmony Movement and countless other worthy causes.
3585 And I have learned that lack of true local reflectiveness in the media, and, in particular, on our television sets is a form of intolerance. The public airways belong to the people and with the right and privilege of being a broadcaster comes the responsibility to be fair, balanced and inclusive in the execution of one's licence. Commissioners, you are the keeper and teeth and the watch dog of this important tool of democracy. The television industry, I believe, still has a long way to go in being reflective, locally reflective.
3586 I believe Hometown Television is a credible new voice in conventional TV; that it would deliver to the citizens of the three communities that it seeks to serve. Hometown Television will do this with a breadth and level of respect that has so far eluded the television industry. Hometown Television will redefine local from its current narrow lens to one of many multicultural facets and many points of view from these communities representing more than 100 different countries of origin.
3587 Why do I have such faith in Hometown Television, why do I support solely and emphatically Torstar? Simply, Torstar stands for justice; Torstar stands for integrity; yes, Torstar stands for small and liberal ideas and Torstar stands for inclusivity. And most importantly, Torstar walks the talk. They have, in their principles and practice, always delivered on their promises.
3588 For example, in 1994, when several communities rose in arms against intolerant and meanness of spirit against a single ethno-specific group by an elected public servant in the 905 Markham area, Torstar, through its newspaper, provided balanced, thoughtful coverage from both camps' perspectives and community voices. Moreover Torstar further demonstrated a commitment to community and social justice when they provided public service space to run an open letter of all mayors of the GTA affirming all citizens of the local community that diversity is our Canadian strength.
3589 When Elizabeth Liu, a six-year-old girl suffering from aplastic anemia, a rare blood disorder, was desperately searching for a suitable bone marrow donor, Torstar was there; not with a small six lines in a corner column, but weeks and months of in-depth coverage. I do not doubt for a moment that this is the very type of local reflectiveness, community outreach and inclusivity Hometown Television will bring to citizens in the Golden Horseshoe area, in its newscasts, in non-news programming and in special televised and webcast town hall meetings. 118 hours of original local and regional programming, 80 per cent Canadian at all times, even in prime time; that's unprecedented. I guess with Hometown Television I may ultimately get my Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame.
3590 What Torstar has done so successfully in its print division is to be proactively responsive to the changing cosmopolitan of Canada and the true mainstream of this country. I know it can, and will, not only duplicate this inclusive approach, but further enhance it with Hometown Television. Indeed, and in fact, Torstar has delivered on diversity.
3591 Torstar's commitment to the fundamental principles of a civil and democratic society will undoubtedly flourish with Hometown TV. I say this with the fullest confidence. Why? I have reviewed Hometown Television's plan and based on my experience in developing the multiculturalism and integratism policy for the United Way of Greater Toronto, both as Chair of the Board of -- both as Chair of the Board of Trustees and also Chair of the Task Force, I know that Hometown Television's thoughtful, detailed and realistic vision of these local television station is not only in demand but will work.
3592 And if there is any lingering doubts whether or not citizens of Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener feel there is a void in local reflectiveness let me tell share with you the key message I heard as one of seven co-chairs -- national co-chairs in the Canada Yes National Committee for Constitutional Renewal. We travel from coast to coast to communities large and small and the reply to what would stimulate greater unity among all Canadians was: More opportunities to bring people to educate and to create understanding among the various communities and sectors of the society.
3593 Let me take a moment to comment on the later point -- on the latter point. When I co-founded the Harmony Movement I, along with my fellow co-chairs, understood the importance of bringing people together in a barrier-free environment where we celebrate and share our common values, like respect for all, compassion, family and community. So in our annual community picnic, our banquet or special initiative was the [inaudible] award-winning photographic exhibits of harmony and diversity. No matter who dropped in, they felt they belonged.
3594 I believe Hometown Television will create that very same open and embracing culture on the airwaves. I believe Hometown will be common meeting place for all of us. No matter your age, gender, ethnicity, faith, partner preferences or preferred language, I believe you will feel like you belong on Hometown TV. You will see yourself reflected in others like you on Hometown TV and you will feel at home.
3595 Let me close with a final observation about September 11, 2001. The events have thrown us into a sea of a million emotions, unprecedented and incomprehensible for the majority of us living in Canada. And now as the initial feelings of shock begin to settle into solemn acceptance we are left with a cutting sense of unresolve. In times of crisis like this, it is a reminder to all of us that every culture, ethnic group, faith, nationality and aboriginal peoples can co-exist in the mosaic of peace, tolerance and mutual understanding.
3596 These states cannot develop in isolation, nor is it only for a point in time, a moment in history that our efforts must occur. It takes constant work, cultivation and continuity. It will take a broadcaster who is deeply routed in the community, a broadcaster who will invest in the local community, a broadcaster who is committed to hearing all voices in a community and giving voice to those communities, and that the broadcaster is Hometown TV.
3597 And equally important it would take a strong and dedicated leader with impeccable integrity and business acumen, a leader who is deeply rooted in community and truly cares about access and opportunity for all. Hometown Television has that leader in Bob Prichard. I say this from a declared bias, as someone who has proudly worked alongside Bob Prichard as a Commissioner on the GTA task force. We have developed a very close and intense relationship of working together, visioning the future for the GTA. He is a person with integrity, a deep sense of responsibility towards civility and someone with a true understanding of the various communities making up Southern Ontario. I have the utmost trust and confidence in Rob Prichard who will do the job well. Thank you very much for your patience.
3598 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Dr. Wong. We certainly appreciate you battling the Toronto traffic to come to Hamilton to visit with us. We appreciate your participation.
3599 MR. WONG: It is a smooth ride. Hopefully this is a smooth ride for me too.
3600 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was expecting you to be taking the pulse of Torontonians at the back; according to what I saw on TV, that the traffic was difficult this morning. But you must know that; you had to get here.
3601 MR. WONG: We started early. The early bird catches the worm.
3602 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is assuming you can get up. Thank you very much for your participation. We appreciate your visit with us.
3603 MR. WONG: Thank you. No more questions?
3604 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't believe so, no. Your position is very clear. I as I explained earlier this morning we are trying to hear as many people as possible. So when your position is clear, we don't have any questions. It has no -- there is no indication of a lack of interest.
3605 MR. WONG: Thank you very much.
3606 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you also realize that your presentation is on the transcript. Thank you. Mr. Secretary, please.
3607 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you Madam Chair we will continue with a few more intervenors supporting the Torstar application. I would now like it call on the Catholic Family Counseling Centre, Ms. Cathy Brothers, please.
3608 Madam Chair I have just been advised that two intervenors listed on our agenda, the Catholic Family Counseling Centre and Mr. Michael Collins, Niagara Regional Councilor will no longer be appearing at the hearing. I have also just been advised that Mr. Vincent Carlin from Ryerson University will also not be joining us today. So therefore, I would like to call upon Mr. Peter Rehak to come forward and present his intervention, please.
3609 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Rehak.
INTERVENTION BY PETER REHAK/INTERVENTION PAR PETER REHAK:
3610 MR. REHAK: Good morning. Good morning, Madam Chair, members of the Commission. I would like to thank you for this opportunity to support the application of Hometown Television. My name is Peter Rehak. I am a journalist. I have been involved with television production as a producer and an executive for several decades. I also work as a communications consultant and I teach television journalism at the University of Western Ontario.
3611 More than a year ago I took an assignment as Communications Consultant with the Walkerton inquiry, the inquiry that is looking into the Walkerton water tragedy. That assignment brought me in contact with television outlets through Ontario and given me a close-up view of local coverage, mainly news coverage, across the province. That experience has demonstrated to me a need for more and better local coverage and I believe the Hometown application goes a long way to addressing that need.
3612 One aspect of my assignment with the inquiry was to ensure coverage on that the province's television outlets. First of all, that involved the hearings in Walkerton and additionally public hearings in Toronto and a series of nine town hall meetings across the province. Overall I cannot complain about the lack of coverage, but I can safely say that not all needs of the public were met, at lease not on television. I discovered the world of cable. And I can report that, on the whole, the cable community did an excellent job.
3613 Sautel Cable, a company based in Hanover agreed to provide gavel-to-gavel coverage and a pool was established to service the major networks. Sautel also broadcast the proceedings live to the local community and replayed it in the evening. It was easily the largest audience in the history of that little company. Unfortunately, people in areas where cable is not available could not have received the live program, and that included most of the agricultural community around Walkerton to whom this was a crucial issue. Those on satellite service were able to follow the inquiry on CPAC which broadcast the proceedings on a delay, and I believe an over-the-air station in Kitchener, dedicated to local programming such as Torstar is proposing, would have solved that problem. Local cable outlets also covered all our town hall meetings, in most cases live, and in most locations local newscasts carried brief stories on these events. The hearings ranged from Thunder Bay in the north to Windsor in the south as well as one in Toronto. The town halls were important events in each community. Mayors and other municipal officials such as water managers spoke, as did environmental groups. Again, viewers without cable service were largely out of luck, except for perhaps a headline on the evening news.
3614 It's not that we didn't get coverage; everybody showed up for the big days when the Premier testified and when the water manager testified, but there were many fewer cameras when the panel of experts discussed that the handling of manure, a crucial subject in water management and of great interest to the agricultural community around Walkerton. A number of stations, including the New NX in Wingham, which as you know belongs to the CHUM group was represented daily. I think they did an excellent job, but their coverage consisted almost exclusively of brief reports in the local news. They have to carry their network programming and perhaps not as much time was devoted as there might have been had there been a more locally-oriented station. I should also note we had excellent coverage nationally from the CBC, especially from Newsworld - again, a cable outlet - and from CBC Radio.
3615 However, in my view, there is a definite need for local, conventional stations that would give extended coverage to municipal and provincial affairs and thus raise the level of public debate on these issues. I included Toronto in that observation. Local newscasts provide headline service from city hall and from Queen's Park but there is very little, if any, extended examination of important issues as the musings about privatizing Toronto's water treatment facilities and other public issues such as transportation and taxes. We do see on the air some sparring between reporters and Toronto's mayor, but we do not see a documentary that would examine the benefits of subsidizing public transportation or a policy on affordable housing. I believe the Hometown application would take care of that.
3616 I would not expected a new local station to carry gavel-to-gavel coverage of such events as the inquiry or the proceedings of the legislature, but I would expect such a station to carry longer reports than the present day evening newscasts and provide context and analysis to guide the viewer through the maze of the local issues that effect his or her daily life.
3617 There are several programs in the application that fill that need. Why give the licence to the Toronto Star? Well, Torstar is principally an editorial organization, unlike some of the other applicants, and its news and current affairs programming will draw on that base and observe journalistic ethics and standards, rather than those of the world of entertainment. The organization's dedication to local and provincial news is beyond question. Its obsession with what used to be called a Metro angle is a frequent source of amusement in the journalistic community, and I am willing to bet that the Star's reporter's in Afghanistan have at least one reminder from the editors to remember the Toronto angle. That is, to me, the mindset that's needed for home town coverage and Torstar will do that and has done that over the years.
3618 Torstar also, of course, owns newspapers, the Toronto Star as well as the Record in Kitchener and the Spectator in Hamilton and even the weekly newspaper in Walkerton. They all demonstrate their need -- their dedication to local issues daily. The Record along with the Toronto Star hardly missed a day in the coverage of the Walkerton crisis and the inquiry. I am sure their television stations would pursue local and regional issues with the same vigour.
3619 I also like the fact that Hometown is a brand new start-up operation. This will enable it to take advantage of the latest technology without having to deal with resistance from established organizational structures. Furthermore, Torstar is not a network. It will not abandon local programming to run a network-wide entertainment blockbuster instead of a municipal election, which has happened in the case of some national networks. Local programming has to take on a new importance in the multi-channel environment. It is the one thing that is going to be unique. The main networks have abandoned it, or made it a very low priority. It will be Hometown's reason for existing.
3620 And last, but not least, Hometown Television will be an additional source of jobs for the fledgling journalists who graduate each year from the University of Western Ontario.
3621 Those are my reasons for supporting this application and I encourage the Commission to grant Torstar this licence. Thank you.
3622 THE CHAIRPERSON: I also urge people in the hearing room to turn off their telephones and their beepers; it is very disruptive for people appearing before us and for us. Good morning, Mr. Rehak, it's very nice to see you. Commission Langford reminds me of the fact that you are not only famous for the Walkerton inquiry, but also as a producer. And he may have some questions for you. But -- I don't know to what extent you have followed the hearing or probably read the newspapers and expressed a question mark or concern about the allocation of funds to production and whether they are reasonable in providing a level of comfort that Hometown will have sufficiently high-quality products to attract an audience and be a successful endeavour. I wonder, considering your experience and the fact that you bothered to come here this morning, whether you have any comment on that. Do you know what I'm talking about?
3623 MR. REHAK: Yes, it seems that yesterday's stories were crystallized around a the $10,000 documentary. And I actually inquired of the Torstar people and they assured me that they will respond to it that next Monday, that this was not the correct figure. I think the Toronto Star, Torstar, is a serious organization and it would not be applying for this licence if they were not prepared to put up the required resources. Specifically, on the $10,000 documentary, obviously that is not something that's going to happen. It costs a lot more; it doesn't cost a whole lot more, but it does cost more and possibly they were talking about other non-fiction programming. But there is local programming that can be done that is not in the expensive, $100,000-plus league.
3624 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, of course. We take the figures and we divide them by their the number of hours and try to explore how it will all work in the end. And of course the sound bites that are in the newspaper is whatever the journalist chooses to pick up. I will pass you to Commissioner Langford.
3625 MR. LANGFORD: Well, Hi. Peter and I worked together a long time ago, about the 12th century. It's lovely to see you again.
3626 THE CHAIRPERSON: When documentaries were $5,000.
3627 MR. LANGFORD: And you didn't get 15 minutes of fame you only got 15 seconds. I guess what I would like to ask you about, it's just building on the question of the Chair because the concern we did have really was about what had been budgeted for production costs in this application. They seem terribly low and one of the replies -- the applicants in reply said they were just simply impossible, impossibly low, that did it couldn't be done. And we find ourselves with a huge question. There is no doubt that you could make some sort of a documentary for $10,000, but would it be of a quality that would draw the audience you need, and, therefore, the advertising revenues you need to run an operation like this? This is a huge operation, it's three convention stations they're putting on. But the budgeting for programming seemed very, very low. Do you have any sense of --
3628 MR. REHAK: I think the most important thing is the content. If you give people what they want to watch, they'll watch. If you're talking documentary, that term has come to me -- the $175,000 thing with all the bells and whistles that travel all over the world. There are a lot of events that go on locally that are not seen anywhere that, with new technology, digital cameras, digital editing could be done with production costs are quite low, provided you pick the right topics and people who -- editorially. And as you know I am a non-fiction guy I have no idea about dramas or things like that. I think it's certainly feasible to have local programming on that scale.
3629 The closest thing I know to this, a few years ago I visited a station called New York One News in New York, in Manhattan, which was at that time a small format cable operation and they basically fill the day with 24-hour local news, all of which is interesting and they have a very good audience despite the fact that Manhattan is not heavily cabled. And I would see it evolving in that way. Covering cultural events and covering events of local importance. The CRTC it here today looking at applications involving Hamilton, I don't whether the local CanWest station is here covering it. But I would see them devoting part of the morning program to these hearings, perhaps not the whole morning, and maybe have some comments afterwards. They can have local panels, they can have local discussions.
3630 I found in doing the town halls in the nine cities that there was always cable and basically cable has taken over the this role of local broadcasting. And I think there is enough material out there a people will watch. Will they watch 24 hours a day? Probably not, but events that are covered in the daytime, some of them can be replayed at night. I think someone could come up with a creative local broadcast schedule, and they have some elements of it in the application.
3631 And the other thing I would like to add is they do have newspapers and I think the Commission has sent a signal that they're not happy with using newspapers to -- in the broadcast operations. I personally don't see why not. If you have a newspaper and you can run a TV newscast out of the newsroom, why shouldn't you be allowed to do that? I don't know if that answers your question, but those are my thoughts on it.
3632 MR. LANGFORD: It answers a lot of it. I guess following up on it though, you have to have audiences too and we're talking about something -- there is kind of an unfortunate sort of struggle going on here in a way, that, in theory, this is the application everyone in Canada was interested in broadcasting has been waiting for all their lives. It's 80 per cent Canadian, it isn't more sitcoms from the U.S. paying the shot and a little bit of Canadian during the day. It's sort of something, you know, -- somewhere Pierre Juneau is smiling.
3633 At the same time, it appears to be the kind of wisdom of the day that if you are you're going to make these operations pay for themselves, unfortunately you have to bring in Survivors, whatever, pick an American hit of the day. That's what pays the freight for the other stuff. From your experience, and it's considerable, do you think that this plan can work? That without the drivers of the big American programs they can bring in the viewers and bring in the advertising and make this thing work?
3634 MR. REHAK: Well, I pulled down the spread sheet that you have on your web site about Southern Ontario profit margins and things like that and I think there is room there. Also I think this application is a different business model. We are used to, as you say, bringing in the big American shows in the schedule, have one or two big shows that pays for the rest. I think this model is a little different. They're hoping to open up advertising to people who don't have access to it now. And they're hoping to do it that way.
3635 Will it work? Well until you try it, you don't know. I am personally a free market kind of guy. I would let them put up the antenna and see if it will fly. If it's not going to work, they'll close it down. I think it's worth a try. Far too much now rests on cable; I think cable fees have reached a point where it's hurting, and you people licensed all these wonderful channels, in the last few months, and nobody's watching. Nobody's watching because they have nothing to say.
3636 I think this is specifically targeted to people who are interested in local and municipal issues and I think if you stick to your knitting, you will get an audience. You won't get a large audience but I guess the audience that the advertiser who has no access to TV now will have access. Will it pay? We have to try. It's the only thing that's going to be different in all the 500, famous 500 channels that you're going to see.
3637 You're going to see Hamilton, you're going to see what's happening in Kitchener -- I don't know Hamilton very well. Kitchener-Waterloo is a very interesting area which has a lot of high tech stuff. It's been very, very successful, it is not extensively covered. It is -- CTV has a small operation there, most of the coverage comes out of Toronto. I noticed this driving back and forth to London you get the Toronto weather all the way almost outside London. You get Toronto news, you get traffic conditions on the Don Valley on the Dundas route in London. So I think there is room for this. I am not an economist, but I think it's new business model and they're going low cost, which is why I say they should not be prevented from using the newspaper as a base, as an editorial base, maybe using the newsroom as a -- you know, as a news set and trying that kind of a model.
3638 There are cultural events in all these communities which deserve coverage and if they -- if any of them are getting coverage, they're usually getting it from cable. And actually cable, if you look at Rogers, Rogers now calls itself Rogers television and they have an ambitious schedule which is really taking away what the conventional stations should be doing. They have -- in every town they have a morning talk show which used to be much more frequent on over-the-air stations which have now gone for taking American talk shows instead. So it's new, it's local, they've got -- according to the application, they're going to do 80 per cent local and one assumes that that's what they're going to do. One other thing I like about it they haven't got network programming they can't -- the municipal election happened in Kitchener, but because there was a network 9:00 o'clock special that they had to run, okay. Who was left to cover the election? Cable. So this is where they're going, they're going over the air; they're not gouging the cable subscriber and I think they deserve a chance.
3639 MR. LANGFORD: Thanks very much. Those are all my questions.
3640 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Rehak, you mentioned sticking to your knitting. You probably know enough about what we are about to understand all these words of expectations and commitments and the C word, conditions of licence. Would it be your view that we would be wise to impose such requirements to the extent possible to ensure that if we were to decide that it -- we should give Torstar a chance to do this that, in fact, what ought to occur is that they shut down the antenna rather than something else. Do you have a view about how you make them stick to their knitting once they have the frequencies?
