ARCHIVED - Transcript, Hearing 30 April 2010
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TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS BEFORE
THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
Review of community television policy framework
140 Promenade du Portage
April 30, 2010
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.
Canadian Radio-television and
Review of community television policy framework
Konrad von Finckenstein Chairperson
Michel Arpin Commissioner
Len Katz Commissioner
Rita Cugini Commissioner
Marc Patrone Commissioner
Peter Menzies Commissioner
Jade Roy Secretary
Rachelle Frenette Legal Counsel
Aspa Kotsopoulos Hearing Manager
140 Promenade du Portage
April 30, 2010
- iv -
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE / PARA
Bell Aliant TV and Bell TV 919 / 4821
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network 982 / 5218
Canadian Broadcast Standards Council 991 / 5259
New University Television Society 1011 / 5358
Ajjiit Nunavut Media Association 1020 / 5398
English-Language Arts Network of Quebec 1030 / 5449
Jennifer Mawhinney 1060 / 5638
Kay Matthews 1065 / 5669
Gail Ordogh 1072 / 5705
David Cooper 1077 / 5723
--- Upon resuming on Friday, April 30, 2010 at 0901
4817 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
4818 Okay, Madame la Secrétaire, let's begin.
4819 THE SECRETARY: We will start today with the presentation of Bell Aliant TV and Bell TV.
4820 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 10 minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
4821 MR. McKEEN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I am Dan McKeen, Senior Vice-President, Customer Solutions at Bell Aliant Regional Communications.
4822 I am pleased to introduce our panel representing both Bell Aliant and Bell Canada.
4823 To my immediate left is Chris Frank, Vice-President, Programming for Bell TV. To Chris' left is Rahul Sharma of Bell Canada Product Development.
4824 To my immediate right is Denis Henry, Vice-President, Legal, Regulatory and Government Affairs for Bell Aliant, and to Denis' right is Paul Armstrong, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Bell Canada.
4825 Bell Aliant is the licensee of an IPTV broadcasting distribution undertaking serving Atlantic Canada. Bell Canada operates a national direct-to-home satellite distribution service and is about to launch IPTV operations in Montreal and Toronto.
4826 Mr. Chairman, today we would like to expand on our written comment that the policy framework should be updated to address the changing environment by encouraging a greater variety in the approaches used to create and distribute community programming in light of the position expressed so far at this hearing.
4827 We are pleased to appear before you today to discuss the future of community channel services in Canada. We believe our proposal is innovative and would contribute to the objectives of the Broadcasting Act by providing more efficient and effective funding for community channel content. The result would be more programming available to more Canadians on more distribution platforms at no additional cost.
4828 As this is a policy proceeding, we are seeking changes to the policy framework pursuant to the following principles:
4829 - all Canadians should have access to community programming, regardless of their choice of BDU;
4830 - a community channel is publicly funded to serve the public good, and should not be used by BDUs as a competitive differentiator; it should be competitively neutral;
4831 - access to community programming should reflect the different ways in which Canadians consume media; and
4832 - all BDUs which operate a community channel should play a role in ensuring the availability of community programming.
4833 Although there are differences between our proposals for IPTV and DTH community channels, they are both based on the same fundamental principle of open access among competing BDUs to all publicly funded community programming. Let me first address IPTV.
4834 We propose that the Commission authorize access by all BDUs to one version of the local community channel currently operated by cable companies on a market-by-market basis. This channel would be branded in a competitively neutral way, meaning without BDU branding. All BDUs granted such access would be expected to contribute to the funding of its operation.
4835 For the first three years of this channel's operation, we ask for authorization to contribute our entire 5 percent revenue obligations to a community channel funding pool, net of our allowable expenses. After three years, our contributions would revert to 2 percent of our revenues, again, minus our allowable expenses. This would help us to get started and cover some of the start-up costs.
4836 Our rationale for this arrangement acknowledges that:
4837 (1) the community channel is an important part of the Canadian broadcasting system;
4838 (2) as a publicly funded operation, a community channel should be made available to all Canadians and not be used as a competitive differentiator; and
4839 (3) it is not an efficient use of public funds to operate competing community channels within a given market.
4840 Over time, we would expect to participate in the channel's programming process so that the shared community channel would evolve as a truly cooperative venture among all of the BDUs operating in the community. A joint cable-IPTV committee responsible for content development would serve that purpose simply and effectively, ensuring that access programming is appropriately represented in keeping with Commission guidelines. Such a committee could also exercise oversight to ensure that no competitive advantage is realized by any particular BDU.
4842 MR. FRANK: Thanks, Dan.
4843 Good morning.
4844 The Commission has indicated its willingness to reconsider the question of whether DTH providers should be authorized to operate a community channel. There are almost three million reasons why this is a good idea. That is the number of Canadian DTH households which do not currently enjoy access to a community channel.
4845 For Bell TV subscribers, we propose two national omnibus channels, one in English and one in French. Third-language and aboriginal content could be carried on either. Programming would comprise locally, regionally and nationally produced and reflective content. Some programming would be related to the geographic area of concern. Other programming would cater to communities of interest that cross geographic boundaries.
4846 One need only scan the Commission's list of intervening organizations and associations supportive of community channel efforts to appreciate how many different interest groups are being accommodated at the community level. As a national service provider, Bell TV can maximize the reach and broaden the value of such local reflection by adding a regional, provincial and national dimension. This would enable Bell TV to use public money for the public good within the limitations of its technology. These organizations would have their interests and messages available to almost three million additional households, who are no less deserving of such a benefit than those of the incumbent cable companies.
4847 In addition to the original community channel programming that Bell TV would produce, we would seek authorization to access on a selective basis content drawn from cable community channels across the country. We would also look to community programming licensees, other community-based media and individual interest groups for additional content. Our DTH-developed programming would be made available to all of these sources at no charge on a reciprocal basis.
4848 For the French omnibus channel, there would be an emphasis on connecting similar groups across different geographical areas, such as Francophones in minority situations. Weekly programming could examine Acadian, Franco-Ontarian and other French-language groups outside of Quebec. Programming could also be drawn from Quebec's télévisions communautaires autonomes.
4849 For the English-language omnibus channel, the approach would be similar but the content quite different, with local and regional programming drawn from Atlantic Canada, Anglophone Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, the West Coast and the Canadian North.
4850 Ethnic programming, particularly for smaller groups not large enough to warrant ethnically targeted local service in specific communities, could be featured on either omnibus channel. For example, programming in Arabic for Lebanese Canadians might be produced in Ottawa or Montreal where there are significant numbers to support local programming. Smaller pockets of the same ethnic minority from across the country would be encouraged to contribute to the development of such programming, which would then be made available to all, including those in these small communities who would not otherwise have access to it.
4851 As an additional component of our proposal, we would supplement these omnibus channels with a bilingual online community channel featuring access programming, acquired content and DTH-developed programming accessible to all our DTH subscribers. All of this content, branded in a competitively neutral manner, would be available to other BDUs at no charge.
4852 The website would also provide, subject to our capacity constraints, the additional benefit of an archival capability so that community channel programming developed over time could be accessed on demand at the consumer's convenience. Web-specific content could also be included to expand the reach of individual communities and special interest groups.
4854 MR. McKEEN: Thanks, Chris.
4855 Mr. Chairman, our proposal would pool funds from multiple BDUs, allowing for improved and more efficient community programming. It will serve the interest of community groups who will not be restricted to one distributor in getting their messages out to the public. It will serve the interests of subscribers who will have access to the same community channel regardless of their choice of service provider.
4856 Finally, our proposal will remove what has become a barrier to competition between BDUs. The funds used by cable companies to finance community channels are public funds sourced from Canadian BDU subscribers and earmarked by the Commission to fund Canadian programming. They should not be used for competitive purposes.
4857 There are a number of precedents in telecommunications regulation where the Commission has introduced measures with the stated objective of removing barriers to entry so as to permit new entrants to quickly become established and flourish in the telecom business. Examples include ensuring local number portability and the requirement for co-location in ILEC central offices.
4858 Just as the Commission was anxious to remove obstacles to entry by cable companies and others into the telecom business, it should now turn its attention to removing obstacles facing the incumbent telecom carriers in the TV distribution business. A meaningful step in this direction would be to ensure that cable community channels, branded on a competitively neutral basis, are available in whole or in part for IPTV and DTH distribution.
4859 In summary, our proposal is an evolution of the community channel which will serve "the Canadian community." We will bring community channels to almost three million more Canadians currently shut out of the system. The public's funding of Canadian content will be made more efficient by the sharing of content across platforms and BDUs. Finally, our proposal would produce incremental programming to the benefit of local communities.
4860 We thank you for this opportunity to present our views and welcome any questions you may have.
4861 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you for your presentation. This is quite different from what you filed with us originally, so obviously you have been listening to our proceedings and have had some further evolution in your thinking.
4862 MR. McKEEN: That's right, we have been listening to the presentations and we saw that there was kind of a spectrum of ideas being put out there and we tried to look at what we thought made the most sense.
4863 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's look at the IPTV proposal, first of all. Let's go to Atlantic Canada where you are there and Rogers is there and IPTV is alive and well. Mr. Henry gave me a demonstration when I visited his offices.
4864 So what you are suggesting -- let's take a city like St. John's or Fredericton, et cetera --
4865 MR. McKEEN: Sure.
4866 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- is that you, in effect, Bell Aliant, band together with Rogers and offer one community channel together?
4867 MR. McKEEN: Yes.
4868 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is known as the community channel, it is not Rogers or Bell Aliant, it is just the community channel?
4869 MR. McKEEN: That is correct.
4870 THE CHAIRPERSON: Whether people are ITV customers or cable customers, they can watch that?
4871 MR. McKEEN: That is right.
4872 THE CHAIRPERSON: You two would run it, you and Rogers would run it jointly?
4873 MR. McKEEN: Yes.
4874 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why do you want 5 percent for that?
4875 MR. McKEEN: Well, we thought at the beginning, for the first few years, there would be some start-up costs. So there would be some costs in changing the branding of the channel and also we would have some costs in actually being able to carry the channel because we would have some capital costs in order to be able to put a channel on our IPTV system, and because we have a smaller number of subscribers, the percentage isn't that -- it is not that much money. Because of the smaller number of subscribers, the 2 percent isn't a big number.
4876 So we thought -- it is not a key proposal -- it is not a key part of our proposal. We just thought that that would -- also, if you think about not reducing programming because the pool of money that the cable company uses now to produce programming, there would have to be some extra expense to make the channel branded in a competitively neutral way and we thought this additional funding may help that.
4877 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but presumably if we agree to that, then Rogers will want to have the same.
4878 MR. McKEEN: We thought that was a start-up cost.
4879 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4880 MR. McKEEN: So there would be a start-up cost and it is a smaller number of customers. Again, it is a small component of our thoughts. If it was still at 2 percent, it could still work without the increased funding.
4881 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tell me, you have listened obviously to our proceedings, you have heard the various artistic groups. One of their big complaints is that access is really nominal but not effective, that these channels are used by the BDUs essentially to propagate their Fund rather than to --
4882 How do you handle -- Mr. Henry, for instance, how do you handle access at IPTV right now? Do you have a community channel on your IPTV system?
4883 MR. HENRY: No, we don't.
4884 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh! You don't.
4885 MR. HENRY: No, we don't.
4886 MR. McKEEN: We don't have it today. So one of the things we think about, by pooling, making it one channel and by having it neutrally branded and by having a committee between the two BDUs on it and also some outside people on that committee that it would make it more open and there would be less motivation to make it commercial.
4887 Because the community channel over time has become more commercial. It is more of a representation of the brand of the BDUs that run it. Therefore, they want to make it more professional and more reflective of their particular brands.
4888 But if you brand it competitively neutral, then the ability to provide access programming should be enhanced and it should be allowed -- and that committee, that independent committee should do that.
4889 THE CHAIRPERSON: You say:
"Over time, we would expect to participate in the channel's programming process so that the shared community channel would evolve as a truly cooperative venture..."
4890 I mean community groups want access to both your equipment, your studios and the training that you can provide. Can you not do that right now -- if this proposal takes off, couldn't you do that from day one?
4891 MR. McKEEN: Yes, it could be done from day one, but what we are suggesting is an evolutionary process. So currently the channel is run by the current BDU --
4892 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4893 MR. McKEEN: -- which would be Rogers. And so, over time, what we think is -- and the management of Rogers would stay in place. They would continue to run it the way they do today at the beginning.
4894 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4895 MR. McKEEN: We would pool money in to help additional programming and then we would develop a committee. So you would have to, over time -- so it is an evolutionary process -- develop a structure so that rather than Rogers making the decisions about who gets access and when they get access and what programming they do, over time, there would be a committee, which would involve us, some representation from us, some independent representatives and some representatives from Rogers, to make that more of an open process for accessing programming.
4896 THE CHAIRPERSON: What time frame do you have in mind for this?
4897 MR. McKEEN: We think a conversion should take maybe a two- to three-year time frame. The rebranding should really happen over a year. We think over -- then in the second year we would start with a committee, but by three years --
4898 We also think it should be on a request basis. So we are not suggesting that every community channel would have to change that right away, but where an IPTV provider, a BDU, wants to do a common channel and they make that request, then that is when the process should start. So it is not like you have to change all of them all at once. But as it is requested by IPTV providers, it should be changed to competitively neutral.
4899 THE CHAIRPERSON: Do IPTV providers right now not have an obligation to provide a community channel?
4900 MR. McKEEN: No. We have the obligation for the 5 percent but we do not have to spend it on a local community channel. We are able to send all 5 percent to the Canadian Production Fund. That would be accurate?
4901 MR. FRANK: Yes, it is an option as I understand it.
4902 MR. HENRY: It is an option under the BDU Regs.
4903 THE CHAIRPERSON: But now that you are holding out your system in a big way and you are becoming competitive with the cable companies in some localities, it is sort of an odd divergence that --
4904 MR. McKEEN: We plan to. We plan to. So we are going to -- so depending on what happens on these hearings, obviously at one end of the spectrum, there is sort of -- we have been listening to the hearings -- there is sort of the CACTUS spectrum which is way off to the side, you take everything away from the community channels.
4905 The other end of the spectrum is where you have completely competing community channels and there's a number of reasons why we think competing community channels in the same community is not particularly effective or efficient or good for subscribers.
4906 So if you take the example of a city council, it somehow doesn't make sense to have two sets of crews, two sets of cameras, two sets of expenses going to the same community event to record it. It also doesn't make sense to have one of the companies sign up an exclusive with the community council so the other one can't get in and so then it starts to be a competitive playing field.
4907 So we think one community channel for one community makes sense, which is kind of the middle of the road towards the two sides.
4908 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why would it be on a request basis? Why wouldn't there be a trigger, that if you acquire more than X customers you fall into the joint community channel regime?
4909 MR. McKEEN: We would be happy with a trigger.
4910 THE CHAIRPERSON: We would obviously have to decide what the number is and what the base would be calculated on.
4911 MR. McKEEN: Right. We would be happy with a trigger.
4912 We also thought on a request basis would make sense because IPTV isn't everywhere, so as it rolls out from different towns to different areas, you would then make a request and say, well, we have launched this service and we are ready to carry it. Therefore, we would start a process.
4913 But we could be happy with regulations that had a trigger.
4914 THE CHAIRPERSON: You might, in your further comments before May 17th, reflect on what would be the appropriate trigger and what it would be measured on.
4915 MR. McKEEN: Yes. We could certainly come back with comments on what would be an appropriate trigger.
4916 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You didn't mention at all advertising. So I presume you are okay with the present regime, that there is no advertising on BDU channels?
4917 MR. McKEEN: Yes, we are okay with that regime.
4918 THE CHAIRPERSON: And your DTH proposals which -- explain that to me -- sorry. Please, if you wanted to correct your answer.
4919 MR. McKEEN: Well, I think when you ask about advertising, the present regime on advertising, as long as it -- we had kind of a different view on the DTH side where we thought maybe the advertising should be expanded depending on whether we have these pooled community channels or whether we have individual community channels. So it sort of varies according to which structure the Commission is going to take.
4920 THE CHAIRPERSON: So before we go to DTH, the other thing is the promotion. As you know, four minutes can be used for promotion, of which three-quarters have to be used for -- one-quarter can be used for the BDU's own purposes and the other three-quarters are general.
4921 Presumably if we buy into your regime, a joint regime between IPTV and the cable producer, then you would have to work out among yourselves how you share the promotion?
4922 MR. McKEEN: That's right. I mean, we would generally think that if it was a pooled channel that was not branded that you would not promote either BDU's services, that it would be competitively neutral in all, so that the promotion would be about the channels, about the programming, things that are happening on the channels. But they wouldn't be promoting, for instance, the BDU's internet service. So it wouldn't promote the other BDU's internet --
4923 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or the cell phones.
4924 MR. McKEEN: Or the cell phones or any of those other things. It would be independent. You know, we see competitively neutral as being independent of those kinds of advertisements and promotions.
4925 THE CHAIRPERSON: That really means taking away the one-quarter that the cable company right now can use for its own products?
4926 MR. McKEEN: That is correct.
4927 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. Okay, DTH. I asked Shaw about that. I have real trouble conceptually connecting DTH with community because community by definition is local in your specific locale.
4928 How would this work? I always think of it as basically a wheel. You are going to do 50 communities and you are going to have a segment for each community, is this how it is going to work or how does your community channel on a DTH basis work?
4929 MR. FRANK: We would propose local programming, regional programming and national programming, and the national programming and to a certain extent the regional programming would be community of interest programming, and hopefully, they would be woven together with common themes.
4930 THE CHAIRPERSON: Give me an example. What do you mean by that?
4931 MR. FRANK: An example might be the Canadian Kennel Club could be a national program with regional and/or local input.
4932 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. What communities would you pick?
4933 MR. FRANK: Well, we would have to use an equitable approach to communities right across the country. We are proposing that the best of our community programming would be available on the two omnibus channels and that would be supplemented with an online service which would contain all of the programming we get through access, through program acquisition and the use of independent producers.
4934 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Online, of course, you can do what you want, but you would promote the online through the DTH channel, I presume?
4935 MR. FRANK: Yes, we would.
4936 THE CHAIRPERSON: But is your viewership -- you have about how many customers, 1.5 roughly?
4937 MR. FRANK: We are about 1.95, sir.
4938 THE CHAIRPERSON: 1.95. And are they evenly distributed across the country or do you have concentration in certain regions?
4939 MR. FRANK: Relatively evenly. There are certain parts of the country that are not as DTH penetrated as others, I'm thinking of mountainous areas in British Columbia.
4940 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
4941 MR. FRANK: For geographical and physical reasons, but relatively evenly spread out across the country. We're quite prominent in Ontario and Quebec, but also in the rest of the country as well.
