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Please note that the Official Languages Act requires that government publications be available in both official languages.
In order to meet some of the requirements under this Act, the Commission's transcripts will therefore be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of CRTC members and staff attending the hearings, and the table of contents.
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.
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO‑TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES AVANT
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
VARIOUS BROADCAST APPLICATIONS /
PLUSIEURS DEMANDES EN RADIODIFFUSION
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 West Georgia Street 900, rue Georgia O.
Vancouver, British Columbia Vancouver (C.-B.)
March 2, 2005 Le 2 mars 2005
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages
Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be
bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members
and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded
verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in
either of the official languages, depending on the language
spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès‑verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio‑television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
VARIOUS BROADCAST APPLICATIONS /
PLUSIEURS DEMANDES EN RADIODIFFUSION
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Charles Dalfen Chairperson / Président
Andrée Wylie Commissioner / Conseillère
Ronald Williams Commissioner / Conseillier
Joan Pennefather Commissioner / Conseillère
Stuart Langford Commissioner / Conseillier
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Pierre Lebel Secretary / Secrétaire
Alistair Stewart Legal Counsel /
Joe Aguiar Hearing Manager /
Gérant de l'audience
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 West Georgia Street 900, rue Georgia O.
Vancouver, British Columbia Vancouver (C.-B.)
March 2, 2005 Le 2 mars 2005
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR:
Rogers Broadcasting Limited 600 / 3865
Sukhvinder Singh Badh 601 / 3873
Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation 602 / 3880
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR:
Fairchild Radio 603 / 3891
T. Sher Singh 618 / 3988
People's Law School 625 / 4015
Canadian Ethnic Journalists' and Writers' Club
Dr. Yoe Sook Youn
Kiran Aujlay 659 / 4159
Harleen Gill 664 / 4183
Baljit Singh Deo
South Asian Human Rights Group of Canada 712 / 4449
Farid Rohani 785 / 4860
Akali Singh Sikh Society
Associazione Culturale Pugliese Della B.C.
Natraj School of Dancing
Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara Society
Italian Cultural Centre Society
TABLE DES MATIÈRES / TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
PHASE III (cont.)
INTERVENTION BY / INTERVENTION PAR:
Focus Entertainment Group Incorporated 812 / 4958
Arul Migu Terskadavi Hindu Society 829 / 5070
Kuldip Singh Brar
REPLY BY / RÉPLIQUE PAR:
Newlife Communications Incorporated 846 / 5154
Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation 850 / 5192
I.T. Productions Limited 855 / 5217
CHUM Limited 866 / 5268
Radio India (2004) Limited 890 / 5416
South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Inc. 900 / 5474
Sukhvinder Singh Badh 914 / 5538
Rogers Broadcasting Ltd / Radio 1540 Ltd 920 / 5586
Vancouver, B.C. / Vancouver (C.‑B.)
‑‑‑ Upon resuming on Tuesday, March 2, 2005
at 0905 / L'audience reprend le mardi
2 mars 2005 à 0905
3861 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, everyone. I would ask the Secretary to introduce the next phase of this proceeding.
3862 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3863 In Phase II applicants are called in the agenda order to intervene on competing applications if they so desire. I have already been advised that applicant No. 3, South Asian Broadcasting Corporation Incorporated; No. 4, Radio India Limited will not be appearing in Phase II, as well as applicant No. 6, I.T. Productions Limited.
3864 I will now ask Rogers Broadcasting Limited to intervene at this time. You have 10 minutes to make your presentation.
3865 MR. MILES: Good morning, Mr. Chair.
3866 We have no interventions against the applicants and Mr. Strati will indicate that we have filed our ‑‑
3867 MR. STRATI: I just want to clarify that, as requested, we filed two things. One of them, the Memorandum of Understanding between CHIN and Rogers that has already been signed, as well as the revised schedules in terms of discussion about cross‑cultural program.
3868 We have filed those and we would be willing to discuss them in Phase IV.
3869 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3870 Mr. Secretary...?
3871 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3872 I will now ask Sukhvinder Singh Badh to intervene at this time.
3873 MR. BADH: Thank you, Commissioners.
3874 I have nothing to add at this point.
3875 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3876 Mr. Secretary...?
3877 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3878 CHUM Limited has indicated they would not be intervening in this phase as well, so I will now ask Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation to intervene at this time.
3879 Thank you.
3880 MR. KANE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3881 Just for the record, Mainstream does not have an intervention in this phase.
3882 MR. LEBEL: Thank you.
3883 I will now ask Newlife Communications Incorporated to intervene at this time.
3884 MR. LEBEL: Not seeing anybody coming forward, Mr. Chairman, this concludes Phase II of the public hearing.
3885 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Carry on with Phase III, then, please.
3886 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3887 In Phase III other parties are invited to appear and present their intervention. Each intervenor will be provided with a period of 10 minutes to intervene and questions from the Commission may follow.
3888 We will more or less follow the Agenda order, except that the supporting intervenors will be grouped and I shall call them in groups and they will be provided with an opportunity to each in turn make their own intervention.
3889 The first appearing intervention will be presented by Fairchild Radio, Mr. Joe Chan.
3890 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead, Mr. Chan.
3891 MR. CHAN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission. My name is Joe Chan and I am the President of Fairchild Radio Group Ltd. and Fairchild Radio Vancouver FM Ltd., the licensees of CJVB‑AM and CHKG‑FM.
3892 With me today is George Lee, General Manager of CJVB and CHKG Radio.
3893 Fairchild Radio supports the licensing of a new ethnic radio station which will serve the South Asian communities of Vancouver. Fairchild's position is that any new station that is licensed should be prepared to accept the conditions of licence, stating that it will not air programming in any Chinese language or programming directed towards the Chinese community.
3894 Fairchild has three reasons for our position.
3895 First, the Chinese market in Vancouver is already very well served. Not one applicant has shown that there is a need for more Chinese programming in Vancouver.
3896 Second, more Chinese programming in the market would have a negative impact on the financial stability of Fairchild's two radio stations.
3897 Third, because of certain restrictions on CHKG's licence, Chinese programming broadcast by the new entrant between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. would place CHKG at a competitive disadvantage.
3898 Let me start by talking about the state of the Chinese media market in Vancouver.
3899 The Commission, in assessing applicants for new radio stations in a market, places the onus on the applicant to show that there is need for the service they propose. Most of the applicants in this proceeding state that they intend to focus on the South Asian community. The have filed convincing evidence to show that the South Asian community is under served in the Vancouver market.
3900 However, none of the applicants have filed any evidence showing that there is a need for more Chinese programming in the Vancouver market. To the contrary, almost all of the applicants acknowledge that the Chinese community is already very well served.
3901 In addition to CJVB and CHKG, CHMB‑AM, which is owned by Mainstream Broadcasting also focuses on the Chinese community. Together, these three stations provide over 275 hours of Mandarin and Cantonese radio programming each week.
3902 If you add television, that number grows to 655 hours of Chinese programming each week. This is in addition to 22 Chinese newspapers or magazines, three of which are daily newspapers.
3903 The applicants who wish to provide Chinese language programming, namely Rogers and CHIN, Sukhvinder Singh Badh, Newlife and CHUM, have not provided any evidence whatsoever that there is a need for more Chinese programming in the market.
3904 Indeed, only Mainstream Broadcasting addressed the Chinese community in its research. The research that Mainstream conducted found that the Chinese consumers are "more likely than not" to feel that there is a need ‑‑ that there is already enough radio programming in the mother tongue.
3905 In short, the onus is on the applicants to show that there is a need for more Chinese programming. They have failed to meet that onus.
3906 I turn now to the negative impact that more Chinese programming would have on Fairchild's two Vancouver radio stations.
3907 When the Commission evaluates applications for new stations it considers a number of factors, including the likely financial impact on existing stations in the market. As we noted in our written intervention, the growth rate of the Chinese‑speaking community has slowed over the last several years, yet there has been steadily more programming available to Vancouver viewers in Chinese, due in part to the licensing of Channel M and OMNI.2.
3908 In the last few years, Fairchild stations have finally begun to achieve profitability levels consistent with the rest of the Vancouver radio market. However, the Chinese radio market remains volatile. In 2004 our operations had a year over year decline in revenues. We are concerned that putting more Chinese programming hours into an already well‑served market will cause our revenues to decline even further.
3909 It appears that some applicants who wish to do Chinese programming are relying on the strength of the Chinese advertising market to partly sustain the operations. For example, in the reply to our intervention, Rogers and CHIN note that:
"The Chinese community is still the largest and most economically robust ethnic community in Vancouver." (As read)
3910 They have proposed that fully 20 per cent of their programming would be in Chinese. This would allow them to air up to 25 hours a week in Cantonese and Mandarin.
3911 Right now they propose that up to 12 hours each week would be in the 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. period. That is bad enough. That is almost two and a half hours per weekday. But if they decided to put all 25 hours into daytime period, they could schedule five hours of Chinese programming every weekday. To make it worse, they could schedule that programming into prime time by doing three hours in the morning drive time and two hours in the afternoon drive time every day of the week.
3912 From this perspective, 20 per cent has a much greater impact than it appears. That is why we find Rogers and CHIN's proposal completely unacceptable in this respect. The addition of such a significant amount of Chinese programming into the market would have a severe detrimental effect on CJVB and CHKG.
3913 Currently, almost 90 per cent of the total advertising revenues of CJVB and CHKG is derived from Chinese programming. Competition for revenues from Chinese advertisers is already fierce. Any new entrant targeting the Chinese community will be adding hours of programming to a market that is already well‑served.
3914 As a result, spot rates would decline as more low rate inventory comes on the market. This will destabilize the Chinese radio market and negatively impact CJVB and CHKG.
3915 This impact will be exacerbated by restrictions currently imposed on CHKG. When CHKG was licensed in 1996 it was prohibited by condition of license from broadcasting any programming directed to the Chinese community between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on weekdays. This condition of license was put into place to offset any potential negative impact on CHMB a that time.
3916 We applied to the Commission in 1999 for relief from this condition of license in order to serve the increasing Mandarin‑speaking community. This application was denied, again because of the potential impact on CHMB.
3917 If the Commission now licenses a new entrant which can air Chinese programming between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., CHKG will quite simply be unable to respond. This places CHKG at a significant competitive disadvantage.
3918 We note that several applicants volunteered of their own accord to accept a condition of license prohibiting them from broadcasting Chinese‑language programming, or from airing programming directed to the Chinese community.
3919 We also note that since our intervention, South Asian Broadcasting has agreed to accept such a condition of license.
3920 In addition, CHUM has volunteered to accept a condition of license stating that a maximum of 5 per cent of its programming would be in Cantonese or Mandarin.
3921 Given that most of the applicants have targeted the South Asian community, it is clear that hours devoted to Chinese programming detract from the stated focus of these applicants. Put another way, every hour of Chinese programming is an hour taken away from serving the South Asian community.
3922 While we understand that one of the goals of the ethnic broadcasting policy is to ensure access to a diverse range of ethnic programming, there are numerous under served groups within the South Asian community that have been identified by the applicants. A condition of license prohibiting a new entrant from broadcasting Chinese programming would therefore result in more and better service to the community that needs it most, the South Asian community.
3923 In conclusion, Fairchild believes that a condition of license which prevents a new entrant from targeting the well‑served Chinese community is both necessary and appropriate. Such a condition of license would ensure that existing stations do not suffer a negative financial impact and that any new station which is licensed genuinely meets the needs of under served communities in the Vancouver market.
3924 Thank you. We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
3925 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Chan. Your brief is clear, as was your written presentation. I just have a few questions arising from the proceeding that I would like to get your views on.
3926 MR. CHAN: Certainly.
3927 THE CHAIRPERSON: First of all, it was raised by a number of the applicants in reply to you that of course under the ethnic policy a general broadcaster can do 15 per cent third language programming without any permission whatever.
3928 Under your zero tolerance policy, so to speak, there would be no right to go up anywhere near that 15 per cent?
3929 MR. CHAN: Correct.
3930 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that appropriate? Would you comment on that?
3931 MR. CHAN: We find that commercial radio ‑‑ if you try to compare commercial radio with an ethnic radio I think we are comparing an apple with an orange.
3932 First of all, with a commercial radio ‑‑ I don't think a lot of the commercial radio is doing ethnic programming. Even if they do, normally they would only do it not in prime time. They would do it at fringe time, maybe on Sunday or on a Saturday morning.
3933 I think the reason why they do that is because commercially it is not sound for them to do ethnic programming during prime time.
3934 Second, I think during a comparative licensing process it would normally be up to the new applicants to have the responsibility to prove to the Commission that what they are flying has no negative impact on the existing, on the incumbent licensees.
3935 In this case it is very clear that the Vancouver Chinese market is already very well served by the three incumbent radio and five TV stations.
3936 So there is not enough evidence shown by the applicants that there is need for new or additional Chinese programming.
3937 The Commission also has the authority, I believe, over these years that when assessing the situation the Commission will have the authority to impose certain restrictions or caps on certain programming. The Commission has been doing that numerous times in the past.
3938 One very good example is our CHKG, when we applied we were imposed a condition of license not to do Chinese programming from 6:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon so as to protect ‑‑ at that time, so as to protect CHMB at the time.
3939 So I think on the evidence, it is very clear at this stage that there if we propose to put in a zero tolerance condition of license on the new applicants, it is appropriate and it is reasonable.
3940 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you recall what at the time CHMB's PBIT margin was?
3941 MR. CHAN: If I remember at that time ‑‑ CHMB you mean?
3942 THE CHAIRPERSON: CHMB, yes.
3943 MR. CHAN: That was a couple of years ago.
3944 When they submitted their invention they were saying they were not doing too well. I can't remember the exact factors at that time.
3945 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your PBITs are now up. You have increased, over the past two years, over 40 per cent on top of a 77 per cent gain the previous year in terms of your pre‑tax margin?
3946 MR. CHAN: You mean on our two stations?
3947 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your stations.
3948 MR. CHAN: With our CJVB, which is the Cantonese one, fortunately we have been working very hard to make it look well, but unfortunately with CHKG, which is the Mandarin‑focused station, we are still working at a below market PBIT. So on the average both of them at the moment we are still slightly below the average market level.
3949 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sorry, below the...?
3950 MR. CHAN: Below the regular market level.
3951 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned a fall off. When you were referring to a drop in your overall revenues, that was combined. Right?
3952 MR. CHAN: That is combined, that's right.
3953 THE CHAIRPERSON: So you are off by 1 per cent.
3954 MR. CHAN: Roughly about 2 per cent.
3955 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, 2004 over 2003, 1.1 per cent.
3956 MR. CHAN: Yes, correct.
3957 THE CHAIRPERSON: 2004 over 2003 in PBIT you are up 19 per cent and previous year 58 per cent.
3958 MR. CHAN: Yes. There were ups and downs over the last five years and we are now almost halfway through 2004 and 2005. We are already seeing a trend that the declining trend will sustain this year also.
3959 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't see a declining trend. I see very few downs in terms of any of your major ‑‑ whether it is PBIT or pre‑tax profit or revenues, a slight dip, but pretty well consistently in that $4.8 million, up $5 million in 2003 and down to $4.987 in 2004.
3960 MR. CHAN: It is slightly down, yes.
3961 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I am wondering, you are not unhealthy. I take your point that you are below market PBITs but you are in a different sub‑market.
3962 MR. CHAN: Relatively speaking you may say that, yes.
3963 THE CHAIRPERSON: Then the other question was in terms of service to the communities. I don't know whether you were here when Mainstream was presenting?
3964 MR. CHAN: Yes, I was here.
3965 THE CHAIRPERSON: They did show market research done by Ipsos‑Reid which showed that among the Chinese population there was a 71 per cent number of interested in the proposed service and 31 per cent very interested, slightly lower than the South Asian interest but higher than other Asian, for example Filipino, Japanese and Korean.
3966 So when you speak about service to the community, the clearly Chinese respondents are indicating that they would be very interested in the kind of service that Mainstream is offering.
3967 MR. CHAN: Of course it depends on how the research is done and how the questionnaire is asked. Of course, if you always ask "Do you want more services?" I think very often the answer coming back will be positive. They will say "Okay, we want more". That is how we see research.
3968 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sometimes it is the best we can get though, isn't it, Mr. Chan. When applicants apply they do research and, you are right, it is somewhat hypothetical because it isn't exactly clear what is being offered.
3969 But to the extent that it has merit relatively speaking, it does demonstrate, I would have thought, some interest in the community and, as I say, higher than other non‑South Asian groups in the community.
3970 I don't know what you think we ought to draw from that, to the extent that we attach weight to it.
3971 MR. CHAN: I'm sorry, can you rephrase the question again?
3972 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just to say that you mentioned the point that you think the Chinese community is very well served ‑‑
3973 MR. CHAN: Is well served, yes.
3974 THE CHAIRPERSON: ‑‑ and here is evidence that while they may be well served they are still very interested, more interested in fact than other East Asian groups, in the kind of service that is being put forward by groups like Mainstream?
3975 MR. CHAN: I think what Mainstream is now proposing is majorly focused on South Asian programming, I think which everybody agrees. I think the focus on this round of applications is how to serve the under served South Asian community.
3976 THE CHAIRPERSON: But is Mainstream not also offering some Chinese programming?
3977 MR. CHAN: No, not in their application.
3978 THE CHAIRPERSON: They are not. No, I guess that is correct.
3979 I guess that's fair. The question that I think was asked to them was a question about a new service. I'm not sure in the question ‑‑ do we have that ‑‑ whether in fact it was detailed as to whether or not there would be Chinese programming.
3980 You are absolutely right, their application doesn't include any at this point.
3981 MR. CHAN: Yes. But we only put it down in our intervention mentioning that CHMB may have the incentive to one day migrate some of the programming into Chinese. That is our concern.
3982 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I have those answers, thank you. Thank you very much.
3983 MR. CHAN: Thank you.
3984 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary.
3985 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3986 For the record, I would like to indicate that intervenor Nos. 7, 19 and 21 have elected not to appear at the hearing. Those interventions will remain on the record as non‑appearing interventions.
3987 The next appearing intervention will appear via prerecorded tape, Mr. T. Sher Singh.
3988 MR. SINGH: To begin with, I will explain that I have been involved both with the media and with new immigrant issues, new Canadian issues, for more than 20 years. I am fully familiar with the work done by both Rogers, through its CFMT, and currently the OMNI Television network, as well as by the work done by CHIN through the years. Both have done phenomenal work, very successful ventures and projects in the community in trying to further the needs, the media, the television/radio needs for the various constituent communities in Canada.
3989 I believe that the success that both Rogers and CHIN have had up to now, particularly in Toronto and Ontario, holds them in good stead for this application. I say that because generally this area is a minefield. When you are dealing with more than just your own community's needs, when you are dealing with a number of communities, when you are dealing with how to assist these communities and be a catalyst for them to gradually become Canadian, then you are also dealing with competing interests, particularly when you are dealing with new Canadians who have yet to fully become part of the local landscape.
3990 Both of them have been extremely successful in setting a template of how to do it and do it well and do it without creating any problems, in fact doing the opposite and bringing all of these communities together in a common vision.
3991 Having done so, I would suggest that their experience is easily transportable to both the radio scene, as the experience of OMNI has been in the television area, and to the Vancouver scene. Because communities in Vancouver are quite similar to the communities in Toronto and Ontario in terms of the diversity. The challenges are the same, the needs are the same.
3992 Second, there is a need, and an urgent need, for experienced people in the community to come into Vancouver and assist these multiple communities to work towards a common goal.
3993 It is easy for individual ethnic stations ‑‑ and there are many and they have done a human service locally in Vancouver and in B.C. ‑‑ to cater to the needs of their individual communities. But where it comes to dealing with multilingual issues, dealing with a not only Sikh community for example, or the South Asian community, but there is a multiplicity of communities, Chinese, black, et cetera, et cetera. When you are faced with those challenges, then you need to be able to fall back upon the experiences and the successes that they have had in Toronto and Ontario.
3994 The challenges of the communities, particularly in Vancouver, are phenomenal. The power of radio is dual, it is double‑edged. Either it can help to unite the communities, the community, each individual community and the communities collectively, or divide them.
3995 I believe very, very strongly that it is time for OMNI and Rogers and CHIN to bring their successes that they have had in Toronto and Ontario and bring it to Vancouver and to B.C. and to be able to assist in these communities in working together towards a common vision.
3996 It is easy to deal with their basic needs to connect with their heritage, but it is not an easy task and it is not something that can be learned just on the run as to how to assist these communities to become Canadian. I feel that it is such a fundamental part of the responsibility of the media in this country to assist in that process, particularly for the new immigrant communities, that it is so important in this particular context, the Vancouver context and the B.C. context, and therefore I believe that this application, these applicants, are ideal for the job.
3997 It is not the kind of job where one can learn on the job because, as I pointed out earlier, it is a minefield. There are all sorts of difficulties. The Toronto experience shows that you can cater to 60, 70, 80 different communities and yet be able to get them to work together in a professional manner.
3998 The Vancouver community is as diverse as Toronto's or Ontario's, it has a variety of communities. My own community, the Sikh community for example, is substantial, approximately 40 per cent of the, say, 350,000 to 400,000 Sikh Canadians live in the Vancouver and B.C. area. The South Asian community is thriving. It is a large community there. Their needs are urgent. They are not being met there. Certainly they are not being met by the individual programs and stations that cater to the individual linguistic needs, whether it is Punjabi or Hindi or Urdu, and so on and so forth.
3999 There are, I understand, some service providers from across the border. That certainly cannot help the needs of this community. This community is a new Canadian community. It is has issues that are very unique to Canada and therefore the service has to be provided by somebody who has experience in Canada, who understands the needs of Canada, who understands what the vision of Canada is, who understands what the dynamics of these various communities are.
4000 Therefore, this is an added reason, urgent reason that we bring in people who are Canadian, who understand that the needs are Canadian. The people whose needs are being catered to are Canadian, the issues that need to be addressed are Canadian, and so on and so forth.
4001 The final reason I would suggest that these applicants are the ideal ones to fulfil this role is that I believe that they have been able to bring a new and a high level of professionalism in the area of ethnic broadcasting.
4002 We new Canadians ‑‑ and I have been in Canada merely for 35 years, I immigrated here ‑‑ we are always challenged by the fact that the networks or the programmers who are serving the community have limited resources and they are only able to deal with the day‑to‑day needs of the communities. They do not have the ability to improve the standards, the quality of the broadcasted programs, and they do not have the resources to be able to move further into the larger issues such as dealing with becoming Canadian, dealing with Canadian issues, dealing with larger issues that brings us all together coast to coast.
4003 OMNI and CHIN have addressed these issues and have addressed them successfully in Toronto and Ontario, both in the television and in the radio fields, and I feel it is so important that they be able to bring that level of professionalism.
4004 Just bringing professionalism on their own is not enough. What they have managed to do is really raise the standards of the entire industry. I have seen it in the last 20 years for example. From a time 20 years ago when we were plagued with very, very mediocre, to use a kind word, programming to now people are program ‑‑ producers are network producers who are forced to meet the high standards that have been set by OMNI and CHIN.
4005 I would suggest that the same process will happen very quickly if these applicants are allowed to raise the standards in this new market as well by bringing their experience to this field, experience not just in bringing communities together but in being the catalyst for then to become Canadian.
4006 I hope I have been of some help to you. Thank you.
4007 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Williams questions are on tape.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4008 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We have no questions.
4009 Mr. Secretary...?
4010 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4011 The next intervenors will be appearing as a panel: The People's Law School, Mr. Gordon McLeod Hardy; the Canadian Ethnic Journalists' and Writers' Club, Mr. Ben Viccari; Dr. Yoe Sook Youn; and Sashi Assanand.
4012 MR. LEBEL: Could I ask you, please, to identify yourself before you speak. You each have 10 minutes to make your presentation. Thank you.
4013 MR. HARDY: My name is Gordon Hardy, the Executive Director of the People's Law School.
4014 MR. LEBEL: Go ahead and make your presentation, please.
4015 MR. HARDY: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. It is a pleasure to be here. As I just mentioned, my name is Gordon Hardy and I appear on behalf of the People's Law School.
4016 The People's Law School is a registered charity of which I am the Executive Director. We are headquartered here in Vancouver, but provide services throughout British Columbia.
4017 For more than 30 years now we have provided education to British Columbians on a variety of every day important legal topics. We do this primarily by means of free law classes, plain language booklets, radio broadcasts and theatre presentations at schools.
4018 As early as 1975 we recognized the need to provide education about the law to Greater Vancouver's growing immigrant communities. As you no doubt know, Greater Vancouver is home to Canada's third largest immigrant population.
4019 It is for this reason that we support the application by Rogers Broadcasting and CHIN Radio for an FM licence. I assure you that such an addition to the media spectrum would be a highly significant asset to our public legal education efforts directed towards immigrant and ethnocultural communities.
4020 We rely on the use of the ethnic news media as a means of reaching out to the ethnocultural communities of British Columbia. We know from experience that much of what immigrants learn about their new home in Canada is by means of the ethnic media.
4021 Please allow me to briefly outline some highlights of our recent media‑based educational efforts aimed at immigrant and ethnocultural communities.
4022 During our most recent fiscal year our program staff organized 132 instances of coverage on popular legal topics by means of the ethnic media. We arranged, for example, the broadcast of six TV programs in Punjabi; we placed 36 newspaper articles in Punjabi, Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese newspapers; and, most importantly, we arranged for the production of 90 radio broadcasts in these same languages.