3641 MR. REHAK: Well, I would like to see the Commission get much more aggressive about licence conditions generally. I think it's been a little gun shy. It's kind of a ritual; people come here and apply and make promises and nobody checks. And then if they're deviating from the licence conditions they ask for an amendment. I think you have to have somewhat less patience. A few years ago, a couple of years ago I had my graduate class at Western do a little exercise, go to the new specialty channels, get the conditions of licence and find out what they're doing and you would be surprised what you find. So if you -- I think that if it doesn't work, they'll shut it down because they won't be able to afford it. What your role in that situation should be is not to amend the licence. If they come back a year from now and say well you know, this local stuff doesn't really work and we'd like to run more movies, you say no. Give us back the licence.
3642 THE CHAIRPERSON: As you understand of course Mr. Rehak, that their proposal is to have a number of hours of local programming, a number of regional programming and then Canadian content over and above that. Of course we would probably be wise to be as high as possible because it's an easy -- an easy thing to measure. Local of course is defined as done in-house, so that's not difficult. Once you get to regional and involve the independent production industry, as you well know it's difficult to define regional and therefore, to have a mechanism that would serve as a legal instrument to test whether it's actually being done and that's about 85.5 hours, I believe, of 126 hours of regulated broadcasting. Do you have a view as to how one would have an instrument that would measure whether the 85.5 hours of regional, not produced in-house, could be monitored?
3643 MR. REHAK: Well, you have to analyze the content, I would think. You know, who does it speak to? Does it speak to this region, does it speak this locality? And I wouldn't get too hung up as to where it's made. It would be better probably made locally but that leads to difficulties all on its own. But I would judge it on content, if it services -- say we're in Hamilton here and it services the Niagara Peninsula it's regional; if it's about wine growing in California or some documentary they bought for 50 cents from somewhere else, it does not meet the requirement.
3644 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you ever tried Mr. Rehak to draft such a condition of licence where the point of reference would be whether it speaks to the community?
3645 MR. REHAK: Sorry?
3646 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you ever tried to imagine how one would draft, in writing, a condition of licence that would be enforceable where the aim is to ensure that the programming speaks to the community?
3647 MR. REHAK: Mr. Langford is a lawyer I believe and he has a lot of experience doing this, I am sure. If he needs any help he is welcome to call me. I haven't thought this out, but I think it should be possible and -- possibly you have some kind of evaluation hearing you know, if you -- if you -- I don't know if you have the facilities and the staff to do this, but you should presumably monitor programming from time to time. If you see that something is deviating through what you intended, you call them in. And I understand the Minister went to CTV and asked for an explanation of their recent layoffs and I think it probably had some effect. You could operate in the same way. If the content does not meet what you envisioned, you have a meeting with the licensee and see what you can do.
3648 THE CHAIRPERSON: I am flattered by the power you are prepared to assign to us. But we certainly appreciate your time this morning and it's been helpful, it's always interesting for us to have intervenors who have some experience in related field to add to the record. We thank you for your patience.
3649 MR. REHAK: Thank you very much.
3650 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will hear one more before breaking.
3651 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you Madam Chairperson, I would now call on Elitha Peterson Productions, Ms. Sylvia Sweeney.
3652 THE CHAIRPERSON: Morning Ms. Sweeney.
3653 MS. SWEENEY: Good morning, how are you? My name is Sylvia Sweeney and I have been in broadcasting for around 18 years as an independent producer and also as an on-air host personality. And in the past 10 years AS an independent I have had many occasions to knock on doors of the various networks that you have licensed. I am here to give my support to the Hometown Television application for the following reasons.
3654 First and foremost, in reviewing what's happening this week, I will make a little departure from what I was going address which is the advertising revenues and really address the case of how much it costs to do quality documentary. This past summer, I produced 22 shows for three different networks: eight for Bravo, 13 for the new Woman's Television Sports Network and one for CBC. The budget for CBC Life and Times was $227,000; the budget for WTSN was $10,000 per half hour; the budget for Bravo was 5,000 per half hour.
3655 Now, I hate to produce anything that has my name on it that looks terrible. So can you do a documentary for $10,000? The answer is yes and no. Depending on support get from the broadcaster and that network, you can do a fabulous $10,000 show. This $10,000 series that we did for WTSN was on women in sport from Canada. We did Wendy Cohen-Miller, Caroline Letherin, and Marnie McBean. So it was their flagship show, Benchmarks. We read, independently, our name wasn't mentioned in the article, written by Torstar, but it said that digital viewing is boring except for one series, the Benchmarks series being broadcast on WTSN, we hope the rest of the network looks like this.
3656 So how did that happen for $10,000? How it happened it was collaboration between myself and TSN, to have access to their archives, the support of online and offline editing, the support of that network to see it through to help us with tape stock -- they're run SX, we're SP -- so all of that was at our disposal. They have a tremendous archive and for the Tollar Cranston piece which -- as an independent, the $227,000 was a breath of fresh air because the quality. Yes, you can see the difference, definitely see the difference. We had -- our archival budget was around $24,000, but we paid CBC for the archives and that was factoring into the licence fee that we put in with WTSN when we applied for CTF and Telefilm -- which we did not get Telefilm funding, we got CTF top-up funding. We are using that to factor into our total budget what WTSN was putting in. So the $10,000 in cash was not just $10,000 in cash. It was $10,000 in cash and kind and the kind we would have to pay one way or another so you have to factor that in as part of your budget.
3657 What we did ascertain was that when we are approaching the stations over the years, the amount that they say they're going to give and amount they're giving are really two different amounts. And independent producers will rarely get up and speak to you as Commissioners because it's very tough to go back and knock on the doors of broadcasters and expect them to listen to you. So I am here at my own peril. Going to any broadcaster after this one -- hopefully the proof will be in the pudding and perhaps they'll raise the bar on what they're telling and what they're doing. The $5,000 per half hour from Bravo, that money came after the fact. I produced the series, I got $5,000 and it was -- actually $5,000 for eight episodes. $40,000 over four months, after. So the payments were spread out $10,000 per month after I produced it.
3658 So we're carrying the costs, very often, for broadcasters and no one has been taken to task for it. When an applicant comes before you and says I am going to put in $10,000, there are few questions that must be raised: one, how many episodes are you giving that producer? Because if you're saying a one-off documentary for $10,000, impossible. For quality control. You can put anything on the air and put it call it a documentary. I am sorry I didn't bring one of the documentaries for you to look at, but if you like I will make them available to you and send them to you. $10,000 for one off is impossible, quality driven. Thirteen episodes, at the $130,000 per half hour, now you are amortizing costs you can hire an editor over three months instead of higher one editor and paying them for one off. Your overhead, et cetera and is amortized, and it becomes that $20 to $25,000 which is the amount that you need for a quality half hour. It's around
$20 to $30,000 for a half hour.
3659 So I have addressed that, just segued from -- the point that I wanted to make was really that we were actually - we put in for an application about seven years ago, a group of us and it was at time the CRTC wanted more diversity in ownership, it was back in '94, in Canadian broadcasting. And what in fact had a happened while there are more stations the concentration of ownership has barely changed. The impact on the independent producer has been the relatively devastating, because we are carrying debt loads. Royal Bank can give you chapter and verse on what is going on in the independent sector. The promise of greater licence fees for independent programs is mythical. Broadcasters can not afford to pay for programs with diminishing ad revenues but at the same time must adhere to the promises of performance to support independent production.
3660 The OFTTC, Ontario Film and Television Tax Credit and CAVCO were supposed to give independent producers a method to offset costs and were encouraging independents to stay in business. Those very tax credits by broadcasters and funding agencies to ensure completion of programming budgets. So many of our talented independent producers cannot afford their so-called independence.
3661 We are often called upon to appear before the Commission to support new applications and I for one rarely do. I decided to make this exception for two reasons. One I believe that we have opened Pandora's box; we have licensed a multitude of stations that are now the cause of fragmentation in the market. We can not turn back the clock and recoup ad revenues, but what we can do is ensure that those stations that are licensed have access to cross-promotional opportunities. This is one important reason to support Torstar because what he we say cross-promotional to most broadcasters this means across their existing stations. To an advertiser, those - this does not necessarily reach their target market -- and I am been well versed at revenues because we're being asked to sell ad time for television, to make up our own budgets. So I believe that due to the fact that Torstar comes from the publishing industry its definition of cross-promotion will be far more significant and viable and valuable to advertisers. And if we're talking free enterprise and fair competition we have to look at who are the strongest partners we're going to let into the industry with the sustainability of these stations.
3662 It already has a substantial advertising base of clients and these existing advertisers can receive the new added value of cross promoting from print to television. So the benefits to advertisers are obvious.
3663 Less obvious is the benefit to independent producers, but it is becoming more and more evident as broadcasters are finding innovative ways not to pay for programming and still to say that they are supporting this sector. What is happening is producers are now being given air time instead of cash to make up the shortfall for programming. If the independent wants to work, they now have to become savvy in broadcast sales or not get the work at all. They only hope an independent has is to support a station that has its house in order and can sell its own air time. I believe that Torstar has demonstrated that it can.
3664 The second and final reason that I am supporting this application is because regional programming is of utmost importance. There is only one station worth noting that is dedicated to regional programming and that is the CHUM, Citytv. However it is skewed to a youthful demographic and if you are not well-versed in hip hop or colloquialism there is really no place to go on television. Producers from these regions have a lot to say but are not given the opportunity because if it comes from Southern Ontario it had better be of national significance or there are no points given for regional productions in this area, local productions from this area are getting lost in the mix. If it comes from Southern Ontario, it either has to be big or they get points for actually licensing and buying licences from smaller agents.
3665 That might explain why there is a monolithic of programming on television in this area. The rich diversity of this part of the country is still not being reflected in its wonderful entirety because there is still no place for it. As an example, I live on Ward's Island and it's a wonderful community. It's got history, a wealth of history and I have been told over and over again it's of national significance. And we now it brought down the government -- brought the government to its knees at one point -- with some rabble rousers from the 60s, and a wonderful history of artists and politicians. Can't tell the story.
3666 So I recommend that the Commission look at this application very carefully. When they're starting out any application to make any promise, I have to agree with Peter Rehak when he said that watchdogging the promises are more important than anything. Licensing -- I have seen the pony show every year and the promises I have heard. And watchdogging this industry is much harder and as you said, the content. How do you watch the content and how do you actually -- how can the Commission actually tell a programmer that you're content is really terrible? It's very difficult. But what you can do is look at what they promised and speak to the independents who are brave enough to sit before you and see whether or not they're servicing the quality and content that they had promised before you gave them the licence.
3667 I believe Torstar can. It has, in its short history during this application, contacted, I believe, the right people to advise it as to how they feel about this application. And most of them have stood up like June Callwood has done. These are people of substance in our community who have said -- supported the Torstar application. If you have any questions I would be happy to answer them.
3668 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Pennefather.
3669 MS. PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair. Good morning. Thank you for your clarifications on costing and really adds to the mix of our understanding because I am sure you agree with me the word documentary is used to describe quite a variety of programming these days. So I think it's important we understand the theory and the content. I think you have clarified for us to be careful about understanding the value of program once it's on air as opposed to the cash component of the budget. So that, for example, a $10,000 cash component could be part of if you extracted all the in-house costs and other elements it may be $60,000.
3670 MS. SWEENEY: That's right.
3671 MS. PENNEFATHER: We appreciate that. Since you're here, I'm going to talk about your experience as an independent producer. I have your written intervention in front of me and there is one piece of the puzzle you didn't touch on this morning and I think we would be interested in hearing more about. You say quality programming cannot be produced at the expense of independents who cannot refuse the work. Could you expand on that?
3672 MS. SWEENEY: Yes. In order to -- there are many independent producers knocking on the door and there are many producers calling themselves producers who are right out of school knocking on the door and saying I will do it for nothing. Now as a producer who has been around a long time to be offered a budget of $5,000 is slightly insulting. Can I afford to say no? No, I can't because if I tried to approach the broadcaster again, it's a very subjective business. Rejected -- you can be rejected for many reasons and one of the reasons is pure and simply there is only one programmer deciding for one network who gets the yes and who gets the no. It is a business of relationships. It's a business of finance and relationships. So burning bridges by saying no is not usually a good thing. If they can find someone who will do it cheaper, they'll find it.
3673 I remember speaking to Moses many years ago and asking him about licence fees. And he said to me if you are a producer that means you can find the money. We pay out after. Now, that isn't the definition of a licence fee. A licence fee is supposed to be part of your funding structure so you know where you're going. I really would recommend that the Commission speak to the Royal Bank. The Royal Bank is financing and cash flowing 90 percent of the -- of the independent productions out there and Rogers. They're cash flowing things and they go tell you the cadence of the licence fees and if these broadcasters are adhering to the promises of performance because what we have been able to do is cash flow for the broadcasters because had a fairly good relationship the bank. But we are carrying interest rates that aren't factored into the total budget.
3674 Over the year, if you look the carrying -- the tax credits don't come in for is a year or two; some are still waiting after a year for a tax credit. Well the program has been paid for and aired. And the costs have been paid. Who is carrying the cost? The independent producer. So complaining about that when you're going in to pitch a story is -- I have become the thorn in the side of the programmer now.
3675 Let's choose a program that we know is problem free they know $10,000 is all we've got, that is all they've getting, and go away and make it work. Some can make a work. I have been able to work it for 10 years, and everyone wants to know, when are you going to make money? And I have been doing it for the love of it 10 years, I can't continue. I have decided this year the only broadcaster I will work for is CBC. Cannot afford to do any more programming, unless -- even WTSN did a wonderful job this year and the crunch is on, how can we afford to give $10,000 again.
3676 So if that answers your question, it's extremely difficult to buck a system when there are thousands of people ready to do it on Hi-8 camera and ready to do it for nothing. You have to say, I can do it for nothing I guess as well.
3677 MS. PENNEFATHER: Thank you for that reality check and I appreciate that you did say that the watchdog role that you think we should take on, that's one -- one thing to say. The other is how far could or should a regulator go in that regard and you did make the comment we could not turn around and tell programmers what they should be programming. It's a fine line, it's a difficult, challenging position but I understand the start of the point; how you do that is something else. Thanks very much.
3678 MS. SWEENEY: You're welcome.
3679 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. We -- not only broadcasters get free programming, but the Commission is getting lots of free advice this morning. And we really appreciate it. It's always -- to enrich the record as much as possible. Commissioner Wilson has a question.
3680 MS. WILSON: It's not really much of a question. It's nice to see you, but I would love to see one of the episodes of the documentary series for WTSN because I think it would be give us a good idea of what's possible.
3681 MS. SWEENEY: I will send that to you.
3682 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Sweeney appreciate your presence we will now take a 15-minute break.
--- Recess taken at 0958/Suspension à 0958
--- On resuming at 1020/Reprise à 1020
3683 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
3684 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chair. just a quick announcement, earlier this morning I had understood that Ms. Cathy Bothers of the Catholic Family Counseling Centre could not join us at the hearing. However, it would seem that she is now able to join us but on Monday morning, so we would pleased to accommodate Ms. Brothers' intervention on Monday morning and in the meantime I would now like to call on Mr. David Wesley from Redcanoe Productions to present his intervention, please.
3685 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Wesley.
INTERVENTION BY REDCANOE PRODUCTIONS/
INTERVENTION PAR REDCANOE PRODUCTIONS:
3686 MR. WESLEY: How are you? Clearly I am here to support Torstar's Hometown Television bid. This is going to be a bit shorter than I planned. I had chunk of delivery I was going to do in addressing the same sorts of issues that Sylvia addressed in terms of licence fees and the costs of programming, it was so similar to what Sylvia said that I was worried that someone would say we were scripted on the stuff.
3687 THE CHAIRPERSON: To paraphrase Mr. --
3688 MR. WESLEY: I would be happy to discuss those issues.
3689 THE CHAIRPERSON: Feel free paraphrase things, Mr. Wesley, we benefit from being told the same thing twice, three times, four times.
3690 MR. WESLEY: Well, there are many fine proposals here and good people and good ideas behind a lot of them, but as an independent producer who was a TV critic as a journalist and someone who continues to live and work in Hamilton my interest is in the proposals that would actually put a new television station and entity here in Hamilton rather than just another transmitter.
3691 I looked carefully at proposal and I like what I see. As an independent I feel it's the best. I like the hundred jobs per community that it's going to produce. I like the $10.6 million that is earmarked for independent production and I like the $10 million for programming. As a viewer and a community member I also feel it fills a gap that needs to be filled here in Hamilton in terms of community programming. Their news and current affairs show, their entertainment package, the documentaries that they're going to put on, I think it's great.
3692 I won't go over the proposal itself in detail; others have. And besides, the promises especially to the CRTC, as we have been already been told are easy enough to make. As an ex-TV critic I have watched enough television and watched the TV industry enough to know that very few Canadian broadcasters fulfill both the spirit and the letter of their CRTC requirements, and as both a TV critic and as a member of community I am a big supporter of those requirements. Many more have tried to follow the letter and had no interest in the spirit and more still do their best to weave and dodge to avoid both. In case this sounds like a private/public broadcaster split here, it isn't. I think some of the Alliance Atlantis specialty channels, History Channel and others, do a super job of coming through with what they promised they would do and the same goes with some of the CHUM/City entities.
3693 How do we know they will be kept, not only to the letter but with some spirit as well? People will watch community-based TV programming in Hamilton. Last year, then ON TV commissioned my company to do a two hour history of Hamilton for television. In addition to the licence fee, which in the beginning we were going to get, as Sylvia mentioned, after everything was done, we worked out a development deal so we could get a little of that money up front. In addition to the licence fee we financed it though the community. McMaster University, corporations such at Westinghouse, labour unions such as the United Steelworkers local 1005, CUPE, the building trades, the City of Hamilton, the library, the art gallery, the Head of the Lake Historical Society, 701.Com, Wescam, many others made it possible. And along with a large group of community advisers we made a good documentary which aired last March and according to the programmers pulled in 20 times the normal number of viewers for a Canadian program on the channel.
3694 It was so successful that the then programming director asked to consider doing a stream of such programs. We came in with 10 to 14 ideas and working with the station narrowed it down to the three of the best and began working on developing them, again after activating our community and organization board of advisers. It was at this point, just the week before our history program actually aired on the channel, that Global took over and within a couple of months the whole thing was dead. I had to go back to these groups in the community and tell them now Global was in charge they were no longer interested in these community-based shows. We felt that once we had helped them fulfill the letter of their CRTC mandate and given them two hours of good Canadian programming to put in prime time, the station wasn't so keen in continuing in that spirit.
3695 As a journalist I mostly worked for either the Spec or Southam, and Torstar was usually the opposition. But I always respected its commitment to community and the way it followed through on that commitment. There is the very, very old joke about the Toronto Star that the head line would read, "World Comes to an End, Metro reaction, page 3" and that, as funny as it is, it's really an indication of the commitment that the corporation has always to serving its community of Metro Toronto. It's Metro Toronto that the Star served; it never had the pretension to prop itself up as a national paper, but in serving Toronto so well it gained national attention as did its writers and columnists and gained a lot of respect. I worked long enough at the Spec and read it long enough to know that its community commitment and its coverage is solid. And its indicative I think that after joining Torstar, the new editor was a long-time Hamilton resident and someone within the newsroom who was promoted to that position. They didn't come in and clean house and bring people in from Toronto.
3696 So I see no reason why Torstar's television commitment would be any less. I will be honest if none of this was happening, it wouldn't make any difference to me as a producer. I haven't had any advance deal from Torstar, I just met Don Shafer this morning. I may be in a position now to turn down a $10,000 licence fee, though won't know it from my line of credit at my bank. My company has just co-produced a feature children's Midsummer's Night Dream involving Derek Jacobi with a U.K. partner which has opened to rave reviews in the U.K. It's the first Hamilton co-produced feature to open in the U.K. I am developing a movie for the CBC to be shot here in Hamilton and in Greece. We're doing another international production of Shakespeare's King John with a U.K. co-production partner. I am a doing a series, Mystic Women of the Middle Ages for TFO and CLT involving McMaster. And McMaster University is also involved in a three-hour documentary on Bertrand Russell for TVO. So believe me I have lots to do.
