Transcript, Hearing November 29, 2018
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Date: November 29, 2018
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Attendees and Location
140 Promenade du Portage
- Chairperson: Ian Scott
- Vice-Chairperson Broadcasting: Caroline J. Simard
- Vice-Chairperson Telecommunications: Christianne Laizner
- Legal Advisors: Eric Bowles, Valerie Dionne
- Secretary: Lynda Roy
- Hearing Managers: Tracy Speigel, Tina-Louise Latourelle
--- Upon commencing on Thursday, November 29th, 2018 at 9:04 a.m.
4391 THE SECRETARY: À l’ordre, s’il vous plait. Order please.
4392 Good morning. Mr. Chairman, we will start today with panels of intervenors in support of applicants. Intervenors will appear as a panel of two or three or individually. We will first hear each intervenor on the panel, who will have five minutes to present their intervention. Questions from the Commission panel will then follow.
4393 We will start with intervenors in support of Rogers Media application.
4394 I will now call upon i.t. Productions Ltd.
4395 Please go ahead; you have five minutes to make your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION:
4396 MS. DATT: Thank you for the opportunity to speak here today about my personal experiences with OMNI and the work they do to support local independent producers like myself.
4397 My name is Shushma Datt, and I am the founder of i.t. Productions, an independent production company that has been producing quality local programming for the South Asian Community since 1984. My background in broadcasting goes back to 1966 when I started my very first program with the BBC Overseas Service. I came to Canada in 1972 and worked with the first multilingual radio station launched in Vancouver by Jan Van
4398 Bruchem. I left radio in 1979 to start television programs with Rogers, and I am still producing programming for the Multicultural channel since 1979.
4399 Being the first in any field has its challenges but looking back, it is most rewarding and satisfying too. You are entrusted with the job to provide information, entertainment for a community in its own language. i.T. Productions is a media company in the West Coast that has pioneered outstanding South Asian television programming, from in-house game shows to music videos of emerging local artists to thought-provoking interviews on social issues to entertaining interview with Bollywood stars. Over the years we have produced from as little as 9 hours per week to 13 hours per week of local and purchased programs.
4400 I've watched OMNI support the development of local producers and artists in many ways through the years. I am an example of that support.
4401 They (OMNI) provided me guidance and production support when I needed it and also continue to cover the cost of closed captioning for my show so it can remain in regulatory compliance. I also enjoy the flexibility I have with OMNI with regards to production timelines and workflow, as it allows me the important time I need to manage my other business interests outside of producing this show. For me, OMNI is the best choice because of their track record, especially in news and current affairs and the work they do with both national and local independent producers like myself. As a pioneer in the business, I know OMNI has always delivered on their promise as I have seen many smaller players fail in delivering what they promised. I also know that OMNI is one of the highly viewed channels by the community because of its authentic approach to programming.
4402 Let me now speak to you about my show, Women in Focus, because women, especially women from minority communities, are still underrepresented as producers and still face barriers to success. As a woman to be granted a radio licence from the CRTC, and the first Indo-Canadian broadcaster in my field, I can tell you that breaking into this business as a South Asian woman is hard, and the support of people who believe in you is invaluable.
4403 Women in Focus airs three times a week on the OMNI Pacific feed, and has featured almost 800 South Asian women who have made a contribution to their community. I started this show because I wanted to give a voice and a face to South Asian women and the work that they do. I wanted to use the medium of television to tell their stories and share them with a wider community. When women see themselves reflected in Canadian media, or people of colour see themselves reflected, the underlying message is: you belong. You are included, and your stories matter. This is why programming like Women in Focus is so very important, and why it meant so much to find support for it through OMNI.
4404 Ethnic programming was barely in existence in 1979 - nobody was programming for a South Asian audience and there was nothing being produced for, by, or about that culture when I started out. OMNI was literally the only other broadcaster out there, attempting to do ethnic programming at the same time, and looking for content from producers like me.
4405 And OMNI has been doing that ever since. OMNI for us means preserving a vibrant part of our cultural heritage through the medium of television programming, targeting not only our own communities but the broader Canadian cultural mosaic.
4406 Women in Focus is in its 17th year of broadcast and has been supported and nurtured by OMNI since it took over Channel M. I am here today because of all those years of support, and because I want you to know that programs like mine wouldn't be possible without OMNI. OMNI is a partner to independent producers from all different ethnicities and backgrounds from across Canada, and I very much hope it will be able to continue doing this important work for many years to come.
4407 Thank you, and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
4408 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4409 Madame la secrétaire.
4410 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4411 I now call on Felipe Rodriguez. Please go ahead. You have five minutes to make your presentation.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4412 MR. RODRIGUEZ: I would like to start by thanking the Commission for the opportunity to appear here today before you in support of the Rogers application for OMNI Regional.
4413 My name is Felipe Rodriguez, I'm a film and TV director, and I believe that for our television to accurately reflect its viewers, it needs, like OMNI does, to give a voice to the artists that speak for them.
4414 I think OMNI's track record makes it that I don't have to state obvious things like the fact that OMNI Regional has played an integral part in building and sustaining Canada's third-language and ethnic production community, or the fact that we've all heard and seen so many wonderful, important stories that would not have been told without OMNI's support to date.
4415 Because these facts are pretty common knowledge, I can just take today's time to talk about... me.
4416 I am two things: one, I am - as an established Spanish-Speaking filmmaker working in Canada - a perfect example of what OMNI's grassroots approach at finding and supporting emerging talent can produce; two, I am a firsthand witness of the impact OMNI's shows can have on Canadian viewers.
4417 OMNI gave me two of my first jobs as a Director, and Director of Photography on documentaries, when I was young, and unproven. One of them, called "Memorias de un Sonador", followed a Chilean political refugee that escaped torture under Pinochet, came to Canada in the ‘70s, and eventually became a justice of the peace here in Ontario.
4418 This is over a dozen years ago, but OMNI already understood the importance of having real Spanish-Canadian voices be the ones that had to tell these types of stories.
4419 It's those early opportunities from OMNI that launched my professional career.
4420 Since then, I went on to be nominated at the Documentary EMMYs in the U.S., and at the CSC Awards here for my cinematography work. The last film I directed called KIDNAP CAPITAL had a great run on the festival circuit, and I'm proud to say, won awards across the world.
4421 But I truly witnessed how OMNI can impact communities when I signed on to be the Lead Director on Season 2 of their Chinese language dramatic series, Blood and Water.
4422 I'm not Chinese. Yet I still found that I could truly identify to a raw story that has a young guy argue with his parents in his mother tongue, and in the same scene he turns to his best friend and talks in English, because that's how I grew up. I know how that feels.
4423 OMNI empowered us to craft a show that had never been done before, because we embraced our viewers’ home reality. Instead of serving up a show in straight up Mandarin or Cantonese, we let the characters switch back and forth, mix in English. We even allowed them to have an accent both ways, an English accent in Chinese, and a Chinese accent in English, because that's real in Canada. C'est comme moi en Espagnol, comme moi en français, and like me in English.
4424 OMNI understands that, and it has perfected the complicated recipe on how to make shows for us, but also about us.
4425 I knew I was on a special show, right from the audition process. First of all, OMNI was in the room with us, guiding us, and helping us stay on track. And then I saw actors approach work like I never had before.
4426 I'm used to actors that will do anything in the room, to stay in the room and maybe get the job. But then I asked a specific actor to read for a different, bigger role, and he told me: "No"! He said he thought he didn't have the right background for the role, and told me "All of us in the Chinese community, we're all looking at this show, like it were ‘our’ show. I can't be the thing that makes it not feel authentic."
4427 The entire process was like that. With cast and crew caring like it were their own show, right into post.
4428 My eight-year old daughter is in Grade 3 at a school that is heavily attended by ChineseCanadian kids. Off the cuff, she mentioned to her classmates that the show Dad was working on was called Blood and Water. And suddenly, after five years of picking her up every day and talking to the same handful of parents, all these moms and dads I didn't know were coming to say hi, and to ask me about work. I would get these beaming, wide smiles when I confirmed I was working on Blood and Water.
4429 And then when it started airing on Sundays, Monday morning became the closest to being famous I've had in the 18 years I've been in the industry. I'd get thumbs up from everyone, and moms would come and tell me how they hoped Jo Bradley would be okay, or beg me to tell them if Evan was guilty or not.
4430 We need OMNI. I've seen it. I've lived it.
4431 It's easy to buy telenovelas and Chinese soap operas for cheap, but even if that is third-language content, it's not what we need in Canada. We need a network that understands we need shows that reflect our reality. We need a network that understands discovering and supporting emerging multilingual creative talent is a long process that takes years, but pays off. OMNI has done the legwork. It has created a network of professionals who depend on its support, and it knows how to deliver it without sacrificing content quality.
4432 That's why, señoras y señores, we need OMNI.
4433 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4434 THE SECRETARY: We will now take a short recess to deal with our technical difficulties.
--- Upon recessing at 9:15 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 9:25 a.m.
4435 THE SECRETARY: All right. Sorry about this interruption, but we need transcripts tomorrow morning so we really needed that audio.
4436 We have now the third intervenor for Rogers, is Ms. Lloydetta Quaicoe and she’s by Skype. Good morning. Can you see us and hear us well?
4437 MS. QUAICOE: Good morning. Yes, I can. Thank you.
4438 THE SECRETARY: So Panel is ready to hear your presentation. Please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4439 MS. QUAICOE: Okay. Good morning and thank you for this opportunity to speak here today in support of OMNI and their application for this very important licence.
4440 My name is Lloydetta Quaicoe, and I am speaking to you from St. John’s, in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
4441 In November 2017, I became a member of OMNI’s Advisory Council. OMNI was looking for someone to provide insight and expertise on cultural diversity in this province, and I was happy to answer the call.
4442 I did so because I strongly believed that I am well-positioned to connect OMNI with local ethnocultural communities and bring more underserved cultures and languages into OMNI’s programming and community outreach.
4443 I have been helping immigrant and refugee families with their adjustment to Canadian society in Newfoundland for over 20 years.
4444 Recently, I collaborated with the School of Social Work to organize an information session on parenting for visible minority immigrants from 16 countries.
4445 I am a member of the Local Immigration Partnership Council, a collaborative community initiative dedicated to improving immigrant integration and retention.
4446 I serve on the Education and Early Childhood Development’s Multicultural Education Advisory Committee, as well as the provincial Minister’s Roundtable for Immigration, and I am a former President of the Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador.
4447 The scarcity of substantial resources and lack of opportunities for ethnocultural minority school youth, whose first language was not English or French, motivated me to establish a curriculum-based school program, “Sharing Our Cultures”, in 1999.
4448 This program engages culturally and ethnically diverse school youth in skills development activities and provides a platform for them to interact with the public and school children.
4449 For example, in 2017, school youth from Kugluktuk, Nunavut, travelled to St. John’s for a culture sharing event, and then a group of newcomer school youth, who reside in St. John’s, representing diverse cultures, travelled to Kugluktuk and learned about the Inuit history and culture.
4450 I designed this intercultural exchange to build positive relations, through experiential learning, between Indigenous and newcomer youth in Canada.
4451 The “Sharing Our Cultures” program will now be established in all regions of the province, with opportunities to connect school youth, as well as foster acceptance and belonging, while enhancing their skills for postsecondary education and labour market participation.
4452 Cultural and ethnic diversity in Newfoundland and Labrador is different than it is in other parts of the country. We have smaller cities or towns, with rural communities spread farther apart.
4453 Consequently, intercultural understanding is even more important here, and that is what I’ve been working to achieve through the “Sharing Our Cultures” program and events.
4454 I’m excited to say that as a result of being on OMNI’s Advisory Council, we are now in the development phases of a new show in Cantonese, which will build on the goals of the “Sharing Our Cultures” organization, and will air on OMNI television.
4455 The host for the show participated in the “Sharing Our Cultures” program when she was in high school and has volunteered with the organization since her graduation.
4456 Now, a third-year student at Memorial University, she is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Communication Studies. It is anticipated that the show will start in Cantonese, with possibly Arabic, Tagalog, and other languages to follow.
4457 Although I am a recent addition to OMNI’s Advisory Council, it is evident that OMNI really values the input of its members and works to put their ideas into action.
4458 At my first Council meeting, I was pleased to learn about OMNI’s “Youth Matters”, a platform for young people to have a regular voice on local issues and current affairs. This resonated with me because I work with youth and recognize the importance of their voices in the public domain.
4459 I have shared with the Council that students in the Journalism program offered at the College of the North Atlantic in St. John’s, will be useful to OMNI’s community outreach and I can make those necessary connections.
4460 Serving on OMNI’s Advisory Council has so far been a very positive experience. It has given me an opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with cultural diversity here and bring our stories to a much larger audience.
4461 I am looking forward to seeing the ethnocultural diversity of our province reflected and shared on OMNI television and to many more years of working with OMNI. That will only be possible if OMNI is allowed this licence.
4462 Thank you and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.
4463 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Thank you all for your submissions. I have a couple of questions maybe to start. My colleagues may have some as well.
4464 I guess since we have you here, I’d like to the -– and you come from Canada’s multicultural community, I’d like to take this opportunity to hear from one or -– any or all of you about what you perceive to be the needs of multi-cultural, multi-linguistic communities in Canada.
4465 We’ve been very focused on news and current events in particular, but you also are speaking to the importance of quality productions, original programming, that also fills that need, but if I can ask that general question, what do you think are the most pressing needs for your communities?
4466 MS. QUAICOE: I think for any community that makes Canada their home it is very important for them to fit in.
4467 So to fit in and then to find that their own community is being talked to in their own language, they understand the ways of the country better. They feel that they are included.
4468 So I think current affairs and news programs are important. Very important for any community that makes Canada their home.
4469 Along with that, once you start learning about what’s happening around you politically and otherwise, then to feel more at home you need entertaining programs that are produced by people who are living here, are bringing their own experiences and producing programmings here instead of, you know, purchasing programming from back home where they’ve come.
4470 And Felipe’s example is an amazing example. There’s another example in Vancouver. A show that is being done by – in cooperation with OMNI and it’s called “Mangos A Slice of Life”. It talks about an immigrant life. Talks about how immigrants fit into this society, so I think in a way OMNI tries to show people who are watching the channel what it is to be an immigrant and to feel at home in a country of their choice.
4471 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4472 MR. RODRIGUEZ: I can speak to that a little bit. Also, I think it’s not always only about being an immigrant and relating to that. I think people just want to see themselves on TV nowadays.
4473 This might sound dumb, but like to me I can relate. I don’t know if you guys have watched much telenovelas, but you must know about it, right? They have a look. My grandma used to watch them. When you watch that it’s a certain thing, right, we’re going to watch some telenovelas, then we’re going to watch some Spanish television, but it doesn’t need to be that.
4474 What I saw when we did “Blood and Water”, it was real TV show, even if that sounds weird, right, but everybody was talking about it and the actors when they were in it, I could see they were making a real TV show except it was with them in it, right. And they weren’t part of a real TV show as the Chinese character and they weren’t doing a Chinese soap opera that has -- like it looked like all the other shows that they see on TV and suddenly it just became this thing.
4475 They were -- like the actors would argue about, like, a single word on the page of a thousand words, right? They’d be like, I would never say this and I can’t say that, it’s like -- it’s written for like a 50 year-old and they were so -- they didn’t come to work, they were trying to make a show because they knew that it was very special.
4476 And I think -- all that I read in that is, people just want to see themselves on TV in a normal TV show and that’s what this is pushing and that’s why OMNIs breaking grounds by doing that.
4477 THE CHAIRPERSON: That must have had something to do with the quality of directing as well.
4478 MR. RODRIGUEZ: Absolutely, 100 percent, thank you.
4479 THE CHAIRPERSON: Any others? I do have another -- do you want to add to?
4480 MS. QUAICOE: Yes, I’d like to add the fact that particularly in -- of Newfoundland Labrador where ethnocultural minorities make such a small percentage of the population, it is important for us and for them -- communities to see themselves reflected and to hear about what’s happening around -- in Canada in their own languages and within their culture.
4481 So that sense of engagement with the community, I think, is really important for our communities here.
4482 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I have another question for you in particular, though others may have views too.
4483 You indicated that you’re participating in OMNIs advisory council. We’ve had a lot of discussion at this Hearing, you may or may not have been following it in detail; doesn’t -- it’s not important.
4484 A lot of discussion about diversity and sort of the independence, if you will, of the corporate view from -- in serving the multiethnic, multilingual community.
4485 I wonder if you have any comments about how you -- how effective do you see the roles of those advisory groups as opposed to having different ownership groups, you know, adding diversity to our broadcasting community?
4486 MS. QUAICOE: M'hm, well, as I said, that being on the advisory committee of -- only been there for a short time, but what I’ve experienced is that they take the themes and the ideas of members of the advisory counsel very seriously and they take action to it as well.
4487 So being on the advisory committee throughout the country, all the members that are on that, whatever their community needs are are shared within the advisory meetings and so we get to give feedback as members, and whatever is happening we are then informed. So there is the constant dialogue and discussion around what is needed and how we could best meet OMNIs mandate and their goals within the programming as well as community outreach.
4488 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4489 Colleagues, do you have questions?
4490 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Yes, good morning.
4491 So, Lloydetta, I just wanted to follow through on the advisory committees.
4492 So you’ve been there about a year I understand from your comments, on an advisory council, right?
4493 MS. QUAICOE: Right.
4494 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: And how often do you -- are these members from across Canada and you kind of have video-conference meetings or how does it work?
4495 MS. QUAICOE: Yeah, it is across Canada, so there are 24 members right across Canada and so many in the different provinces, and we do meet via video -- by video-conferencing. We hold meetings twice a year, but there’s also opportunities for interaction in between those meetings.
4496 So, for example, when we were thinking about how the ethnocultural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador could be reflected on OMNI television, I did have video-conferencing with members of their staff and other members across the country and how that could work for us and what we can do towards that.
4497 So there is, you know, that constant -- the opportunities for interaction with the rest of the members as well as the staff of OMNI.
4498 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Okay, thank you.
4499 And then I had a more general question about your views on the importance to multicultural and multilingual communities of national versus local reflection.
4500 So do you see a difference between the concerns of a particular community, let’s take an Asian community in one part of the country versus another part, that needs reflection separately, or do you think that a national reflection is the way to go?
4501 MS. DATT: Yes. I think it is very important to see reflection of each community from each part. National is important because all of us no matter where we come from and where we are living once you become Canadian, British Columbian “Indians”, South Asian, is totally different from a Toronto or a Montreal South Asian. The way of thinking is more provincial than it is, you know, the community wise.
4502 So it is important to see what’s happening nationally and it is very important to see what’s happening locally in your own community.
4503 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Anybody else?
4504 Thank you, those are my questions.
4505 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame Simard?
4506 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4507 I have a couple of questions for you. First of all, thank you for your intervention.
4508 So since the beginning of this Hearing, the lack of gender parity has been raised by some intervenors; for example, you just mentioned it.
4509 I would be interested in knowing if you think that some commitments should be taken by the licensees to ensure a better gender representation on-screen and off-screen?
4510 MS. DATT: If I may answer that. I think when I first started here in 1972, it was like -- was the only woman in Western Canada to produce programming.
4511 Culturally at that time it was very difficult for me to continue being -- also being a single parent.
4512 I think with OMNI what I have noticed -- or Rogers I should say because I knew Rogers before they started their OMNI programming -- they were very cognizant of the fact that talent, whether it is male or female, should be rewarded or should be cared for.
4513 So I think it is a moral duty of any programmer to give equal time to male and female, so gender parity is most important. I am an owner of two radio stations, and in our station women have equal rights. Sometimes I think I give more rights to women because I’m a woman boss, but I’ve never felt that they should be treated differently.
4514 So if there is no gender parity in any of the applications -- but I have noticed that lately ever since I got the licence in 2005 there are many young women who have come up and, you know, applied for licences and are on the boards.
4515 So it’s very heartening to see that women from my community at least are being, you know, represented there, but if it makes your life easier, I think you should make it a condition of licence that there should be gender parity. As a female I think I would say that.
4516 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. I don’t know if others would like to comment on that?
4517 MR. RODRIGUEZ: I can comment just a little bit, cause I feel like she’s talking about me. And she ended with saying: “As I woman, I feel like that should be a thing.” But I think that it doesn’t have to be “as a woman” to say that.
4518 I think we’re doing some really good progress in the last few years with that stuff. The tide is starting to turn, but I do think, I think it is because we’ve put some regulations over it to force it. Which is great.
4519 But I think, again, I’ll take it back to what Amy (phon.) did with Blood & Water, what I find is the best way to do it is approaching self-awaringly where we impose that we needed to have women, but we didn’t make it that it needed to be. I think who we found, part of, let me rephrase that.
4520 Part of my assignment when I took it is that we were trying to bring in a Chinese-speaking Chinese director that didn’t have probably the background that would get her the job in a normal situation. And it wasn’t parity, and it wasn’t because she was a woman versus a guy, it’s just she had a lot less experience.
4521 And they mandated me to help her, shepherd her, seek her own episodes, but we, you know, and she needed some feedback when she was coming up against the roadblocks that you come up on your first big TV show.
4522 Then, part of my mandate was to go and help her, and kind of ease her into the role, and that’s a good way to do it as oppose to separate me from it and give her, because it’s in the rulebook. Because then she was better by her second episode, and her next TV show is going to be great, right?
4523 Whereas as we set up her to fail, I think, it would not have been the best way to approach it.
4524 COMMISIONNER SIMARD: Thank you.
4525 Is your view the same for the lack of representation or the lack of ethnic, I guess, parity, onscreen and off screen?
4526 MS. DATT: I think lately I’ve noticed that there are, in the west, I have noticed that there are way more younger women of South Asian and Chinese decent that are on television, are representing the cultural diversity.
4527 And I think it does depend on the community as well, how the community views it. So a lot has to do with how you become a Canadian, and then become a part of, the feel that you’re a part of the mosaic, and then bring your own cultural strength into your own work.
4528 And I think that is important with the work that Rogers has done ever since I have known them, since 1979. There were times that we were butting heads, but most of the time it was, you know. It’s what we perceived as what we wanted for our communities and they perceived that, yes, if you-- we have chosen you to represent your community, so what you say is what we will do.
4529 So I think that is an important; a mutual working relationship.
4530 MR. RODRIGUEZ: I think that’s a very tough question.
4531 Take it from me, because I kind of, I’m the whitest Spaniard that you can find, so it’s, I’m kind of right at that weird line where people talk to me about that stuff and where I fit in there.
4532 But I think... parity in ethnicity at work, behind the camera, is going to come gradually if we see ourselves on TV. Because it’s one thing to fool ourselves into saying: “Half of the director needs to be Spanish or they need to be Black or they need to have a background of difference.”
4533 It’s another thing to understand that we come from, I don’t come from a family of arts. My dad was a blue collar worker, you know, the day I said: “I wanna go make movies.” We didn’t know where to start, you know, like, what is the school where you go to make movies?
4534 You know, like, Concordia they didn’t accept me cause I didn’t have like a portfolio, and then who do you call, you know? I put on a shirt, I went to the studio in Toronto and I asked the gate guy, like: “Who do I work for, you know?”
4535 And understanding that the gap in-between, you know, saying to go work on movies, that is going to happen gradually if we see ourselves on TV, if we see people that do it, and we start believing that we can educate ourselves to go do it.
4536 I think if there are rules that we put to ourselves that try to include and get to parity, it needs to be onscreen a lot and it’s going to force itself down the road. Twenty years from now we’ll have a different conversation, I think.
4537 Did that make sense?
4538 COMMISIONNER SIMARD: Yes.
4539 MR. RODRIGUEZ: Okay.
4540 COMMISIONNER SIMARD: Do you want to comment on that, Miss... I forgot...
4541 MS. QUAICOE: Well... I think I agree with what, you know, has been said already.
4542 I can speak to the advisor counsel, and I know that there is parity there, there’s just... an equal number of putting much parity with a number of both genders that are involved, that are members of the counsel, so I could only speak to that.
4543 COMMISIONNER SIMARD: Thank you very much, those were my questions.
4544 Merci beaucoup pour votre presentation, thank you very much.
4545 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, thank you all for your contribution, it’s appreciated. Have a great day.