4023 Our media programming covers a wide range of legal topics of importance to immigrant communities. These include child protection law; criminal law; drunk driving law; marriage, separation and divorce; landlord and tenant law; power of attorney; family violence and writing a will.
4024 Volunteer guests on our radio programs include lawyers, police officers, notaries public, medical doctors and immigrant councillors. Many of our radio program broadcasts are live phone‑in programs. The phone‑in segment allows listeners to call and ask questions of our guests. All of these phone‑in programs have generated a very lively response from their audiences.
4025 Our staff work in close collaboration with the staff of immigrants serving organizations, as well as the hosts of radio programs, in identifying the legal information needs of their clients and communities.
4026 We are now in the process of implementing the second year of our family violence initiative, a four‑year project funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage and operating here in Vancouver, as well as in Montreal and Toronto.
4027 The initiative focuses on the prevention of four types of family violence in immigrant and ethnocultural communities. These are wife assaults, child abuse and neglect, elder abuse and neglect, and the abuse and neglect of family members with disabilities.
4028 A key operational component of the initiative is our use of ethnic radio broadcasts to promote awareness and education about the damaging effects and possible legal consequences of family violence.
4029 From what I have said I think you will understand why we welcome the enhanced opportunities for our radio broadcasts as represented by the application by Rogers Broadcasting and CHIN Radio.
4030 We have learned from experience that radio is a particularly effective medium for broadcasting information to these communities. For one thing, radio is easily accessible to people going about their normal lives, whether this be caring for children at home, driving to work or simply relaxing in their spare time. As well, many newcomers to Canada face literacy problems in their home language. Radio avoids this problem.
4031 We would welcome the arrival of a new locally based ethnic radio station in Vancouver, especially one operated by Rogers Broadcasting and CHIN Radio, with their strong commitment to community involvement.
4032 Rogers Broadcasting, through their CFMT television outlet in Toronto, played a very valuable role in an earlier phase of the family violence initiative by donating $500,000 in air time and by producing a public service announcement in 15 languages which we played here in Vancouver.
4033 CFMT also participated as the only broadcaster in the Federal Government's Inter‑Ministerial Committee on Family Violence. It is through the family violence initiative that I came to know of the excellent work done by this group in stimulating ethnocultural diversity in radio and television.
4034 I am confident that the combined and long time experience of CHIN Radio and CFMT has created the expertise with which to successfully launch the proposed Vancouver station, and with the cultural sensitivity appropriate to this area.
4035 We note that the applicants have correctly identified the fact that Vancouver's existing ethnic radio stations focus most of their programming towards our city's numerous Chinese‑speaking population, while under serving other significant ethnic populations such as the South Asian community and others.
4036 The applicants propose to rectify this situation by limiting their Chinese‑language programming to 20 per cent of this nation's broadcast week, and by providing program time to 18 ethnic groups in at least 18 languages.
4037 We would welcome this greater diversity of radio broadcasting, as would the ethnic communities that are currently under served.
4038 We also commend the applicants for their commitment to contribute a minimum of $100,000 annually to initiatives which would develop Canadian talent, such as independent production of radio features and programs.
4039 This application is important to the People's Law School, because it gives further support to our belief in radio as a vital medium for educating both immigrants and established members of ethnocultural communities about their rights and responsibilities under the law.
4040 I close, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen, in thanking you on behalf of the People's Law School for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the applicants.
4041 MR. ROMANIW: Hello, Commissioners. My name is Oleh Romaniw and I am pleased to appear before you today in supporting of Rogers Broadcasting, CHIN Radio and OMNI TV's application for a radio station in the Vancouver area.
4042 I am the President of the Canadian Ethnocultural Council. Unfortunately, one of our executive members, Dr. Yoe Sook Youn, who wrote a letter in support and lives in the Vancouver area was not able to intervene and she sends her regrets.
4043 The CEC is a national coalition which represents over 30 ethnocultural associations across Canada. Many have provincial bodies and local chapters. We also work in partnership with a number of affiliated community and voluntary groups who share a similar vision and who support the mandate of the CEC, which is to ensure sharing of cultural heritage of Canadians, to facilitate the removal of barriers that prevent Canadians from participating fully and equally in society, to eliminate racism and to preserve a united Canada.
4044 The underlying thrust of our work is the respect for the understanding of the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and policy. These objectives are compatible to the applicant's objectives for a new radio multilingual and multicultural station in the Vancouver area.
4045 You have before you an application which brings together the pioneers in the media industry. They help define our multicultural broadcasting history. Combined, Rogers, CHIN and OMNI offer decades of experience, knowledge and expertise which is unparalleled in this country.
4046 It can be said that these organizations have not only helped define the industry, but they have been the primary movers in developing Canada's multicultural character and policy. OMNI's leadership in the recent task force for cultural diversity on television is a case in point.
4047 Through years of experience, Rogers, CHIN and OMNI have developed a formula for success in a very difficult market. The success lies in creating environments for strong cultural programming for older, established communities and also allowing new and emerging communities to develop and to be given a voice.
4048 This mixture of small and strong larger ethnic communities is what helps define their successful approach. By combining these they have strengthened the foundation for diversity programming and allowed for all diverse voices to be heard.
4049 Throughout the years of programming OMNI and CHIN have become what amounts to an unrecognized centre for training and community development by allowing a neglected Canadian talent pool to develop and grow within the ethnic communities. Their ability to develop programming which is sensitive and knowledgeable of local community concerns have created a strong and loyal audience base.
4050 The CEC had the opportunity to work with CHIN Radio and OMNI in Ontario. Both have demonstrated insight, sensitivity and respect for the communities they serve.
4051 CHIN, for example, is new to the Ottawa area, however the CEC's Executive Director has worked closely with them on a number of initiatives. She has related to me how quickly CHIN has become an Ottawa institution and helped create a new sense of community in our national capital. In a very short time it has brought communities together and it is evident that they fill the void.
4052 Our involvement with OMNI has also demonstrated to us an ability to understand the issues affecting the cultural communities. OMNI has offered programming which reflects this understanding through a number of initiatives such as the independent producers' initiative, which is an amazing reflection of Canadian stories which would not otherwise have been told.
4053 The public service announcements. We had the opportunity to have a PSA produced with OMNI and a special program on a conference on community capacity building with the CEC.
4054 These are just some of the examples which demonstrate their openness to understand and work with diverse communities. The initiatives proposed in the application will continue to draw on proven expertise and will create new opportunities to engage the ethnic communities and to develop new talent. The music competition, the specialized media literary course, the independent production of PSA and the ethnic recording catalogue are important in building upon past initiatives.
4055 Rogers, CHIN and OMNI can draw from their experience with communities in Vancouver and in Ontario. They have the added advantage of being a link and bridge to other parts of the country to share on national discourse. It is important that links to other provinces and cities be developed as much as possible in order to share Canadian knowledge and experiences and help build our cultural industries.
4056 As President of the CEC I am aware of the needs of the third sector, as we sometimes call third language communities. Unfortunately, the third sector is sometimes the forgotten sector. There are many special needs that ethnocultural communities across Canada have that go unnoticed and therefore are not addressed, but increasingly policy makers are beginning to recognize that we have to support the social and cultural capital that Canada has built through the creation of third language communities.
4057 All communities need a place to grow, both physically and psychologically. This application allows the small or new emerging communities to have a voice and older, established under served ones to have their space.
4058 The United Nations has recently emphasized the importance of allowing ethnic communities to exist as part of a democratic development. In their landmark Human Development Report of November 2004 entitled "Cultural Liberty in Today's Diverse World" the UN noted that:
"Cultural liberty enriches people's lives and is part of human development, a necessary component of living in a globalized world." (As read)
4059 The application by Rogers, CHIN not only brings Canadian values and vision to this UN concept based on proven track record.
4060 Commissioners, you have in front of you a unique opportunity which brings together incredible knowledge, expertise and the solid financial resource to successfully create and sustain a station which will serve the Vancouver community in an inclusive and representative way.
4061 On their own, the applicants have demonstrated winning formulas in engaging new and under served communities, as well as larger ethnic communities. Combined they will offer an opportunity which cannot be passed up. I urge you to approve this application.
4062 Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today.
4063 MS ASSANAND: Good morning. My name is Shashi Assanand and I am the Executive Director of Vancouver and Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services.
4064 On behalf of the Vancouver and Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society I would like to thank you for this opportunity to speak on behalf of the applicant for an FM licence.
4065 Mr. Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, as Executive Director of the Society I hope to show you how important to our work radio has become and, therefore, how essential it is that we have an additional and, what is as important, highly qualified multicultural radio facility in Vancouver, a facility such as that offered by Roger Broadcasting and CHIN Radio in this particular application.
4066 Let me very briefly outline the work of the Vancouver and Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services Society, which I shall hereinafter, in the interest of time, refer to as the Society.
4067 We were established as a non‑profit organization in September 1991 to serve immigrant and visible minority women, their families, including the children when they are experiencing family violence. We provide a safe and non‑judgmental environment for women, their children, in their own languages and culture. Our services are bilingual, bicultural.
4068 Individual counselling is provided at the office, out of the office and over the phone. We also provide group counselling in support and counselling to women victims of sexual assault and adult survivors of sexual abuse, emergency interventions and referrals to appropriate resources. Our services are provided in 24 different languages.
4069 Our work embraces a variety of outreach activities all centred around the well‑being of families through orientation and creation of greater harmony in conveying our message to a wide variety of cultures.
4070 Since 1998, through the ethnic media, we have been reaching out to the ethnic minority communities in order to provide information and open a dialogue on the issue of family violence, which includes wife abuse, child abuse and senior abuse. Educational radio and television series aimed at 11 different communities were broadcast in the languages of their own origin, and they were presented in a culturally sensitive manner with the help of the community professionals and, as a result, get the community to look at it as a concerted effort not just by our organization but other professionals who work in the community as well.
4071 I should state that in discussing Rogers dedication to ethnocultural communities I have nothing but praise. From the beginning of our society when community cable television programming in this area was the domain of Rogers Cable, we were given both airtime and valuable technical advice that enabled us to present more effective programming. What we learned has sustained us through the transition of cable to Shaw, which I must add has been extremely cooperative and supportive.
4072 Another instance has been the assistance given to us by OMNI Television through Madeline Ziniak, who is here, the Vice‑President.
4073 A few years ago, in cooperation with the Department of Canadian Heritage, OMNI developed a series of multicultural public service television announcements on family violence which we were most happy to assist her placing through British Columbia. The amazing part of these PSAs was that rather than stereotyping any one particular community, they had created in so many different languages figures that really showed the impact on families of family violence through children and the impact of what happens to the children when they are experiencing family violence or witnessing violence at home.
4074 Rogers partnership with CHIN Radio is an indication to me that they also display a tremendous cultural sensitivity when it comes to ethnic minority communities.
4075 Let's turn to the radio and our reasons for helping strongly that Rogers and CHIN combination is the right one to provide much needed air presence in Vancouver.
4076 First, since we are a multicultural‑oriented agency there is a long service for both and they have been broadcasting to the ethnocultural communities, that is 38 years for CHIN and 26 years for OMNI plus, of course, the aforementioned Rogers Community Cable service which pioneered ethnically‑oriented television from the inception of cable services in Canada. Since my presence in Canada, which is since 1974, Rogers has been one group that every time I wanted to see any ethnic programming, and specifically for South Asian persons like me, that Rogers was the one I turned to.
4077 Second, with the white experience of expanding programming to new ethnic audiences, their ability to target hitherto under serviced radio audiences in Vancouver with Canadian‑originated programming is beyond question. To this end, Rogers considerable radio expertise with their station in ‑‑ they have three stations here in Vancouver, will also be an asset.
4078 I just want to point out that it is important to note that besides Chinese and Punjabi there are other communities that require to get information in their own languages, and my experience shows that they really tune in when they see it is their community and in their own language.
4079 Third, initiative promised in the application to boost independent production plus integration of local employment policies demonstrates that there is a will to integrate as community members and not as absentee owners. That dependence on people who are in Vancouver is going to increase the ability of Vancouver to look at its own specific programming that is needed here.
4080 Fourth, and most important to the Society, is the Rogers track record in its stand against family violence, one of the main social problems with which this organization deals. I have already testified to the zeal with which OMNI, Rogers Cable and Rogers Radio people have worked with Canadian agencies like ours to own and to help eradicate this social cancer.
4081 Family violence issues is an issue which is a tabooed issue in all Canadian societies. When it comes to the ethnic and immigrant population we find we have a tremendous ‑‑ too many barriers that we have to deal with when we are trying to reach them and their support has been tremendous.
4082 Fifth, I need to highly state that both Rogers and CHIN's ability to survive and expand in today's highly competitive business world bespeaks their financial management skills.
4083 Over the years that we have worked with the media ‑‑ and this was through the Canadian Heritage funding ‑‑ we have become very knowledgeable about the fact that media is one of the powerful tools to reach out to the communities. I find that if we get the support from the media it helps our work far more, and in fact all the work that we have done so far we actually see that there has been a dialogue. People re talking about this issue, whereas at one time there was a fear in talking about family violence in ethnic minority communities because of the fear that they would be stereotyped.
4084 Each time I have gone to Toronto I have met with OMNI Chair and also seen the OMNI studio and I have been very impressed with the cultural sensitivity and the way that they have dealt with the ethnic minority communities, even through their programming that when I am in a hotel room I am looking at it and I am really impressed how they are dealing with the issues.
4085 So I have absolutely nothing but praise for both these groups and we do not hesitate to state our firm belief that the above applicants deserve the Commission's careful consideration of the application and decision, which I'm sure you must believe is the most appropriate one in redressing a current imbalance in programming delivery.
4086 Thank you very much.
4087 MR. YANCOFF: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Bill Yancoff. I am the Events Chair and Board Member of the Canadian Ethnic Journalists' and Writers' Club and I am here today on behalf of our President Ben Viccari who underwent minor surgery on Monday and he regrets he can't appear. I am also a journalist and producer of the Macedonian Heritage Hour seen weekly in Ontario over OMNI.1.
4088 Our club's membership originates from across the country. We feel the club is well‑positioned to advocate your acceptance of this application by Rogers Broadcasting and CHIN Radio to establish a new FM station in Vancouver, because if there is one thing we stand for above all others it is inclusivity. That is what this new station will represent in this area.
4089 The very reason for the founding of our club 27 years ago by Sierhey Khmara Ziniak was inclusivity. In 1978 membership in the existing Ethnic Media Association was open only to the print media, and then only publishers were admitted. Why not editors? Why not radio people? In 1978 multilingual television was coming up for review by the Commission.
4090 We operate without government funding and our mission is threefold, to provide for gatherings of like‑minded communicators to meet with leading persons in the fields of politics, education, social services and the arts and sciences, to create greater awareness of ethnic journalism and broadcasting as a positive force in this multicultural community that is Canada, and through our Web site and other means to act as a resource on the subject of ethnic communications.
4091 Each year we present juried awards in four categories, print, radio, television and Internet. These awards are open to all Canadians writing or broadcasting on subjects relating to Canada's diversity and winners have included men and women from VisionTV, the Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and CBC, as well as those directly involved in ethnic journalism.
4092 In addition, in recent years the Sierhey Khmara Ziniak award has been given to a single person whose body of work has advanced the understanding of Canada's diversity. Winners have included Jean LaRose, President of the Aboriginal Peoples' Television Network and the late Montreal Gazette columnist Ashok Chandwani, as well as ethnic journalists, writers and producers.
4093 With our membership representing more than 40 different cultural heritages, we feel well qualified to speak on ethnic broadcasting and its community potential.
4094 What is this potential? In the first place, ethnic communities everywhere in Canada, as part of an officially multicultural nation with a multicultural broadcasting policy, are entitled to specialized communications for many reasons, primarily because a majority of newcomers have an understandable difficulty with learning one or both of our official languages need to read or hear their language of comfort. This facility is even appreciated by those who come here with an official language. This need becomes pronounced again with many persons as they age.
4095 Beyond the essential needs of communication to adapt to life in a new land are aspects of a society that holds free elections, enjoys a federal system of government and is governed by laws enacted on different levels, federal, provincial and municipal. Information about matters of this kind more easily absorbed by many in a third language, all contribute to creating good productive citizens.
4096 There is a third and not always sufficiently recognized benefit to this nation's multicultural fabric, the encouragement of second generation Canadians to learn a heritage language and reaffirm their ethnocultural identity.
4097 I can testify to this. My weekly television program is in the Macedonian language. During my early years I didn't speak the language well, just basically communicating with my grandmother and a few words here and there, but as I entered my teens I felt the urge to recapture a part of my heritage, learned the language fluently and began some in‑depth studies resulting eventually in my career in multicultural broadcasting.
4098 After college I started off as a reporter for CJCL Radio in Toronto and as a junior hockey reporter for the Globe and Mail. In fact, I was commissioned by the Globe and Mail to write and article about Macedonia, where my parents are from. This trip to my parent's homeland inspired me to delve more into my heritage.
4099 I then began my broadcasting career with the intent of promoting my Macedonian heritage. My first foray into ethnocultural broadcasting was with CHIN Radio International and Mr. Lenny Lombardi. I started out producing the Macedonian Mosaic Show, which aired as a part of CHIN's multicultural programming on Citytv for two years.
4100 Lenny and his team were invaluable as a resource for me, and I also learned a great deal about the whole ethnocultural broadcasting business from Lenny.
4101 This served as a stepping stone for my next endeavour, producing the Macedonian Heritage Program on OMNI television beginning in 1990. I have been an independent producer with OMNI for 15 years. Our show started out as a half our program and just two and a half years ago the Macedonian Heritage Hour was launched.
4102 OMNI's assistance over the years has been phenomenal. From development grants which have enabled us to purchase a state‑of‑the‑art camera and enhance our on‑air production, to making a lifelong dream of mine a reality, producing my first documentary, which coincidentally is about Ed Jovanovski of the Vancouver Canucks.
4103 OMNI has helped me evolve both personally and professionally and has also helped the Macedonian community ‑‑ which is not a large community ‑‑ have a voice in our multicultural mosaic. Our program is the community's lifeline to their heritage.
4104 The proposal to establish this new station is the hands of two highly qualified applicants with a combined experience of more than 60 years of multilingual, multicultural broadcasting today, encompassing some 80 individual cultural communities. I would venture to state that in its field this experience is unmatched anywhere in North America.
4105 The Canadian Ethnic Journalists' and Writers' Club endorses the principles embodied in the application, which clearly outline what the two parties would combine to provide.
4106 First, service to under served communities and, where broadcasting from outside Canada currently serves certain communities, a quality Canadian alternative with its consequent benefit to the local economy would be desirable.
4107 This application is consonant with the Commission's ethnic broadcasting policy, which states that:
"Ethnic stations will continue to be required to serve a broad range of ethnic groups within their service area, broad service requirement. However, when setting the number of groups that each station must serve, the Commission will consider the quality of service to each group and the existing level of ethnic programming from all sources in the market. As such, in some cases individual ethnic stations may be permitted to serve fewer groups in some communities." (As read)
4108 In Vancouver this policy has left some imbalance in the number of ethnocultural groups access by radio. As members of the Canadian Ethnic Journalists' and Writers' Club celebrating, as I have noted, inclusivity, we are indeed gratified to see that the Rogers, CHIN proposal covers such a wide range of communities presently not served.
4109 It is true that some communities are large, some small, and therefore marketing strategies tend to apply a commonsense logic and target the larger communities, but if multiculturalism is to represent the equality we claim for it, then smaller communities must also be served as a recognition of their very existence.
4110 Second, the broad technical experience that is required to produce a well running broadcast system from the word go is implicit in the cultural sensitivity that these two companies offer.
4111 Three, both applicants have Ottawa facilities, a plus in enabling Capital coverage. In fact, just a side note, we have our first Macedonian Member of Parliament, Lui Temelkovski, and the Ottawa Bureau of OMNI regularly sends us material from him and from stuff happening in Parliament and it is really helpful to our show.
4112 Four, special incentives that tie the applicants firmly to the Vancouver area. Among them are:
4113 financial encouragement to independent producers like myself;
4114 support for the marketing and promotion of Canadian recording talent;
4115 finances for the production of public service announcements; and
4116 cross‑cultural talk shows.
4117 In summation, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, we believe that an enhancement of service will appropriately redress this imbalance if an imaginative culturally sensitive, technically proficient and financially sound operation such as that proposed by the applicants is licensed by the Commission.
4118 Thank you.
4119 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
4120 Commissioner Langford.
4121 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I have one question and it is really to all of you, any of you, whoever cares to take it on.
4122 You are here and all of you have made very, very eloquent cases for licensing the applicant of your choice, and indeed the applicant of your choice has roots in this community and has a tradition in this community, but perhaps not as immediate and as deep as the roots of some of the other applicants who actually live here, have lived here all their lives, have groups of people and Boards with them who are immediate citizens.
4123 How do you suggest that we balance against the type of expertise that you have been describing so eloquently? I think the term you used, sir, was able to get going right from the get‑go or whatever. They will start running because they know precisely what they are doing. Some of the other groups before us perhaps don't have that kind of experience.
4124 So how do we balance those two pluses? Which wins in your mind? I would ask you to be as objective as you can, but you must know the sensitivities of these communities, you work with them in some capacity, all of you, as journalists, as producers, as legal advisors.
4125 To use that perfectly horrid colloquial term, which characteristic trumps, either this expertise, this immediate expertise, or the deep, deep community roots and immediate community roots of some of the other applicants?
4126 MR. ROMANIW: From my perspective, I understand the community roots of all the other applicants, but I think you have to look at it from the point of view: Will they be successful?
4127 The ones I have chosen have been successful. They have proven their success over and over and I think that is a very important factor. My organization, the Canadian Ethnocultural Council, as I said, is composed of over 30 organizations and Congresses right across Canada and we have the strength ‑‑ as a national organization we have the clout when we go to see government and other applications.
4128 The smaller groups need to be with a larger group like that before their voice is heard. If they go out on their own, they are not going to be heard at all. That is why I think that an organization that has this experience, proven ability over decades I think has more of a chance of success and achieving the goals that they want to achieve, and I probably think that you Commissioners want them to achieve.
4129 MR. YANCOFF: If I can add to that, I think that Rogers and CHIN ‑‑ because I have been involved with both actually ‑‑ the cultural sensitivity. My origin is Macedonian, so it is a smaller community, but I will just give you one example of how the sensitivity is there and being fair to all Canadians regardless of what their origin is or what the population of that group is.
4130 When Macedonia had a problem with recognition in the early 1990s when it separated from Yugoslavia, there was a big debate in the Toronto community between the Macedonian and the Greek community. In fact, at times it was tumultuous. Mayor Mel Lastman was kicked in the shin at one event.
4131 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I was going to say: What a debate. What a word.
4132 MR. YANCOFF: What Rogers did is they created a debate between the two communities. They let both communities have their say in an open forum, a cross‑cultural debate, and what it really did is it alleviated that tension because both sides gave their point of view, both sides were able to address the issues that were dear to them as Canadians of Macedonian origin or of Greek origin, and I think ever since the relations between the two communities ‑‑ this is just one example, but the relations between the communities have been much more harmonious, we haven't had any major problems since then.
4133 So it is just example of how I think the cultural sensitivity is very, very important in this issue. That is from my perspective as someone of Macedonian origin because I have dealt with that in the past.
4134 MS ASSANAND: I would like to add something more, and that is the fact that they are also expecting that they will be involving people from B.C., from Vancouver in the programming aspect of it, which tells me that the programming will be very current, what is needed at this time because of the people who are going to be involved.
4135 Besides that, I also think that as immigrants, and Canada as a whole country, that it is really ‑‑ I have been Toronto so many times, I have gone to Ottawa and sort of travelled. The project that I am with is a national project, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. What we are finding is, there are so many commonalities in this whole issue of violence against women and children that we can share.
4136 The experience of what Toronto can bring here, at the same time as what Vancouver does and that can be taken back there, is an important factor that needs to be coordinated so that we as immigrant population, I think minority communities are not ghettoized in any way but we are working together.
4137 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4138 Just a follow‑up to that ‑‑ and thank you for your thoughtful presentations, both in writing and today ‑‑ it is a competitive proceeding of course, as you know, and I'm wondering whether you have had any discussions, or your organizations have, with some of the other applicants ‑‑ a number of them have presented a rather high level of spoken word content ‑‑ and whether your decision to support the applicant that you have chosen to was based at all on a comparative assessment following discussions with other applicants in respect of your organizations' interests?
4139 MS ASSANAND: As you noticed, I have also given a letter of support to Radio RimJhim and I.T. Productions.
4140 My experience in working with them has been excellent over the year. It is a very troubled area. Shushma has taken it on with a total knowledge and created ‑‑ so she was one person I found was easy to get to as opposed to other producers that we were working with. There was a tremendous feeling of: Violence doesn't happen in our community and so why deal with it? Or people will look at it as something: Why are you doing it? and holding it against them.
4141 So I do see ‑‑ and I know that experience like that has been enormous. When I listen to the South Asian community and I hear the dialogue already happening, it is an indication to me that yes, of course ‑‑ and I was myself on the radio and I knew the way people were calling in, open line radios, and the number of people who were speaking, it was enormous.
4142 I know with Rogers and their experience that these kinds of things can be collaborated and that it could be wonderful sharing of experience.
4143 MR. ROMANIW: I personally did not have any discourse with any of the other applicants. A lot of this is done in our office in Ottawa with the Executive Director and periodically we sit down and discuss what discussion she has had and consult with our membership.