3697 But I look at this proposal and I see that it will generate activities, more than the other proposals, for independent producers in this region. And for that reason I am very supportive of it. I have always been determined to maintain a base here in Hamilton and support Hamilton production as much as possible. I think the Torstar proposal would do just that, it would create jobs here, it would give new inexperienced independent producers more opportunities than they now have, and it would fill a real void in community programming that we unfortunately now have here in Hamilton. Frankly, I think it's refreshing to have a new player among the usual faces which regularly appear before the CRTC in terms of a broadcaster. As a Hamilton community member and a viewer, I think the Torstar track record speaks for itself and we'll actually get to see on the screen what it is proposing. And as I said, I had another bit I was going to say about financing and productions, but I think maybe it would be better if we just talked about that as I answer questions.
3698 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr. Wesley. Commissioner Langford?
3699 MR. LANGFORD: If a question will spur it on, I am your man. We -- you have heard some of the things that were said earlier by some your colleagues in the field and I suppose that's what we'd like, I can't speak for anyone else by myself, but I can't hear enough of that. Any more clarification you could bring to that, if you're clarification is simply to say I agree with them, that's fine. But if there is any more clarification bring to the numbers.
3700 MR. WESLEY: Sylvia is right, licence fees are dropping for independent producers and it's harder and harder to put a deal together. Whereas we used to be able to do it with one broadcaster, we now have to go out and get a group of broadcasters involved. She is absolutely right though, that the $10,000 licence fee even in and of itself wouldn't be enough to make a good documentary production, but when you add in the kinds of in kind possibilities that Torstar is offering, when you can go out and raise additional funding it is possible to do a documentary for that kind of licence fee.
3701 Whether I would do it, I have to see what else I had to do, whether I absolutely needed it or not. But in terms of community documentary programming and regional documentary programming, if the service is such as archive -- use of archival materials, on-screen hosts, some of the facilities that Torstar will offer, if that's thrown into the package, then yes, it is doable. Especially I think in terms of, as Sylvia alluded to, though it's still hard for those of us who have been doing this for a while to raise the money, for young producer who are coming out of Mohawk College or some of communications schools who want to start in the business, it's a way for them to do that. If they can take enough of the $10,000 to keep themselves going for a few months, then it's a good way to get started. I think that on a community level it's not at all impossible to do a documentary for that much money as long as those other kinds of things are added in to essentially boost the contribution of Torstar up to a considerably higher lever.
3702 MR. LANGFORD: But a couple of specifics if you don't mind. Recent graduates are a wonderful thing, they are energetic and better educated every year, but they're not experienced yet by definition and we could talk about that horrible conundrum of, experience wanted, I have no experience, but I can't get it without experience. It's tough. Still, we are talking about prime time television here and about going up against some slick stuff with huge, huge budgets and the other half of the equation is you've got to get viewers so you can sell ads, otherwise -
3703 MR. WESLEY: I think the viewers are there and I think the Hamilton history program was a good indication. It was a marvelous experience here in Hamilton. It was, I think, remarkable for the people of Hamilton to see themselves on television, see their own community, their own ancestors being dealt with in terms of television programming. If the kinds programming that we're talking about are there, regional programming, programs that mean something to the people who live and work in this region is on television, people will watch it. It's just that there is such a lack of that kind of programming on I think the mythology is that people that won't come to it. But they came to the Hamilton history program, and I think it's a real good indication that the viewers are there.
3704 MR. LANGFORD: Finally, the question about the issue of archives. Actually I feel badly that I didn't put the question to the applicants when they were here, but maybe you have some experience. What is in these archives that are featured? Are they newspaper archives?
3705 MR. WESLEY: As an independent producer for the Hamilton history film, we used an awful lot of still photographs in terms of telling Hamilton's history. Obviously we started with native history of region and went right through the history of the area and there certainly wasn't film for much of that time period. We had to go archives to find paintings, pictures, photographs, edit all of those in a way that made it interesting for the television viewer, who is used to a lot of action, to keep them engaged. But they cost a lot of money, they cost a lot of money and they make up a big part of the budget of any documentary film, is to go into the archives and find that kind of material.
3706 If, for instance, we were doing a biography of someone from Hamilton I would just -- for no special reason jumps out a liberal cabinet minister who was largely responsible for creating this kind of parks and highway infrastructure that the province now has, we would have to go out and find all the pictures of him, we'd have to spend a lot of money digging through archives from newspapers and television stations and that's the kind of thing that would be invaluable. We actually did buy some things from the Toronto Star archives, pictures that we needed. Having those as part of the production deal, that's real cash to us. I mean it's money that we would otherwise have to spend, as or the other kinds of facilities and services that Torstar would be able to bring to the table as well as the hosts and on-screen personalities Those are things we would otherwise have to pay for. So it's like cash to us.
3707 MR. LANGFORD: Is it unique because I thought we heard from the Alliance applicants in reply that they provide some of that sort of support, hosts, and editing help and perhaps even crews at times and things like that.
3708 MR. WESLEY: It's not unusual for broadcasters to provide facilities as well as licence fees. In the case with CH and ONTV, some of their -- we did our online there. Some of their facilities were thrown in in that case and again that's real cash. It's not unique, it's often the case that broadcasters will provide services as well as licence fee, cash.
3709 MR. LANGFORD: That you very much, those are my questions; there may be others.
3710 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Cram, please.
3711 MS. CRAM: Thank you, Mr. Wesley. The Hamilton program that you produced, what was the cost of the production?
3712 MR. WESLEY: The cost of production was about $300,000.
3713 MS. CRAM: And was there also facilities and other sort of non-cash in addition or was it -
3714 MR. WESLEY: There were, I think in that case if memory serves me correctly, for the two hours we had a $30,000 licence fee per hour and another $15 to $20,000 from ONTV in terms of facilities and the rest we then had to go and make up through the usual channels. We got the licence fee program, we got Telefilm and that helped, but the rest was -- was all community based. We went out into the community and raised the funding to make the program possible, which again was a good experience in terms of it involving the community in the process of making films.
3715 MS. CRAM: And I'm sorry, what was the share, that -- the audience share that resulted?
3716 MR. WESLEY: We were told it was 20 times the normal share that they received for locally produced Canadian program on CH at the time, which you know, given the larger universe of shares might not sound all that high in total, but certainly for them, for the region it was -- they were so pleased with it that, at the time, as I say they wanted to look at doing a stream of these types of programs. Certainly the programming director, who was -- who then left CH and was not replaced, was very keen on doing that.
3717 MS. CRAM: So was that say a three, four share or do you know?
3718 MR. WESLEY: You know, I honestly don't know. I can certainly find out and let you know or try and find out.
3719 MS. CRAM: Thank you.
3720 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Wesley for your participation. We certainly appreciate that you bothered to come and visit with us. Mr. Secretary, please.
3721 MR. CUSSONS: Madam Chair the next intervenor is Ms. Sandra Savelli.
3722 THE CHAIRPERSON: Morning.
INTERVENTION BY SANDRA SAVELLI/
INTERVENTION PAR SANDRA SAVELLI:
3723 MS. SAVELLI: Madam Chair, members of the Commission my same is Sandy Savelli and I am a television host and local on-air personality who has a very unique story to tell Which I think will prove why Torstar's proposal for Hometown TV will work and will be successful. This is my home town. I was born here and raised here. I lived in Hamilton for 20 years, I lived in St. Catherines and Grimsby for another 10 years, I have resided in Burlington for 16 years. I work in Toronto and I am very familiar with Kitchener-Waterloo as well, I shop there and have relatives there.
3724 THE CHAIRPERSON: You don't look that old.
3725 MS. SAVELLI: I have a 27-year-old son who is a reporter in Staten Island, New York and a daughter who is 25 who has graduated from Ryerson in radio and television and, unfortunately, couldn't find a job that she really liked so now she's at teacher's college.
3726 THE CHAIRPERSON: When someone raises your age like that you are supposed to say my husband has.
3727 MS. SAVELLI: No, I have. They're mine.
3728 THE CHAIRPERSON: In this day and age, no one dares to question that.
3729 MS. SAVELLI: Exactly. I gave birth to them, really. Anyway, I have come out of the modeling industry in Toronto. I appeared in Sears catalogue, the Bay flyers, Eaton's flyers, done countless commercials. From there I was recruited to be a host on the shopping channel where I was flogging perfume, Foreman grills and hair removal for two years, loved it, had a lot of great experiences with celebrities and non-celebrities. It gave me great experience being an on-air host, thinking on my feet, and it was terrific.
3730 However, after two years of that I was approached producer who knew I was a Hamilton home town girl. Her passion was to bring back a show called Tiny Talent Time. She brought it back in the form of Today's Talent Time. It was a brand new approach. It was more slick, it was a bigger production, there was even a competition element to it. It was also rolled into a charity called the Starlight Foundation which grants wishes to terminally ill children. It was phenomenal success it aired on TV last fall, came to air in September. I was the co-host of that show and I was so honoured to be that.
3731 The show didn't go past 10 weeks of production, due to internal politics and squabbles based on what I believe was the argument over concept, ownership of concept of the show. To this day I am stopped in the streets of Hamilton and people ask me what happened to that show. We had children coming forth submitting videotapes of their talent. They were to submit a videotape and that was the audition process. I had people coming up to me and saying where do we send our tapes and I say, unfortunately that show isn't on anymore but just wait because it's going to come back in one form or another.
3732 When that show ended I was out of a job and I -- I was an unemployed television host. At that time the local channel was turning into CH TV. I created a show specifically targeted to my home town, it was called Shop With Me. Now, I took my expertise of shopping from the shopping channel and my love of my home town and I created a show where in a half hour every Sunday I went around to shop owners in the Hamilton area and focused on their story. Now, they were shop owners who, perhaps, were brand new, innovative shop owners or they had a real rich history in Hamilton.
3733 One, for instance, was fourth generation butcher shop, another a little man on King Street, Curly's hat shop. He makes custom-made hats and he learned to do his craft in Czechoslovakia. Another one is Bob's Sport and Dive on Kenilworth Drive in the east end, no one really still thought he still existed. But he did. He sells scuba equipment and gives lessons at the local Kiwanis pool. Anyway, the reaction from this show was unbelievable. Now to keep -- I created the show, I had no experience in television creation, it was my baby and I took it to them and they said go for it. Within four weeks I had a pilot and within three more weeks after that we were on the air.
3734 The reaction from the community was phenomenal and the reason I'm telling you this is because I believe with Hometown Television, with shows like this, once again, the community comes forward. Torstar is going to create the environment for advertisers to come forward. In this little show that I had we had people interested in advertising because what happened was that we were in their anyway filming their store. We had the real footage the production company I went to could have made quick, inexpensive really slick commercials for that store. Okay, so the production company gets extra business because they have made an extra commercial. The vendor has purchased an inexpensive and really slick commercial. The broadcaster benefits because the shop owner is advertising on the show, and the viewers benefit because they didn't know Bob's scuba shop even existed. It's a win, win, win, win, win situation. People still ask me what happened to Shop With Me. Same story.
3735 In my opinion, and I won't get into any of the nastiness, but in my opinion we didn't get support from our local station. When I personally hand delivered my tape every week, I tagged on a 10 second promo at the end of the tape. They were never aired. When I asked why they weren't aired I was told, Sandy, why should we air your 10 second promo of a local show that nobody watches when we have to use that 10 seconds for the expensive American shows we bought? Is that local support? I have got letters here of some of the businesses that I went to. They were overwhelming with thank-yous. BIA, in Hamilton that is the Business Improvement Association, there are 13 of them in the Hamilton area. The International Village, which is downtown on King Street and suffering a slow death because nobody goes downtown anymore. I went down there and out of 39 focuses and 13 shows I focused on International Village about one-third of the time because I felt they needed it. I got a letter here that is absolutely -- it's just heart wrenching and they are so very thankful. We have a gentleman who turned a church, an 18th century church into a computer centre and now it's called the Light Computer Centre. he was one of my focuses. Great story he has, he is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce. He donated prizes, we had an on air contest.
3736 What I'm saying all this for is there is support in Hamilton from the viewers. There is support for advertisers. When we create the environment which local stores want to advertise on, it -- this is going work. The talent show, to go back to that, you have not seen good TV until you have seen a four-year-old little boy of African Canadian decent dressed in tuxedo singing O Canada a capella, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. What about a five-year-old tap dancer, who claimed she had been taking lessons for eight years?
3737 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sounds like you.
3738 MS. SAVELLI: Or a ten-year-old handsome lad who sits down at a piano stool and when my co-host asked him if he had encountered an increase in girlfriends due to the fact that he's so musically talented his answer was, quite frankly I have enough women in my life. You can't write those kinds of scripts. Let me tell you the ripple effect from the talent show. And this is the absolute truth. The talent show starts airing, it's a phenomenal success within the city because people remember it. Oh, by the way, I was on Tiny Talent Time, I forgot to say this, in 1965 when I was 11 years old I was on Tiny Talent Time. In 1986, my daughter tap danced on Tiny Talent Time. In the year 2000 I became the co-host of the return of Tiny Talent Time.
3739 Now, the ripple effect: one dance teacher told me that because of Today's Talent Time coming back she had to put three more classes into her schedule because there was an increase in interest in dance classes. A local shoe store told me when I was then doing Shop With Me that he was considering putting - at time talent show was on - he was considering having an area in the store specifically for ballet shoes and tap shoes because the demand had increased. That's increased business. Ottawa street, for those of you who are not from this area, if you don't know about Ottawa street, if you are a seamstress, I suggest you head down there because we have got two solid blocks, wall to wall, of fabric stores, decor shops and dressmaker supplies. The lady who owns the local dressmakers shop said she could not believe the increase in business due to the talent show. For boas, sequins, fringes, what have you, for costumes. This is the ripple effect that wonderful local programming -- what happens with good programming.
3740 And I believe Torstar coming forward with Hometown Television is going to prove all this once again. I don't believe we got the support we were promised with the talent show or with Shop With Me. The Shop With Me ripple affect: it's endless. The Chamber of Commerce supported our closed captioning. We were given, to keep production costs down, I went and knocked on doors for contra. I got a Mercedes for two weeks from Garden Motor car to drive my crew around in. The Royal Connaught Howard Johnson hotel put my crew up because they were from Toronto. I live locally, but they put my crew up ten nights, five of them for ten nights in exchange for a thank you at the end of shows. We were fed; there was so much food. Other TV crews with would be green with envy to know the food that came forward. We were treated to Chinese dinners, corned beef sandwiches, you name it from local people who said Sandy, this show is incredible. What do you need from us?
3741 So having said all that, do we have the viewers absolutely we do, they still stop me on the street. They say you're the shopping lady and they don't mean the shopping channel, they're talking about Shop With Me. Or you are the talent show lady, where did that show go? They stop me on the street.
3742 We have the viewers, do we have the advertisers? My opinion, absolutely, because Hometown TV is going to create the environment to have these advertisers. We've got children's shows, local children's shows. I know some of it is going to be non-commercial however, some of it is going to be sponsored by commercials. Torstar will have an advertising sales team that will then go to places like pet stores, music shops, book shops, things that pertain to children not to mention the fast food outlets locally and not to mention the local attractions like Marineland, art galleries, Gage Park. All of those will be the advertisers for these local shows. A local home and décor show? Ottawa Street, the BIA from Ottawa Street will advertise on a show that's local. So we have the viewers and we have the advertiser but we don't have the vehicle to showcase these people.
3743 We have talented kids out there. I want this talent show to come back so badly because we've got kids that are so incredibly talented and they have got nowhere to go. There isn't a talent show. Think about this, if I asked you to put five people in a room, two parents two children, age -- or maybe three kids, age three, 10 and 18 and throw in a couple of grandparents, you've got three generations in one room. Show me a TV show that they're all going agree on? Not sports, probably not a sitcom, cooking show, no, gardening show, no, it's going to be a children's talent show because they all got a kick out of these little kids. By the way, this talent show went from age four to 18. The 18-year-olds, some of them the talent the was so overwhelming that it just made the hair on your neck stand up. A 15-year-old girl sang from Les Miserables, it brought the house down.
3744 MR. CUSSONS: Ms. Savelli, excuse me, my apologies we did ask people to stick to the 10 minute.
3745 MS. SAVELLI: Okay. I am done.
3746 THE CHAIRPERSON: We knew you could count.
3747 MS. SAVELLI: I have said my piece, we do have the viewers and we do the advertisers.
3748 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Ms. Savelli and I hope you realize there is a transcript and we will be counting all those years you spent here and there. See if it computes.
3749 MS. SAVELLI: Okay. Yes, it does.
3750 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation. Mr. Secretary, please.
3751 MR. CUSSONS: Madam Chair, the next intervention will be presented by Brickworks Communications, Mr. Earle.
3752 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Earle.
INTERVENTION BY BRICKWORKS COMMUNICATIONS/
INTERVENTION PAR BRICKWORKS COMMUNICATIONS:
3753 MR. EARLE: Morning. That's a tough act to follow. I am a lot younger. I'm very young. Shall I start right in? Okay. I too am a local. I actually grew up in the peninsula but I have in the Hamilton area pretty much all my life. I went to school elsewhere, but largely have been here, have grown up through the communities and have remained in business, while I traveled a lot, have fundamentally remained in business in the general area of the place. I have been involved in communications for more than 25 years. Public, corporate affairs, most of it. I was involved with some large organizations and operate at the national and international levels in that life. Now I am a small business person running a communications organization and agency that does public affairs and advertising, largely regional agencies, approximately 20 employees. And our marketplace, by and large, is the area running from the Windsor corridor down through Niagara, some Toronto and a bit of Ottawa, but you can see it's coming off the GTA and now working that way.
3754 I am not a television expert, don't claim to be. I am a business person, I am a communications person. I was asked to bring my perspective today and perspective I will bring. I can't go into all the details of the issues; I don't know them and I'm not qualified to comment on that. I am qualified to talk probably about business and I can probably talk about our communities by dint of my time around and my involvement, whether it's been local Chambers or other social organizations and boards and chairs and that sort of thing.
3755 One of the things that I wanted to say very specifically -- and I understand why the CRTC exists and it's a very positive entity, but I still believe very heavily in competition. And I think the survival of organizations depends on the competition. I also believe very strongly in change, the need to change the human condition, the need to change business conditions. Those are drivers that drive us into excellence. Do we make mistakes along the way? Sometimes. But I have been in industries, dating back a number of years because I am a little older, that didn't change and the cost was horrendous.
3756 And we're still seeing some of that and that's -- that change is imperative and it's that competition that forces innovation, looks at things, that actually makes a whole bunch of things, and I will get to them in a second, there is a whole bunch of interesting things from the shareholder perspective. That whole notion of governance in large organizations, and shareholder rights, those kind of things that now you do haven't too many insiders on boards. Now you have shareholders who actually say what they want their organization to do if they're going invest in them, that actually has a say in management strategies, puts the onus on them a lot more than it used to. And we have seen a lot of that; poor performance gets your career shortened considerably.
3757 That's why I don't take the Torstar proposal particularly lightly. I don't believe - I have worked for a lot of large organizations - I do not believe that an organization of that stature with the quality of management they have, shareholder base that they have, would allow a management strategy that would come to the table to be put in place that wasn't well thought out and didn't have a real shot at returning value and returning investment. It just wouldn't happen. Now, one could say, is it a loss leader? I don't believe that. You don't do that anymore. You put parts of businesses together to drive a long-term strategy for the health and value out of your organization. You do that, you have to do that. It's tough enough in doing it, and trying very hard while. Now I know this.
3758 Southern Ontario, and it's probably been said before, but talking about markets in Southern Ontario, I spend a lot of time in them, as well as in the States. Gosh, it -- we're back -- we're going through a soft spot Southern Ontario is really cooking, it's a cooking place, Niagara is a renaissance, my God. The major hotel chains, the global hotel chains have brought big time capital in all of those hotels in Niagara Falls again. That means a global commitment to that destination. That says something to me. The wine industry of course, that's something, I actually just took a senior executive from a very large financial institution through a tour of the peninsula to meet not only politicals, but the business people and that sort of thing, and it was very impressive, and the educational institutions.
3759 Kitchener-Waterloo, I have a small office in KW, another area that is very, very, very significant. Converging, the whole notion of the CTT and the technology triangle and that sort of thing. Those are all places that are in the region that service the region but are also businesses that work in and out of the region, if not on a global basis certainly on a north-south base with the U.S.