4942 THE CHAIRPERSON: But how would you ensure proper distribution of community-specific programming when you have the whole country to serve?
4943 And how many communities, apart from Nova Scotia do you take, you know, do you divide it by 10, do you divide by -- or do you treat the Maritimes as a region and, therefore, in order to get a rough proportionality, et cetera.
4944 Wouldn't you have an awful lot of issues in order to be fair and equal in terms of community coverage?
4945 MR. FRANK: Well, this is obviously an important issue and we will have to develop -- we would have to develop business rules and programming access rules to accommodate equitable treatment.
4946 Presumably we would use a program committee comprised of our own staffers but also people from the regions across the country and work out something that is equitable.
4947 THE CHAIRPERSON: And if I understand the technology that you use, it's not sophisticated enough that you can have for me, if I'm your customer in Ontario, that I get a different community programming than my friend who lives in Quebec; that requires too much capacity or the so-called spot beaming that some of your U.S. competitors use, you cannot employ that?
4948 MR. FRANK: We don't have spot beams on our Ku service which is the primary means of reaching our customers today.
4949 We do have spot beams at Ka, but I think as we've explained to you in other proceedings, we don't have receive equipment yet deployed for Ka band.
4950 You're right, if we wanted to take the spot beam approach it would be very capacity -- very capacity intensive. So, we have allotted two RF channels in our initial concept to the delivery of community channels and we'll just have to develop a methodology which respects equitable distribution.
4951 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what does paragraph 14 mean where you're basically saying, you were asked, and that you're going to -- on your DTH system you're going to put on programming from local communities I hear.
4952 So, if I understand, your DTH satellite may pick up a community program coming out of Fredericton, et cetera, and that may be from either the -- if your proposal is accepted, your front part, from a cable neutral community channel or it may be from a cable owned community channel if your proposal is not accepted.
4953 But then you say, it would be at no charge on a reciprocal basis.
4954 I'm trying to figure out what this means.
4955 MR. FRANK: The majority of the programming we would have on our two community channels and in our web servers would be Bell TV programming and it would be branded in a competitively neutral way.
4956 But we do seek to supplement our community programming by acquiring from other cable companies.
4957 So, in return for that, whatever programming that we have in our archives or available to us would be available to other BDUs at no additional charge. It's basically a reciprocal exchange of programming.
4958 I'd like to repeat, that the majority of our programming would be developed by Bell TV.
4959 THE CHAIRPERSON: But they're developed presumably by community groups and volunteers, et cetera.
4960 MR. FRANK: Yes.
4961 THE CHAIRPERSON: But the rights in that programming would be in Bell, so you would have the capacity to say, here Shaw you want it, you can have it in return for me getting whatever you're producing in Calgary?
4962 MR. FRANK: Yes.
4963 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's the idea.
4964 MR. FRANK: The idea here, sir, is simply that we're pooling resources. It's not unlike what happens with the CMF and the other independent funds today.
4965 Bell TV contributes a full five percent to three independent funds. The Canadian programming that those independent funds finance or co-finance are available to all BDUs across the country, and we feel it should be no different for community channels.
4966 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what percentage of the five percent that you're paying into the CMF would go to the DTH community channel?
4967 MR. FRANK: Well, the current level that the Commission has set is two percent.
4968 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4969 MR. FRANK: And unless that changes, it would be two percent.
4970 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that's enough for you to finance what basically would be one channel on your network dedicated to community?
4971 MR. FRANK: Two, sir. One in English and one in French.
4972 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
4973 MR. FRANK: And, yes, we think that that's sufficient for us to make a significant contribution to community programming, not only on our system but for other BDUs as well.
4974 THE CHAIRPERSON: Tell me, do you have an Eastern feed and a Western feed like Shaw does for your DTH?
4975 MR. FRANK: No, all of our beams, all of our beams are national.
4976 THE CHAIRPERSON: They're all national.
4977 MR. FRANK: Other than our Ka band, I'm not sure of any Canadian satellite at the present time that has regional beams.
4978 THE CHAIRPERSON: And just to make sure, it will all be community-based in effect, mostly locally based and then some community interest like your Kennel Club or something like that?
4979 MR. FRANK: It would be a reasonable mixture of local, regional and national programming all focused on communities of interest.
4980 MR. McKEEN: If I can add something, Chris.
4981 There has been precedents for this type of programming within community channels today. So, if you look at -- there's a number of community channels that have created programming that is like a magazine type format. And what you do is you set up a structure of a show that has components on it and then community groups provide input in segments.
4982 So, they might have -- there might be a two-minute segment from Halifax, there might be a two-minute segment from Windsor, there might be a five-minute segment from Moncton, there might be an eight-minute segment from Sudbury, but it's all talking about the same kind of -- same kind of subject matter.
4983 So, it's like a community of communities. So, the Kennel Club is a good example. You might have a half an hour show about a Kennel Club, but it may be made up of 10 two-minute segments from different parts of the country and different parts of the country would then rotate through.
4984 So, one week it may come from Windsor, Nova Scotia, the next week it may come from Sydney, Nova Scotia. So, you would add those things together.
4985 But the whole show would have lots of input from across the country from community groups.
4986 And community groups are very challenged to provide full-scale programming, but when you go to a community group and say, would you like to make a four or a five-minute piece every month to add into an aggregate show, that really -- it serves the needs of community groups quite well because to put together a 13-week, half an hour show is a big challenge for community groups.
4987 But to be part of an omnibus kind of a magazine type format is very effective and to have national viewership, the capability of that, would be very good for community groups.
4988 THE CHAIRPERSON: The only thing is you've effectively re-defined community. Community so far, and I've heard it now for a week, is based on a locale, local people coming together.
4989 You are now saying, community of interests and that's -- and undoubtedly it's a community too, but it's a different community and --
4990 MR. McKEEN: Well, it's quite interesting a lot of --
4991 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- and your Kennel Club is just a perfect example.
4992 MR. McKEEN: Right, exactly. And a lot of new media works that way. If you look at the way the Internet works and Facebook and other things, there's communities that stretch beyond locales and they become more interest level driven.
4993 So, we think that the national community channel would be -- it's another aspect, but it's an enhancement of the type of local community programming that's available.
4994 MR. FRANK: I'd also add, sir, that our on-line capability through Bell TV on-line would supplement the availability of local, regional and national programming.
4995 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. But, I mean, this is exactly -- new media are wonderful for community of interest, that's why you have Facebook, that's why you have all of these things, et cetera.
4996 Now, you are trying to do the opposite what everybody else is trying to do, they are all -- you are trying to import, in effect, a new media concept into broadcasting rather than most people before are trying to take the braodcasting concept and export it to new media?
4997 MR. McKEEN: They would be complementary not mutually exclusive. They're complementary, they work together.
4998 MR. FRANK: Absolutely.
4999 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would it not be to the disbenefit of the local groups? Isn't that why we have community channels? Isn't the whole idea that the local Halifax Kennel Club can see itself or the rowing regatta or whatever is going on, et cetera, rather than now you're putting regional and national.
5000 I appreciate what you said here, for that particular group it may be easy to put something together if you can slice it from various communities, but you're taking away, in my example, the sense of Halifax, you are now talking about Kennel Clubs, you're not talking about Halifax.
5001 MR. FRANK: Well, in Dan's example, for instance, Mr. Chair, the Halifax Kennel Club, or a Halifax-based community group of any type might have 10 minutes on a magazine show and might have two or three hours weekly available in our server which would be available to all of our Halifax and Nova Scotia customers.
5002 So, we have limited capacity -- channel capacity on our satellites for this, but we felt it was important to have at least two RF channels and the whole idea is to supplement with on-line capability which isn't nearly as capacity constrained.
5003 MR. McKEEN: If I could add, they're not mutually exclusive. So, a Kennel Club in Halifax might have a half an hour show in Halifax being distributed amongst the community channel in Halifax.
5004 They may take three or four minutes of that programming that they've created and that may go on the omnibus channel.
5005 So, it's not either/or, the community groups would essentially be able to do both.
5006 THE CHAIRPERSON: What's the omnibus channel?
5007 MR. McKEEN: Well, it's --
5008 MR. FRANK: That's the satellite delivered capability, that's the two satellite channels which would be the best of the best, as I said, supplemented by on-line.
5009 MR. McKEEN: And it does provide greater reach, right. A group would then be able to --
5010 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I understand the greater reach and the aggregation of resources, it's just what is local -- what's a local community.
5011 You're really doing violence to that concept when you talk about community of interest.
5012 MR. McKEEN: It is certainly stretching it, I would agree.
5013 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, just speaking of new media. We've heard a lot of people suggesting that new media really is not the proper way to it.
5014 We've heard some others suggesting that really community programming can be also accommodated by video-on-demand and actually that's what -- sorry, by video-on-demand and that's really what MTS and SaskTel basically do, they have a mixture of a bulletin and video-on-demand. et cetera.
5015 On your IPT side, presumably you would be following the model of SaskTel and MTS?
5016 MR. McKEEN: Yes. We are very supportive of that model, but we think that our proposal and that model work well together.
5017 So, we'd say one community channel for say Moncton, there'd would be one community channel for Moncton, the funding would be pooled together, it would be unbranded, it would be branded neutrally and both BDUs would be able to have the content as part of their VOD service.
5018 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
5019 MR. McKEEN: So, it would be -- both companies would be able to do that.
5020 MR. FRANK: Mr. Chair, I think it's very important as we move forward to make programming available to our customers when they want it and how they want it, and I think it's inevitable that all major and smaller BDUs in a very short period of time will move to an on-line based service and perhaps a mobile-based service as well, authenticated for the subscriber base to allow customers to have programming on a more portable and time-convenient basis.
5021 THE CHAIRPERSON: But in your instance, you are the DTH provider. Well, look at that side of the table, at the DTH side, you would -- in effect on demand is something you can't do, it's just too capacity, you'd have to do it on-line, right, you could not do it through the DTH side?
5022 MR. FRANK: Essentially, you're right. We are developing and will launch shortly a push VOD service, but because it requires a buffered space in the PVR box, it does not have nearly the capacity capability of servers -- server-based technology which would deliver on-line.
5023 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5024 Sorry, you threw a completely new concept at me this morning, so my questions aren't prepared, I'm really not quite up to it. I'm just still trying to get my head around this community of interest on a local and regional basis, et cetera.
5025 How do we prevent that from digressing or becoming really a specialty channel, a specialty channel for some very vocal and well organized groups?
5026 MR. FRANK: I think the key there, sir, would be to ensure that the community channel has an advisory board with independent members who would be the glue that would keep the concept together.
5027 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
5028 Very interesting.
5030 COMMISSIONER KATZ: I think I've got the same problems.
5031 Let me try and start back one step. One of the major reasons why we're here is because an awful lot of communities feel they are not getting the opportunity to create a community information system for their local community.
5032 How does your proposal, notwithstanding some other issues that will come up later on, address their issue?
5033 I mean, Flin Flon, Manitoba, Prince George, how do the people there get to build their community broadcasting system through new media or otherwise under your model?
5034 MR. McKEEN: I think that one of the main things about our model is that the channel would become neutrally branded, so competitively neutral.
5035 So, you take away the motivation for a BDU to make the channel seem professional and to try to increase the reach and viewership of the programming, to make the programming more and more commercial, as opposed to community-based which is more niche and isn't as driven by volume of viewership but it is more about niche viewership, about reflecting the community and allowing interest groups who are naturally in a narrower scope be able to access and create programming.
5036 So, by putting them together you will have pooled resources which will allow more facilities to be available, and also by unbranding it, making it competitively neutral, you'll be able to move towards a committee which has -- of both BDUs and independents that will manage the channel.
5037 But there won't be the motivation to manage the channel to professionally enhance the brand of the BDU.
5038 So, if you look at community channels today --
5039 COMMISSIONER KATZ: No, no, I understand the branding issue, that can be dealt with in many different ways outside of your proposal, there's lots of ways of dealing with the branding issue.
5040 What I'm trying to understand is how do the communities of Flin Flon and Prince George and wherever get to be able to communicate with their community on a community channel?
5041 MR. McKEEN: Well, it would have a common community channel and be developed by both the BDUs. If you take the opposite --
5042 COMMISSIONER: Yes, but you've got 168 hours of programming a week, how much programming will the residents of Flin Flon be able to broadcast to their community?
5043 MR. McKEEN: 168.
5044 COMMISSIONER KATZ: You know, they're going to see local Flin Flon information?
5045 MR. McKEEN: Well, are you talking about the DTH service or are you talking about our IPT service?
5046 COMMISSIONER KATZ: The DTH service.
5047 MR. McKEEN: So, maybe I'm confused about the question.
5048 COMMISSIONER KATZ: The DTH service.
5049 MR. McKEEN: But they're not mutually exclusive. We're not saying one versus the other, we're saying that the BDU -- the IP TV and the BDUs would have a common channel that's just in Flin Flon, or whatever area that goes to.
5050 A component of that programming would then be put up nationally, and so you have community interests that go beyond Flin Flon, but there's interest within Flin Flon. So, it is stretching --
5051 COMMISSIONER KATZ: I understand your issue of technological neutrality when it comes to a BDU and IP TV and having --
5052 MR. McKEEN: Right. Okay.
5053 COMMISSIONER KATZ: -- one coup instead of two. What I don't understand is the next step and levering the DTH model in there because you're going to take the best of, for argument sake, and put it on one national feed that will go across all DTH subscribers.
5054 They don't have terrestrial BDU service, they bought the Bell ExpressVu, Bell TV service. So, how much time are people in Flin Flon going to see of Flin Flon programming -- local Flin Flon programming if it's on one feed of 168 hours?
5055 MR. FRANK: I understand the point you're making and that's why we are advocating the use of on-line facilities to supplement the capacity we have available on the satellite.
5056 You're right, two RF channels, one in English, one in French, cannot carry programming from every community across the country.
5057 But what we can do is knit regions together, the country together with programs of national community interest, regional community interest and some local programming.
5058 The balance would be available from our on-line capability.
5059 COMMISSIONER KATZ: In your paragraph 13 on page 3 you indicate that:
"As a national service provider, Bell TV can maximize the reach and broaden the value of such local reflection by adding a regional, provincial or national dimension."
5060 COMMISSIONER KATZ: That's in the context of DTH. I don't see the word community in there, first of all. And the issue of local reflection, I could argue, would include OTA as well.
5061 Why wouldn't you want to take the OTA news and information that's there, a lot of which is very community oriented as well, and maybe not as much as people would like or it should be, but why wouldn't you be going after the local broadcasters as well that actually do some community and put it on there as well?
5062 I mean, it looks like you're trying to get the best of programming in here and you didn't put in the OTA which is my basic question.
5063 MR. FRANK: Well --
5064 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But, more importantly, I don't see how this will solve the problem of access for customers who are DTH customers?
5065 MR. FRANK: Well, let me parse that into two pieces. Let me deal with the OTA piece first.
5066 We do carry about 75 local TV stations from across the country, I say about because it increases from time to time, I think 75 is the right number at the present time.
5067 We're proposing two community channel services, so we do carry a vast number of OTA services, plus we have approached all of the networks with the idea of carrying unique local programming from channels that don't get satellite distribution.
5068 In fact, we got CRTC approval to do that a number of years ago, and we in fact do that in certain parts of the country.
5069 The problem is that the broadcasters really aren't interested in providing us with just local programming, they want their whole channel carried and that raises the issue of ultimate capacity and the need to program a satellite BDU with a broad variety of services, whether they be OTA, specialty or premium services.
5070 So, we are quite live to the issue of carrying unique local OTA programming and it could be included in this, but I think probably better to be provided on different channels, unique channels for each community.
5071 We have the capability of doing that. Not an omnibus channel, but a part-time unique service for each of the communities, so people know where that channel is on the programming guide.
5072 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. Let me move on to my last question.
5073 In paragraph 11 here you provide what you call three million reasons why it's a good idea to have the DTH providers provide community programming under your definition of community.
5074 There's probably 43-million reasons why it shouldn't be if I was one of the folks in the creative community, because I think we heard earlier this week there's $43-million that would be diverted from the CMF into community programming.
5075 And the question then would be, how do you continue to support the CMF and Canadian content creation when you're creating a revised definition, I would call it, creative definition of community programming and diverting funds from the CMF to community programming as you've defined it, at the expense of the creative community who get matching dollars as well.
5076 So, we're looking at roughly, I don't now, $86-million that would be a shortfall in their estimation.
5077 MR. FRANK: Well, Vice-Chair Katz, I think it needs to be said that DTH customers today are receiving no community channel service, and we've heard from our customers that (a) that's sometimes a reason not to move, or they've heard it's a reason not to move to DTH, others have said to us that it would be nice if we could have some degree of local, regional and national reflection on a community channel.
5078 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But under your definition, they're still not going to get local community programming, they're going to get the best of Canada.
5079 MR. FRANK: From the satellite and all the programming produced will be available on-line and programming we can acquire from other sources.
5080 So, we recognize we have a channel capacity issue and that's why we're proposing the on-line solution.
5081 You used the example of Flin Flon a few minutes ago. Flin Flon DTH customers would, under our proposal, get more community programming, community channel programming than they have now.
5082 COMMISSIONER KATZ: They would get more community programming as you defined it, but they wouldn't get their community programming.
5083 MR. FRANK: They could well get their community programming, but chances are the majority would come on -- would come from on-line source.
5084 MR. McKEEN: But those customers who have satellite don't get any community programming today.
5085 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
5086 THE CHAIRPERSON: You have the capacity to do it regionally at least? Could you, let's say, since we're talking about Flin Flon, could all the people in Manitoba on your channel get just community news from Manitoba and the ones from Saskatchewan get it from Saskatchewan or so?
5087 MR. FRANK: If we were producing local news. I heard in discussions you had the other day that it was being suggested that perhaps local news wasn't appropriate.
5088 We'd be happy to do local news, but we'd also be happy to carry the local OTA programming, the unique OTA programming on a separate channel.
5089 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was just talking about your capacity. So, you say you would have two community channels. Could the community channels -- can you program it so that the people in Manitoba only get Manitoban community programming and the ones in Saskatchewan get only -- or would that mean you would have to have separate channels?
5090 MR. FRANK: We certainly indicated in our presentation this morning that we would be looking at the two Prairie Provinces as a region and we would absolutely provide regional programming with local --
5091 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was asking you a very specific question of your technical capacity. I said, are you in a position to make sure that the community channel that your people in Manitoba watch would only have Manitoba community programming?
5092 MR. FRANK: All the time? On a 24-7 basis?
5093 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5094 MR. FRANK: I don't think we have the capacity to do that on a 24-7 basis, to provide the Province of Manitoba with its own unique community channel and accommodate what we're contemplating here in two RF channels, we'd need more than that.