4546 MR. RODRIGUEZ: Merci, thank you.
4547 MS. DATT: Thank you.
4548 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la Secrétaire?
4549 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much, Mister Chairman. We’re now ready to hear the interveners from Amber Broadcasting.
4550 So I would invite interveners from the Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic to please come forward to the presentation table.
4551 And RJ Deverel Productions, and as well we’ll have Mister Jack Jedouab (phon.) by Skype, Mister Chairman. So we’ll hear that Skype presentation at the very end. All right?
4552 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Madam Secretary.
4553 THE SECRETARY: So when you’re ready, please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4554 MS. GO: Good morning, my name is Avvy Go and I’m the legal director of the Chinese and South East Asian Legal Clinic, and I’m also here representing the Republic of Change, which is an Ontario-based provincial network of individuals and organisations working to advance racial equality and racial justice in Canada.
4555 I’m here to support the application by Amber broadcasting for national multi-lingual, multi-ethnic television news service.
4556 Just a few words about our clinic. We offer free legal services to low-income non-English speaking members of the Chinese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian communities in Ontario. Many of the clients served by our clinic rely on ethnic media for news and information, due to their lack of proficiency in the official languages.
4557 The need for multi-lingual news services is ever growing as diversity grows in Canada. The 2016 census confirms that 22.3% of people living in Canada self-identify as visible minorities, and 21.9% as immigrants. And these communities make up the majority of many large urban centers across Canada.
4558 And the number of people who reported a mother tongue other than English or French rose from 6 million in 2011 to over 7.7 million in 2016, which is an increase of about 14%. Of these individuals, 7 in 10 spoke one of these languages at home.
4559 So when CRTC awarded a 198H licence to Rogers Media for OMNI TV in 2017, it made possible the provision of ethnic programming as a mandatory service. We applaud that decision because it recognizes ethnic broadcasting as a fundamental part of Canadian culture and identity, and significantly improves access to programming in non-official languages.
4560 And we now welcome the decision of CRTC to open that licence for other broadcasting companies. Section three (3) of the Broadcasting Act states in part that the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect the service as an aspirations of all Canadians, including equal rights and multi-cultural and multi-racial nature of Canadian society.
4561 We support the proposal by Amber, because their proposal is one that will best advance the goal of the Broadcasting Act, and meet the needs of the ethno-racial communities across Canada.
4562 By retaining complete control of sourcing and editorial content while committing to independent programming, including daily national 30-minutes newscasts in different languages, including mandarin and Cantonese, the Amber proposal offers an independent voice that is on and convert by the interest of any large cooperate conglomerate.
4563 Of all the proposals, it offers the best support for independent producers and has the most Canadian content. So in doing so, the Amber proposal meets two (2) of the goals set out under section three (3) of the Broadcasting Act, namely it serves to safeguard and reach and strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic fabric of Canada.
4564 And it also encourages the development of Canadian expression by providing a wide range of programming that reflects Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas and so on.
4565 The provision of an independent news source is a key consideration as to why we support the Amber proposal. And this com-media is no doubt aware of Rogers’ decision to outsource OMNI TV news to Fairchild TV. That decision affected means that there’s only one source of TV news for the Chinese community, which in 2016, numbered at over 1.5 million with over 1.2 million of them speaking either Mandarin or Cantonese as their mother tongue. Creating a new, independent national television service, which targets ethno-racial groups, will help ensure the promotion of diverse viewpoints in ethnic broadcasting.
4566 Finally, we support the Amber proposal because of the decades of industry experiences of the people involved. Some of them are former senior executives of OMNI TV with whom we had a long-standing working relationship.
4567 As a long-time supporter of OMNI and its predecessor CFMT, the Amber proposal presents to us the best of both worlds. On the one hand, it is developed by individuals with decades of industry experiences who originally procured the fund to commission shows that are still celebrated today on OMNI like “Blood and Water”. On the other, it offers a different voice than what is now being offered by Fairchild TV under the guise of OMNI news.
4568 So the further the goal of Broadcasting Act and in keeping with the CRTC Ethnic Broadcasting Policy, we therefore ask CRTC to grant a 9(l)(h) licence to Amber and we thank you for your consideration.
4569 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much. Our next presenter is from R.J. Deverell Productions. Please go ahead when you’re ready.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4570 MS. SHELTON DEVERELL: Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Chair and Madam Co-Chairs. I’m Rita Shelton Deverell and one of my colleagues has asked me in recent days how many hearings have I been to and I cheekily replied, “Too numerous to mention”.
4571 However, because this is the 30th anniversary year of my first hearing, I will reference it and that was the licence application for Vision TV 30 years ago of which I am one of the founders and stayed as vice president of production until 2002. That means I’ve been concerned about diversity of voice for a very long time.
4572 To cut a little bit closer distance, I became very concerned when working for APTN which has been referenced several times in this hearing, when I’ve been in the room, as being a wonderful example of diversity of voice which it certainly is. The point I want to make is that there is little diversity of voice without diversity of ownership and I haven’t always known this. This is something that certainly occurred to me big time when at APTN.
4573 So my job -- and this was in 2002 -- was to be director of news and current affairs. For three years, I was on a sunset contract and I was to mentor my Aboriginal successor as director of news and current affairs in three years and kick start the daily news show, “APTN National News”.
4574 What I was concerned about, at that time, -- and we had moved steadily forward in consolidation and vertically integrated companies -- is that APTN would be taken over by the same four people who owned everything. It would no longer be governed the board of directors, senior management.
4575 And the reason I was on a Sunset contract is that everybody in senior management who was not Aboriginal was on that type of a contract. It’s extremely wise. APTN was doing something extremely wise because at the moment that non-Indigenous people started to say, “Well we can do Indigenous just as well as anyone else. We’ll buy that and we’ll take it over and we can do Indigenous”. You’ll see certain parallels here to ethnic broadcasting. So who owns it is extremely important and the Commission has an opportunity, at this point, to diversify ownership and it is crucially important.
4576 The other thing that I think is important about the Amber application is its support of independent producers. I’m one, at the moment, and I have been one from time to time and I have supervised countless independent producers.
4577 The independent production sector is in crisis at this moment. It’s in crisis. People who used to be able to make their entire living as independent producers can no longer do so. This, in part, has to do with consolidation as well. There are so few doors to knock on that if you don’t knock on those doors and get accepted and accept their fees, there are not a lot of streets to cross to. This is important for diversity in the system as well. The Amber proposal makes significant contributions to independent producers.
4578 A bit about geographic diversity. So that means that I have had the privilege, over the years, of working in Ontario for national networks, working in Winnipeg for APTN, lived in Saskatchewan, a big chunk of time, where I was the head of the journalism school at the University of Regina in the mid eighties. Speaking of -- that meant that I was the first woman to head a journalism school in a university and it was commented on a lot at the time. But also in Atlantic Canada, I spent three years at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax and geographic, local diversity is extremely important.
4579 And the third thing I wish to say about the Amber application, which Avvy Go has also referenced, is the track record of the people involved. OMNI has been mentioned numerous times and I will just comment that many of the things that are being referenced happened in what I will call the golden age of OMNI and many of the principals involved in the Amber application were in the golden age.
4580 I particularly will reference Madeline Ziniak, who is a director in that application, and there is no doubt about the length of her track record in supporting ethnic broadcasting and the integrity of her track record. That is the case with -- so we are not talking about people who wandered in off the streets to do this work. They have a long history of combined experience.
4581 Thank you very much.
4582 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4583 THE SECRETARY: Yes.
4584 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
4585 THE SECRETARY: Sorry about that. We’re going to hear -- the third presenter is appearing by Skype; can you hear us well?
4586 MR. JEDWAB: Oui, je vous entends très bien, merci.
4587 THE SECRETARY: Alors, lorsque vous êtes prêt, allez-y.
4588 MR. JEDWAB: D’abord, je veux vous remercier pour m’avoir offert cette occasion de présenter mes pensées à propos de la soumission de Amber Broadcasting. Je vous parle de ma cuisine à Montréal et je regrette de ne pas être avec vous à Gatineau pour me joindre à mes collègues Avvy et Rita.
4589 I will basically reiterate some of the things that Avvy and Rita have said and I’m in complete agreement with some of the points that they’ve raised with respect to the granting of the 9(1)(h) licence to Amber Broadcasting.
4590 In a -- in sum, if I can, with three or four point, just reinforce some of the issues that were raised by Avvy and Rita, I think that would best capture what I would say in support of the extension of the licence to Amber Broadcasting.
4591 Let me preface my comments first, also, by saying that you know, as I'm sure we're all aware, Canada has undergone what I think we can safely describe since the 1970s as a demographic revolution. The society that we're currently living in, if I were to project some of us from the 1970 period to 2018, and we'd miss the 40‑plus years or nearly 50‑years in between, I don't think that we would recognize some of our major cities, for example, and many other areas around the country that look vastly different from what they look liked back in 1970.
4592 So that demographic revolution that we've undergone requires that we work towards, to the best of our ability, the inclusion of the various communities that contribute to the well-being of country, and the deepening of that diversity, all the while respecting our heritage, our Indigenous populations, our Francophone communities across the country.
4593 So we need to have that balance struck between the recognition of our diversity and its various components, and its an increasing diversity, and the recognition of our heritage and respect for it with regards to what I just mentioned.
4594 So to get to the Amber submission, in particular. As my colleagues reiterated, if you look at the people behind the proposal, they've demonstrated their strong commitment to supporting diversity in Canada through the broadcasting system in terms of their own individual work and in terms of the collective contributions they make.
4595 They're not -- from my experience and my involvement with these individuals, what I really, really value and appreciate, which I think brings something very strong to their proposal and to the broadcasting system in general, is that they're very grassroots oriented. They're individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to communities, are very engaged with communities at the local level, are very committed to ensuring that the diversity of voices via the communities that compose our society get their voices recognized, as I said, through the broadcasting system. So they have a very strong demonstrated track record in that regard with a grassroots, what I would describe as a grassroots approach, not a top down approach.
4596 And I think that that approach is reflected in their submission in the commitment they make to independent production and to Canadian content, which are very, very key things in, you know, an environment where technologically advances are such -- and without sort of suggesting that these technological advances have a downside to them, there are many excellent things about technological advances and we're all encountering and we're challenged by, but we want to be sure that they don't create a uniformity where the diversity of voices does not get expressed. And that diversity of voices needs to be expressed if we're going to achieve the goal of having an inclusive country that provides platforms for the variety of production and cultural expression that enrich our country.
4597 So that's one of the key points, I would argue, is of deep value in the Amber proposal is the track record, the independent production.
4598 Now, I represent an organization called the Association for Canadian Studies. I have been at the head of that organization for 20‑years, and we also run something called Metropolis Canada, which is the largest national conference on immigration and integration in the country.
4599 The next conference will be held in Halifax in March of next year. We expect about a thousand people reflecting a broad cross-section of diversity of individuals from communities, service deliverers, policymakers, researchers, et cetera.
4600 And we've developed a certain expertise in terms of both networking and in terms of providing cutting edge research to various areas of life in Canada, including artistic expression.
4601 We are fully prepared, in support of the proposal, to lend our resources to the Amber submission and the Amber initiative with respect to our capacity to look at outcomes.
4602 And I had mentioned this in our -- in the text I provided with respect to outcomes. Outcomes aren't simply the number of viewers, but also the quality and the experience that's provided to members of communities attempting to get their voices out in our very diverse society that enriches us so greatly.
4603 So ça, c’est quelques points que je voulais soulever.
4604 Comme j’ai mentionné, juste pour résumer, je pense que c’est extrêmement important de supporter ce genre de proposition, qui a, au fond, un nombre de personnes qui sont dédiées à l’expression de la diversité à travers les communautés, qui sont très branchées sur les communautés, et qui ont travaillé activement depuis trois (3) décennies afin d’assurer que les communautés ont la capacité de s’impliquer dans les projets que ces personnes ont entrepris.
4605 Quand par exemple, Madame Zéliac était avec OMNI, je trouve que c’est un très beau modèle à supporter, et on le supporte sans équivoque et on est prêt à prêter nos ressources afin de faire avancer la proposition.
4606 Je vous remercie pour votre intention.
4607 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci beaucoup. Thank you.
4608 Again, maybe I'll start with a question for any and all of you. You've all highlighted the importance and the need for diversity of voices, obviously a concern that we share at the Commission. You've also made several positive comments about the contributions that OMNI has made historically, but then you raise a very strong concern about the role of vertically integrated players in the context of licensing an applicant in this proceeding.
4609 So what is the concern? What -- do you believe that the -- a vertically-integrated company will not meet the needs of the communities, and if so, based on what -- you know, where does the concern lie?
4610 MR. JEDWAB: I addressed -- sorry.
4611 MS. GO: Should I go ahead or?
4612 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead. Please.
4613 MS. GO: So I don't want to repeat the points that Rita has made, but I just want to give you an example of what is the concern, for instance, with respect to the current situation right now, and why we need diverse voices, particularly on news reporting, but also independent production as well.
4614 Just -- you know, a couple of weeks ago, we had a press conference in Queens Park about one of the changes that were brought in by the current provincial government with respect to employment standards law for workers in Ontario. All the Chinese media were there, including, you know, OMNI and Fairchild. The -- and most of them will talk about what the community groups at the press conference talked about, you know, our concerns about the law.
4615 The reporting at the end of the day by Fairchild TV was an interview with the Minister of Labour.
4616 It's important, I think that -- you know, it's just an example of highlighting a community-owned – a company that is owned and reflective of the communities are probably more likely to find ways to reflect the voices of that community. And I think that because of the -- and especially because of the very people that are involved with the Amber Project, which our clinic actually has a very long time relationship with, because with -- I've been around -- well, the clinic has been around for 30 years. So we worked with CFMT, we then worked with OMNI.
4617 Until very recently, it was -- you know, they -- OMNI had -- the previous OMNI, or the pre‑Rogers OMNI had played a very important role in many, many of the issues in helping raise public awareness around those issues that are important to my community. The Chinese Head Tax and Exclusion Act redress as one. And without the support of, you know, sort of people who were involved at that time, I don't think that we would have been able to get the redress and apology from the government.
4618 So these are the, you know, the -- who owns media has a very important consequence on community. You're talking about, you know, whether it's political issues, cultural, or other issues. So ownership and the independence of voices and the reflection of communities are all very important considerations.
4619 MR. JEDWAB: Let me -- sorry. It's Jack Jedwab. Let me give you an example of a concern that I have.
4620 I -- I'll make a confession to you. I occasionally will watch the Space Channel, right, and I have seen multiple episodes of Star Trek, right, they get played, and you know, I'm a big Star Trek fan. So I'll see the -- across the sort of spectrum of the multiple Star Trek editions the multiple episodes that keep getting repeated.
4621 If you watch OMNI, which I occasionally do watch OMNI even though I’m here in Montreal. I’ve seen some of the same independent productions - the exact same ones, not even a series - at least repeated in the past five years over 100, if not 200 times. The exact same show; all right? Or exact same independent film or documentary production, which is a concern I would have about verticality. Right?
4622 In verticality rather than trying to produce new, original content in any way, in support of the various communities whose voices you want to give expression, it strikes me that the interest is lesser around that and more around filling the time. And the filling of the time I think I can, you know, document, contributes to showing the exact same episode of the exact same documentary over 150 times.
4623 So I have to think that that is -– there is a causal relationship between verticality to which we’re referring and expressing concern around and that uniformity that I mentioned earlier in my preliminary remarks that arises from that.
4624 And we need to be caution about that uniformity which I’m equating, as opposed to the verticality, that it doesn’t create a strong diminishing of the community voices and diversity which I think that the CRTC, in its mandate and in its wisdom, would consider in terms of the proposals coming to bear for that licence.
4625 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you.
4626 MS. SHELTON DEVERELL: If I may add, Commissioners you’ll notice that I didn’t provide you with a text, but with notes, and in those notes, there are two links that bear on this very matter. So it’s vertical integration and it’s consolidation.
4627 The First link is to a somewhat scholarly article of mine in the Canadian Journal of Communication in 2009, that is basically about consolidation and how that lessens diversity of voice.
4628 And I had asked to do this at Concordia as a lecture on diversity in Canadian media. That was 2009 and things did not improve; they dis-improved, so it is a deep concern.
4629 The second one, which is not in our context, but in the United States, is in a very recent New Yorker and it is about local television stations all being owned by the same person, so that you have the impression that they’re a different media outlet with different points of view, but actually the ownership is all the same and the points of view are all the same.
4630 So, as I say, that is out of our context, but it’s kind of a Star Trek version of what could happen so I referenced those links.
4631 THE CHAIRMAN: Thank you. Colleagues? Madam Laizner?
4632 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Good morning. Thank you for your interventions. I think I’d like to ask Madam Deverell a question, because you’ve talked about your extensive experience, particularly in helping APTN get off the ground.
4633 So some of the applicants before us this week have said, you know, there’s no substitute for experience, having the infrastructure in place, you know, having a track record of delivering news.
4634 So what would you say are the most important elements when you have an applicant that hasn’t launched or operated a television service before and needs to be able to put in that infrastructure? What would you say are the most important elements of that and, you know, do you have any concerns in that regard?
4635 MS. SHELTON DEVERELL: Two observations. One is one of the reasons I am in support of the Amber application, is because these are people with a track record. These are people who have operated networks. These are people with tremendous advice and experience.
4636 The second observation – it may be a bit out there – I’ve been a bit concerned at hearing experience mean non-ethnic. When I last looked, I’m still ethnic and I’ve been doing this a very long time. There are others like me, so we don’t have to assume that because something deals with ethnicity, it deals with inexperienced people and I think the Amber application definitely reflects that.
4637 Should you award a licence to an applicant where there is no experience? I don’t think so.
4638 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Okay. I had another question. I just lost my train of thought. Just give me a minute.
4639 Well I’ll let it pass, sorry. Thank you.
4640 MS. SHELTON DEVERELL: Thank you.
4641 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame Simard?
4642 COMMISIONER SIMARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4643 I have two questions for you. So the first one is a follow-up questions about the diversity of Voice. I would like to know what do you think about the importance of in-house production to ensure diversity of Voice?
4644 MS. GO: I think it is very crucial and for a number of reasons is -– assuming the in-house is within the context of a community owned, community operated, that -– an institution that is reflective of the community, because otherwise it’s an in-house but it’s like a factory - assembly factory – then that’s probably of very little value to us.
4645 So making -- having made that assumption, it is important because I think that especially for the so-called ethnic communities, we are often very under represented in the mainstream society. And so, although I actually -– I do speak on CBC and other kind of mainstream network a lot, but we are often an after thought; right?
4646 And so, the way that issues have been presented is like, “Oh, let’s deal with this important Canadian news and let’s have an ethnic voice in it”, as a -- and then as Rita said, it’s like the ethnic community experiences are being discounted as somehow the second-tier experience or second tier importance and not part of the mainstream and not part of the fabric of Canadian society.
4647 So -- which is why going back to the ownership at issue is very important and having in-house production would also ensure that it is a community owned and community voiced, sort of, being reflected.
4648 I’ll give an example also of why, you know, I support Amber. So for instance, like, we were -– one of the award-winning documentary is called, “In the Shadow of Gold Mountain”, which is an NFB funded film by a Chinese-Canadian woman called Karen Cho. It’s about the redress and that’s why, you know, we’re very excited about that. It’s been shown a number of times across Canada, but finally, like, last year -– no, earlier this year it was dubbed with -– sorry, it came with the Chinese subtitles and we show it at a local Chinese community center.
4649 Many of the many mainland Chinese saw the documentary for the first time and yet many of them did not even now about the Head Tax, or the Exclusion Act, or the building of a railway by Chinese in Canada.
4650 So having in-house documentary production in a community based on ownership program that is reflective of that community is crucial to ensuring those kind of stories get produced and those kind of stories get assembled and broadcasted across Canada.
4651 MS. SHELTON DEVERELL: I think I can add a little bit to that. I think what’s really important is the balance. Both are important; in house production and independent production. And that’s another reason I’m in support of the Umber application.
4652 When I said I was Vice-President of production at Vision TV for low those many years, my job was precisely in-house production. And one of the things that I was very careful about, was having a balanced production team. I tried to represent on my production team every ethnicity and several languages.
4653 Since this was pre-APTN, this included Indigenous. After APTN it wasn’t really so very important. But Vision TV, at that point, also had a huge stream of independent production, well financed, good licence fees, et cetera, at that time. So I think it’s the balance that’s important.
4654 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And what are the pros and cons? Because you said that it’s important to have a balance. I would be curious to get more information; and do you see a difference between the news and the drama and...?
4655 MS. SHELTON DEVERELL: Independent producers can work on topics in a kind of depth that it’s impossible to do in house. I’ve had the experience over the last few years of mentoring people who become in charge of in-house production. And usually they come to me crying, saying, “How is this possible?” And they’re talking about daily and weekly shows, which are a particular -- as I said that was my job at APTN, to kick-start a daily news show, because that’s a kind of machine that unless you have experience in running the machine, you can’t do it.
4656 However, what a daily news show cannot do is a certain kind of depth because that takes time and it takes money and it takes a bunch of things that don’t work; the first 25 people that say no to you instead of yes, and if you’re got to have something on the air at 7 o’clock, you have to go for the people that are going to say yes.
4657 So it’s a different kind of discipline and it’s a different kind of production process and I think that’s why you need both.
4658 Now, it’s also true that in an independent pipeline you can have some very inexperienced people. But that's not what makes the quality of the pipeline. It’s the experienced people in the independent stream who can create those depth in programs.
4659 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. Those were my questions. Merci beaucoup.
4660 le président: Merci beaucoup. Thank you. Thank you for your interventions.
4661 Madame la secrétaire.
4662 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le président.
4663 We will now hear the panel of intervenors for Bell Media, so I would please invite La Passerelle-Intégration et Développement Économique and CultureLink to come forward.
4664 (SHORT PAUSE/COURTE PAUSE)
4665 THE SECRETARY: So we’ll start with La Passerelle-Intégration et Développement Économique. Allez-y, s’il vous plait.
4666 Juste appuyer sur le bouton de votre micro, quand la lumière rouge allume, c’est qu’il est allumé. Il y a un petit bouton en bas... c’est ça.
PRÉSENTATION / PRESENTATION
4667 MS. TCHATAT: D’accord, merci beaucoup.
4668 Bonjour, Monsieur le président, Messiers les commissaires. Bonjour, je m’appelle Léonie Tchatat. Je suis président et fondatrice de La Passerelle-Intégration et Développement Économique, un organisme qui existe depuis plus de 20 ans, que j’ai créé à l’âge de 16 ans, arrivant du Cameroun comme étudiante à visa, et étudiante pour continuer mes études ici. Et cet organisme qui dessert aujourd’hui plus de 3 000 personnes.
4669 Je suis aussi présentement commissaire à la mission des droits de la personne de l’Ontario, donc ma vie, mes 22 dernières années ont été consacrées pour non seulement l’intégration et l’épanouissement des immigrants francophones en Ontario, mais aussi pour promouvoir la vitalité et la force de la francophonie ontarienne.
4670 Et pour moi, les questions de justice et d’inclusion sont des mots qui me parlent beaucoup. Je suis ici ce matin pas à titre, d’abord pour une personne qui croit à la cause de Bell TV, mais aussi pas pour une personne qu’on utilise pour apporter un bon message.
4671 Ce que je veux dire par là, c’est que je ne suis pas une « token. » Ça, j’aimerais le mettre sur les pieds. La raison pour laquelle je suis venue, ici, et que j’ai accepté de m’impliquer depuis les derniers mois avec Bell TV, c’est parce qu’ils sont venus vers nous.
4672 En Ontario, actuellement, on a 600 000 francophones, et on sait très bien que la francophonie de demain sera représentée de la diversité, et que au moins 50% des francophones sont nés à l’extérieur du pays.
4673 Bien que nous soyons un peu en ce moment dans une crise francophone à cause de tous les enjeux qui nous touchent, il reste que comme francophones, nous avons beaucoup d’espoir.
4674 Bell TV, depuis les derniers mois, ont fait des consultations à travers la province, le pays. Ils ont consulté au plus de 1 000 personnes, parmi lesquelles des francophones et des francophones de minorités raciales.