3760 And I think that our communities are growing, and growing at the rate they're growing, there is market there. There is market there for regional television. And I think that the cost structure would change and bring people around. Those people can't -- many people can't advertise or don't need to advertise on television now because of the cost in relation to values they get. Television is still a hot medium. If I had my druthers and I could afford it, I would advertise on television, run my business that way. And I think that the cost structures and the quality of the target markets that you can draw from that are a very positive thing.
3761 I have also seen over the last number of years regional stations in this area, God bless them, twist in the wind. And I also think that goes back largely to lack of quality in some ways, some investment dollars gone awry, a lack of focus, certainly lack of competition may be added to that, but they twist in the wind. And it wasn't because loss of focus or loss of businesses. Just -- I just don't believe that. I believe that competition will bring focus to that, bring a real desire to do something about that.
3762 Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Niagara, I believe they are rich in history, quite different, rich in cultural fabric and a cultural fabric that's growing. Very competitive areas now, very competitive. I think they all have bright futures and quite frankly, one is looking at the economies of those areas now not as separate, they are growing together more. They're looking at area as the T at end of the GTA and that T is a fairly substantial place. I would expect that -- we talk about too many people in the Southern Ontario in the next short while, I expect 20, 25 per cent in that triangle from Niagara through to the end of the KW/London area.
3763 I think that also the television situation, has been mentioned before so I won't linger, also develops talent on a number of levels. And I know there are questions about the top quality, but you do need farm systems and you will a combination of things that focuses on community interest. The last presenter was quite adamant about that and I believe all that, I think that that happened. I also think you need things like theatre groups do, where you do have a place for people to work at a junior level. So you have a cost structure that's different but you have a progressive environment and you have interests with people in the area, whether it's news gathering, whether it's filmmakers, producers, editors, people will participate and I believe that very strongly, that the quality will be there.
3764 Quickly slip through this thing, I certainly, while I'm in the communications business I don't buy a lot of TV because I know that we could line up more folks to participate through the television medium, I know we can. I know the client base, I know the potential clients that are out there, that are attached to certain types of shows that sort of thing. There is a need, there would be a use. Print, still, while a wonderful thing, print still kind of -- you think paper, you think flat. The interactive side of life is still kind of a good passive thing. Television is still the hottest medium when you get good at it, its still a [inaudible]. And any business's ability is governed by a need to market quality product and market quality product in a positive way. Whether it's a television station --
3765 Torstar can't have a station -- stations that don't work well, it reflects on their reputation. That detracts from the entire organizational value. You can't operate a business that way. You have to have that kind of quality match up or your corporation starts to go strange and you won't like it from a value base. I guess in -- so that means they're going to make investments, they're going to return and have value that way.
3766 I think that change, as I said earlier on, is a human condition that needs to be nurtured, it's healthy, it allows us to innovate, to take risks, to improve, and I think we need to enhance the competition across the board that way. Thank you very much.
3767 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Earle. You were describe -- or describe yourself, your company rather, as a communications and advertising company. Do you actually place advertising in other than the television medium for clients?
3768 MR. EARLE: Sure, yes, I do.
3769 THE CHAIRPERSON: But you don't on TV at the moment?
3770 MR. EARLE: No, we have done, but it's a not a big player with us and that's because of, you know, on the regional basis and that cost structure for certain kinds of clients. Now another reason too is certain kinds of clients where we do more business-to-business types of things where there isn't that kind of need across the client base.
3771 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I suspect that the large part of your presentation at the beginning would be what you describe as a -- the development of mini economies. When you talked about the Niagara region and so on is what you describe as mini-development, the mini-economies in your written intervention?
3772 MR. EARLE: Yes.
3773 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, we appreciate your presence and your contribution.
3774 MR. EARLE: Thank you.
3775 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
3776 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you Madam Chair we now move to some intervenors who are supporting the Alliance Atlantis application. The first one is Cineflix Productions Incorporated, Mr. David York.
3777 THE CHAIRPERSON: Morning, Mr. York.
INTERVENTION BY CINEFLIX PRODUCTIONS INC./
INTERVENTION PAR CINEFLIX PRODUCTIONS INC.
3778 MR. YORK: Good morning. Madam Chairman, and Members of the Commission, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to make an intervention in support of Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting's application for a local television licence in Toronto. I am an Executive Producer and Vice President at Cineflix Productions. We are a leading producer of non-fiction programming with offices in Montreal and Toronto, where I work.
3779 Cineflix produces about 40 hours of programming a year for Canadian broadcasters including LIFE Network, TV Ontario, CBC, Discovery Channel, WTN, Canal D and Radio Canada. Through our affiliated distribution company, we sell our programming around the world to broadcasters in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan and other markets. Over the last three years, I have executive produced two continuing documentary series for the applicant, through its channel the LIFE Network. I believe some of my direct experiences in working with Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting, both on a programming and business level, are relevant to this proceeding and I am pleased to have the opportunity to share them here with you today.
3780 When producing programming for the LIFE Network, we do so in the context of a programming mandate that is written and attached to our licence agreement. As well, central to our day-to-day dealings with the network's production executives to whom we report. One of the key criterion in this production mandate is diversity. A specific example: we produce a documentary series in Toronto for LIFE Network called Birth Stories. From day one, our production mandate was explicit, in that the series would feature a diverse cast of characters, from as wide a selection as possible of races, creeds, colours and socio-economic backgrounds. As a result, characters in the series so far have been white, black Asian, gay, Christian, Buddhist, a stock broker, an ex-stripper, just to name a few.
3781 Beyond that, this season our mandate was extended to represent a mix of suburban, inner city, rural, and small town characters. In this way the series mirrors the range and diversity of the city where we work. Given that a further criteria of the series is that we must show every character giving birth on screen, this has frankly presented us with major challenges including several long, late-night drives out into the countryside trying to get to an impending birth on time. However this trouble has been worth it, both on screen and in that our British and U.S. broadcasters also make the same demands of us with respect to on-screen diversity.
3782 This mandate clearly extends to other LIFE Network programming. A look at their Real Life Stories slot which runs weekdays from 8:00 to 10:00 p.m. would show the same qualities across the programming block.
3783 Now, turning to the business side, we finance our programs with Canadian licences on cable, second window terrestrial licences, tax incentives and foreign presales. Especially in these economic times we need to maximize revenues from each of these sources in order to finance our shows. Specific to the context of this hearing, independent producer like ourselves must capture revenue from each of the distribution platforms and the Canadian television system: cable, specialty, digital and terrestrial.
3784 In the past we regularly sold first window rights and programs to the cable network, then sold the second run to public broadcasting networks such as CBC, TVO and Knowledge Network. As budgets and shelf space have shrunk at the public broadcasters, the number and value of these sales has decreased. It is therefore critical that we have an alternative terrestrial distribution outlet for our programs. The commitments made by Alliance Atlantis in this application of 42 percent of gross revenues earmarked towards Canadian programming, with 75 per cent of priority programming commissioned from independent producers, would make this service an invaluable source of finance for our kind of programs.
3785 Speaking for ourselves, I see no problem in these first and second window licences being sold to services that are owned by the same company. For us, the cost of development and series startup are more onerous in the first year of series. Our company's financial health depends on renewals of series for subsequent seasons. Since such renewals are based primarily on ratings, it is to our advantage to broadcast groups coordinate marketing and coordination of our series over two networks. This maximizes ratings, maximizes returns, and better positions our series for renewals.
3786 I see no particular danger in Alliance Atlantis using it to market strength to cut its licence fees in distributing programs over these multiple platforms. Over the last few years we have had second window offers on programs that Alliance Atlantis has chosen to match, and some it has not chosen to match and this has been our choice made on a business level.
3787 My final comment on this proceeding is that is on the subject of personnel. Again, speaking for ourselves, the biggest single factor limiting our company's growth is the small size of the talent pool of available senior creative talent. This year, for the first time we have had to import talent from outside of Canada just to meet our production commitments. Not too long ago when there were only three or four outlets for programming, this was not the case, but now the talent pool has spread out over dozens of outlets and major production companies.
3788 One of the impressive things about Alliance Atlantis Broadcasting is its concentration of top talent, in-house, in documentary, news and current affairs, entertainment and drama. In my view, this concentration of talent is unique in the private sector and gives me confidence that this service, if licensed will be well positioned to survive and prosper. I cannot underestimate the value of this resource, or overestimate the challenges faced by any applicant who does not have a similar talent base already.
3789 I would like to deviate from my written text now for a moment and address some comments to the $10,000 documentary that you have heard discussed already. And again, I will echo the question of ratings. As said before, we depend on our survival for ratings because that's what renews our series and I know how competitive this marketplace is because I look at them every week and I know that on weeks when our ratings on our series that don't hold, that's a jeopardy week and especially when we get up into episode six or eight of a series, that's when broadcasters started making decisions as to whether to renew or not.
3790 Now ratings depend on many things, but one of the central things they depend on is production value and from my stand point, the idea of a $10,000 documentary dooms that documentary to not competing in this marketplace for ratings. Our series Birth Stories we produce it for about $160, $170,000 per hour and our shows range from $160 to $200,000 per hour and we don't make -- we're -- none of us getting hugely rich off this, but that's what it costs to make this kind of show.
3791 Some things we have heard as offsetting that are archives. Well, I have also made history programming and the idea of free or, you know, provided stills archives is great, but for history programming, you really need moving picture archives. History shows that depend for their story telling on just stills, they just won't compete in the marketplace for ratings. And moving picture archives, that costs around $2,500 Canadian per minute. So this is a very, very expensive business.
3792 Further, on the question of services, every time I hear the idea of a broadcaster providing services to us as an independent as part of a deal I just cringe. Because we're a production company and we make our money from production and after-sales, but we also make our money from making an investment in equipment and using revenue from the rental of that equipment in the production to us at that cost. And the idea of a big services package being part of the deal, that really -- that would probably take out 25, 30 per cent of our revenue per year.
3793 So what this comes down to, to me, is a philosophical question as to what kind of service the Commission actually wants to licence. I feel for some of the other independent producers who sat in this chair already today because I have also come up from the school of making shows for you know, not quite $10,000 per half hour, but $20, and it's very, very tough row to hoe. The first producer who is up here making for $10,000 a half hour, at the end of her presentation she said she was getting out of the business and not doing it anymore. $10,000 half-hour documentaries serve no useful purpose for the independent production sector in my view.
3794 In terms of the kind of -- in terms of kind of shows that are going to be on the services, you need to decide what kind of service again you are trying to licence because a service built around cooking shows, talent shows, shopping shows, that kind of programming is already available on community access cable and it's pretty well served on community access cable. And in my view, when you're looking at licensing a television service for the biggest city in the country, the sixth biggest media market in North America, in my view, you should be setting the hurdle rather higher than that. That concludes my comments, thank you.
3795 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Commissioner Cram, please.
3796 MS. CRAM: Thank you, Mr. York actually, you have explain yourself very, very well, I really had sort of a not -- well, in my mind not frivolous but a question, a personal question. Has Dogs with Jobs been extended for another season?
3797 MR. YORK: It has.
3798 MS. CRAM: Very good. Thank you for coming.
3799 MR. YORK: Thank you.
3800 THE CHAIRPERSON: We have dog lovers here. Commissioner Wilson, you have -- has a question.
3801 MS. WILSON: Well I want to know if you would like to audition my dogs for that show.
3802 MR. YORK: If they have a job. If they don't have an interesting job they can't be on television.
3803 MS. WILSON: They have very interesting jobs.
3804 THE CHAIRPERSON: Very interesting being Commissioner Wilson's dog.
3805 MR. YORK: By definition I suppose.
3806 MS. WILSON: To which you would respond of course I'll audition them. With respect to your comments about production values, I know that lots of people say today that people don't watch channels, they watch programming, and wherever the programming is they want to see they will go to that channel. And when you be talk to people they often don't identify channels by Life Network, Bravo, History, they identify it by its cable position. It's on channel 27, you know, they may not know that's Life Network or Newsworld or whatever it is.
3807 You know, I am wondering if people feel really strongly that are not seeing themselves on television and I am I guess the idea I am pursuing is there are different kinds of programming. And what you do is one type of programming that serves one audience that wants to see that kind of stuff that they can feel some connection to it, but if people feel like they're not seeing themselves on television, and someone goes about, you know, really sort of exploring an attachment to a particular community, and they use that as their drawing card, do you think viewers might be more forgiving?
3808 And when I say more forgiving, I mean I want to see like the $10,000 an hour documentary let's say that Ms. Sweeney has done for WTSN, where really that was just a portion. She has done a whole series so she can amortize costs and you have some different kinds of supports that are being brought to that so the actual cost is really more than that. More than the $10,000. But do you think that people might not be more forgiving about the production value if they feel some kind of an emotional connection to what they're watching? You know if they're turning on and if they see the main street of their home town being explored, whether it's a because it was someone who lived there a documentary or biography is being done about that person. I think I would be more forgiving, and that's why I'm asking. Because you know, I worked at a channel that didn't have -- a lot of people say it didn't have high production values but I was fascinated by the subject matter. It was the kind of programming I would watch anyway because I wanted to have that information, I wanted to be exposed to what it was offering.
3809 MR. YORK: I don't have access to market research on this, so I can't --
3810 MS. WILSON: I'm asking for your opinion.
3811 MR. YORK: -- I can't answer a question like this objectively. But my opinion especially in an urban market like Toronto is, where there is a huge amount of choice on the dial already, I think that people watch programming. Back to what you said. And I think that when people want locally focused -- locally focused, locally identified programming, you know, they're going to watch local news but they're going watch is it for that reason. But as far as prime time scheduling goes, I think people watch programming.
3812 And -- and certainly a show like Birth Stories which we shoot a hundred percent in Toronto, probably gets a rating spike in Toronto compared to other cities because we, you know, identify Toronto really strongly in the show -- you know, every hospital is named you know, every neighbourhoods are named that the city is clearly identified. It probably gets a ratings spike in Toronto, but probably not a huge one.
3813 MS. WILSON: When you say Toronto what are you referring to? The City of Toronto proper? Markham?
3814 MR. YORK: We have shot everywhere from Guelph to Ajax. Probably around, probably around half of the characters are metropolitan Toronto and the other half are outside, suburban.
3815 MS. WILSON: I wasn't asking so much for marketing research so much as for your opinion as a producer.
3816 MR. YORK: Like I say, I think the answer to that question might vary depending where you are in the country but I think it is a big competitive media market and I don't think people are going to be as forgiving in Toronto as they are in other places.
3817 MS. WILSON: Thanks.
3818 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. York. Mr. Secretary, please.
3819 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you Madam Chair we will now hear from Reel Time Images incorporated.
3820 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Zuckerbrot good morning.
3821 MR. ZUCKERBROT: Good morning. I hope forgive me I am not accustomed to situations like this and I don't know the protocols.
3822 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is not very much.
3823 MR. ZUCKERBROT: That's appreciated.
3824 THE CHAIRPERSON: If there is, as long as you know I make the rules. So you have 10 minutes and we're all ears.
3825 MR. ZUCKERBROT: I will stick to that ruling.
3826 Well, my comments in some sense only indirectly address the immediate issue at hand. On the plus side I will be less than my 10 minutes. I have no sort of analysis of the industry; I am not the right person to speak about that. I just wanted to take advantage of the situation to talk about my personal experience working with Alliance Atlantis because I think it has some relevance to the matter at hand.
3827 By way of introduction, let me say that I have been a producer/director for about 15 years. My wife and I have a small production company, it's little literally a 'mom and pop' operation, it's run out of our house, it's not a big thing. Like many of my colleagues of a certain age, I began my career making programs for the CBC. I worked mostly, but not exclusively, as a freelance director/writer/producer for the Nature of Things with David Suzuki, and I did that for many years. I mention that because I want you to know that I have strong feelings about -- I didn't see myself as a television producer, I saw myself as a filmmaker and I came out of that tradition. I had and have strong feelings about public broadcasting and I had a great deal of suspicion about private broadcasters. And you can imagine my mindset a few years ago as I made my first forays into the then new world of specialty channels. Then I directed a documentary for the Alliance Atlantis channels and I assumed, I was quite sure, that I would be dealing with a huge soulless company that would be unresponsive to my interests as a filmmaker, to my perspective as a filmmaker. In fact, I didn't think they would understand that kind of language to talk about a filmmaker's perspective. I expected to find people solely concerned with the bottom line. And I was sure that my interests as a new small independent producer and the interests of this huge corporation would be inherently at odds.
3828 Instead of the cynicism I expected, instead of a single focus on acquiring cheap programming, I was really shocked to find people who had a sincere interest and deep commitment to the quality of the work that we were doing. At this point I have worked for -- worked with Alliance Atlantis in a number of capacities. I have worked as a gun for hire for other production companies, directing programs and writing. I have produced and directed programs directly for Alliance Atlantis and I, as an executive producer for my own company, have supplied them with documentaries. In all these variations I have consistently found support for the making of challenging and innovative documentaries. That was astounding to me. I just can't express to you how astound that was.
3829 For example, I directed and wrote a biography of Northrop Frye for History Television. Now if that would have been for public broadcast it's not - it's a reasonable thing, but it is not on the surface an attractive choice of subject. They could have easily asked me to change it for a bio of a hockey player or a TV star rather than an intellectual. They could have demanded a more conventional approach to the material. We took very unusual computer graphics and combined them with performance pieces and welded that all together with traditional documentary technique. That was all very risky. And they were willing to take chance. I remain impressed at their willingness do that that. This year, those same people allowed me to try out a new director, a young director, on one of their flagship shows. It's easy to pay lip service to ideas like helping to develop young, you know, new Canadian talent. It's easy to say; it's a more difficult thing to put your money where your mouth is. It's not something that I expected to necessarily to find in the private sector.
3830 I'd like to touch on this question of money and the making of these shows, but if I may continue for a moment I'm going to come back that. Part of that issue revolves around certain words that people use. People talk about new technologies, digital technologies that make production inexpensive. That's true to some extent. I bet that was the first person to direct and produce a documentary shot on mini digital cameras for a network when those cameras were first available, so I think I have a bit of experience with that, with that issue. The problem really -- I'm sorry, let me come back to that. What I was getting at is that there are all kinds of documentaries to be made, and there is a need for all kinds of venues for those documentaries. I know that some of my fellow filmmakers are dismissive of the kind of filmmaking that appears on Life Network, but Life Network has provided an important venue for new types of cinema verité documentaries and I think I would include things like Birth Stories in there. Certainly I would include, from my personal experience, Circus, a 13-part half-hour series in its first year, 26 half hours this year, where we followed a Canadian circus around small town Ontario documenting the daily lives of people in the circus. That's a kind of variant on verité cinema on a scale that's never been done before -- not just Circus, but this whole new style of broadcasting. Not even in the heyday of the NFB, in the origins of direct cinema, were things on that scale - six hours, 12 hours, 13 hours - produced. In conversation with some of the Canadian pioneer filmmakers who started that movement, all of them recognize the importance of shows like Circus and Birth Stories and the importance of those venues. It's a remarkable thing. It's not something to be dismissed as a cheap way of filling air time. I have been making films for a few years. Many of them were high-end documentaries. In my opinion, few of them were as good filmmaking as what we have done on Circus.
3831 I have spoken -- well, how does it all relate to the issue at hand? From my perspective as a filmmaker, my -- from my experience as an independent producer, and much to my surprise, the growth of Alliance Atlantis has been good for my business. Alliance Atlantis does not seem obsessed with vertically integrating its production and broadcasting; they haven't tried to crush our independent company. Instead, we found mutually beneficial situations that allowed my little company from producing an occasional hour or two to producing 17 hours this season alone, allowing me to give work to other freelancers, technicians, post-production companies and so on. I imagine that the same direction, the same -- the same direction will hold true of any new channel that they develop.
3832 Seems to me as well that in my dealing with at least two of AAC's channels and with their documentary production arm, I have discovered an ethos that I assume imbues their whole company. When discussing possible shows with the people at History Television, they have insisted on the importance of a multicultural vision of history, of an inclusive kind of programming. And they clearly realize that this won't happen unless they intentionally focus on it and make that happen. Again, I assume that that would be the position of this channel in question.