5095 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the part of the CACTUS proposal that seemed to strike a very responsive accord, mainly the artistic and cultural communities that came before us, they said -- they have suggested that there would be local multi-media centres would serve as a hub for programming and for training, et cetera.
5096 Under your DTH proposal, there is no such thing, there is no -- how would somebody in Flin Flon get in touch with DTH, with Bell TV to make sure its programming would (a) be produced; and, (b) would get onto the Bell system?
5097 MR. FRANK: Within the business plan we will have to allow for the animation of communities on a local, regional and national basis.
5098 THE CHAIRPERSON: What exactly does that mean?
5099 MR. FRANK: We'll have to allow for staff whose responsibility it is to seek out programming from the communities and the regions you're talking about.
5100 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. But, I mean, you'll have a national coverage, this will be tremendously expensive for you. You would have maybe one representative per province or something like that, right, who would seek programming from various -- but there would be no sort of, no local hub or no local meeting point like the media centre that CACTUS is talking about.
5101 MR. FRANK: Well, our proposal does contemplate the acquisition of programming from other BDUs, presumably local BDUs which we can source and put on-line and also put on the satellite.
5102 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5103 Michel, you had a question.
5104 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Thanks, Mr. Chair.
5105 As I understand, only the spot beam approach that we talked about a few minutes ago can provide you the same flexibility than the BDUs to serve the local content.
5106 MR. FRANK: As I said, sir, we don't have spot beam capability on our main Ku band transponders, we do have it in Ka, but Ka has yet to be harnessed in terms of having customer receive equipment.
5107 We do have the capability of providing regional coverage. We have channels -- sports channels for instance, I'm thinking specifically of Sportsnet that acquires regional rights and we're able to provide just the customers within the region with that programming.
5108 COMMISSIONER MORIN: But I'm talking about regional but local, local. So, when do you -- do you think that eventually you'll have the technology in order to have the same flexibility that the BDUs have right now to distribute the local content?
5109 MR. FRANK: I think that the answer to that is that --
5110 COMMISSIONER MORIN: As the Americans, I understand, have.
5111 MR. FRANK: Yes. The American market is many, many times larger than the Canadian marketplace. The American satellite companies have much more scale than we do.
5112 Currently our satellites have national beams.
5113 So, I think the answer to your question is we will have to use alternate technology such as on-line capability to provide that degree of programming granularity.
5114 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Thanks, Mr. Chair.
5115 THE CHAIRPERSON: Michel.
5116 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: As the Chairman and the Telecom Vice-Chairman have asked, we haven't heard much about access today, we heard much about the community of interest.
5117 But in paragraph 15 where you're dealing specifically with the French market, you're talking that you will draw some programming from the les stations communautaires autonomes du QuÚbec.
5118 Those are access programming providers. If you're capable to do -- in your plan, do business with the access group, Quebec access group, why aren't you able to do the same in English Canada?
5119 MR. FRANK: We would be able to do the same in English Canada, sir.
5120 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: But you didn't state it.
5121 MR. FRANK: I believe that's because it's -- the concept is better known in the Province of Quebec than in the rest of Canada.
5122 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Yes, sure, it's more -- at least in the case of Quebec, they are non-profitable structured organizations, while in the rest of Canada, as we have been able to hear through the week, they are more individually based or small groups of individuals not necessarily structured.
5123 But the whole basis of the community channel is primarily an access -- was primarily access. You may recall that in the 70s when the first policy was written, and I see Mr. Frank smiling --
5124 MR. FRANK: You and I might be the only people in the room who remember that, sir.
5125 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Exactly. It was basically and almost strictly access and it developed, it morphed into something else over time.
5126 But the whole issue of access has remained, even in the latest policy notice, at least the Commission has required a minimum of 30 percent of access programming to all the BDUs that had been offering a community channel.
5127 And what we've been hearing here for the last four -- the previous four days was that 30 percent of access is not enough, it should be greater than that, at least from the actors in the community, not necessarily from the BDU, but from the actors in the community seeking that there be more access.
5128 I don't know, how comparable are your views with that request from organizations like CACTUS?
5129 MR. FRANK: We can surely live with the 30 percent number, sir, and if the Commission chooses to raise that number, it would affect -- all BDUs I'm sure would be able to accommodate it as well.
5130 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: What I'm gathering from you is that whatever policy we make, you want to be a community channel -- you want to be a participant in the community channel and you want to have the benefit of the same rules than the cable on one end and you have a proposal to make the community channel more neutral by teaming with the cable industry.
5131 MR. FRANK: Yes, that's correct. I would simply add to what you've said. I think we can accommodate everything you said with one small addition and, that is, there needs to be some degree of flexibility for us being a national service provider and the fact that our --
5132 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Yes.
5133 MR. FRANK: -- and the fact that our transponders are national in basis and understanding that we will harness on-line capability to provide additional granularity as you suggested.
5134 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay. Thank you very much.
5135 THE CHAIRPERSON: Marc, you have one question?
5136 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chair, and good morning.
5137 I am interested in the current take-up of your IPTV service. What percentage of your DTH customers currently also access content on your online service? Do you have that figure?
5138 MR. FRANK: I can probably get that for you, sir. I can tell you that Bell TV Online is up and running and has been for some period of time. And we have a number of licensed services providing us with content now.
5139 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And I guess the IPTV community service, assuming that your proposal were to be accepted, would also be brand neutral, is that correct?
5140 MR. McKEEN: Yes, that is correct. If we have one channel, in fact both the IPTV service and the local cable BDU would be carrying the same channel both, and that one channel would be branded in a competitively neutral basis and both services would be able to do VOD supplemental with that, all of which would be competitively neutral.
5141 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: The reason is asked you the first question, was I am just trying to get a read on what kind of viewership numbers you would expect or take-up you would expect assuming that you were to inform your customers, your DTH customers, that content in Flin Flon were accessible, you know, all 168 hours of Flin Flon content was accessible in Flin Flon. If you get my drift?
5142 MR. FRANK: Yes, I do.
5143 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Like, what kind of take-up you would get in that.
5144 MR. FRANK: Yes, I do. And obviously, there would be some degree of usage learning curve, moving from television to -- regular BDU television to online television is an instantaneous thing, but we would certainly use all reasonable manner of promotion. And I would be happy to get back to you with usage figures that we have.
5145 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: I would be curious as to what kind of analysis and research you have done on that, because potentially it is a game changer for Bell. Potentially, if you could push people to your IPTV service obviously that would certainly balance off the competitive advantage that is currently perceived and currently you are challenged with vis à vis the cable companies.
5146 And the last question I had, there is nothing preventing you now from doing community content for your IPTV service, is there?
5147 MR. McKEEN: No, there isn't. When we look at the spectrum we are suggesting that we would be able to have a common channel. If the Commission decides that that is not the direction that they are going to do is have a common channel, we would certainly launch a competing channel.
5148 Now, if we did launch a competing channel there will be challenges with us for scale. So it is how quickly we can get started and how quickly we will be able to ramp up a service that is valuable to customers.
5149 If in that case sort of the status quo is maintained, we would still want access to the other community channel and we would provide access to our community channel.
5150 So if the Commission decides instead of having one community channel in the community they are going to have two community channels in the community, that each BDU is going to have their own community channel, we would want reciprocal access, we would want to be able to access the current BDU's community channel.
5151 We would hope that it would be unbranded. If it wasn't unbranded, then we would take it in a branded way. We would be happy to have an unbranded channel, but if they weren't unbranding, we wouldn't unbrand and they could take our channel.
5152 And we think the important part there is that community groups should not have to choose between one BDU or another in order to get their message out to the entire community. So we don't think it would be appropriate for say a bingo or someone else who is doing a community group to have to decide which BDU they are going to. So if they went to BDU to access their services to create programming, that programming would be available on both BDUs.
5153 Now, we think the most efficient and effective way to do that is put the channels together, have one. If you had them separate and had two different community channels, we think it is important that both BDUs would carry the other company's community channel so that there would be a full access by the community to both.
5154 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Just let me understand what you are saying. If your proposal is not adopted --
5155 MR. McKEEN: Right.
5156 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: -- you would launch your own community channel and your IPTV service would offer that service --
5157 MR. McKEEN: That is correct.
5158 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: -- to DTH customers?
5159 MR. McKEEN: No, to --
5160 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Or to IPTV customers.
5161 MR. McKEEN: -- IPTV customers.
5162 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And they are not necessarily --
5163 MR. McKEEN: They are mutually-exclusive, they don't crossover. You are either a DTH customer or your are an IPTV customer.
5164 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And in that case, you would not have community of communities channel on your DTH playing the greatest hits?
5165 MR. McKEEN: Well, we would, but the customers would have one or the other. So a customer either has a DTH service in which they would get the community channel which is an omnibus channel combining things, or if they were an IPTV customer we would say they would have our IPTV community channel, which would be local-based, and that would be competitive with the BDU's community channel. And we would say both of us should be able to carry the other company's service.
5166 So in fact, if you take a city like Moncton, we would have an community channel in Moncton, Rogers has a community channel in Moncton, and we will both carry the other company's community channel. So in fact, we would have two community channels; one that is branded Rogers, one that is branded Bell Aliant. Rogers would have two community channels; one that is branded Rogers, one that is branded Bell Aliant.
5167 Now, we would suggest that the branding shouldn't be on any of those and, in fact, it should just be one channel. But on the other end of the spectrum that would be the option, and we would certainly launch.
5168 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: But I am just saying if the proposal were not accepted --
5169 MR. McKEEN: Right.
5170 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: -- your proposal of running both presumably would have to be contingent on Rogers accepting to have its content --
5171 MR. McKEEN: Not if you told they had to.
5172 MR. McKEEN: And that is what we would suggest, that if you are creating a community channel you should share it with the other people who are operating in the community. It should not be a mutually exclusive product.
5173 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And presumably, once again if your proposal were not accepted, would you request that 2 per cent of your contribution were then funnelled towards the community channel?
5174 MR. McKEEN: Yes, we would keep our 2 per cent and we would launch a community channel and fund it with our 2 per cent. We might ask to have more in the short-term in order because we have start-up costs. But yes, we would have our own 2 per cent, run our own channel. Rogers would have their 2 per cent and run their own channel. And we both would carry each other's channels completely independent and separate.
5175 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: And you have your own studios and your own access --
5176 MR. McKEEN: Yes, everything.
5177 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: -- your own infrastructure and the rest of it?
5178 MR. McKEEN: That is right.
5179 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: Those are my questions, Mr. Chair. Thank you.
5180 THE CHAIRPERSON: What about accountability in your scheme?
5181 MR. McKEEN: What about accountability?
5182 THE CHAIRPERSON: Who is accountable for this unbranded community channel jointly run by you and Bell?
5183 MR. McKEEN: Well, we would have a committee. We would think that that would need some study. We are suggesting an evolution rather than a revolution, that it would start off that the cable companies, the people who currently run the community channel, would continue to do so. They would have the responsibilities, it would be their licence.
5184 It would be, I would think, subject to future CRTC hearings if that actually morphed into a committee or a separate board of directors who managed that separately. But to begin with, we would say that the cable companies could continue to run it. We would provide them with our share of the money, pro-rated obviously because it is based on how many subscribers. So we would put the money in there, it would become unbranded.
5185 Overtime you would then also have a programming committee and we think that we would have an evolutionary process to say, well, this committee has to have more authority and would really have the responsibility. And could have a structure that would make sure that they are maintaining and meeting the CRTC's guidelines.
5186 MR. ARMSTRONG: Just, if I may, Mr. Chairman. The concept of a shared community channel is not a new one, we have seen it before. In Ottawa, for example, when there used to be two cable operators separated by Bank Street, they shared content, it was a joint, if you will, community channel.
5187 We have seen that in Hamilton. I believe at one time they were --
5188 THE CHAIRPERSON: That is voluntary. What Mr. McKeen is talking about is a mandated one.
5189 MR. ARMSTRONG: Fair enough.
5190 MR. McKEEN: The mechanism could still work.
5191 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but the cynic in me tells me this is -- well, some cynics might suggest this is just a way to deprive Rogers of its competitive advantage --
5192 MR. McKEEN: I wasn't aware that you had cynicism.
5193 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- of having a community channel. By sharing it with them you are basically expropriating their competitive advantage. Now both of you have a community channel. And they have established -- if they established a brand it is now going to become a joint brand, you will contribute overtime, et cetera.
5194 MR. McKEEN: That is right.
5195 THE CHAIRPERSON: But essentially, it just facilitates your entry of your IPTV.
5196 MR. McKEEN: Well it certainly -- it does have that benefit, for sure. But overtime, if you think that we are going to be successful in the TV business, which we think we are going to be, if you take overtime and say overtime we both have 50 per cent of the subscribers. So now you have significantly reduced the funding for community channels in the Rogers community channel, we now have 50 per cent of the funding, so we have built up a parallel infrastructure to do the same things. It seems wasteful and not very efficient to do it that way.
5197 We also don't think that the original CRTC rulings and decisions on community channel envisioned it being a competitive differentiator between BDUs. It is a competitive differentiator today, but we don't think that it was supposed to be, nor that it should be. It is a public service, it is used with public money, it is not-for-profit and we think that the consumers shouldn't have to choose which community channel they give up or go to based on which BDU they choose.
5198 We do think that in the longer term, if it is not brought together, you will end up having significant competitive challenges within the marketplace. So we would, same as Rogers or any other competing -- we will try to get exclusive content for our IPTV. We will go to the city council and say we will do this, this and this as long as you are not carried by the other guy. So you will end up having this kind of very very competitive area.
5199 But competitiveness is messy and it is messy for consumers who would have to choose. Because we think as a non-profit public service for the good of everyone's service, that it should be jointly carried, a joint channel serving both BDUs.
5200 MR. FRANK: If I could just..?
5201 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5202 MR. FRANK: If I could supplement Dan's remarks very very quickly and to temper your hypothetical cynicism.
5203 MR. FRANK: I thought I heard the Shaw panel say on Monday that competitive community channels wasn't optimal. And I would also reinforce what I said earlier, we have a system now where the monies, the 5 per cent, that are going to independent funds are creating programming that is shared by all BDUs through services and shared by all and available to all BDUs.
5204 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: In using Moncton as an example, that prompted to me that it is a bilingual market. So at the end of the day you are going to have four community channels on both services?
5205 MR. McKEEN: Well, we would suggest that that is not the right way to go and that we should have a pooled community channel. Currently, I think the community channel in Moncton is bilingual, so there is some French programming and some English programming on the same channel. But we are saying that that should be pooled.
5206 So even if you did decide to have two channels, an English and a French, in Moncton, if you pooled them together by BDUs at least you would only have two, not four. So we are encouraging the Commission to say one community channel for one community.
5207 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay, thank you.
5208 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thanks very much and think about that figure and put something in your May 17 submission.
5209 MR. McKEEN: I was wondering whether it would be helpful for us to put out a or to come back to you with a schedule and sort of a more thought-out version of what a schedule might look like on a DTH basis. Because one of the questions I think you had very much was how is this going to serve communities? And I think that that is still a big question in your mind.
5210 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, we certainly would like to see a hypothetical schedule, if you can do that.
5211 MR. McKEEN: Yes, I think that it would be behove us to come back with something along those lines.
5212 I would also like just to finish, to make sure that it is clear that our ideas that we would have one community channel. But if the status quo is not changed, we do think it is very important that we would have access to the current BDU's community channel, so we would both be able to carry each other's -- our preference would be that that would be unbranded. If it wasn't unbranded, we still think it would be important for us to be able to have access to the other company's community channel.
5213 And we would reciprocate and provide access to our community channel. So at least the community groups and the customers would not be disadvantaged in a competitive...
5214 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thanks very much.
5215 We will take a five-minute break.
--- Upon recessing at 1014
--- Upon resuming at 1024
5216 LE PRÉSIDENT: O.k. Commençons.
5217 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation of The Aboriginal Peoples Television Network Incorporated. Please introduce yourself and you have ten minutes. Thank you.
5218 M. LAROSE: Merci beaucoup.
5219 Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, staff.
5220 Mon nom est Jean LaRose. Je suis le directeur général du Réseau de télévision des peuples autochtones.
5221 Thank you for the opportunity to appear today. APTN supports a vibrant and diverse community television sector. In my remarks today, I will focus on the requirement in the CRTC's existing Community Television Policy, that community television should, among other things, reflect the aboriginal composition of the community.
5222 Before I get into that part of my discussion, I want to touch on a question that underlies this hearing, namely: Is community television still relevant in this day and age?
5223 Some might say it's not as relevant as it once was and that there are more alternatives through the internet to get your voice out there than there have ever been before.
5224 I believe that community television is still highly relevant and worths our attention. Community television is or can be intensely local and it is local in an environnest kind of way that local, commercial television or the CBC cannot be.
5225 For example; I was struck by the written submission filed by the SOASEN's First Nation in this proceeding. TFN is located south of the City of Vancouver near the ferry terminal to Vancouver Island. Chief Kim Baird points out that the local cable operator in that community, Delta Cable, provided in-depth coverage of all the major milestones leading to Canada's First Urban Treaty made between the Crown and SOASEN's First Nation.
5226 The Treaty was signed in 2007 and became effective in 2009. Chief Baird said that Dela Cable followed the Treaty process for years, culminating in the effective day ceremony at Soasen Long House.
5227 This is the kind of new story that would probably warrant a segment on a regional newscast, probably fairly light on the background and possibly focused on the visual element or a sound bite. This is the nature of most mainstream television news programming today.
5228 On community television, an event like effective day ceremony takes on a whole different life. It is shown long form and recorded for posterity and the coverage probably makes its way to the National Archives. That is something that mainstream national or even regional media cannot do because of the need to cover a multitude of communities.
5229 Also, community television especially in smaller communities has a different kind of audience and television viewed on a national scale or in large urban centres. It wouldn't surprise me if nearly every member of the Soasen's First Nation has seen some or all of the Treaty ceremony coverage produced by Delta Cable. That's 100 per cent of the target audience.
5230 Last, community television is usually recognized within the community as a place to find relevant content. The difference between having a show on a community channel and uploading video to the internet is like the difference between publishing an article in a local newspaper, community newspaper and stapling that article to a telephone poll.
5231 Even if it's the same article, the community paper reaches a greater audience and has more credibility.
5232 So, yes, community television is still very relevant and important in the internet area.
5233 Let me turn now to the relationship that aboribinal peoples have or could have with community television. The CRTC's Community Television Policy states among other things, that community television should reflect the aboriginal composition of the community in which it originates. APTN fully supports this policy.