4144 MR. YANCOFF: Again, our President was the actual person who was mostly involved. I didn't have personal involvement in that.
4145 But I can really testify that I live in Toronto, I live in Ontario. Even though we are still in the same country, we are in the same great country of ours, I think that CHIN and OMNI and Rogers have proven that they are really probably at the top of Canada's ethnic broadcasters. It has been evident to me over the last 20 years that I have been involved.
4146 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Hardy, any comment?
4147 MR. HARDY: I would only comment that I am born in Vancouver, I am a local person. As I mentioned, People's Law School is a Vancouver‑based organization. So I haven't had the opportunity to look at the other applications in detail, but based on my experience with OMNI, the firsthand direct experience, I am confident that their proposal is a strong one and, as Shashi mentioned, they will involve local people.
4148 I think also, in response to your question, sir, I think for this to be successful is going to take a larger organization with a broader perspective.
4149 When we talk about diversity we are not simply talking about providing services to the Indo‑Canadian communities, but to many of the other communities such as the Macedonian community, the South Slav community. There are a number of very small communities who have no voice at all or, if they do have a voice, it is a very, very muted one on very weak channels.
4150 I think that Rogers and CHIN Radio provide a large enough vehicle to not only provide for this greater diversity, which would go beyond the South Asian community, as well as provide a combination of expertise and local involvement that gives me confidence that their application is the strongest one.
4151 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for being with us today. Thank you.
4152 Mr. Secretary...?
4153 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4154 The next appearing intervention will be presented by Rajinder Saini. No. 8.
4155 MR. LEBEL: Mr. Chairman, not seeing anybody coming forward, I will now ask Kiran Aujlay to present her intervention at this time.
4156 MR. LEBEL: Go ahead when you are ready. You have 10 minutes to make your presentation.
4157 MS AUJLAY: Good morning. My name is Kiran Aujlay and I am here in support of the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation's application for a licence for an FM station.
4158 I will give you fair warning, I have by no means prepared something that is formal so this is pretty much going to come straight from the heart.
4159 I am basically here to serve as an example of the positive impact that Music Waves has had on the South Asian community.
4160 Just to give you a little background on myself, I am a recent UBC graduate. Last year, in May of 2004, I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts in English, but I am also a wheelchair athlete. I have competed at the regional, provincial and national level. I have also competed internationally.
4161 Until recently I did not really have a voice in the Indian community and it was Music Waves that actually heard my story and my accomplishments and approached me and brought my story to the South Asian community.
4162 The unique thing about Music Waves is that they are very aware of what is happening in the community, not only to the adult South Asian community but also to the youth, and so I am here as a representative also of the young Indo‑Canadian population in Canada.
4163 Also, in regards for them to have an FM station, I think that would be great because, as a youth, we are more likely to tune into something that is on the FM dial.
4164 Keep in mind that a corporation such as the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation, these are a number of volunteers that are volunteering their time to bring these stories out to the community and my story is one that was overlooked by the larger corporations that are being paid to bring these sorts of stories out to the community.
4165 I also feel that Music Waves would be the most idea candidate for this FM station because not only are they targeting newly arrived immigrants, but they are also targeting first generation, such as myself. Their stories are very accessible to all sorts of communities.
4166 When my story was put out by Music Waves, it was not only individuals in the Indo‑Canadian community in Vancouver but also across Canada. I was getting phone calls from Winnipeg, from Ontario, all the way from New Brunswick, so people are tuning in to what Music Waves has to say because what they are saying is representative of all ages in the South Asian ‑‑ not only in the South Asian community. I have had friends that are not of South Asian descent that have actually tuned in just because of the issues that they deal with as accessible to all Canadians.
4167 I really think that for someone who is a newly arrived immigrant to have a station such as the one that South Asian Broadcasting Corporation has in mind is great, because immigrants are very aware of the fact that they have moved to the best country in the world, but oftentimes they don't have access to the issues and the ongoing events simply because there is that language barrier. So I think that Music Waves would be the best candidate for this application.
4168 Basically, I am here as a representative not only of the Indo‑Canadian youth but of the youth of Canada. I am also representative of the female population and I am also representative of the disabled population. As a representative of those three groups I honestly feel that Music Waves would do justice to having an FM station.
4169 Thank you.
4170 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4171 Commissioner Williams...?
4172 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: I don't have many questions. I have read your written intervention and it is very thorough.
4173 I guess one of the things that popped out at me is that:
"Music Waves has continued to follow up with me since tracking my progress as I have worked towards reaching the highest goal in my sport at the Paralympics." (As read)
4174 How are you progressing and what have they done to follow up?
4175 MS AUJLAY: Actually, they interviewed me right from the very beginning and they have been very thorough. I have competed, as I worked my way up from regional to a provincial athlete to competing with the national team they constantly put out this information because there was so much positive feedback from the community. People were saying "These are the stories that we want to hear that aren't being told, that are overlooked." They have been amazing in that.
4176 And they do, whatever the community ‑‑ the feedback that they get from the community, they have worked hard to ensure that what the community stands for, be it the South Asian community or the Canadian multicultural community, they have worked hard to fortify the Canadian identity by following up on stories such as my own.
4177 COMMISSIONER WILLIAMS: Okay. Thank you very much. Good luck with your goals.
4178 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for appearing before us today.
4179 Mr. Secretary...?
4180 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4181 The next interventions will be appearing as a panel: Harleen Gill, Baljit Singh Deo, Inder Mehat, Raminderjit Dhami, Harbajan Mann and Amar Kainth.
4182 MR. LEBEL: Please identify yourselves before speaking. Thank you.
4183 MR. MEHAT: My name is Inder Mehat and I am speaking today in support of the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation's application to the CRTC for an FM radio station.
4184 Given the time allotted for this presentation, I'm not going to speaking to my background, but I have provided for the Commissioner's purposes a brief résumé attached to my presentation at the end. The reason I have done that is that I think that information provides a context for the comments that I am about to make.
4185 The merits of the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation's application need to be assessed in terms of the values and knowledge skills and abilities of the applicant and the organizational infrastructure supporting South Asian Broadcasting Corporation.
4186 Let me first speak to the values that Kulwinder Sanghera and his team bring to the media industry and to the community at large.
4187 Having taught English as a second language to Kulwinder and two of his associates in 1981, I can speak firsthand to the dedication and commitment with which Kulwinder and his management team undertakes their work. Business practices are fair, ethical and inclusive of youth, gender and the larger South Asian community. Their work is consistent with the principles of multiculturalism and human rights and meets the requirements of the CRTC.
4188 As a former teacher it is with great pleasure that I can confirm for you today that my former students have exceeded my expectations related to achievement. The management team collectively is the epitome of excellence in terms of the contributions they have made to the development of multiculturalism in Canada.
4189 Stakeholders across Canada expect organizations to be socially and ethically responsible. What is important to realize is that South Asian Broadcasting Corporation is based on ethical and socially responsible principles. The Conference Board of Canada's Web site states ‑‑ and I quote from that Web site:
"There is an urgent need to launch a process of strengthening Canadians' trust in Canadian corporations and public institutions. The Conference Board of Canada is launching rebuilding trust in Canadian institutions to respond to this need. The purpose of the project is to provide public and private sector organizations with the capacity to rebuild and/or strengthen public trust." (As read)
4190 End of quote.
4191 I suggest to you that South Asian Broadcasting Corporation surpasses the expectations of this initiative. The corporation has already gained community trust which has been earned through sincere face‑to‑face business transactions with cultural communities.
4192 The corporation's philosophy promotes interaction, accessibility and visibility. This allows the management team to respond appropriately, in a timely fashion to local issues.
4193 There is an urban myth in our society that states: Small to medium‑sized locally based businesses in the Lower Mainland of B.C. are incapable of operating and sustaining a radio station. This myth purports that nurturing of cultural minority communities is required before these communities can develop the skills and abilities to appropriately manage a radio station.
4194 I suggest to you that given the positive track record of the management team of South Asian Broadcasting Corporation this myth has been shattered. South Asian Broadcasting Corporation is a business enterprise that is ready, able and willing to take on the challenge of starting and sustaining a radio station. It has the capacity, the capability and the credibility to do the job right.
4195 The supporting infrastructure for the application is provided by Music Waves and Ravi Video, the storefront business centre that has seen unprecedented growth in the Indian music market.
4196 Collectively, this infrastructure has resulted in a broad range of services to the South Asian community, including storefront retail services, television programs, media editing and production facilities, consulting services and, more recently, the building of a banquet hall to meet the needs of youth, families and professional groups.
4197 The diversification of this business through recording studios, television, retail storefronts and now radio broadcasting, leads to higher economies of scale and a more efficient enterprise. This translates into higher levels of profiling across different media platforms for local artists.
4198 Surrey is the fastest growing city in the Lower Mainland. The school student population of Surrey has already exceeded that of Vancouver. Housing construction continues to expand in Surrey. Some banks and businesses have relocated their headquarters from Vancouver to Surrey. New immigrants to Canada, including South Asians, continue to settle in Surrey due to the availability of culturally diverse services. The above growth pattern for Surrey provides evidence that the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation is located strategically in the hub of the community where it can continue to provide culturally responsive services to meet the needs of diverse cultural communities.
4199 The summative assessment of any organization must be based on established criteria. In meeting the requirements of the application, South Asian Broadcasting Corporation has presented its position to the CRTC. Let me put South Asian Broadcasting Corporation to the multiculturalism test. As a former teacher I just couldn't resist giving them a test.
4200 Does South Asian Broadcasting Corporation, or SABC, allow for the participation of individual and communities identified in the application?
4201 Does SABC support the concept of direct voice in reporting news rather than just translating news?
4202 Does SABC ensure that all cultural communities, staff members, clients and customers are treated with respect and dignity?
4203 Does SABC foster the recognition and appreciation of the diverse cultures of Canadian society and promote the reflection and the evolving expressions of those cultures?
4204 Does SABC enhance the use of languages other than English and French, while strengthening the status and use of the official languages of Canada?
4205 Does SABC promote cross‑cultural understanding and respect and attitudes and perception that lead to harmony?
4206 Does SABC work towards building a society in Canada free from all forms of racism and from conflict and discrimination based on race, cultural heritage, religion, ethnicity, ancestry and place of origin?
4207 The ultimate question is: Does SABC, or does South Asian Broadcasting Corporation, pass this multiculturalism test?
4208 Having conducted similar assessments, reviews and accreditation reports in schools and ministries and Crown corporations, my answer is a resounding yes.
4209 In conclusion, South Asian Broadcasting Corporation has a capacity in terms of both infrastructure and experience to provide an effective radio program to meet the needs of the diverse cultural communities. The team is knowledgeable about the needs of the South Asian community and has extensive links with youth as well as the diverse communities.
4210 Finally, the values of the team are consistent with the multicultural human rights policies of Canadian society and the principles of social responsibilities. These are the tenets on which their business enterprise is built.
4211 I want to thank the CRTC, including the Chairperson, Commissioners and staff members present today, for the valuable work that is being undertaken to strengthen Canadian society and building a stronger Canadian identity within the framework of multiculturalism.
4212 MS GILL: Good morning, Chairman, Members of the Commission. I am Harleen Gill. I am under the assumption that you have already had the opportunity to read my letter of recommendation.
4213 I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity to attend in person today. What I bring to the table are two distinct components of myself that back up and support the application of the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation.
4214 A little bit about myself. I was born and raised in Kamloops, B.C., a community of about 90,000 about three and half hours from here, I moved to the Lower Mainland about five years ago to attend school. I attended UBC and have obtained my political science degree. I am now a General Duty Constable with the RCMP stationed out of North Vancouver.
4215 The two elements that I am here to cover today are, firstly, the street level grassroots experience that I have with the community.
4216 There is no comparison to being a first responder in emergency response. I see the basic issues that affect society and have a strong belief that a lack of information and, more specifically, information is an ethnic context is greatly lacking.
4217 In praise of the applicant, I have seen and been involved in many progressive information segments that they have put forth already. I have discussed and planned future programming that we are working on that can positively affect the community. I am a firm believer of ownership of the community by the community and I think that the type of programming being offered by the applicant becomes a catalyst for the community and facilitates progress.
4218 Broadcasting is such a powerful tool that can impact so many people and I am confident that the South Asian Broadcasting Corporation has the commitment to the community to use this tool in the most effective way possible.
4219 We are required to complete a community awareness project during our service with the RCMP. As you are aware, the RCMP is a very transient police force and with national coverage it is in their mandate to make sure that their officers are aware of the issues that are of concern to the citizens of the community that they are serving.
4220 Due to my keen interest in broadcasting and the media, I looked to Music Waves to assist me in preparing a segment for the ethnic community. They jumped on this opportunity to form a bridge between the cultural aspect of society as well as law enforcement.
4221 We have completed a segment and are in the process of having it approved for general broadcast. This is only one example.
4222 Basically, I went to Music Waves and Mr. Sanghera because I have faith in the work that they do and have the confidence that they can effectively bridge many cultures together.
4223 Which leads me to the second element I wish to cover. I am a youth. I went to school in Canada, I went to university in Canada and, if asked what I am, I am definitely Canadian, but I will always be Indian as well.
4224 Misconceptions that the youths in Canada are not into the culture are completely incorrect. That is not the case. I have taken Punjabi at a university level. I am fluent in reading, writing and speaking the language, as well as growing up in Canada I have studied French as well.
4225 There is a vast music culture in the Lower Mainland here and having been born and raised in Canada I look to the Canadian aspect of that as well as the Indian aspect which my parents have instilled in me.
4226 At school and university I have seen what the youths need as well as what they want and what we need is a mixture of everything. We are half and half, half Indian, half Canadian and we need a mixture.
4227 When I needed assistance with putting together a segment I went to Music Waves because I think they can effectively do that.
4228 Instead of continuing with random examples, I would rather answer any specific questions that you may have to address any issues that you may need covered, either in relation to policing and the media or my experience as youth.
4229 I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak.
4230 MR. DEO: Good morning, Chairman and Members of the Commission. We have heard some eloquent presentations I guess from Chairmen, Presidents of companies or I guess individual bodies, but I am simply a common individual within the South Asian community.
4231 I guess my presentation is more practical than eloquent. It is to with exactly what is needed within the community.
4232 I have known Kulwinder for probably the past seven to eight years now. This chap has been really instrumental in helping the raw local talent to the point where these people are superstars.
4233 MR. LEBEL: Excuse me, sir. Could you please identify yourself?
4234 MR. DEO: I'm sorry. It is Bajit Singh Deo.
4235 MR. LEBEL: Thank you.
4236 MR. DEO: I do apologize for that.
4237 As I was saying, this chap has actually nurtured raw talent to the point where these guys are superstars. You probably saw that from the video presentation we put together. I think this was on Monday.
4238 Not only that, he has given me the opportunity to work with these individuals. I was always looking for a doorway or an avenue to get into that field, particularly the entertainment field, and approached this chap about six years ago and told him exactly what I do.
4239 I tried larger, I guess, corporations to do the same thing, but obviously these corporations seem to have management tiers where you have to go through one, two, three, four tiers before you get there. But with this individual, you can speak to him face‑to‑face, tell him exactly what you need and what you want to promote within the South Asian community and he is very, very open to that.
4240 He is very, very passionate. Again, from the video presentation, every time we did any work within the community he would basically take his jacket off, get the gloves on and get his hands dirty.
4241 I think that is a great avenue for an individual like him to understand exactly what people need. You have to be in their faces, I guess. You need to really sit with them, eat with them, sleep with them to an extent where you know exactly what these people are about.
4242 I think his commitment to the community and the local talent is really commendable. He is one individual who has really supported youngsters, youth. Obviously when you do see the presenters on his behalf, they are people like Harleen, also Ms Aujlay, people who want to raise their voice but simply can't.
4243 Again, down to the bigger corporations, it is like they will only listen to you if you have a President or Chairman behind your name or a CEO, not to say I am just a common individual within the community.
4244 He is very a quality over quantity type of person. I certainly have that sort of experience at firsthand. His team is always thriving to look forward to: Okay, how do we make things better? We do have a lot of programming within the South Asian community.
4245 I came to Canada in 1996 from England and looking at those programmings, they are becoming very monotone, whereas this individual will certainly say, "Okay, you know", guys, how do we attract new individuals?"
4246 If you look at entrepreneurs nowadays, they are youngsters. They are born and as soon as they are born they become entrepreneurs. So I think this radio station that these guys put in an application is to target those entrepreneurs.
4247 Who is making the largest amount of money if you look at it, it is the age between 18 and 30 and wouldn't it be nice to target those individual.
4248 I often go from Surrey to Vancouver, sometimes it can be a long drive. Again, listening to the radio, as I was saying: One, it is monotone; two, it gets to the point where I am probably listening less to the entertainment and issues, more to the advertisers out there. It is like I can listen to a radio station for an hour and usually I say, "Okay, I have to tune in when the music comes, but every time I turn around it is an advertiser." "Oh, my God". It just becomes very unbearable.
4249 I believe these individuals certainly look at those things and make sure that we do get the right programming, hit the right audience.
4250 Not only that, I mean, he is very keen on promoting the local talent in the sense every time I shot a video and I say, "Hey, Kulwinder, it is better to go to shoot it where it is much cheaper", but he made it mandatory anything he does he wants to shoot it local and he has made it mandatory that he uses the local talent, local talent in the sense these guys are from B.C., Vancouver or Surrey.
4251 He has taken chances on individuals like myself where the video probably cost $25,000. For an individual to take a chance and put $25,000 on the table to promote what we call Punjabi culture or South Asian culture, that surely is commendable. I certainly can't take that away from him.
4252 Even to the point where in the videos we have used individuals who have never done this before but always had the passion. Again, because of his belief in these individuals I think they have gotten to the point whereas they are also getting phone calls, the same as Ms Aujlay, to do further work within the community or within the culture they are very diverse in.
4253 The other thing I wanted to really emphasize here was my colleague over here talked about the infrastructure within any company. This chap again looks for new ideas. Change. Nobody accepts change. We can be a five year old, we can be 65, change to individuals or the companies is certainly not acceptable. If things are good, if things are working, well, it's not broken, don't change it.
4254 So this is what I was talking about monotone, everything has become monotone, whereas this guy is always looking for change, looking for new ideas.
4255 How do we promote something that somebody hasn't seen?
4256 Again, one thing I would really like to emphasize, there were some questions raised about contents that are shown or promoted or televised. His team again works very hard to make sure that these contents are not biased, these contents are not politically based. They are pure information that is good for the community and also very entertaining.
4257 Again, I want to talk about change. We did hear a number of people speak on behalf of Rogers and so forth, again very high level people. Again, having a company such as that, great, they do have a financing background, but it is the change again. That is down to the management tier levels, whereas there is no level of command within the organization Kulwinder has.
4258 Again, it is a simple one level, everybody is involved, even to the point when we are looking at doing this local that he wanted to use for his presentations and so forth, the funny thing was he calls me over at 12 o'clock and says "You know what, we are going to have a look at this logo." I says, "Do you realize it is 12 o'clock?" "Well", he says, "in the last half an hour I have already phoned 10 people."
4259 So he basically involves the people that matter in the process of whatever he does. I think as a result of that you can certainly see, I guess through his TV programming, if you do look at the statistics one of his programs called "Des Pardes", "Home and Away", is probably the most watched TV program across Canada.
4260 I surely believe with the fact that giving the licence to Kulwinder and his team, he does have absolutely fantastic avenues to be able to promote his radio station.
4261 Like I say, it is more of a practical speech than a rehearsed speech or anything like that. Nothing is typed, everything is handwritten, but I would certainly like to than Kulwinder for giving me the opportunity to come here and represent him, as well as giving me the chance to the point where I have worked with superstars, legends of Punjabi music. It is just unreal. So thank you again.
4262 MR. KAINTH: Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Doshan(ph) Kainth. I am here on behalf of my wife Amar Kainth.
4263 I am here to support South Asian Broadcasting.
4264 I have faced one of the worst nightmares as a parent in November 2003. We realized that our son had become a drug addict. He started taking money out of my pocket and my wife's purse. He would come very late and at times he would not come home at all because he joined really bad company and he was not listening to the family or not to the relatives or not to the brothers and sisters.
4265 My wife and I tried to talk to him about changing his behaviour, but it was useless. My wife would cry a lot and I found our situation very frustrating and hopeless.
4266 In May 2004 Kulwinder called our home. He wanted our son to work on the weekend for him, because he was working at that time the last ‑‑ maybe since 2000. He worked with him two or three years. He had trust with him. In 2003 he changed totally because of bad company and drug addiction.
4267 Kulwinder called at home. My son had previously worked part time with Kulwinder. We explained the situation to Kulwinder and the next day Kulwinder came home and we discussed more about our son. Kulwinder told me he will try to bring our son out of this mess.
4268 Kulwinder started taking our son to concerts, functions and made him feel that he was very special for him.
4269 Over a period of time Kulwinder made him leave drugs. Now these days, because of Kulwinder, because of Music Waves help, he is doing really good. He is working, he is listening to us. He is not going out that late. That is all I ‑‑ I had that experience.
4270 Personally I can say that that is all because of Kulwinder. Kulwinder helped me a lot to bring my son back to a normal condition. I hope if ‑‑ this is why I am here to support this application, because he cares for my youth and I know on radio he will do a lot more for our community.
4271 Our community needs lots of help. I trust, I hope Kulwinder can help the youth because everybody knows listeners these days we are hearing every week or every month there is drug‑related killings and Kulwinder I hope ‑‑ he helped my son and my son, me, my wife and my children, they are all willing to go help Kulwinder on his radio station as a volunteer to teach other new generations and young youth kids worse good, worse bad.
4272 Because my son had experience, he is willing to help Kulwinder and so are we.
4273 Thank you very much.
4274 MR. DHAMI: Good morning, Chairman and Members of the Commission. My name is Raminderjit Dhami.
4275 First of all, I will thank the Commission for providing me this opportunity to present my views in support of South Asian Broadcasting Corporation. I am a Bachelor of Punjabi Literature from Punjab University, India. I have lived in the Lower Mainland area for Greater Vancouver over the last 12 years. I am involved in various culture organizations in Canada to promote Punjabi language and heritage.
4276 In my opinion, this is one of the best things we have to pass on to generations. At the same time, I also volunteer a bit at the Canadian Cancer Society and I am a Chairperson of local PAC committee in elementary school.
4277 I have watched Music Waves, which is run by Mr. Kulwinder Sanghera promoting local Punjabi language and culture.
4278 Mr. Sanghera has always provided leadership to our youth through various programs and always have covered the community events. His management team is well connected to the community. Their television programs "Des Pardes", "Satrang", "Jawani" and "Phulkari" are the most watched shows in the community. As their "Des Pardes" program is a national program, that is pride for us.
4279 Pronunciation of their language by their host is very good and their programs are parts of the community and they cater to the needs of the people from all aspects of life. I would like to share an example with you.
4280 They present a little community script on the TV program. I have daughters seven years and three years. They just run to the TV and as a family together we always watch their program. My parents are also sitting with us and watching their program together.
4281 According to Statistics Canada, Punjabi is the sixth language of Canada and third in B.C. and the number is increasing. Over time communities have lobbied in B.C. to Punjabi to be introduced as a second language in our schools.
4282 In my opinion, we need a new FM radio station to provide a growing need of community which should broadcast providing the majority of the programs in Punjabi, not in Hindi or Hindustani.
4283 There are nine to 10 Punjabi weekly newspapers in Lower Mainland but not in Hindi yet. I strongly believe the Commission will consider Mr. Sanghera's track record as a national broadcaster and the past compliance with the CRTC's objectives and his commitment to professionalism through the broadcasting fashion.
4284 Thanks again for providing me this opportunity to share my views. Thank you.
4285 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you all very much.
4286 We don't always ask questions. We only ask questions when presentations perhaps need some elucidation or clarification. In your cases they were very clear, as were your written briefs.
4287 Thank you very much for appearing before us today.
4288 We will take a break now and resume in 15 minutes, at 11:20. Nous reprendrons à 11 h 20.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 11:10 / Suspension à 11 h 10
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 11:25 a.m.
4289 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
4290 Mr. Secretary, would you call the next item, please.
4291 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4292 The next appearing intervenor will be T. Mann.
4293 Mr. Mann, you may proceed when you are ready. You have 10 minutes to make your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4294 MR. MANN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen of the Commission. I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to come here and participate in this process today.
4295 My name is Tajinder Paul Mann. I work as a correctional officer for Corrections Canada.
4296 I am one of the co‑founders of United, a youth group which addresses youth violence and drug abuse through mentorship and sports programs. I am also on the board of the newly formed South Asian Chamber of Commerce.
4297 I have read some of the applications presented to you in regards to this hearing, and I must say that a radio station that is geared toward the South Asian community is long overdue.
4298 What brought me here today is the application made by Radio India 2004 Limited. You must realize that a lot of South Asians listen to the existing AM 1600 station, a station run by this company, whose signal is bounced back from the U.S.
4299 It is this media ‑‑ and I use that term very loosely ‑‑ that many people rely on to make informed decisions and judgments, as they do not understand the English language.
4300 I realize that Radio India currently is not regulated under your CRTC regulations; however, I think that being a media source for people who rely on you for the truth and unbiased information is still something that one has to consider when running a radio station.
4301 Whether it be a sideband or an Internet station, you still have an obligation to the community you are serving. In my opinion, Radio India has failed in this attempt quite miserably. We will see examples from other speakers in regards to their programming, I believe.