3833 Just in conclusion, I am not the right person to speak about the financing of documentaries, my partner, my wife, knows a lot more about it than I do, but she's busy working. The notion of a $10,000 documentary however, there is a lot of problems around it, there's no doubt. You all understand, you can make a documentary for whatever amount you say, it's a kind of meaningless question whether there's a $10,000 documentary. You know, you can rent a camera for $150, buy a tape for $15, shoot it and call it a documentary. Anything more serious than that becomes problematic. I don't know what a big company pays for insurance. I know that our little company, because we don't do a lot productions, our insurance costs would eat up, I don't know, a tenth of that anyway on one production. So unless you give insurance - I'm not talking about errors and omissions insurance, I'm just talking about insurance. The kind of productions that we do, for example, I produced this year three hours for History Television for the series The Canadians. That's primarily built out of stock shot and stills, archival stuff. Those shows cost around $200,000. It's not quite enough to do them as well as we would like. The financing of those is extremely difficult because there is no -- because they're so Canadian, they're not going to have a lot of sales later on. To make it possible, the broadcaster puts in a licence fee about half of the cost of making that. Now there is a $100,000 licence fee. Those aren't high-end documentaries; they're kind of mid-range, solid stuff, but certainly not something that could be done for 10,000. But really the other point is that they are done with a lot of licence fee money, eh, so that broadcast licence fee triggers RFP, doesn't trigger EIP in this case, but to be eligible you have to be, it has to be a national broadcast. Regional broadcasts aren't eligible as I understand it for LFP. So that whole funding thing that a broadcast licence fee implies in the larger market wouldn't hold true. So if someone was selling for WTN, for example, a $10,000 documentary, if that was a large enough part of their budget, that would trigger other financing that wouldn't be true, I don't think, in a case like this, of a regional broadcast, I mean a non-national broadcast.
3834 So you need some way of ganging those together, of having a national broadcaster to trigger other financing, otherwise you really are talking about $10,000. Furthermore, even if it's a national broadcaster, that way whatever other things came into play, couldn't be deducted from the licence fee. So you can't say: Okay, we're going to give you a licence fee of, you know, $30,000 and $20,000 of it will be in trade, so there's a lot of problems talking about that $10,000 documentary.
3835 Same way when we talk about things like, you know, economies of scale. There is certainly a difference between a one-off, a one-hour documentary and doing a 26 half-hour series, but the economies of scale are quickly realized. They are not infinite, they're very quite specific in fact. They don't drop the $10,000 documentary -- they don't drop an $80,000 documentary to a $50,000 documentary. They drop a little bit around the edges.
3836 Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for this opportunity to address you. I hope that's of some use, it's a rather specific focus.
3837 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are just about to hit by Mr. Cussons over there. I discovered that we do have some, so you stopped right at the 10-minute mark it would appear, or 11 perhaps. We thank you for your participation, Mr. Zuckerbrot. And our greetings to your wife.
3838 MR. ZUCKERBROT: I will pass it along.
3839 THE CHAIRPERSON: I hope she is not upset by the figures you couldn't provide and did.
3840 MR. ZUCKERBROT: She would be able to with more accuracy.
3841 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Mr. Secretary, please.
3842 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chair. Our next intervention will be presented by Breakthrough Films and Television, Mr. Ira Levy.
3843 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Levy. Just polishing on my protocol. Go ahead when you're ready.
INTERVENTION BY BREAKTHROUGH FILMS/
INTERVENTION PAR BREAKTHROUGH FILMS:
3844 MR. LEVY: Good morning, Madam Chair and Commissioners, on behalf of my partner, Peter Williamson and our company, Breakthrough Entertainment, I would like to thank the CRTC for the opportunity to speak in support of Alliance Atlantis's application for Greater Toronto Television, GTTV. I support GTTV, both as an independent producer and because the GTA is my home. I was born in Hamilton and am living and working and raising a family in Toronto. As an independent producer, I know from experience that Alliance Atlantis values its relationship with the independent production community and works with producers to create programs that reflect the diversity of their viewers.
3845 And nowhere is there greater diversity than in the GTA. With a population now totaling over five million people, nearly 40 percent of whom were born outside of Canada, Toronto has become a fascinating and diverse megacity, one the United Nations calls the most multicultural city in the world. AAC Broadcasting hold a mirror up to that diversity with programming that reflects our ethnic, cultural, socioeconomic, sexual orientations and religious differences. Amazingly, given the growth and evolution of Toronto as a world class city and its surrounding area, television currently reflects only one very localized downtown Toronto voice. And while the CHUM media group has done an excellent with CITY TV, I agree with the CFTPA president, Elizabeth MacDonald, when she says if a new station purports to really speak to Toronto and if it adds something really new, really original, really authentic, then it should be licensed. I believe GTTV is such a station.
3846 When Peter and I started producing documentaries 20 years ago, we had a vision similar to what Alliance Atlantis has for GTTV. Our first documentary, called appropriately enough The Breakthrough, serves as an example of the type of programming if believe GTTV can provide. It was a story about people with cerebral palsy without the ability to speak, learning to communicate through a symbol language known as bliss symbols. It was shot in and around my hometown, Hamilton, and the GTA. But it was far from just a local story. The courage, compassion and humanity of the people profiled in that film encompasses universal dreams and challenges that reflect the desire we all have to communicate with our family, friends and community. The Breakthrough won the award for the best independent production in 1981 and premiered at the United Nations, proving that shows produced in Canada, specifically in the GTA, can reach an audience here and around the world. I believe GTTV, in partnership with independent producers, can be a major catalyst in ensuring such productions continue. This desire to communicate stories both locally and internationally was our aim when we produced our first television series, the popular children's show The Adventures of Dudley the Dragon. The show began with a regional broadcaster, TVO; it was popular with local audiences and it was soon being broadcast across the country and eventually sold to countries around the world, including the U.S., Mexico, the U.K., South Africa and many Asian countries. The success of Dudley jump-started our company. Our business has expanded to include documentary series, feature length movies, television movies, lifestyle series, dramas and children's series. But Breakthrough really owes its continuing growth to the arrival of specialty channels in Canada and, in particular, successful partnerships with AAC Broadcasting.
3847 This is a major reason why I support the GTTV application. Alliance Atlantis has shown its continued support of independent producers through their specialty channels such as Life Network, Showcase, History Television, and more recently Discovery Health. We were there when Life Network first launched, producing 110 episodes of a cooking show entitled What's For Dinner. Five years and 500 shows later, What's For Dinner proved a success both for Breakthrough and AAC Broadcasting, as well as a cult hit among Canadian viewers. By the end of this year, Life Network will have partnered with our company alone on over 300 hours of original Canadian programming. AAC Broadcasting has always shown a strong commitment both to independent producers and viewers to provide programming that entertains, informs and reflects the cultural diversity of their audience. A perfect example of this is a more recent production between Breakthrough and AAC Broadcasting, Little Miracles, a documentary series that tells the stories of patients and staff at the world-renowned Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. The hospital is a virtual microcosm of the GTA, a city within a city, and the many different faces in the series reflect the city's diversity.
3848 Without Life Network Little Miracles would not have happened, and without the support of Alliance Atlantis the series would not be the great success it has become among viewers, the patients and the hospital itself. And while the series is locally based, the content is compelling and universal. Indeed, Little Miracles is now seen in many countries around the world. AAC Broadcasting's commitment to informative and compelling programming with a local flavour does not end there. With the success of Little Miracles, they commissioned a third series now in production. McMaster is a documentary series that follows the stories of medical students from different backgrounds at McMaster University here in Hamilton. McMaster is slated to air on both Discovery Health and Life Network.
3849 Again, it is this type of commitment to diverse local stories with universal appeal that Alliance Atlantis would bring to GTTV. The numbers alone for the proposed GTTV speak to Alliance Atlantis's deep commitment to local independent production companies. They include a firm commitment of at least 75 per cent of priority programming to come from independent companies.
3850 And not only is Alliance Atlantis committed to many hours of independently-produced programming, they're also willing to pay for it. An estimated $19.3-million for independent production during their first license term is a significant commitment that should be recognized and applauded. Also, 41-and-a-half-hours per week of local, new local original programming, including eight hours a week in peak viewing time, 7:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. This is significant because even though GTTV will be a local station, the numbers represent the same levels of commitment as our national broadcasters. AAC Broadcasting is also committed to commissioning a new prime time dramatic series, 26 half-hours of original drama to be commissioned in their first year.
3851 AAC has already shown that locally-based, independently-produced drama can work in Canada. Can work in Canada. And when we produced Paradise Falls for Showcase, it represented a new and affordable way to produce Canadian drama. The show has an Ontario cottage country setting, but it appeals to and is being sold all over the world, including Scandinavia, France and Russia and ranks in Showcase's top 10 shows.
3852 One of the key commitments of GTTV is the promise to show feature dramas or documentaries a minimum of five nights a week in prime time. This is significant because it ensures that not only would Canadian shows be produced, they will actually be seen during prime time television viewing hours. These numbers not only show a commitment to independent Canadian production, but they are also in accordance with the CFPTA's recommendations regarding the latest CRTC applications. As well as a sign of good faith and good business, Alliance Atlantis has committed to negotiating terms of trade with producers through the Producers Association. This will ensure the producers' and creators' copyrights are protected. It also ensures their equity partners, including Canadian taxpayers' dollars, through such funds as the Canadian Television Fund and Telefilm Canada are protected and treated fairly.
3853 Of course I could go on and on spewing numbers all day. But the fact remains quite simple: there is a need in this growing multicultural city and its surrounding area for new and diverse voices to be heard. I believe Alliance Atlantis is the right company to ensure those voices are heard. Alliance Atlantis has the proven track record, experience and desire to successfully program a new and innovative television entity. After all, Alliance Atlantis itself is a local success story, having started in Toronto, having produced many of its projects in and around the GTA and having its worldwide offices in Toronto, Alliance Atlantis has become one of the world's leading entertainment companies. I believe GTTV will been an excellent showcase for Canadian independent production, and will hold a mirror to the cultural diversity of Toronto and area. It will allow local viewers to see, hear, and tell their own stories; moreover, it is an excellent opportunity for Canadians to learn from, entertain and enlighten each other. Thank you, again, for the opportunity to speak here today.
3854 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Levy. Mr. Levy, do you know that at one of our hearings in Hull, Dudley the Dragon appeared?
3855 MR. LEVY: Yes, we had him come up and do a song and dance.
3856 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have a question: Were you inside that costume?
3857 MR. LEVY: No, but I was singing the song.
3858 THE CHAIRPERSON: You were.
3859 MR. LEVY: I won't sing it today, though.
3860 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think it was at a television policy hearing, wasn't it? So we can say we met Dudley the dragon in person, as well as on the screen. We thank you for your ... Yes?
3861 MR. LEVY: Again, if there are any questions, because we do have a fair wealth of experience, I would say, in terms of budgets and things like that. I am certainly open for any of those questions. But I tend to concur with --
3862 THE CHAIRPERSON: Are there any questions you would like to answer even if they were not asked?
3863 MR. LEVY: Yeah. Here's the thing. I think that people who do television have a responsibility to viewers, and viewers, like ourselves, like to see not only themselves but they like to see a certain amount of quality. And I think quality costs a certain amount of money. I think we're very innovative in Canada in terms of producing shows. I think we can do it at a lot less than the American model and have proven that we can, but I think if you get into numbers that are so miniscule you really aren't producing for the audience that really wants to be watching it. People like to watch programming, they like to watch quality programming, they like to see themselves in those programs.
3864 THE CHAIRPERSON: We thank you for your insights, Mr. Levy, and for your participation in our process. Mr. Secretary, please.
3865 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chair. We now have some intervenors that are supporting the Craig application. I am going to shuffle the order slightly to accommodate Mr. John Evans, I understand he has an urgent appointment. So I would invite Mr. Evans to come forward and present his intervention, please.
3866 THE CHAIRPERSON: Morning, Mr. Evans.
INTERVENTION BY JOHN EVANS/
INTERVENTION PAR JOHN EVANS:
3867 MR. EVANS: Thank you, Madam Chair and Commissioners. And thanks for the opportunity to speak for Craig Broadcasting and Toronto 1. I am an actor, have been an actor for about 30 years. I'm 25! And I am --
3868 THE CHAIRPERSON: Lawyers can go to jail to do things like that if you bill more than 24 hours in a day, you're in trouble.
3869 MR. LANGFORD: And also I think you should change your face cream. This brand is not working for you.
3870 MR. EVANS: It's not working. I am also on the national, I'm a national councilor for ACTRA as well as a Toronto councilor, and I want to relate to you an enlightening experience. I am working with Enterprise Toronto, which is a city of Toronto initiative to encourage small business in the Greater Toronto Area. I -- I put forward a mandate that I would put on stage the art of business and part of that would be cross-cultural enterprise. So as part of my research I went to the various minorities in the city to try to understand why it doesn't happen and I observed when watching television that I felt that television does indeed mirror our society in that each culture is ghettoized at this present moment. It's ghettoized the same as our community is. Indeed, it's a mosaic, there are separations that are all too visible. So in trying to be a catalyst to a cross-cultural enterprise, I asked each leader in each business community what it is that stops them from working with other communities. After going through all of the racism and all the rather tainted enlightened comments about exactly what this society is, it all came down to one thing every time and that was understanding. And that was when I realized that the theatre, which is -- and the arts in general, which is a forum for understanding because it always presents protagonists and their points of view and the audience is left to make conclusions.
3871 So I put on stage actors of various ethnic minorities speaking about the stigmatisms that are attached to them in a very amusing way, in a very entertaining way and a very human way. The seating for our little theatrical enterprise was 50; we ended up with 150, 200 people standing, craning their necks, as an Asian person went up in front of them talking about why it is that Asians are such bad drivers. And she was not only riveting but she was entertaining and thrilling and enlightening to aboriginal people, mainstream people and all of our viewers. Of course you know there are over a hundred languages that are spoken in our Toronto area alone. That person did more for multiculturalism as we want it to be than countless hours of the 'something' show, the 'something' show, the 'something' show, of which we don't really want to clue into because it's so ghettoized.
3872 Craig Broadcasting and Toronto 1 assures me they will be open to the notion of cross-cultural exchange, shows where there are true efforts of understanding by means of the theatre and the arts to really get at each other's sense of humanity, sense of humour, sense of perspective and the human flow through this plan. So we talk about local programming, what I would suggest that Toronto 1 and Craig Broadcasting is going to present is not only local programming but global programming. Through the arts, we could bring great international plays and points of view to a small venue and bring a small venue, if it has value, human value, to the world. And the argument about dollars I find very difficult to accept. I have seen sensational pieces of theatre and I come from the theatre so that's my frame of reference. I have seen -- sensational pieces, as you know, come from small, very, very ignoble surroundings and I have seen rather ignoble results come from huge expensive venues. When anybody wants to define what is good for an audience, I immediately send up the red flag because I don't know think anybody really knows, all they know is their own perspective, so to put a dollar value on qualitative programming I find is a futile gesture, although it certainly is it a factor. I don't hear a lot of talk today about quality, about values, exactly what a broadcaster will not only reflect what's out there, but show a direction, a mandate for change that's acceptable to -- to Canadians.
3873 I have also produced theatrical pieces for corporations because I feel like I am able to bridge the gap between art and business, which is a wonderful marriage, though some like to think of it as a prostitution, I think it's a self -- it's a mutually nourishing experience. To quote Northrop Frye, and my colleague will forgive me if I paraphrase incorrectly, the mark of true sophistication is the ability to move from culture to culture without anxiety. And I truly think that Toronto 1 and Craig Broadcasting will bring that mandate so that the lines between our ghettos are not so finely drawn.
3874 So in conclusion, I would like to comment briefly on how one would judge after a year of granting a licence, I don't think there is a measurement Madam Chair, in terms of how you say hey, you're not fulfilling it, but I think a report card that comes out in the papers that says this is what you have said -- even in terms of numbers, this is what you have said you've done and leave the jury to be the public. Just to report the results. They said they were going to have this many viewers, they said they were going to spend this many dollars, they said they were going to have this many hours of certain kind of programming - did they or didn't they? - as opposed to trying to be a censor board and allow the public to be the censor.
3875 That pretty much sums up my comments. But finally, I would like to say Toronto 1: more local programming, more global programming, more human programming, because ultimately we are, heroically, together. Thank you.
3876 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Evans. There is nothing like getting an actor to make an intervention. So you projected well, we get your point.
3877 MR. EVANS: Thank you.
3878 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I believe Mr. Secretary this is it for this morning.
3879 MR. CUSSONS: There is one more person I believe is in the room, perhaps Madam Chair.
3880 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, please, go ahead.
3881 MR. CUSSONS: Artworks (sic) Theatre in Toronto, Mr. Ronald Weihs. Mr. Weihs has been here all morning.
3882 THE CHAIRPERSON: Morning, Mr. Weihs.
3883 MR. WEIHS: Good morning. I don't mind at all being here all morning, it's been a wonderful, very interesting experience and I think a very exciting exercise in democracy.
3884 THE CHAIRPERSON: You could sell a production idea here.
3885 MR. LANGFORD: As long as there are no dogs in it.
3886 MR. WEIHS: Well, unfortunately I don't do productions for television, but for the theatre. And so you would have to appear live.
3887 THE CHAIRPERSON: Obviously.
3888 MR. WEIHS: Madam Chair --
3889 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's kind of brutal when you read the transcript, I must say. We don't have a script like theatre people have that you can memorize, you have to improvise.
3890 MR. WEIHS: Well, I think you're doing very, very well.
INTERVENTION BY ARTWORD THEATRE/
INTERVENTION PAR ARTWORD THEATRE:
3891 Madam Chair, members of the Commission, I am the artistic director of Artword Theatre, Mr. Secretary, a performance facility in downtown Toronto. We have two theatre spaces - just to let you know who we are - one with 150 seats and one with 60 seats and an art gallery. Artword is an anomaly in the Toronto theatre scene in that we are not not-for-profit, but we behave as if we are. For over -- we do indeed. For over nine years, we have been committed to fostering new work by Canadians in Toronto in theatre, music and dance. I am intervening on behalf of Craig Broadcast Systems Inc. because their application addresses something that I have been waiting a long time to hear: a commitment to fostering a link between live performance in Toronto and television. The growth of theatre, music, dance and other forms of live performance in Toronto over the last two or three decades is a truly remarkable phenomenon. I cannot think of any parallel anywhere. Here are a few facts about the Toronto theatre scene, courtesy of the Toronto Theatre Alliance: Toronto is recognized as the third largest theatre centre in the English-speaking world after New York and London. In 1962 there were only two professional live theatres in Toronto, there are now over 200 professional theatre and dance companies, including nonprofit and commercial theatres, there were over 10,000 live performances in Toronto last year. On average there are 75 productions playing each month, appealing to a wide range of tastes and budgets, musicals, dramas, comedy, children's theatre, dinner theatre, French language theatre, native theatre, avant garde theatre and more. Some shows are translated into American sign language. More than seven million people attend theatre in Toronto each year, half of which are visitors to the city. In 1993, UNESCO Toronto as the most culturally diverse city in the world. This is reflected in the hundreds of theatre and dance performances and festivals produced annually which are culturally inclusive. There are over 90 theatre venues in the metro Toronto area, from converted fire halls and factories to beautifully restored vaudeville houses and modern performing arts complexes.
3892 You will forgive me for having just run over that list, but I wanted to actually express the magnitude of the artistic effort that is going on right now in Toronto. This is an enormous Canadian resource. It has been largely disregarded by the Canadian television industry, in my view. There is a great gulf between live performance on one hand and film and television on the other. There is hardly any communication between the two worlds. Television cherry-picks talent in live theatre, but largely ignores the works that are being produced there. The effect on the television side is that untried works are developed at considerable expense, I believe, without being tested before an audience. For theatre and dance, the effect has been isolation and a high-culture ghetto. On December 5th, the Film and Television Action Coalition and Made in U.S.A. Foundation filed complaints with the U.S. Commerce Department (we all know about this) against Canadian incentives for film production. One of the spokespeople, Brent Smith, declared: There is no such thing as Canadian culture.