5234 First, as a part of the community, aboriginal people should expect local television services to reflect their lives and their interest. Second, on a more practical level, community television is a talent incubator. It has often served as the entry point into more mainstream media for individuals from all backgrounds. In this way, aboriginal peoples can clearly benefit from participation and community television.
5235 We are concerned though that the performance of existing community television services seems poor in reflecting aboriginal communities. Ideally, community television should strive to reflect in a proportionate way the size of the aboriginal population within their service areas.
5236 In our written brief, we set out the urban areas with the largest aboriginal populastions by number and proportion, based on the 2006 census. They are set in the documents I have handed out to you.
5237 We aren't aware of any data collected by the Commission or others that measures participation or representation of aboriginal peoples on community television, so we have had to rely on our impressions of those services.
5238 When we reviewed the program schedules online for the cities with the largest aboriginal populations by number, as set out in Table 1, it was impossible to conclude that there is any content by or about aboriginal peoples.
5239 As we have said in our written submission, we would be pleased to be corrected. We relied on program schedules available online.
5240 Turning to the cities with the higheset aboriginal population by proportion, that's Table 2 in our submission, one aboriginal program was listed in the community channel program schedule for Regina: Tribal Trails and Evangelico Christian Program and that was it.
5241 Access Communications Cooperative, the operator of that system, has since let us know that they also offer a number of other aboriginal programs on that system and others, including a news program being paletted together with the Missinipi Broadcasting Corporation.
5242 We are pleased to hear about those programs and I noted above the positive relationship between Delta Cable and Soasen's First Nation. There is some good programming out there.
5243 Our impression remains though that overall there is not very much aboriginal reflection or participation across Canadian community channels, especially in the larger, urban areas. That is unfortunate. It means that large communities don't see the local aboriginal presence reflected back to them on TV. It also means that an important potential training opportunity for aboriginal youth in the local cable community channel is not realizing its potential.
5244 You may be aware of the environic study of urban aboriginal peoples that was released about a month ago. It shows a dynamic and forward looking population with a positive outlook and they want to ensure that they and their children are fully engaged in their new environment, the urban environment.
5245 Community television which acts as both a window onto the community and a door to meaningful participation could assist to develop the cohesion and sense of community that they are seeking.
5246 We recommend, therefore, that some steps be taken to better understand the current situation and hopefully to move forward to better representation.
5247 First, we think that the CRTC or community channels themselves should conduct the fact-finding process to determine to what extent community channels actually do reflect the composition of their communities, including aboriginal peoples.
5248 Second, community channels could implement cultural diversity best practices that are similar to the practices adopted in 2005, after the Report of the task force for cultural diversity on television was released.
5249 Third, at licence renewal and when cable systems are acquired, the CRTC should review with cable operators in detail their plans for the community channel and the programming they intend to offer.
5250 Last, if it were determined by the CRTC that cable community channels were falling short of meeting the requirements to reflect their communities and the CRTC should take regulatory steps such as short-term renewals or even directing the cable operator to make its permitted contribution to local expression, to independent community-based producers or independent community channels.
5251 Our comments have been focused on the performance of cable community channels, especially in our urban areas. We are also aware that there is a desire for increased levels of local programming within non urban aboriginal communities. Some of these communities are exploiting the independent community channel model that the CRTC established in 2001.
5252 Local community channels represent an ideal Access platform for aboriginal language programming directed to specific communities. APTN again fully supports these initiatives.
5253 Funding is a real issue. It seems reasonable to APTN that LPIF funding could be made available to support suitable local programming initiatives, including programming in aboriginal languages.
5254 We doubt, however, whther the LPIF on its own could provide sufficient resources for the launch of new aboriginal community channels or to meet the challenges of the existing program producers that have been funded in the past by the Northern Native Broadcast Access program.
5255 APTN is advocating elsewhere for more resources to be allocated to support local aboriginal programming, especially programming in aboriginal languages, many of which, as you know, are in decline. If there are other resources that CRTC can assist to bring to bear to address this problem, it would be welcome.
5256 Thank you for allowing me to present these points today and I would be pleased to answer any questions that you may have.
5258 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We will now hear the presentation of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have ten minutes for your presentation.
5259 MR. COHEN: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairs, Commissioners, the CBSC is pleased to have the opportunity to appear before you today.
5260 I am Ronald Cohen, National Chair of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council. With me are our Executive Director, John McNab and our Director of Policy, Teisha Gaylard.
5261 Our purpose here today is far narrower than that of almost all those who have been before you this week. Thus, the CBSC takes no position regarding their concerns about Access funding, local citizen and participatory programming as well as other issues material to the position of community television in the Canadian Broadcasting system.
5262 Après tout, le Conseil des normes de la radio-télévision n'est pas un groupe de lobbyisme, nos responsabilés découlent de la réglementation ou, plus précisément, de l'auto-réglementation.
5263 Ce que nous souhaitons discuter avec le CRTC aujourd'hui dans cette optique bien circonscrite s'applique néanmoins aux décisions que vous prendrez compte à la structure du câdre politique pour la télévision communautaire.
5264 And so, whatever the structure of the community television framework that will emerge from these hearings, the CBSC will find its place if you determine that there should be any within that configuration.
5265 At the end of the day, the CBSC's responsibilities and interest relate solely to the public interest in the broadcast standards, to which the community television broadcasters will, we hope, be called upon to adhere. It is to those standards that we wish to address our observations.
5266 Almost 20 years ago, the Commission approved the creation of the Canadian Broacast Standards Council as a self-regulatory body to facilitate the resolution of complaints from the public about Canada's private broadcasters.
5267 Au fil des années, la grande majorité des radiodiffuseurs privés s'est ralliée au système d'auto-réglementation du CCNR.
5268 At present, only two private broadcast groups that hold more than four licences do not participate in that process.
5269 Today, the CBSC administers seven Codes of Conduct that cover the gammit of potential public concerns relating to broadcast content, from human rights issues to matters of journalist conduct. The CBSC has its schools and experience to ensure that broadcast content meets the general principles set out in the Broadcasting Act which are elaborated, of course, in more detail in the Codes, while at the same time respecting the right to freedom of expression enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
5270 The CRTC has often recognized that the rules administered by the Council, which have been clarified in the 461 Public Decisions rendered by the CBSC over the past 20 years, they have often recognized that those rules have evolved to the point in becoming the playing field upon which all Canadian broadcasters operate.
5271 For example, in broadcasting decisions CRTC 2008-311 relating to CBSC non-member MuchMusics broadcast of episodes of Spring break 08, the Commission stated that it is of the view that industry code such as the CAB Code of Ethics are generally effective benchmarks for determining current etical standards used in broadcasting, including whether programming is of high standard.
5272 That view of the Codes has been extended by the Commission to public broadcasters as well. For example, in broadcasting decision, CRTC 2007-87, concerning broadcast on CBC radio, the Commission stated that the CBSC is not bound to adhere to the CAB Code of Ethics by condition of licence.
5273 However, the Commission is of the view that the prohibition set out in Claude 9 of the CAB Code of Ethics against unduly coarse or offensive language in radio programming provides a useful guideline for assessing Canada's private and public broadcasters' compliance with the Act's high standard provision.
5274 Ensuite, dans la décision de Radiodiffusion CRTC 2009-548 relative à Bye Bye 2008, le CRTC a recoinnu le rôle du CCNR lui-même par la demande suivante:
« Étant donné l'expérience considérable que possède le Conseil canadien des normes de la radio-télévision dans le traitement des plaintes liées au contenu de radiodiffusion, le Conseil a demandé au CCNR d'analyser les plaintes sus-mentionnées qui ont été portées contre la Société Radio-Canada et de lui remettre un rapport sur la question. »
5275 In its decisions on broadcast content matters, it is clear that the CRTC supports a broad application of the Code of High Standards administered by the CBSC to all broadcasters, whether they are public broadcasters or private broadcasters and it's the latter, whether they are or are not members of the CBSC.
5276 Section 3.1(b) of the Broadcasting Act recognizes that community broadcasters are, together with private and public broadcasters, one of the three pillars of the Canadian Broacasting system.
5277 The CBSC is here today to requeest that the CRTC recognized that the broadcast content standards applied by the community broadcasters be as high as those to which the private broadcasters have committed themselves as members of the CBSC and to which the CRTC has ensured that the public broadcasters also adhere.
5278 The issue at the end of the day relates more to the public than to the broadcasters. The codified standards that currently exist have been established to benefit the public. They are after all the codification of the expectations and entitlements of the public.
5279 They establish the right of identifiable groups to be free from abusive or unduly discriminatory or unduly negative stereotypical comments. They ensure general quality, they guarantee fair and impartial journalistic practices. They relegate adult programming to times of the day that reduce the exposure of children to such content.
5280 In short, they do all of this and considerably more with a goal of creating an acceptable broadcasting environment for the public.
5281 While the codified standards are essential for the guidance of broadcasters, they exist, as noted, for the benefit of the public. Whether a member of the public is tuned to a private, a public or a community broadcaster ought not to matter.
5282 The member of the audience ought not to be confusedd by any need for him or her to check the call letters or name of the service in order to determine what is or her rights are. She or he ought to know by turning on the radio or television, her or his entitlement to a safe broadcast haven is there, regardless of the sector that is the source of the content.
5283 Le CCNR exprime ses préoccupations à cet égard parce qu'il sait que certains participants, l'audience sur la radio communautaire et de campus ont suggéré que ces radiodiffuseurs-là ne devraient pas être tenus de se conformer aux normes qui s'appliquent aux radiodiffuseurs «commerciaux».
5284 In its submission at these hearings, CACTUS has indicated that under its proposed system, part of the role of the proposed Community Access Media Fund would be to inform local producers about the various existing codes.
5285 The CBSC believes that this should be a good start, but it hopes that the Commission will go further.
5286 Ultimately, what the CBSC wishes to see clarified by the Commission is that the standards applicable to the broadcasting playing field apply to all broadcasters, whether private, public or community.
5287 Le public sera certes très avantagé par une telle précision, mais elle procurera également un avantage accessoire pour les services de radiodiffusion communautaire, dans ce sens qu'elle leur permettrait de mieux déterminer si du contenu en particulier devait être diffusé du tout et quand ce contenu devrait être diffusé.
5288 But the undeniable bottom line is that such a determination by the CRTC would assure all Canadians that they would benefit from a broad and detailed set of codified standards enriched by two decades of thoughtful CBSC panel interpretation.
5289 Thank you. We will be pleased to answer any questions you may have.
5290 THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you for your submissions.
5291 Mr. LaRose, the elementary absence of aboriginal broadcasting on community TV, is this an issue of supply or demand?
5292 MR. LAROSE: I would argue that it's probably an issue of supply. When I look at the interest within our community, certainly Missinapi is the exception right now, having struck a deal in Saskatchewan.
5293 Others to whom we have spoken to have not been given such an opportunity, especially in our major urban centres.
5294 THE PRESIDENT: Have they sought it?
5295 MR. LAROSE: I'm sorry?
5296 THE PRESIDENT: Have they sought such an availability? I mean, have they gone and spoken to Shaw or Rogers, et cetera, et cetera, we want to put a program together and have they been denied?
5297 MR. LAROSE: My understanding is that they have approached them, but they have been told that the format didn't allow it. But, you know, I would need to get confirmation from them. This is just anecdotal in discussing with some of them.
5298 But certainly at this point in time, it would seem that the issue of Access was not as open as it would maybe have been years ago under the old approach to community television.
5299 THE PRESIDENT: Is part of the rationale the existence of your very network?
5300 MR. LAROSE: That could have been a factor. If it was, I don't believe it was stated. It could very well be and it's often said to some of those producers that, you've got your own network now, why don't you go talk to APTN.
5301 Whether that has been their experience at the community level, I would have to verify, but as I've said, even with the one Missinapi, it took a few years of negotiation for them to be able to have Access to the one nation's program, which is a very positive thing.
5302 But I mean, they were in a unique position of already having a partnership with APTN in developing program, which gave them an end that other smaller independents who have wanted to approach community channels do not have.
5303 THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Cohen, you make a very eloquent case that we should look at the community TV as we do with private TV right now and on request by us also on public TV. I think we can argue with the logics that seem to reply, the costs. You are very silent on the costs. If we took a few proposals and we took BDUs, you have to comply over the CBSC, what would be the cost for the cable networks?
5304 MR. COHEN: We haven't sorted out what the costs would be. I expect that it would not be an extremely high cost. It would depend a lot on the complaints that fload in, but we do -- we have developed a fee structure and the fee structure has been developed on a revenue basis and it's a fee structure that we apply in the broadcasting sector.
5305 We would have to look at the applicability of that precise situation to the BDUs, but of course, there are other community stations as well as the BDU community stations. I don't think that it would be either complicated or extremely highm, but obviously I am not in a position to really respond at this moment.
5306 THE PRESIDENT: But if you are asking us the mandate and mandate people to become members of CBSC and follow your centres. So, we have to know what the cost implication is. So, you have until May 17th and maybe you can draft with us a model fee schedule or something or variations of what you think would be doable and so we have some realistic context in which to place it rather than just an idea, without knowing the cost of implications.
5307 MR. COHEN: Absolutely; we will do that by the 17th.
5308 THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Michel?
5309 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I will limit my questions to APTN and Mr. Morin will address you, Mr. Cohen, so --
5310 Thank you for your submission, Mr. LaRose. You've covered much of the questions that I have, but there was a line of questions that has developed, it not covered neither in your submission or in your oral presentation, but you are directly saying that volunteering into community channel helped to develop skills, support, whatever.
5311 But has APTN ever hired any aboriginals that have been trained through the community channel across Canada?
5312 MR. LAROSE: I would have to -- on the face of it, I will have to say no because I am not aware of any of our staff who ever had the opportunity to work in community television. So, you know, I have never actually have the staff to find that.
5313 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: It's somehow public knowledge that over the years, with 40 years of community channels in this country and even maybe a bit more than 40 years, some people have started as volunteer on a community channel and eventually became either on-air talent where a name that was mentioned here was Don Ackroyd and other became cameramen, foremen, whatever. So, that's why I was thinking if to you --
5314 Now, I'll put my question specifically towards APTN, thinking that you may know that there were some of your staff that had community channel experience before applying for a job at APTN. But in other television stations or have you ever heard that some aboriginals have come from volunteer work into community channel?
5315 MR. LAROSE: Well, I think the only cases where there may have been some would have been in the north where some of the aboriginal people who work for the member societies, Northern Native Broadcast Access Program Societies, may have started with those societies that are, to a certain extent, community channels.
5316 And then, some of them have moved to APTN or have moved to CBC North or other broadcasters, but certainly the opportunity of working for a small entity like a member society did provide experience and some hands on training that would have probably not been available anywhere else to them.
5317 So, that became their stepping stone and that's the basis for the argument we are making now, if that opportunity is given throughout the country in community channels, especially in large urban centres where a lot of our population is now moving to.
5318 We believe that it would give many more people than we APTN or us APTN in partnership with other broadcasters can provide in training and mentoring young aboriginal people, but also in creating new content and content of a community nature that we are not in a position often to either create or broadcast.
5319 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Now, we have so far heard three of the major BDUs in this country. Rogers is coming next week. But two of them, Shaw and Vidéotron, have regionalized their community channels to the extent that there is a lot of networking between community channels. I am not saying that there is only a single community channel by region but there is some kind of a hub which distributes a lot of programming to the subsectors in the form of network programming.
5320 In the case of Cogeco, we heard that they haven't, they are totally operating independent community channels in numerous communities. Yes, there could be some programs that are carried on many of their channels but the decision is always made local to take a program somewhere, it is not made at a central position.
5321 Now, that meant that over time that numerous smaller production facilities have been closed down and centralized.
5322 What you are advocating, and particularly in making use of the example of Delta Cable, is that the former decentralization was an opportunity to be local into local and to put more focus on the real local issues and to cover it over even a long period of time.
5323 The Delta Cable example that you have given with the Tsawwassen Indian community, which surely was covered, as you say was covered in total over a fairly long period of time, that no broadcaster will be able to do that. As you say, there are too many issues coming day-in-day-out, while the community channel could specifically find all the opportunities to do that. So that is what you are advocating?
5324 MR. LAROSE: To a great extent, yes. I think we should, to a certain point, mourn the loss of the local production component of many of these community channels because -- and I mean maybe I am going to age myself to the extent that you and Chris did earlier today -- but back when Skyline was here, I had some of my initial television experience on Skyline and it certainly allowed for us to speak to really local issues, even to neighbourhood issues, to an extent that a Shaw Vancouver that is broadcast across the province certainly will not and probably has no interest in doing.
5325 When I look at Rogers, I know that over the past few years they have done some production of Aboriginal issues and they have done some Aboriginal productions. I believe they worked in partnership with Aboriginal individuals but certainly not to the extent that we are advocating here.
5326 If you look at a city like Winnipeg, if you look at a city like Saskatoon or Regina, where our population in proportion is climbing rapidly, I think that those areas where you have an Aboriginal component that is large enough and is becoming educated and certainly has decided that the city is their new environment, I believe and I am strongly advocating that they should be given the opportunity to build that sense of community through tools like community television so that they may share common experiences together and they may report to themselves and to the community at large what is happening within the community, what is important to the community, what challenges does it face and be able to develop a sense of the positive outlook that they have now to build upon that and to become truly self-sufficient in many areas.
5327 I think community television did allow for that, just as community radio does in a lot of our urban areas -- not urban but rural and reserve areas where small 5-watt stations actually are the tying fabric of the community. People will tune it in to hear what is happening in the community, what is being said, what are the challenges, what are the good news stories. It becomes a hub for the community. The same applies to community television for our community and I would argue for any community within the country.
5328 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Okay. Those were my questions, Mr. Chair.
5329 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5330 Michel Morin?
5331 CONSEILLER MORIN : Oui. Merci, Monsieur le Président. Je pense que mes questions ont été répondues.
5332 Je vais simplement demander à monsieur Cohen : Je comprends, avec l'échange avec Monsieur le Président, que d'ici le 17 mai, vous allez nous produire... parce que si éventuellement le CRTC devait aller de l'avant avec un processus de licence, et caetera, on aurait une idée de ce qu'il pourrait en coûter. Merci.
5333 M. COHEN : Oui, c'est tout à fait raisonnable, évidemment, la question. À ne pas oublier que nous demandons, en fait, deux choses du CRTC.
5334 Je pense que la première chose, ça serait d'assurer que les codes qui existent -- et il y a beaucoup de normes que nous sommes responsables de gérer, si vous voulez, à ce moment-ci -- que toutes ces normes soient non seulement disponibles, mais respectées par tous les radiodiffuseurs à travers le Canada.