4302 First, I have some documentation here, which was sent to your office in January of 2003, which was in reference to a broadcast that took place in December of 2003. It was in reference to a talk‑in show about court proceedings involving a local temple and its leader, who was referred to as "Maharaji."
4303 In the broadcast calls were taken, and among them the following were some comments that listeners were allowed to make on the air: "Maharaji should be hit 100 times, and it should be counted as once." "Maharaji should be dragged by his beard." "Maharaji should be burnt alive." And, "Maharaji should be shot."
4304 This clearly shows that the hosts and management make no attempt to restrict callers, and let them air whatever they want, even with having a delay system on their radio station.
4305 Does this sound like something a respectable radio station would let air, regulated or not by the CRTC?
4306 Also, back in 1998, I believe, Mr. Gill's Radio India filed for bankruptcy. Actually, it might have been personal, I'm not sure, but that is somewhat proof that the licence should not be granted to this group because of their inability to be financially responsible, from what I believe.
4307 Finally, the reason that brought me here today in opposition to Radio India's application is that last year I had the privilege of working in my riding of Newton‑North Delta on a federal election campaign as an assistant campaign manager for the Liberal party.
4308 Even though the election was called in May of 2004, I had worked on the campaign for the most part of 2003, in terms of organizing and membership sign‑ups. We have currently the largest membership in all of Canada, in Canadian history, with over 10,000 members.
4309 I had gotten so involved that I often didn't see my wife or family for days. I put a lot of work into this campaign.
4310 After an intense battle through the nomination, we went into the election. We were up against Mr. Gurmant Grewal, who I believe is here today as well.
4311 Leading into the election, Radio India started a smear campaign against the federal Liberal government, with the hosts often making comments and remarks about the Liberals.
4312 The lines between the provincial and federal parties were blurred often when coverage about cuts or unfavourable decisions made by the provincial Liberals were made on air.
4313 It was also quite curious to me how many topics involving politics would often be diverted and end up at the end of the program, having callers call in to praise Mr. Gurmant Grewal for his works for our community.
4314 On occasion I had the chance to go to the offices of Radio India, and in a conversation with a radio host I brought up the fact that it was quite peculiar to me how anybody affiliated with the Conservative party would get on the air, and anyone who had anti‑Conservative views would be cut off the line, or they wouldn't be able to get through.
4315 I was advised that we were calling the wrong line, that we should, in fact, be calling the special line which was set up for direct calls into the studio.
4316 What the phone number was, I don't remember now. That was over a year ago.
4317 Also, on the call‑in programs, anyone with anti‑Conservative views was disconnected or told they were wrong. The mediator, who was supposed to be unbiased, would step in and defend the Conservative party or Mr. Grewal and his works for our community.
4318 Also, Mr. Gill advised us, while in his office, that we should advertise on his radio station, as he is the only one that can play election ads on election day, citing the reason that he is not regulated by the CRTC.
4319 On election day a call‑in show took an all too familiar twist, and for two hours people spoke about how the whole South Asian community should support Mr. Grewal and his bid for re‑election. People were calling and stating sometimes that Mr. Grewal had already won, that there was no point in going to the polls.
4320 I credit us losing this riding by only a couple of hundred votes directly to Radio India and their call‑in programs.
4321 I know that one of their rebuttals is going to be that "We are not regulated by the CRTC." I believe it is the FCC that regulates U.S. stations. But if they have found loopholes to spread their propaganda, I am sure, just like any other law or regulation, they will find them if granted an FM station by the CRTC.
4322 The second thing I am sure they will argue is that they have support letters from all political parties.
4323 I ask you this. If you had free rein to make and break political careers, would you not have these letters, especially since the politicians rely on the media to build them up?
4324 I am standing here before you because I have nothing to gain or lose by these people having talk shows about me. If they want to run TV programs about me, go ahead, I have nothing to lose.
4325 Mr. Gill considers himself the voice and leader of my community, the saviour of our culture and heritage. I'm sorry, but I do not want this man to be the voice of my community, or my voice or leader.
4326 As a leader you are supposed to set an example ‑‑ a good example. In my opinion, with the evidence I have shown you and told you about, Mr. Gill is neither a good leader nor a manager.
4327 Mr. Grewal, the honourable M.P., states in his letter of support to Radio India that "Radio India covers federal and local politics, and that they pull back the veil on all sorts of events, but they do so without bias." I disagree with that statement.
4328 Why is it that they failed to report on the whole Rachel Marsden fiasco that happened in my riding, where thousands and thousands of South Asians reside? Why was it not presented to the public? Why were talk shows not set up?
4329 Or the time that Mr. Gill was detained in an Indian prison, why was that not spoken about? Why was that not brought up? Why did they not have talk shows on that?
4330 Mr. Vic Sanghera, operations manager for Radio India, makes a good point in his response to my intervention, of which a copy was sent to your office. He says, "A particular concern for someone subjected to this is whether the piling of rumours, allegations, lies and falsities, even when vigorously refuted, somehow makes those receiving them wonder. If there is smoke present, does this mean there is a fire?"
4331 From where I stand, not only do I see smoke, but I see a blazing inferno, and it is my request to you to please not grant Radio India a licence, and, after this application is all done, to please try to work with the FCC to shut down AM 1600.
4332 Thank you.
4333 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Mann, just as a matter of procedure, your intervention came forward without presenting the material you have presented today.
4334 MR. MANN: Right.
4335 THE CHAIRPERSON: Have you given the applicant an opportunity to have some advance notice of the contents of what you are saying today?
4336 MR. MANN: I have not, but I have copies here. The reason is because I talked to your office last week, or two weeks ago, and I advised them that I only had some of the documentation, but not all of it ‑‑ I was waiting for it to come in ‑‑ and that I wanted to present it as a whole, rather than in bits and pieces.
4337 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think, in fairness, you should provide them both with a copy of your remarks and with any documentation.
4338 They will be appearing in reply, and if they request it, we are going to give them extra time to respond in writing to what you have said today, because they won't have had an opportunity to fully examine in.
4339 MR. MANN: I don't have a problem with that. Actually, I will go downstairs and get photocopies for them. No problem.
4340 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
4341 MR. MANN: Thank you.
4342 THE CHAIRPERSON: The next item.
4343 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The next appearing intervenor is Mr. Deepak Suri.
4344 MR. SURI: Mr. Chair and members of the Commission, I am Deepak Suri. I would like to address the (off mic) ‑‑ and a very good afternoon to all.
4345 I would like to thank the CRTC for allowing me to speak today. I am speaking in regards to Radio India and its director, Mr. Maninder Gill's application for the licence.
4346 My background, in short, is that I have a Bachelor of Commerce designation and several years of professional experience in communications and business; major accomplishments in banking; the cable networking industry; consultant and advisor on many levels, from senior broadcast industry representatives to India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting; here largely known as a radio host.
4347 I have been living in Canada with my wife and three kids since 1999.
4348 The deeds of Radio India affected me and my family the most as an investor, as an employee, as a Canadian resident.
4349 Having no control over the programming, language and contents, Radio India has misused the power of on‑air opportunities many times.
4350 I am here today to oppose the granting of this licence to Radio India 2004 Limited.
4351 Mr. Gill has been involved in the radio business for a number of years. I and others, in different circumstances, have filed defamation lawsuits against Radio India, Mr. Maninder Gill, and the host for the comments about us and about our families made by the host of Radio India, under the control of Mr. Gill.
4352 On August 12, 2003, I filed a statement of claim against Radio India and others in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. One of the acts I allege is that Radio India, on April 15, 2003, on a news broadcast by Radio India on KVRA AM 1600, the radio host, on behalf of the management of Radio India, defamed me.
4353 Also, on June 13, 2003, broadcast statements were made that falsely implied me a fanatical Hindu. Recordings of the defamatory statements will be of public record once the trial proceeds.
4354 It is my opinion that during this time Radio India knew, or ought to have known, that Radio India's broadcasts were heard by thousands of listeners in British Columbia, and that Radio India was one of the two principal radio stations broadcasting to the community of British Columbia.
4355 These aforesaid statements, heard by many Punjabi, Hindi, Urdu and Fijian‑Hindi speaking listeners, have seriously damaged my reputation in the above respected communities of British Columbia.
4356 This all happened because of the power of broadcast.
4357 I developed hurt feelings because, instead of corrections or apologies, further remarks were made to deliberately harm me.
4358 This also shows that the news reader, or the host, must not have exercised reasonable care in the broadcast of the material and must have intended the matter in question to be defamatory.
4359 Because of these defamatory remarks, I, along with my family, had to go through many hurdles and shame in the community, since this issue was asked every time we met someone. It drained our brains, energy, hope, and there was depression, which made our lives miserable. These were the effects after the misuse of the power of broadcast.
4360 It is high time. The South Asian community is in great need of Canadian radio. The licence must be permitted to an applicant whose track record shows a balanced use of media power, professionalism, responsible and accountable.
4361 After listening to all applicants, and the public in favour or against, I feel that the CRTC's decision by issuing the powerful licence to the right applicant will make the public happy.
4362 Radio broadcasting for the South Asian community under the control of the CRTC will progress, which should create not only one, but many frequencies in the near future for the South Asian Community.
4363 Once again, I thank you for allowing me to speak today and letting me voice my feelings as to why Radio India and Mr. Gill should be denied a licence.
4364 If you have any questions, I would be very happy to answer them. Thank you.
4365 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Suri. We have no questions.
4366 MR. SURI: I appreciate it, sir. Thank you very much.
4367 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary.
4368 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The next appearing intervention will be presented by Narinder Sidhu.
‑‑‑ Pause / Pause
4369 MR. LEBEL: Mr. Chairman, not seeing anybody coming forward, the next appearing intervention will be presented by Nina and Gurmant Grewal.
4370 MS GREWAL: Mr. Chair, Madam Vice‑Chair, members of the CRTC, Commission staff, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I am Nina Grewal, Member of Parliament for Fleetwood‑Port Kells. My riding is situated in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, in the City of Surrey.
4371 I am accompanied today by my husband, Gurmant Grewal, Conservative Member of Parliament, and Liberal Senator Mobina Jaffer, who was here earlier, and I think she will join us pretty soon.
4372 This will be a joint presentation from the three of us.
4373 I would like to point out that we are also signatories to petitions and letters of widespread support for Radio India sent to the Commission by about 80 Senators, Members of Parliament from all four parties, and B.C. MLAs.
4374 I was a business person prior to running for Parliament, and I have strong interests in women's issues.
4375 Currently I am the vice‑chair of the Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women.
4376 In all of our activities in the community, it was impossible not to be aware of the incredible contribution made by the professional team of Radio India, and by Mr. Maninder Gill, during his time as a broadcaster and a cultural promoter.
4377 I am confident and expect that Radio India will provide the unique and significant expertise, vision, unwavering commitment, strong and innovative content and voice.
4378 I am also confident that, if approved, Radio India will exceed CRTC policies and regulatory expectations and serve the population of the Lower Mainland better in promoting Canadian values, unity, and enhancing productivity, prosperity, harmony, and economic, social and cultural development, than broadcasting on a sideband or an American AM station.
4379 I would like to point out that Radio India has created a place at the centre of the South Asian community in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. Their professional programming of high standards will only get better.
4380 We all would certainly feel better that this kind of contribution comes from a Canadian‑licensed service, under Canadian law, than the way it has to come to our communities now.
4381 We all recognize the need for a local station serving the dynamic and growing South Asian community. We also believe that what is needed is a highly professional, well organized broadcaster, who can deliver the South Asian and other communities to be served the high quality service that we all deserve.
4382 By far and away, the strongest candidate at this hearing is Radio India, led by Mr. Maninder Gill, featuring one of the strongest journalistic and programming teams in this province, bar none.
4383 Mr. Grewal, please. Thank you.
4384 MR. GREWAL: Thank you very much.
4385 Mr. Chair, members of the Commission, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. You may know that prior to being a politician I was an entrepreneur, a corporate manager, an assistant professor of business management, and was briefly involved in real estate.
4386 During my three terms as a Member of Parliament I have held many portfolios. Among them, I have been the Official Opposition's chief critic for multiculturalism and a member of the Standing Committee of the House of Commons for Canadian Heritage.
4387 My constituency of Newton‑North Delta has the highest population of South Asians in Canada. In the last eight years of my active political life I have had experience in listening to a diverse newcomer population, understanding their issues and problems, and dealing with them on a day‑to‑day basis.
4388 I am optimistic that Radio India will provide a platform to the community in British Columbia and help Canada to continue to provide an example to the rest of the world that its diverse population not only gets along, but lives in harmony and prospers together.
4389 I think that Radio India has its work cut out for them in getting them involved as equal Canadians.
4390 After talking to the management of Radio India and Mr. Maninder Gill, I am satisfied that they have the funding, they have the resources, experience and professionalism, and, most importantly, the spirit to carry on this project successfully.
4391 In light of some of the backlash after 9/11 against Canadian Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and people of Arabian origin, and the discrimination and segregation of the ethnic population, this highlights the need for an ethnic media which can create awareness and inform and educate all Canadians.
4392 The government and media need not only promote tolerance, but also acceptance. Radio India and Mr. Gill have the unique and significant expertise and experience in carrying on with this role.
4393 To make my point further, in Greater Vancouver over one million ethnic residents account for more than 40 per cent of the population, and over half of this population has a mother tongue that is neither English nor French.
4394 Since the ethnic media is neither fully professional nor evolved fully yet, and the mainstream media sometimes portrays the negative side of designated ethnic minorities, perhaps unintentionally, there is a need for redressing this fundamental inequality in Canada's broadcasting system.
4395 Radio India can provide the South Asian community with the access of vision and a balanced voice that it needs in the media, not only to address the important issues confronting them, but also to build their talent and their communities.
4396 Mr. Chair, remember, stronger communities make a stronger nation.
4397 The problems relating to alcoholism, drugs, gangs and shootings, the generational gap and different cultural values, extended families, arranged marriages, increased divorces, women and child abuse, family expectations from youth, and male dominance are amongst issues that people feel as a bottleneck within the community.
4398 New Canadians and immigrants need help to learn and trust the system so that they can integrate and work within the system to be effective and protective members of the nation. Effective multilingual, multicultural and multiracial media can help them to get better informed about our schooling, medical services, courts, policing, governments, democratic and political systems, and build an inclusive multicultural society.
4399 So far, Mr. Chair, we see a tunnel at the end of the light, and not a light at the end of the tunnel. The only ray of light that I see is in Radio India, which has the professionalism and the spirit to address these concerns.
4400 Radio India is not afraid to discuss tough issues, but they do it in a balanced and fair manner. Although the discussions may be heated, they have kept them within the bounds, so that they focus on the issues rather than the persons or groups or factions that are voicing them.
4401 In fact, during my campaigns I have noticed, Mr. Chair, that ‑‑ in the previous campaign in 1997, when I ran for the first time, I noticed that people were focused on personalities, they were not fully aware of the issues. But now people are more focused on the issues and less on personalities.
4402 That is a positive change that I have seen in the community, because of the evolution of the media that has been taking place in the ethnic communities, and there is a need for that evolution to continue. Media like Radio India need a chance to accomplish that and prosper in the communities.
4403 Above all, Mr. Chair, South Asians, in particular, are very fond of music and culture, and their music and culture is very popular. They have broken many records in history by selling South Asian music in the communities. There is a huge appetite for quality music which can be played by the FM radio stations in this community.
4404 I will not respond to the previous concerns politically, because I think they are irrelevant.
4405 If you have any questions, or if any members have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them.
4406 I see that Senator Jaffer has not arrived. She was here before, but she was waiting for her turn, and she has a court case which is going on, and the judge didn't let her come. If she happens to be here, I hope she will be more than happy to answer your questions.
4407 But I can tell you one thing, she was here as a Liberal senator to support Radio India's application.
4408 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
4409 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. and Mrs. Grewal.
4410 By the way, Mr. Grewal, we appeared before the heritage committee at the beginning of February.
4411 MR. GREWAL: I remember that, Mr. Chair.
4412 THE CHAIRPERSON: Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to meet you at that occasion.
4413 The previous intervenor ‑‑ I take it that you were in the room.
4414 MR. GREWAL: Yes.
4415 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your comment was ‑‑ I think you said that you didn't think it was relevant, but I guess there is an issue in respect of every broadcaster, an issue of high standards of broadcasting, non‑abusive comment and balance.
4416 Can you comment on your view as to this applicant's likelihood of achieving those goals, if it is licensed?
4417 MR. GREWAL: Thank you, Mr. Chair, for asking this question.
4418 In fact, I was expecting that you would not be doing your job if you didn't ask me this question, and I am very happy to respond.
4419 Let me put it this way. I first ran for the Reform Party of Canada. That was way back in 1997. Generally, at that time, the ethnic communities didn't have a very good perception about the Reform Party, so I had lots of criticism, particularly in the ethnic media, compared to the mainstream media at that time. That tone has toned down, in fact. Now people are listening to the policies and issues, as I mentioned in my presentation, and the people comprehend very well.
4420 Let me put it this way. Radio India was absolutely fair in their coverage. I and the Conservative Party of Canada, in the last election, were occasionally criticized, more than any other competitor, on Radio India.
4421 Maybe you don't know, but people listening here will remember that a week before the election I had an exclusive interview with one of the radio talk hosts, Mr. Gupersingh(ph). That was the toughest interview. He asked me the toughest questions, and personal questions, in that interview, and none of the other media asked me those questions.
4422 In the news coverage, they have criticized my party on a regular basis, I would say.
4423 Keeping that aside, I have been going to their competitors. I heard more favourable calls on their competitors. Some of them are sitting here and they will acknowledge that.
4424 I treated the media fairly, from my point of view. It's not my job to favour one media over the other, but it is my job to highlight what changes I have seen during the due process.
4425 If I have been criticized on Radio India, if my party has been continually criticized on Radio India, I wouldn't say that there is a shed of evidence that they were favouring anyone.
4426 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4427 The previous intervenor, of course, thinks that their performance cost his party the election. Of course, you wouldn't agree with that, I don't suppose.
4428 MR. GREWAL: I don't know, but I would not agree to that, Mr. Chair. You know that that is not the situation ever in politics.
4429 The Globe & Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, they have their editorials, they have their positions on certain issues, and they highlight them very well, and the public can understand that. That is the freedom of the media that we appreciate in a free democracy like Canada.
4430 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for those comments.
4431 MR. GREWAL: Thank you very much.
4432 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary.
4433 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Excuse me, Mr. Chairman; I have an objection to submit.
4434 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have an objection to submit?
4435 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Yes.
4436 THE CHAIRPERSON: To what?
4437 UNIDENTIFIED SPEAKER: Sir, with due respect to our presenter, if I go by this booklet, which was provided to us, which is addressed as "Agenda", in which all of the names of the intervenors are mentioned ‑‑ and this is a practice by the CRTC which must have taken many hours, and properly and categorically names have been mentioned.
4438 With respect to the presence of Mr. Gurmant Grewal, I can see the name of Mrs. Nina Grewal as No. 20. If they have been permitted to call two others with them, then everyone should be given permission.
4439 I hereby submit that any words spoken by Mr. Grewal in favour of Radio India should be disregarded.
4440 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Thank you.
4441 Our normal practice is that those are guidelines and that is our best information at the time. The intervenor did not exceed the time allotted. We are not rigid about who appears on behalf of a given intervenor.
4442 For example, in the previous panel, the person who had originally written the letter was not able to come, so he was replaced by another member of his executive committee. If they had brought two members, again, we would not have objected.
4443 Our practice is not to be absolutely rigid; and that is not ironclad, etched in stone, it is an indication of who will be representing the intervenor. We would not allow them to go over the time, whether they had one, two, three or four people. They did not go over the time, so I am going to deny your point.
4444 Mr. Secretary.
4445 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I might also add that there are a number of people who will be appearing at a later date, and they are not listed on the agenda, as well.
4446 The next appearing intervenors will be appearing as a panel. The South Asian Human Rights Group of Canada, represented by Harpal Singh Nagra and Adam Buksh, Harban Scandola, Suki Lali, and Surjit Madpole, Giani Swaran Singh, and Jatinder Minhas.
4447 THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps, gentlemen, you could come up to this table.
4448 MR. LEBEL: Please identify yourselves before speaking. Thank you.
4449 MR. NAGRA: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and board members. My name is Harpal Singh Nagra, and I am the president of the South Asian Human Rights Group. With me is Adam Buksh, the treasurer of our organization.
4450 We are very pleased to be here today and we would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak about a matter important to South Asian and other visible minority groups in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland.
4451 Here in British Columbia we often feel far from the decisions made, on matters affecting our lives, in Ottawa. The CRTC is certainly an exception to this. The ability for so many people to come here and provide their input makes us feel included.
4452 This is even truer for those of us who come from countries, even democratic ones, where this kind of openness is not part of public life.
4453 I do not just say this to give (off mic) ‑‑ ensuring that government is fair and accountable is an important part of what we do.
4454 We started in 2002. We were determined to find a way for the South Asian community to intercede in the matter of human rights, particularly as they affect us.
4455 In 2002, we went to Parliament on a political issue, when there was a person who was almost going to be in death gallows in India, an innocent person, and there was breaking news in our community on Radio India. We do not know, sitting in Canada, what is happening. That overnight news brought this issue to the community when our group was not established.
4456 We, from the Hindu, Sikh, Muslim and Christian communities, held an emergency meeting. We went all the way to Parliament and met with several parliamentarians, including the Prime Minister of Canada. We brought this issue of human rights violation for one individual who was going to be hanged 26 hours after this incident ‑‑ after this meeting. The Prime Minister of Canada immediately took steps at that time, with the help of all political parties ‑‑ the five political parties of Canada. They gave us a chance to speak in Parliament, and David Kilgour, the minister for Asia‑Pacific, brought this issue to Parliament and he, after that meeting ‑‑ after the intervention of the Canadian government, that fellow's life has been saved, so far, in an Indian prison.
4457 Another issue came right after one month. One innocent person in the border crossing of Pakistan ‑‑ he was going to hang in Pakistan. He was Indian and he was under mistaken identity. He was going to be hanged, and Radio India brought this news, and then the South Asian Human Rights Group brought this issue to the Canadian Parliament and Canadian minister and the Indian government, and that fellow has been saved.
4458 That's why we found how important the South Asian Human Rights Group is, how important the media is playing a role in saving the lives of many innocent people.
4459 This compels me to speak to the members, to the community, to the CRTC board members. We found Radio India. They have a boldness. They can speak against the Indian government. They can speak against the Pakistan government when there is a human rights violation.
4460 Especially, I want to bring to your attention that we love everyone in our community. Our group consists of Hindus, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians, but we have found only one radio station to boldly condemn violence and terrorism worldwide, even in Canada, Iraq, or India or Pakistan. We found only one radio station which is protecting and promoting human rights in South Asian countries the way our South Asian community wants.
4461 I humbly request board members, even if you take the tsunami disaster, even if you take gang violence in our community, we need professional hosts, we need professional management to run a program, under the watch of the CRTC, to promote and the protect human rights of South Asians as well as the mainstream community and all Canadians.
4462 We need Radio India and their good management to run this program, and I humbly request the board members of the Commission, please give them a chance, under your supervision, to run their program and to protect and promote human rights.
4463 Thank you very much.
4464 MR. BUKSH: Mr. Chair, panel, dear friends, my name is Adam Buksh. I represent various Muslim groups of B.C., and I am the Muslim representative in the South Asian Human Rights Group.
4465 My chairman has elaborated on our actions and activities, and I am not going to condemn any radio station, but I am going to say what I know about Radio India.
4466 It's a very well balanced radio system. Its radio broadcast programming is very well balanced. The staff is well balanced, from every ethnic group, be it from Fiji, Pakistan, India, or other places in the world where Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi are spoken.
4467 All of the programs are not directed to one ethnic side only, it is in the various languages of South Asia.
4468 On Islamic issues, the station has addressed, in a very balanced and unbiased manner ‑‑ and it has always covered all of the issues, be they sad or happy occasions.
4469 The staff has always handled the open‑air shows very openly, and they have given everybody a chance to voice their opinion.
4470 With these words, I would like to request the committee to grant permission to Maninder Gill of Radio India ‑‑ permission to operate the FM station.
4471 Thank you.
4472 MR. LALI: Good afternoon, members of the CRTC, and thank you. We are very pleased to be here today to provide our support for the application of Radio India for a new FM station.
4473 I am Suki Lali, and with me is my friend Surjit Singh Madpole. We are both businessmen and we are both recording artists, local artists and performers, and we are both Radio India listeners in the Lower Mainland.
4474 I have been singing since I was 10 years old, and it wasn't only in the shower. I performed in 1995 in front of more than 100,000 people in India, and more than 20,000 people in Toronto.
4475 I performed live at various events while still in India.
4476 I arrived in Canada in 1978, and we settled in Vancouver. Since I was very interested in keeping my culture alive, I joined the Punjabi Cultural Association. Most of the associations were available in Vancouver, and this was the best association.
4477 I performed on television and also started performing around the province for Punjabi sports and social and cultural associations.
4478 Through this activity, I first met Mr. Maninder Gill, who was then living in (off mic) ‑‑ in 1979. He had already phoned Rogers Entertainment to promote concerts of music from back home all over B.C.
4479 Maninder gave me one of my first breaks in the industry by recording my early records and distributing them throughout Canada, the U.K. and India.