3893 There is more going on here than simple ignorance. 10,000 live performances in Toronto, 75 productions playing each month, but virtually none of this is reflected in the mass media. Mr. Smith can be pardoned for not knowing that there is a Canadian culture - how would he know? Live theatre, dance and music in is a period of explosive growth. The opportunities for successful commercial exploitation of these cultural resources are manifold. What is required is a symbiotic relationship between television, film and live performance, and that's what I've been looking for in these applications.
3894 The Toronto -- this will not be so easy to establish, because there are currently great differences in outlook, working style and experience between the people working in mass media and those in live performance. The first step in building a symbiosis is to start working together and sharing experience.
3895 The Toronto 1 application proposes some steps in the right direction. Its commitment to building Canadian programming based on the cultural activity happening in Toronto is what I have been waiting to hear. Second City is such an obvious candidate for programming that it amazes me that it hasn't happened already and it is very significant to me that the Toronto 1 application focuses on Toronto's multicultural character. We sometimes talk as if cultural programming and multicultural programming were two different things. In Toronto today there is no distinction. Toronto is not a melting pot, it is a conglomeration of distinct cultures based, not just on ethnicity, but on sexual orientation and group identification. Much of the exciting work being done currently explores what is specific in these cultures. At Artword, we are fascinated by this new energy and we love to have it in our theatre. Generally we have found that works pitched at specific groups have a special electricity and excitement not always found in works directed to a hypothetical general public. And a wide audience discovers what is exciting in what these particular groups have to say to themselves.
3896 To find Canadian culture we have to look where it can be found and see how it is expressing itself. Toronto has a unique role to play as a magnet for cultural talent and energy. There is so much going on right now that could be brought to a larger public, however it will not happen in one step. Building the symbiotic relationship between mass media and live performance will require breaking down barriers and finding new ways of working together. The Toronto 1 application addresses this vision and it is the only one that does so, to my mind. For this reason, it has my enthusiastic support.
3897 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Weihs. Commissioner Langford.
3898 MR. LANGFORD: Thank you for being so patient and I am glad you enjoyed our live theatre. I hope it isn't of the absurd, but I won't even ask in case I don't get the answer I want. What I'm interested in is how far your discussions have gone or your visioning or whatever the current terminology is, with the -- with Craig?
3899 MR. WEIHS: With Craig Broadcasting?
3900 MR. LANDFORD: Yes. In other words, what kind of -- having spoken to them, you mentioned Second City and so did they when they appeared before us, but what sort of things might we see on the television if this goes through?
3901 MR. WEIHS: I haven't spoken to them about this, except to say that on the basis of what they were saying, this is what I am looking for. But I am not a spokesperson for Craig Broadcast. And I am assuming that if they - if they were to undertake this, that I would very much like to get in touch with them and say, 'Here is what I would think needs to be done.'
3902 But I am hoping that you will decide whether they will do what they say in this area. I am saying to you, if this is -- if this is true, if this is what they are going to do, then I think that this is what broadcasting needs in the Greater Toronto region because we have such a unique pool. If we had to invent what we have there, it would be an enormous effort. And it's - they're not being exploited. But no, I haven't had any talks with them about that, about how to do it.
3903 MR. LANGFORD: Thank you very much. Well, it's safe to say in the old war movies, 'We have ways', you know, so we will do what we can. Thank you very much.
3904 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Pennefather.
3905 MS. PENNEFATHER: I just wanted to get a clarification. In your mind, are you talking about bringing a live performance to television or taking the talent of theatre and using it to produce television shows?
3906 MR. WEIHS: I think that if you wanted to demonstrate how this wouldn't work, a very good way of doing it would be to bring a camera in and film something that's going on the stage. And the reason for that is that the energy that, the acting energy that is required on the stage to reach an audience is very different from the exacting energy on television. And that's why stage work on television generally looks very stagey. But I think that it could be adapted very easily to produce very effective television. I don't know; I go back in my own memory to things that I saw as a child on the CBC. I saw John Colicos doing the Brecht play, Galileo. I saw an incredible production of Julius Caesar. There were operas being done, I forget the name of the director, that I still remember to this day, Electra and Othello. And this was excellent television. I don't know if these things still exist? But I believe that at that time what they were doing is bringing cameras in to live performance but adapting it to the needs of television. I don't see why this can't be done today.
3907 MS. PENNEFATHER: Thank you. I was interested because it is a form that is very challenging.
3908 MR. WEIHS: It is indeed.
3909 MS. PENNEFATHER: That's why I asked you what you were envisioning when you were talking about this.
3910 MR. WEIHS: I would like to emphasize I am not only speaking about theatre but also of music and dance. I think there is a lot of opportunity there as well.
3911 MS. PENNEFATHER: Thank you.
3912 THE CHAIRPERSON: You know, Mr. Weihs, the only operas we have had today, is CPAC, taping our hearings and mostly in Hull and playing them during the night, so when I came home bragging that people had recognized me in the stores, my husband reminded me that all this meant was that I now knew most of the insomniacs in town.
3913 MR. WEIHS: Well, I am a CPAC junkie. I watch a lot of CPAC.
3914 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your appearance. Mr. Secretary, this is it for this morning, correct? We will break for lunch and we will be back at 1:30 to try to get all the Torontonians to get back before the rush hour, although coming from Ottawa it's not clear to me when it starts and ends in Toronto. It only lasts 20 minutes at home. Have a good lunch.
--- Recess taken at 1212/Suspension à 1212
--- On resuming at 1338/Reprise à 1338
3915 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome back to our hearing. Mr. Secretary, please.
3916 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you Madam Chair. I would like to invite Mr. Ted Nolan to present his intervention please. Mr. Nolan.
3917 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Nolan.
INTERVENTION BY TED NOLAN/
INTERVENTION PAR TED NOLAN:
3918 MR. NOLAN: Good afternoon. First of all, the gentleman who presented before me was an actor. I'm not an actor. I am a former professional hockey coach.
3919 THE CHAIRPERSON: We like you all.
3920 MR. NOLAN: All right. I am a former professional hockey coach in the National Hockey League, I coached the Buffalo Sabers, and although I pretended to act like a coach at certain times, sometimes I do have a little bit of acting background in me.
3921 The reason I am here is today is to speak for Craig -- not for them, but to be part of their application for Toronto 1. And the reason I got involved with it, I want to tell you a little story or a little bit of background about why I'm here and why I think it's important. I grew up in a small native community outside of the city of Sault Ste. Marie. I managed to play professional sports, I played with Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, I even managed to coach in the National Hockey League. And I won the Jack Adams award in the National Hockey League that represents the best coach in the National Hockey League, two, three years ago. I managed to win the Order of Ontario, a couple of honorary degrees from various universities, and I just received an honorary doctorate from Algoma University, which is going to be presented this coming June. And the reason I tell you that is not to sit down and tell you about myself but, more importantly, why I got involved with what I am doing and why I played professional hockey and the things I tried to accomplish through my sport. And the biggest thing I try to accomplish, I guess, is bring change, bring an awareness to certain groups of people and my people, the First Nation people of Canada, and proving to people that you can achieve certain successes in life if you're given the opportunity.
3922 And about four years ago I was asked by Lisa Meeches, who has a program with Craig Broadcasting, to do a program and it was called The Sharing Circle. And the reason I got involved with it is because it got out to mainstream society, you know, we don't have to tell everybody about sweetgrass ceremonies that we have or the type of dancing we do at our pow-wows, but more importantly, to demonstrate the unique people that we have in our cultures and society; that we do have Olympians, we do have actors and actresses and doctors and lawyers, and just to bring a whole different perspective.
3923 And I think by doing that, changing people's opinion, I really believe that TV and media has a real strong influence on doing that, changing perceptions. Everybody has certain perceptions. When I first went to the United States to play hockey, a number of people down there asked me if I still lived in a teepee and this is 1978. So changing perceptions, and doing that. I think with myself being involved with Craig and particularly with The Sharing Circle, it brings out to the mainstream of society the type of people we really are and we do have a lot to offer. I listened to people speak here earlier today about the dog show and kid's programming, and I think it's really, really important for mainstream society to see that we, as First Nation people, have a lot more to offer besides seeing all this Burnt Church instances that happen on TV, the gas sniffing situations. And what you try to do is make a difference with the young people, I guess, and the kids always see negative things on TV continuously. They're going to believe that some things in life are not possible. And on the flip side of that, if you bring out positive things - and I think with Craig Broadcasting through The Sharing Circle, it does bring awareness out to the mainstream society that we do have a lot more to offer.
3924 With my profession, I had a chance to work with some of the best people in this world of hockey and travel to Europe and work in the professional field.
3925 I will share a story with you: One of the top defencemen in the National Hockey League, his name is Adam Foote. I had the privilege the coaching him in junior hockey in Sault Ste. Marie and, you know, you go through drills and teach certain techniques of hockey and hopefully it had an influence on his hockey development. I brought him up to Waminji, which is a Cree settlement up in James Bay, the northern part of James Bay, and it's cold and the kids don't have access to a lot of things, and I think the population is about 300 people. We held a week-long hockey school and we went through the hockey school, we got the chance to meet with the kids in the community, went out and we fished, we cooked meals in the teepee and we did everything culturally. I received a call from Adam's -- Adam Foot's father about a week after and he thanked me more so for that one week experience that Adam had with the First Nation kids of James Bay, more than for the three years I had of coaching him in Sault Ste. Marie, because it changed his perception of how he viewed native people and how he looked at us and said: Oh, you guys do have some brothers and sisters, you have feelings, you have emotions and all those things that are associated with being human. And they are the good qualities of people in life. But just doing that and bringing people to being more aware of what people are doing.
3926 And I was talking to Drew Craig last night and I mentioned we ordered pizza on the Reserve four years ago. The pizza delivery guy came down, dropped off the pizza. And after he left, my brother shook his head and he says, 'Only for you.' I said, 'What's that mean?' He said, 'They don't deliver pizza on the Reserve 'cause they don't think we're going to pay for it and they leave.' And I looked at him a little bit and I kind of lost track of a little of it, because it is all about perception, that -- and it's not that you don't pay, it's just gaining respect.
3927 And I think through the Toronto 1 bid, with their involvement with diversity, I think it's vital, especially with the big population we have in Toronto here with all the ethnic groups. And we, as a First Nation group, do have a lot to offer to mainstream society and we are much more than just dancers at opening ceremonies and when they tried to get the Toronto bid here for the Olympics, that want a little more participation than just the opening with another song and pow-wow dancing. We do have a rich culture. We have some very exciting people in our communities and to show them to mainstream - not just to our own people - but to demonstrate to the rest of society that we do have. So that's why I got involved with this application because it's going to bring a unique thing that you don't usually see on television.
3928 I was involved with professional coaching and I know the power of media. I know -- I remember getting the first TV when I was about 12 years old, growing up on the Reserve and seeing those Tommy Hunter shows and the Beverly Hillbillies and being involved with... I will close up here. I just want to, I've got one final thing about the power of television. We went to three national championships while coaching the Soo Greyhounds and obviously you have to have technical expertise in the field of sport, but our way to get ready for a game was to watch reruns of Get Smart. And everybody would ask us, 'Well, how do you get ready for technical purposes, how do you prepare your team?' And ours was just to watch Get Smart reruns, and it kind of loosens us up and got us away from what's really important in life sometimes and it just kind of gets you away from problems and TV inspires people
3929 And through The Sharing Circle, I think it's a great -- a great way to demonstrate to people that there is some really unique stories out there, stories that must be told by aboriginal people. So I would like to thank you very much for allowing me to speak. And sometime -- I just speak and I don't write any notes or anything, I just speak from, hopefully from my feelings, from within. I don't know if it's ten minutes or eight minutes or whatever you have to do here. But I just really thank you for allowing me the time to come here. I would like to thank Drew Craig for asking me to be a part of this process because I think it's very important.
3930 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Nolan. And Mr. Nolan, Commissioner Cram has a question for you -- but I want to tell you first that you may have destroyed a myth, if there is still one there, that hockey players are not articulate. Commissioner Cram.
3931 MR. NOLAN: Oh.
3932 MS. CRAM: Thank you, Mr. Nolan. I wanted to get your perception of what the media portrays natives, Canadian natives, as in your view. And I'm -- when I say that, delete from your mind Sharing Circle and APTN.
3933 MR. NOLAN: I am quite glad you asked that question because another thing I forgot to mention is I have been in a national role model program worker for our national office now for about 25 years and we have 633 bands across Canada, and I bet you I've visited almost 450 of them, and you get to talk to kids about what statistics are -- that doesn't matter. You just talk about kids and what they perceive to be and in my situation with hockey. There was a little girl that walked up to me in Winnipeg, Manitoba last summer - and not that you should be aware of my situation in coaching, but I was unable to get a job in professional hockey now for the last four years, even though winning coach of the year in my last job there - and she looked at me and she said, 'I know why you're not working, it's because of the colour of your skin.' And she touched my skin and ... Excuse me for a moment. That's why I do what I do because it's very passionate. And trying to change the image that people have because I guess our young people have a different perception, because that's all they see is negative stories or why things don't work. And I think it's about time that we are viewed as a body to make a difference perception-wise, especially to the young people because they have a view of -- they don't give us a chance. They don't want to hear our stories, 'our' stories being told by 'our' people. So I think that's what's really intriguing myself, whether it's -- whatever television that we're -- what it is or who is involved with it, as long as you give a voice to people that their stories can be told. I think by doing that, you give hope, you give inspiration to people. And I think that's why I do what I do in the off season. I never got involved with professional hockey to say I was the greatest hockey player, which I wasn't, or even to say I was the best coach in the world, but just to prove to people that it doesn't matter where you are from, that you can achieve some successes. I think by demonstrating to people, because our kids, they don't run around outside as much as they used to and they watch that box quite a bit, and the images they see on TV and I must have seen about 200 reruns of the gas-sniffing situation that happened over in Labrador last year and those have lasting impressions on kids. And I think on the flip side of it, if we show positive stories, show inspirational stories, I think that could have a real positive -- positive effect on young people.
3934 MS. CRAM: And have you seen that aside from APTN and Sharing Circle?
3935 MR. NOLAN: To tell you the truth, no. I have seen those negative stories and why certain things are -- you always hear about land claims, you always hear about disputes, you always hear about treaties. We're not talking about treaties, we are not talking about land rights, we talking about inspiration to get people inspired to be the best they can be, whether you are white or native. And I think that's what our kids are coming to. We have a whole different generation now. We have a very young population and I think 50 per cent, 55 per cent of our people are under the age 25/27 years of age. They are not growing up the way we grew up in the past. Now they want to go to university, they want to maybe go into acting careers. We have some young actors, we've got Adam Beach who just starred in a big major motion picture that's going to be aired pretty soon. We have Tina Keeper from North of 60. And those are people that our people look up to. I go to their communities. I only scored five goals in the National Hockey League, I didn't score that much, but they think I'm as good as Wayne Gretzky! So, it's just that hope and that inspiration that you give and I think, not to create the next Wayne Gretzky or the next Adam Beach, it's about just giving hope to people that they could achieve certain successes.
3936 MS. CRAM: Thank you, Mr. Nolan. Thank you for coming and speaking with us.
3937 MR. NOLAN: Thank you very much.
3938 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Nolan for your participation and I hope you score again. You certainly did today.
3939 MR NOLAN: Thank you.
3940 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
3941 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chair. Our next intervention is by Nomadic Pictures.
3942 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
INTERVENTION BY NOMADIC PICTURES/
INTERVENTION PAR NOMADIC PICTURES:
3943 MR. OAKES: Madam chair, Commissioners, I appreciate the opportunity to fly out here late last night to be able to support Craig Broadcasting for their bid to Toronto 1. As a Canadian producer as well as a viewer of their station, my name is Chad Oakes, I am co-chairman of Nomadic Pictures. My partner and I run a small TV and film production company in Calgary. We do about between about $4- and $10-million worth of production a year. We opened our company in 1995 and I remember one of my first meeting seminars in late 1996. I was asked to come to a seminar hosted by Craig Broadcasting on the potential of launching a new TV station in Alberta to be called the A channel.
3944 What was promised in that -- that seminar, or that information meeting, was for Western Canadian producers mind boggling and almost too good to be true. Here was an opportunity for a local Canadian medium-sized broadcaster committing to assist small and medium-sized production companies with trigger licences to enable us production companies to get a film green-lit. As you know, these trigger licences - and I guess this is what I would like to talk about - are very necessary for Canadian production companies, allows us to access the CTF funds, allows us to access the secure portion of our financing, but also in Alberta it triggers the Alberta Producers Grant which is the tax credit, let's say, the provincial tax credit of Alberta. Canadian producers, with the assistance of a Canadian broadcasters' licence, if it's at a minimum qualifying level and goes through the CTF funds, whether it be LFP or EIP, between the provincial tax credits and everything, as you know could go up to 50, 55 per cent of one's budget, whether it be a million, two or five or ten million. That's astounding when we're dealing, and in my business to be able to fund a movie with the rest of the financing to come down through presales in foreign or U.S.
3945 As with most pitches, I treated this meeting with a little bit of, I guess, grain of a salt and I just hoped that through time there would be an opportunity to find out what Craig's intention was. Six months later HL granted a licence fee for a film called Ebenezer, starring Jack Palance, Rick Shroeder, Amy Locane and Albert Schultz. This licence in turn was enough for us to be granted the CTF funds and Ebenezer has gone on to be one of Canada's most watched Christmas specials, not just here in Canada, not just down in the United States through the Turner network systems, but around the world in Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, et cetera. The movie was made for Canadians by Canadians but it was made for people around the world to watch. And I think that - that was in '97 - and that set a mandate for our company, what type of films that we do. I am not in the documentary business and I can't comment on what I have heard this morning with documentaries, so I am speaking solely about feature films and movies of the week. What it did prove is that this system actually works and I thank you for developing a system. I know it's continually being altered and changed but the system in this scenario worked. Since then, A channel has made me a believer, and of course other producers in Western Canada in particular, that the system can work. And it employs producers, writers, directors, actors, crew people, financiers, bankers. It's an example of what Canada can do in the international market. Since then, as a company we have been able to produce films with Craig's assistance, starring people, both Canadians and Americans such as Sean Penn, Robert Downey Jr., Melissa Morano, Patrick Dempsey, Malcolm McDowell, Richard Lewis, Kathy Moriarity, people such as Jack Palance, Rick Schroeder, Albert Schultz, and the Michael Moriartys and our own Jason Priestley. This year alone, Elizabeth Berkley, Constance Manoir - I mean, it's a lot of names to drop on you, but it works and it's an example of people coming together and working as a group to make these films.
3946 The bottom line is someone made a commitment of four-and-a-half years to us and the Canadian production company -- the bottom line is someone made a commitment to the Canadian production community and stuck to it, not only because they have to but also because they want to. "A" Channel has provided licences, not only has provided licenses but industry insight, creative and business knowledge, which I think is important for all of us producers to listen up on the cutting edge of technology. A case in point: We have a film in Western Canada called White Lies starring Erica Eleniak, Monica Schnarr and our very own Jann Arden, that opens in theatres tonight. Just last week we were asked whether or not we could put together kind of a little 15-second trailer together, completely at no cost to us, so they could actually help provide the theatrical support for this at no cost to us. With this offer it gives us awareness and is supporting independent producers where it's hard to find the money do these kind of things.
3947 Nomadic Pictures is just one of many companies in Western Canada that have worked with Craig Broadcasting System in the last four years. Without their assistance I don't think we would be at a certain level to say that we are going to be doing close to $20-million of productions next year from a start-up company with two employees. If the Greater Toronto Area has the opportunity to have Craig broadcasting in the area, I would strongly urge the Commission to consider the application and allow Eastern Canadian producers to have access and advantage of the Craig family, from their past assistance and support.
3948 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you Mr. Oakes. Commissioner Wilson?