5335 En plus, bien sûr, il y a la question de l'administration de ces normes, et c'est pour ça que nous allons soumettre, suite à la question du Président et de vous-même, Monsieur Morin, pas le budget, mais au moins une indication du tarif qui sera applicable.
5336 CONSEILLER MORIN : Merci.
5337 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, we don't seem to have any other questions. Thank you for your interventions -- sorry?
5338 Okay, Marc.
5339 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: My apologies, Mr. Chair. I only have a couple.
5340 One question to Mr. Cohen. We have heard over the course of this proceeding that community TV is looking to fill a greater and bigger void, at least a perceived void in a growing number of communities as far as local news and community news is concerned.
5341 Do you have any thoughts about the degree to which your organization could serve as a watchdog for journalistic independence between the business side of organizations like BDUs and the news part of their organization? So if they are in the business of creating local news on a regular basis, is your organization able to provide an oversight as far as journalistic independence is concerned?
5342 MR. COHEN: I suppose there are a couple of levels of issue involved there.
5343 One of them is, of course, that we do administer the Journalistic Independence Code that exists now to ensure that kind of separation of the management of the news and in fact the broadcast of it to ensure that separation between management and the journalists for the benefit of those in the audience.
5344 That Code though is only applicable currently to three broadcast organizations in the country. So the principles in that Code would not, as things currently stand, likely be applicable unless something changed, of course, which it could, to BDUs.
5345 So we would be in a position to do something like that, of course, if we had the right tools, but given the very limited nature of that tool currently, unless you expanded its breadth, which you would have the ability to do, I am not sure that we would be in a position independently to do much with it.
5346 It is possible, of course, that some broadcasts would, let's say, breach provisions of the RTNDA Code of Journalistic Ethics or, indeed, of clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics.
5347 I am not 100 percent sure though that that would respond to your question about the independence of the programming or of the newscasting. It might though depending on just how clearly, let's say, unfair or unobjective a news report might be, and that could be assessed either in terms of article 1 of the RTNDA Code of Journalistic Ethics or clause 5 of the CAB Code of Ethics.
5348 So to some extent, yes, but it might require a little expansion of the principles currently available only with respect to the three broadcasters in question.
5349 COMMISSIONER PATRONE: That is my question. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
5350 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you very much for your intervention. We will take a five-minute break so that our next intervenors who participate by video can be set up. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 1103
--- Upon resuming at 1109
5351 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, Madam Secretary, let's go.
5352 THE SECRETARY: We will now proceed with the presentations of:
5353 - the New University Television Society, who is appearing via audioconference from Calgary;
5354 - Ajjiit Nunavut Media Association; and
5355 - the English-Language Arts Network of Quebec, who is appearing by videoconference from Montreal.
5356 We will hear each presentation, which will then be followed by questions.
5357 We will begin with the presentation of the New University Television Society. Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
5358 MR. SINHA: Hello. My name is Tinu Sinha. I am the Executive Director of the New University Television Society, NUTV. Thank you to the CRTC for providing us with an opportunity for comments and for paying attention to all the details of the comments filed.
5359 I am one of four full-time staff charged with maintaining operations of a non-profit community television production facility at the University of Calgary. We have been operating as a society since 1991, with a volunteer membership of at present 189 individuals.
5360 NUTV provides its membership of postsecondary students and Calgarians with access to professional broadcast cameras, edit facilities and full-time staff to engage volunteers in television production. This includes reporting/interviewing, writing, camera operation, video editing, producing and directing.
5361 We have a basic studio space where we have interviewed people such as writer Margaret Atwood, musician Frank Black and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach.
5362 This year we have 33 of the 189 present members that are Calgary community at large members. NUTV provides an important service to the community by broadcasting a biweekly community magazine program about news, sports and arts for both the University of Calgary and the City of Calgary viewers.
5363 At present, we broadcast on Shaw Cablesystems Channel 89, which is the Shaw Multicultural/Civic, and Channel 10, which is Shaw TV, in a section called "Culture Scene."
5364 Our members are volunteers that pitch stories on news affecting students, for example, like tuition increases, student union initiatives, and then the arts, University of Calgary Department of Drama Productions, for example, or maybe they want to interview -- do movie reviews for Canadian feature film and documentary or interview people of interest in the arts or human interest. Canadian screenwriter/ filmmaker Paul Haggis, Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan and Ronnie Burkett's puppetry are a few examples.
5365 Our content is featured on our website as flash-embedded videos -- that is nutv.ca -- and anyone can subscribe to it actually on iTunes as podcasts.
5366 The programming is also seen throughout the University of Calgary campus on our closed circuit television system.
5367 We also do live broadcasts to the Web, which include things like the U of C Dinos basketball, world wrestling championships and local Calgary bands playing on campus.
5368 I can just speak to the idea and purpose of community TV.
5369 I have seen at NUTV since I have been a member since about -- I was a member since '95 to 2001 and became staff in 2003. It is really a local talent developer. I have watched students and members of the Calgary community at large participate and create shows for broadcast.
5370 Some of our alumni include Michael Dowse, director of theatrical motion pictures "Fubar" and "It's All Gone Pete Tong"; Gary Burns, director of theatrical motion pictures "Waydowntown" and "Radiant City." We also have journalists like Heather Yourex with Global News in Calgary and Felicia Yap, a journalist with CTV in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
5371 True community television puts the tools of mass media creation in the hands of citizens, enabling citizens to experience for themselves how mass media is created.
5372 NUTV and its board of directors strongly support the submission made by CACTUS and endorses the proposal for the creation of a Community Access Media Fund. I will address how NUTV can make use of such a Fund to expand its operations.
5373 NUTV is one of the IMAA members that Timothy Dallett discussed on Wednesday that is able to and ready to take on the role of a multimedia access centre and broadcaster if we had access to more resources, such as from CAMF.
5374 While NUTV is somewhat unique and fortunate as a campus television channel in Canada, there are about a half-dozen other similar small stations that would probably consider taking on a community access mandate that would reach out further into the community and over-the-air licences if they had access to such funding.
5375 As most of these are located in major Canadian cities, they could bring back access to significant numbers of people. I am aware of some in Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto and Kingston. All have closed-circuit television on a university or college campus, whose signals are not currently accessible to the community at large but could be with over-the-air licences.
5376 At present, our operating funds are derived from a combination of sources, the primary consisting of a levy that U of C students pay as part of their fees when they register for courses. Since NUTV already has infrastructure in place, we are partially enabled and would be expanding our operations to reach the Calgary community at large.
5377 This would allow us to produce more programming and gain more exposure. The funds could be used to hire staff, purchase more equipment and close caption our content. This would further enable us to fulfill our community mandate of training volunteers in television and providing them with opportunities to express themselves locally.
5378 An organization like NUTV could even combine its resources with the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers or other artist-run centres to create a multiplatform media centre as per the CACTUS proposal. In our community, in Calgary, there are three such artist-run centres specializing in video, film and animation, so there is a rich basis of skills to draw upon.
5379 NUTV has been streaming content live for about the past three years. NUTV as a provider of access content has had to endure both channel and timeslot changes to our magazine show over the years since 1999. I can provide details of those but the Channel changes were filed in comments to Broadcast Notice of Consultation 2008-38 and I have included them in an appendix here.
5380 Specifically NUTV has been moved from channels over the years as follows.
5381 We were on Channel 10 and then moved to 66 in 1999. We were promised a more visible programming time slot and access to full-screen television. At the time the Shaw format allowed us to be seen regularly, but the screen size was eventually shrunk to incorporate a weather data side bar. Also, there was a news scroll along the bottom.
5382 Channel 66 to 78 was sometime in 2002; 78, we were moved to 70 in November of 2005; and then Channel 70 to 94 in 2007; and then Channel 94 to our current Channel 89 on the Multicultural/Civic.
5383 NUTV's Former Executive Director noted in BNC 2008-38 that in April of 2008 Shaw moved the Multicultural/Civic, Channel 94 at the time, to their digital service. So we lost some viewers that way.
5384 The time changes. I have only detailed Channel 89 time changes here. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 9:00 p.m. was when we were seen and it was three times a week. Then we were moved to Saturday at 6:00 p.m., which is once a week. Then more recently, we were moved to 5:00 Tuesdays and Thursdays, to twice a week.
5385 We have seen a decline in new members who signed up to our organization saying they saw us on Shaw. As part of the application to become a member they tick off where they heard about us and one of the tick boxes is Shaw, that they saw us on Shaw. I have numbers in the appendix that I have included.
5386 The drop-off seems to coincide with our access content being moved off Channel 10. We were moved to Channel 66 at the time. Separate to our member survey results, we have seen a decline in viewership, but numbers are difficult to ascertain because we used to get more phone calls to our station and emails from viewers who said they had seen us cover an event or news story.
5387 We have asked for viewership numbers from Shaw for Multicultural/Civic channel but they don't have any statistics for those because they cost money to have somebody gathering statistics for that. So Shaw does not gather statistics for that channel.
5388 We should also note though that since February 2009 Shaw did permit our magazine show to broadcast on tier 1 cable, so Shaw TV Channel 10 in the "Culture Scene" section. This was some welcome news for both students and Calgarians that could now share this information with people they interviewed for the show, for example.
5389 We do not have an exact air time, however, for our magazine show on Channel 10. We were told it airs sometime between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Sundays and midnight to 2:00 a.m. Saturdays. Our magazine show is a half-hour duration. So if we define prime time as 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., then for Shaw TV in Calgary, NUTV wouldn't have prime time access, as Alex Park was indicating, the VP of Programming at Shaw, on Monday, April 26. We do have prime time, of course, on Multicultural/Civic.
5390 It is also worth noting there are no details on Shaw's website concerning how access programming works or submissions. I printed off a copy of the front page of their website and I also included NUTV's front page, which indicates our operations, how to access to equipment and how to get involved in making television.
5391 THE SECRETARY: I'm sorry, you have to conclude, please.
5392 MR. SINHA: Sure, no problem.
5393 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5394 MR. SINHA: So yes, ultimately I think since NUTV is an organization that raises approximately a third to a quarter of the budget suggested in the multimedia access centres, costs under the CAMF model, we are interested by Commissioner's Morin suggestion for a community-based matching funding model and we thank you for this thoughtful approach. I would welcome the chance to explore it with him and with you all as we have some questions.
5395 Thank you for the opportunity to present this information.
5396 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5397 We will now hear the presentation of Ajjiit Nunavut Media Association. Please introduce yourself and your colleagues and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
5398 MS ARNAQUQ-BARIL: (Native language spoken). Thanks for allowing us to come and speak to you -- (Native language spoken) -- and welcoming us.
5399 My name is Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. I am the President of Ajjiit Nunavut Media Association.
5400 These are my colleagues: Charlotte DeWolff, the Vice-President of Ajjiit, and Jerry Giberson, who is our Broadcast and Telecommunications Consultant.
5401 I will allow Charlotte to start. She is one of the founding members of the Ajjiit Board and has been active in keeping our organization going since its inception in 2002.
5402 MS DeWOLFF: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners.
5403 In Nunavut our three official languages are the Inuit language, which includes Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun, English and French. As you will have noted in our written submission, the protection and enhancement of the Inuit language and culture is an important part of our activities at Ajjiit.
5404 Ajjiit Nunavut Media Association is an incorporated not-for-profit organization representing those directly engaged in or providing services to the film, television and digital media industry within the vast territory of Nunavut. Members elect a volunteer Board of Directors to oversee our affairs and develop policy.
5405 Ajjiit's mandate is to:
5406 - undertake activities for the benefit of its members and the growth of the industry;
5407 - advocate on behalf of the industry; and
5408 - consult with the Government of Nunavut on film, television and digital media policy.
5409 Since its inception in 2002 Ajjiit has organized and sponsored training workshops, professional seminars, training institutes, industry symposiums, film festivals featuring made-in-Nunavut screenings, international trade missions, consultations and information sessions.
5410 Additionally, a human resource database is hosted on the Ajjiit website. As well, the Association has professional audio, editing, lighting, camera and video accessory equipment available to be used in the territory for training purposes and for members' usage.
5411 Ajjiit also serves as a point of contact for information on the territory, human resources and services available for visiting productions. We also disperse information and notices to our membership.
5412 Our membership consists of Nunavut's aboriginal public producer, Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, as well as independent film/video producers, production companies, service providers, freelancers, actors, outfitters, digital media providers, musicians, composers, writers, directors, translators, et cetera. The majority of our members are not employed full-time as Nunavut is a difficult place to maintain full-time employment in this industry.
5413 There is no community programming offered by the cable providers in Nunavut. All cable operators are Class 3 operations, under 2,000 subscribers.
5414 MS ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Nunavut's population, estimated at 85 percent Inuit, is scattered among 25 remote hamlets, all of them accessible on a year-round basis by air travel only. There are no road systems between communities.
5415 Iqaluit is the capital and largest community in Nunavut, with a population of approximately 8,000 inhabitants. The other communities range in population numbers from just over 2,000 (about five communities), with the remainder having populations of less than 1,000.
5416 Community radio is currently the only consistent Inuktitut media available to our communities -- although the vast majority of Inuit are Inuktitut speakers. Community radio is heavily depended on and in many households the community radio channel is never turned off.
5417 Although community radio has developed well in most communities, community television has not thrived in Nunavut yet. Though the need for it is there, production of community TV is held back because of a lack of trained personnel, program funding and sparse physical infrastructure.
5418 We believe that given the roots of community involvement in the Arctic that with some resources, community TV could play an important role.
5419 Community TV is desperately needed to provide culturally relevant programming in our remote Arctic settlements. It could provide unilingual Inuit, particularly elders, with increased programming in our own language.
5420 Our language and culture have stayed alive despite the constant influx of foreign media. However, we have felt its effects.
5421 Young Inuit are proactively getting involved in media, taking advantage of Ajjiit's efforts to provide some training across the territory. They are hungry to communicate with their communities. The desire is there to watch the programming, but just as importantly, the desire is there to create it.
5422 Additionally, community television could also provide a means of professional training and employment for some in settlements with staggering unemployment rates and poverty, little industry and few postsecondary educational or training opportunities.
5423 MS DeWOLFF: The objectives of the 2002 Community TV Framework stated that the community channel should:
"...reflect the official languages, ethnic and Aboriginal composition of the community."
5424 Section 3(1)(iv) of the Broadcast Act identifies Aboriginal peoples as having a special place within the Canadian Broadcast System. Community television in Nunavut can be a valuable mechanism in promoting the use of the Inuit language locally while creating a training base for economic opportunity.
5425 The Government of Nunavut has passed legislation, the Inuit Language Protection Act, which specifically acknowledges the role of the media in language promotion and protection.
5426 MS ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Recently in Nunavut the Government of Nunavut held an in-depth language symposium which was attended by Inuit from all across the territory. Nunavut felt it was critical to have an entire session dedicated to media and at this discussion we heard the message from the people loud and clear.
5427 Inuit stood up, one after another, demanding media content in our language, giving anecdotes of large screen TVs sitting dormant in people's homes, waiting for the half-hour of Inuktitut news to come on each day on CBC North. People were passionate, they were desperate for their children to see themselves reflected in the media.
5428 MS DeWOLFF: In the 1970s it was clear to the Inuit leadership that television, with its capacity to flood every living room in the Arctic with television programming, could be potentially devastating to a culture already struggling to cope with the impact from Accelerated Coverage Plan (ACP) in 1975. Reaction from the Inuit community was swift and sharp.
5429 The ACP proposed to provide CBC television programming to all communities in Canada with populations of over 500. Since the objective of the ACP was to make "Canadian" programming, that is, a mixture of southern Canadian and American, available to all, no consideration was given to local access, to programming in Aboriginal languages or to a community's right to control the local airwaves.
5430 Programming depicting southern attitudes, values and behaviours proliferated in the North throughout the mid-seventies. Inuit and community leaders were quick to realize that this electronic tidal wave of alien images and information would lead to the deterioration of Inuit language and culture and could disrupt the structures of traditional community life.
5431 To this day Inuit have successfully adapted to technological innovation several times throughout their history. Neither firearms nor snowmobiles are indigenous to the North, but both have become central elements of contemporary Inuit hunting culture.
5432 It was clear that television in the North was not going away. The challenge for Inuit was to find a way of adapting this technology to their own ends, using television as a vehicle for the protection of their language rather than as an agent of its destruction.
5433 MS ARNAQUQ-BARIL: The Inuit Broadcasting Corporation was created from the Inukshuk Project, a federally sponsored experiment in the late 1970s. Rudimentary television production facilities were installed in six northern communities and teams of newly recruited Inuit trainees began to learn the fundamentals of TV production.
5434 In 1980, the Inukshuk Project began broadcasting via the Anik B satellite from Iqaluit. The Inukshuk Project lasted eight months, during which time broadcasting and teleconferencing allowed Inuit in what was then the N.W.T. to see each other, discuss important issues and exchange information in our own language. The project also demonstrated that Inuit could successfully manage complex broadcasting projects and adapt sophisticated communications technology to meet our needs.
5435 In 1981, the CRTC granted a network television licence to the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation was formed. After an initial period of production and consolidation, IBC aired its first program on January 11, 1982 at midnight, a 90-minute special introducing the new network. This was in essence a model of community TV, TV that reflected the people, the environment, the culture, the issues and the language.
5436 Today, IBC still exists. However, it is more of a public producer that provides content to the national broadcaster APTN. It relinquished its licence in order for APTN to be created. So we no longer have community TV.
5437 We wish to address several of the questions asked by the Commission that are relevant to our region.
5438 THE SECRETARY: I am sorry, you have to conclude, please.
5439 MS ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Okay. I will just skip to the conclusion then.
5440 It is clear that without LPIF funding to assist Nunavut communities, there can be no hope of providing the training and support necessary for creation of local Inuktitut programming. With the establishment of media centres in a handful of large communities and travelling "fly away" portable multimedia stations for the smaller communities, we feel that the community TV needs of Nunavut residents can be served in a cost-effective and -efficient manner.
5441 Further, Nunavut may find it is left out from the rest of Canada because of its unique circumstances in being able to add to the diversity of Canadian voices and would lose out on an opportunity to nurture additional economic opportunity, particularly among Inuit youth.
5442 In the vast majority of the rest of Canada, even in communities without community television, most people can still turn on the television and hear the language that they speak, see people that look, walk and talk like them, people that work in similar jobs and eat similar food. Most Canadians can turn on the television and understand what is being said.
5443 Imagine for a moment that there was no English or French television in Canada, only programming in some other foreign language. Imagine the isolation that people would feel, how disconnected Canadians would feel with each other. This is our reality in Nunavut.
5444 Community television in Nunavut would make a world of difference to a desperately underserved area. Ajjiit Nunavut Media Association understands the unique challenges and needs of our territory, and given the right resources we are well positioned to help community television grow in Nunavut.