4675 Je n’ai pas vu Rogers Cable ou tout autre des applicants de ce matin approcher les communautés. D’ailleurs, quand je regarde la chaîne OMNI, je ne me retrouve pas, et je ne me vois pas.
4676 Il y a une différence entre les questions de diversité et de la pluralité. La diversité, pour moi, c’est un acquis. La pluralité, c’est vraiment de mettre des mécanismes pour pouvoir se rassurer que nous vivons ensemble dans une équité.
4677 La première question que j’ai posé à Bell, quand ils m’ont approché, c’était de savoir comment nous seront inclus : est-ce que ça attire un nombre ou à titre de participation et d’engagement et décisionnel? Et ils nous ont garanti que oui.
4678 Si Bell TV obtient cette licence, je peux vous assurer que nous allons être, nous allons siéger au sein de comités, nous allons orienter la programmation, nous allons nous assurer que cette programmation représente la diversité culturelle dans son ensemble linguistique, et nous allons aussi nous assurer de nous nous voyons au sein de cette chaine.
4679 J’ai été membre du conseil d’administration de TFO, la télévision franco-ontarienne pendant cinq (5) ans, et je me suis assurée, et vous pouvez voir aujourd’hui que TFO, c’est une chaîne qui se veut assez inclusive.
4680 La question n’est pas seulement de fournir des programmes où les producteurs indépendants n’ont pas d’argent. Bell, dans son engagement, va investir de l’argent pour permettre aux producteurs indépendants ou locaux ou à toutes les personnes qui voudront produire des programmes télévisés, il y aura un financement qui sera accompagné.
4681 Nous allons nous assurer que Bell soit redevable à la communauté, aux communautés consultées, et pas seulement aux communautés francophones et celles des minorités raciales.
4682 Et donc, pour nous, je pense que avec tous les mécanismes d’inclusion, les procédés que Bell est en train de mettre en place, pour s’assurer de répondre vraiment à son mandat, d’être une chaîne qui représente cette diversité, je suis convaincue que Bell sera la meilleure personne à qui sera attitré.
4683 On pourrait dire que c’est une grosse chaîne, ils viennent avec beaucoup de pouvoir, ils ont déjà de l’argent, mais ce n’est pas seulement une question de pouvoir; c’est plus une question de fédérer les communautés et de ramener les communautés autour d’un projet qui se veut inclusif, et c’est pourquoi je suis là, ce matin.
4684 Je vous remercie.
4685 LA SECRÉTAIRE: Merci beaucoup, Madame.
4686 We will now hear CultureLink. Please go ahead.
PRÉSENTATION / PRESENTATION
4687 MR. ABSIYE: Yeah. Good morning.
4688 My name is Ibrahim Absiye; I am currently the Executive Director of CultureLink Settlement & Community Services, a non-profit organization that specializes in welcoming newcomers to Canada.
4689 Prior to that, I was the Executive Director of Midaynta Community Services, another non-profit community-based organization in the City of Toronto that facilitated the settlement and integration of the Somali community in Toronto.
4690 I am deeply involved and engaged in the community locally, regionally, and at the national level. For example, I’m a member and a former Treasurer of the Canadian Council for Refugees, the national organization that is the key voice for refugee protection and newcomer settlement in Canada since 1978. And it has a member organization of over 200 for the -- across the nation.
4691 I’m also a member and former President as well as former Treasurer of the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants, better known as OCASI, which was also formed in 1978 to act as a collective voice for immigrant serving agencies with a membership of 240, as well, across Ontario.
4692 Furthermore, I’m affiliated with a number of non-profit Boards in the City of Toronto.
4693 In my current role as the leader of CultureLink, I have a staff of 72 individuals from 36 different regions of the world and, among us, we speak 33 languages. We call ourselves a mini United Nations.
4694 My staff serve between 13,000 and 15,000 clients annually, of which about 11,000 are newcomers from 175 different countries around the globe.
4695 And with the federal government's increases of annual immigrant and refugee admissions to 350,000 by year 2021, or 1 percent of Canada's population, we anticipate that we will welcome more newcomers, with new languages and new cultures. The government calls this program the Multi-Year levels Plan, and we, in the sector, welcome this increase and we couldn't be happier.
4696 In this context, I want to thank the Commission for recognizing that there is an exceptional need for a national multilingual television service that can provide Canadians, both old and new, with ethnic programming, including news, information and current affairs, in multiple languages.
4697 As part of this process, Bell Media has filed with the Commission its application for OurTV concept. I have reviewed their proposal thoroughly and I have spoken with their office a long time, and I’ve learned that Bell Media have made significant commitments to news and information programming. For example, 100 percent ethnic programming and 70 percent Canadian content. Another example is 70 percent of the programming on OurTV will be in a third language, with ethnic programming for at least 20 different groups, produced in more than 20 different languages.
4698 OurTV will focus on news and information, with six national newscasts in six different languages, including Arabic, Cantonese, Mandarin, Punjabi, Spanish and Tagalog. These are the major languages that we serve in my organization on a daily basis, and we can expect more of these to come in the near future.
4699 OurTV will provide a greater variety of ethnic programming, with entertainment and lifestyle programs, versioning of popular Canadian programs, ethnic programming from around the world and special live coverage of community events, festivals, elections and sports. And yes, I like this part a lot because there’s no one who does this or did this in the past. It will be like a community-based media outlet.
4700 OurTV will feature cross-cultural programming, produced in the official languages, with a prime time weeknight current affairs program.
4701 Bell Media is proposing all of these programs through their OurTV concept with the commitment of two important considerations, which I think will be the basis of their success.
4702 Number 1, that the programs will be appropriate, accessible and affordable by the entire Canadian public, and number 2, that this service will, in the long-run, be sustainable under Bell Media's prudent business plan which guarantees the success of OurTV concept.
4703 It is my hope and wish that the Commission will consider the Bell Media name and reputation as one of the most trusted Canadian service providers in terms of commitment, capacity, and customer relations.
4704 Thank you for your time and I would be happy to answer any questions. Thanks.
4705 THE CHAIRPERSON: Go ahead, Commissioner Laizner.
4706 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Good morning. Bonjour.
4707 Madame Tchatat, je voulais vous demander deux questions. Premièrement, nous avons eu des commentaires de certains intervenants que nous devrons seulement accorder une licence seulement à des applicants de buts non-profit parce que ce sont ces applicants qui ont vraiment dans leur cœur les intérêts des communautés qu’ils vont servir et les grandes compagnies, ou les compagnies qui ont le but de profit vont toujours regarder leurs obligations financières et ça pourrait avoir un impact sur la programmation pour les communautés qu’ils vont servir.
4708 Alors j’aimerais savoir qu’est-ce que vous pensez de ces commentaires-là?
4709 Mme TCHATAT: Merci beaucoup, Madame la commissaire.
4710 D’abord, moi-même je suis directrice et présidente d’un organisme à but non-lucratif et je connais la valeur accrue du travail que nous faisons sur le terrain auprès des communautés et des populations que nous desservons.
4711 Par exemple, à la Passerelle, on sert des clients qui viennent de tous les coins, des pays d’Afrique, d’Haïti et autres.
4712 Je suis aussi, comme directrice de la Passerelle, consciente des défis auxquels les organismes à but non-lucratif font face en termes de la mise en œuvre ou en termes de possibilités de financement.
4713 Ce que je retrouve ici est aussi un thème de pluralité. Le projet de licence et de création d’une chaîne demande énormément de ressources. Et donc, en termes de prospectives économiques, il faut regarder la rentabilité à long terme, la durabilité et la diligence dans laquelle ça devrait se faire dessus.
4714 Une chaîne comme Bell Canada, comme je le disais tout à l’heure, oui, elle est grosse. Oui, souvent, la gestion ne se fait pas du haut vers le bas, mais dans ce contexte particulièrement et pourquoi je me suis engagée et j’engage mon organisme qui représente à peu près 3 000 clients, qui dessert 3 000 clients par année. C’est la politique d’inclusion dès le départ. Dès le départ, ils veulent travailler avec les communautés. Comme je disais tout à l’heure, ils ont consulté au-delà de 1 000 personnes à travers le pays. Ils ont écouté les besoins et les demandes des communautés, puis la communauté francophone multiraciale est une communauté forte qui a un potentiel. Et certainement dans l’engagement de Bell Média, c’est d’essayer de voir comment nous serons impliqués à toutes les parties et les processus décisionnels pour nous rassurer que s’ils ont la licence, nous soyons vraiment représentés.
4715 Et si ça ce n’est pas fait, les communautés vont parler. Donc, ils ont une redevabilité envers le reste de leur engagement.
4716 Et moi je pense que les organismes à but non-lucratif autour peuvent retrouver leur compte dans le développement de ce projet si Bell Média l’avait, parce qu’on n’aura pas à recommencer toutes les structures. Nous venons... les organismes n’ont pas forcément toutes les structures nécessaires pour pouvoir démarrer un projet comme ça actuellement. Donc il faut capitaliser et travailler en collaboration avec Bell Média.
4717 Et je crois que Bell Média a dans son intention d’ouvrir et de donner la main, ouvrir sa porte à toutes les institutions, organismes qui voudraient travailler dans le cadre de ce projet s’ils ont la licence.
4718 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Mais est-ce qu’ils vous ont présenté un plan d’engagement avec les communautés ou votre organisme? Parce que quand ils étaient devant nous cette semaine, ils nous ont pas présenté un plan. Est-ce qu’ils vous ont parlé de comment ils vont vous engager?
4719 Mme TCHATAT: On a passé beaucoup de discussions, effectivement, oui. Le plan, comme vous le savez, n’est pas encore écrit et signé en tant que tel, mais il y a des engagements quand même faits.
4720 Moi, je suis ici ce matin parce que je crois à cet engagement et Bell... on a passé beaucoup de périodes de discussions ensemble et j’ai posé des questions de capital pour l’implication de la communauté.
4721 Déjà, nous voulons être au sein de tous les différents comités stratégiques. Nous allons être présents au niveau de la programmation. Nous allons être présents au niveau des comités stratégiques et nous allons être présents à voir nos visages dans la télévision et ça sera très représentatif. Et pour nous, c’est un engagement où Bell ne peut pas se tourner et sinon, ils auront les communautés derrière eux. Et ça, venir et prendre ses engagements avec les communautés, les organismes qui peuvent se lever, il faut trouver de leur part... ils ont eu quand même cette volonté et ce courage de s’engager comme ça auprès des communautés.
4722 Donc pour moi, s’il y a la licence, dès demain nous allons nous mettre sur la table du travail et nous allons procéder aux engagements qu’ils ont pris.
4723 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: O.k. Merci.
4724 Mr. Absiye, would you have any comments on that question?
4725 MR. ABSIYE: Yes, I might add that, you know, we are here from non-profit agencies and of course we ---
4726 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: That’s why I was wondering.
4727 MR. ABSIYE: Of course, we promote that concept, but it’s also through the non-profits and profits that go hand in hand and work together, and we already know that Bell is investing in the community very heavily. For example, the mental health investment Bell makes to the community is very significant and huge and we are all aware of that.
4728 But when it comes to this venture, I think when we were talking to them and to, you know, for that matter, for anybody, we're looking at the sustainability of this service. Who has the capacity, the infrastructure to, you know -- and the resources to maintain this, and at the same time make sure community involvement is there?
4729 So we have those commitments from them, from the media, and we trust that, you know, if the licence goes to them, they will be investing in the community as they did in Montreal sector. Thank you.
4730 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: And then I'll start with you next for my second question. I just wanted to have an idea of where you see the balance between national reflection for a particular multicultural or ethnic community versus local or regional reflection?
4731 MR. ABSIYE: I think you cannot separate them. The nation -- you know, the comments are everywhere. I heard this morning, you know, some comments about a community being in the B.C. being different from a community being in another province. I think a program targeted to a specific community, whether it's a region or local community or nation, the same content will serve. And I think with the capacity of the Bell TV, which is the -- our television concept, the national programming from, you know, it's so many different regions in so many different languages will be very substantially beneficial to the nation at large.
4732 COMMISSAIRE LAIZNER: Madame Tchatat, la question, c’était vraiment: est-ce que vous voyez une différence entre les besoins de nouvelles régionales, locales et nationales par rapport à ces émissions et ses communautés?
4733 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : En fait, je suis très d’accord avec la réponse de mon collègue, mais je crois aussi qu’il faut quand même reconnaître qu’il y a des particularités.
4734 Il n’y a pas de différence entre un camerounais qui vit à Montréal ou camerounais qui vit à Toronto : c’est la même culture, c’est la même, ce sont les mêmes valeurs.
4735 Là où la différence se situe, c’est par rapport au niveau de la créativité de la localité. Donc, qu’est-ce qu’un camerounais, comment il s’intègre à Toronto versus à Montréal?
4736 Et ça, ce sont des nuances qu’il faut faire pour refléter l’émission de façon nationale. Donc, parce que les régions ont leurs particularités, mais les cultures n’ont pas forcément des différences. Donc, il faut toujours tenir en considération sur les sujets qui seront présentés de savoir que oui, ça peut refléter le... côté national, mais qu’il faut toujours avoir un angle d’originalité pour la particularité de la région.
4737 COMMISSAIRE LAIZNER : OK, merci, ce sont mes questions, merci.
4738 LE PRÉSIDENT : Madame Simard?
4739 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : Merci, Monsieur le Président. Alors, j’aurais quelques questions.
4740 La première : je comprends que vous avez été séduite par l’approche proactive de Bell. Je comprends, donc, que, en fait, c’est ce qui fait en sorte que vous êtes avec nous, ce matin, et que vous venez supporter ce dossier devant nous.
4741 Je me disais, en fait, si le même engagement ou la même approche proactive était faite de la part d’autres demandeurs, est-ce que... vous seriez satisfaite d’une approche proactive d’un autre joueur?
4742 Puis surtout, ultimement, j’essaie de voir si vous êtes d’avis qu’un engagement devrait être fait par ultimement un détenteur de licence, un engagement à adopter une telle approche proactive auprès des communautés plutôt que d’attendre les projets?
4743 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : Voilà. Merci beaucoup, Madame.
4744 Je pense que déjà il y a plusieurs nuances à cette question. La première, c’est que probablement j’aurais l’ouverture à écouter les différentes partenaires si j’étais approchée des différents applicants, et voir comment ils engagent la communauté, et à partir de là, je prendrais une décision assez réfléchie, assez logique.
4745 Comme femme Noire, francophone, ça fait 22 ans que nous assistons et que nous siégeons au sein de la communauté et que j’œuvre au sein de la communauté à l’échelle locale, provinciale et nationale. Je me suis retrouvée à plusieurs fois dans mon histoire à être l’objet d’utilisation un peu, pour soit le titre de montrer tout simplement qu’on a la visibilité, on a l’inclusion, et il nous faut une femme de couleur.
4746 Et je suis très consciente et je fais très attention quand je décide de m’engager. Et mes discussions avec Bell n’ont pas été faciles, parce que étant de mon histoire et sachant à combien de fois je me suis retrouvée sur des tables où j’étais assise mais je n’avais pas de pouvoir, et bien que je pouvais apporter et que c’était pas ça l’ouverture dont on me voulait à titre d’image, j’ai posé des questions très délicates avec, à Bell Média et on en a discuté.
4747 Et au fil des derniers mois que nous travaillons ensemble, j’ai vu des actions qu’ils ont mené dans les communautés, j’ai vu les échanges de nos discussions, des engagements, et c’est pour ça que j’ai dit oui et je me suis engagée.
4748 Rogers Cable, ça fait quand même plusieurs années que Rogers existe, je ne peux pas vous dire que j’ai un sentiment d’appartenance, je ne connais même pas les chaines OMNI, quand je regarde OMNI, ça ne me reflète pas du tout.
4749 Et les autres groupes, le groupe d’applicants, qui est en train de faire, je connais très bien, et oui, on a siégé sur des comités ensemble, mais je pense que quand on parlait des capacités et de durabilité économique, il y a une certaine fragilité à ce niveau-là.
4750 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : Pourriez-vous nous donner des exemples concrets de ces initiatives-là?
4751 Vous avez parlé de consultations, vous avez parlé du fait que, si j’ai bien compris, on est allé solliciter votre participation, par exemple, à un comité consultatif, peut-être?
4752 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : C’est ça.
4753 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : Ce n’est pas tout à fait clair pour moi.
4754 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : C’est ça.
4755 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : Alors, pourriez-vous nous éclairer à ce sujet?
4756 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : Vous savez, je pense que pour apporter des changements institutionnels et plus poussés, il faut être en avant, après et dans le processus. Déjà, l’exemple concret, ce sont les consultations qu’il y a eu.
4757 Le deuxième exemple, c’est d’essayer de rassurer que les comités qui seront mis sur pied représenteront cette représentativité et que ce sera des comités à pouvoir, pas seulement des comités à titre de personne qui reste.
4758 Le deuxième engagement, c’est l’investissement financier que Bell va vouloir, va mettre dans la programmation qui sera, qui sera au fait.
4759 Et l’autre, ce sera l’orientation et le fait de consulter les communautés pour les orientations qui seront faites.
4760 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : Lorsqu’on parle des comités consultatifs, et on a questionné les demandeurs à ce sujet, jusqu’à maintenant on parle plutôt de consultations auprès de ces membres-là d’un éventuel comité consultatif.
4761 Est-ce que vous avez des choses à ajouter à ce sujet-là? Parce que vous me parlez de pouvoir, mais ce que je retiens, moi, c’est plutôt, ici, une consultation.
4762 Mme. LÉONIE TCHATAT : En fait, pour le moment, on n’a pas encore... si demain, Bell avait la réponse que, oui, vous avez la licence, le thème ‘consultatif’ changera, ça sera plutôt des comités puisque il faut développer toute la structure, il faut avoir des thèmes et des références, il faut se rassurer de ce que les différents comités ont et le pouvoir de chaque comité par rapport à la programmation.
4763 Donc, ça va aller au-delà de dire seulement des comités consultatifs.
4764 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : Donc, pour vous, ce sont des comités consultatifs avec des pouvoirs décisionnels sur la programmation?
4765 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : Sur la programmation, sur la gestion, sur... la prise de l’orientation; on veut être à tous les niveaux.
4766 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : Merci.
4767 Une autre question : vous avez fait référence à votre expérience, j’ai oublié, est-ce que c’est un comité consultatif ou sur le CA de TFO?
4768 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : J’étais membre du conseil d’administration.
4769 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : OK, parfait.
4770 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : Pendant cinq (5) ans.
4771 COMMISSAIRE SIMARD : Oui.
4772 Alors, j’essayais de voir, en fait, si à votre avis il y a été question du nombre de représentants sur ces comités consultatifs-là. Avez-vous un avis ou une opinion à partager avec nous quant au nombre de membres qui devraient composer ces comités ou ce comité consultatif?
4773 MME. LÉONIE TCHATAT : Merci.
4774 En fait, pour moi, la question d’efficacité d’un comité ne se régit pas au nombre, mais c’est vraiment au pouvoir et à la vision de ce comité-là.
4775 Parce que si on est 10 et on n’a pas d’impact au sein du comité, ça n’avance pas la chose. Donc, il faut des comités stratégiques qui ont des objectifs et des missions bien précis, pour avoir un impact positif sur la programmation.
4776 MEMBRE SIMARD: Merci. Ma dernière question, y’a été question de la place du français et de l’anglais dans la programmation. Quelle est votre position à ce sujet?
4777 Mme TCHATAT: Je suis forte fervente de… je suis francophone. Je… la langue française c’est quelque chose de très important pour moi. Je pense que il faut prendre en contexte que c’est une là chaine multi-ethnique, donc il faut regarder la parité des programmations qui seront desservies, mais je ne m’attends pas à ce que le français soit que 10 pourcent au sein de cette chaine-là.
4778 Je pense qu’il faut une parité équitable par rapport aux chaines et donc le français c’est quand même la deuxième langue parlée et il faudrait regarder. Ce sont des négociations qu’on aura à faire.
4779 COMMISIONNER SIMARD: Un exemple qui nous a été présenté c’est un sous-titrage dans les deux langues. Est-ce que vous êtes en faveur d’une approche comme celle-là?
4780 Mme TCHATAT: Dans certains cas, dans certaines émissions, et dans d’autres il faudrait que ça soit directement en français.
4781 Moi en blaguant avec l’équipe de Bell Média, je leur ai dit que je suis la Oprah francophone du Canada, donc je veux une chaine francophone. Donc ça serait dans certains cas.
4782 MEMBRE SIMARD: Merci.
4783 Mme TCHATAT: Merci.
4784 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: I don’t know if you have something else to add, like maybe with respect to the last question about the use, I guess, of the English and French in the programming
4785 MR. ABSIYE: Well I think, you know, -- not “I think”, but we know both languages are our official languages and I know both languages are spoken across the nation even though the concentration is different.
4786 So from my experience, I know for example Léonie is from West Africa. She is francophone. I am from East Africa, I am Anglophone, but at the same time there are newcomers who are coming every day to Canada and we welcome them in both languages.
4787 But the two languages are predominantly having been to the community and I think it’s important to have both of them.
4788 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. Those were my questions. Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup pour votre présence ici avec nous aujourd’hui. Thank you.
4789 Mme TCHATAT: Merci.
4790 MR. ABSIYE: Thank you.
4791 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci pour votre présentation. We will take a break now, returning at 11:15.
--- Upon recessing at 10:56 a.m.
--- Upon resuming at 11:18 a.m.
4792 THE SECRETARY: …ready to start. Mr. Chairman, I just have a quick announcement before we start again.
4793 So the Commission announces that it is introducing additional process in regard to the applications being considered in the context of the proceeding initiated by Broadcasting Notice of Consultation 2018-127.
4794 Les parties comparaissant à la phase orale pourrait devoir fournir des réponses écrites à des questions du Conseil lors de l’audience. La date limite pour le dépôt de tels engagements est le 6 décembre.
4795 The Commission will accept final submissions from parties who have intervened in this proceeding, provided that a copy of a submission relating to a particular application is also sent to the applicant. The final submission must be received by the Commission by no later than 18 December 2018.
4796 And then -- les demandes qui souhaitent déposer des répliques finales auprès du -– du Conseil, pardon, devront le faire au plus tard le 14 janvier 2019.
4797 This information is now published on the website, so it’s in both languages and it’s a broadcasting notice of consultation 2008-127-3. So that’s it for that.
4798 And we now have someone by Skype, Mr. Chairman. Sorry, for the record -- I have to call Mr. Greg MacDougal, for the record, but I don’t think he’s in the room, so he will not be appearing.
4799 And we have by Skype our next intervenor. Hi, how are you? Can you hear us well?
4800 MS. PIELLE: Good morning. Yeah, I can.
4801 THE SECRETARY: All right. So Panel is ready to hear your presentation. Please go ahead. You have five minutes.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4802 MS. PIELLE: Okay. (NATIVE LANGUAGE). My English name is Devin Pielle, but my Indigenous name is Koosen and I am from the Tla’amin Nation in Powell River, B.C.
4803 In my work with Taxumajehjeh I have come to realize how segregated Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are. It’s happened through years of colonization and attempted genocide of Indigenous people through systematic and legalized methods, that are only recently becoming more generally known and accepted amongst Non-Indigenous Canadians.
4804 As the truth of The Indian Act and the residential schools is revealed to settlers, the need for healing dialogue is becoming more and more evident.
4805 Indigenous communities must heal and reconcile within their own nations, but settlers must be a part of this healing as well. We must move beyond the understanding that these are only Indigenous Issues for people living in this country to move forward in a healthy way. These challenges must be accepted as all of our issues.
4806 In licensing a multilingual national T.V. licence, the CRTC has the opportunity to help change this perspective by licensing ICTV.
4807 In licensing a multilingual national T.V. licence, the application of ICTV is the only one that even remotely includes Indigenous people in the building of their platform. We know only too well that if you are not at the planning table, your voice has little chance of being heard.
4808 Without the opportunity for Nations or ethnic communities to be involved at a governance level, as well as in employment, our points of view will never be represented accurately.
4809 ICTV has a not-for-profit board model allowing for transparency and accountability while other groups will be appointing advisory groups who have no actual power and will be expected to open doors into their communities.