3949 MS. WILSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Oakes.
3950 MR. OAKES: Hello.
3951 MS. WILSON: I appreciate your journeying to the east to talk about Craig's - the kinds of commitments the Craigs made and fulfilled with you and things that have helped you grow.
3952 I guess I want to ask you one question, more just to get your perspective on the whole issue of diversity of voices in the broadcasting system. When I was getting ready for this hearing, I was telling someone about who the applicants were and I mentioned that Craig was an Alberta company and they said boy, you know, that would be really cool to have an Alberta company come in to Toronto and really take a look at that city, you know, through a local television station. You know, what a way to get diversity into the system. They might see things that, you know, locals don't see because they see them all the time. What do you think of that idea? I mean, do you think there is anything to it that, you know, the fact that they haven't been based here is going to give them a much fresher perspective on what these communities are really all about? Or is it a disadvantage in terms of bringing diversity to the system - quite apart from ownership, diversity and...
3953 MR. OAKES: Right. I think, I'm a big believer in competition, period, whether you're from wherever. When the Craigs came from Manitoba, we all thought well, coming from Winnipeg they're going to show us Calgary guys what's going on, and they proved it and did a grand job of it. Seeing them grow in my very short five, six-year career as a producer, I can't see why not, why wouldn't they come Toronto and succeed? I think their approach, and just over lunchtime speaking with Joanne and Drew and where their goals are, I mean, it's all about people, it's all about their application submitted to you, surrounding themselves with people that know the market or know the markets in other places, that are going to be able to come here and quite frankly kick butt, let's say. The competition is good. I am not the only person that gets broadcast licences out of the Craigs; there are dozens of producers in Western Canada that do. Do I like that? No, but it makes me a better producer to get bigger names, bigger stars and find better material, and I think that's good. The end result is the consumer who is watching it and I think that's the same as with being a broadcaster.
3954 MS. WILSON: Thanks.
3955 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Oakes for your presentation and your trip. I hope you have a good one back.
3956 MR. OAKES: Thank you.
3957 THE CHAIRPERSON: And give our best to Mr. Priestley.
3958 MS. WILSON: And Jann Arden.
3959 MR. OAKES: I will.
3960 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
3961 MR. CUSSONS: Madam Chairperson, we will now hear the intervention by Solo enterprises.
3962 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms. Stevenson, good afternoon.
INTERVENTION BY SOLO ENTERPRISES/
INTERVENTION PAR SOLO ENTERPRISES:
3963 MS. STEVENSON: Thank you. Good afternoon. Thank you. Thank you for the opportunity to speak today on behalf of Craig Broadcasting and our -- or their application. I will just tell you a little bit about myself and how I found out about the application and why I am supporting it. Please forgive my rough voice, I am trying to recover from that little cough thing that's going around. I live in Toronto; I have lived in Toronto or the GTA area since 1980. I come originally from the suburbs of Montreal. I live currently at Toronto's waterfront at Bathurst Quay, which has gone from an almost non-existent community to the centre of the Toronto universe with all the development that is going on there. We're involved in a lot of community issues down there. I live in an artist co-op called Arcadia. We are the first artist co-op in Canada, not only are we completely artist-run, we were voted within the top four of best run co-ops in Canada. And we are 110 units and we consist of artists, and you have to be an artist to live in the building. I originally came in as a theatre student from Ryerson when I applied, and I have since gone through studying music industry management and theatre tech and working as a ticket agent. And I was trying to find my niche in life and about three years ago I realized I wanted to work in movies and TV. I got involved with the liaison of independent filmmakers of Toronto, I studied script continuity and I volunteered, and I volunteered, and I volunteered and I learned about the film industry from being involved in it. This year I became a member in community status with Nabet 700 CEP and IFC 873 as a script continuity supervisor. On September 11th, when the attack on the U.S. happened, that affected not just myself but so many people, but I have not worked since the 12th in the union because the industry is so driven by the American productions that when that incident occurred it affected all of us in most profound ways and I realize that now would be a good opportunity for me to take advantage of the slowdowns in the work that is happening here, not only due to that incident, but due to work discussions with the unions down in the States, because we're so driven here by what happens in the U.S. that everything that happens down there affects us up here and in such a profound way. So I took the opportunity to take the skills that I had acquired through my script work, from my continuity work and try to apply them to producing. I did a lot of praying this year and I asked God for direction on what I should be doing and he told me to get back involved with the dance, with community arts, with getting involved with things that were going to be inclusive as opposed to exclusive, trying to find ways of bringing the communities together as opposed to separating us. And I contacted a dear friend of mine who I hadn't spoken to in years, named Niko Sobrera, who is a performer who comes from Venezuela and who is involved in the underground, if I can call it that, dance movement in the city. There is so much underground arts going on in this city of Toronto that people are just not aware of because they don't get access to it. And I contacted him about creating some small dance pieces that we could get (inaudible) for and next thing I know I got introduced to an arts organization called Open City and I am now currently shooting a documentary on that, which we actually started shooting two days ago. So I can officially say I am a producer now, as of two days ago.
3964 The first time I heard about the Craig Broadcasting application was on the deadline, the November 8th. I got an e-mail from a friend of a friend who was passing it on because our network as independent artists in film and television is so strong through the Internet, we're always e-mailing each other, we are involved in lists that come down to us that keep us current in what's going on, and I received the e-mail from a friend telling me about the application. And when I read it and I saw Toronto Life in there and I saw Second City in there and I saw Toronto issues and I saw New Voices, this appealed to me not only as a citizen of Toronto, but also as a crew member and an up-and-coming producer of materials that I find would be supportive of that nature of broadcast.
3965 And so I enthusiastically wrote my letter of support that day. I mean, I was worried it wouldn't get in on time being that I only found out about it, you know, four hours before midnight. And I put other things aside and I sat down and I wrote the letter because I think that -- the key word in their letter, and I have Drew Craig's letter asking for support, and the key thing that appealed to me was the idea that this was going to be inclusive and that was the key word that I found that struck me, was that we're talking about something that is trying to bring people together. And we have been so saturated over the last 20 years with increasing violence in TV, increasing sexual content in TV and just -- I don't watch the news at all. I catch my news on the radio now because I don't want to be imprinted with all that negative imagery. And when I hear of something that's going to be addressing local Toronto issues, that is going to be starting to highlight and give voice and vision to the people that are already creating art in our city and giving them an opportunity to get a better, more wide audience in our local market, because there is so many gifted people in our city that we just don't know about. And names that the arts community know of as, you know, local celebrities to us, I could ask people in the city that aren't involved in the arts community, you know, 'Have you heard of Alberta Watson?' And they have they don't know who she is. 'Have you heard of Adam Beach? Have you heard of Pam Matthews?' There are so many talented, talented people that need to have an opportunity to be seen, and I think that Craig Broadcasting, starting on a grassroots level and building, make themselves more approachable to independent people who are trying to get to that next level, because there is a whole community of that that exists in our city that's been untapped. And I think Craig is putting forth an application that's saying we're inviting people to come in, we're willing to work with people, small and medium-sized companies. And so I don't feel so intimidated to be involved in something like that, I feel like I would be involved with somebody that would be nurturing me. And also from a viewer perspective, this is -- I would have an opportunity to be able to see people I know are gifted, who have been paying their dues for 10 or 15 years, get a chance to be seen and get recognized for the work that they've done. People like Randy Hewson, you know, who has been around, who is an icon in the local city and, you know, going into the dance world and going into the music world and the idea of a night -- of a night variety show in prime time takes me back to the days of, you know, the Donny and Marie Show or Sonny and Cher, or the Ed Sullivan Show. These were shows we built our days around, trying to get home to watch these and being able to see these local people be able to get an opportunity to get some air time I think -- I just would like to support it from that perspective.
3966 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms. Stevenson. I hope that your cold improves although it sounds great.
3967 MS. STEVENSON: Oh, thank you.
3968 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your appearance.
3969 MS. STEVENSON: Thank you.
3970 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
3971 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you Madam Chairperson. I would now like to invite Ms. Joan Schafer to present their presentation.
3972 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Ms. Schafer.
3973 MS. SCHAFER: Good afternoon, again. It's been a long time.
INTERVENTION BY JOAN SCHAFER/
INTERVENTION PAR JOAN SCHAFER:
3974 MS. SCHAFER: Thank you, Madam Chair and Commissioners for allowing me this, what will be a brief appearance. My name is Joan Schafer and I come in support of the Craig application, Toronto 1, what I like to call the village voice. Over the years I have had many different careers in broadcasting and in independent production and I wanted to add my observations and support to your wealth of information and wisdom.
3975 I am a believer in local programming both as a producer and as a viewer. I have my biases and I am proud of them. My heart and soul is with the independent producers, a very endangered species, bringing their creativity through the financial gates and out to the audience. It's a steely business and not for the faint of heart, and in one way or another I have spent some 20 years-plus creating, producing, licensing and adding to financial programming. Some people might feel I have had too many careers but when I look back, they were all connected to programming, and with each career change I took I got a different view, a little different perspective.
3976 But in thinking about what I'm going to say to you this afternoon, I do find a common thread with all of it. It always came down to the key people, their sincerity, their energy, their honesty, their focus and their ability to stay in the game. In the end it's only relationship and track record and nothing else, of that I am convinced. Most recently as a completion guarantor, I have interacted with a large number of independent producers across Canada. I have seen how they handle six, seven, eight beneficiaries in one project. Bids of financing from sometimes as many as 16 beneficiaries, it's a huge administrative task for the producer but it takes all programs from CTF, cable, tax credits, GATT financing broadcasting windows, everything rolled into what is just getting a reasonable budget. Every little bit helps. Every little bit increases the whole. Toronto 1 will add to that pot for sure. And as a bonder, I encountered "A" channel and its contributions to independents in the West, sitting from my position in the East, I have to say. Their arrival gave and continues to give producers in the West, and those who have projects destined for the West, an additional source of financing. They built careers and grew independent producers' careers and of course that translates into concepts and careers for everyone in front and behind the camera. In administrating those development budgets and licences, "A" channel was amazingly free of the usual bureaucratic rigmarole. They chose carefully, moved quickly and they gave concessions to the producers when the producer was at risk. For a bonder, they were trouble-free and my company quickly came to know that "A" channel money was producer friendly money, as well as cooperative with all other forms of financing.
3977 The West has grown from the presence of Craig Broadcasting, A channel, with its development and its licence fees. It has bolstered existing producers like Bradshaw McLeod and Allusions' Bruce Harvey, but has created a wealth of new producers like Nancy Lang and Nomadic Films, just to name a few.
3978 Prior to bonding I spent ten years working in Los Angeles working with independent production on features in development. I worked and lived in the unregulated world, Hollywood, Tinseltown. There the concerns are for marketability. Will it be a hit? Licences such as the one you are considering would never exist as a regulation, but what does exist driven by the market is a proliferation of multicultural themes for movies and television, the faces of their melting pot culture. The Bui brothers from Vietnam with their Cannes hit, Three Seasons, a critical hit. The rise of Robert Redford's independent channel, with the diversity of cultures, budget size and themes. It is the way of the world now chasing dragons, Jackie Chan, the Asian craze, that Hollywood is still riding, giving us all heart that diversification of culture need not only be regulated, that it bubbles up almost by itself.
3979 What I also observed in L.A. was a rise of local stations with their digital cameras and their roaming into Chinatown into worlds they have never been before and getting their audiences that allowed them to survive. What surprised me is how many and how advanced the specialty channels were 10 years ago. A lot of the channels that have come into the Canadian market were already in the U.S. long before, music channels, gardening channels, food channels, black channels, Asian channels. It's all there with audiences and it wouldn't be there if it didn't make money. That much I learned in my stay in the United States.
3980 As a founder and VP of National Pay Television First Choice, before Los Angeles there was First Choice, now The Movie Network. I was one of the founders of pay and the VP of programming. We did win the pay licence and everyone said it couldn't be done. It's hard to believe now that no one knew what pay TV was. I remember Don McPherson, our president, on CBC radio saying that free TV was in serious jeopardy. We couldn't see how the orderly marketplace was going to emerge. The interventions went on for days. My mother said that she had never seen anyone talk so long about the subject. Everyone said that no one would watch it, you couldn't produce programming for that little, and especially not in 1995. So every time a new entity comes into the marketplace, a new concept, a new idea, the nay-sayers arise, the critics emerge. But if it feels like it's going to work, let the marketplace decide because the marketplace does adjust, changes, adapts. New owners, new financers but the idea prevails. There was a market for pay and there were independents to program it.
3981 I have not followed all the ins and outs of those who object to the granting of this licence because it erodes the existing ones. I am sure they are worthy arguments but it seems to me that the dial expands to meet the needs, that the marketplace finds a way, always has if there is an audience. Pay taught me that resilience. In the beginning we licensed and developed programming at every level, from movies to shorts to in-studio, next to nothing costing interstitials, and the audience watched and paid, enough to grow and prosper. And from inception to now the owners went up the steep learning curve and they made it work, but it had to have a beginning, that leap into the dark for any learning to take place. TNN proved to be a success that it is, but like all creative ventures it survived a torturous financial history, bobbing and weaving until it settled. The metro licence will do the same.
3982 The first six years of Joan Schafer at CITY TV. I had a glorious beginning in broadcasting. I worked with four of the most original visionaries in the business: Douglas Siderman and Bill Fox, Phyllis Switzer and Moses Znaimer. What they practiced was taking chances, inventing new programs. A group of the broadcasting girls got together for dinner the other night and talk turned to these hearings. We were all at CITY at one time or another and one of my friends turned and said, 'Didn't we do this already?' We did, but it's different now, and no one is doing in any more.
3983 Then, we did local programming, really local programming. Sometimes I think I'm back in '73. There was a market way back then for local, local hometown television, with hometown commercials, which we also made. Toronto knew us but outside Toronto, nothing. It was community programs interlaced with British programming. I produced three shows a day and one on the weekend. Budgets were tiny but ideas were big. CITY was a bold experiment that worked and grew. And Canadians have always led the world in their appetite for breakthroughs. We have had breakthroughs, but breakthroughs become mainstream and we need fresh breakthroughs again. The GTA is many times the size now than it was then and it displays a different characteristic from then. I attended the Reel Asian Film Festival a month ago in Toronto. It's in its fifth year. It played for five days. I did not even know it existed until I saw it these two months ago. It was packed. The Cineplex was packed for Green Giant. It showed the stories of Tokyo, from Asian filmmakers, from Peking filmmakers. The Toronto filmmakers who showed Toronto to the Peking filmmakers just loved being with each other. And this was five solid days of Asian/Japanese programming.
3984 There is also an organization in the city that is dedicated to the 50 film and TV companies in Riverdale. It is working to assist in helping them find their financing. I was knocked out. Fifty film and TV companies in Riverdale. This is a very changed city from the city I knew at CITY TV. From city to city the filmmakers come and talk about the cities to the people in the cities. Local to local, from Rome to Paris to London, to Toronto. The GTA is a bigger entity with more audience and no real consistent voice.
3985 Of the pitches that I have heard I found spirit of my early days in the Craig application. They are all about programming in their pitch for Toronto 1. And they have the energy to do these shows. We had the Money Game with Arthur Vale and Nannie Butler, local entrepreneurs talking about the business. We had City Classified, buying and selling in Metro and Sweet City Woman with Dini Petty. They have Second City, New Voices, Toronto Life. It's different, but it has the same feel. That was good television. It's missing on the dial now. And I believe that the Craigs will bring in the new style with the new generation. In the end, it's who the people really are and what they have shown so far. The Craigs are about programming and about integrity in programming and that's really all there is.
3986 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms. Schafer. You were just about to be hit by Regulation Canada. How does it feel to be back in the regulated world?
3987 MS. SCHAFER: Well, it feels wonderful, actually.
3988 THE CHAIRPERSON: Great. Thank you very much. It's nice to see you again. Thank you for your participation.
3989 MS. SCHAFER: Thank you.
3990 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
3991 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you, Madam Chair. I would now like to introduce an intervention that is in support of the CFMT application. This is the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation, Ms. Pauline Tong.
3992 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Ms. Tong.
INTERVENTION BY YEE HONG COMMUNITY WELLNESS FOUNDATION/
INTERVENTION PAR YEE HONG COMMUNITY WELLNESS FOUNDATION:
3993 MS. TONG: Good afternoon. I will just get myself some water. First I really would like to share with you that this is a presentation co-authored with my daughter, who is way out in B.C., and so you are hearing information coming forward to you with two generations. I am the older generation. She's 20 in UBC. She was an intern at CFMT; she felt important enough that after her exams she helped me to co-author this presentation so I want you to sort of look at it from two generations' perspective.
3994 I am not the old, old generation, right? Although I do work for the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care, I am the president of the Yee Hong Community Wellness Foundation, so if there is some youthful kind of optimism in there it's because I got it from my daughter and I am full of hope because of her. So here it is.
3995 Although Canada prides itself on being a multicultural and tolerant country there is still a tremendous amount to be done. Racial bigotry, ignorance and small mindedness are not problems designated to other countries. They remain our problem as well. What can we do about it? Is there anything that we can do? The answer fortunately is a qualified yes. However, we must come to this conclusion, that the way to build a national community that honours mutual understanding, goes beyond simply addressing things like the danger of racial profiling. The way to build a broadminded community involves the integration of all people into this nation's social institutions and public discourse. The media remain the most socializing force in the world, so let us start here.
3996 Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Pauline Tong, I am the president of the Yong Community Wellness Foundation that builds and supports the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care. I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to present my view, my daughter's view, and also the views of my colleagues at Yee Hong Centre.
3997 We wholeheartedly support CFMT Television's application to the CRTC to create a new channel similar to its current one. As there are still so many minorities and immigrants in Canada that the current media has failed to reach, the need for more diverse Canadian television spectrum has never been greater. There are currently 22 underserved ethnic groups who still feel like foreigners in the home country because the media have fallen short of reaching out to them, of including them in the Canadian milieu of making them full participants in this multicultural country
3998 I was born in Hong Kong and I received my university and post-graduate education in broadcasting and mass communications in the States in the early '70s. As someone who immigrated Canada in the mid-70s, moving to Toronto was quite a culture shock to me, but it was well worth the initial jolt. After a while I came to marvel in the diversity of country and appreciate the vast array of languages, cultures, ethnicities and nationalities that it had to offer. I think some of you may remember Caravan. I remember tasting all those delicious foods from all around the world without leaving Toronto and that's really true, and cultivated my culinary expertise since then. But still, something wasn't quite right, there with still something missing. I have to say that I really appreciate the federal policy of multiculturalism, because it legitimized my existence as a Chinese Canadian who can still loudly proclaim my own heritage, as someone who was struggling then in the broadcasting industry, and later involved myself as volunteer in numerous causes, I realized how peripheral I was made to feel by all the media that has marginalized me just because I am a visible minority. In retrospect, I realize that there were two major reasons why I felt that way.
3999 First, I am short-changed by the images I saw on television. Why do they not recognize my presence, I often wondered? The images were of course racially homogenized and ones with which I certainly could not associate myself. Second, what important and crucial issues to visible minority groups never received the attention they deserved. I remember begging the mainstream media to cover the Dragon Ball, the major event for the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care.
4000 But thankfully there were people who took notice of this drought on television. Due to the tremendous endeavors of CFMT Television to incorporate the Chinese Canadian community into their station, we no longer feel like an insubstantial part of the GTA or a group that never fully made it into the Canadian limelight. So you can say that in a very significant way, the existence of the Canadian Chinese community has been validated simply by virtue of seeing and hearing the Chinese cultural identity, talking about our issues of great relevance to us on television, and it feels wonderful. CFMT has been the media sponsor for Dragon Ball in the past 12 years and we raised a total of talking about 20-million. That is really a great accomplishment.
4001 And how proud we are of such a working a relationship. In the meantime, not only does it the cover the glamour of the ball, it also shares with the Chinese Canadian community and other cultural and ethnic groups represented in the station, our struggle and our success in the development and growth of a world glass geriatric care centre and the world will take notice because of their coverage.