5445 We look forward to responding to any questions you have.
5446 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5447 MS ARNAQUQ-BARIL: Thank you.
5448 THE SECRETARY: We will now hear the presentation from the English-Language Arts Network of Quebec. Please introduce yourself and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
5449 MR. RODGERS: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. We wish to thank you for this opportunity to raise our concerns at this hearing.
5450 My name is Guy Rodgers. I am the Executive Director of the English-Language Arts Network of Quebec.
5451 Beside me is Hugh Maynard, President of Qu'anglo Communications & Consulting, who works in the area of information and communications technologies for community and rural development.
5452 We are here because the official-language minority in Quebec sees very little reflection of itself -- its arts, its culture, its community, its individual members -- on television. Of course, we can hear and see a great deal of English on television but very little of this is about our community of nearly one million people. May we note, as demonstration of this, our beloved CBC chose not to carry the Montreal Canadiens playoff games until they beat the first place team.
5453 We have several problems. Network programming has largely disappeared to Toronto as CBC and CTV save money by centralizing production. We do not have a regional television channel nor a minority-language educational channel such as TFO in Ontario. Finally, we do not have a hybrid local channel like Vidéotron's VOX nor even a public access channel. In other words, we have surprisingly little local reflection on our television.
5454 There is very little reliable financial information about the community channels, so we are very happy that you have asked the cable companies to provide more detailed financial information on their community channel operations. The lack of financial transparency about this sector is a major problem for all of us, and we look forward to a new approach from your Commission to this challenge.
5455 We see that the CRTC has identified CF Cable as having eight community channels in Quebec on the list of 139 community channels operating in 2008. CRTC lists two community channels operating in Montreal, one by CF Cable and one by Vidéotron. However, CF Cable was bought by Vidéotron over 10 years ago. Vidéotron tells us they have only one community channel in Montreal and it broadcasts exclusively in French.
5456 $48 million appears to have been spent on community programming in Quebec. Yet, with the couple of exceptions mentioned in our brief, none of this money was spent on English-language community programming for our 700,000 English speakers in Montreal and the 200,000 English speakers in the outlying regions of Quebec.
5457 As you and the Commissioner of Official Languages have said in your recent reports on official-language minority broadcasting, there is very little "regional reflection" of the linguistic minority in Quebec. We can find little beyond local TV news and sports in Montreal and, with the exception of the National Assembly reports, nothing outside Montreal.
5458 Community television is no longer simply public access to TV. Since 2002 at least, it is a hybrid system trying to meet different, perhaps conflicting, objectives. The cable companies claim that their control of these channels works well. The existing system certainly has not worked well for the English-speaking community in Quebec nor for many others, as we can see from other interventions at this hearing.
5459 The satellite companies would like to have their own channels too and spend money they now send to the Canada Media Fund to support their own idea of "national" community channels. If the Commission accepts this position, that will mean less funding for mainstream Canadian television programming through the Canada Media Fund and certainly less prospect for local channels. We would like to emphasize that no money should be diverted from the Canada Media Fund or other independent program production funds to support community television.
5460 If the current funding levels that BDUs pay for the community channels are not increased, that raises the question: Where will we find other funding for the community channel?
5461 We recall that the cable companies once had to spend 10 percent of their revenues on community channels. Over time, the CRTC has let that decrease to 2 percent, and now these companies want to find other funding sources to support the community channels.
5462 We have stated in our brief that we don't believe advertising revenue is a solution. As for the Local Programming Improvement Fund, we suggest it should remain at 1.5 percent and be directed to support local program production, based on changing needs, changing media, and not remain tied to local off-air TV news. As we have pointed out on various occasions, we believe that English Quebec should be eligible for LPIF.
5463 That said, there does seem to be enough money in the cable system to provide at least $1 million for each existing community channel. According to CRTC data, in 2009 the broadcast distribution services spent $136 million on community programming and distributed to 139 community channels. However, CACTUS estimates that only 19 of these channels in English-Canada have distinct programming and the rest are variations of these 19.
5464 Of this $136 million, about $48 million was spent in Quebec. We do not know who spent this $48 million or what it was actually spent on. We are not even sure that the CRTC knows how this money is spent.
5465 Transparency in community channel finances is essential. The cable channels need to become more responsive to the needs of their communities, beginning with active consultation programs and, finally, the establishment of advisory boards with some clout.
5466 We believe it is time that the Commission fulfills its mandate under the Broadcasting Act and the Official Languages Act to provide our community, nearly one million minority-language Quebeckers, with the regional reflection we need and which is so noticeably absent from our television screens. This reflection should start now by addressing two distinct challenges: production and distribution.
5467 Now, I am going to hand the microphone over to my colleague Hugh Maynard.
5468 MR. MAYNARD: Thank you, Guy, and thank you for this opportunity .
5469 Quebec's English-speaking community produces a great deal of content that is waiting to be recorded, arts and culture events that take place in all regions of Quebec, from music concerts to theatre productions. I give as an example Geordie Productions which tours the province with its theatrical productions to rural and remote communities and in the schools. I think it is an ideal example of content that could be visually presented on community television channels.
5470 We have three universities, we have five Cégeps, we have numerous high schools and we have a new network of 27 videoconference-equipped Community Learning Centres attached to many of the regional and even urban schools in Montreal to provide educational and community content and, of course, not to mention underreported news, particularly outside of Montreal.
5471 Having been involved in this for a number of years, I just cite the story of a CBC consultation meeting with the community some years ago where the question was raised, why can't they have more TV reporting off the Island of Montreal, and the answer was that because of budget cuts they had to use all-season tires and the union would not let the vans that carry the teams to travel off the Island of Montreal without snow tires.
5472 It is a bit of a contradiction today because, of course, in Quebec you have to have snow tires in the winter, but the poor CBC has been cut yet again and so that situation hasn't changed in over two decades.
5473 Along with that, the decline of commercial media, including budget reductions at the national broadcaster, has created a vacuum that we believe community TV can help to fill. I think that is very important because a number of surveys that have been carried out in recent years have consistently showed that communications amongst the English-speaking community in Quebec is always at the top of the list in terms of things that need to be improved.
5474 As we have seen in other media areas, product comes first. This is where resources and expertise are required. In the changing media environment that we see today, content is king, and content requires money, even on community TV. Once content is available, distribution will follow, but not without some preparations and concerted action.
5475 Virtually all households in Quebec have access to television, although regions outside of Montreal do not necessarily have access to cable technology, and given the challenges that the lack of information and communications infrastructure and services poses in rural areas in general, it is an area that requires some further assessment as an essential part of the planning process that we believe has to take place.
5476 Collaboration with satellite distributors may be a winning strategy to reach isolated communities, but a budget will have to be allocated to create a viable distribution network. In addition, public access content can now be distributed via the network of community videoconference centres that now exists and it is even possible to distribute content via DVD to remote regions. I note the example of the National Film Board which has done, I think, a very good job of making sure that its products are available out in these regions through a distribution mechanism.
5477 These are all possibilities. None are 'silver bullet' solutions by themselves. Social media, which is often raised in this context, on the internet are, at best, complementary distribution mechanisms, particularly in light of the fact that many rural areas lack adequate broadband connections.
5478 Even distribution agreements with existing TV channels will require some concerted actions to avoid content from Quebec's English-language minority being labelled as the graveyard shift, with available slots only being offered at 2:30 a.m. on Monday nights.
5479 I cite that, a bit in jest, our previous work with Télé-Québec, educational programming in cooperation with McGill University, was distributed at 2:30 on Friday afternoons, when, of course, everybody who would want to watch that would be at work, and so it is something that we have to take into consideration.
5480 To ensure success, the first step must consist of assessment and planning actions so that once the resources allocated to production begin to bear fruit that there will be a commensurate ability to carry out effective distribution. I think there are various ways to do that and it would be necessary to pursue that planning process.
5481 Resources are required to create content that will reflect the identity and activities of our community. Once a supply of stimulating content is made available, distribution will follow, using a mix of traditional technologies and new solutions. The key point is we need access to the money to create the content. It doesn't just happen by itself. We need a wide variety of content, not only public access programs. Thank you.
5482 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your presentations.
5483 Mr. Sinha, you are in Calgary. We have heard a lot of stories about Shaw and that access programming is not treated the way it should be, that there are no regular meetings with people in the artistic community and that getting onto Shaw's programming is a problem. I notice from your website you are on twice a week.
5484 Tell us a bit, does Shaw seek out, as they should as a community channel, the various community groups in order to put on community programming, or do you have to push your way in and are you being received well or not well?
5485 What's the story in Calgary?
5486 MR. SINHA: Well, I mean, you know, from the viewpoint of NUTV as a provider I can speak to that.
5487 I mean, I don't -- I haven't had a chance to speak with some of the other groups, but our contact information -- and one frustration that I've had is the contact information wasn't updated for a long time for new staff and things like that, so communication's then a problem.
5488 So, when we are supposed to be notified of changes and things like that, we either don't hear anything or it goes to the wrong e-mail address, and I think that's maybe an explanation for some of those problems.
5489 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see.
5490 But if I understood correctly, you are on Shaw right now, but you are being sort of re-positioned constantly?
5491 MR. SINHA: We were being re-positioned constantly on Channel 89 which is the current channel for the multicultural civic programming and that's where they have been fitting us in.
5492 And then recently they opened up the opportunity for us to be on Channel 10 again, which we've not been since '99 when we moved off of there. So, that was a positive step in the right direction.
5493 I just -- the frustrating point there, of course, is that we don't have an exact air time.
5494 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see. Okay.
5495 Ajjiit, first of all, glad to see you here, I enjoyed my visit to Iqaluit when we met both of you.
5496 I see you are asking for access to the LPIF. Up in Iqaluit you have CBC North. Do they not have access to the LPIF?
5497 MR. GIBERSON: I'm not sure that CBC is allowed to access the LPIF. Is that so?
5498 THE CHAIRPERSON: It is.
5499 MR. GIBERSON: It is. It's not a local station, however, it emanates out of Yellowknife and it's a national news -- northern news feed.
5500 THE CHAIRPERSON: And what percentage of CBC North carries your type of programming in your language, any?
5501 MS ARNUQ-BARIL: I wouldn't know the exact percentage, but it's very, very little.
5502 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's very little.
5503 MS ARNUQ-BARIL: Yes.
5504 THE CHAIRPERSON: And none of the local BDUs have a community channel, if I have understood you correctly.
5505 MS ARNUQ-BARIL: Our cable companies are very small, they're all class 3, very small, it's Arctic Co-operatives Limited, a handful of small, privately owned...
5506 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I understand they don't have to, but they could still do it if they wanted for their own purpose to serve the communities, but I gather none of them do.
5507 MR. GIBERSON: Yes. Just to let you know that community channels do exist right now. They basically are only putting on local announcements, but there's a willingness to put on community programming if it should become available.
5508 The catch-22 here is that, you know, the distribution is there but the content development funding is not, but the BDU is quite willing in the communities to put that forward.
5509 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see. Okay.
5510 And ELAN, we had VOX here earlier this week. I don't know whether you saw them when they were here, and my colleague Mr. Arpin --
5511 MR. RODGERS: I did hear about it.
5512 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. And my colleague, Mr. Arpin, asked them about English-speaking programming and they basically said that we have very little, but that's the problem is that there is no supply, we have not been contacted, in so many words, by English-speaking programmers to make use of our community channels.
5513 Presumably you have approached VOX and have you been turned down, or does VOX know of your existence?
5514 MR. RODGERS: VOX has had no communication with the English-speaking community.
5515 When CFCF owned the cable channel there was a dialogue between the community and the post.
5516 We had understood that when CF was sold and closed down that there was no longer access to English language distribution.
5517 We were both surprised and pleased to hear what VOX had to say and we will certainly be entering into discussions with them.
5518 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I was just going to say, you should phone them and take them by their word because they said --
5519 MR. RODGERS: Definitely.
5520 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- right in this very room that they're quite prepared to do it but they have not been contacted by the English artistic community of Montreal and been asked to air their programming.
5521 Okay. Len, I believe you have some questions.
5522 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5523 And good morning to you all.
5524 I'll start with NUTV and, Mr. Sinha, as you indicated in your discussions with the Chairman, the real issue I gather is not access but being flipped around on different days and different times over the last number of years.
5525 Is that the case?
5526 MR. SINHA: Well, we've asked to have access to the Channel 10 tier 1 here in Calgary since that time and, you know, we've even met with Shaw representatives about that, but we just never seem to make any progress there.
5527 The one positive offer that was made was that we could submit individual stories, like two-minute stories packaged by our membership for consideration to be broadcast on Channel 10. So, that was much appreciated and that would appear during the regular Shaw TV loop of programming that they were programming.
5528 And, unfortunately, some of those programs -- some of those stories were also rejected by Shaw on the basis of technical considerations that, in some cases, may have been accurate and, in some cases, I question and it's frustrating for our membership to hear that their story maybe didn't make the grade and isn't airing because of something that, in some cases, is minor, so...
5529 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Mr. Sinha, when Shaw was here earlier this week, I don't know if you heard their representation, but they indicated that they did or have reached out to the community, albeit on an as invited basis.
5530 Were you invited to their community meeting?
5531 MR. SINHA: No, we were not invited to any community meetings, and our contact information should be with them, for sure.
5532 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. In your submission of -- I'm not sure what the date was -- January 26th, you referenced in paragraph 7 the notion about being on Channel 89, and I'll just read it here just so to familiarize you if you haven't got it.
5533 MR. SINHA: M'hmm.
5534 COMMISSIONER KATZ:
"As evidence of a need for a community owned and operated solution, NUTV has endured both time slot changes and channel changes to our bi-weekly community magazine program over the years of broadcast on Shaw Cable Systems in Calgary." (As read)
5535 COMMISSIONER KATZ: And then you go on to say:
"Our agreement with Shaw Cable Systems in Calgary limits us to broadcast on multicultural and civic Channel 89." (As read)
5536 COMMISSIONER KATZ: What agreement are you referring to? Is there a written agreement between yourselves and Shaw?
5537 MR. SINHU: Yes. We have like a standard programming agreement basically for delivery of Betacam fps and the time -- the frequency of delivery and the date of delivery, that sort of thing.
5538 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Does the agreement, is it an evergreen agreement, or is there a date -- certain term to those agreements?
5539 MR. SINHA: They come -- they send them to us when they need to be renewed, so... And they're renewed on -- they're renewed periodically, so...
5540 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Can I ask you to file -- is that a confidential agreement or is it a public agreement with all parties in standard form?
5541 MR. SINHA: I'm not aware of there being any confidentiality there. It's a standard -- it just refers to things like, you know, obviously Shaw will not air any material that we provide them that is not in keeping with the broadcast mandate and CRTC regulations and that sort of thing, that's all it is.
5542 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Could I ask you to file that with the May 17th comments that you may have coming forward later on?
5543 MR. SINHA: Yes.
5544 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Thank you very much.
5545 Moving to on Ajjiit. The only question I have, and I guess it's the same one that the Chairman asked as well and, that is, CBC is qualified to receive funding for LPIF, and I guess also to the extent that APTN is considered a 9.1(h) and gets funding as well from all Canadians, there is a source of revenue there for broadcasting, it may not be directly for content.
5546 Have you engaged in discussions with APTN, I see Mr. LaRose here as well, in terms of how to make better use and access of the tools that are available to yourselves?
5547 MS DEWOLFF: I'll answer the part that is applicable to CBC. I know on a regular basis I am calling CBC and asking them if they will accept some local programming, programming content that has been developed in the North, particularly out of -- after we've engaged in training programs for youth and they've developed or created short films, and I am always told that they have no dollars for that.
5548 The most that they will accept is small vignettes that we make into PSAs that are produced in Inuktitut and subtitled in English and then they will if -- they will probably broadcast those for us for free. And that's the most.
5549 And I call on a regular basis to them. So that's the answer that I've gotten.
5550 And perhaps Gerry or Alethea can answer regarding APTN.
5551 MR. GIBERSON: Just as a matter of clarification too that, you know, CBC provides a Panarctic newscast. The material that we're talking about is not dissimilar to an over-the-air transmitter that's in a community like, you know, say Mississauga or something like that.
5552 There is no presence in the smaller communities at all. APTN is a national broadcaster, it has a national mandate. CBC has the same mandate.
5553 We're referring to something that's entirely different, a community grassroots based kind of content development that is Inuktitut based that may not have appropriate time slots in the schedules that the CBC and APTN have when they have to serve other mandates.
5554 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. And, as I guess you indicated in your discussions with the Chairman, the class 3 cable providers have yet to see the value in providing community programming?
5555 MR. GIBERSON: The class 3 providers certainly see the value, but they're very small operations that are, you know, competing against DTH, they have no funds to be able to do that, but they do have a community channel that they've made available.
5556 With the exemption order that was put out, it no longer requires the cable companies, class 3s, to be able to provide that, they're simply doing this out of their own good will but, you know, they have very limited funds, but they're trying as much as they can to support the community and do their part.
5557 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Right. Okay. Thank you very much.
5558 Messrs Maynard and Rodgers, I guess I echo what the Chairman said, the folks from VOX were here, from Vidéotron were here as well.
5559 We also chatted during the week about possibly you folks approaching, or those people that are interested approaching Bell IP TV as well because Bell's now introduced their IP TV service in their territory and there might be some opportunity there for them to exhibit some of your content as well. So, I urge you to do that.
5560 I do have a couple of questions on your original submission, specifically with regard to advertising. And in paragraph 29, if you have your document there, you indicate that you're opposed to advertising, but in paragraph 29 you say:
"We would urge the Commission to exercise caution before eliminating or reducing national advertising restrictions to support community channels." (As read)
5561 COMMISSIONER KATZ: And I emphasize the word national. Does that mean distinct from local advertising; you'd be supportive of local advertising but not national, or you're not supportive of any advertising?
5562 MR. RODGERS: As you understand, this brief was written by a committee of people from all different sectors and I'm trying to remember who did that particular clause.
5563 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Well, maybe you can expand upon it when you file your response.
5564 MR. RODGERS: We will indeed.
5565 COMMISSIONER KATZ: On May 17th --
5566 MR. RODGERS: We will indeed.
5567 COMMISSIONER KATZ: -- you can elaborate on it.
5568 And I guess just going on in paragraph 31, you indicate as well, that you request that:
"...independently operated community TV services be eligible for LPIF funding." (As read)
5569 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Is that regardless of whether there is an over-the-air broadcaster in the market or irregardless of that?
5570 MR. RODGERS: Well, the whole LPIF is a question that we're trying to clarify.
5571 At the moment English production in Quebec is not eligible under any production aspect, so we would like all legitimate production to have access to the LPIF so that it would not exclude other production.