4480 I have, in total, recorded eight CDs, on a number of different labels. They include Rogers, of course, but, in fact, I haven't recorded with him for some time.
4481 Mr. Gill has supported and continues to support my career by promoting shows and helping in record distribution internationally.
4482 His contacts are excellent, and he has been very generous in hooking me up across Canada, in the U.S., in the U.K. and in India.
4483 All of the local artists in Canada have the support of Mr. Maninder Gill and have worked with Mr. Gill on stage and on Radio India.
4484 MR. MADPOLE: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, commissioners and friends. My name is Surjit Madpole. I am a writer, a composer and a singer.
4485 I arrived in Canada in 1975 as a professional singer. I have performed in Canada and in the U.K.
4486 I came back in 1977 as an organizer of a Punjabi culture program.
4487 I joined, after that, various Punjabi cultural organizations, including the Central Association of Punjabi Writers, and I am serving as the president of the Canadian Punjabi Cultural Association.
4488 Both Suki and I are performers and recording artists. I have recorded two LPs, one single, and one audio, and currently I am working on two new projects.
4489 None of my recordings have been with Mr. Gill's label, but he has also been very supportive in my career.
4490 Much of my success is due to the exposure that I received around the world through concerts. In some cases, he set up the tour and contacted the local promoters to do the concerts. In others, he put me in touch with the right people.
4491 Radio India is a strong supporter of local talent, which has benefited from lots of airplay on the station.
4492 We have many other friends in B.C., in Canada and around the world who are entertainers, and they also have had lots of exposure from the radio station.
4493 You may have read a current article in the Globe & Mail that describes how Surrey, B.C. has become the hottest place in the world for South Asian entertainers. The article focuses on the band Mantra and on Bhangra hip hop artist Jazzybee. In fact, the paper is a bit behind the times. We have had a very active music sense in the Lower Mainland for some time. Artists such as Gill Hurdeep(ph), K.S. Mutcomb(ph), and many others, all have become international stars because of Rogers Entertainment, and Rogers Entertainment and Radio India both have had large roles in their development.
4494 Radio India is making our talented artists known here in Canada, and Rogers is helping them internationally.
4495 MR. NAGRA: We understand that Radio India plans to provide a new investment of $100,000 per year to support Canadian talent. Half of that each year will go to comprehensive support for emerging South Asian talent, with a contest that will help fund a new CD, video and international tour for a new talent.
4496 This kind of incubation for an emerging talent, whether it be traditional music, Punjabi, Bollywood pop, or even Bhangra hip hop, will be a real career starter.
4497 I would guess that, in addition to this kind of support, Mr. Gill will put this contest to work in the U.K. and the U.S.A., and in India, to broaden to the impact so that the new Jazzybees or Surjit Madpole will have a jump‑start on their careers.
4498 I am sure that you know that airplay is a very important way to develop new stars. Radio India plays a lot of new music from our local area. This helps our community appreciate its own talent. Even when the artists involved haven't had much money to put into their recordings, airplay has been good.
4499 Imagine the help for a new artist that a very well recorded CD and lots of airplay could have.
4500 I understand that on Monday of this week one of the other applicants indicated that musicians have to pay to have their records played on South Asian radio stations. We want to make it perfectly clear that this happens on other radio stations, it does not happen on Radio India. We have never had to provide a penny to Radio India in return for airplay. In fact, they are often the ones to approach us; not only to play our records, but also to interview us about our new releases, and to promote our concerts and other appearances.
4501 When I announced that my last album was released for charity only, Mr. Gill approached me and supported me in this charity work. I have raised up to $1,500 for the Deepak Binning Foundation, which supports the B.C. Children's Hospital and Canuck Place.
4502 MR. BUKSH: We are both businessmen, and we are also involved in social and community activities of the Lower Mainland of B.C., Canada. Anyone involved in fundraising, community work or social issues knows that Radio India is there for the community and the country, for the human being.
4503 While some charities pay a percentage of funds raised back to the broadcasters that have helped them, we know that Radio India never accepts such funds, as per my knowledge. And they have been most successful in fundraisers, but probably as important are the small things they do.
4504 When a group or club or community needs to get their message out they can do it quickly. There is never any charge for this kind of support, although other stations do ask for money in return for public service announcements.
4505 When someone in the community needs a hands‑up, whether it is because of losing their home to fire or money needed urgently for health care, not only does Radio India help with airtime, they are often the first ones to put up some money.
4506 The whole community knows of their generosity and that they can be counted upon.
4507 The trust that we have in Radio India is why they were able to raise so much money for the tsunami relief in such a short period of time. It was amazing.
4508 The same is true of other efforts. They are trusted because every penny ends up in the hands of those needing help.
4509 MR. LALI: There are also residents of this area ‑‑
4510 MR. LEBEL: Excuse me, Mr. Lali, your time has expired. Could you conclude please?
4511 MR. LALI: Thank you.
4512 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4513 I see that my colleagues don't have questions for these intervenors, so, in order to facilitate communication, I would ask you to step down. Thank you very much for your presentations.
4514 We will hear from the other intervenors now.
4515 MR. LALI: Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4516 MR. MINHAS: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the CRTC, the CRTC staff, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Jatinder Singh Minhas, but everybody calls me J. Minhas. I am here today to support the application by Radio India for a new FM station here in Vancouver and on the Lower Mainland.
4517 I believe that it is more than time that the South Asian communities of the Lower Mainland had access to programming in their languages, and that the channel that is licensed should provide them with a high quality service, with good news, public affairs, cultural and music programming.
4518 It is clear to me that the only applicant at this hearing to fit the bill is Radio India 2004 Limited.
4519 Why do I believe this? Let me tell you a little bit about myself, what I do and how I have come to know about Radio India.
4520 I have been a builder throughout the Greater Vancouver Area since 1990, when I founded Elegant(ph) Developments. As such, I am a member of the Greater Vancouver Home Builders' Association, as well as the national association.
4521 I am also active in Vancouver communities, particularly in the Rotary, where I was the president of the Vancouver club.
4522 I have been active in the South Asian community, including being the chair of the Heart & Stroke Foundation for the South Asian Community Council.
4523 I have been active in work with seniors from the South Asian communities, as well, and I have also been a political activist for many years.
4524 This activity in the community has brought the name of Maninder Gill and Radio India to my attention many, many times.
4525 Whenever we have been involved in fundraising or needed publicity for community activities, or political, Radio India is always ready to lend a hand. In some cases it is by fundraising, in others it is by providing publicity and promotion. And always they talk about current activities on their talk shows.
4526 Their on‑air radio talent raised half a million dollars for the Regional Cancer Centre, $45,000 for the Delta Hospital, and $25,000 for the B.C. Children's Hospital. I understand that they were even able to raise $100,000 for an Edmonton hospital.
4527 Unlike some broadcasters, there is never an administrative or other fee associated with their fundraising in the community. Every penny goes to the intended goal.
4528 Of course, they also raised over $650,000 in a day and a half for the Canadian Red Cross relief efforts after the tragic tsunami in South Asia. I understand that the money continues to come in, as well.
4529 I believe that this kind of success demonstrates several things ‑‑ the generosity of the South Asian community can always be counted on; the civic mindedness of Radio India are always there when they are needed; the trust that the South Asian community extends to Radio India.
4530 Radio India provides a high quality service to the major components of the South Asian society in the Lower Mainland. The Hindi, Urdu and Fijian programming receives the same professional care that their excellent Punjabi programming does.
4531 With their professional news programs, discussions of the issues of the day, and a wide variety of music, they serve young and old, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
4532 Mr. Gill is a smart and prudent businessman who has learned that the best way to succeed is to be in touch with the community. I have visited his office on many occasions. Our former minister, Mr. Herb Dhaliwal, our current minister, Mr. Ujal Dosanjh, and also our current immigration minister, Mr. Joe Volpe ‑‑ I was there with all of these three ministers personally at Radio India, and Radio India treated them very fairly.
4533 Whether it is someone from a mosque or a temple coming in to do devotional programming, dropping off public service announcements, or clients wanting to personalize advertisers, the station is a busy hub of activity.
4534 The South Asian communities are dynamic and on the go. The expansion in the housing industry, especially in Abbotsford, Delta, Langley and elsewhere on the Lower Mainland, is staggering. Many of these municipalities are growing by as many as 1,000 people per month.
4535 If you drive through Surrey ‑‑ in fact, any part of the Lower Mainland ‑‑ you will see large housing developments, as well as commercial developments. The economy is very strong.
4536 Our communities deserve relevant and high quality service. It is disappointing that arrangements for a rebroadcaster in Abbotsford were not completed, since this is one of the fastest growing areas of the South Asian community.
4537 All of the towns and cities housing the South Asian communities in Vancouver and on the Lower Mainland deserve to have this good service.
4538 I urge the CRTC to license Radio India. Our communities appreciate their track record of service and their excellent programming. We would love to have them as a true Canadian station, licensed by the CRTC.
4539 Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to answer any questions that you have.
4540 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mr. Minhas, for your presentation. We have heard this and we have also ready your written intervention, and we don't have any questions.
4541 MR. MINHAS: Thank you, sir.
4542 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4543 We are going to break for lunch now, and resume at 2:00 p.m. with the next interventions.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 12:35 p.m.
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 2:00 p.m.
4544 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
4545 Mr. Secretary.
4546 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. For the record, I would like to indicate that Intervenors Nos. 26, 27, 28 and 32, listed on the agenda, will not be appearing interventions at the hearing. Those interventions will remain on file as non‑appearing.
4547 We will now hear the interventions from the Clergy for Compassion and Harmony. You have a total of 10 minutes to make your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4548 MS SHARIF: Good afternoon, commissioners, CRTC personnel and ladies and gentlemen of the audience. My name is Rukhsana Sharif and I represent the Muslim Women's Chapter.
4549 I am also the president of the United Submitters International Society.
4550 After extensive study of the Koran, I found that women's voice in Islam was a bit stifled. Although I have had the opportunity as a representative of Muslim women to speak on several venues of radio stations to voice that perspective of Islam, Radio India has consistently supported us and given us that voice.
4551 Radio India is a great force for religious tolerance, and that is a void in our community, especially the Muslim community, which we find is not being addressed to that great extent.
4552 Islam is usually represented by Muslim gentlemen. Very rarely do we hear women coming out and speaking on that issue.
4553 I was very thankful that Radio India allotted Saturday mornings for myself and my representation of the Islamic view from the women's perspective, consistently giving me that venue to speak on behalf of cultural, ethnic and other issues that Muslim families are constantly coming face to face with. They don't understand how to deal with those issues, living in this society, based on their cultural and religious aspects.
4554 Having that venue to speak in their own language, coming from their point of view, makes them aware of what is going on around them so that they can participate in this life as Canadians as well as Muslims.
4555 They have provided our group with lots of airtime. We are regularly at the station for interviews, to provide a range of religious views, especially Muslim views, on current issues of faith and ethics. We are always received with friendliness, openness and respect, and we are able to speak to the various Asian populations on important issues of faith and spirituality.
4556 Truly, Radio India is a force for religious tolerance, providing each faith group an opportunity to speak to its congregation, while also allowing constructive exchange and cooperation between groups.
4557 It is for these reasons that we have given our support to Radio India and their application before the CRTC.
4558 Thank you.
4559 DR. BANARJEE: Mr. Chair, commissioners, members of the CRTC, ladies and gentlemen, I am Dr. Satyen Banarjee, known as an interfaith person here since 1977, when I came from Hamilton, Ontario.
4560 I am also known as the Hindu priest from Bengal, for the Bengali‑speaking population.
4561 In our way, we say that religion is a way of life. In that context, if you take my culture, my art, my literature away from me, I have no religion. Or if you take my religion away, I have no art, culture or literature, they are so intertwined. This is why, instead of religion, my art, culture and heritage is much more important.
4562 Let me give you an example. We have here over 164,000 Indo‑Canadians. There are over 4,000 Muslims from Bangladesh with whom I speak at the same level in culture and heritage. They are not counted in those 164,000.
4563 We, for the first time in western Canada, have come together, beyond the limitations of our religion. All Bangladesh Muslims and all of the Indian Bengali‑speaking Hindus had a big celebration of culture and heritage on the 9th and 10th of July at the Plaza Hotel.
4564 Now, this is the kind of thing we always find, that nobody could afford, nobody would provide us. I produced six CBC documentaries on the Hindu religion, eight intercultural/interfaith documentaries with Vision TV, but when I talk about my language, everything falls apart.
4565 As you know, for most of our people, it is the language through which they communicate their own religion, their spirituality. In Hinduism the spiritual ceremonies are conducted in Sanskrit. Ordinary people don't know this.
4566 Although, it is not my profession. As a professional I am a microbiologist. I retired in 1997 from the Government of B.C., the B.C. Department of Disease Control. I am a clinical associate professor of the Department of Pathology at the University of British Columbia, and I still retain my liaison with them.
4567 So Radio India ‑‑ I came to know them very recently. This is due to one of their broadcasters, who also speaks Bengali. They were kind enough to put in their Hindi news items lots of programs and mention of what is happening in Bengal and Bangladesh.
4568 We still don't have a Bengali‑language place. Radio India is the first one who offered us their support.
4569 If we get this channel, we will have at least two hours of art, culture, et cetera; plus, if you want to talk about anything in your community, you will be given time.
4570 There are many things in the Indo‑Canadian community that, I think, most of the people didn't talk about. One is the problem with our youth. One is the problem with the Indo‑Canadian group in (off mic). One is the problem which you have heard about quite a bit, the spinning car. We have had a fatality in this area, while we have a fatality in my town of Richmond ‑‑ three of them.
4571 These are the things that we can only talk about through our own language, and then educate the people, who have to reach out to the youth, who have to reach to the parents of those youth, because it is at the home that something has to happen. We have to change our hearts.
4572 We talk about tolerance. I don't like that word. I say acceptance. Accept me for who I am. I am a Hindu. I don't like to be otherwise, so accept me for what I am, and let me be with you at par, and let me talk about my heritage, promote my culture, and be integrated with you all.
4573 In that context, I say that Radio India is the group that my community supports. Thank you.
4574 I would be willing to answer any questions.
4575 MR. SINGH: Dear brothers and sisters, to introduce myself, my name is Giani Swaran Singh, and I am a preacher of the Sikh faith throughout British Columbia, as well as in America. My main object in my life is to educate youth groups, especially with the problems they have, and the parents and the children, and also the cross‑culture which has affected the whole community.
4576 I just preach and teach, and educate our children in the different cities about religious values, as well as family values, which are very important.
4577 As a priest for my whole community, I have been respected by all of the radio stations, which contain Radio Punjab, and also Music Waves, including Radio India.
4578 Whenever I ask them to talk on the radio on the different topics and issues, they have given me, all of them, equal opportunity, because at this time, especially, the Surrey area is the multicultural city in the whole world. This is the one city in the world that has multiculture and multifaith in this area.
4579 So, for our purpose, so far as my own presentation is concerned, I always, all the time, whenever I have the opportunity to talk on the other radio stations, Radio India also gives me the same time, or whatever time I selected from them. I speak on all of the radios at different times on the issue of youth groups, which is today's demand, because youth groups ‑‑ in every community people are worried about them, and the media is very powerful, which can convey the message of harmony and also peace in the community.
4580 MR. LEBEL: Excuse me, sir, your time has expired.
4581 MR. SINGH: Thank you.
4582 FR. APPAVOO: Last, if not least, Appavoo is my name, and I am an Anglican priest. I have been 41 years in the ministry. I came to Canada ‑‑
4583 THE CHAIRPERSON: Excuse me, sir. This is one intervention, and you have a collective time limit, so I am afraid that I will have to ask you to close your presentation at this point.
4584 FR. APPAVOO: Yes. Thank you.
4585 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4586 Thank you very much, gentlemen and madam.
4587 MS SHARIF: You don't have any questions?
4588 THE CHAIRPERSON: We don't have any questions. Your brief was clear, as was your presentation. Thank you.
4589 Mr. Secretary.
4590 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The next panel of intervenors will consist of Wayne Lavallee, Trevor Chan, Phillip Yung, Umeeda Switlo, Amil Niazi, and Yutai Liao.
4591 Please identify yourselves before speaking.
4592 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary, just for the information of all participants, this is not a single intervention, this represents a panel of six interventions. Therefore, the same time strictures of 10 minutes do not apply to the group collectively, but they each have that limit.
4593 We would hope, though, that they would exercise discretion in their presentations. Thank you.
4594 Go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4595 DR. YUNG: Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, Madam Vice‑Chair and members of the Commission. I am Dr. Phillip Yung. I am a parent, I am a clinical psychotherapist, I am a Vancouverite, I am a British Columbian, but this is not about me. This is not about what I have done. This is about our future, about our future generations.
4596 I would like to speak in support of the application of Planet Radio of the CHUM Group to operate a station offering a youth‑oriented music format featuring culturally diverse music from around the world.
4597 Allow me, respectfully, to illustrate the kind of city we live in, if I can have your attention over two of my hands. I am holding a bag of colonels of corn. As I understand it, they come in different colours ‑‑ yellow, red, some are brown, some are different shades of beige, some even are black.
4598 When heat is applied, we know that they all turn to white, as I have brought some samples.
4599 The birthing of the popcorn reminds me of the reality that we Vancouverites, we British Columbians, live day in and day out ‑‑ when I walk on Vancouver's main street, when I visit Hastings Street, when I have lunch in Yeotown(ph), when I play in Richmond, when I shop on the other side of Chinatown in Chinese stores in Surrey.
4600 Although the popping corn looks white, when you examine it closely, there is still a trace of yellow. There is a tint of brown. There is still that redness there, the dark tint.
4601 That perhaps is the reality of some of our ethnic communities in Canada, and more so in Vancouver. Immigrants come to Canada through the process of socialization, as well as assimilation. They try to fit in. They give birth to the second generation, and then the third generation.
4602 Society has labelled them: either you are English‑speaking or you are ethnic.
4603 Look at some of our young people, our young adults, maybe 13, maybe 45, especially those who came here when they were very young, or who were born here.
4604 Time will allow me, maybe, to use two examples. I will take my 22 year old son and my 21 year old daughter, and their peers.
4605 On the outside they look Asian ‑‑ Chinese, South Asians, Indo‑Canadians, Japanese, Korean and so forth ‑‑ but they speak better English than others.
4606 My son, a fourth‑year student at UBC, sat on the UBC senate as a student rep. He played ice hockey for seven years, and not table tennis or badminton. He got a lot of awards in French essay competitions at UBC, but he does not write or read Chinese, he speaks it only.
4607 My daughter, who has just returned from Sweden on a student exchange program, speaks English, Spanish, Swedish, French and Chinese, but she loves Chinese food.
4608 Are they ethnic? Are they English? My answer to that is, they are Canadians, just like the rest of us.
4609 Linguistically speaking, they speak English; however, culturally they are Chinese, they are Asians.
4610 Yes, popcorn is white, but there is a trace of colour in there. Are they then not popcorn?
4611 They can simultaneously function in both cultures. They are able to create values for themselves and, as they seek to relate to the outside world, their lives are enriched by the cultural diversity that cities like Vancouver can offer them.
4612 We invited the world to come here in 1986 for Expo. The world will come again in 2010 for the Olympics. But, ladies and gentlemen, the world is already here. We have a generation, two generations ‑‑ people who are unrepresented, unadvocated, unspoken of.
4613 These young people, our kids, our future, our hope, one of their major hobbies is to listen to music. That is why we see the popularity of digital music available through MP3 and the iPod. They listen to the top 10, the chart music, but being culturally different, linguistically the same, they still feel that it is not home yet, because there is not a comprehensive, culturally inclusive music station for them.
4614 They have been asking for a station where they can feel they belong, where a third language is heard; only a station with a common language, like music, to help them build bridges across the city, across the boundaries of diversities, and not ghettoization.
4615 Perhaps as part of your objective, listed by the CRTC, planned for 2003 to 2006, you will increase the availability of programming that reflects Canada's linguistic duality, cultural diversity and social values, so there is hope for my kids, the next generations, and excitement for those who are out there, who are our young people, our future.
4616 But there has to be a paradigm change, both on the level of the regulators and on the level of the broadcasters. Just like being right‑handed, when I brush my teeth with my left hand, the weaker hand, it is a new experience. I am not taking the path of least resistance when I use my left hand to brush my teeth. That's change.
4617 We can see the unifying element in music, music from around the world that transcends our cultural differences, the boundaries of ethnic labelling.
4618 The CRTC has been successful in providing programming to meet the linguistic duality, and you are to be congratulated and commended, as well as your predecessors. But I think that we need to also address the social changes that have already happened. I think we need to address cultural diversity and social values. That is why you are making it happen.
4619 If you decide to shift the broadcasting paradigm, you have to perhaps protect the last possible dial on the FM band, so that the underrepresented, the under‑advocated the under‑spoken generation, the generation of youth, and future generations can have a chance to create, to share and to belong. That includes both the visible and the invisible minorities.
4620 May I invite you, as you have the power as well as the responsibility, to create, to satisfy, to lead in providing programming in music to give our local generations something of their own.
4621 I understand that in your calling for applications you have this ethnic language station in mind, but then you have the English‑speaking stations; just like I tried to call popcorn white, but there is a trace of colour in it.
4622 Where do they fit in? Where do our young people fit in?
4623 There needs to be a culturally diverse station that has the ability, the willingness to shift the paradigm to speak to the 21st Century in Vancouver that neither English nor one of the 15 or 17 languages of our city can provide. It is a language that meets our culturally diverse, socially changing city, bringing to us the soul of our city, and that is the music from around the globe, our planet.
4624 It so happens, I think, that CHUM, with Planet Radio, may move us forward.
4625 As a practising clinical psychotherapist, I have seen the breakdown of societal values, families and relationships. I don't need to tell you the headlines of our recent days.
4626 Sometimes, maybe, we have already put too restrictive labels on life, and have not allowed the very element of creativity, of music that brings people together, to share together, to walk together and to harmonize our relationships together to become a class of its own.
4627 I believe that we have tried, like popcorn, to only accept either the ethnic or whites, but what about the in‑betweens?
4628 Let's give our blessing to the younger generations. Their parents, grandparents or great grandparents came here to build a place of their own, a place where they belong, a place for them to create the soul for the city and for all.
4629 They are going to be the very people who will be paying for our retirement pension. They are going to be the people who will be in business and who will generate the GDP. They are the very people we love and cherish.
4630 Let's shift the paradigm. Let's try, next time, when we look in the mirror and brush our teeth, to use the other hand. And let's allow Planet Radio to help us unify and harmonize our society through music. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4631 MS NIAZI: That's a really hard speech to follow.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4632 MS NIAZI: Good afternoon, commissioners. My name is Amil Niazi and I am here to support the CHUM application for Planet Radio, but I am also here as a young ethnic female who is bored with conventional radio.
4633 I have been a freelance journalist for three years, and I currently serve as the editor of a weekly arts and culture magazine called "Only".
4634 Growing up, I took the concept of multiculturalism for granted. I connected with peers in arts and culture on a level detached from race. But as a teenager, I had to re‑educate myself on the cultural landscape as an outsider.
4635 At 17 I studied at BCIT in the Broadcast Journalism program in order to introduce my voice, the voice that represented my own cultural, social and intellectual peers.
4636 Of course, I didn't anticipate the voracious desire within the broadcast industry to maintain an antiquated status quo.
4637 Being ethnic was pushed as an angle in the industry. My heroes were few and far between, and generally referred to themselves as alternative press.
4638 As both a producer and consumer of media, I was completely put off. Not only are my views not being represented, they aren't being heard.
4639 After looking at Planet Radio's application, I believe they genuinely represent diversity, not a pre‑packaged forum designed to pander to youth or to the ethnics.
4640 I support the content behind Planet Radio, and I also support the concept ‑‑ free form expression through free form radio.
4641 I don't limit my consumption of media to South Asian material because of where my parents were born, and I would never expect any of you to do the same.
4642 As an artist, I have travelled this country from coast to coast and have met with emerging creators in a dozen cities. I can promise you, as a 22 year old, and as someone who has seen all of Canada, that this is a national perspective.
4643 My peers and I are hungry for exposure to information, culture and ideas, no matter where they come from. But, since there is no outlet to experience this diversity, we are turning off our radios, and I honestly believe that Planet Radio is a reason to turn them back on. Thank you.
4644 MR. LIAO: Hi. My name is Yutai Liao, and I am here to voice my support for CHUM's CRTC application for Planet Radio.
4645 I am an immigrant to Canada. I was born in Taiwan, and I have lived in a whole bunch of places, including Singapore, California and New York City.
4646 I speak Mandarin and English.
4647 I am currently an active member of Schema Magazine, a publication with a very similar mandate to Planet Radio. We believe that ethnic content is of interest to everybody, not just the people of said ethnicity.
4648 We don't believe, for example, that, say, Salsa music is only of interest to Latin people, that Russian films would only be of interest to Russians, or Korean food only of interest to Koreans.
4649 We have done a lot of market research. We have crunched the numbers, and we believe that the audience is there, the demand is there, and that people in Canada, in B.C., especially Vancouver, are ready for more cultural content, and they want access to more cultural content. Access to it is actually an important concept for me.
4650 The first time, for example, that I heard Bhangra music, I was mesmerized. But my experience has been that it was very hard for me to get into it, to break the language barrier, to really understand and appreciate this music.
4651 I tried to capture it on the real, local, community radio college shows, but it was always in Punjabi or Hindi or in a language that I don't understand. So I was never able to understand who the artists were or what the songs were that I really liked or what albums to get. For a very long time I had a hard time trying to gain more insight into something that resonated with me so strongly.