4002 Yee Hong Centre is now a model of geriatric care visited and studied by delegations from around the world. It initially only catered to the Chinese Canadian seniors who were woefully underserved. Based on our strong cultural tradition of respect for seniors, now we are developing three more new centres that will be serving upwards of tens of thousands of seniors of the multicultural communities, with culturally and linguistically appropriate programs in York, Peel and Toronto. We will be extending our services with a focus on South Asians, Filipinos and Japanese Canadians and this amazing achievement can only happen in Canada. The best geriatric care centre in the world that the world would like to emulate, and they say: Only in Canada, eh.
4003 As we grow, we strongly endorse CFMT 'too' so they can also serve those who have not been served properly by the mainstream media and create a model the world can follow. Just as how CFMT has helped integrate Chinese Canadians into this country's social tapestry, let us allow it to extend that mandate even further so that it can serve other minorities and newly landed immigrants in Canada as well.
4004 CFMT TV with its tremendous accomplishments deserves to be given the chance to incorporate a new channel, CFMT 'too' into the Canadian media spotlight. Under this new channel, EuroLatino, Caribbean languages, Pan Asian/African languages, languages that are virtually non-existent in North American television will offer much needed familiarity to those in Canada who have not been able to fully understand English television and thus they adopt the country. It is only through this innovative cultivation of diversity that we can help create a nation endowed with mutual understanding amongst its respective cultures. As conflict and war ravages in many parts of world today, the timing has never been better to create a television station like CFMT 'too.'
4005 Although the number of minorities working within the media should not go unrecognized, it is also important to acknowledge that the views dispersed on the news remain strictly North American, neglecting the views of other parts of the world. How do Afghanistans feel? How to Africans feel? How do South Americans feel? How do Filipinos feel? How do we begin to understand the different, distinct worlds within the South Asian community? The best way we can curtail racism is to look within ourselves and rid ourselves of egocentric outlooks. Ww must recognize and stop casting our premature judgments upon views that decipher (sic) from our own. Thus we must not always seeing thing from North American or the Western angle, doing this would be to cast a blind eye to so many different perspectives. And what good are media if they do not offer a multitude of views? The fostering of the media that offer a plentitude of experiences is the best way we can ultimately comprehend and empathize with each other, an understanding that will undoubtedly stretch way beyond our national peripheries. With this in mind, I can only see CFMT and CFMT 'too' as the best place to nurture and create programs to promote intercultural understanding and offer to viewers the best possible alternatives -- a view very different from CTV, Global or CBC, and allow the audience to appreciate perspectives from around the world, not just North American.
4006 As new people from different cultural, ethnic and national backgrounds continue to arrive in Canada, the demand for diverse Canadian media rises still. So let us help create something we can be proud, of a country that acknowledges and values its entire population. Call us hopeless optimists, and that includes my daughter, but we honestly believe that the creation of a new television channel under CFMT Television can help make this an accessible goal after all. Think of this new channel along with CFMT's current channel, as microcosms of what can be ultimately achieved in the world. But before we can broadcast this vision to other countries, we must first cultivate it and make it work here.
4007 Please join me in supporting a television station that has helped so many others feel welcome in Canada. The difference it has made in our lives is so significant that I find myself standing here asking you to help make it a part of others' lives as well. Thank you.
4008 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Ms. Tong, for your participation and I hope you convey our congratulations to your daughter as well.
4009 MS. TONG: Well, I think it's because of the multicultural milieu that we have. I have to say that she treasures the way to get to know how speak Chinese in CFMT.
4010 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's wonderful. Thank you. Mr. Secretary, please.
4011 MR. CUSSONS: Thank you Madam Chair. Also now appearing in support of CFMT Mr. Desalegn Eyobe.
4012 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon Mr. Eyobe.
INTERVENTION BY DESALEGN EYOBE/
INTERVENTION PAR DESALEGN EYOBE:
4013 MR. EYOBE: Good afternoon. First, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity on behalf the Ethiopian community. Really, it is a great opportunity for the Ethipian community. My friend, Mr. Mamood Hassan from the Somalian Broadcasting Network, he couldn't make it because of the Ramadan, the Muslim fasting. So please accept his apologies.
4014 My name is Desalegn Eyobe. I am Ethiopian. I used to work in various fields of journalism, print, electronics and news services. Apart from being a media professional, for the last eight years I have been involved with in-depth African developmental issues. In Canada I am a freelance correspondent for Deutche Welle Radio, Radio Germany, Ethiopian programming. I am voluntary Secretary General and Media Officer for the Nile Basin Society, a Canadian registered NGO. The Nile Basin Society is a communication initiative with the main objective of advocating a shared vision of sustainable water development in the 10 riparian African countries. Of the world's ten poorest countries in the world, six of them are found in this region.
4015 I am advisor for the Ethiopian Association in Toronto in the areas of Media and Public Relations, I am also special publicity advisor for People To People Aid Organization in Canada. People to People works on the prevention and education of HIV/AIDS, because we are supporting HIV/AIDS orphans back home in Ethiopia and in collaboration with the Ethiopian Association in Toronto, providing counseling service for Ethiopians living with HIV/AIDS here in Canada.
4016 It is believed that there is an estimated number of more than 50,000 Ethiopians lives in and around Toronto. These well-educated and highly trained professionals contribute a great deal to the Canadian society. The number of immigrants has been increased from time to time as Canada has given peace and opportunity for many. Above all, we all believe Canada is a country that is multicultural and multilingual. In its small-scale business and self-employment ventures, the Ethiopian community has shown progresses. Ethiopians are hard worker and self-dependent. Tradition-wise we may not be in the forefront in our community. We value our tradition. And we Ethiopians live together hand in hand for many years with different religions and many ethnic groups in Ethiopia, more than 80 ethnic groups in Ethiopia, with 40 languages. So there was no problem for us to live together and Canada seems for us a symbol. They are anxious to represent and speak for themselves. The opportunity they found here encourage them to engage in various businesses. Canada is a country with ample opportunity to live in diversity. We strongly believe unity comes from diversity. Many of the nationalities here are able to see themselves in television, however, the lack of such a powerful forum makes us feel that we are excluded from this great nation. Many Ethiopians are embarrassed to mention their origin as a result of the negative portrayals of the mainstream media. Ethiopians are among the most vulnerable Africans to marginalization due to lack of representation that Canada provides us. A great number of Ethiopians express their frustration that the media has keen interest only in highlighting or sensitizing the gloomy part of Ethiopia, war, famine, and disease. According to a Toronto university study, of all the immigrants the HIV/AIDS risk is highest in the African community. As you may remember, last week, Saturday, it was the World AIDS Day, so People To People organized half-day workshop and we tried to reach many Ethiopians but we couldn't because there is no means of communication, we have to go in each house. We estimated that from the 50,000 Ethiopians, at least 5,000 people would show up, but 92 people were presented at that time because of the lack of communications.
4017 Organizations working on HIV/AIDS believe that the lack of addressing the issue in native languages makes the prevention effort very difficult. There is no other cheaper medium than allowing people to speak in their native language.
4018 Since Ethiopians are part of the society, it is essential for them to be well informed on regional, national and international matters. New knowledge and ideas acquired through better access to information can also be a source of motivation and generates participation.
4019 CFMT is the sole channel which we witnessed that demonstrated its professionalism in helping minorities understand what it means to be a Canadian and, at the same time, celebrating our respective heritage. It is with this deep down belief, and as a journalist, that CFMT 'too' will give us a great opportunity to express ourselves. It will ultimately be our eyes and ears. CFMT 'too' has programs that allocate a modest amount of financial support for positive portrayal, which for many Ethiopians is a dream.
4020 We understand and are looking forward to participate in CFMT 'too' on job training which is a unique opportunity to bring quality and ethical programming for our community. CFMT 'too' is different in many ways from other channels for many reasons. One among many which is very crucial is that it gives a chance for minorities to exercise their constitutional right, freedom of expression, ultimately the right to speak in their own language. CFMT 'too' is our voice, our hope and our vision. Thank you.
4021 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Is it Mr. Eyobe or Mr. Desalegn?
4022 MR. EYOBE: Yeah, Desalegn Eyobe. But anyway, I am either.
4023 THE CHAIRPERSON: We thank you for your participation and hope you convey our best regards to Mr. Hassan.
4024 MR. EYOBE: Okay. Thank you.
4025 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, please.
4026 MR. CUSSONS: Madam Chairperson, we have an intervention this afternoon in support of Torstar's application by a Mr. Allan Aylward of Forever Green Communications. While Mr. Aylward is not listed in the agenda, his participation will not enable Torstar to exceed its quota of supporting appearing intervenors, so we would invite Mr. Aylward to make his presentation now.
4027 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Aylward.
INTERVENTION BY EVERGREEN COMMUNICATIONS/
INTERVENTION PAR EVERGREEN COMMUNICATIONS:
4028 MR. AYLWARD: Good afternoon. First of all, thank for the opportunity to speak before you. I understand that protocol allows me to talk a little bit about my own background and history. I have an eclectic background. I am an independent television producer for Evergreen Communications. I reside here in Dundas, Ontario which they now tell me is also part of Hamilton, and I have lived in Hamilton for 12 years. There is a saying that God gives you your family, and thank god you get to choose your friends. I left Toronto 12 years ago to live in this community, as I came to know it in my work with CHCH Television at that time, and was embraced by the people and inspired by the people that live here in this wonderful community.
4029 I'm here in support of Torstar because I think this community is drastically underserved in our broadcast world. I have had a great opportunity throughout my history to work in a lot of artistic fields, although I was trained in business and marketing in college, I ended up as a puppeteer traveling throughout Europe working with wonderful Leo and Dora Velemen of Canadian Puppet Festivals, representing Canadians abroad. I had the great opportunity to work with Jim Murray and Nancy Archibald as a researcher for the Nature of Things. I had a tremendous opportunity to be mentored by a great Canadian filmmaker, a man by the name of Don Hall Dane of Westminster Films, back in the '70s and Mr. Arthur Campus, who taught me the ins and outs of film editing and filmmaking. I have had tremendous opportunities to work with people who have inspired me and who have taught me right from wrong and, for one reason or the other, had set me on the road as an independent producer to tackle subject matter that is not sexy and is not easy to sell. I have done a lot of -- 90 per cent of my documentary work has been done on the rights of, defending the rights of people who were not normally seen through our media. I have made major documentary work on the rights of disabled persons as well as the illiterate in our society, those dealing with the problems of illiteracy. My work has been for the most part been in support of the underdog. It was interesting to see there are so many people here I admire and respect from all the different walks of life. It was interesting to see Ira Levy, whom you met earlier from Breakthrough Films, because back in the late '70s when I first met Ira, he was trying to make a film called The Breakthrough about a lovely woman by the name of Sue O'Dell, who later became Sue Foster. And he couldn't find a broadcaster and he couldn't find anybody with money. Fortunately my business background enabled to me to secure the funds for his documentary film The Breakthrough, and for his next documentary which was called Against All Odds, which was another film about the rights of the disabled.
4030 When I saw these applications and read them as carefully as one could and tried to put them into the perspective of where we are and what we need from our community's perspective, I tried to think of an analogy that would enable me to articulate how I felt about the Torstar application, because quite frankly the Torstar application is head and shoulders above everything else that I have read and seen. I had the great fortune when I produced in 1990 a documentary property which actually ended up to be 26 media properties on the rights of the illiterate called The Fight for Freedom, which was sponsored by The Canada Post Corporation and the Secretary of State and some private sector corporations. I got the opportunity to travel across Canada to meet and talk with those individuals in our society who did not have -- who were not empowered by the ability to read and to write, who had gone through society functionally illiterate. I met a wonderful native woman, Rebecca, who was a middle-aged woman who had many children. She was single and she had spent day and night, day and night, day and night, studying to learn how to read and write English because she recognized this was the only way she was ever going to make something for herself in this life. When we asked her how she felt, if she could describe the feeling when she finally got her high school diploma, she simply looked at us and said, 'My spirit soars like an eagle.'
4031 When I read the Torstar application as an independent producer, and you have heard from Sylvia Sweeney and others about the state of duress that we are under as independent producers - and I don't mean to sound maudlin and trite - but I read that proposal and I must tell you that my spirit did soar like an eagle because I saw some light at the end of the tunnel. I saw a group coming into the marketplace with a well-thought-out plan with every opportunity to do something that was indeed inspiring and different, something that was not going to simply feed the status quo, something that was going enable us to create something new. So now I can go to my script because I have written it, I might is as well read it.
4032 In my opinion the Toronto-centric media empire - I am from Toronto originally - does not appreciate the resources of our regional and local community here in Hamilton/Halton region. We have come to replace Buffalo. If you remember, we used to turn to Irv Weinstein to find out where the fires were burning; well, now Hamilton is seen on the local news broadcast because that's where the fires are burning in Hamilton.
4033 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Aylward, your delivery will be very difficult for the court reporter
4034 MR. AYLWARD: Oh, am I too fast?
4035 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4036 MR. AYLWARD: I'm sorry. I'm always conscious of time.
4037 What little coverage that we do get in the current broadcast circumstances diminishes regional representation and reflection to obscure viewing times, phone-in talk shows, short clips on news breaks and to magazine format clips. Quite frankly, the vast majority of applicants continue to relegate our region to a backwater status and their attitudes suggest that we may have the odd dog show or county fair that could be treated in an expanded news coverage format.
4038 Some applicants have suggested that we are prime real estate for a relay tower, bringing us more repeat programming and, for the most part, our region is becoming viewed as a recycling station and a dumping ground for a non-indigenous programming. The major players that now control this and most other broadcast markets have lined up to present a host of concerns to you, difficulties, catastrophe and waiting scenarios, should they be passed over and Torstar approved. There have been 'Chicken Little Sky is Falling' warnings and some have advocated that no licence be awarded to anyone if they can't have it. But if I understand anything about the CRTC and its mandate, and I do not profess to be a scholar on your rules and regulations, I do believe that the CRTC has some directive to ensure that the broadcasters before you are obligated to serve the community and its people. To listen to those opposed to the Torstar application, and those that are seeking application, they have limited much of their discussion to what is good or bad for them as broadcasters. Very little if anything has revolved around the viewer and our community and what is ultimately the best for us. Some of those before you have defended their concerns by citing the risk they will face of increased costs to acquire American prime time programming. While I am sure that would be very encouraging to Jack Valenti, but it isn't encouraging to me.
4039 Some are arguing that the timing is wrong that the advertising market is weak and we are in an economic slump and we can't support another broadcaster in the marketplace. And yet we know that that there are advertisers who cannot afford too buy into the game now because of the high costs. We also know that the advertising landscape is changing dramatically and it will not change -- it will not come back to its old ways after this market recovers. Advertisers are looking for new innovative ways to spend their money. Traditional broadcasters are going to find themselves left behind if they continue to see it from their narrow, in-the-box viewpoint. I think Torstar sees an innovative way of securing advertising dollars. There is some concern that Torstar budgets for programming are underestimated. I can tell you quite candidly from my experience as an executive producer and a producer, writer and director for over 20 years producing documentaries, that their budget plans are very much in line and very realistic and fully responsible to creating original programming that will not only reflect our community, but can also be made to appeal to a broader national and even an international audience.
4040 When we get into the arguments about budgets, it's the subjective argument of how long is that piece of string. Well, I have recently finished 130 half-hour television programs, docu-tainment by nature, well within the budget guidelines that Torstar has put before you. I have also produced them right here in Hamilton. They have aired nationally, they have aired locally, they have been syndicated. They are now, after six years, have just started to air on their first national specialty window, and our distributor is now carrying those 130 shows, produced out of this community, into the world market. Those 130 shows are -- we have just signed a deal with Stuart House to produce five books and to produce five home video DVDs based on those programs that were produced here out of this community, well within the budget guidelines that Torstar is advocating. I think that we should also recall that it wasn't very long ago that a group of young people got together and produced a little film known as The Blair Witch Project for an unbelievable amount of money and they broke every Hollywood budget guideline rule there ever was. We can also refer to Francis Ford Coppola, who has indicated and predicted, to some degree, that we are in an ever-changing media landscape. We will find increasingly young people will be picking up their parents' home video cameras, they will be producing pieces of art and we will be line up for city blocks and we will pay good dollars to go in to see. This is a new market and it is increasingly changing.
4041 We're hearing a lot of traditional inside-the-box thinking and the arguments based on inside- the-box thinking that make less and less sense in this rapidly changing media landscape. The traditional broadcasters are becoming long in the tooth; they're becoming very comfortable with the status quo and they don't want to see that disturbed. Then along comes the upstart, the kid off the block, Torstar.
4042 The Torstar application before you is to some extent about conventional broadcast licence, and I say that to some extent because it is much more than that, it is a beacon of light that breaks away from the status quo that the entrenched traditional broadcasters are so vigorously defending. Torstar has a highly regarded history in its respect for content and providing the community with insight, awareness, information, knowledge, guidance, entertainment and inspiration. And in perspective, I would suggest that Torstar, more than any other applicant before you, has demonstrated a profound sensitivity to fulfilling the needs of the community that it has come to reflect throughout its history and, by extension, will come to reflect throughout its application in our community. It has come forward with a substantial application to enter the broadcast arena by serving our communities. It recognizes the value of Toronto, but it also diversifies the resources to include real representation of the Hamilton/Halton area and Waterloo/ Kitchener. It is the only application on the table that respects our culture and our history and our people and treats us with a sense of integrity, dignity and respect. The Torstar application has been carefully researched and they have expended sincere energy to consult with those of us in the community about where we would like to see ourselves and how we can build a more aware dynamic community through their efforts in broadcast. The financial investment they are making is substantial and certainly a tremendous boost to this community. The focus on local and regional content is exceptional by any CRTC standard anywhere in the country and it addresses the needs of our communities, needs that are not now being addressed by anyone.
4043 Torstar recognizes the changing media arena and from our perspective provides a viable, bold innovative response to redefining broadcast relevance and community representation. Torstar is building its plan from the consumer up, not from the corporate boardroom down. Torstar realizes that the value of media integration and the much talked about convergence, is driven by the needs of people who live in the community and by the demands for relevant content-driven programming. While all the others that come before you with their traditional inside-out protectionist thinking, there is only one applicant before you that has a spark of creativity and is filled with progressive thoughts and that's Torstar's Hometown Television.
4044 In conclusion, you are being charged with the final decision that will have a profound effect on this community and the people that live in it, as well as those of us who are independent producers trying to carve out a living. You have seen and you will be accorded with statistics, financial data, conflicting studies, dire warnings that the sky is falling and, as I understand it, a record number of interventions, but I would respectfully propose that at some point in your decision-making process, when you clear away the clutter, the jargon, the threats, and the hype, and you view these applications from a reasonable, somewhat intuitive or instinctive perspective, the Torstar application is the only one, it is the only application that serves the well-being of the communities it proposes to represent. And by virtue of their sensitivity to this community, and a truly well thought out business plan that they have developed, it is the only application I feel that warrants your approval. To not warrant an application at all would be a disaster for our community. We need the inspiration and the leadership that Torstar is putting in our lap and I hope that in your wisdom and in your judgment, you will see your way clear to making that application a reality. Thank you.
4045 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Aylward. We have no questions. Your position is very clear. And you have the privilege of being the last intervenor this afternoon. I understand you are in Hamilton so you don't have to drive home?
4046 MR. AYLWARD: Ten minutes.
4047 THE CHAIRPERSON: Drive home, but not all the way to Toronto. Mr. Secretary, am I correct that he is our last intervenor?
4048 MR. CUSSONS: You are, Madam Chairperson. I would like to mention that Tapestry Pictures Incorporated had hoped to be with us today but it would now seem that they're joining us on Monday morning. So that does conclude the business of the day.
4049 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We will reconvene then at 8:30 on Monday morning to complete Phase 3 and then proceed with Phase 4. I hope you all have a nice weekend and if you are driving a long way, that you have a safe trip home. Bon soir.
Whereupon the proceedings adjourned
at 1458, to be reconvened on Monday,
the 10th day of December, 2001, at 0830/
L'audience est ajournée à 1458,
pour reprendre Lundi 10 décembre 2001
MINORI ARAI, CSR
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