5572 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. Thank you very much.
5573 Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
5574 THE CHAIRPERSON: Michel.
5575 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Thanks, Mr. Chair.
5576 I just want to say to Mr. Sinha from the University Television Society, you ask -- this morning in your oral presentation, you said that you are looking for question.
5577 So, already we have some:
"I put on the website of the CRTC some written questions about a model that I'm pushing forward for the renewed sharing between the BDUs and the community channels which could be, if the Commission made its decision that those revenues will be shared between new community licences and the BDU." (As read)
5578 COMMISSIONER MORIN: So, those questions are already on the website of the CRTC.
5579 Thanks for your comments.
5580 MR. SINHA: Okay.
5581 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before we let you go, one more question for Ajjiit.
5582 You mentioned the exemption order and that now small BDUs with less than 20,000 do not have to have a community channel.
5583 Has that had an impact in the North, or are you just saying potentially it may have an impact?
5584 MR. GIBERSON: I'll speak to that and then pass that on to Charlotte.
5585 It has had an impact in the sense that without funding -- I mean, the community channel once was used by many people, you know, in the early days.
5586 When funding got shifted over to more professional programming, you know, as IBC and APTN, there was no funding left for, you know, allocations for the communities to be able to do anything.
5587 The channels remain, but less and less programming was put in until we were reaching the point where we have the distribution mechanism but we don't have the ability to be able to produce it any more.
5588 It's a different sort of programming than what we're talking about again that, you know, that APTN and, you know, CBC produce, it's an entirely different thing.
5589 Perhaps, Charlotte, do you want to...
5590 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I understand that part. I just -- you specifically referred to the exemption order, that's what pricked my ears, as if it had an impact on the North.
5591 I mean, we've heard it from some other parts of Canada, so I wanted to know what's happened in the North.
5592 MR. GIBERSON: Oh, I see what you mean.
5593 Well, certainly it has an impact in that it doesn't allow for, you know, the generation of community programming, if that's what you mean.
5594 But, again, I reiterate that I would wonder what resources these small cable operations would have to be able to assist in that fashion.
5595 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your real problem is supply.
5596 MR. GIBERSON: Pardon me, sir?
5597 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your real problem is funding for supply; right?
5598 MR. GIBERSON: Yes.
5599 THE CHAIRPERSON: The small cable companies will gladly put on anything you produce.
5600 MR. GIBERSON: That's right.
5601 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's just you don't have the funds to produce it.
5602 MR. GIBERSON: Exactly, yeah. And Charlotte maybe can reiterate on that.
5603 MS ARNUQ-BARIL: And supply is a problem because of a lack of infrastructure. These small BDUs don't have studios like, you know, Shaw --
5604 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5605 MS ARNUQ-BARIL: -- and the other providers in the south, so we don't have the training and the programming funding to create what we want to.
5606 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
5607 MR. SINHA: Tunu Sinha from NUTV.
5608 About -- I will have a look at the CRTC website for the model of revenue sharing.
5609 I'm just curious if the operating revenue of an organization -- a non-profit organization like NUTV would be eligible for the matching funds in such a model?
5610 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, it's up to you to suggest whether they should or not.
5611 MR. SINHA: Because it's --
5612 THE CHAIRPERSON: I mean, there is no decision on any of this. This is an exploration by Commissioner Morin for possible models and he's looking for inputs and ideas.
5613 So, feel free to suggest whatever you want.
5614 MR. SINHA: Okay.
5615 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did you want to add something?
5616 MR. SINHA: Well, just that, you know, any --
5617 THE CHAIRPERSON: No. I was talking to the people in the room here.
5618 MR. SINHA: Oh, okay.
5619 MS DEWOLFF: Thank you.
5620 In Nunavut, as we've mentioned, we do have the cable providers who are willing to provide access, that includes those ACL as well as the two private cable providers.
5621 We also do have facilities within these small communities that would be willing to help develop studio space and these are community organizations.
5622 Most of the programming would be grassroots from the community and would meet the community's needs and some of the needs for programming in the communities would be very unique.
5623 For example, in one community in North Baffin, Clyde River, some of the programming content would not only include the usual elders' stories, but also would reflect some of the research that's going on there and would be very beneficial, for example, when they're providing information on the research on the ice conditions, the environment, polar bears, routings to different communities by snowmobile trails, things like that. So, it would be very unique programming and content.
5624 The only thing that we need is access to the LPIF so that we can provide some training and to develop the content. The rest we can easily undertake and administer.
5625 And I think that since the LPIF funding comes from all subscribers in Canada and is intended to assist non-metropolitan markets, we believe Nunavut communities should be considered under that definition.
5626 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you very much for your presentation.
5627 MS DEWOLFF: Thank you.
5628 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5629 Madame la secrétaire, I understand the next panel is ready on videoconference, so let's go right to them.
5630 Thank you.
5631 THE SECRETARY: Perfect. Thank you.
5632 We'll now proceed with the presentation of Jennifer Mawhinney who is appearing by videoconference from Fredericton, Kay Matthews who is appearing by audioconference from Toronto and Gail Ordogh and David Cooper who is appearing by videoconference from Toronto.
5633 We'll just wait two seconds to -- we're just trying to connect to Fredericton.
5634 THE SECRETARY: Perfect.
5635 We will start with the presentation of Jennifer Mawhinney who is appearing by videoconference from Fredericton.
5636 You have 10 minutes for your presentation.
5637 Thank you.
5638 MS MAWHINNEY: Good afternoon, and thank you for offering me this time to voice my opinions on community television.
5639 Local television is an absolute requirement in all communities across the country. What Rogers TV has achieved is a good start, however, the current model of community television must evolve.
5640 For local programming to be truly local, the local shows produced cannot just be cookie cutter versions of shows from other areas of the country. Each area of this country is unique and one show will not work for all markets.
5641 An over abundance of sporting event coverage and pre-produced series by employees has edged out the majority of live, truly local content.
5642 Members of the public should be given more input when it comes to choosing and participating in content each season.
5643 These decisions should not be made by a handful of upper management who must follow generic guidelines set forth by one national centralized office.
5644 I've listened to several presentations earlier this week, particularly from my fellow Rogers TV volunteers in Fredericton and I wish to elaborate on a few of their points.
5645 Brad Perry offered a detailed description of the programming produced in Fredericton, but I disagree about the majority of that content being legitimate community television.
5646 A one-hour weekly political call-in show broadcast provincial wide where the paid Rogers producer chooses which politicians to interview does not offer the community any input on content merely some telephone comments.
5647 Bingo is produced by paid personnel and the nightly news program is also produced by paid personnel.
5648 Both Brad Perry and Robb Hartlen described the input that Rogers volunteers have. It is limited to following the instructions of paid personnel.
5649 While the public is permitted to suggest shows for each season, I've only seen series pitched by employees make it to air. I have submitted several show proposals in the last few years which have all been denied by Rogers' management, despite Rogers Television in its previous life has funded cable producing said show.
5650 In 2007, Rogers Television held a contest for the public to win a one-minute per week series and the winner was chosen by a supervising producer at Rogers Television.
5651 When it comes to content, the paid employees of Rogers TV have full control and must abide by their management's directives. I believe the current difficulty Rogers Television is having in recruiting volunteers is in some way a result of this monopoly.
5652 Over the last year or so I've seen a lot more of paid employees filling in roles previously held by volunteers.
5653 I've also listened to the presentation by CACTUS, which I personally believe is the ideal model for community television.
5654 Keep in mind that Facebook, YouTube and Google are riddled with censorship, copyright and technical issues.
5655 I live in Fredericton and I'm a computer programmer by trade, yet my regular hi-speed Internet connection with Bell Aliant is not fast enough for me to watch YouTube videos.
5656 There are technical limitations as many Canadians cannot afford the most expensive Internet connections to even view content live on-line, other Canadians are geographically restricted to dial-up Internet access and there's still many people who have no interest in obtaining Internet access at all.
5657 While I'm obviously a huge supporter of new media, it cannot function as a sole means of delivery for community content.
5658 There are even areas of the country where Canadians cannot get cable or satellite service. My parents are in this situation and live halfway between Fredericton and Saint John and they've been waiting for cable for decades.
5659 The CACTUS model would be an ideal outlet for provincial film maker co-operatives which has a huge pool of creative talent in producing top quality independent content. I'm a member of the New Brunswick Film Makers Co-Operative and have many extremely talented independent producers and directors who have no voice on community television in its current form even if they also volunteer at Rogers Television.
5660 Now, from an economic standpoint, Rogers Television provides employment to a lot of people across the country, which in turn helps local business. Given the current economic climate, this is certainly a welcome and necessary benefit from coast to coast.
5661 As both a multi-year volunteer at Rogers Television and a viewer, I want to see more opportunities for local organizations, charities, special interest groups, artists and entertainers to have a voice to reach out to the province.
5662 In addition to the broadcasting aspect of community television, there's also the priceless experience that I take from each and every production. I feel more part of my community. Not only do I learn more about my province, I expand my knowledge and forge new friendships with fellow volunteers and the employees.
5663 My personal hope is that this hearing results in a change whereby individuals are given real access to contribute to community television without having to work for a national for-profit corporate entity who maintains control over what is aired.
5664 I believe a partnership is possible, so long as companies are held strictly accountable to the public with penalties in place for non-compliance if the current model is not functioning correctly.
5665 Thank you.
5666 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5667 We'll now hear the presentation of Madam Kay Matthews who is appearing by audioconference from Toronto.
5668 Madam Matthews, you may begin. You have 10 minutes.
5669 MS MATTHEWS: Oh, okay.
5670 For me, I've been a part of Rogers Television for over 25 years for a number of different reasons. Number one, as a private citizen and also through my work with community groups and through my actual business, so I've had a lot of different ways that I've been participating with them.
5671 Mississauga is a large city that does not have a daily newspaper, radio station or television station, it's kind of over shadowed by Toronto, therefore, Rogers TV is even more important to the residents of the city.
5672 Rogers TV daily covers local events, news and issues that are not available on other television outlets where I live as the other local television media is very Toronto centric in nature. I've even had so much as a Toronto reporter tell me that the Etobicoke Creek, which is basically just a large creek, is 16 miles wide; in other words, they don't want to cross that creek to come to Mississauga.
5673 It is a city of 700,000 people, though, so it does deserve to have its own media.
5674 I have been in the unique situation of working with Rogers on so many levels, many of them to do with the cultural integrity of the City of Mississauga. As many of you know, Mississauga is probably one of the most multicultural cities in Canada and a very peaceful one as well.
5675 As a private citizen, I volunteered for over 20 years with Mississauga's oldest festival, the Streetsville Founders' Bread and Honey Festival and the interaction with this festival begins with pre-interviews, watching a float being built or talking about the new events that are coming up or any different aspect of this parade and the festival.
5676 So, I've often done those pre-shows on their daily shows and then throughout the whole event as well, that Rogers has played a big part of taking this festival to the whole community.
5677 Also, I've also been the event manager for Mississauga's large cultural festival called Carassauga which is a festival of nations and cultures and that's usually had up to somewhere between 17 and 22 different multicultural groups participating by putting on pavilions in different areas where they have the opportunity to showcase their culture helping Toronto and Mississauga become a much more peaceful multi-cultural community.
5678 Rogers has always worked with me in those years, specifically in allowing me to do the programming.
5679 So, in other words, you know, if I felt that this year we wanted to represent the food to the different cultures, they would always make their set and their kitchens available or if it was a dancing or so on.
5680 So, I would be able to certainly program and tell them exactly what sort of thing I wanted to feature so that didn't become the same talking heads every year or, you know, okay, this is just, you know, Carasoga showing the cooking again or the dancing again.
5681 So, we were able to feature different things and that was very, very useful.
5682 We often had either staff or the volunteers from Rogers participating on the committees and helping us to define what we needed to present for the year.
5683 As well, there were many different aspects. We had the sneak preview of the events that we would hold in a mall or something to that effect and Rogers always covered that.
5684 So, they were a really strong part of getting our message out to the 700,000 people who live in Mississauga who, again, don't have a daily newspaper, don't have a radio station and don't have a television that's dedicated to Mississauga. So, that was really very, very good as well.
5685 For many years I was also the Communications Director of the Mississauga Arts Council and through my position and the availability and support of the staff and management of Rogers TV, we assisted Rogers with their cultural programming of the arts by artists and arts groups.
5686 We gave -- I used to actually program at least once a week for all of the local artists and so on to appear on the television show and so, I would present -- like I created a template and I told or sent it to Rogers explaining who was going to be on the show and I would kind of be the in-between personnel for helping them get the press releases, the posters, Web sites, all that information. But I did the actual programming of the show in that case.
5687 I really believe the link with Rogers Television in the arts gave many of the arts groups the opportunity to promote their theatrical, visual arts and other community events programming such as Travelove and also helping the independent and emerging film makers.
5688 We were able to provide a Mississauga Arts Awards every year and we were able to present the award winners both in the established and the emerging. So, therefore, Rogers assisted many of these emerging artists in getting their name out as they were -- as they were growing as artists. This continues to be an invaluable resource for local artists and arts groups.
5689 Rogers TV also supported the Mississauga Arts Council with the Arts Awards, as I've mentioned, and this event was specifically unique to Mississauga. Again, it would be very challenging for us to get the Toronto stations to come and cover something like this, but we were always guaranteed the support of Rogers Television.
5690 So, you can see in many different facets I've worked with them very closely.
5691 Most recently, I have been the Event Manager for the Mississauga Santa Claus Parade held in the village of Streetville. Again, it was for the whole of Mississauga though.
5692 Rogers TV has provided support on our committee, so we actually had a producer of the television show on the committee with us and he came to all the meetings and would work through it as we planned the presentation of the parade and they were a big part of putting it on.
5693 And my biggest concern with the parade specifically was that there are many people who aren't able to leave their homes or it's cold because it's winter and they want to be able to see the parade, their Mississauga Parade, from the luxury of their own homes, possibly because they are disabled or they are seniors, or for whatever reason.
5694 So, Rogers was able to provide something really important again to the City of Mississauga, showing the limits of the Santa Claus Parade, which really is enjoyed and loved by all citizens of Mississauga.
5695 The other thing, one of the aspects that happened there, as I've mentioned, the producer would sit on the show with us and we would ask volunteers to be the people who actually spoke and gave the commentary during the parade and so on.
5696 So, it was really interesting to work with many of the volunteers over the years for me, when I was working with daytime television or with one of those shows.
5697 And actually I have seen them and watched them being nurtured as volunteers and often we will see them now on the bigger either provincial, national or metropolitan television shows.
5698 So, it has really been great for me to have seen that sort of growth from a lot of the volunteers that went there.
5699 Over the years, I have been interviewed and co-hosted some television shows and I feel that Rogers Television has certainly nurtured the arts and cultures in the community and I know it has certainly helped my growth as a person to have been able to work with Rogers, their volunteers and their staff.
5700 So, there is -- and there is many other things that I have done over the years, as well. I do historical walking tours and Rogers has often accompanied me with their volunteers behind the camera and asking questions and getting their hands on approach to the history of the village and the city of Mississauga.
5701 I also worked with the Mississauga Heritage Foundation and again, through that, they were able to provide either assistance with creating television shows and they were very open to the ideas that we came off with, Moments of Heritage, and so on. So, they're always very, very open from that point of view.
5702 That pretty well covers my comments about it. It has been an extremely positive experience for me.
5703 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We will now hear the last presenters.
5704 We will start with Gail Ordogh who is appearing by view conference from Toronto. You have ten minutes for your presentation.
5705 MS ORDOGH: Bonjour. Merci. Thank you so much for having me here today.
5706 Recent changes in Toronto's media landscape has left the city without much of the local programming that we have come to know and love here. Rogers Television has been a huge supporter of local sports, businesses and communities.
5707 Rogers TV is a modern day message board, which helps service the communities and connects the people with the services for the people that are here.
5708 They provide an invaluable service to the viewers that would be a terrible shame to lose. Not only that, but in my opinion, the education and hands-on experience that local volunteers get at Rogers Television creates a feeling of camaraderie and the sense of belonging to the communities that they work in and that support that Rogers Television offers is absolutely unparalleled and irreplaceable.
5709 Over the years, as a media and broadcaster professional, I have worked with several programs that are part of the Rogers Television network and I have had the opportunity to work with Rogers Television in Peel and York regions as an anchor and a reporter/producer for their local newscast "First Local" and hosting some community calendar events.
5710 That experience provided me with a lot -- the kind of work experience and the networking opportunities that I needed as a young professional trying to break into the broadcasting workforce. As an announcer for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment and the Toronto Marlies, I was able to appear on Rogers Television and promote and support our teams as well as the initiatives that we have had in communities and schools and such things. Most recently, I appeared on Rogers Daytime where Rogers Television helped me to support my work as an ambassador for the David Suzuki Foundation.
5711 Not only was that an enormous support to me as a member of the York Region community, but as our mandate is to create a sustainable future for the next generation, Rogers Television is also supporting doing great things for the environment by having us on there.
5712 Throughout the initial appearance, I have been able to pursue other opportunities with Rogers Television, with television programs like "A Greener York" and "A Greener Toronto".
5713 Therefore, Rogers is helping not only their local neighbourhoods, but also the entire planet and, you know, this is a special mandate of mine too. But they have provided extremely valuable information in a fun and entertaining way to their audiences.
5714 I am so grateful to Rogers for always supporting my work as a performer and educator and an environmentalist. Rogers provides an organized outlet for local charities, non-profits and community gatherings that gives those involved a great sense of achievement, validation and involvement as it creates awareness in the community on a number of different levels for everyone in the neighbourhood.
5715 Words can't really express how disappointing it would be to have that message board of these communities ripped out of the greater Toronto area.
5716 I strongly feel that Rogers Television offers a service to its patrons that no other media outlets provide, which would leave a serious void in the communities that revolve around programming which is specific to each of these communities.
5717 How will young athletes be rewarded and encouraged to work hard and persevere without the kudos from the local sportscaster, or the woman that runs the clothing drive out of her garage; her efforts will suffer and the people who need those clothes will suffer as well.
5718 Local businesses will not be able to enjoy the positive promotions from the mutually beneficial relationship that various local living and local dining shows provide.
5719 Please take all these points into consideration when evaluating the future of Rogers Television. I feel Rogers TV is a huge part of my community and my professional support system. It would truly be a great loss to everyone who watches, works at, and counts on Rogers Television.
5720 It's all these little things, whether it's the things that are the molecular structure of an atom or the treaties that make up the countries that make up the world.