4810 ICTV’s board of directors includes representatives from Indigenous Communities and the disability communities, which none of the other applicants include.
4811 The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in section 86, referring to media in Canada says they must:
4812 “Continue to develop media initiatives that inform and educate the Canadian public, and connect Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians.”
4813 ICTV also follows the TRC’s recommendation for business to:
4814 “Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.”
4815 The diversity of those living in Canada is not a threat to be corralled or translated, it is our strength. But we must work hard to connect with each other and learn about each other to keep our relationships healthy.
4816 The Tele1 station allows for more indigenous languages to be broadcast but it also specifies that it’s news will be written by community members.
4817 ICTV has guaranteed roles in both governance and hiring as well as guaranteeing the news be written by, and for, and about the communities they are representing.
4818 The effects of colonization have only left generously 10 language speakers in my community. Ayajuthum is threatened with extinction in my life time. And ICTV represents the only opportunity for Indigenous languages and therefore our point of view to be accurately represented across the country.
4819 The suggestion that Indigenous People have APTN and should therefore be satisfied with only one station reconfirms that more dialog still needs to happen.
4820 The more space Indigenous people are given to represent themselves adequately and share their languages, stories, teachings and much more, the more rich this country will be. So (NATIVE LANGUAGE). Thank you for your time.
4821 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Go ahead. Madame Simard, avez-vous des questions?
4822 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: In your -– first of all, thank you for your presentation. Excuse-me. In your presentation, for example in paragraph 4, you refer to, like, the chance to be heard in the media.
4823 In your views what would be, I guess, the -– how could -– how could we improve, or how can we I guess, propose -- what would be the best proposal to ensure that communities are heard? Thank you. Sorry for the ---
4824 MS. PIELLE: Just consistently reaching out and acknowledging that there is an extreme diversity of Indigenous people here. You know, I am very honoured to speak in Ottawa today, but it’s not my territory. I am from B.C., but I am happy to speak on behalf of Indigenous People for you today. So just the constant acknowledgement and the constant reaching out is what’s going to start this snowball effect.
4825 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: We talked about this reach out with another intervenor. Could you provide us with some concrete examples of how a licensee could do -- could have a good proactive approach in order to reach out those communities.
4826 MS. PIELLE: Okay. Excuse me. There is a lot of Indigenous People who are in the media world and who are making themselves more publicly known. I know for example, an old anime cartoon called Sailor Moon has been translated into an Indigenous language. And reaching out to someone like that who has already done the work, and making it available for all of us to celebrate our languages on a national level would be so huge.
4827 And yeah, there is -- almost every single nation has their own website with their own contact information and that’s very accessible by google.
4828 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. And also, with another intervenor we talked about the advisory committee. So the governance structure, do you have any views on that?
4829 MS. PIELLE: Views on having an advisory committee? Sorry.
4830 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes. So it was discussed with one of the other intervenors and during -- since the beginning of this hearing, the need to have consultative committee to, I guess, give some advice in terms of the programming. For some other intervenors, it could be even broader than that, the scope of the consultation could be a bit broader than that. So do you have any views on that?
4831 MS. PIELLE: I think the more people at the table the better, especially in terms of -- yeah, I can speak on my experience and my life. B.C. is just so different than the rest of Canada, historically, in the way that we govern ourselves here is different. So for someone who is from Ontario and who had never been to B.C., I don’t feel that they could adequately represent the nations and the diversity that we have here. So more people equals more power.
4832 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much for your presentation. Those were my questions.
4833 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I have maybe one more question for you, and it might not be exactly in your area of expertise, but I’d like to see if you can help us.
4834 One of the issues that’s been raised quite often during the course of our proceeding is, on the one hand, diversity of voices in terms of having new players, players not currently in the system added to the mix, so to speak. And on the other hand, there are concerns about if applicants had the necessary experience and depth of knowledge to successfully launch and develop a service.
4835 So would you have any advice for us or comments on that, on how we can weigh that issue of experience versus new participants?
4836 MS. PIELLE: I think that everyone needs to be given at least the opportunity to prove themselves. And there’s -- at this point there is no multilingual TV station, so at this point there’s nothing to lose. In terms of opening up diversity and -- yeah, just making it more accessible for us and representing a huge, broader spectrum of Canadians. You know, Canadians is a very vague term and does not fit myself, personally. So to have the opportunity to prove ourselves I guess, on a national level, again would be a success for all of us, and celebration for all of us across Turtle Island, or Canada.
4837 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for taking the time to be with us today, and thank you for your submissions.
4838 MS. PIELLE: Thank you.
4839 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam secretary?
4840 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We will now hear the panel of intervenors in support of Telelatino Network and Asian Television Network International Limited. We will hear from Mr. Jeffery W. Lem from the Direction of Lands Titles for Ontario; Mr. Michael Bryant from Canadian Civil Liberties Association; and Mr. David Rocco, host and producer.
4841 We will start with Mr. Lem. You have five minutes each, please go ahead.
4842 MR. LEM: Thank you very much. My name is Jeffery Lem. I’m a lawyer. I do have a day job, I’m the director of land titles for the Province of Ontario. When I’m not working diligently for the Province of Ontario, I’m also a bencher of the Law Society of Ontario, and I’m also general counsel for an outfit called the Mon Sheong Foundation.
4843 The Mon Sheong Foundation represents the Chinese Canadian community, while we certainly don’t have an exclusive representation, we do run the largest Chinese school in all of Canada for the young people and we also -- and our specialty really is the provision of retirement homes and long-term care for members of our society and our community, largely the Chinese Canadian community. We’re also the largest provider of long-term care facilities for Chinese Canadians in Canada.
4844 I’m also the proud recipient of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers lifetime achievement award, although it does bother me somewhat, because there’s a minimum age at which you have to be before you can win that award and I was a bit annoyed at having won it.
4845 I will be mindful of the five-minute time limit. I only have three points that I would like to raise with the committee.
4846 Imagine that you land at an airport and you’re hungry. You want some, perhaps great dim sum. Some very fresh sushi. Some spicy authentic curry. Where would you go? Would you turn around and look at, maybe the Keg? Kelsey’s? Milestones, any other national chain? They wouldn’t be horrible. I mean, I’m sure that all these national chains have some sort of a fusion sushi sort of item and they -- I know for sure Kelsey’s does an okay curry, and everybody does some sort of a stir fry chinesey thing, right? It would be not bad.
4847 But this is a rhetorical question. You would not go to a general conglomerate chain restaurant if you want specific ethnic food. You would go to the best ethnic run restaurant that you can find. That’s simple as that. All other things being equal. And that’s an important comment I want to get back to, all other things being equal.
4848 I also want to actually break my presentation to answer a question that was raised earlier to another intervenor, and I wasn’t sure it was answered. There was a question about why there’s a concern about vertically integrated operators. And it wasn’t -- I didn’t quite catch the answer. I would like to take this opportunity to answer.
4849 It isn’t so much in my mind a question of vertical integration, it’s a question of size, okay? If you think of the operators that are here that have been called the vertical integrators, and we know who they are. They make gazillions of dollars. Their balance sheets are gazillions of dollars. The portion of their income being derived from ethnic broadcasting would be a rounding error at best in their grand scheme of their business plan.
4850 Whereas, in the case of Canadaworld, that is what they do, okay? If it doesn’t work for them, they’re out of business. It matters to them that this particular project, ethnic broadcasting, works in Canada. So that’s sort of an answer to an earlier question.
4851 The second point I want to raise to you is a question of ethnic sensitivity. On the one hand, we’re saying to this great constituency, the sort of, the ethnocultural community in Canada, you deserve a channel.
4852 We want you to have a channel to speak to you in your mother tongue. On the other hand, you turn around and you have this one opportunity to give a franchise to operators from that community and you turn around and you -- if you do not give it to them there will be this perception that we deserve and are entitled to a channel for ourselves, and yet you give this obligation to provide this service to a conglomerate organization when there were actually ethnic providers available and capable of doing the same thing.
4853 So I just want you to be sensitized to the perception that will be -- that the community will have if you do turn and give it one of these big conglomerates.
4854 The third point I want to make, and it goes back to my original point. So I'm at the airport and I'm choosing which restaurant. Okay? And you know, the answer actually is all other things being equal I will go to an ethnically owned and operated restaurant because I think it'll be better food. But the key is all other things being equal.
4855 If I look around and I find that all of the ethnic owned and operated restaurants are shabbily run, unprofessional, unclean, guess what, I'm going to Milestones. That's -- their -- dish is good enough. Right? It's good enough in those circumstances.
4856 You cannot set this up to fail. On the one hand, while there is definitely a benefit to granting this licence to an ethnic operator, you've got to find an ethnic operator that has experience in the business. And this is a business. You have to set this up to win.
4857 I know the parties at CanadaWorld, and this is where I can actually give direct evidence. Everything I've said up until now anyone could have told you that. But I can tell you that I have known Aldo Di Felice my entire professional career. We articled together, and as you can imagine that's quite a bonding experience. And Aldo reminded me that was over 30 years ago. He's a lawyer. I know that he can deliver what he promises. I've known him my entire professional career. He's ethical, and when he promises to deliver something he will.
4858 So I am very much in support of the CanadaWorld bid, and thank you very much for your time.
4859 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Lem.
4860 We'll now hear from Mr. Bryant. Please go ahead.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4861 MR. BRYANT: Hi, everyone. My name is Michael Bryant. Here we go. I'm still Michael Bryant. Born and raised in British Columbia. Lived there about half my life, and then the other half here in Central Canada. I was the 35th Attorney General of Ontario, the second Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs, and Government House Leader, and an MPP for 10 years. I am -- had the privilege of sitting in a position of power for that time, appointing judges and justices of the peace.
4862 Now, I am on the other side. Now, I am a very proud leader and Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. We speak truth to power. We fight the power within a network of the best, and I should add, some of the most expensive lawyers in the country, and they do the work for us pro bono.
4863 CCLA is the most experienced civil liberties NGO in the country. We've been doing this for over 50 years. And as a party, we've appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada more than any other litigant, other than, of course, the Crown.
4864 CCLA also through its education arm teaches kids and teaches teachers about rights and reasoning and Canadian freedoms, and we offer some digital content for public education online as well. Our content and expertise is limited to the two official languages. The third languages, not at all.
4865 Earlier this year, I got a phone call from Aldo Di Felice, who I met when I was a member of provincial parliament. TLN established and set up a festival in the most diverse part of the riding that I represented. And you know, I've always known him to be very connected, and admired him for his ability to discern and have insight into the needs of his viewers.
4866 He called me to say that a decision that had just come out from the Supreme Court of Canada would be very important to third-language Canadians. It was a decision about the role of lawyers. And it was a decision, really, about whether -- how obnoxious a lawyer could be to a judge and to opposing counsel. But in making the decision that upheld the lawyer's role, the Court explained the importance of the loyalty and independence that counsel has to an individual.
4867 And Aldo said that's not something that a new Canadian would necessarily know about our legal system. They, in many cases -- and it's true when I thought about it, that as a public defender I would spend the first couple of minutes talking through a translator in Urdu that I was on their side, and that that's how the Canadian legal system worked and that I wasn't working for any authorities and that the information would be confidential.
4868 And a lightbulb went off by the time we finished the conversation for both of us that there are unique challenges facing third-language Canadians with respect to knowledge and information that they have about how Canada works and what individual's rights are.
4869 So a partnership between CanadaWorld and CCLA was tentatively entered into wherein CCLA could participate in public affairs program and advise on content to assist CanadaWorld in providing news, information, and other programming that reflects and educates all Canadians about their rights and freedoms in 20 languages.
4870 And I thought that Noah, our Equality Director, could teach women in 20 different languages about their equality rights. That Cara could teach people in 20 different languages about what free speech and freedom of religion means in Canada and how -- what happens when it runs up against the rights of equality. How Brenda, who has got her PhD in Data Privacy, could teach in 20 languages through public affairs and advising on content what privacy means to Canadians. This is, you know, one of the main opportunities that's here before you.
4871 I believe that Canada needs this 9(1)(h) channel, if I've got that right. It's a reflection of our diversity, but it also -- with that diversity comes a problem. I'm going to call it the language gap.
4872 The language gap between third-language Canadians, residents of Canada, and the two official languages is a power gap, which -- I mean, I can understand when with my je suis désolé ma connaissance du francais est sommaire. You put me in Trois Rivieres, and I feel powerless. You put me in a community that is speaking in one of the third languages, I'm feeling powerless.
4873 And in those circumstances, the language gap can create and exacerbate power gaps. So a third-language individual suddenly faced with an equality challenge, a legal challenge, let alone a question from the police, it exacerbates the rights gap.
4874 I think that the language gap distances too many third-language Canadians from access to justice, and rights, and education, and that's our experience at the CCLA, that's based on our experience.
4875 And I'm now in the business of defending the vulnerable, and CCLA is in the business of defending the vulnerable. Third-language Canadians include leaders, who are here, both of you, and include the owners, the governors of CanadaWorld, but a third-language also includes a disproportionate number of people who are vulnerable by virtue of the language gap.
4876 So our submission is that this channel does offer an opportunity to narrow that gap, and I would ask that the CRTC consider which proposal will best bridge that gap. Which one will best inform the viewers at an affordable price. Which one hits the right balance of broadcast experience, affordability, and diversity internally and externally.
4877 Thank you for your time.
4878 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION:
4879 MR. ROCCO: Good morning.
4880 My name is David Rocco. I’m a host, TV producer, TV chef, executive producer and really the co-producer of TV Dolce franchise that airs globally.
4881 I’m here to give my full support of TLN’s application, the Canada World application.
4882 My company, Rockhead Entertainment, is a Toronto-based production company that has produced over 120 30-minute episodes that air in 150 countries around the world. I’m really here to share my experience as a small independent producer, and really how it somewhat parallels TLN’s path over the last few years.
4883 So if I may I’ll -- you know, I’ve often compared ourselves and TLN really as the little company that could. We got up against giants. We work with tenacity. We outwork our competitors. We have a work ethic that I think reflects who we are. Many of us in my company and TLN are immigrants, sons and daughters of immigrants, and what we learned from our parents was that work ethic, that if you outwork, you will not only succeed but outshine.
4884 I just want to take you back to kind of my story as an independent producer here in Canada. Fifteen (15) years ago, I approached Food Network to do a cooking show, and at the time there were these little cooking shows, and many of my real producers said, “Oh, that’s a kind of silly concept” and now look where we are with cooking shows. But we kept on knocking on the door of the giant, Food Network, and we finally got an appointment after six months. The question was, “You and your wife don’t really have the experience. Can you do it?” And that certainly was the question that we kept on being asked.
4885 We did something which, in hindsight, I would probably never allow my kids to do or anyone I absolutely love. We took our house savings, our money that we were supposed to purchase a house with and we went to Italy to film a pilot, a full-length pilot, and we used up and burned through our entire deposit.
4886 In hindsight, it worked. We went. We had a meeting with Food Network, and they were just shocked, and they said “Great, but your show is very ambitious. It now takes food and it travels the world. We can offer you X, but we don’t know where you’re going to find that shortfall.” We were devastated. It’s like oh-oh, no we’ve just blown through our house money and we have this great family video. What are we going to do? That weekend, we were at my parents’ home and we saw TLN. My parents were watching TLN and my wife and I, we both looked at each other and we said, “Tomorrow we go to TLN.”
4887 Now, going up to the big broadcasters, it was like this whole process to get a meeting. We walked in to TLN because there was this feeling of community. They were one of us. They were really the face of the community, and we felt this right or this, I guess, permission to knock on the door unannounced. After waiting for about 15 minutes, the President, Mr. Di Felice, came out and we introduced ourselves and we pitched him on this project. We showed him the pilot, and he loved it. He said, “We’ll come in.” And together with Food Network, we ended up producing five seasons of David Rocco’s Dolce Vita.
4888 Fast-forward five years, we started seeing the industry change. Food Network was going more white, more American-style barbecue shows, and we just had this kind of craving to do something more global. It was really a reflection on who we were as Canadians. My wife and I, we have a wide array of friends with different backgrounds. We love to travel and we felt the time was now.
4889 We ended up working a little bit with National Geographic globally out of their Washington and U.K. offices, and we pitched them on David Rocco, a Canadian, travels the world. And now we have to get our Canadian broadcaster on kind of the same story. We went to Food Network, and they said “Oh, definitely not. We just don’t see it as being our type of programming.” We went to TLN and they said, “We love it. We will find a way to make this work.”
4890 You know, when I look back at our business, most TV producers don’t look at TV production as being entrepreneurial. We, my wife and I, failure wasn’t an option. We just knew that we had to look at it like a business where however it… whatever it takes to make it work, we will make it work. And TLN had that same philosophy.
4891 You know, it’s interesting because I walk through the halls, and we have this great relationship now, as they’re producing so many shows. And I hear, you know, from Spanish, Russian, Italian in the hallways, and it’s like this great kind of -- it’s all like a microcosm of what Canada is, and they know what multicultural television is. They breathe it. They live it. They are Canada.
4892 And for me, as a producer, and the state of TV production now, I have so many productions -- I have friends that were at the height of their career 10 years ago, and now, you know, they’ve had to either consolidate or get out of the business. It’s tough.
4893 And I look at TLN, like Rockhead, where we’re scrappers. We will do what’s needed to make things work. TLN does not have their name on a stadium. They don’t -- they’re not in the business of selling internet and cellphones. They live and breathe multicultural television. And for me, that’s an exciting prospect to see Canada World on air because I know that they will succeed, and they’re just that right size to make it work. They’re not small. They’re not overly big, where they have different silos and different profit centres. They will make it work and they’re a proven success.
4894 Thank you.
4895 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you for your submissions.
4896 I’ll start. I have a couple of questions. You’ve all touched on just the right size and the mix of experience and credibility and so on. I like your airport food analogy. And in some senses you’ve just described, you know, the challenge that we as Commissioners have as we weight these because, as you said, you can go and look for the specialty shop or you can go to the box store. One of the challenges for specialty shops is staying in business. It’s a question of scale and scope. You know, the larger restaurants might have 20 accountants to deal with 20 branches, as opposed to the small outfit, 20 different small specialty shops, each having their own accountant or lawyer or what have you.
4897 So that’s a challenge for us. And you’ve, if you will, spoken strongly in favour of the specialty shop, but I just ask you what your views are about how we’re to balance those things and consider them.
4898 MR. LEM: If I may take that one, since I feel that it was directed at me. Very much so that I understand the dilemma you have but want you to understand that Canada World fits that sweet spot that David was speaking about. You’re absolutely right; you go to the über end of that extreme and you have a small shop that doesn’t have the capacity to run this as a business.
4899 If you look at the parties constituting Canada World, TLN runs dozens -- between TLN and ATN, they run dozens of networks already. They’re already in the business of ethnic broadcasting. They have a consistent track record and they do have sufficient critical mass to make this work. That’s my sensation of that.
4900 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4901 MR. BRYANT: I would say, as someone who is now -- well, who once managed a billion dollar budget and now manages a million dollar budget, you know, you get what you pay for. And if Canadians could afford a $0.50 subscription price, then you could go forth and deliver on that, but they can’t. So it ends up becoming a balance of what Canadians can get, given the experience that you’ve seen and that’s before you. It depends in part on the market research that’s been provided to you.
4902 I mean, if it is accepted as a finding of fact that 0.12 to 0.15 cents per month is what Canadians can afford, well, then that is going to guide you in a determinative fashion.
4903 But I’ll just add this on the matter of the balance between experience on the one hand in running broadcasting and multilingual, multicultural experience like -- there’s only one proponent that fits into that category in that CanadaWorld has the experience in broadcasting, many years of it.
4904 And on the other hand, just as a broadcaster, forget about the multilingual, multicultural -- as a broadcaster, the story you heard about a cooking (phonetic) show is a success story, right. So I’m talking about TLN and Asian Television at work as success stories, but on the other hand they’re offering this discernment that we want from this station I would have thought. And that with all due respect, you can’t really get from an advisory council -- and that you can only get when the people who are accountable for this, who are governing it and running it are, as it’s been said, of the community and have that capacity to do that.
4905 When Aldo called me with that insight, he called me with the insight of someone who understands his viewers, but he also called me as, you know, an Argentinian-born Canadian who understands the challenges faced by the language gap.
4906 That’s my best answer to your question.
4907 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4908 Just one other quick one from me and I’ll ask my colleagues if they have anything.
4909 Just you also mentioned the language gap. That’s a good term for it in some respects. I asked an intervenor earlier about what they thought was the most important aspect of the multicultural, multilinguistic programming, as we have been more focussed on news and current events. I wonder if any of you would care to comment on that? What is the greatest need?
4910 MR. LEM: I think I can speak to that one.
4911 Certainly representing the constituents I know, you know, it’s a misnomer to think that the predominant need is to find out what’s happening back in the home country. Actually, that’s not what -- the Chinese Canadian community for sure does not need ethnic broadcasting in Canada to address that concern. If they want to know what’s happening back in the home country, they have social media, they have the internet, they have all sorts of other outlets in which to get information from back home. That’s not what they want.
4912 What they want is actually Canadian issues presented to them in a way that they can easily digest. So that’s what they’re looking for. They’re looking for Canadian current affairs, news, those types of -- that’s the type of programming that we most desperately need in a voice that would be comforting to the people who hear it. Twenty different languages, Canadian issues, national issues, current issues.
4913 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4914 MR. BRYANT: I think affordability is relevant. You know, when I said you get what you paid for -- to answer your question -- it’s what we’re asking the viewers to pay for. I mean, that’s -- that is relevant and so it’s an affordable product or service that’s needed.
4915 And, secondly, just to be clear, CCLAs view is that informing and educating Canadians on their rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the laws of Canada, is going to be found through a news and information channel. And that is an important part of the life of Canadian, of the life of a Canadian, one that I picked up through my education and experience living here and one that -- where are they going to pick it up? Well, as long as they live they will pick it up, whatever education they receive in Canada they will receive, and then on a day-to-day basis or it may be a few times a week, they’ll be able to get it in their language.
4916 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Pardon me. I believe Commissioner Laizner has a question as well.
4917 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Good morning.
4918 Some of the intervenors have come forward and said there are already stations out there that serve these communities. You’ve mentioned some programming and stations in your comments as well.
4919 And what we’re looking for is something exceptional. There’s the public trust involved in guaranteeing an applicant a wholesale rate. We’ve talked about the importance of news and that it be original news. Some intervenors have come forward about this applicant and said, well, they’re taking existing news footage and basically repurposing it.
4920 So what is it that you would say would make this exceptional as an applicant that should warrant that kind of a service being required as a mandatory distribution with a guaranteed rate?
4921 MR. BRYANT: I think it would be exceptional in terms of the editorial decisions made around what news is relevant to the 20 language communities. So the multilingual, multicultural experience that is brought to bear by CanadaWorld informs them in a way that I couldn’t determine as a white, Anglo Saxon, Protestant male what would be relevant to those communities, but they can and they have experience in doing that through their television stations right now.
4922 Secondly, yes, if CanadaWorld wanted to spend 50 cents on the subscription price it could create a multiethnic CNN bureau as well, but that would be spending I think the viewers’ money in an irresponsible way.
4923 And so then, lastly, it becomes about curating and providing the information and news in a way that is original and exceptional as you say. And I mean I’m not the expert on this by any means, but every broadcaster that I know of is relying upon feeds. CBC is a feed that if they become a subscriber could be relied upon by any of the proponents. Canadian Press, same thing.
4924 But when a Canadian Press story gets picked up, say, by The Toronto Sun, it becomes a Toronto Sun story depending on where they put it in the newspaper, how they portray it in the newspaper and then lastly the public affairs programming does allow for the opportunity for exceptionality, and the public affairs programming that’s being offered here is, as I understand it, an entire day of public affairs programming.
4925 And that amounts to entirely original content wherein you get the expertise of what’s needed for the viewers, which I think CanadaWorld can determine better than -- as a TV broadcaster, better than any of the other competitors; partnering with organizations like CCLA to inform viewers on that public affairs programming.
4926 MR. LEM: To answer your specific question of what would make CanadaWorld exceptional, I think their approach and their dedication to presenting the news in 20 different languages is indeed exceptional.