4652 I think that a story like that is really very common these days. And it is not always music. Sometimes it is food or art or fashion or literature. The point is, there is a hunger there, a hunger for accessibility, a way to understand and get access to the history, the culture and the inspiration of the people who share our community with us.
4653 I think that food is probably a very good example of this. In Canada, especially here in Vancouver, I think we are starting to take for granted that we have a marketplace to support so many restaurants serving authentic ethnic food from all regions of the world, and this is something that is simply not true everywhere I have gone.
4654 In Taiwan, for example, the Italian and French food that they make is really "Chinesified" and is highly laughable. So this is something special here.
4655 So we have this openness, this receptiveness and this interest here that we need to speak to, firsthand, in terms of food.
4656 I have also experienced it in terms of some of the work I have done. I have done lots of cooking‑related media work in the past. I have cooked for Breakfast Television, for City Cooks, and some segments for MTV Canada and various online publications, and I remember that one time I did a segment on how to prepare a Chinese New Year's feast on Breakfast Television, and afterwards I had so many non‑Chinese people coming up to me, asking me for tips on this. They were eager, because the way I presented my information, it was like: Hey, you don't have to be Chinese to do this. This is fun. The food is great. Here is some tradition. Here are some things you could do. You should try this out.
4657 People were like: Wow! Really? I could do that. I have always wanted to do that.
4658 The interest is there, and they feel so happy that they can do it.
4659 Actually, this is a theme that recurred for me. A year later I did something for CBC Radio. I tried to argue from the point of view that, maybe, Chinese New Year's, at this point in Vancouver, should be a civic holiday that everyone could take part in. Again, the next day on the feedback line, people were calling up from all walks of life saying, "Yeah, I want to participate more. I want to be able to do more than just take my kids down to the parade and then call it a day. Let's make this a Vancouver thing."
4660 At Schema Magazine we see this trend. We recognize it. And we recognize that people want a place where they can gain access ‑‑ English access ‑‑ to a broad range of arts, stories, ideas and inspirations from different ethnic origins.
4661 We also recognize that there simply isn't a lot out there that speaks to this need ‑‑ to this curiosity ‑‑ which is why at our magazine we have put our efforts and our creativity and our time where our mouths are.
4662 We have a team of about 30 young people, and we have put thousands of man‑hours in over the past two years to put our magazine together, and we are going to be launching soon, and the interest in what we are doing has been really phenomenal.
4663 The last point I want to make is that, as good as all of these ideas are of this new format, of multicultural accessibility through a language that everyone can share, as much as this idea is great, there are certain concerns that we at Schema are really worried about, because when you launch into a new format like this, the advertisers are sometimes concerned. You need to be able to win their confidence, and the research that we have done has shown us that we need to be able to last long enough to win over advertisers. This is where, in my discussions with CHUM, and looking over the application, they have really won my trust. They are a company that has the foundation and the network to be able to support this concept long enough for the market to catch on and really make it into a mature, successful product.
4664 They also have a track record of supporting and taking chances on ethnic programming, like the City Cooks program and their "Ethnosonic" program.
4665 So I trust them to put forth the effort to make this very needed and, I believe, what will ultimately be a very successful initiative for them.
4666 That is all I have to say. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4667 MS SWITLO: Mr. Chairman, commissioners, ladies and gentlemen. Such passion. It is really nice to see them echoing the voices of Vancouver and the many people here.
4668 My name is Umeeda Umedeli(ph) Switlo. When people meet me, they wonder where I am from, and I am kind of like that popcorn.
4669 I came here from Uganda over 30 years ago. I am an Ismaili Muslim woman of Indian ancestry who married a Czechoslovakian‑Austrian Canadian gentleman. And I have a daughter. Can you imagine how complex that is?
4670 I have been involved in the entertainment industry and in my community for many years. As a founder of Community Box Offices, I have ticketed over 3,000 events. I have promoted concerts that have featured Bruce Cockburn, the Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan.
4671 I have done special events that include the Science and Technology Series, featuring Jacques Cousteau and Steven Hocking, and Unique Lives and Experiences, featuring distinguished women from all over the world.
4672 I have produced New Music West, the millennium celebrations for the City of North Vancouver, the World Ticketing Conference, the Vancouver International Storytelling Festival ‑‑
4673 Oh, my God, it's exhausting, all of these things.
4674 ‑‑ the Taste of Health, the Mission Folk Music Festival, and one that I am really, really proud of called Regeneration. It is a youth music festival and conference that is in its second year.
4675 In all of that, I even managed time to start the largest child care facility on the North Shore.
4676 So I know my community, and I know the entertainment industry in Vancouver quite well.
4677 I have served my community as an arts commissioner. I have even been a mayoralty candidate. I have worked and raised millions of dollars for AIDS research with the UBC Research Chair and St. Paul's Hospital, and many other awards in the environment, and I am an ex‑biologist.
4678 I come to you today in support of CHUM's proposal for Planet Radio, and I speak to you in three ways: one as a consumer, one as an artist manager, and one as an event media buyer. I am willing to put my dollars on this project.
4679 As a consumer, I, like the other 20,000 Ismaili Muslims from Uganda of Indian ancestry, love music. We have a diverse background and enjoy music from all over the world ‑‑ music with beats and rhythms that remind us of Africa, the Middle East, India, South America ‑‑ but more than anything, we love music that merges cultures and sounds.
4680 We are also audiophiles, and we like FM. We can hear it in stereo and enjoy it.
4681 When I am in the car with my 75 year old mom Layla and my 18 year old daughter Noreana, we often choose not to listen to the radio. There is nothing on the radio that brings us together. Z95.3, The Fox, The Beat, Jack FM ‑‑ they don't appeal to our love of world music.
4682 Some years ago the CRTC gave a licence to The Beat in Vancouver. The Beat, with all best intentions, does not have the international programming that I would have expected. It is a hip hop and R&B station.
4683 The artists we like travel the world and play some of the most amazing festivals. You will note in my description of them something that they have in common ‑‑ and there is a whole list that I will leave with the commissioners.
4684 Susheela Raman was born in London and raised in Australia. She is of South Indian heritage. She creates African music with a funk.
4685 Angelique Kidjo is African and has sung with Carlos Santana and Peter Gabriel.
4686 Peter Gabriel is a world‑renowned man who has incorporated many cultures of artists, and his record label is internationally known.
4687 Then we have, in Canada, evenly matched artists ‑‑ Nellie Furtado, Kia Kadiri, Kerry Nile Ewalia(ph), Joseph Pethedansa(ph), Sal Ferraris, The World Music Collective, Al Phyaya Dealo(ph), Chin Injeti, Wayne Lavallee, who is here today, and Xavier Rad(ph), who was in Australia and now lives in Canada, and is today signing probably one of the largest record deals in history for Canada.
4688 Where do we hear their music? On rare occasions I find it on CBC, but I have to tune in on the right day, at the right time. On Sunday, maybe on Channel MTV, and, on occasion, on MuchMoreMusic.
4689 My daughter and my mother and I represent part of Vancouver's rich culture.
4690 To let you know how many people I am talking about, when the Dalai Lama came to Vancouver, he did two lectures at the coliseum. Those lectures sold out faster than any rock show in the history of this town ‑‑ and I know that. My late husband founding Ticket Master, I know those numbers.
4691 So who was there to see him? Every person of every culture in this city came together. That is a very warm and enriching feeling.
4692 As an artist manager, I have seen very many promising careers disappear for the simple reason that without radio, record labels can't see where they can promote this artist.
4693 What does that lead to? No manager, no booking agent, no shows, no revenue, no food, and a change in careers.
4694 This has happened to talented artists that I have represented, like Del Delvog(ph), the Punjabi Bhangra Band, Locos Bravos, who are two First Nations flamenco guitarists. This could also happen to Wayne Lavallee, a celebrated First Nations contemporary artist.
4695 It doesn't matter how much support FACTOR or the Canada Council give them, a spoke in the wheel is missing, and no label or booking agency is going to deal with these artists.
4696 I can open any door in this country because of my late husband's strong foundation with Ticket Master Canada and my hard work in the community, and I still hear the same thing, there is no place to promote their music ‑‑ no radio station.
4697 Luckily, the world had a visionary named Dan Storper, founder of Putumayo Music. If you go to Virgin Record, go downstairs and look at the Putumayo music, look at their international music section. You will be amazed. They are achieving amazing records.
4698 Record stores like Zulu and Scratch have increased their sales in world music.
4699 I met a group of college students the other day on the ferry coming back from dropping my daughter off at U Vic. As usual, if I see them listening to music and grouped together, I want to know what they are listening to, so I know who else to bring into town the next time, and they were listening to World Music. And they were not first generation Canadians or the second generation Canadians, they have been here a long time and they love it. So I know that our youth will come together.
4700 Now, as a media buyer, when I produce a show, or the ones I list, or at Mission Folk Festival, I cannot market my event on the radio. I can't find an efficient place to market my event. I really think that when I brought Johnny Clegg and Ueluka(ph) here, or King Sunny and a Day, this would have been the kind of radio station where I could have spent some money and got results.
4701 So why do I think that CHUM can do the job?
4702 For me, personally, I have seen their effect with City TV. I have seen them be inclusive, I have seen them with their on‑air personalities. They make me feel like all culture is included and that all cultures have a voice and a face.
4703 They have done a lot around the world, as you know. They have probably listed it to you, the 130 countries that receive some of their unique programming.
4704 When I hear that Planet Radio will bring music from all over the world together and people like my daughter and all of her friends and me and my mother will have a station that we can turn to, I am excited. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4705 MR. LAVALLEE: Umeeda Switlo is my manager, and I just want to say that, as I have been working with her for the last four years, it has been a real struggle trying to get my music heard through the mainstream, so I am here in support of Planet Radio.
4706 Just to give you a little bit of my background and my artist's vision, I am First Nations, Cree Metis. I am from the west coast. I was raised on the west coast, and I have been part of the music community in Vancouver for 10 years, performing as a professional musician.
4707 My vision as an artist and philosophy as a First Nations songwriter and recording artist is to create music and song that is rooted in aboriginal styles of traditional singing. It is a fusion of contemporary instrumentation with an aboriginal flavour.
4708 My songs are relevant to First Nations people, politically and traditionally, and I try to incorporate First Nations language into my songs, as well, and First Nations storytelling, and traditional Cree chanting as well.
4709 The First Nations music industry in Canada is growing rapidly. It has just been booming in the last 10 years, since I have been involved in this market. A lot of people in Vancouver and Canada don't even know that there is an industry, that it even exists. It is kind of like French musicians ‑‑ French soul artists. Within their own market they are famous and they sell lots of records, but as soon as they step out of their own market, they are virtually unknown. That is kind of how I feel, trying to step out and cross over into a more mainstream market.
4710 So I am here in support of CHUM's application for a multicultural station. I believe that Planet Radio will promote Canada's growing and diverse music scene.
4711 As a First Nations singer/songwriter, I believe that Planet Radio will also help to promote the existing aboriginal music market in Canada, to help us cross over into the mainstream.
4712 "Mainstream" is kind of a funny word. For me, it is about trying to get my music heard to a bigger audience; inviting new listeners. And the only way that I am able to do that is through performing live. I play a lot at festival circuits, the off‑theatre circuit, and a lot in the aboriginal market, and I am so glad that I have an aboriginal music community because they have been very supportive, and they are the only reason I can sustain a living at what I do.
4713 The key word for me is trying to find a way to invite new listeners to hear what I do, because they are very interested. In recent years I have been playing a lot of mainstream events and concerts to multicultural audiences, and the response has been overwhelming. The only way they get to hear my music is if I play live, and the only time they get to buy the music is if I perform live.
4714 The time for Planet Radio is now. It is totally now, just because the aboriginal market has boomed so much in the last 10 years.
4715 Just in the last year I have been nominated for a Juno award for best aboriginal recording. I have been nominated for best album of the year at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and I also received a nomination from the Canadian Western Music Awards. With all of these nominations, it just doesn't seem to help me out in getting my music heard by a bigger audience, because my music is still ghettoized.
4716 The only support I have had is through the CBC, Fairchild Radio, Co‑op Radio, and community radio stations outside Vancouver.
4717 Planet Radio would be a huge complement to First Nations radio in Canada, and in Vancouver, because Aboriginal Voices Radio will be launching their national station, I believe, in March sometime. So it will really help to complement and support the industry ‑‑ the young, emerging aboriginal artists, because there are so many of them coming out of the woodwork right now.
4718 We have been trying to build this industry over the last 10 years. We have the national Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and just recently we launched the first national Aboriginal Recording Industry Association. This was designed to stimulate and nurture the development of aboriginal musicians across Canada.
4719 There is a real need for this station, and the time is now.
4720 I just want to mention a few First Nations musicians in Canada, because when I talk to the mainstream audience about First Nations music, they really have no clue as to who is out there. The first thing they think of is Susan Aglukark or Buffy Sainte‑Marie, or Kashtin, who were really popular in the early nineties, but are no longer together.
4721 Some of these artists I mention, like Derek Miller, Eagle and Hawk, Chester Knight(ph), Lela Gillday(ph), Sammy Scoffield(ph), Gerry Offert(ph) and Medicine Beat, and Mishi Donovan(ph), they are all Juno nominees and past Juno award winners, and they are virtually unknown on the west coast.
4722 There are a lot of talented artists in our community, and the few that I mentioned don't get the airplay that they deserve. Ultimately it is the community and the listeners who will decide if they like the music, and who really want the music to be heard.
4723 It is really the time to try to get this music out to mainstream radio. If mainstream radio isn't willing to give aboriginal music a shot, then I propose that we let Planet Radio give our burgeoning First Nations musicians a shot at being heard. I think it will really contribute to their growing industry. Thank you very much.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4724 MR. CHAN: Hi, everyone. My name is Trevor Chan. I am a Vancouver born, bred and raised artist.
4725 Since 1992 I have hosted a weekly music program on CJSF Radio, which is the campus community radio station at Simon Fraser University.
4726 In 2002, I actually hosted and co‑founded a TV show on City TV called "Ethnosonic".
4727 Okay, full disclosure. I am actually not a contractor at CHUM, so I am here by my own independent means.
4728 The whole point of "Ethnosonic" was that it basically formed ‑‑ it was about our dissatisfaction with world music. Going in, I always thought: What is world music, and why is this a genre? It doesn't make sense to me.
4729 So I thought that most of what world music is is very traditional folk‑based. It's very granola. I didn't really think that it really represented what was vital and going on in youth. So I thought: Man, we've got to go out there and we've got to make a program that finds edgy music. I want to hear something like Beijing punk rock next to something like any rock out of Central or South America, next to some Korean hip hop, versus Death Metal coming out of Finland. I thought: Man, that would be a great show.
4730 Hey, City TV actually approved it. It actually went to air. So, hey, all right.
4731 But when we started doing the TV show, we quickly found out that, while this was a great concept, there actually weren't too many music videos that could we choose from.
4732 So then I thought: Yeah, you know, we probably should have just done a radio show first. That probably would have made more sense.
4733 Anyway, that is in hindsight.
4734 Forward to three years later. Now we have our application for Planet Radio. It has actually come at a very good time, because if you look at what is happening in ‑‑ I am talking about radio media in general.
4735 Since 1996, when the U.S. passed the Telecommunications Act, what you have seen is a lot of media conglomeration going on in the United States. You have seen the rise of oligopolies and the attrition of clear channels. So they have done a very good job in enlarging costs and making lots of profits.
4736 What big radio in Canada has done is, they have kind of followed their programming formats. Hey, this is the way to do it.
4737 The problem with all of that is, yeah, they had a lot of great success in the short term, but kids and young people are turning away from radio because it's more of the same. You've got centralized programming, and it's like there's nothing new.
4738 Nowadays you see something like all broadcasters ‑‑ in order to do market research, what they will do is that they will get the one or two trade journals that are currently on the market, they will zip through, see what is being played in the States, and say: Hey, we are going to add this, this and this to our playlist. This is innovative radio. This is what's going on.
4739 This is why people aren't listening.
4740 Young people nowadays, what they are doing is, they are going on the Internet, they are looking for the cool stuff and they are downloading it; right? They put it into their iPods and they are walking around listening to it.
4741 You have to ask yourselves: What is the problem with the rise of the iPod and MP3 players and things like that.
4742 The music industry will have you believe that people are pirating music. I don't know. I guess that's an issue; right? But I think we should really look at it like this. The rise of the iPod is in direct proportion to the crappiness of radio. If radio was good ‑‑ what are you doing with an iPod? You tune into your radio.
4743 If you have music that is programmed and targeted toward you, that's what you are going to listen to; right? So the more time you spend listening to your iPod, the less you are listening to the radio.
4744 I am not a statistician, so I don't have any stats here to prove my point, but if you pick up a Future Shop flyer or a Best Buy flyer, you will see full‑page ads of all different media players. So that has to give you an indication of what's going on out there.
4745 There is a point to this little rant here.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4746 MR. CHAN: I want to illustrate what is going on in the media today. This is what is going on with everyone.
4747 For the last few days we have heard about the problems of first generation and second generation people in our society. We are dealing with identity problems. We are dealing with representation in the media.
4748 This is just another complex layer. It's the mix, you know. You've got this crazy ‑‑ our media industry is in flux right now. On top of that, you have identity problems.
4749 Man, this is a complex problem. How are we going to solve this?
4750 You can't roll out the same programming formulas, because you are not going to cover your bases.
4751 This is where we are at right now, and I think we really need some kind of crazy, innovative strategy to overcome this. This is why I like the Planet Radio application, because it is nutty, it is wild, it has never been done.
4752 You could put out a survey and ask how many people are going to listen to this, but you know what? People aren't going to give you a good answer because this is like something that has never been done before; right? So it wouldn't be good market research.
4753 Anyway, anyway, anyway ‑‑
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4754 MR. CHAN: Let's get down to business; right?
4755 The reason why I think CHUM is the organization to look to to make this thing happen is because they have a reputation of being the arts and independent organization in this country. Any broadcasting, communications or media student ‑‑ they are well versed in the CHUM legacy and what it has done to this country. So I don't have to back that up or reiterate that for you.
4756 However, as Commissioner Langford pointed out yesterday, on the west coast CHUM's operations are not exactly setting the world on fire; not just on AM radio, but in their entire media mix. I don't think they have done too much here; right?
4757 You know that doesn't sit well with the big brass in Toronto. They are out to conquer the entire country; right?
4758 So what are you going to do? Here is our problem.
4759 I want to use a Hollywood analogy. CHUM to me is like Miramax. They are known for their independent releases. They have had a couple of hits, but nothing too overwhelming; right?
4760 In this market they need a Pulp Fiction. They have to go out there and get a product that not only is a critical hit, but that also hits the mainstream.
4761 This is what they are looking for; right? They haven't done that here yet.
4762 I think that Planet Radio could be the vehicle. This could be it for them; right?
4763 I think that when push comes to shove, they are not going to back away. It may not be a money‑winner immediately, but you know what? Their ego is at stake.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4764 MR. CHAN: I think that's what is going to push them over.
4765 If you look at all of the other applications here in the past 15 years, we have had two urban music programs being pushed. CKZZ proposed a dance music application about 15 years ago, and three years ago CFBT, also known as The Beat, proposed a hip hop radio station. Within three to four years, for some reason, these formats weren't working in this market, and they flipped it around and turned it into a top 40 station.
4766 So where is the commitment?
4767 I don't think CHUM is going to go down that road. I really think they are going to stick to this format and try to make it succeed.
4768 It is a really good format. It could work in other areas across our country. Not only that, but I think you could export it to different markets around the world.
4769 Who knows? Maybe 10 or 12 years from now you will have media students learning about the second phase of CHUM's innovative strategy. Maybe this could be the model that you will be talking about years from now.
4770 So give them a chance and let's see if they can run with it. That's all I have to say.
4771 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Is Dr. Peter Miller giving you guys chocolate bars before you speak?
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4772 MR. CHAN: Dr. Youn, you set a high bar. I am sure you will agree that all of the other intervenors very ably represented themselves.
4773 THE CHAIRPERSON: I have a question, particularly for Ms Switlo and Ms Niazi.
4774 This is a competitive hearing, as you know, and CHUM, whom you are supporting, is applying for an FM frequency which four other applicants are applying for in this proceeding. The issue is South Asian service and representation, and many of you addressed a variety of the facets of the application ‑‑ and very eloquently I might add ‑‑ but when it comes down to the issue of representing what is acknowledged to be an underserved portion of this population ‑‑ people of South Asian origin ‑‑ do you think that awarding the FM frequency to CHUM would serve that population?
4775 MS SWITLO: I will begin. My mother and father, as I mentioned, are of Indian ancestry, but from Africa. They speak Hindi, they speak Gujarati, they speak Kutchi. I spoke to them about this particular application, and they hear their programming on other radio stations. They communicate with their community. They have a lot of television to support that community.
4776 They would like to see their children and their grandchildren come together with the rest of the world in a more global feel and look.
4777 So, yes, I think it serves their descendants in this country ‑‑ me, my daughter ‑‑ and them.
4778 MS NIAZI: I have met with some of the team that is probably going to head up the programming aspect of Planet Radio, and I have also heard some of the very intense presentations from yesterday and this morning, and I have no fear that Planet Radio will represent the South Asian community, the Korean community, the Japanese community, the Swedish community, to its fullest.
4779 My mother lives in Surrey and she will occasionally listen to several different Punjabi or South Asian radio stations, but she also listens, believe it or not, to Snoop Dog, and she does it in English, not in Punjabi. So I am not concerned about it.
4780 I would rather be exposed to all kinds of music in English, but have an opportunity to learn about it in Punjabi, and I think they are going to offer some other language programs as well.
4781 I hope that answers your question.
4782 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4783 Those are our questions. Thank you very kindly.
4784 Mr. Secretary.
4785 MR. LEBEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The next appearing intervention will be presented by Moninder Bual.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4786 MR. DULAI: Dear respected commissioners, my name is Parvkar Dulai. First of all, I would like to thank all of you for granting me the opportunity to present my views regarding this application.
4787 I did submit a few documents to the secretary which accompany my speech. It might be helpful to have them. There are a couple of stats that I might refer to along the way.
4788 I feel that this process is long overdue and that the South Asian community, in particular the Punjabi community in the Lower Mainland, is in need of its own CRTC regulated and licensed radio station.
4789 I am a Canadian born and educated Punjabi Sikh, currently a partner in a local investigation firm.
4790 I have personally seen the Punjabi community prosper over the past two decades in the Greater Vancouver Area.
4791 I am also involved with a number of local Punjabi youth organizations which facilitate summer youth camps and all‑year‑round youth nights that help communicate with the Punjabi youth or the Indo‑Canadian youth.
4792 The main reason for my intervention against I.T. Productions is to notify the appropriate authorities, yourselves, about the neglect this company is demonstrating in the Punjabi community in its proposed scheduling.
4793 After some extensive research, I would like to point out that there is no such language called "Hindustani", as mentioned in the I.T. Productions scheduling.
4794 There is also no mention of the Hindustani language in the 2001 census that accompanies my presentation. The languages related to India in the census are Punjabi, Farsi, Hindi, Gujarati, Urdu, Tamil and Bengali.
4795 Stating that the program will be provided in Hindustani is quite ambiguous, as it is stated in the I.T. Productions schedule.
4796 The fact of the matter is that there is no Hindustani language spoken in Canada, according to the 2001 census.
4797 Furthermore, Hindustani is not one of the 18 languages accepted by the Indian constitution.
4798 A further study of this proposal clearly indicates that a majority of the prime time talk will be served in Hindustani.
4799 I feel it is vital at this point to visit the 2001 census report provided to you. On page 8, under the "Mother Tongue" heading, it is clearly stated that in 2001 over 120,000 people, or over 12 per cent of the visible minorities in B.C., spoke the Punjabi language at home.
4800 Again, the Hindustani language did not appear on these charts.
4801 I think it is important to understand that when mentioning the South Asian community in the Lower Mainland, Punjabis are well over 70 per cent of that figure. I don't understand why a majority of the prime time is not being allotted to Punjabis, who are going to be a majority of the listeners and the advertisers on the I.T. Productions proposal.
4802 Another stat that should not be overlooked is stated on page 18 of the 2001 census report, under the "Religion" subheading. There are well over 135,000 Sikhs in B.C. who will be underserved if the I.T. Productions proposal is granted the licence.
4803 I strongly feel that it is vital that the Punjabi community be served by Punjabi applicants who intimately understand the community's challenges, accomplishments and other religious and cultural matters, rather than an individual that has neglected or overlooked the Punjabi community.
4804 As you may be aware, there has been a great increase in the number of South Asian youth getting involved in drugs, gang activities and violence over the past decade. I strongly feel that the media needs to assist in addressing this issue.
4805 In its proposal, I.T. Productions has no slot for youth programs that can be utilized by the South Asian youth to tackle the issues troubling them.
4806 In conclusion, I believe that the I.T. Productions proposal is not adequate to serve the needs of the Punjabi/Sikh community in the Greater Vancouver Area, due to it not demonstrating enough programming in the Punjabi language, which is the most prevalent language in the South Asian community in the Lower Mainland.
4807 I hope that I have provided my respected commissioners with some useful stats and information. Again, I would like to thank all of you for granting me the opportunity to bring this information to you. Thank you.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4808 MR. JAWANDA: Good afternoon, members of the panel and the chairperson. My name is Mohinder Singh Jawanda. I was born in Punjab, in northern India.