5721 It's all these little things that make a big difference in our world and we only have one life to live and we need to do things that really matter to us, which is why I am here today, because looking back at the people places and things that have influenced me, I realize that without Rogers TV, I really don't know who I would be. Please don't rob others of the same sense of pride and community that Rogers TV has provided me in shaping the person that I am. We need an outlet, a voice, and Rogers TV is that voice. Thank you.
5722 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. We will now hear the presentation of David Cooper. You have ten minutes for your presentation. Thank you.
5723 MR. COOPER: Bonjour, mesdames et messieurs.
5724 Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for your time and your attention.
5725 My concern with community television, apart from the fact that it seems as though periodically it will -- it will be periodically reviewed as to whether or not I believe and continue to function as any kind of function or exist at all in the television broadcasting landscape is its tendency towards irrelevance to the community, typified as it is by light entertainment shows like The Tom Green Show and Ed the Sock.
5726 Rather than being a valuable community resource providing meaningful social discourse about current events and issues, it is typified by the afore-mentioned as well as lifestyle shows about home making and dating as well as local high school sports events coverage.
5727 Recently, both Mississauga and Brampton, affiliates of Rogers, featured numerous airing of the same high school reunion. Shows such as the former are better presented on network television and cable affiliates, while the latter are of interest only to the participants who could easily camcord and distribute coverage of such events among themselves.
5728 Cable access television could easily be and should be a forum for the public to discuss concerns of community interest. Since the beginning of this year alone, shows about the Ontario government sexual education legislation proposal, Toronto Transmit Commission patron forums and development of the Toronto harbour front and condos, 2 Bloor Street East either have or would have been compelling viewing for southern Ontario viewers.
5729 The CRTC should require cable operators to have a minimum number of hours in their schedules for social policy discourse. This would enable potential participants to articulate concerns about poverty, crime, sexual assault, addiction, depression, domestic violence, neglect, homelessness and any of a number of other social ills in their own words, on their own timetable, free of the stylized posturing, audience baiting and hidden agenda of network talk shows.
5730 Guidelines should also be in place to ensure representation of minorities in programming. Currently in southern Ontario no show is aired on any community television station that would be of any interest to the gay community or any of a number of other identifiable groups or minorities.
5731 Community television delivery could be better served and harmonized by periodically tele-conferencing meetings between different community programming committees to facilitate idea sharing and empowerment among participants.
5732 And, finally, rules should be in place to allow applicants to personally appear and participate in programming proposal meetings.
5733 To deviate slightly from my prepared written comments, I would like to point out that in Toronto the head of Rogers community television is a brand new person. She has only been on the job for two months and the hearings that are taking place now predate her time on the job.
5734 I find her to be a nice, engaging professional individual, but she is new and professes to be such and does not necessarily have much of a vision for the immediate future of the channel and I sometimes feel that perhaps there is not necessarily enough vision there because there is not much of a sense of there being any kind of a future.
5735 If there is going to be a future, it should be to have the sorts of shows and ideas implemented that I have just indicated.
5736 There could be shows offered on legal advice, shows offering how around domestic concerns and shows offering advice about financial aid and there could be weekly forums about how registered charities function and how they serve the community and, you know, the participants could ask how they can better serve the community and how they can best serve the community in such as way as to solve the problems that are there to deal with, in such a way that they will eventually solve the problems that they are there to deal with instead of just continuing to function in perpetuity with no insight to dealing with the problems that they are mandated to solve.
5737 There are tons of thousands of registered charities in this country and, eventually they will number in the hundred thousands and yet, human suffering is more self-evident in Toronto and elsewhere in Canada more than ever and that is the sort of social issues that Rogers and other community television stations could be attempting to address.
5738 I mean one of the great social scourges of our age is poverty and questions like, you know, how to get rid of poverty once and for all and does society actually need poor people in order to continue to facilitate the economy could be something that could be addressed.
5739 I mean, eventually, you know, we need to confront the possibility that the poor people are necessary because they form the back-bone of the economy and to eliminate poverty by getting rid of poor people and by raising the minimum standard would mean that it would cause the entire economic structure to collapse.
5740 I realize that to attempt to implement all of these suggestions presented here would represent a radical see change in corporate attitude and delivery towards community programming, but as a function of the Canadian television industry, there needs to be more than materialist indifference, poverty of imagination and the ennui of intellectual bankruptcy for viewers and participants to engage.
5741 Community TV should not be a pale imitation of network programming, but a vital competitive progressive social resource.
5742 Thank you for your time and your attention.
5743 THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you for your presentation. You certainly covered the waterfront. You're all for Rogers customers in your very opposing views.
5744 Ms. Mawhinney, we don't have an office in Fredericton. Are you in a Rogers Office?
5745 MS MAWHINNEY: No. I am at the University Campus.
5746 THE PRESIDENT: I see. I thought Rogers would give you at least access for this hearing.
5747 MS. MAWHINNEY: Apparently not.
5748 MR. COOPER: And Ms Ordogh and I are at a Federal building in Toronto.
5749 THE PRESIDENT: Oh, I know. I realize our regional office, right behind you is our logo.
5750 But how do you explain this? I mean, I am stunned, the two of you are very critical and basically feeling that Rogers does not at all live up to its mandate as a community broadcaster and giving access to the fullest, to the community, to reflect itself and that the two of you finding that you're actually doing a great job of fostering talent and reflecting Mississauga in one case and Toronto on the other.
5751 I am sorry, I forgot your name, the lady from Mississauga. How do you explain this difference of perception?
5752 MS MATTHEWS: How I would explain that. This is Kay Matthews.
5753 THE PRESIDENT: Ms Kay Matthews. Thank you.
5754 MS MATTHEWS: I have always had a great working relationship with them, both professionally and personally and, you know, even when I have taken jobs, as you probably noticed over 25 years, I worked for quite a few of them, there were already some commitment or connection with whatever job I was doing and Rogers. So, it wasn't something that I actually went out and did; the connection was already there.
5755 But once I got involved, they certainly allowed me to, as I mentioned, do programming. You know, a couple of years ago we were doing the Santa Claus Parade live and we said: no, we didn't want it live, we wanted it taped and Rogers said: "that's fine", you know. So, they were really very flexible when working with us.
5756 But, you know, I have watched a great deal of different social shows on Rogers, so I am very surprised by some of the comments as well.
5757 THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Cooper?
5758 MR. COOPER: I guess my response to that would be that I feel that -- I think that some areas of the community are well served by what Rogers does. I mean, there isn't any denying that by maintaining and implementing a full schedule, that a full days of programming, that it does serve a great many people properly.
5759 I just feel that there are certain portions of the community, particularly those who are ill-served by anybody else who are ill-served by community television and its resources.
5760 It's just community television is yet again one of those areas in which people who are ill-served elsewhere in the community, you know, that community television is just one of those resources that doesn't meet their needs.
5761 THE PRESIDENT: Okay. And Ms Ordogh, have you had any negative experience? I mean, when I listened to you, I thought I could see all your -- everything that you cited was positive?
5762 MS ORDOGH: Yes, I have got to say it has been ten years that I have had -- 12 years now that I have had experiences with Rogers Television and I have worked in two different stations.
5763 I mean even, you know, very recently I have gone to the larger networks and I have tried to get the attention, you know, that my programs needed and Rogers Television is the only one that would, you know, support me in that way and I am really lucky to say that I have had really great experiences.
5764 And I know all truthfully I was getting a little choked because they really have made me who I am, my experiences there, the people that I have met and that I continue to be friends with and continue to have a professional working relationship with and, you know, they support me in every way and it has been so awesome. I have really, really been grateful for my experiences there.
5765 THE PRESIDENT: Peter, I believe you have some questions?
5766 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I have got sort of one or maybe two questions for each of you and I'll try to start in the order you presented.
5767 Ms Mawhinney, there is something you've said that I was curious about and I heard it once before this week when you're talking about the internet new media not being a good alternative for viewers when you said that there was, you know, censorship and copyright issues which no doubt there are.
5768 I was wondering what makes you think that under the CACTUS model there wouldn't be those issues too?
5769 MS MAWHINNEY: Well, under the CACTUS model they have multiple methods of delivery of the contents, so if, for instance, the internet method, we ran road blocks like that, then you wouldn't run into those in the other methods of delivery.
5770 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sorry; didn't quite get that.
5771 MS MAWHINNEY: If you would have a road block on internet delivery, that's not your sole means of delivering contents, so you would still have your cable as an option.
5772 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Sure, but there are certain broadcast standards and there is still -- there would still be copyright issues on the use of other people's material; would there not?
5773 MS MAWHINNEY: Correct, but I think we're talking about different types of copyright issues.
5774 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay.
5775 MS MAWHINNEY: If you -- there are some Web sites where you would upload your content and there is no longer your copyright.
5776 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: I understand what you're talking about now. Okay. Thank you.
5777 MS MAWHINNEY: Yes, yes. Okay.
5778 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You mentioned in your written presentation -- well, you talked quite a bit about paid personnel making decisions.
5779 MS MAWHINNEY: Correct.
5780 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And I was curious to know why you see that as a big issue versus -- I mean, even in a voluntary structure, usually there is some sort of hierarchy, some sort of decision-making hierarchy. Are you envisioning a structure where there is collective decision-making, as opposed to a hierarchical decision-making process?
5781 MS MAWHINNEY: That's what I would prefer to see instead of the corporate model where just like any other company you have to build within the guidelines of your company and follow what your management wants you to do. And if that's coming from headquarters in another province and trickles down into our province, it's not going to be as appropriate for our province as the originating one.
5782 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And how would you deal with issues of people being -- not getting access or not getting the access they want because both, I mean spectrum and time, air time or limited resources and wouldn't somebody have to be disappointed somewhere along the line or does everybody get in, in your --
5783 MS MAWHINNEY: I wouldn't say everyone, but if you had a committee that was a combination of people from the community and possibly people from Rogers altogether discussing different show proposals, based on what I have seen and the lack of usage of their local studio, resources really wouldn't be that much of an issue.
5784 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. Thank you. Ms Matthews, I had this one question for you and that is a lot of your work is -- or your connection with Rogers has been regarding the arts community you mentioned. Is there some sort of tangible relationship that you can point to in terms of the exposure that people get in your experience and, let's say, the size of the houses of their theatres or of the performances? Has anybody tried to draw that link?
5785 MS MATTHEWS: That's a really good question. I guess the expression is "does it put bums in seats?".
5786 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes.
5787 MS MATTHEWS: Yes. I would say that my work is a little bit more than just the arts and I consider myself a community development professional. And does it actually encourage people to come to the Parade, to go to Careton, go to buy a passport, to buy tickets to a show, to go to an art show? Absolutely.
5788 Do I have proof of that? No, I don't. But I have certainly seen crowds upwards of 30,000 people at the Santa Claus Parade and, believe me, if the newspaper, if, you know, we don't have enough money to do the advertizing, the newspaper to make it known to every single person in the city of Mississauga and often, I don't know if you know the Mississauga News, but you know it is very often, it's very full of flyers and a lot of people just throw it out.
5789 And as I have mentioned because we are very limited in Mississauga's availability of its own media, I have to -- I have to say that Rogers must be the one that's making it happen.
5790 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. And just as a follow, what's the different -- have you had the opportunity the difference between what gets presented in Mississauga and what gets presented in the -- whichever region is next to it? I'm sorry, I'm from the West.
5791 MS. MATTHEWS: No; that's fine. Actually it's really interesting because three years ago I started working in the next region from us, which is the Hull Region and that's COGECO and not Rogers, but certainly COGECO, I would attest that they have been very supportive as well and, you know, here I'm a total newcomer to this community after 25 years of working solely in the Mississauga community.
5792 And so, when I talk about Rogers, that's because that's most of my body of work, but I have found COGECO very supportive as well and have been on it a few times and they have come out to a number of events as well.
5793 Does that answer your question? Sorry?
5794 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes, more or less. Thank you.
5795 MS MATTHEWS: Yes, okay.
5796 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Ms Ordogh, did you -- when you start your time with Rogers, were you an employee or were you a volunteer?
5797 MS ORDOGH: Volunteer.
5798 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: And, then, go ahead.
5799 MS ORDOGH: I was a volunteer when I started there and I continued to do volunteer work then. And, of course, when I appear as a guest, I am not paid to go there.
5800 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: So, you have never been an employee?
5801 MS ORDOGH: I, for a brief moment in I think - gosh! maybe 2004, I filled in for their regular sport anchor for a week and I got paid for that week and that was great too.
5802 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Okay. You're one of the most cheerful ex-employees of anything I have ever --
5803 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Yes, just one question for you. And given the relatively small sizes of audiences, I am not saying they are not valuable but they are relatively small, for community television, how would you address those who say: look, these issues, the environmental issues you spoke about, Greener Toronto and the sports coverage, amateur sports coverage, that they can't be -- why can't they be done okay on the internet now? You know, isn't the community tv air a little past for that? I mean, there is -- you mentioned the Marlies, there is lots of junior hockey teams who podcast their own games because they don't have a hometown broadcaster.
5804 Red Deer in Alberta, the TV station died there this fall and the local hockey team didn't seem to miss a beat, they just picked up their own podcasts and their crowd stayed the same.
5805 Anyway, now would you address people who..?
5806 MS ORDOGH: I think it is really amazing that those communities were able to pick-up and, you know, continue broadcasting or podcasting their games. But, you know, obviously it is a big deal to do that. And Rogers Television does it so well and I just think that, you know, the way that -- I have seen young athletes get their picture on the air and get to do an interview and they -- I mean, you just can't duplicate that; having someone that you have seen on television talk to you is so exciting for children and it is really motivating and I think it is a really great thing that Rogers Television offers to the community, especially for those types of sporting events and, you know, the younger leagues, the triple red minor, tyke hockey leagues.
5807 I think it is such a thrill for them and it is really -- you know, it gives them a sense of being a part of the world and that their little game really matters to other people, and it just makes them feel so proud of what they are doing and how they are playing and that goal that they scored, you know, it is just such a phenomenal thing.
5808 And I don't know if that can be duplicated on the internet. You will still need an organization like Rogers to organize that and to provide the cameras, the facilities, as they have done for me so many times, and for all of these teams and community events and things that they cover for everybody in the community.
5809 And I mean, even for myself, having people that I grew-up with or went to school with see me on television talking about the environment or whatever, when I was doing sports anchoring there too, it was such an amazing feeling for me to be recognized in that way. And it was just, you know, local television, but it made me feel really proud and it just gave me more of the energy and the kind of push you need to go further and do more and be bigger and better and grow as a person and as a professional as well.
5810 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you.
5811 Mr. Cooper -- oh sorry, go a head.
5812 MS MATTHEWS: I just wanted to say a couple of things about that. If you want to do something like that on the internet you have to know you are doing that. Whereas if you are watching television, you know, there is a lot of channels, granted, but not nearly as much as there is in the internet. And people still channel surf, so people will trip across things much more readily than they would on the internet.
5813 Alternately, again, when I mentioned the seniors or people with disabilities who will, you know, watch television and so on, they will want to watch their grandchild or their grandson or whatever or the local play or something on television because they are not able to get out. Where again, with the internet, there is so much information on it, there is so much that you can look at it is much harder to trip on it or to find something specifically or readily unless you pre-know that you need to watch this.
5814 Sorry, does that..?
5815 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: No, that is very good. Nobody has articulated the element of surprise that television brings quite as well.
5816 MS MATTHEWS: And it does. I mean, I have often had people stop me and say, oh, I saw you on television the other night. I said, were you watching it? They said, well no, I was just flipping through the channel and I saw you and I recognized you, so I had to stop and watch.
5817 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Indeed.
5818 Mr. Cooper, is there no public affairs programming on your local cable at all or just less than you would like?
5819 MR. COOPER: I would have to say it is more a matter that there is less than I would like. In deference to Ms Ordogh's comments, I would have to admit that with community sports programming, you do have not only the broadcasting facilities, but also the opportunity to have the events commentated on by people who are at least attempting to provide meaningful play by play and colour commentary which would generally be absent from either podcasts or internet broadcasts.
5820 Having said that, I do feel that a reasonable compromise might be to have like one or two hours a week of sports highlight programming that would allow highlights of games and blooper reels and MVPs come into the studio, you know, and that sort of thing.
5821 And that way it is all sort of like concentrated in such a way to provide coverage while also providing other opportunities for programming of a social nature about social discourse and human interest concerns to be accommodated elsewhere in the schedule.
5822 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: You understand it would be rather problematic, it is almost anti in the sense of community in terms of top down for the CRTC to be telling people in Prince Rupert or Goose Bay how to setup their programming?
5823 I mean, for instance, like some people are very political and enjoy that sort of thing, some people just like to go fishing and some people, you know, like the programming they are putting on.
5824 Do you not agree that there is a conflict between the idea of something being community generated and something be dictated by the CRTC?
5825 MR. COOPER: Well, I appreciate your point. It is just that in a perfect world community television could stay as it is everywhere.
5826 I just feel that it is of interest to the community to be able to present, to be able to give people who are in need an opportunity to be heard as part of the community television broadcasting community with the sorts of proposals that I have indicated in my submission. The kinds, they would impart meaningful social discourse that would be of interest to the audience so that they might be able to learn something about their community that they might not be able to learn elsewhere.
5827 I mean, if you try and go to a library, I mean the problem is the world turns so fast most books are out of date five years after they are published. You know, when you watch something on television you have the benefit, as all the other presenters have indicated, of immediacy.
5828 And people who are in need, need to be able to present their immediate needs. And there is a growing need for people in need to be able to present their needs and social concerns with the benefit of that kind of immediacy.
5829 COMMISSIONER MENZIES: Thank you. I don't have anymore questions. Thank you all very much for taking the time and putting your views forward as citizens. I know it takes some time and effort, and we really appreciate it. Thank you.
5830 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5831 Ms Matthews, one last question. You mentioned that Mississauga has no TV station. CHCH from Hamilton, which covers all of Hamilton and the Niagara Peninsula I thought is now also covering Mississauga and produces sort of hyperlocal news. Is that not the case?
5832 MS MATTHEWS: Yes, it might cover some, but it is not dedicated to. And when you have a city the size of Mississauga there needs to be a dedication to that particular -- like, it is a large city with its own feelings and so on. So being kind of covered by Toronto and kind of covered by Hamilton is not the same as being dedicated coverage by something like Rogers.
5833 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well, thank you very much.
5834 I echo my colleague's comments, thank you for taking the time and sharing your views with us.
5835 Madame la secrétaire, I turn it over to you.
5836 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5837 We are done for the day, so we will reconvene no Monday at 9:00 a.m.
5838 Thank you.
--- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1254, to resume on Monday, May 3, 2010 at 0900
Johanne Morin Sue Villeneuve
Monique Mahoney Madeleine Matte
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