4927 Certainly the Chinese Canadian community, we’re one of the big guys in terms of the sort of ethnocultural communities. We’re top, I don’t know, three or four.
4928 No matter what -- whoever gets this licence will pander to or will cater to the Chinese Canadian community. I’m not worried about the Chinese Canadian community, I’m worried about the other minor languages that will never see the light of day with any other licensee.
4929 CanadaWorld is committed to presenting news and current affairs in 20 different languages and I think that’s exceptional, especially for the sort of 16 other ones that fall off the board if you go past the top 3 or 4 or 5.
4930 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Thank you. Those are all my questions.
4931 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much for your submissions.
4932 Madame la secrétaire?
4933 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
4934 I would now invite the intervention in support of MTEC Consultants Limited operating as CORRCAN, and it’s Mr. Saras. Please come forward, Mr. Saras.
PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
4935 MR. SARAS: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners of the CRTC, my name is Thomas S. Saras. I’m publisher of two monthly magazines for the last 50 years and also I worked in radio and television for more than 25 years when I was younger. In addition, I’m the president of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada.
4936 National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada is a media organization, not for profit, not governmental, with 850 member publications printing in about 109 languages, along with 150 radio and television stations, websites and TV producers, directors and journalists.
4937 One of the most innovative projects of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada is the creation of our mass website, www.nationalethnicpresscouncil.com., which today is including 210 member websites. This is a project in the making and by the end of 2020; we are hoping that all our members’ websites will be included. This is a unique website for the Canadian reality.
4938 The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada is also associated and cooperates with the NewsMedia Council, who represents the Canadian mainstream media and the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting, where they are representing the Canadian broadcasters. We all three associated, co-operate and co-work.
4939 Thank you for this opportunity to express support for what we consider a unique proposal for a television channel; one that we think will serve the needs of a long-overlooked segment of the Canadian population. You, yourselves, identified the needs of our multilingual, multi-ethnic news and information channels.
4940 Statistics Canada data published in August of 2017, speak to that vacuum. No wonder. There are Census that support your concerns that carriers and broadcasters might have been under serving 22 percent of the Canadian population with news, current affairs, entertainment and creative programming relevant and to reflective of the Canadian experience.
4941 It is my humble opinion that we think the CORRCAN Media Group application will fill this gap. Furthermore, as the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, we do have the technical and human resources and expertise in the field in order to create a model station which will reflect the true face of our multiculturalism. This is the reason that the membership of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada is committed to helping them realize the project.
4942 We have experienced, qualified journalists and broadcasters among our membership from every region of this great country of ours and from every language group identified in the CCRMG proposal. We have newsroom experience. We are masters in our own rights of telling a story and making it relevant to our audience, whether in print, radio or television. We have the technological expertise to produce quality content appropriate to over-the-air transmission. Furthermore, we are already preparing for the next generation digital platforms to deliver our services. So is the CCRMG.
4943 I imagine you must be asking the questions: “Can you work together? Can CCRMG fulfill what is proposed to deliver during the licence period?” The answers to both is a firm yes.
4944 The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada has a relationship of respect to -- respectful interaction with the president of the CCRMG going back to 1980. We share similar views regarding the integration of newer Canadians into the fabric of 21st century society.
4945 Our membership recently anonymously (sic) voted him to the position of the senior vice-president of our organization. We have confidence in his ability to pull people together behind a vision with which the NEPMCC membership can identify and work towards. Besides, five years ago, he took a newspaper out of bankruptcy. He has been publishing and delivering daily while charging for every copy. Meanwhile, mainstream press in the Toronto areas, as elsewhere as well, is taking a beating and this is something that everybody knows happening today in the press.
4946 The CCRMG newsroom is dynamic and international. It has begun to team up with dramatic performance and production companies associated with our membership with (sic) demonstrated capacity to produce documentaries and entertainment product both for domestic consumption and for export.
4947 Taking this opportunity, please allow me to repeat for one more time that CCRMG is going to reflect the reality of the Canadian cultural diversity by serving their multilingual communities and helping them to integrate in our fast-changing social and cultural landscape as my members are doing for the last 50 years.
4948 The National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada welcomes the uniquely Canadian project offered by CCRMG. It seems to us that other candidates have priorities that are simply bottom-line dollar oriented. With your permission, I should say that this is our opinion based on the long years of work with many of them.
4949 I want to remind you that one of the applicants, two years ago, just closed the channels and he laid off 280 people that they worked for years in his institution. Others, he put them out overnight by just giving them a letter and telling them that immediately your show is stopped.
4950 On the news, language and cultural side of the equation, CCMRG has, by far, much more to offer to Canada and to our multilingual new Canadian communities. To this extent and in order to make myself clear, with your permission, I am attaching -- I’m submitting with my intervention a copy of my latest appearance at the Committee of Telecommunications of the Senate of Canada which will provide an explanation to our position.
4951 It is clear we discuss this time and again with the Committee of Telecommunications with the Senate of Canada and also the Inter-parliamentary Committee on Communications and we told them that as the culture of the country is changing, as new items are coming daily in our life, it is time for the CRTC also to take into consideration those things and please make sure that the new realities of Canada are reflected in your decision.
4952 Thank you.
4953 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for your submission.
4954 Vice-Chair Simard.
4955 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
4956 I have -- thank you for your presentation. I have a couple of questions for you. So the first one is -- refers to something that you said in your presentation. So you said that the CCRMG Newsroom is dynamic and international. And I can appreciate the extensive experience that you have in the field, so based on your experience, I would like you to elaborate a bit more on that. How is it different from others, and why is it working so well in your opinion?
4957 MR. SARAS: With your permission, Mr. Chairman. We are not making business, we are not trying to make a dollar from this station. We try to put into our societies, our communities to bring them together, as we do with 109 different publications in my organization that are Italian, German, Spanish, South Asians, Hindi, all those publications are working together. This is for the first time it's a unique organization, not only in Canada, but allow me to say in the whole world. I don't think that a similar organization exists anywhere else.
4958 We have our experiences. We know what exactly our audience need. We know how to help our audience. We try to integrate those communities.
4959 Madam Commissioner, we are bringing new people daily in our country. Many of them, they do not speak either the official languages. They don't know anything about our culture. They come from other cultures. Either from South America or from Southeast Asia.
4960 They are in a new environment, and they need to know what exactly is going on. We have to ensure them that this culture and this system is the one we call democracy, and what exactly democracy is and how it works. This way they will be integrated earlier into the system and they will start paying back to Canada.
4961 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So I understand from what you just said that the media can play an important role in order to achieve those objectives. Could you be a bit specific about in your views what are the key elements that should -- what are the key elements to ensure that the programming is the best possible one for ethnic communities?
4962 MR. SARAS: Thank you very much. Allow me to tell you one thing. There were before multilingual channels, and they were playing whatever else. Nobody knew what exactly they were promoting. And eventually they closed because they found that it is more profitable if they put sports in instead of the multilingual channels.
4963 Here, we are 100 different communities, linguistic communities. All of them are Canadians. All of them have equal rights to communication, equal rights to know, and equal the right to understand the system.
4964 Beside us, each one of us has a history of 20, 30, 40, myself, 50 years serving the Canadian public. We know what exactly the community wants. We are in touch with those communities. My office on a daily basis receiving more than 20 people asking me for help, new Canadians coming here, especially the last 2 years with the new immigrants from Syria. As you know, they cannot survive, they don't know anything. Most of them, they don't speak English or French, and they don't know what to do.
4965 We have -- we are helping them, we have services there, we try to do our best. We are non‑profit organization, and it is our job to make sure that we ensure the Canadian political structure is going to be known by them.
4966 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So what do they want in terms of programming?
4967 MR. SARAS: They want to know what is exactly the system, the Canadian system. Besides, of course, of some of them that they are expecting that the Canadian welfare will help, the rest of them are people that they want to give back to Canada. They want to make sure that they are industrious in this country and they are building along with the rest of Canada. And Canada, of course, by bringing these people here, is expecting that these people later, sooner or later, is going to help, is going to build the Canadian dream.
4968 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And in your view, how can we ensure the best possible diversity?
4969 MR. SARAS: Well, first of all, I want to, and I'm making an appeal to you that they -- you -- this is -- the channels you are going to give, they belong to Canadian people, the Canadian public. They are not of the government, they are not of the opposition, but they belong to all of us. Therefore, those channels cannot be a profitable, only profitable -- you cannot give to someone who is going to think of pennies and dollars, but you have to give to someone who is going also to offer something to community.
4970 Let me tell you, there is one applicant among the rest today that has more than 10 channels. He has no programs, but he is renting those channels to people from various communities, they are bringing the channels and they have to pay rent to him.
4971 This is not. I cannot accept that the CRTC, or any other institution is going to take something that belongs to Canadians and give to specific group of people and they are making easy money. They don't have channels, they don't have any relation with the broadcasting channels, but they have been licensed from the Commission.
4972 So we have to avoid those things. The landscape, the socio-economic, and also the political and the cultural landscape of this country is changing. Let's go with those changes, and let's make sure that the next generation of Canadians are going to be happy.
4973 I'm an immigrant myself, and I can assure you the last 50 years being around and making this job, I've seen changes that sometimes I'm wondering how I made -- I make those, and how we face those changes.
4974 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. Those were my questions. Thank you very much for your presentation.
4975 MR. SARAS: Thank you.
4976 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I have one quick question. Well, I'm not sure if it's quick. I hope it's quick.
4977 MR. SARAS: Yes, Mr. Chairman.
4978 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned at the beginning of your comments that your organization represents 850 member publications, including TV stations, websites, TV producers, directors, journalists, and so on. So some ---
4979 MR. SARAS: You can see our members, Mr. Chairman, through our website. All our members are listed there. We have members from all over Canada. Last month, I was in British Columbia where we have a branch there with our Vice-President, being the head of Western Canada. We have members in Winnipeg, in Saskatchewan, in Alberta, in Quebec and in Ontario.
4980 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4981 My question is, though, in the course of this proceeding we’ve heard some discussion about that there already exists many specialty channels and many sources of news and information for Canadians, multilingual, multicultural Canadians, and some parties have argued that we don’t need to licence another service.
4982 Do you have any comment on that?
4983 MR. SARAS: Yes, Mr. Chairman. The one who is holding the licence, he wants to give you a half an hour or a one-hour show on his station, and he’s going to charge you either $1,000 or $2,000 because, according to him, it’s the expense that he’s facing. Besides that, he has the ability to hold the government advertisement. When the Government of Canada or the provincial government wants to advertise their own programs to people, those -- that money goes directly to the one who holds the licence, not to producers, not to me. I am going to put that in my program. I’m going to make that translation in my language, but the money goes to him.
4984 And there are other things. Most of the channels right now, either in the West or in the East, or in the Central Canada, 100 percent based on the profit, on the dollar, what dollars they are going to bring back. If there are no dollars, they cut.
4985 One of my members, as a matter of fact, had a program. You’re going to see that on my submission from the Senate of Canada. He had a program from 12:00 midnight to 2 o’clock in the morning, and the radio station finally cut him down because he was unable to pay $1,000 for keeping it on the air.
4986 Now, my question is who is going to stay from 12:00 midnight to 2 o’clock in the morning to hear this program and who is going to give advertisement to the producer of this program so he can pay to the station?
4987 Unfortunately, those are realities.
4988 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you. Those are all of our questions. Thank you for your submissions ---
4989 MR. SARAS: Thank you very much.
4990 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- and taking the time to be with us today.
4991 MR. SARAS: Thank you. I hope you do the best decision. It’s a new era for Canada, and you are responsible to build. Thank you.
4992 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
4993 Madame la secrétaire, we’ll break for lunch now, returning at 1:30.
4994 THE SECRETARY: Just for the record, Mr. Chairman, this concludes Phase III. So we’ll start Phase IV after lunch.
4995 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 12:30 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 1:32 p.m.
4996 THE SECRETARY: We are ready to start Phase IV, but before we start, Mr. Chairman has a preliminary matter.
4997 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bon après-midi, good afternoon, everyone. I have a request -- a further request for information addressed to all of the applicants, and we would like the applicants to respond to the following two requests for information by the 6th of December 2018 deadline for responses, two undertakings. I will read it into the record, but obviously it will be made available to you in writing shortly hereafter.
4998 So the first relates to community involvement in programming direction. Over the course of this proceeding there has been consideration discussion with each applicant in relation to governance in community engagement in their proposed service, much of which has resolved around the role and composition of advisory committees. We’ve also heard from members of the multilingual, multi-ethnic community about the importance of reflection and representation on the screen. The Commission considers it vital that the communities you serve are not just consulted, but have a meaningful role in the overall programming direction of the service in order for that programming to be relevant to them.
4999 As such, you are asked to propose a specific commitment or condition of licence that would ensure that your advisory committees or other group would have a clear role of some type in decision making related to the overall programming direction of the service, including such areas as communities to be served and the languages offered by the service.
5000 If you are not to propose a condition of licence, you are to justify why your proposed commitment is sufficient and why it should not be imposed as a condition.
5001 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
5002 THE CHAIRPERSON: The second request for information relates to investment in high quality programming. If Canadians are to be expected to pay for your service, it’s essential that it provides content of the highest possible quality for the communities it serves. You are asked to propose a specific commitment or condition of licence that would ensure that revenues received by the service would be used primarily for the production of high quality programming.
5003 For example, this could include a condition of licence, devoting a minimum proportion of the wholesale fee revenue received to programming expenses and/or a specific minimum proportion of the wholesale fee to be devoted to the acquisition and production of original first-run programming. Alternatively, explain why the commitments you have already made are sufficient to ensure that your service would provide audiences with such high-quality original programming.
5004 Thank you. As I said, the deadline is the same date as for other undertakings, the 6th of December. We appreciate your cooperation.
5005 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
5006 THE CHAIRPERSON: And with that, I’ll turn it back to Madame la secrétaire.
5007 THE SECRETARY: And, Mr. Chairman, just for clarity, this will be part of the transcript for -- tomorrow’s transcript? All right, thank you.
5008 So we’re now ready to hear a reply from M.T.E.C. Consultants Limited, operating as Corriere Canadese.
5009 All applicants get 10 minutes for their reply. Please go ahead. Mic on please.
5011 THE HONOURABLE MR. VOLPE: Madame Commissioners, Mr. Chairman, my name is Joe Volpe. I’m the President of the CORRCAN Media Group, and to my right is M. Jean Brazeau, who is the Vice-President and also Vice-President in charge of government relations and a lot of things financial.
5012 Before I begin, and I hope that Madam Secretary will allow me this one very brief moment to say thank you to Mr. Thomas Saras, who travelled all the way to make a point, and that point is that he supports our application virtually without any -- no, not virtually, for sure without any qualifications. And I want to thank him for having put at the disposal and examination of the Commissioners the fact that his organization, a vast reservoir of talented, quality people is prepared, is ready, committed to making sure that this project is a success because it’s going to engage each and every one of his members in one way or another. So I wanted to thank him, and I hope that you would allow me that moment of reflection on the quality of his presentation.
5013 Mr. Chairman, Madam Commissioners, we’ve entitled this a re-fresh start, in part because many people have already talked about the history of multilingual, multi-ethnic services. And so this is a restart, a refresh if you will. It’s a special, timely, and exceptional proposal for multilingual, multiethnic television. Once again, thank you for including our proposal as worthy for at least consideration as a partner -- because as the Chairman just mentioned a moment ago, you’re paying for it -- in the execution and delivery of needed, forward-looking public policy.
5014 Your questioning during these hearings has been thoughtful, penetrating and always deferential. I hope you’ll forgive me, us, for our propensity to be must more direct. As stated by the Chair in his opening remarks on Monday, you are probing what the applicants
5015 have to offer, and how they are going to bring their proposal to fruition; always in the context of the rigours of the Broadcasting Act, the parameters of the call, and the willingness to abide and accept conditions of licence.
5016 What follows are our comments on what makes our proposal special, exceptional and meritorious of both your support and mandatory carriage. Also, allow us to repeat why you should have confidence in our ability deliver on our plans and commitments. We stand alone as an experienced provider of news, created in-house, by professional journalists from diverse backgrounds, covering issues at local, provincial, national, international levels, from a Canadian perspective. Everything in our news content will be classified as 100 percent Canadian.
5017 We also have deep roots in TV broadcasting. CFMT TV, the precursor of OMNI, was started by Dan Iannuzzi, the founder of our masthead, the Corriere Canadese. We have been around since 1954. Rogers bought CFMT TV and went on to implement technological changes at the station.
5018 Many of the original creative personalities and those who benefited from their mentoring, subsequently, perhaps chafing under a less open vision, moved on to populate and contribute to Canada's media sector. Some of those have brought that experience to these hearings as applicants this week, while others have done so via the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, and CORRCAN's application.
5019 Several reporters currently employed to deliver the news at OMNI, came from Corriere Canadese's current operation, or were hired from the ranks of our supporters in National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada.
5020 Many of the "older" linguistic groups who travelled through the experience of OMNI, TLN, and even Fairchild, are migrating back directly, or through the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada, to what they are now coming to regard as today's "creative centre" at CORRCAN Media. In other words, we’ve been around a long time and we have garnered experience that’s durable.
5021 Just to remind everyone, our proposal offers news, daily, in a fixed, predictable timetable, in 20 different languages. Each has its own 30-minute time-slot. Each has its own team of journalists and writers. Each is assigned a network of freelancers, writers, photographers. Each produced in the language of the intended audience, by members of that audience.
5022 Every broadcast will be available live over-the-air, on our app, or at the discretion of our viewers whose TV is equipped with a recording device at her or his time of viewing preference. In essence, once we have stocked the content shelf with our programming, every newscast can be watched at any time, any place, on any device. It is our viewers who will determine and define prime time.
5023 On an 18-hour schedule, our news accounts for 80.5 percent of the timetable, 62.5 percent on a 24-hour schedule, all produced in-house and fully accounted for in our financial forecast. The rest of the program, 19.5 percent and 37.5 percent respectively, under the 18, or 24-hour schedule, is provided via independent production companies. Obviously, responsible to the station and financed at the same half-hourly rate as the news segments, both daily and calculated yearly.
5024 Ours is an organized, disciplined operation offering a product to a very specific audience that may tune in for a very specific reason, in a specific language, at a designated time of the day. The audience, during the news component of our broadcast, will change every half hour.
5025 That customer rotation is just a fact of life for all of us. Audience loyalty however, will be measured as a total of adherents to our, shall we call it brand, over the course of the day. As indicated in our oral brief, if only 10 percent of those who self-identified as speakers of the 20 languages in which we will broadcast were to tune into the news, that total would be an impressive 600,000 viewers per day. Not including those interested in the product offered by our affiliated independent producers who will benefit from the intrastation advertising of their product.
5026 Why the coincidence you ask? Why the confidence? Pardon me. We indicated that we have already embarked on a proof of concept project via online, digital TV, with independent producers/partners from Brazilian, called Ven Conmigo; Italian; Mexican, Ahora Canada; Polish/English-speaking, Law and Reality; and Portuguese communities. We are adding at least one other partner per month, as we expand our content and partnerships.
5027 We are fully embracing the opportunities offered to us by social media and an online presence. As a point of comparison only, the analytics on Facebook suggest that interest in our product dwarfs that of OMNI and its affiliate, CHIN International. On that matrix, TLN is barely a blip on the scale.
5028 Given these numbers, one is tempted to question the reasons OMNI, TLN, and others insist that a condition of licence for any successful applicant should limit that applicant from selling advertising -- especially for independent producers -- in the local market. We are certainly prepared to abide by all conditions of licence, but we wonder why any responsible broadcaster would prefer to hobble the economic opportunities of the creative producer to make their product viable, sustainable, and accessible.
5029 Perhaps more experienced applicants have a better grasp of what works best in delivering the news. It appears all of them rely on an outsourcing model to satisfy the news obligations that the CRTC identified. OMNI and Telelatino both rely on this model, they’ve repeated it. Even CHIN, which provides some news for OMNI, does so.
5030 We don't. CORRCAN's model fits and meets your requirements. They are, in-house and from a Canadian perspective. The Facebook numbers, reach, views and postings, which are relatively recent for the CORRCAN Group -- they don’t go back more than five months -- suggest we are on the right track.
5031 That same confidence overflows into, and permeates, our emerging relationship with a cadre of independent producers anxious to build a lasting, both creative and business, partnership with CORRCAN. I think Mr. Saras pointed that out to you.
5032 As a business partner, your business partner, CORRCAN, as pointed out in the supplementary brief and oral presentations earlier in the week, continues to be singular in its organizational and governance model. One predicated on transparency and accountability.
5033 Briefly, the model is as follows. First, an advisory council composed of 24 members drawn from representatives of the 20 language groups resident in the four major regions of Canada. I know some people will suggest that, no, there are five plus the Northwest, but that counsel will have input in the programming from a consultation and implementation perspective; have access to the management team; meet quarterly; generate a report; and present to the board of directors once a year.
5034 That board of directors consisting of nine members, including five members of the original directors of CORRCAN and four members of the core language groups identified in the CRTC decision of May 2017, they are responsible for management oversight and compliance, with not only the conditions of licence but for the strategic direction of the company.
5035 During the question-and-answer portion of our oral presentation on Tuesday, we gladly offered to report to the CRTC whatever findings might be presented by the advisory counsel to the board of directors.
5036 This was in recognition and acknowledgement of the fact that you, CRTC, are the buyer of our product. It’s a product in which have material interest and motivation to continuously improve.
5037 In closing, you asked all applicants for a program replete with news and public affairs. You asked for it to be relevant, multilingual, 20 languages, of high quality and Canadian. You asked for ethnic programs to be generated by independent producers drawn from those communities, primarily if not exclusively is the way that we interpreted that.
5038 With respect, we have, of all the applicants before you this week, delivered the most professional and cost-effective broadcast model that meets all your criteria, obligations and expectations. We have not been unrealistic in either going over or going under what the costs would be. Respectfully, no other applicant comes close to solving the deficiency in the broadcasting system this proceeding is addressing than our proposal’s comprehensiveness, proven ability and, most of all, commitment.
5039 Thank you.
5040 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5041 I’m happy to see that in your Reply comments that you have focussed, among other things, on the issue of an advisory counsel. You can see that we too have focussed on it.
5042 In your comments you had said that it will have input in the programming from a consultation and implementation perspective and we’ll be interested seeing your response to that to our request for information how that would be the case. It’s something we’re very mindful of.
5043 I don’t have other specific questions for you at this point in the proceeding. I don’t know if my colleagues have questions.
5044 Madame Simard?
5045 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5046 Just one question. I just want to be sure that it’s clear in my mind. If this licence would be granted to you, which are the key, main steps that you should take in order to be able to launch this service Day 1 in terms especially of hiring people and structuring the business?
5047 THE HONOURABLE MR. VOLPE: We’ve already begun. So whether the licence is there for us or not, the strategic economic plan of our corporation is geared to expansion. It’s geared to inclusion, so as I indicated in these remarks and earlier in the week, we’ve launched an online TV where we’re beginning -- it’s a proof of concept -- we’re beginning to bring people in to build the content structure, to see whether our proposal for an editorial team that’s capable of delivering a program every day for half-an-hour, five days a week, and for at least four other languages and other current affairs and other programs for the other two days and whatever is not for news, five days a week, whether that’s -- whether we’re capable of doing it, whether we can attract the appropriate staff, people willing to do it.
5048 You could see with Thomas Saras, you know, he’s a very practiced individual but I think that what you might have taken from him is an indication of the enthusiasm that his organization is viewing the possibility of working with us. So we were already doing that.
5049 So that’s the first step. And we’re going to hire from that community.
5050 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: But for the administration, would you be able to operate with their current structure?
5051 THE HONOURABLE MR. VOLPE: Their current structure’s very small, it’s very lean, it’s very efficient, so we have grow it as we extend our operations, as we extend the reach of everyone of those half-hour units.
5052 As I indicated to you, both in this and previously, for every half-hour unit, we have to have writers, we have to have reporters, we have to have a network of people who will feed into it from across the country.
5053 They won’t all be getting the same salary. They’ll be putting in. There’ll be freelancers everywhere and a freelancer will be paid on a per-item basis, but we have to set that network up. We need staff that’s capable of doing that. We have identified those that we think can do it, but they’ve got to be from the community.