4809 My family emigrated to England when I was very young. I was raised and educated in England, and then decided to emigrate to Canada in 1970. I have been living here for 35 years and have had the honour of serving as Assistant General Secretary from 1991 to 1992 at the Sikh Temple Kosanon Society. This was the first organization to be established in North America in 1904.
4810 I have also had the great opportunity to serve as the national president for the Border Sikh organization from 1993 to 1997.
4811 In my experiences working closely with the community, I realized quickly how eager and interested they were in the Punjabi culture and language.
4812 I have enjoyed my many years dwelling here, as Canada is a great, progressive country, full of multiculturalism and opportunity.
4813 Historical records show that the first immigrants started to arrive in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1897 from the subcontinent of India. They began establishing themselves all over the Lower Mainland. Almost all of these first immigrants were Punjabi‑speaking individuals.
4814 This large inflow of Punjabi people has continued to the Lower Mainland, with strong concentrations in Vancouver and in Surrey.
4815 With this immigration of Punjabi‑speaking people, combined with the passion for our culture and language, the demand of our community for Punjabi‑language programming is huge.
4816 This demand is from all age categories, from the elderly, whose only language is Punjabi, to our youth and children, who are taught to speak it from their early days.
4817 My grandson is about the future of our youth, the future of the Punjabi heritage and its traditions and family values.
4818 In the 21st Century the spoken word is the most effective means of communication to convey the values we all cherish. I strongly believe that the problems that youth have been going through in the last decade are the result of insufficient programs geared toward youth.
4819 I have reviewed the application submitted by I.T. Productions. I notice there is no change from the previous broadcasting. There is no time allocated for some of the values I raised earlier.
4820 Prime time is mostly allocated to Hindustani language, which is a very vague statement.
4821 I feel that I.T. Productions should not be granted a new radio station licence because of the imbalance in programs in proportion to the population. You just heard the stats from Mr. Dulai, so I don't need to repeat them.
4822 There is also a keen interest in the Punjabi to pursue careers in media, radio and journalism. Punjabi is spoken by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs alike. This stems from a generation of people who are educated here and would like to preserve the language, culture and traditions.
4823 Being here for over 100 years and having established ourselves in the community at large by greatly contributing in all aspects of life, including economic development in British Columbia, and Canada as a whole, I, representing our community, strongly feel that we deserve a licensed radio station that can serve the needs and requirements of our people.
4824 Thank you for the opportunity to represent the Punjabi community.
4825 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Langford.
4826 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I am very hesitant to wade into this, because I am certainly not a linguist, but I am fascinated, Mr. Dulai, by your comments and the statistics you provided, and I would like some more information.
4827 I think that I heard Sush Madat yesterday explain ‑‑ it was a long day and I may not have gotten it right, but I think I heard her explain that Hindustani was a sort of commonly understood kind of dialect almost, or kind of a combination of languages.
4828 I am not a linguist, so I don't know what comparison to make, but maybe Cockney English, or something, in the streets of London. I'm not sure, but I don't think she held it out as a language ‑‑ a specific language ‑‑ but more as something along the line of Cockney or slang ‑‑ I'm not sure; colloquialism ‑‑ but that it was well understood over a broader area of cultures.
4829 Could that be possible? Therefore, it wouldn't show up on a StatsCan statistical analysis, just as, to use my humble comparison, Cockney doesn't show up, and yet perhaps Yiddish doesn't show up ‑‑ I'm not sure ‑‑ and yet it's spoken by people.
4830 So is it possible that, although you would prefer "Punjabi", that the sense that these statistics give us is not quite accurate?
4831 MR. JAWANDA: All I can say to you is, as you say, you are not quite sure. For myself, I can say that, out of all the languages recognized in India ‑‑ the 18 major languages ‑‑ Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bengali, you name it ‑‑ Tamil ‑‑ there is no Hindustani language.
4832 All I can say is that "Hindustani" is a description of ‑‑ it's like saying "India" and "Indian". So "Hindustan" and "Hindustani". It's an adjective to describe someone who is from Hindustan.
4833 It is by no means a language. Hindi is a language. Punjabi, Gujarati ‑‑ you name it. There are 18 major languages recognized in India, but there are hundreds of dialects in India.
4834 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And this doesn't qualify as a dialect or a slang of some sort, or an understood means of communication, even though it may not be officially a language.
4835 MR. DULAI: Nothing that I have come across before.
4836 I have been to India numerous times. I have worked on files there, and it has always been Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil ‑‑ depending on what region you are in.
4837 And being brought up here, watching any of the shows on TV, or listening to any radio station, they have always been in Punjabi or ‑‑
4838 If there is something, we have always classified it as Hindi.
4839 And the numbers I was trying to bring across were because we feel that the Punjabi community is being underserved by making a vague statement, saying that Hindustani will serve it, when really it won't, especially the youth.
4840 When we are brought up in our households, we are always taught Punjabi. That's what we understand. That was the reason for me bringing those stats up.
4841 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And you were very clear, and your presentation is clear and well supported.
4842 I suppose what we will do is, we will hear from I.T. Productions in reply. Hopefully they will have something to say to this.
4843 Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
4844 THE CHAIRPERSON: To follow up, you are really saying that where the applicant says "Hindustani", we should read it as "Hindi".
4845 Would that be correct?
4846 MR. DULAI: Yes. That's my view, yes.
4847 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the effort to distinguish it, those should all be combined into Hindi.
4848 MR. DULAI: Yes.
4849 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. As Commissioner Langford said, we will afford the applicant an opportunity to explain that when they appear.
4850 Those are our questions. Thank you very much, gentlemen, for appearing today.
4851 MR. LEBEL: Mr. Chairman, the next appearing intervention will be presented by Joginder Chahal.
4852 MR. LEBEL: Not seeing anybody stepping forward, Mr. Chairman, the next panel of intervenors will be Farid Rohani, Rattan Singh Girn, Ashwant Dwivedi, Lidia Catalano, Sheetal Gupta with Nimmi Bali, Balwant Singh Gill, and Joe Finamore.
4853 THE CHAIRPERSON: While you are getting together, I think we will take a very short break of 10 minutes and resume at 3:30 to hear this panel.
4854 So if you could be at your desks by 3:30, that would be much appreciated.
‑‑‑ Upon recessing at 1520 / Suspension à 1520
‑‑‑ Upon resuming at 1530 / Reprise à 1530
4855 THE CHAIRPERSON: Order, please.
4856 For the information of parties, we will be completing Phase III and then we will be take another break prior to Phase IV which is the replies of the Applicants.
4857 Mr. Secretary.
4858 THE REGISTRAR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4859 Please identify yourself before you speak. You have 20 minutes each to make your presentations ‑‑ 10 minutes, sorry.
4860 MR. ROHANI: Thank you very much. My name is Farid Rohani. I would like to thank you for allowing me to speak in support of I.T. Productions. I am an Iranian Canadian. I have lived in Canada for 34 years and I find myself uniquely suited to speak on behalf of the Iranian community, not being tied into any particular affiliate or group.
4861 The biggest challenge that I see to the Iranian community is finding a way to fit in. The biggest issue is not to be tied into any group or special interest and, as with any new immigrant community, neutrality is key. Political tensions, underlying political tensions or group tensions tend to play a big role in determining what you listen to or what you cannot listen to. As such, neutrality becomes a key point in this.
4862 I think I.T. Productions and Shushma Datt brings in particular three valuable traits to the Iranian community and the larger ethnic community in providing a radio service. These are neutrality and not being tied to any particular group, political party or special interest, respectability, which are her roots in the community; her services to the community that has gained her respect from all walks of life and the ethnic community of British Columbia, and the credibility that she brings having trained as a broadcaster and having operated programs she is a familiar, credible face to those who watch or listen to ethnic programming. She does not pander to any group or party and is able to draw upon her roots in the community to offer the best programming to the communities and not promote agendas or special interests.
4863 She can help the Iranian community at large by offering what any new community needs and to be able to integrate into the larger community, find answers to their needs and a place for their voices to be heard and just not to feel alone.
4864 I think that ‑‑ well, let me just step back for a second and say this. I am involved actively with the Laurier Institute. I sit on the board of the Vancouver Asian Heritage Month Society and was involved with Scouts Canada's B.C. Yukon Chapter on the Provincial Council and served on their Ethnic Diversity Committee.
4865 One of the things that I found was for any new community when they come to Canada, whether we were trying to attract them to join, whether it was scouting or other events that we held within the various groups was how to get them to know about these events and how they could identify as a Canadian within the particular area that they wanted to go. A lot of the issues that happened, in my personal opinion, is they don't know how to fit in. They don't know where to go where they can be accepted and if they get caught up in the wrong group they get pulled in like a magnet to a particular special interest.
4866 I.T. Productions and Shushma in particular bring a certain neutrality which by itself garners a lot of respect. She is able to offer the type of advice and service that we as Iranians could use by creating the proper programming that allows us to feel as new Canadians.
4867 MR. DURVEDI: Thank you. Let me first introduce myself. My name is Ashwant Durvedi. I am here to speak about I.T. Productions.
4868 It is not an easy task to talk about an organization that I feel is part of Canadian heritage. It takes a lot of challenge and it takes a lot of effort to come here and address a group of educated members.
4869 I would like to thank first of all CRTC for allowing me or giving me the chance to be present here. I am here in support of the I.T. Production Ltd.'s application pending for decision before the Board.
4870 Allow me to introduce myself. I have worked in the media industry since 1995. I have worked for I would say the largest media tycoon group senior journalist with the Times group of companies. Later on, I was in 1998 promoted to the desk of chief of staff and after that, after so many years, when today I looked at the panel members sitting here it reminded me of my newsroom, how I used to sit there with my laptop and telling everyone what to do.
4871 After that in 1999 I had a chance of being media representative for the Duke of York. That was an honour that was actually given to me followed by representing 32 members of chief of police addressing important media issues. I was also awarded the youngest journalist award as I am from the Fiji Islands ]and I was awarded the youngest journalist award.
4872 Free speech and an informed public are vital to a democratic society, especially a country like Canada. Everyone is looking at what Canada is doing today. Our neighbours, any other developing country, any nation in this world which respects freedom of speech, freedom of movement, which respects democracy, counts on us as Canadians.
4873 Where comes the issue of freedom of press we all know that even our Honourable Prime Minister is always expected to jump on it and protect the press. In my opinion a responsible and ethical radio station is an important source of information in today's fast track global economic society. A radio station is not recognized by the songs it broadcasts but instead its recognition comes from promoting, protecting and recognizing the freedom to report independently about matters of public interest and to present a wide range of expressions, opinion and ideas. If the radio station was just about music then the CRTC will have to go to every individual home in Canada as we can see new technologies and what kids are able to do today.
4874 As a former senior journalist of the newspaper and later an editor of the Hindi magazine in the Fiji Islands, I am happy to recognize and admit the fact that I.T. Productions relays issues important to Canadians with accuracy and equality. Radio RimJhim is just not considered a radio station by people in the Lower Mainland and across Canada. It is recognized as a crucial part of Canadian heritage which has for many years continued to serve lessons of many cultures as a reliable and a credible link.
4875 When it comes to issues of accuracy Radio RimJhim informs the public in an accurate, comprehensive and fair manner about events and issues of importance. When it comes to equality Radio RimJhim reports factors such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, mental status or physical or mental disability only when they are relevant.
4876 I have found that I.T. Productions journalists present news and public affairs without distortion.
4877 My experience with Radio RimJhim began in 1995 when I first came to visit Canada. However, in year 2000 when Fiji was in political crisis, at that time Radio RimJhim played an important role protecting Canadian life.
4878 I can still not forget the 19th of May, year 2000 when we were all sitting at the Parliament doing a coverage when a group of armed men rushed into the Fijian parliament firing shots and taking the Indian prime minister hostage. 10 minutes after that I filed a report with Radio RimJhim. Following that right in the evening I received a phone call from CTV and I was told that "I want to speak with Ashwant. We have received reports that you filed news on Radio RimJhim. We have listened to it" and Rabi Bahjwal(10:07) was in a position to take on air. With such a limited resource at that time in the year 2000 Radio RimJhim did what the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was supposed to do. It protected Canadian lives. It protected people from travelling to Fiji Islands, a nation in chaos and crisis.
4879 Following that Radio RimJhim apart from these incidents has helped Fiji Islanders and many students in Fiji Islands by providing them funding through radiophone. I have myself witnessed schools, charitable organizations such as Red Cross, and the former Fijian prime minister Siteveni Rabuka was proud to admit the fact that Radio RimJhim being a Canadian radio station far away has contributed over $30,000 to the Fiji Red Cross Society.
4880 Radio RimJhim has displayed what I would say the true colour of a Canadian. It has done what it is supposed to do for Canadians, protecting their lives and being in a position of trying to help people of other nations who are in need of help.
4881 I am not going to take much of your time because as a journalist my editor always used to tell me something, "Speak less and listen more. That's how you can be a good journalist".
4882 In conclusion, I have listened to Radio RimJhim since my arrival in Canada and the first question I asked Shushma Datt in our studio, "Shushma, I want to know what is this game that you are playing on ice? One is running here, one is running ‑‑ I see no soccer balls, nothing". It was through Radio RimJhim that I got to learn what hockey means for all of us.
‑‑‑ Laughter / Rires
4883 MR. DURVEDI: Apart from that, in conclusion, radio stations have some of their own ethical practices, some of which are: inform the public of events in an accurate, comprehensive and fair manner; resist any attempts to censor the news, intrusion into content real or apparent should be resisted; apart from this, refrain from pressuring listeners to change or alter their own views; report only when relevant such factors as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sexual orientation, marital status or physical or mental disability reporting are required to be done so, and respect the dignity, privacy and wellbeing of people in the news.
4884 I can say without hesitation that I would recommend Radio RimJhim as a public broadcaster that can be trusted most for the ethical conduct required of a respected and trusted radio station. In doing so, I request the CRTC to reach a decision in favour of I.T. Productions Ltd. on its application.
4885 Today, I am confident that a decision by the members who are present here today will be for the benefit of Canadians and a united multicultural and multilingual Canada.
4886 Before I end this I just made some notes. I will just take 60 more seconds of your time and that is to clarify on some issues. I have been here since this morning. There were issues about there is no Hindi newspaper to represent the Hindi‑speaking community. Apparently, there is an edition coming out in April of this year. The vice‑president of Microsoft a couple of months ago has launched a Hindi website. MSN has now gone into Hindi, providing service to over one billion population and that can be ‑‑ that is something that anyone can log into and look into. Hindi has been officially recognized by Microsoft in doing that.
4887 Also, in conclusion, we must not forget where we come from. Canada is one nation. We all represent different cultures, different religions. I always look at Canada as a country of many cultures but one nation. We must also not forget that we all here are Canadians and we must not also forget that the minority population that we are talking about today, the 40 per cent that might not be represented, they have nowhere else to go.
4888 Today or in the near future to come, any decision that you are going to make you are going to be making the decision for the benefit of Canadians. Let's be proud in making a decision that is a decision accepted by all races.
4889 Thank you.
4890 MS CATALONO: Good afternoon, Members of the Commission. My name is Lidia Catalono. I am the Vice‑President of the Associazione Culturale Pugliese de la B.C. and I am here in support of the application made by I.T. Productions.
4891 I speak on behalf of this association and the Italian community at large. I myself am a second‑generation Italian born in Vancouver and very fortunate to speak the language.
4892 The Italian community is among one of the largest ethnic groups in B.C. and, sad to say, with a very small media support with no Italian radio programming.
4893 The main goal of our association is to promote the cultures and traditions of this region as well as the language, especially to our youth. Our youth is our future, a future that must keep our pasts alive through culture, traditions, language and using Italian.
4894 Apart from being very active in the Italian community, I am also a businesswomen directing a long distance telephone company geared mainly to the Italian public. Speaking to you now as a business I must emphasize the fact that the only means of advertising for Italian businesses in the Lower Mainland is the local newspaper and a very limited TV program. As you know, the conditions to advertise on the Shaw multicultural station are very limited, not allowing us to promote specials or rates to possible customers.
4895 How to promote our social activities is also a challenge. The most effective tool would be radio, getting our message out quick and in mass, reaching a larger number of households and businesses.
4896 As I mentioned earlier, being a second‑generation Italian I want my children, now third‑generation Italians, to enjoy the Italian heritage and culture as I did when I was their age through radio programming.
4897 To conclude, I would like to add the trust and friendship that has been created between Mr. Vito Bruno and Shushma working together since 1978, Vita Bruno being a very prominent person in the Italian community and television programming. I would like to thank I.T. Productions for considering us and giving us this opportunity to have a real Italian radio program.
4898 I ask the Commission to consider this request as it will be of a great benefit to our community since our community is underserved in respect to radio programming. I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to express my concerns.
4899 Good afternoon, Mr. Commissioner and Members of the Commission. My name is Nimmi Bali and I am the founder of the Natross School of Dancing. With me is the teacher of the school, Sheetal Gupta. In our following presentation to the Commission we would like to express our full and sincere support for I.T. Productions bid for the A.M. licence.
4900 The Natross School of Dancing is a licensed school of dance that teaches a classical 2000 year old dance form called Barat Natyam. The school was founded in Vancouver in June of 1974. My school has had an enrolment of anywhere between 15 to 80 students with students of all ages and all cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Many of the students have also gone to successfully open up their own schools in different parts of the world. My school has produced some of the highest quality of the dance productions to ever be seen in different cities across Canada and has therefore established an extremely reputable name.
4901 One of the sole reasons behind my success has always been Shushma Datt. When I had arrived in Vancouver from East Africa in 1973 the first concert I had attended was that of a renowned Indian actress who is also a professional dancer in the same classical dance form that I had specialized in. I was very disappointed when the audience showed a complete lack of respect towards this devotional dance and began throwing objects at the artist. It was from that moment that the idea came into my mind about opening up Bharat Natyam school so that I could educate the people of Vancouver about what a beautiful and cultural dance form this truly was. However, if I had not communicated my views to Shushma Datt my ideas would have never been changed to reality.
4902 From day one Shushma supported my interest in the arts and always helped in promoting my school and in the production and recording of all my shows and programs. I commend her commitment towards the fine arts. I am proud that when artists in my school perform they are appreciated and respected for their art.
4903 After teaching Bharat Natyam for 28 years I decided that after graduating my senior‑most students from my school that I would retire from teaching. Therefore, in November of 2002 I handed over my most devoted students to Sheetal and has been teaching them ever since.
4904 MS GUPTA: Good afternoon, Mr. Commissioner and Members of the Commissions. I am Sheetal Guptal and I am most honoured to be here to support Shushma Datt's application to the CRTC.
4905 I must tell the Commission that the only reason I have been able to share my talent with the girls that I teach is because of the guidance of my teacher and the continuous support of Shushma Datt.
4906 It was always my mother's dream that her daughter learn the things that she was not able to learn when she was growing up in northern India. One of those dreams was to have me learn Bharat Natyam. However, she feared that because I was born in Canada that there would be no schools that had the knowledge of this particularly unique and complex dance.
4907 At the age of five years she discovered the Natraj School of Dancing and immediately enrolled me into Nimi Bali's Bharatanatyam classes. I often wondered what made my mother so partial towards this particular type of dance. I soon learned that Bharatanatyam was the oldest of all Indian classical dances and was noted for its classical purity and which flourished in the south eastern state of Tamilnadu.
4908 Furthermore, Bharatanatyam was intimately linked with Hinduism, the oldest major religion in the world and which was the religion I was born into. Bharatanatyam itself is said to have originated from the Gods. The principles of the dance are set out in the Natyasastra, which is an area of dance and drama written in 200 AD by a Hindu Sage Bharata. It is believed that Bharata received this knowledge from Brahma himself who, in the Hindu religion, is the creator of the universe.
4909 I feel fortunate that despite being so far away from India this country provided me with the opportunity to learn about my roots and my heritage. Through this dance I have learned the significance of the role of the performing arts in developing my own character. Bharatanatyam is a dance that demands strict discipline, not just in dance but in also all aspects of life. The highly complex and stylized combination of bhava (expression), raga (melody) and tala (rhythm) in Bharatanatyam have taught me the importance of being focused without letting the mind distract me in any way.
4910 It is often said that Bharatanatyam is a visible expression and symbol of the indivisibility of time and eternity. I feel that there could be no higher level of spirituality and meditation than in dance. I have also added a page to the presentation sheets provided to you that goes a little further into the description of the dance. When in 2002 the lease had ended on the facility where the Natraj School dancers learn dance we were all anxious and desperate to find another venue. It was at that time that Shushma Datt offered her facility for no charge at all.
4911 Ever since I was a child I have always remembered Shushma Datt as being the backbone of all our performances and shows. Even in the preparation for the performances she has always helped me and my students improve our performance either by allowing us to use her equipment to record and then view ourselves dance or by verbally critiquing and guiding us.
4912 Furthermore, she takes out time from her Saturday mornings off to set‑up the studio for our practices. I am thankful to Shushma in every possible way. If it wasn't for her I wouldn't be able to teach my students and many of my students who cannot afford to pay me would not have the opportunity to learn such a pure dance form.
4913 I.T. Productions has also been able to reach out to thousands of people through Radio RimJhim. I can only imagine the impact she will have when she comes onto an AM dial. I think that a woman who has supported the Natraj School of Dancing with absolutely no personal motive and no strings attached can support many such schools and groups if she is given the opportunity to expand her scope.
4914 Shushma Datt is also an inspiration to women all across the nation. In our community, which is male dominated, the rights of women are often ignored. Shushma Datt is a role model to women in our community who find it difficult to surpass the gender biases that are still visible in our community. Through its 32 years of programming on radio and television I.T. Productions has empowered women to strive for their goals and remain strong. Her own success in all realms of life has also provided motivation for women everywhere. This is evident when one looks at I.T. Productions itself, where women are given equal opportunities as the men.
4915 And, having grown‑up in a south Asian community I know the value of I.T. Productions as a communication vehicle for women in our community. Women are able to get help through the various programs on RimJhim such as Gupshup and Bangkut. Furthermore, the quality of the programming is superb. For example, when my sister‑in‑law recently moved here from India and first listened to RimJhim she was surprised that the quality of the programming here was on par with the radio programming that she had grown‑up listening to in India.
4916 I can go on and on about the enormous impact that I.T. Productions has made in the lives of so many people, but because of the time constraint I can only say that Shushma Datt is a friend and mentor of the community. I feel privileged that I have spent so much quality time with her discussing issues that are facing our community. We are so thankful that I.T. Productions supports our school and wants to provide us with financial assistance that will enable us to provide scholarships for more students to be able to attend the school.
4917 The reason why we are here today is only to express our gratitude for all that Shushma Datt has done for us. Whereas many other stations are promoting their own culture, RimJhim has always been about creating harmony and raising awareness about all cultures and religions. RimJhim is truly a Canadian station that is all about bringing cultures and communities together through entertainment as well as education.
4918 I.T. Productions has also raised thousands of dollars for charities such as BC Children's Hospital and the BC Cancer Foundation.
4919 I look forward listening to RJ1200 when I pass this school on to the next generation so that they too will have the benefit of their continuous support. Members of the Commission, we urge you to grant the licence to I.T. Productions. We thank the Commission for taking this time to listen to us and we would be more than happy to take any of your questions.
4920 MR. GILL: Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission, my name is Balwant Gill and I am the President of the Guru Nanak Sikh Temple Surrey and spokesperson for 35 societies of British Columbia.
4921 The objectives of our combined societies are to promote harmony and peace in our communities. We also promote interracial and inter‑cordial goodwill. I am here to express our support for the application made by I.T. Productions Ltd. I have known Ms. Shushma Datt for many years. Her company, I.T. Productions, has been a very positive voice in the South Asian community.
4922 I.T. Productions has covered all religious festivals on the radio and television. They have been covered and promoted since the day they started in the early 1980s. We are very proud to say that Ms. Datt is a friend of the entire community. News and open line shows have been conducted with utmost professionalism with everyone's point of view being allowed to be expressed without cutting them off. The programs presented by the staff of RimJhim are unbiased. Whenever we needed the time to express our views on issues that concern us and we needed to reach the entire community I.T. Productions was very gracious and allowed that airtime.
4923 However, Ms. Datt was very particular that we did not criticize anyone or say anything negative about anyone. We have been programming on the RimJhim radio since 1999 every morning from 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. and every evening from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Radio RimJhim broadcasts live programs.
4924 On the community level, I.T. Productions' programs on Radio RimJhim tackle all the business issues in our community, programs on drugs and alcohol, gang violence, seniors' abuse, and gender differences have been produced and presented. The issues have been dealt with in a very sensitive way. I.T. Productions has produced programs for all seniors. These programs are liked by the seniors, this is evident by the fact that our seniors listen to them and often talk about them. In fact, about six years ago I.T. Productions in cooperation with ICBC presented our seniors' community centre a 52 inch TV screen and sound system so that our seniors could watch their favourite programs or education video in a group.
4925 As for other news from back home, it is connected. It was Radio RimJhim that started the live news programs from India to give us that feeling of being connected to the homeland. RimJhim's 6:30 news in the evening brought to us directly from India has been a great source of information for the community. Our objectives are very similar to those of I.T. Productions. Recently, when there was friction between South Asians and Filipino youths ‑‑ the fight between the South Asian youths and the Filipino Youths resulted in the death of a young Filipino boy. We made sure that the Filipino community knew that we were their friends. We made special efforts to visit Mrs. Jomar's house and assure her that we were there for her. We conducted a special program on RimJhim on this issue.