5054 I’d love very much to be able to say everybody’s got to be six feet two, that means they’ll be bigger than, but, no, we’re going to go to the community where they’ve got, you know, the dimensions, the talent and the reach to be able to feed into the editorial team and the editorial management team.
5055 MR. BRAZEAU: Just to add one little point.
5056 I think just to add one little point. I think, and Joe you can add to this, I think on the creative side I think we’re just about there. Joe has identified a number of individuals that we could, you know, knock on their door and they’d be very willing to participate in this project.
5057 On the administrative side, that might take maybe a little longer. But there again I think there’s a tremendous amount of resources out there. Given where the rest of the industry has gone in the last few years, I think there’s many resources out there that we could attract and they would be willing to participate in this project also.
5058 So would it take more than week? Probably, but I think we could get there fairly quickly.
5059 THE HONOURABLE MR. VOLPE: You can understand why we have a vice-president who’s responsible for virtually everything else, especially filling in the blanks of the president.
5060 But, you know, what I was talking about, of course, was the news content, and I’m glad that Jean brought up the fact that we are the door on which much of the creative community is knocking.
5061 You know, our job is to keep that door always open to them so that we can benefit from the talent that we propose to exhibit in our non-news broadcasts. It’s coming from that same group. If they can’t come to us, where are they going to go? To other competitors who are offering, you know, we’ll outsource, we’ll buy from somebody, let somebody else make the decision.
5062 That advisory council and a management team that you asked me to elaborate upon, part of their job is going to be able to filter all of those people and all that talent that will enrich our station. We’re going to keep that door open and we’ll have to expand the management team to do it.
5063 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much. That was my question. Thank you, again, for your presentation.
5064 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Unless counsel has anything, I thank you very much for your reply, your participation throughout the proceeding. Have a great day.
5065 THE HONOURABLE MR. VOLPE: You’ve been very patient. On behalf of our organization, let me thank you all.
5066 THE CHAIRPERSON:
5067 Madame la secrétaire?
5068 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
5069 We’ll now hear the reply of CanadaWorld TV, so please come forward.
REPLY / RÉPLIQUE
5070 DR. CHANDRASEKAR: I have been very fortunate to have spent so much of my career launching and growing Canadian television services. At ATN, we serve many Canadian linguistic groups with high quality Canadian programming. I am fortunate indeed to have a job that lets me satisfy the needs and aspirations of Canadians from South Asian communities while building a relatively successful business. To us, work is worship.
5071 We were, therefore, thrilled when ATN and TLN agreed to launch this application for a 9(1)(h) service. It is truly the culmination of my life's work and I know that Aldo feels exactly the same way.
5072 To the hundreds of intervenors who supported us with written interventions, and those who came to this proceeding, we tremendously thank you. To the intervenors who were concerned that the new service needs high quality news and information, including local news, we totally agree. If fortunate enough to have this application accepted, we will work hard to make you proud of our newscasts and public affairs programming, including our local stories.
5073 Regarding the interventions from Shaw and TELUS, if we are chosen to provide the service, we will do everything we can to make it a valuable one that'll help the system acquire new customers and retain existing ones. And we will do this at a rate which is only just 1 cent more than what they are currently paying.
5074 Mr. Chair, Mesdames Vice-Chairs and Commission staff, we thank you profoundly for your thought-provoking questions, and will be pleased to answer any further you may have. Thank you.
5075 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. That was very brief and focused and much appreciated.
5076 You mentioned the interventions of Shaw and TELUS, and I'll maybe just take one more kick at the can on this.
5077 In essence, what they're saying is there's enough. There's enough programming out there, including news and public affairs, from a variety of sources to reflect -- to meet the goals that we have outlined in the course of the Notice of Consultation and this proceeding. Obviously, you hold a different view, and maybe just one more time with feeling you can elaborate.
5078 MR. ENGELHART: Certainly, and my colleagues will probably want to add.
5079 But they're right that the larger language groups have a commercial viability for language programming. So there are services, for example, that serve Cantonese, and Mandarin, and Spanish, and Punjabi. And they're right, probably, that those larger groups will get news, even without the 9(1)(h) service, but the reason we designed the service to provide news and information to the top 20 groups is that most of those groups just will not get news and information in their language. The -- a group with 50,000 or 100,000 language speakers is not going to get -- language spoken at home -- is not going to get news and information provided to them without a 9(1)(h) service providing funding.
5080 So if the TELUS and Shaw vision is implemented, yeah, Punjabi speakers, Mandarin and Cantonese speakers will get some news, Spanish, probably, but the rest won't.
5081 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
5082 Madam Simard.
5083 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5084 I'm going to ask you the same question I just asked to the other applicant. Could you tell us which are the main steps that you would be doing in order to ensure that their service could be launched Day 1? And I know that we had a discussion about the smooth transition. I would like to have this clear in my mind how it would work from an operational point of view.
5085 DR. CHANDRASEKAR: Well, I've got to tell you, I feel like a kid before Christmas. So we would be so enthused and delighted to launch this as soon as possible. We have the infrastructure already in place. Both Telelatino and ourselves, we've got multi-million dollar broadcast centres, production facilities, studios, EFP cameras, crews, mobile production units. We have plenty of that. We have staff. Both of us have enough staff to start with, but we intend hiring much more staff to strengthen this.
5086 In addition to that -- see, there's been a bit of a discussion about are we refurbishing CBC News. I think it's very, very silly for someone to even think.
5087 We are extremely proud of CBC. CBC is an incredible institution. It is the number one newsgathering organization in this country. CBC makes us proud. If there is an access, it's not only us. Anybody who has access to CBC would -- it would be of a tremendous benefit.
5088 When the wheel is in motion, we don't have to invent the wheel all over again. It is the content on the air, it is the programming that it's all about when -- with respect to the community. They don't care whether that news footage was shot by my EFP cameraman or Telelatino's EFP cameraman or CBC's cameraman. So the footage, it's what we do with that footage is what counts, and what access that we get for that footage and what editorial did we do.
5089 So I think -- so from that perspective, we feel we are very enthused, we are ready, we have the necessary resources, and we'll be able to start this fairly quickly. In fact, we can do a 3(1)(h) on a temporary basis. We'll do it and then start a 9(1)(h).
5090 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And the fact that you come from two different backgrounds and maybe you have -- I don't know if you have the same vision. But how would you -- going to repeat the same question I asked before during the Phase I, I guess. But how would you ensure that it would be a smooth transition?
5091 MR. DI FELICE: Well, first of all, it's not a transition, it's a start-up. So we'll all continue to operate our services, which we do, and we have all of the advantages that Shan already mentioned. We have exactly the same vision because we have had very many conversations about this. We have the advantages of the infrastructure, the people, and the experience, the ongoing activity now.
5092 We are going to be producing our newscasts no differently than every other news broadcaster produces their newscasts, including OMNI itself. They have feeds, including feeds, whether they know about it or not, from CBC.
5093 CBC's NSS service is licensed and has been for quite a while to Fairchild Television, which produces 2 of the 4 reinstated newscasts on OMNI. So for Rogers or any other applicant to suggest that that is a innovation that is improper by us to subscribe to a newsfeed that's available from a division of Canada's public broadcaster, the biggest newsgathering operation in Canada, to anyone who would have approached them and convinced them to work with them and convinced them that our public service ideals are matching up to theirs, anybody could have approached them.
5094 We did. They were very excited about offering us something that they offer and has been taken up by Fairchild, who has produced quality Chinese news, both for itself for many years, and more recently, for OMNI.
5095 So in that sense, I'm not sure if I've answered your question or gone on too long, but...
5096 MR. ENGELHART: If I could just jump in, Madam Vice‑Chair. I think your question was how will the combined organization, the CanadaWorld TV governance operate if there is not a unanimity of opinion?
5097 So what's envisioned is that the -- as you know, there will be a number of members of the board of directors, none of whom will have a majority. They will, like any business, make a business plan for the next year. They will decide how much capital to allocate and on what projects and to what end.
5098 They will -- there will be a CEO, and the CEO will run the day‑to‑day operations of the service in accordance with the business plan that the board has approved. If the CEO wants to change the business plan, they will go back to the board and the board will vote on it. If the CEO wants to buy or sell assets out of the ordinary course of business, they will go back to the board, and if the CEO has questions or concerns or wants direction, they will go back to the CEO.
5099 So the board will be there by a majority vote to set the direction and then the staff will implement it. Is that -- that’s the answer you’re looking for?
5100 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, it answers my question.
5101 The last question, what would be your role, your personal role in this business?
5102 MR. ENGELHART: I will hopefully continue to be their regulatory counsel.
5103 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
5104 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again, thank you very much. Thank you for your participation throughout the hearing.
5105 MR. CHANDRASEKAR: Sir, I would just like to make a statement. I was born in a country which is the world’s largest democracy, namely India. We have over a billion people. I spoke a minority language when I came to this country, which was only spoken by about 75 million people.
5106 THE CHAIRPERSON: Only.
5107 MR. CHANDRASEKAR: Yes. But I have to say, in Canada, many years ago, almost 24-25 years ago, when we made our first licence applications and we won them, we have no words to thank the Commission because we are doing something in this country as broadcasters with broadcast licences that we could have not even done in our own country of origin where we were born. So we are most grateful to the Commission, to the Commission staff, for all the help that we have received all these years in terms of building our service from one channel to two and three, and four, and kept growing.
5108 But we feel that, you know, for us, we have the greatest respect for the Commission. There are three major gods in India: the God of Creation; the God of Protection and the God of Destruction, called Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. These are all great characters in India. All three are worshipped and they are all about heaven apparently, but this is an old saying from my grandmother that I learned. For us, the CRTC is all three gods. You helped us create. You protected us with policies and, you know, the small amounts that you destroyed us from time to time when genre protection was taken away, then buy-through was taken away, but in spite of all that, we have survived and we want to assure that no matter what happens, whether we get a licence or not, we will continue the mandate that you have given us. We will not be cry-babies in saying that we will shut down our service because we don’t get a licence. We will not do that. And we want to assure you, just because we make that promise, we don’t want nice guys to finish last.
5109 Thank you.
5110 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I’ve been called a lot of things in the last 15 months. I don’t think “Gods” was among them previously. So thank you for your comments.
5111 MR. CHANDRASEKAR: Thank you, sir.
5112 THE CHAIRPERSON: I wish you well.
5113 Madame la secrétaire.
5114 THE SECRETARY: I will now invite the panel of ICTV to come forward, please.
5115 MS. LUDSKI: We begin today by acknowledging that this proceeding is being held on unceded Algonquin territory. We recognize First Nations, Inuit and Métis people whose struggles are a direct result of Colonial policies and practices that attempted a genocide of their Nations.
5116 Good afternoon Chairperson Scott, Commissioners Simard and Laizner, Madame Secretary, and CRTC staff.
5117 As we have heard over the past days, there is a void in media for Ethnic Communities. To change this, corporate control over ethnic media must end. Many of the intervenors during this hearing agree that the only option is to award the licence to a not-for-profit broadcaster. The CRTC’s standard practice is to grant the privilege of a 9(1)(h) licence and its associated public funding only to not-for-profits. This standard has proven to provide the highest possible transparency and accountability for the funding while guaranteeing democratic governance for the protected group requesting access and reflection. It would be an anomaly and a disservice to the public interest if the CRTC chooses to award the licence to any of the for-profit applicants.
5118 ICTV also has laws, policies and agreements, nationally and internationally on its side. These frameworks provide that minorities have protected rights to access to, reflection on, and ownership of their own sovereign media.
5119 ICTV is the only not-for-profit to apply for this privileged 9(1)(h) licence, and the only applicant that can be held accountable to the groups it is supposed to service, and for the public funding it will receive.
5120 ICTV is the only applicant with a board of directors representative of the widest gathering of ethnic, linguistic, Indigenous and disability communities, as well as achieving gender parity on its governing bodies.
5121 ICTV is the only applicant committing to this equity mandate throughout all its employment levels, including on and off-camera positions.
5122 ICTV is also committing to 100 percent unionized employment and minimum targets of 15 percent Indigenous employment, and 10 percent disability employment. Without enforced minimums, it is too easy for organizations to say they tried and couldn’t find anyone, or anyone skilled enough in their opinions. Our plans are backed by the largest unions in Quebec and their investment funds, both the FTQ’s Fond de Solidarité and the CSN’s FondAction. We also promise UNIFOR and the workers of OMNI that ICTV will not be an obstacle to unionization of workers at our stations. We aim to create a stable employment environment and prioritize the health and well-being of our employees.
5123 MR. MAROUF: ICTV presents the best programming proposal, with the most Category 1 and Category 2A News, in the most languages. To be clear, this will not be dubbed programming. We are offering more original news than any other applicant. This news will be broadcast by, for and about our communities.
5124 This news programming will be professional and nationally competitive, led by our News Director Rufo Valencia, who currently works for Radio Canada International, in collaboration with the networks developed by the remainder of our staff and Board of Directors, including Mohamed Fahmy and Jooneed Khan, two highly respected professional journalists. More importantly, our news department will be staffed with permanent employees. ICTV will offer a competitive salary, a workplace free of racism and discrimination, and employers who recognize their skills and abilities.
5125 Members of our communities who work in the private and public media sectors too often have to navigate work environments that limit their editorial freedoms through filters imposed by editors or by siloing them to covering the “ethnic beat.” ICTV is confident that if the CRTC licenses our application, skilled media producers from our community will apply to fill the jobs at TELE1, where they will be able to reflect the realities, aspirations, and opinions of our communities without harassment and discrimination.
5126 ICTV will deliver on professional news and current affairs, from the perspective of underrepresented communities and will have four priority bureaus: Government, Visible Minority Issues, Indigenous Nations, Women and Gender, and the intersection of the four.
5127 ICTV will air two original 30-minute broadcasts of Category 1 news in the two official languages every day. ICTV will air 30 minutes of original Category 1 news in the eight largest third languages in Canada, Punjabi, Spanish, German, Italian, Cantonese, Arabic, Tagalog, and Mandarin. In total, ICTV will air 42 hours of original Category 1 news weekly, the highest commitment in this proceeding. ICTV is the only applicant proposing Category 1 news in French and English. More news in more languages, including Indigenous languages, is required to provide an exceptional service that promotes intercultural dialogue.
5128 ICTV will complement hard news on TELE1 with Category 2A Current affairs programming. Six days a week, TELE1 will air 30 minutes of original programming in the two official languages and the eight third languages mentioned above. This is 30 hours of Category 2A news each week. In total, ICTV will air 72 hours of original news weekly. News programming, according to a 24-hour grid, covers nearly 43 percent of our programming grid. No other applicant comes anywhere close to TELE1’s programming commitments.
5129 TELE1’s motto is “All for one, and TELE1 for all.” ICTV is ready to achieve this goal with our team of dedicated and experienced TV broadcasters and journalists. The CRTC called for something better
5130 and the Commission’s policies expect an exceptional contribution. TELE1 and TELE2 will exceed all of the criteria set out in the call for applications, CRTC policies, and the Broadcasting Act.
5131 MS. LUDSKI: ICTV wants to change television with programming not found anywhere else.
5132 TELE1 is the only station offering news, current affairs, documentary, drama, music, and children’s programming. We will broadcast more news, more languages, and offer greater representation in governance above and beyond any other applicant.
5133 TELE1 is also the only applicant committing to equity in governance and employment. TELE1’s application is backed by an innovative financial strategy that is not dependent on local advertising. We are the only applicant that has provided the Commission independently verified financial plans.
5134 ICTV has support of Canadian Communication Association, and deans and chairs of communications, journalism and cultural studies in the most prestigious universities across Canada and Quebec. This support was easily acquired for two reasons. First, ICTV’s programming and governance proposal fills a gap documented by academic research. Second, our academic partners support ICTV’s plans to include educational and career building opportunities that work towards sustaining a healthy media creation environment within racialized communities.
5135 ICTV has the only financially -- the only financial proposal independently vetted and verified as financially viable. We have provided the Commission and the public unprecedented access to financial plans of a broadcasting service. The Commission and public can see every detail of our projections, including the monthly cash flow for the entire 7-year license period.
5136 Our financial plans were investigated by MCE Council, an independent financial consultancy firm, after being hired by our future funders, the Desjardins Caisse d’Économie Solidaire; FondAction, of the CSN; Fond Solidarite, of the FTQ; Réseau d’investissement social du Québec; and Fonds d'investissement de la culture et des communications.
5137 Our funders have given ICTV letters of intent on funding our launch costs and a line of credit as needed for cash flow. Twenty (20) million dollars will help ICTV design and build our facilities, hire our core staff, launch the service and air the programming for three months before the subscribers’ fees start flowing.
5138 Our vetted financial plan will help us give access and reflection to the largest number of ethnic and linguistic groups possible. TELE1 will air programming in the two official languages, mainly news, children’s programming, and entertainment. TELE1 will air programming in 40 third languages, Punjabi, Spanish, German, Italian, Cantonese, Arabic, Tagalog, Mandarin, Portuguese, Polish, Urdu, Persian, Russian, Vietnamese, Korean, Tamil, Ukrainian, Dutch, Gujarati, Greek -- help me.
5139 MR. MAROUF: Gujarati.
5140 MS. LUDSKI: Thank you. Greek, Creole, Czech, Macedonian, Arminian, Slovak, Serbian, Turkish, Latvian, Croatian, Maltese, Romanian, Hungarian, Albanian, Sinhalese, Ethiopian, Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Somali, and Japanese; and by so, guarantee service to all communities who are currently -- who currently have shows on OMNI and more.
5141 ICTV will also air programming in 5 Indigenous languages, Cree, Inuktitut, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, and Mi’kmaq, and will work towards increasing that number to 10 Indigenous languages by year five of licensing.
5142 MR. MAROUF: ICTV is also blessed with our unique location. Our facilities will be in the heart of downtown Montreal, in a prestigious, visible, and accessible location. Having our headquarters in Montreal, the most multilingual city in North America, is also advantageous for hiring multilingual staff and producers who will work on multiple shows and in multiple languages, bringing the overhead costs of our productions down and giving us scalability that is unavailable to any other applicant.
5143 MS. LUDSKI: In this hearing, some people have challenged our experience, knowledge, and capabilities to deliver a service that fulfills our aspirational and laudable plan. They do not think our vision is possible, and some even argue that no national service is needed for ethnic communities in Canada. ICTV is here to say ethnic communities will find the representation the seek online on TELE1 and TELE2. We have the experience to make our innovative programming, financial, and governance proposals a reality.
5144 And these challenges, criticisms, judgements, and belittling behaviours are not new to us. It is frustrating and hurtful each time it happens. Our community members who work in media, people of colour, Indigenous People, people living with disabilities, experience daily environments where they are made to feel undervalued, unsafe, and unheard. The utter lack of representation year after year in actual governance and decision-making roles in media has created and maintains the patronizing environment leading to the comments we have heard over the past few days. People outside of ethnic communities in disbelief that ethnic Communities could have people of professional caliber, high enough to meet their standards for what they consider to be the news.
5145 For our youth and the future of television, we rise above this disbelief. We say, to our youth in particular, your voice has value. You matter. You are not a commodity with stories to sell. Your skills, opinions, and lived experiences are valid. However, others may not always recognize that. It is their loss. ICTV board members and staff are working to create an environment where you will not have to work and live the same frustrations we have experienced in the workplace and media space.
5146 Our community members deserve this and you, our youth, should expect it. It is guaranteed in policy and law in Canada and internationally. Do not believe in their disbelief. People in our communities have faced disbelief before, and we know our capabilities. Our resiliency has brought us here, and our continued advocacy will further our cause, and ICTV looks forward to working with you, our youth, our communities, in the future, in a safer, and more supportive media environment.
5147 MR. MAROUF: To the Commission, ICTV has the vetted financials, the bridge funding, and financial partners to launch and sustain our services. As we said at the top, we are ready to go. ICTV has the best and most innovative programming proposal that exceeds the Criteria. ICTV has the support of the racialized communities, the support of academic research and universities, and has the not-for-profit and representative governance structure to guarantee financial transparency and accountability.
5148 ICTV is the only applicant appearing at these proceedings who is actually eligible as a not-for-profit organization to be granted the license at hand.
5149 With all of this, ICTV guarantees to deliver on the aims of our proposals. We respectfully ask the Commission to license our application to run TELE1 and TELE2 as soon as possible, so we can launch our services and deliver our programming before the end of OMNI’s term in January 2020.
5150 Thank you very much for your time.
5151 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I have a couple of very quick questions and then I think my colleagues have other questions for you. Just on the financial support that you put in place, can you just clarify for me. So you’ve made preliminary arrangements with a number of organizations, is that predicated on a seven years licence term and on the licencing of both TELE1 and TELE2? Or is it -- I just want to have a better sense of what the understanding is between your -- those who have indicated support, financial support, and your business plan.
5152 MR. MAROUF: Yeah, the business plan as handed over to the CRTC is for seven years, and that’s why it’s balanced for that. And obviously if the licence is for shorter, it still is the same budget and there’s the presumption of renewal. But there is enough surplus to pay back the lenders at the end, even if you don’t licence -- you only give five, sorry.
5153 THE CHAIRPERSON: And TELE2, same thing with TELE2, or not?
5154 MR. MAROUF: TELE2 would bring more advertising. Once there is a diversity of programming between the two, as is the gradual launch up and so of the services. So it will affect the income of advertising, but not half of the advertising budget, but a much smaller margin, obviously, because if the difference that’s not in the beginning, much programming difference. So they will need to be recalculation, so the financers are comfortable with whatever. But it’s pretty -- you know, the intention of TELE2 is to make sure that number 1, we do have enough space to grow, entertainment-wise, our community needs because the original COL was for prioritizing the news, which we did, and once you do that, there’s not much left for the other needs of our communities.
5155 And so without having TELE2 and where it’s not going to cost any difference to the BDUs having TELE2 accept carrying it as mandatory, but not with a fee, it will allow us that growth and be able to predict how can we, in the long term, deliver on all the needs that our communities are expecting; entertainment, children’s programming and other that there’s not enough space on TELE1 for.
5156 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5157 Commissioner Laizner?
5158 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Hi, I just have a few follow-on questions on the same issue of financing. So what are the main elements of your programming that you believe will attract the $70,000 in annual national advertising revenue that you project?
5159 MR. MAROUF: You know, our -- you know, anchor are -- this anchoring -- the most important -- what do you call it? It’s the word -- I’m losing the word for it. The -- yes, I got the word. The flagship programming is the news and the flagship programming; specifically, the news in English and French because this news programming is going to, for the first time, give the Canadian public a window unfiltered into the opinions, realities and aspirations of Canadians from racialized communities in regards to Canadian issues and politics that we are living and this is not going to only attract the loyalty of our communities who are desperate to be able to join this conversation because we know the disharmony and misunderstandings that exist within our society here are all based on misinformation between sections of this society.
5160 So Canadians, in general, above and beyond our communities who will come and be loyal to watching this news from their -- will come and watch this and because it covers the priority issues that our societies are dealing with right now; visible minority, integration and immigration and reconciliation with Indigenous people, gender equity, that will become, in itself, a national leader. It may become the official only other voice on the news landscape in television and that’s where this will make a change for Canada as a whole.
5161 Similarly, the children’s programming, this is a need that is nowhere addressed. Our children have only access to dubbed children’s programming from, you know, international producers. There’s nothing that is reflective of their actual ethnic and cultural stories, their -- how they live their reality and their experiences as they grow.
5162 So it is crucial for us, in the long term, for the health of, you know, these -- our communities that are attempting to feel normalcy here and integration and to be able to celebrate their daily life and growth of their families like the rest of society here in Canada. They need this children’s programming and they will come for it.
5163 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Okay, so I gather from your remarks today that you do not believe that local advertising is required for TELE1, but at the same time, you do believe that you need $70,000 annually in national advertising for TELE1 and you believe that you will obtain that advertising based on the quality of your news programming; is that what you’re telling me?
5164 MR. MAROUF: News programming and other programming.
5165 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Yeah and children’s programming.
5166 MR. MAROUF: And other in general. I could tell you every category of programming that we are offering.
5167 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Have you gotten kind of -- have you gone out to potential advertisers and gotten some indication to back up this because your -- I mean, in fairness, your national advertising projection is huge in terms of revenues as compared to other applicants and we’re not talking about, you know, the programming goals here, but we are talking about the reality of, you know, trying to attract those advertising dollars if that’s what’s required to make it viable? So I just want to know whether you’ve received that comfort, actually, from potential advertisers that they will come to you.
5168 MS. LUDSKI: I -- at this stage, we have not spoken ---
5169 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Okay.
5170 MS. LUDSKI: We have not spoken with national advertisers. I do -- I want to say that the -- these days -- so I’m a trans-media artist. I work in all storytelling and all mediums -- all media and more and more corporations, companies are coming to people and saying like, “Okay, we -- it’s not just about selling this product, this model; we now need to sell the lifestyle and the brand of our company, right?”
5171 And more and more we see these big corporations and their social responsibility. They’re becoming aware that people are -- what I say is I’m voting with my dollar. I am voting with every dollar I spend every day and I am very aware of that and conscientious of that.
5172 And so ICTV is proposing, you know, not just the programming and the inclusion et cetera, but within the entire structure; a place, a space, an environment not provided. And I think that this identity, this lifestyle will appeal and that people will see that this is unique and that it’s not -- they will almost ethically -- it’s the right thing to do. It’s the good thing to do, but it’s also a smart and economical thing to do.
5173 There’s so many of these communities that are not targeted in marketing or advertising and it’s like because you don’t recognize that ethnic community does not mean that they don’t have dollars to spend on products.
5174 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Oh, absolutely.
5175 MS. LUDSKI: Yeah.
5176 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: So have you also run projections that if you don’t attract those dollars in -- that you would attract dollars more in the range of what some of the other applicants have projected; let’s say around $23,000 annually instead of $70,000; what does that do in terms of the viability of TELE1 and TELE2?
5177 MR. MAROUF: So obviously the fee levy is the biggest part of the budget.
5178 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: And you have the highest requested wholesale rates?
5179 MR. MAROUF: Yes because it is the only way to deliver on the multiple languages and the high quality that is not going to mean that we’re just spending the money and nobody’s going to watch it.
5180 So, you know, the -- looking at the -- actually, the amount of hours that is requested to produce such high-quality news that is competitive, that is attractive, that actually has a social effect in our lifetime; this is the only way to produce it.
5181 The financial plan that you have from MC account -- breaks down the whole market. It includes for you the numbers that are being made currently by all the licensed -- some of the applicants here today, whether it’s OMNI or Telelatino or others. It shows you how much money they’re making in advertising and definitely the other applicants are making way more money in advertising than Rogers’ OMNI is doing and you’ll see that in the report of MC account...
5182 And so our advertising predictions were sensibly designed. They were based on predictions of what APTN is doing where there’s 5 percent of market, what the current licensed ethnic stations like Multi-Ethnic -- the Ethnic Channels Group and Telelatino are doing. You have all of that in the report, and given those predictions and seeing how much money is being put in advertising in the private per subscription ethnic television sector, it was very solid, the numbers that we predicted, and it’s based on less than a third of the minutes available per hour for advertising. So it was done very conservatively.
5183 So again, you have that fully detailed in the report.
5184 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: But if you were not able to attract that amount of advertising, what would you take off the table in terms of your programming to adjust to that given your -- you know, the way you want to run the operation and all that? What is going to go off the table if you’re not able to secure that kind of level of advertising?
5185 MR. MAROUF: The answer would be we would take off probably the service of delivering news in German and Italian. In reality, we included those because they were being serviced but also because they’re one of the top paid languages -- third languages in Canada. But those are of established communities that have multigenerational stability in Canada, that have financial stability in Canada and have the networks and are now visible minorities.
5186 So if the priority was made to have to cut down some services, although we doubt that actually we will miss the targets -- we think we will surpass them and we hope to come to you and ask you to look at the numbers and successes that we had the next time we’re here, if we’re licensed. So that’s where we’ll cut.
5187 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: I think you’ve answered the question. Thank you. Thank you very much.
5188 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5189 Madame Simard?
5190 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
5191 A quick question. In your presentation, paragraph 21, you said that you are ready to go. So my specific question is about the management team. So if you were granted with this licence, how would be structured your management team in order to be ready to launch the service they want?
5192 MS. LUDSKI: I think the very first thing would be to have the communities gather, the representation, the Board of Directors gather, and flesh out, you know, again, the very specific details and policies of the hiring practices, everything that -- and again, these things already exist. Our Board of Directors -- I think we can bring these things into the room so that we’re ready to go, but that, in my opinion, TELE1 would be, you know, a TV channel, but ICTV would be the society that would need to be strong and foundational. Like, that needs to run well and solidly to ensure that the station would run well and solidly.
5193 And so laying foundation at a board level and governance level, I think, is critical in terms of the team as well.
5194 MR. MAROUF: Yeah. We have already the -- you met most of our staff team that will assume already the positions that are required to get it running. You met me. I’m currently the CEO of ICTV. You met our Program Director, Professor Paul Da Silva from Ryerson University and you met our news director, Rufo Valencia who has the experience for decades, working at Radio Canada International. Unfortunately, you didn’t meet our CFO, Professor Felix Zogning of the University of Quebec in Ottawa, whose specialty is finances of media.
5195 And so we have the main core team that has the experience to get the station running, and we know that many of the media producers of our communities that are in the private and public sector who have been living these unsafe environments of work, who have to be filtered always, including what we heard, the story of the journalist in the Globe and Mail and his coverage of the election in Vancouver and being silenced from the fact that the most diverse city with 51 percent European visible minorities living in the city elected an all-white council, and he had to be silenced for trying to cover this story. Most of those journalists and media producers will gladly leave those jobs and come and populate TELE1’s services, TELE1’s two services because they know they can reflect the community with no filters.
5196 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. This was my question. Thank you very much.
5197 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much for your participation throughout the hearing.
5198 Madame la secrétaire.
5199 THE SECRETARY: Thank you very much.
5200 I will now invite Bell to come forward, please.
5201 (SHORT PAUSE/COURTE PAUSE)
5202 THE SECRETARY: Go ahead when you’re ready.
5203 MR. STRATI: Bon après-midi. Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, Madame Vice-Chairs, Commission staff. My name is Alain Strati. I am joined today by my colleague, Lenore Gibson, Senior Legal Counsel and Mariane Araleh, Executive Director, The Canadian Conversation.
5204 Before I respond to some comments made by intervenors, I want to take this opportunity to thank Leonie Tchatat and Ibrahim Absiye for their support and for their leadership. We hope this is only the beginning of a strong partnership between OTV and Canadian organizations such as the ones they lead.
5205 When asked yesterday to compare their staff complement to what we have proposed for OTV, Rogers highlighted that it has 95 staff. What we don't know is whether these staff are dedicated to news programming, involved with shows for other stations or even for Hockey Night in Canada, and whether these are internal resources or also include staff for news programming that has been outsourced to Fairchild.
5206 As noted during our appearance on Tuesday, our plan for news coverage calls for 53 journalists and our concept of multi-skilled refers to their core news-gathering and news production functions. Each journalist would be responsible for writing editorial content, gathering video content, as well as editing and transferring content back to the appropriate production centre.
5207 Other OTV staff would perform separate functions, as was specifically noted by Jonathan Kay during our initial appearance. For the record, our plan also calls for a news director, six producers, twelve writers and translators and three others for additional production support. Our staff total is 75. All of them would be in-house and would work specifically on news.
5208 Rogers also asserted that other applicants have little understanding of the unique costs and revenue opportunities associated with ethnic programming.
5209 We beg to differ. We do understand its foundational elements and sought to address them directly in our application.
5210 For example, we know that community producers would play an integral role in fulfilling the core service mandate of OTV. They would enhance the diversity and plurality of community reflection, acting as representative voices for many community members, in languages such as Farsi, Vietnamese, Somali and Tamil.
5211 We value their contribution and would establish a fund specifically for the purpose of paying licence fees to these producers. Others have not, but still allocate significant parts of their schedule for programming from these producers. That kind of an approach is unsustainable and does not reflect the contributions of community producers.
5212 In its comments, Rogers also asserted that OMNI Regional would set a bar higher than other applicants, airing 30 minutes of national news, followed by 30 minutes of locally-focused news in that language. Admittedly, we have taken a different approach.
5213 While we have proposed the production of a national newscast, we are using a longer format of 60 minutes. We think that format will provide OTV News with greater day to day programming flexibility, and an ability to include more local news and local reaction, from more communities and regions across Canada.
5214 Other than news formats, we also believe that OTV is actually proposing more news than OMNI Regional for four of the six languages concerned. Their application and sample schedule indicate that OMNI Regional will use the 30-30 newscast format, but only for their newscasts in Punjabi and Mandarin. The remaining four, in Arabic, Cantonese, Spanish, and Tagalog, are limited to 30 minutes of national news.
5215 In contrast, OTV will provide 60-minute newscasts, in all six languages. Not only is our news format adaptable to local and regional news stories, it would also be used for all six newscasts.
5216 MS. GIBSON: As part of this process, we met with more than 1,600 community members. We organized consultation meetings in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver.
5217 Community members listened to our proposal, and we listened to their questions, their expectations and their concerns. We initiated a process of dialogue and consultation.
5218 In our application, the proposed establishment of an Advisory Council was discussed and that concept with the Commission -- it was discussed with the Commission on Tuesday. Following that discussion -- and frankly, discussions with our own community leaders --- and the concerns expressed by the Commission, we are now also proposing the establishment of a Governance Committee, as an additional component of that structure.
5219 The Committee would include 5 members, with representatives from OTV, the Advisory Council, and community members. Three of the five committee members would not be employees of OTV. The Committee's goal would be to safeguard the integrity of OTV's service mandate by reviewing and addressing issues raised at the council level.
5220 Prior to each quarterly meeting, the Committee would prepare a report, with its findings, and submit that report to the Advisory Council for its consideration. A final report would be approved and signed by the Committee and submitted to the Commission.
5221 We believe this additional structural component would establish a greater accountability to all of the stakeholders include -- in concern; the Commission, the Advisory Council, and the communities themselves, and I would add OTV staff.
5222 MR. STRATI: A number of interveners have questioned the prospect of a vertically integrated company like BCE operating a 9 -1-h service like OTV. Some seemed to question the very potential of our eligibility or candidacy.
5223 In doing so, they did not question our commitments to Canadian ethnic programming, nor did they criticize our proposed news organization or our programming ideas. They simply asserted that our application should be denied, on the basis of our size and our scale, of who we are, and not what we have proposed to do.
5224 At the outset, we should note that vertical integration is not an issue in this proceeding and arguing that it is misses the point. Vertical integration has no impact on the content of a particular service. For example, CTV News is one of Canada's most trusted and respected news providers and does this as part of BCE. Moreover, the service emerging from this proceeding will be mandatory to basic, at a regulated rate. There should be no concern in terms of market power, or of negotiations between the service provider and BDUs. All of these kinds of issues will have already been resolved.
5225 We have spoken to community members, and they want to talk about community issues, about reflection and about representation. They are more interested in the editorial standards of our news organization and the quality of our Canadian productions. They are interested in OTV precisely because of who we are, because of our leadership in Canadian news production, and our record of consistency and reliability in the operation of Canadian services.
5226 We are at a critical juncture. The Commission will soon license a 9-1-h service, entrusting the successful applicant with the responsibility to fulfill this important service mandate, for years to come.
5227 Community members deserve the best application for a national multilingual service. They want a service that has made exceptional commitments to Canadian ethnic programming and will make exceptional contributions to Canadian expression and cultural -- sorry -- cultural expression. They understand that we have the resources, the experience, and the expertise to make our proposal a reality. And the fact that we are a large, vertically integrated company is one of the strengths of our application.
5228 Finally, we note that during our appearance on Tuesday, we discussed whether our proposed rate could result in OTV being more profitable than we have projected. We continue to believe that our projection -- our projections are reasonable and, if anything, the service is likely to be less profitable than more. However, should our results differ, we are prepared to commit that, if licensed, the Commission could review our service during the term, perhaps after year three, to discuss the continued appropriateness of our financial model relative to actual profitability.
5229 Thank you for your time and attention. We are now prepared to answer any questions you may have.
5230 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for your presentation. I note, as I did with one of the other applicants earlier, that I appreciate that you have already honed in, to a certain extent, on one of the issues in which we’re particularly interested in hearing more about. And I look forward to seeing a more complete description of your proposals for the governance committee and the advisory council. I don’t have any other questions at this point. Madam Vice-Chair, please go ahead.
5231 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
5232 Just a question of clarification. I understand from some intervenors that one of the concerns is with the editorial direction with vertically integrated entities. So I don’t if you want to add something about this particular concern?
5233 MR. STRATI: I’d be glad to. Certainly within, you know, Bell itself already, there’s already editorial standards that are applicable for CTV news. In fact, there is editorial independence and, you know, the structure that was discussed by Jonathan on Tuesday; in terms of there is even independence at a lower level; in terms of how that works up and how you build up into CTVs -- CTV News.
5234 So within the organization already there is a level of editorial independence. There are standards and practices that are applicable to CTV News. Those would similarly be applicable to OTV news. They would have the same boots on the ground, grass roots, news organization that builds from the bottom up. It has its editorial direction, and its decision-making structure.
5235 Within that what is different, and what we’ve been talking about, is this grasping of this notion of the advisory council and the connection that has. We believe that it is an integral part to have that connection, and that partnership, and that dialogue in communication.
5236 Ultimately, decision making sometimes can be a difficult issue, but we feel accountability is equally important. And you can have a level of accountability, not just discussion, but discussion, reporting, and it provides accountability. So you and others will be aware of the issues discussed, the directions taken, and frankly, any opinions for or against some of those directions.
5237 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Merci pour cette réponse, merci pour la réplique.
5238 Thank you very much for this reply. Thank you.
5239 THE CHAIRPERSON: And thank you for -- pardon me -- again, for your contributions throughout and participation throughout the hearing.
5240 We will take a 15-minute break, returning at 3:15 for the home stretch. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 2:58 p.m.
--- Upon resuming at 3:14 p.m.
5241 THE SECRETARY: Mr. Chairman, we will now hear the reply from Amber Broadcasting.
5242 Please go ahead.
5243 MR. SINGH SAINI: Thank you, Madame Roy, Mr. Chairman, Vice-Chairs and staff. We are pleased to be here again today. I am Tejinder Singh Saini, General Manager of Akash and Amber Broadcasting. I would like to introduce the members of our panel who are joining me this afternoon before we begin our presentation: Andrew Forsyth, Madeline Ziniak, Malcolm Dunlop and Stephen Zolf.
5244 MS. ZINIAK: We want to thank the many stakeholders who publicly supported our application, and especially those who appeared before the Commission today.
5245 We would like to address and respond to some of the questions that have been raised during this public hearing.
5246 The Commission asked us about our proposals regarding the production and exhibition of news programming and the levels of repeats. To clarify, we will have six daily newscasts in six different languages: Punjabi, Hindi, Arabic, Tagalog, Mandarin and Cantonese.
5248 Taking Arabic as an example, an Amber News Network viewer would see an Arabic newscast at 7:00 p.m. At 10:00 that same evening, the viewer will have access to a refreshed, updated newscast. This adds up to 38.5 hours per week of original first-run news programming in prime time, each bringing a unique ethno-cultural editorial perspective. If the viewer misses the evening newscast, he or she will have an opportunity to catch up with a repeated broadcast the next morning. That is a further 21 hours of original news programming.
5249 To be clear, the quality and format of these newscasts will be no different than any other professionally produced Canadian English or French national newscast. All of this news programming will be fresh stories generated by our eight bureaus across the country. The business model supporting our news commitment is based on 95 full-time professional journalists and an additional 48 persons engaged in further news operations. We will invest over $10 million in the first year towards these employees.
5250 Most importantly, news programming will be produced in-house by Amber News Network, with a team that has deep experience in creating the technical infrastructure and managing and overseeing news operations dedicated to serving ethno-cultural audiences. All other Canadian programming will be sourced from independent producers.
5251 MR. FORSYTH: The Chairman raised the issue of whether we have a diverse governance group. As we noted during our appearance, Ms. Ziniak is not only a member -- an adviser to the applicant but also a member of the Board of Directors of Amber Broadcasting. Our governance structure will reflect Ms. Ziniak's experience as an industry pioneer, an expert in diversity inclusion and integration.
5252 The ownership of the service, coupled with its board members and its strong management team, is diverse. There is significant reflection and experience from the broadcast industry, from the independent production sector and from a broad cross-section of the ethno-cultural community.
5253 The Chairman asked about the costs of the on-screen subtitling. We will file this cost information as part of our undertaking. We wish to clarify there are no technical issues with respect to embedding the French/English subtitles into each newscast. As Mr. Colasanti explained during our appearance, all of the subtitling is part of the TV signal leaving the studio. There are no BDU technical issues.
5254 MR. DUNLOP: The Chairman raised the possibility of imposing a condition of licence limiting local advertising sales and whether such a limitation would affect our proposed commitments and/or wholesale rate. We reiterate that we are not selling local advertising, nor will we have a retail sales team. There would be no impact on our financial model. These avails are for the exclusive use by our independent producer partners who may choose to sell ads in their own shows.
5255 As such, we are seeking a narrow limitation on local ad sales. The exception is limited to four minutes per hour. This is well within your stated six-minute exception to the prohibition on local ad sales for ethnic programming services with at least 90 percent third language programming. None of our programming will be bartered or brokered. Rather, real financial resources will be dedicated to independent producers.
5256 Prohibiting the sale of these four minutes would only hurt the independent producers who would be unable to monetize these four minutes of local avails.
5257 MR. SINGH SAINI: During our appearance, we confirmed to the Commission that we would not derogate from our commitment to maintain or increase spending on programming if revenue projections do not materialize.
5258 The Chairman also asked us about the "converse scenario", if the service were to be more profitable than expected. If this "good news scenario" materializes, we note that the public interest is protected. The Commission would have the opportunity to consider whether higher commitments were warranted at licence renewal.
5259 Vice-Chair Laizner asked us if we were prepared to lower the wholesale rate and by how much and how such a reduction would affect our programming. We have taken this question very seriously.
5260 In preparing for this hearing we modeled a number of scenarios that include a lower wholesale fee. In each of those models, we took great strides to ensure that, at any lower wholesale fee, none of our programming commitments would be reduced or otherwise negatively affected.
5261 We prepared three models, ranging from a 29-cent wholesale rate down to 25 cents. We can accept these lower rates. The only impact will be borne by the ownership group who is prepared to accept a lower PBIT and to ensure that none of the proposed commitments on programming will be sacrificed in any way.
5262 We are prepared to file these with the Commission today or to file them as part of our response to undertakings.
5263 MR. ZOLF: Finally, in formulating this reply for this last phase of the hearing, we wanted to take the Commission back to "first principles". We were somewhat puzzled by the stance taken by the first applicant, Rogers, at the hearing on Monday and yesterday in Phase II. Rogers has attempted to recast the key issue before the Commission as who has the best model to provide a local and regional news service.
5264 But that is not what you asked applicants to do in your call for applications. The stated rationale for the call is your finding that there is an exceptional need for a national, multi-ethnic television service that can provide Canadians with programming, including news and information programming, in multiple languages from a Canadian perspective. That is precisely Amber's model.
5265 We were also mindful of the additional criterion in the call for applicants to demonstrate "how the proposed service would present news and information programming in multiple languages from a Canadian perspective, including local, regional and national news and information".
5266 We have addressed the specific requirement relating to local news with our eight news bureaus. But Rogers would have you measure those commitments under a de facto local OTA news model. With respect, it is they who have departed from your criteria.
5267 In fact, Rogers has put a "tied sale" to the Commission, in casting doubt as to the survival of its OTA service unless you preserve the status quo and retain mandatory distribution for OMNI regional. We respectfully submit that this "bundled" offering is not in the public interest and should be rejected by the Commission.
5268 MR. SINGH SAINI: In summary, we believe that we will make an exceptional contribution to Canadian expression and reflect Canadian attitudes, opinions, ideas, values and artistic creativity through our unprecedented commitments to super-serving the multilingual, multiethnic communities in Canada. We have met the high bar set out in the Commission's 9(1)(h) criteria.
5269 We thank the Commission for this opportunity to present this reply and we welcome any questions you may have.
5270 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you and thank you for your submission.
5271 I would imagine that Vice-Chair Simard is probably going to ask you a question about your preparedness in a moment, but let me kick that off a little bit.
5272 In terms of your news bureaus across the country, how long will it take you to establish those? What preliminary work has been done?
5273 MR. SINGH SAINI: Sir, I think it relates to the overall question that you expect Madam Vice-Chair to be asking later on, but in our Monday oral hearing we did actually mention that we have actually took the expertise from the people who are on our team and broken down, what is the critical path that we need to undertake in order to achieve getting this service ground up?
5274 And with us we have a quarter by quarter deadlines of what needs to be done. Some of the things are already in parallel. But to answer your question, sir, we have as end of June 2019, is where we think the negotiable deals of eight bureaus will be finalized, and a built up technical engineering, operating, production plan will be in place.
5275 MS. ZINIAK: I will also add that we have started our research in identifying journalists in each of the key bureau areas as identified from Halifax to Victoria as well.
5276 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Members, Commissioners, do you have questions? Madam Simard?
5277 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Sir, you already know my question. I would like to have a better sense and a clear idea of the key steps that should be taken should you be granted with this licence. So the key steps in order to ensure that you are ready to launch the service day one.
5278 MR. SINGH SAINI: Thank you, Commissioner. I’ll also ask Mr. Andrew Forsyth to help me out.
5279 But again, as I said, what we’ve done was based on the expertise that we have, like say, Mr. Kell Colsanti has built over eight stations for OMNI Rogers, and he’s the one who’s actually leading the infrastructure part of it. We have Madeline Ziniak, who is actually looking at the advisory counsel.
5280 But what we have done is we have step, by step, is first like, hiring the professional management team and all the necessary technical ops and engineering. And also, is looking at different bureau sites in the cities that we actually mentioned. And as I mentioned earlier, built technical engineering operation development plans that we think will be something that’s a mid-next year. Like, and mid-next year is like -- yes, end of quarter second of 2019.
5281 And with constructions and rack building we estimate it’s about like six months of turnaround before we can actually have the racks being operational. In the meantime, in parallel, we will have the advisory committee -- council members established and -- identified and established. And by Q4 of 2019 we are looking for a social media marketing plan, and a community liaison, and the post-technical positions already filled up.
5282 With the January, February 2020, we have website launched and technical staff training begins and also is -- we’re working with the independent producers. We are looking for end of Q1 2020 to have the sale team, independent producers contracted, installed bureaus bidirectional fibre IP connectivity, and established BDU uplinks done.
5283 May, June, July we are looking at the ending sales and doing testing of all services. And July, August is when we are looking for full rehearsals and testing with BDUs. So -- sorry. So first of September 2020 is where we are actually drawn up our critical path, and day one the service will be up and running.
5284 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: That’s quite the ---
5285 MR. FORSYTH: And -- I’m sorry. We would certainly be prepared to share this with the Commission as an undertaking if you so desire.
5286 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. Yes, if you have the info by December 6th, please.
5287 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
5288 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Quick question. I don’t know if you have assessed the number of viewers that you would be able to reach out?
5289 MR. SINGH SAINI: I’ll have both Madeline and Andrew to help me out with that. But definitely the assessment of viewers has already been started. One of the things that we have is with the advisory committee, which will actually be helping us going out and reaching with the communities. But because Amber is actually producing just in-house news, rest of everything is with the independent producers. So that’s another avenue where the viewers and assessment of that thing is going to be taking place.
5290 MR. FORSYTH: I was going to suggest that given that Malcom has had many, many years of looking at audience figures and realizes, you know, where OMNI started, perhaps even before it was OMNI and where he sees this going now. Perhaps you might want to give us just some insight into that.
5291 MR. DUNLOP: Certainly. Thank you, Andrew.
5292 As many of the panellists have already stated, getting accurate audience measurement for ethnic service is extremely challenging. And to be honest, a lot of times if you subscribe to Numeris, the numbers can actually work against you. So what happens is you have a language program that’s on, you know there’s high viewership to it, or news, you know there’s high viewership. Unfortunately, the sample size within the ethnic communities just don’t reflect the accuracy for the show.