4926 We are pleased to see that I.T. Productions is proposing programming for the Filipino community, in fact, we encourage inter‑cultural at, interracial dialogue.
4927 We have conducted many programs for the seniors and youth. We are encouraged to note that I.T. Productions has paid attention to issues of the youth and are promising three hours per week produced by the youth for the youth. It is important that our youth have an outlet for their views. I.T. Productions' proposal fits really well with this objective, a weekly program on the issue on the issue concerning our youth is long overdue.
4928 In closing, I would like to mention that the addition for more youth Asian languages is being included and in doing so we make our community strong. Thanks to all for giving me time to express my views. If the Chair or Members of the Commission have any questions, I will be more than happy to respond to them. Thank you.
4929 MS KOMARYK: Good afternoon, Members of the Commission. My name is Ashli Komaryk, I am the Cultural Director of the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver. I am pleased to be here to speak to the Commission on behalf of the President of the Italian Cultural Centre, Joe Finamore, in favour of the AM radio licence application submitted by I.T. Productions.
4930 Drawing on my professional and cultural experience in Italy and in our local Italian Canadian community I would like to express my support and the support of the Italian Cultural Centre, an organization consisting of over 700 members and an umbrella society for 37 Italian Canadian non‑profit associations, and our support for the programming proposed by I.T. Productions.
4931 Its multicultural content is certainly positive and I can confirm the essential importance of the two hours of Italian language programming proposed through the collaboration of Mr. Vito Bruno with I.T. Productions. Mr. Bruno is a dynamic, energetic and highly motivated member of the Italian community. He is the President of the Pugliese Cultural Association of B.C. which is one of the member societies of the Italian Cultural Centre.
4932 He supports all activities offered by our cultural centre personally and through his television show. We are grateful for his enthusiastic support and I have seen personally that Mr. Bruno's message reaches many many members of our community, young and elderly, who seek this Italian language programming. Through his programs, Mr. Bruno helps create and maintain bridges between generations that in turn unite families, helping them to cultivate together their shared Italian heritage as well as allowing them to follow current events from Italy.
4933 Mr. Bruno's Italian language broadcasting enriches the Italian Canadian community with entertaining and informative programming. His dedication and passion for sharing his Italian heritage are, at once, inspiring and moving. Granting I.T Productions this licence and thus also giving Vito Bruno's Italian voice a Sunday afternoon space will be positive for many of Vancouver's ethnic communities.
4934 We aren't a melting pot, but rather a multicultural mosaic. And the beauty of a mosaic is experienced both in its complex ensemble as well as in its individual intricate components. I feel that we as Canadians must strive to keep the colours and characteristics of our cherished and magnificent mosaic vibrant and alive. It is my opinion that granting this licence to I.T. Productions would be a step in the right direction to this end. Thank you.
4935 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you all very much. Mr. Durvedi ‑‑
4936 MR. DURVEDI: Durvedi.
4937 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. You are from Fiji?
4938 MR. DURVEDI: That is correct.
4939 THE CHAIRPERSON: And you noted in the applicant's chart of languages that the language Hindustani appears?
4940 MR. DURVEDI: Yes, that is correct.
4941 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that one of the groups that it is directed to are people from Fiji. Do you have any comment..? Were you here for the previous discussion before the break?
4942 MR. DURVEDI: Definitely. Thank you, I was actually hoping and I knew that you were going to ask me that, I could see it on your face. Thank you. I am not going to take a bias opinion, I am going to be very factual here. I am not here to misguide anyone. Hindustani is a language. The actual official language for people in India.. the actual language is Sanskrit, very difficult to understand. I just came back from India a couple of months ago and it is difficult to understand.
4943 Hindustani is a language which comes from the word Hindustan. I don't want to go into history otherwise, you know, we might have to wait for dinner to come. So, I am just going to try summarize it right here. Hindustani is a language, as you must have noted. I was an editor of a Hindi magazine. I also had a lot of opportunities to actually talk to different foreign diplomat members and all that on different issues of language. Countries like New Zealand, Australia, Papua New Ginnea and Fiji. Fiji is a small island, probably you know about it. But, Hindustani is a language, that is the identity. It is a compilation of everything. How can I explain it? Simple ‑‑ if you bake a cake you need certain ingredients. I don't know that, I got to call my wife for that ‑‑ but I know she puts a lot of things. So, what is Hindustani is it is a breakdown of all the other languages, putting it together makes it Hindustani language. So, it is different languages put together.. it is Hindustani.
4944 THE CHAIRPERSON: You just said though that you were editor of a Hindi magazine?
4945 MR. DURVEDI: Hindi newspaper, yes.
4946 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you say Hindi?
4947 MR. DURVEDI: Yes, that is correct.
4948 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, where does Hindustani come into that?
4949 MR. DURVEDI: Well, when you actually represent a newspaper it is Hindi language. When you are actually on air, you are actually speaking Hindustani language. It is too complicated for me to get into details, but ‑‑
4950 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. No, believe me, it is ‑‑
4951 MR. DURVEDI: ‑‑ but that is how it is. When I am speaking there are different ways of saying things in Hindi. You know, there are different ways ‑‑ you are going to call a glass of water in different ways. But a Hindustani way would be a simple way and that is actually a compilation of something that everyone speaks.
4952 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would be different from the Hindi glass?
4953 MR. DURVEDI: Yes. The actual Sanskrit. Thank you.
4954 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, I think we are getting into deep waters here. Thank you very much. Thank you very kindly for your participation in this hearing. Mr. Secretary.
4955 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. For the record, intervention number 41, Matthew Quashi, will not be appearing in the public hearing, so that intervention will remain a non‑appearing on the public record.
4956 We will now hear the intervention by Focus Entertainment Group Incorporated.
4957 When you are ready, Mr. Duggan, you have 10 minutes to make your presentation.
4958 MR. DUGGAN: We were just waiting for one more but we will start without him.
4959 I just have a quick note to make, Mr. Chairman.
4960 Before I begin the oral presentation, I would like to underline for the public record that Focus did fully comply with all the requirements set out in Public Notice CRTC 2004‑11 with respect to the filing of our intervention in opposition to the CHUM application. The intervention was filed with the Commission and several to CHUM, all within the prescribed time frame set out in Public Notice CRTC 2004‑11.
4961 Having said that, Focus appreciates the Commission correcting what was obviously an administrative oversight and we are pleased to have this opportunity to appear before you today to make an oral presentation further to our earlier written letter of intervention.
4962 Now, the real presentation.
4963 Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission and staff, my name is Barry Duggan and I am the President of Focus Entertainment Group Inc., the licence holder for frequency 94.5 FM, CFBT Vancouver.
4964 On my left is Jennifer Smith, the Vice‑President of Focus and General Sales Manager.
4965 On my right is Russell James, our Music Director.
4966 In the row behind us, from left to right, is Jim Robson, a Director and shareholder of Focus, and Blake Cowan, the principal shareholder of Focus.
4967 Sitting at the table to my far right, from left to right, are Nira Arora, who is our Morning Show host; Jason MacKay, our Street Squad leader; Michele Byrne, our Midday host; and Barbara Beam, our Drive Home host.
4968 Mr. Chairman, Focus' purpose today is to comment briefly on four points and to correct some of the erroneous impressions left by CHUM in its February 25th reply to our written submission.
4969 The four areas from our filed intervention that we would like to highlight today are the call for applications, programming, impact on the market and CFBT, the real multi‑ethnic priority within the Greater Vancouver Region and the optimum utilization of the 93.1 FM frequency.
4970 The call for applications.
4971 Mr. Chairman, the original application that triggered the call for applications, as per Public Notice 2004‑55, was for an ethnic undertaking.
4972 Subsequently, the Commission's call was for applications from other parties wishing to obtain a broadcast licence or licences to provide radio programming services that clearly reflect the diversity of languages as well as the multicultural and multi‑ethnic reality of Vancouver.
4973 It is interesting that of the eight applications submitted, seven were legitimate ethnic undertakings proposing to serve multiple cultural groups in multiple languages.
4974 Despite CHUM's suggestion that the Commission's call did not invite applications only for ethnic services, the fact remains that many broadcast organizations did not respond to Public Notice 2004‑55 because they deemed the Commission's call to be ethnic.
4975 In Chairman Dalfen's opening remarks, he is clear when he says:
"On July 21st, 2004, the Commission issued a call for applications for licences to operate ethnic radio stations in Vancouver."
4976 Given the paucity of FM frequencies in Vancouver, it is a given that Focus, among many other existing mainstream broadcasters, would have applied for 93.1 FM had they read the Commission's call for applications as being broader than multi‑ethnic.
4978 Focus found CHUM's closing statement to the effect that "We should not be prejudiced because Focus and others may be upset because they didn't come up with the idea first" to be somewhat misleading given the fact that Focus has essentially been providing Vancouver's youth with much of the programming being proposed by CHUM in its 93.1 FM undertaking.
4979 Indeed, five years ago when CHUM was pursuing a smooth jazz format for Vancouver, Focus created a mainstream application designed to reach out and embrace Vancouver in all of its ethnicity and reflect the richness of that cultural diversity through its music and spoken word programming, its staff and the station operations.
4980 The Commission agreed and made its views known in very precise terms in its licensing Decision 2001‑312.
4981 In essence, CHUM is attempting to seize an opportunity they misread five years ago when they opted for a smooth jazz format. Today, they are dressing 93.1 FM in multicultural attire and calling it "The Planet."
4982 Mr. Chairman, CHUM can call their proposal for 93.1 FM whatever they like but the reality is that it is a mainstream targeted at a 12‑34 demographic whose ethnically diverse composition is secondary to the common bond of music whose universality crosses all cultural boundaries.
4983 People do not listen to CFBT‑FM because of their ethnic origin. They listen because of the common love of the music they share with fellow listeners.
4984 Some of the hit artists that CHUM are proposing to play include Nelly Furtado, Black Eyed Peas, Sean Paul and Kylie Minogue, just to name a few. All of these artists already receive a healthy dose of airplay on both CFBT‑FM and CKZZ‑FM in Vancouver.
4985 In regards to the modern global music format, we have had discussions with Jones Media Consultants in Seattle, Washington, and to the best of their knowledge, there are no successful commercial radio stations in North America playing this format. They mentioned that there were stations playing specific music from a country or a culture but not all mixed together.
4986 CHUM has also stated that they will play 35 per cent Canadian content and 50 per cent will be uncharted. On the Canadian Contemporary Hit Radio, CHR charts, very few songs make it past the Top 40 as listed in the Canadian Music Network.
4987 On CFBT's current playlist of Canadian content, 40 per cent are uncharted. After review by CHUM of CFBT‑FM's playlist, they noted that we played all North American hits.
4988 CFBT‑FM currently plays on Saturday nights for two hours Pete Tong's Essential Selection, a U.K. syndicated program showcasing European hits. This is one of our highest‑rated programs.
4989 I have attached a copy of the World Chart of International Hit Radio Top 40 from Radio Play Music Services. Please note that the highlighted songs that are currently played by CFBT. Those selections amount to 67 per cent of the World Chart.
4990 The ethnicity and multicultural makeup of CFBT staff and in particular our on‑air staff and our street squad are truly reflective of Vancouver's multifaceted society.
4991 We are more than The Planet and have been more for almost three years. We are The Beat of Vancouver.
4993 MS SMITH: The impact on the market for CFBT.
4994 The format of global music is essentially Contemporary Hit Radio, CHR. This music is known as Top 40. Currently, Focus, like its counterparts in other markets, is playing an urban/CHR music format.
4995 CHUM notes that the 12‑34 year old youth market is not being served. The BBM analysis shows that the youth‑oriented FM stations in Vancouver have captured in excess of 50 per cent of the market. So the question is: Who is being underserved?
4996 In our intervention, we have included a graph view of the Fall 2004 BBM for various demographics.
4997 It becomes obvious that if CHUM is granted this licence, they will have a stronghold on the youthful CHR format. Along with the current three stations in Vancouver, they will own the 25‑54 demographic.
4998 This will give CHUM every audience demographic that an advertiser could ever want: a 12‑54 demographic. It is a good plan. In addition to this, the overall corporate strength in Canada and in particular in Vancouver. CHUM will own the market.
4999 Within the CHUM application, their oral presentation, they discussed the percentage of sales that they would expect to get from the current radio broadcasters in Vancouver. This was 5 per cent.
5000 CHUM's share of projections were 3 per cent. Focus being the newest broadcaster in the Vancouver market some three years ago obtained a 3 per cent share in our first BBM rating. This generated for us in excess of $2.4 million in its 12‑month operation.
5001 For CHUM to project $880,000 in year one and $2.8 million in year seven is grossly understated. A 3 per cent share in a $99 million market should generate at least $3 million+ revenues. The Radio Marketing Bureau's estimate of revenue value per share point in Vancouver is at a minimum of $800,000.
5003 MR. DUGGAN: Thank you, Jen.
5004 We would expect CHUM to take advantage of the synergies of all their stations in order to reduce costs of operations. If this is accomplished, they should have a profit in the first year of operation.
5005 Focus has been on the air for less than three years. Our accumulated deficit as a stand‑alone station to August 31 of 2004 is in excess of $3 million. Focus estimates that CHUM would take 10 per cent of the revenues of all four of the youthful stations combined in the Vancouver market. If this became a fact, Focus would be hard pressed to meet its obligations.
5006 In regards to CTD, an applicant for a mainstream licence should provide for significant benefits to the Canadian talent development process. One million fifty thousand dollars for the seven‑year licence period is modest, to say the least. Focus has a licence commitment in excess of $2.8 million for the seven years.
5007 Point four, the real multi‑ethnic priority within the Greater Vancouver Region and the optimum utilization of the 93.1 FM frequency.
5008 Mr. Chairman, in considering the eight applications before you, a key consideration is who will best optimize the utilization of the 93.1 FM frequency. From our perspective, 93.1 FM should go to an ethnic broadcaster proposing to extend service to multiple cultural groups in multiple languages.
5009 Vancouver's English‑speaking community is already well served with 15 mainstream private radio stations while the region's multi‑ethnic, multicultural communities, which represent over 40 per cent of the population, have three. Given this imbalance, the need is ethnic, not mainstream.
5010 As noted in our earlier written intervention, those third‑language Canadians with a facility in English are able to turn to Focus, among other mainstream stations, for the music they want to hear, whereas a large unserved segment of Vancouver's ever‑growing third‑language community have very limited listener choice in meeting their programming needs and preferences.
5011 It has been suggested by some that available AM frequencies are sufficient to address third‑language needs, thus preserving 93.1 FM for English‑language services. Focus does not agree. Why should third‑language communities be denied access to the 93.1 FM frequency within the Greater Vancouver Region when the current ratio between mainstream radio and ethnic radio is 15 to three.
5012 From our perspective, Vancouver's third‑language communities are no less deserving of 93.1 than the region's English‑speaking community.
5013 It is our opinion that if the Commission decides to grant 93.1 FM to any group, it should license a group that is going to do the best job of servicing the underserved and that is ethnic.
5014 Thank you.
5015 PRESIDING MEMBER: Thank you.
5016 Commissioner Pennefather.
5017 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5018 Good afternoon, Mr. Duggan and everyone.
5019 Your intervention and your comments this afternoon are quite clear. You repeated, I think, some of the key features of your intervention.
5020 I just have a couple of clarifications and I assume that you have been listening to the discussions over the course of the week.
5021 MR. DUGGAN: Some of them.
5022 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: One of the points ‑‑ just a general question I would like to get your comments on.
5023 We are talking about the youth market here, 12‑34. I take it that is your core demographic as well?
5024 MR. DUGGAN: Yes, it is.
5025 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: CHUM made a remark in their comments that time spent listening to radio for Vancouver residents between the ages of 12 and 24 has declined, they say, by three hours to 15.4 hours per week.
5026 Is this a challenge that you are facing? We discussed this earlier too with some of the intervenors in terms of young people abandoning radio. Now, is this not a general challenge that you are facing as well?
5027 MR. DUGGAN: Yes, I think it is a general challenge. I think there are a lot of situations that the youth are moving to, whether it is the internet or the iPods.
5028 I think today's world ‑‑ and I have noticed in my own children that they are spending a lot more time studying to get the 80 and 85 per cent marks that they have to get in order to go to university. So there is so much pressure on the youth today that I think in a lot of families and youth groups they are having to work a lot harder to get where they want to go in the future.
5029 I think that is part of the demise of some of the radio listening but our station has progressed in the ratings on every rating book since we went to air and I think what we are trying to do is get out to the people and to the youth that we program to.
5030 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Now, you were licensed, I believe, with an urban format ‑‑
5031 MR. DUGGAN: Yes, that is correct.
5032 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: ‑‑ and earlier today, the comment was that it is really more of a hip‑hop CHR Top 40 format.
5033 Would you agree with that?
5034 MR. DUGGAN: Yes. Our licence was urban and it was ‑‑ the music list was not only urban but it was hip‑hop and R&B and bhangra and Motown.
5035 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I recognize that in some of the hearings we have been at too or some of the proposals we have seen, formats are changing, there are different mixes coming forward.
5036 Do you have a comment on the fact that, as was discussed earlier with some intervenors, there would be a component of world music that would perhaps change the description and really underline the description of a format called global? What is your comment on that?
5037 MR. DUGGAN: Yes, I think we looked in ‑‑ and I attached a world chart, the only one we could find on our list, and we play about 67 per cent of it. This chart is for Europe.
5038 What we are finding is there is a lot of crossover music out there and the urban and the hip‑hop artists are moving more towards, I will call it mainstream or Top 40, because that is where they can make better incomes.
5039 We do a lot of work with youth. We have an open‑mike show every week at a local club where it is free for them to come in and show the audience their wares sort of thing, and it is proving out but they have to learn that it is ‑‑ a lot of your top hits in North America aren't top hits in London, England and in Paris, and we have a huge ethnic base to our audience.
5040 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Just before we leave that, just a question of clarification. From what I see, and you mentioned it, in the BBM data which we have, you are actually doing quite well, if not leading the market in the 12‑34, certainly in the 12‑17 range ‑‑
5041 MR. DUGGAN: Yes, we are.
5042 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: ‑‑ with the format you have now; is that correct?
5043 MR. DUGGAN: That is correct.
5044 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So in fact, keeping to the format you have now to maintain that success would tend to mean that you would keep with the CHR Top 40 format as opposed to one that had world music; am I correct in that?
5045 MR. DUGGAN: Well, I guess I have to go back to, I think, what we mentioned earlier and also in our intervention, is a hit is a hit no matter where it is, and we have played music from Spain and Jamaica, India, because they are hits.
5046 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But the bulk of your format is not that, is it?
5047 MR. DUGGAN: No.
5048 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Is that not the case?
5049 MR. DUGGAN: It is what the hits are, yes.
5050 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I just wondered ‑‑ I think a couple of final questions.
5051 If I read your intervention correctly, your concern was not so much, from what I read, the impact on your target market, because you are doing quite well, at least in terms of share, there ‑‑
5052 MR. DUGGAN: Yes.
5053 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: ‑‑ but rather the accumulation, shall I say, of impact on several demographics that was your main concern?
5054 MR. DUGGAN: That is correct.
5055 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So in fact, it is not so much the youth market as the overall ‑‑ because you have 36.8 shares in 12‑17. I believe that the CHUM application is talking about a 3 per cent share. So I had trouble seeing why there was a challenge to you there.
5056 MR. DUGGAN: Well, I think the challenge is, and maybe Jennifer would like to address it, but it is really where do the revenues come from, and generally speaking, in the Canadian market, the revenues come from the 18‑49 and 25‑54 demographics. The 12‑17 and 12‑24 and even 18‑34 is more limited than the other older demographics.
5057 We get turned down from such ‑‑ what I would think to be youthful retailers ‑‑ as Quiznos, Subway, even McDonald's. We have to fight to get McDonald's on board. Jennifer has done a terrific job doing that but it is a tough battle if you are in the youth side of the station.
5058 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay, thank you for those clarifications.
5059 Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
5060 MS SMITH: I beg your pardon. May I just add a comment to that? I think that that was a great question. Just to clarify one point.
5061 When you are talking about overall advertiser dollars available in the market, as Barry was mentioning, that perfect world, the 12‑54, encompasses all of that $99 million, but if you look at revenue available in that teen market or tween market, referencing both, you are looking at only about 20 per cent of that $99 million at the top end falls into that, likely a 15‑20 per cent ratio.
5062 So the concern that it causes our company is that it is that one‑stop shopping that allows the companies like Quiznos and McDonald's to have to buy around a single independent station that does focus mainly on the youth market.
5063 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
5064 MR. DUGGAN: Thank you.
5065 MS SMITH: Thank you.
5066 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Secretary.
5067 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5068 The next panel of intervenors will comprise Arul Migu Terskadavi Hindu Society, Jaskarin Sindhu, Paulette MacQuarrie, Harbans Kandola and Kuldip Singh Brar.
‑‑‑ Short pause
5069 THE SECRETARY: Please proceed when you are ready and identify yourself before speaking. Thank you.
5070 MR. NADAK: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Panel, ladies and gentlemen.
5071 I am here to speak about our community support of the application for the proposed AM 1200 ethnic radio station by Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation.
5072 My name is Nadarajah Nadak.
5073 I am a proud Tamil Canadian and living here in Vancouver for the last 14 years. I am a textile chemist and I am holding a diploma in commercial control programming.
5074 I am proud to say that I am one of the founding members of Hindu Society here. I am the treasurer now and representing the executive committee of the society today in support of the application for Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation.
5075 Our Temple is offering religious services to many other Hindu people who have different language and cultural backgrounds. We all work together to continue our spiritual path and religious rituals is a must in this technological times, not only for the present generation but also for the future of the community at large.
5076 We have a Religion and Tamil Language School in our Temple since the year 2000 and conducting computer, yoga and meditation classes now. We have organized a seniors wellness centre, called Shantiliam(ph), in order to provide a wellness centre for our seniors focusing on health promotion and prevention and to promote the maintenance of a safe community environment. I am the project coordinator of the organization now.
5077 We are trying to develop and preserve the culture in this part of the world.
5078 As you may be aware, due to the recent civil war type of situation is Sri Lanka, thousands of Tamils moved to distant countries as refugees. As Canada opened its doors for sheltering Tamils from Sri Lanka, the Tamil population has been growing close to 200,000 in Canada.
5079 The Tamils in Canada are sincerely involved in building up the Canadian economy with their hard working business services and high tech industries, medical and engineering fields, research analysis and even in politics as well.
5080 As per an official record in year 2000, there are about 8,000 Tamils living in different parts of British Columbia, mainly in the Lower Mainland. Ten per cent of them are seniors, 20 per cent students, 5 per cent are children and the rest of them are adults. Apart from the daily routine of work and studies, they spend their time in religious activities, cultural events, sports, mainly cricket and soccer, and some of them involve themselves in Barganatium(ph) and Carnatic music that is traditional East Indian dance and music.
5081 The Tamil seniors spend their time watching TV and listening to radio programs.
5082 As you are aware, I am one of the representatives of the majority of the Tamils living in Vancouver. We will be delighted to hear the Tamil voice in CRTC radio through the Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation. Some of our community members are well aware of Mr. James Ho and his clean record of business practice and his financial strength.
5083 We trust that the Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation will be the most capable media to broadcast Tamil programs without interruption. This is not only my own but also of most of the Tamils living here in this part of this province.
5084 I believe that Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation's AM 1200 will represent a strong new voice for the South Asian communities in Vancouver, including Tamil.
5085 Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation is already providing a Tamil language program since March 1966. They are also providing Tamil language program at AM 1200. In this new land, home away from home, we are eager to learn the Canadian culture, ethnic harmony and maintain and preserve our cultural identity.
5086 In our community we have four associations, including our society is providing services to the Tamil community in Vancouver. Radio is one of the mediums of keeping and strengthening cultural harmony in Vancouver.
5087 For example, from 1996 members from the Tamil community participated in several international music and dance festivals hosted by CHMB‑AM 1320. These opportunities gave us a great understanding of other ethnic communities in Vancouver. At the same time, it gave us the opportunity to present our community's traditions and our 5,000‑year Tamil culture to other multicultural communities in Vancouver.
5088 Mainstream Broadcasting AM 1200 application also includes a seven‑year commitment of Canadian talent initiatives of $146,000. Talent festivals will help to promote cultural harmony in Vancouver.
5089 Radio is one of the tools we identify as a most valuable tool in developing and preserving our language and culture. I strongly believe that our Temple activities and the radio programs since 1996 helped our second generation Tamil children to understand our culture and traditions better. It is also providing weekly news magazine from Sri Lanka and lets our community keep informed of the events taking place in that part of the world.
5090 Recently when the Tsunami hit the eastern and northern Sri Lanka and Tamilnadu, the Tamil language program informed the public with alternating news stories which you don't listen or read in the main media in Vancouver.
5091 Mainstream Broadcasting Corporation is the first radio station to start fund raising for Tsunami affected areas. The station raised over $210,000 to Canadian Red Cross in Vancouver.
5092 Tamil is the only South Asian program airs at CHMB‑1320. However, listeners of CHMB AM 1320 opened their wallets to help the people in need. I am also aware of other events held by CHMB AM 1320 to support the community organizations throughout the year.
5093 This is where it is different from other commercial radio stations. The strong community relations and management of Mainstream Broadcasting's AM 1200 will continue the traditions of helping the communities they serve.