5293 What my belief is, is when you sell this station you have to sell it on a concept and you have to sell it on a vision of basically, if you were in another country and you spoke a different language, would you watch this station? And usually you get a lot of head nods doing that. So I mean, that’s the start of things. So I think it’s difficult to measure the audience.
5294 Hopefully by the time we launch this service, we’ll be able to get numbers from the cable services that -- or the BDUs that would allow us to get more accurate number of people who watch the service. But I think for me to estimate that, I think I’d be throwing a dart, and I’d rather not do that.
5295 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much. Those were my questions. Thank you.
5296 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We thank you very much for your participation and contributions.
5297 MS. DIONNE: Sorry, I have a question.
5298 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, sorry. Pardon me, counsel.
5299 MS. DIONNE: You mention in your presentation that you’ve prepared models, financial projections based on 29 cent rate, down to 25 cent. And when I look at what you’ve filed as your undertakings, we have scenarios going from 29 to 27 cents. So would you be -- can you file ---
5300 MR. ZOLF: We should clarify that for the record, counsel. It’s -- the models I believe, go from 29 down to 27 cents.
5301 MS. DIONNE: Okay. So it was not a change in ---
5302 MR. ZOLF: Yes. That was probably a -- it might be a misstatement. But it’s ---
5303 MS. DIONNE: Okay. So it’s 25 ---
5304 MR. ZOLF: --- 27, yes.
5305 MS. DIONNE: Thank you.
5306 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Sorry, counsel, thank you for the interruption.
5307 And with that I’ll say it again, thank you again for your contributions and participate throughout the hearing. Thank you, sir.
5308 Madam secretary?
5309 THE SECRETARY: Thank you. Ethnic Channels Group, please come forward.
5310 (SHORT PAUSE/COURTE PAUSE)
5311 THE SECRETARY: All set. Go ahead.
5312 MR. LEVIN: Good afternoon, Mr. Chair, Vice-Chairs. I’m Slava Levin, Chief Executive Officer of Ethnic Channels Group. To my right, Sharon Mejia, Vice President of Programming and Affiliate Sales; and to her right is Bettyann Tutching, our News Director. On my left is Sasha Zivanovic, CTO of ECG. Beside him is Hari Srinivas, President of ECG; and beside him is Oleg Masliy, our CFO.
5313 In the back row, from right to left we have Filbert Wong, Channel Producer for our Filipino TV; Joel Fortune, our legal counsel. And beside Joel in order are three engineers and technical advisors, all with in-depth knowledge of the BDU technologies; Wally Saikali, Victor Malarenko, Boris Eventov. Wally and Boris had long careers with Canadian BDUs and Victor was an application engineer for Arris, with extensive field experience. Arris provides digital systems for many Canadian BDUs including head end, set top boxes, and uplink for satellite.
5314 MR. SRINIVAS: We have filed a written reply to the interventions. We’ll focus today on matters raised at this hearing. First, though, we wish to thank the more than 1,300 Canadians who have written to the Commission in support of our application. This includes the support of over 1,200 individuals and potential viewers, and more than 40 members of the business community, independent producers, cultural organizations and political representatives.
5315 We also wish to thank Ms. Valeria Shirokova from InFAME who appeared by Skype yesterday, who also expressed her support for Voices in her written intervention.
5316 MR. ZIVANOVIC: We wish to address the technical objections raised by Rogers and Shaw yesterday.
5317 The chart that we attached to our original oral presentation may be helpful and we have attached it here again.
5318 We have proposed technical approaches that will allow all BDUs to receive and transmit the Voices service down to the lowest common denominator. This includes Rogers and Shaw.
5319 The Rogers and Shaw interventions relate to their legacy digital platforms. Rogers and Shaw are both currently rolling out an IPTV platform. There are no capacity issues within IPTV platforms, as noted by Telus yesterday.
5320 Both Rogers and Shaw confirmed that their legacy digital systems will support at least three audio feeds for each video channel. The question, then, is not whether it can be done technologically; it is rather related to the capacity within their systems.
5321 Regarding capacity, even in legacy digital systems, this is not the same concern as it once was. Switched digital, which Rogers and many others have implemented extensively, is in some ways similar to IPTV. The move to switched digital addressed capacity concerns that were once present only 10 years ago. In our view, Rogers’ switched digital environment has virtually eliminated capacity constraints for Voices.
5322 We understand that Shaw has not implemented switched digital and is moving directly to IPTV. In Shaw’s case, the capacity issue is best understood as a question of how many separate channels are required to deliver our service on a 1 video and 3 audio basis. Shaw confirmed yesterday that this could be done using nine separate video channels. In this case, this would be required only by August 2023, five years from now. At launch, we would require only four SD channel spots.
5323 What does this mean in capacity terms? In SD, by 2023, this would require only 16 Mbps in MPEG 4. We mentioned this fact on Monday. This is the equivalent of two HD channels. This would not require additional capacity for Shaw. Our Voices service would replace the existing OMNI channels. On Shaw Satellite, for example, Shaw now distributes at least four HD OMNI channels on Anik F2. This represents approximately 20 Mbps. Voices would replace OMNI. So there is no need for Shaw to drop any other channels to deliver our service.
5324 There is no technical hurdle for BDUs to deliver Voices. Our approach uses the same signal delivery systems as are currently used by all digital services. There are no out-of-the-ordinary costs.
5325 Whether an SD service is preferable to HD has also been raised. We will provide our service in HD to all BDUs, as well as SD. We will also deliver in MPEG 2 and MPEG 4. It is up to the BDU to select which version to distribute. Except for certain legacy systems, which we have discussed, there is no capacity constraint on delivering our HD service.
5326 In any case, the priority at this time is to deliver more quality news programming in more third languages, regardless of the bit rate.
5327 MR. LEVIN: Regarding the use of a VOD platform, We have investigated VOD. In our experience, the wide delivery of VOD content can require transcoding into 14 different profiles and delivery to 12 different BDU platforms in Canada, including TV Everywhere. The cost is exponential compared to linear, both for the supplier and for the BDU.
5328 On top of that, BDUs don’t update their libraries every day. Most do it weekly, some do it monthly. The case for consumers to get news on VOD does not make sense. We believe a linear, multiple language offering is the best approach for timely news and information.
5329 MS. MEJIA: We wish to thank the Forum for Research and Policy in Communications for its support of Voices. The Forum provided a reasonable assessment of the need for diversity in news content and what it takes to launch a news service.
5330 I would like to take this opportunity to make a clear distinction between the number of languages to be offered and our different audio feeds. We will offer at least 25 different languages in our programming at launch and continuing through the licence term.
5331 We will also offer our core news and information programming with simultaneous audio feeds: 10 in the first year, increasing to 25 in the fourth. It is only the simultaneous audio feeds that will ramp up from 10 to 25 languages.
5332 Interveners have emphasised the need for quality news content. We completely agree.
5333 Voices will employ 95 journalists across the news service, coincidentally the same as the incumbent. This would include producers, reporters, writers, editors and other staff required to produce local, regional and national stories and newscasts. We have budgeted for three news bureaus, in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary.
5334 We are proud of our commitment to provide Canadian viewers with a representation of their culture and communities. We will not only reflect what is important to diverse communities on screen, but representatives from these communities will form a core part of our editorial team. ECG is already profoundly diverse. We are producing content in 16 languages, and have done so for more than 10 years. A small sampling includes: Spotlight a current affairs program on Zee TV Canada, which is one of the most popular third-language channels in the country; our award winning series Sounds of Canada; Dream Big, produced by women and about immigrant women who came to Canada and overcame challenges to find success; and our sports news program The OJ Today on Ontario hockey.
5335 MS. TUTCHING: There has been much discussion at this hearing about two types of news for ethnic communities. The first consists of the same newscast delivered in multiple languages. This type of newscast builds a common understanding and knowledge between different communities. It is the same news but in different languages. This is the approach we will take for our simultaneous multilingual newscasts. These newscasts and other multilingual content amount to 55 hours a week.
5336 The second news style presents a distinct editorial voice for different ethnic communities. We will also deliver this type of news content in our program The Desk, which is featured in prime time. This amounts to another 38 hours a week.
5337 This content will be offered in its original language and also translated into English and French. This will ensure in-depth coverage of individual communities as well as cross-cultural understanding in Canada’s two official languages.
5338 We will produce distinctive daily regional newscasts and, in addition, offer additional regional coverage on The Desk. This will provide local and regional stories for each of our feeds.
5339 We have proposed a specific definition for what qualifies as regional news and have committed to ensure that no more than half of our regional and local news would be focused on any specific city. In other words, the largest urban areas will not dominate the regional newscast.
5340 MR. LEVIN: Our organization is ethnically diverse and, of course, we also support gender diversity, without a question. Women are decision-makers in our organization and take lead roles, including in this application.
5341 We are proud to have Betty Ann as our News Director, a highly skilled and experienced journalist and broadcast executive, who has worked in Canadian news for 40 years and has shaped our news strategy.
5342 Sharon Mejia is responsible for the Voices project at ECG. She is a native of Guatemala who came to Canada as a political refugee in 1986. Sharon has 15 years’ experience in ethnic media and we are lucky to have her on our team. In our organization, every voice counts.
5343 I would like to go a little off-script for a second. I would like to take a moment to thank the Commission, Commission staff, for providing us this opportunity for your consideration of our application. I would also like to take this time to acknowledge all the applicants and thank them. All the applicants put their best foot forward. Most importantly, I would like to thank my team here, my advisory council, I guess, for their hard work, their knowledge and their expertise. Thank you.
5344 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. Thank you for your submission.
5345 I have one quick question, then I’ll turn to my colleagues. Just looking at one sentence in your submission that the largest urban areas will not dominate the regional newscasts, and again, I note that the three news bureaus that you proposed were Toronto, Vancouver and -- sorry, I’m pulling a blank.
5346 MS. MEJIA: Calgary.
5347 THE CHAIRPERSON: Calgary. Thank you. So not in Quebec and not in Atlantic Canada.
5348 I’m just wondering if you could just kind of address that issue insofar as national coverage, national diversity is concerned?
5349 MS. TUTCHING: Yes, we’ve had many conversations about this, and this is the start-up plan. We will be sending local bureaus to different parts of the country to cover different news stories, and that’s how we will be able to take care of certainly the east.
5350 As far as Quebec goes, I’ll let Slava take that one.
5351 MR. LEVIN: So with respect to Quebec, in our application we list ECTV as someone that we would be talking to, but obviously at the moment it is not good for us to have a chat since they’re part of a competing application, but it’s something that’s in the works.
5352 MS. MEJIA: If I can add something?
5353 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
5354 MS. MEJIA: Although our three local feeds will be -- we’ve identified these cities are where our regional feeds would be. Just because we’re in Toronto doesn’t mean we’re not going to focus on Quebec. We understand that there’s communities that are across the entire province, and we will make every effort to make sure they are represented on the screen, whether it be by our regional newscasts or our production of The Desk, which we have emphasized will have a lot of in-depth and talk analysis and more look at what is happening locally as a reflection of those communities, because we highly believe that is a very important part of this application.
5355 THE CHAIRMAN: Okay. Thank you.
5356 Madame Simard?
5357 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Quick question. I just asked this question to the other applicant. I know that it’s hard to assess the viewership, but I’m curious to know if you have assessed it?
5358 MR. SRINIVAS: So you’re referring to viewership on our channels?
5359 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, with this proposal, so the potential viewership based on this proposal.
5360 MR. SRINIVAS: So I would just like to go back to some of my comments when we were here for the presentation. So we have divided our advertising revenue into two, which is national advertising and local advertising. So national advertisers are clearly going metrics, which is viewership.
5361 So if you ask me today do I know what the potential viewership would be for this service, it’s very difficult for me to predict.
5362 So what we have really done is taken into account what is happening in the market today. We have some data on some of our channels via Numeris, but it’s very specific to the service, so I don’t think I’ll be able to predict what the viewership will be in the future.
5363 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: But can we reasonably assume that when the proposal is based on, for example, 25 different languages, the viewership would be higher or it doesn’t -- it’s wrong to do such a ---
5364 MR. SRINIVAS: The viewership would be by program. So if you look at our grid, we are essentially promising many different languages, many different communities that are going to be represented.
5365 So if you look at The Desk, for example, let’s say we are the South Asian news, it will have a certain level of viewership and then we’ll have the Chinese news, which will have a totally different level of viewership. There won’t be a common viewership across different programs, but we could sort of extrapolate all the data and come to some kind of a median.
5366 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. That was my question. Thank you again for this reply and your participation.
5367 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5368 Commission counsel? Nothing? Good. See, I didn’t get caught this time.
5369 Thank you very much. Thank you for your participation throughout the hearing and for your submissions. I bid you good day.
5370 Madam Secretary?
5371 THE SECRETARY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5372 For the record, 2627147 Ontario Inc., operating as Multicultural Described Video Guide has indicated they will not be appearing in Phase IV.
5373 So therefore, I would now invite Rogers Media to come forward.
5374 (SHORT PAUSE/COURTE PAUSE)
5375 MS. WATSON: Good afternoon Chair, Vice-Chairs and Commission staff. My name is Colette Watson. I am Senior Vice-President, Television and Broadcast Operations at Rogers Media. To my left are Susan Wheeler, Vice President, Regulatory; Sam Norouzi, Vice-President, General Manager, ICI Television; and Jake Dheer, OMNI Local Independent Production and Community Relations. On my right are Vic Maghakian, Director, TV Finance; and Manuel Fonseca, General Manager, OMNI.
5376 We will start by thanking the three intervenors, Shushma Datt, Felipe Rodriguez and Dr. Lloydetta Quaicoe who appeared today in support of our application to operate OMNI Regional. They are representative of three important stakeholder groups who are critical to our success, community independent producers, Canadian creative talent and our Advisory Council members. Our most important stakeholder, however, is clearly our audience, the communities we serve. We sincerely thank the nearly 5,000 individuals and organizations who intervened in this proceeding to support our proposal to continue to provide a national, multilingual and multi-ethnic service.
5377 That level of support is not common in a proceeding like this and is due to the fact that we live and work in many of the communities served by OMNI Regional.
5378 These Canadians overwhelmingly support our proposal to offer news and information programming in multiple languages from a Canadian perspective, including local, regional and national news and information.
5379 That is precisely the reason why we developed the concept of OMNI Regional. It was clear that the production and broadcast of high quality local news and information in multiple languages was no longer possible without a subscription revenue stream.
5380 We will now address eight issues discussed at this hearing.
5381 MR. MAGHAKIAN: First, we heard a concern raised yesterday about our subscriber revenue projections. It was suggested that our projections were incorrect.
5382 We have a revenue share agreement in place with ICI Television and, accordingly, in preparing our financials, we followed International Financial Reporting Standards. That means we reported our revenues as net of the money that goes to ICI Television. We informed the Commission of this in our June 18, 2018 reply to interventions, at paragraph 63.
5383 Second, Corus/TLN also suggested that our PNI spend was too low. They appear to have used our aggregate revenue which includes both OTA revenues and OMNI Regional revenues in calculating our PNI commitment. Our commitment to devote 5 percent of our gross revenue to PNI is reflected in our business plan.
5384 Third, with respect to advertising revenue, a question was asked yesterday about the advertising projections of other applicants. Given the multilingual nature of their proposed services and the overall decline experienced in the advertising market in recent years, many of the applicants advertising projections are unrealistic.
5385 Corus/TLN, for example, appeared to suggest this week that they expect to achieve an increase in advertising revenue over the licence term as a means to fill the hole in their financial projections. They indicated that one way they would do this is through the sponsorship of newscasts.
5386 We believe this is indicative of their inexperience in news. Anyone who has produced news would know that sponsorship of a news program would compromise the editorial independence and journalistic integrity of that newscast and would be inappropriate.
5387 Their optimism in driving advertising revenue to the proposed service is also not reflected in the performance of the TLN and ATN services. TLN's average annual decline in advertising revenue since 2012 has been 8 percent.
5388 ATN's advertising revenue has declined on average by 15 percent over that same period. We also heard TLN talk about its recent bump in national advertising. However, the only reason TLN did not suffer further declines in advertising revenue was because of its decision to change TLN from an ethnic channel to an English language service.
5389 MR. FONSECA: Fourth, with respect to news, no one in Canada, with the exception of OMNI and Fairchild, is producing Canadian news for third language communities today, and only OMNI produces local news. TLN and ATN are certainly not, which explains why they made no commitment to hiring journalists in this proceeding.
5390 Fifth, with respect to the debate about brokered programming and licence fees, while some applicants have chosen to spend a portion of their CPE on licence fees for local, independent producers, we have chosen to invest in news programming.
5391 In our application, we have put the emphasis on journalists and news gathering rather than relying solely on freelancers, translators, stringers, and students to do that job.
5392 To put this into context, our commitment to 50 hours per month of original, local, independent production at a cost of $2,500 per hour would amount to $1.5 million, which is more than the annual cost of one of our local current affairs programs.
5393 MR. NOROUZI: Paying licence fees also creates a cap on the number of local, independent producers that we would be able to work with. OMNI currently works with close to 60 independent producers who each produce on average approximately 40 hours a year of programming.
5394 If we were to re-allocate the costs of one of our current affairs programs to pay local, independent producers a licence fee of $2,500 per hour, it would reduce the number of producers we would work with to 15. That means around 45 producers would lose voice in their communities. This would also have a disproportionate impact on ICI and its commitment to offer 14 hours of original, local programming each week.
5395 MS. WHEELER: The sixth issue we want to address, the unsubstantiated claims by Telus and Shaw about OMNIs viewership.
5396 As the Commission is aware, set-top box data by itself is an unreliable source to measure audiences. Shaw and Telus know very well as chair and former chair of the Commission’s set-top box working group, that there are a number of unknown factors that can skew a particular BDUs set-top box data, including (1) whether a BDUs footprint is representative of third-language communities; (2) whether a BDU markets its service among ethnic and third-language communities, and (3) the absence of universal rules and standards for recognizing legitimate tuning behaviour.
5397 It is well understood that no individual BDUs set-top box data is sufficiently to accurately measure the viewing habits of Canadians. In fact, converting the partial information of each BDUs data into reliable, representative TV audience measurement, is the entire purpose underlying the CRTCs set-top box working group.
5398 We also note that Telus and Shaw have both signed CRTC-mandated nondisclosure agreements that prohibit the public disclosure of set-top box data. This requirement was put in place precisely to prevent their erroneous use of this information to advance their own corporate agendas.
5399 Further, our surveys dispute the claims made by Telus and Shaw about viewership. Our evidence demonstrates that Canadians place significant value on a service like OMNI Regional. Contrary to their claims, our current survey shows that a larger number of Canadians are now willing to pay more for such a service than they were in 2015.
5400 Seventh, there has also been a discussion about the merits of granting a vertically integrated broadcaster 9(1)(h) status to operate a multilingual multiethnic service. The issue of vertical integration is a red herring. The focus should be on our experience in ethnic broadcasting, our longstanding stewardship of OMNI, our unparalleled experience providing local, regional and national news in multiple third languages, and our entrenched local presence in ethnic communities across Canada.
5401 MR. DHEER: We also have established a diverse governance structure for OMNI Regional that involves a committed group of broadcasters, producers and members of the community.
5402 We have partnered with ICI Television to provide one of our four feeds. We have fostered and built relationships with a variety of other ethnic broadcasters, including Fairchild Television and CHIN Radio and Television, as well as close to 60 independent producers.
5403 In addition, we have established four Regional Advisory Councils that provide meaningful input on our programming, community outreach and strategic initiatives. They help enhance engagement and reflection of ethnocultural communities at a local, regional and national level. You heard about this from Dr. Lloydetta Quaicoe earlier today.
5404 MS. WATSON: Finally, unlike any other applicant in this proceeding, Rogers is proposing to operate a comprehensive service that has four regional feeds, over-theair television stations in Canada's largest urban markets and a digital TVE product that will allow for on-demand and live streaming.
5405 This is in stark contrast to the two applicants in this proceeding who have proposed linear channels that would require BDUs to also carry additional companion services.
5406 One, ECG proposes multiple audio channels. The other, TLN/ATN, proposes a new VOD service, the approval of which would raise procedural fairness issues.
5407 All of these options create additional
5408 costs for BDUs over and above their wholesale rates, whereas our wholesale fee includes our TVE product and does not force BDUs to incur additional costs.
5409 Moreover, approval of OMNI Regional will ensure subscriber fees are used to create ethnic and third-language programming rather than start-up costs and capital infrastructure.
5410 In closing, approving OMNI Regional will be a win-win for the Canadian broadcasting system and the communities we serve because we are committed to operating the service in the public interest.
5411 Our commitment to operate OMNI Regional on a break-even basis means any and all profits will be reinvested into the service. Any losses will be absorbed by Rogers. The result is a guaranteed promise of high-quality service to Canada's ethnic and third-language communities.
5412 To us it is clear no other applicant in this proceeding has matched our exceptional commitment to meeting each of the Commission's criteria for granting a 9(1)(h) licence.
5413 MS. WATSON: Si vous me permettez, Monsieur le president, if you’re permitted me, Sam will like to add a few words.
5414 MR. NOROUZI: Je demanderais votre indulgence pour quelques minutes ; je sais qu’on est les derniers à se présenter et c’est tard dans la journée, alors je pense que tout le monde aimerait quitter.
5415 Mais je pense que j’ai entendu des commentaires cette semaine durant les audiences que mes 29 ans d’expérience en télévision multiethnique au Québec, je crois même amener peut-être une perspective qui serait peut-être importante pour la Commission.
5416 Tel que mentionné, je suis impliqué avec les médias ethniques déjà depuis 29 ans, depuis ses débuts, quand c’était une chaîne communautaire jusqu’au… récemment, avec notre obtention de la licence pour une chaîne multiethnique à Montréal de télévision en direct. J’ai entendu des commentaires des forecast sur l’obtention de publicités, comment OMNI n’est pas capable de vendre de la publicité parce que leur sale force n’est pas motivé, disons, de le faire.
5417 Mais je vais vous parler un peu de mon expérience. Nous avons décentralisé notre équipe de vente, alors c’est essentiellement nos producteurs indépendants qui sont responsables de vendre la publicité à leurs communautés distinctes. Ils sont idéalement placés pour le faire et ils peuvent le faire dans la langue de leur communauté. La station en tant que telle s’adresse aux grandes agences pour vendre de la publicité dans les agences. Il y a des prédictions qui ont été faites en termes de ventes potentielles parmi les grandes agences et d’offrir des émissions de qualité et c’est pour ça que les agences vont acheter de la publicité sur ces services-là.
5418 Laissez-moi vous expliquer que par expérience, ça fait déjà cinq ans que j’opère la station à Montréal, Ici Télévision, je suis impliqué dans tous ses aspects et c’est vraiment… je le prends très personnel, cette opportunité que nous avons eue d’avoir cette licence pour la station d’Ici Télévision.
5419 J’ai participé à plusieurs présentations à des grandes agences et la question récurrente qui revient toujours, après qu’on ait fait notre présentation : « Oui, mais vous n’êtes pas mesurés. » Alors, on doit tourner alentour de la question en expliquant : oui, mais on dessert ces communautés-là, une tonne d’arguments… croyez-moi, je les connais tous, que si vous étiez là, vous regarderiez cette émission à cette communauté-là. Nous sommes les seuls à pouvoir atteindre cette communauté-là dans leur langue, dans des émissions locales et engageant.
5420 Et si la Commission le désire, je vais vous dire, le montant d’argent qu’on a eu en termes de publicité des agences l’an dernier – le montant était de 88 000 $. 80 % de ce montant était par des annonces du gouvernement du Québec. Alors, voici des chiffres réels et pas des suppositions que oui, on va faire ça, oui, on va avoir des émissions de qualité. Mais laissez-moi adresser cette question aussi : à titre d’exemple, notre émission en langue espagnole, qui s’appelle (inaudible), en septembre dernier, a gagné parmi un awards show qui s’appelle Latin Awards Canada, ils étaient nominés dans la catégorie de meilleure émission de télévision et ils ont gagné cette catégorie. Et c’est par vote public qu’ils sont mesurés l’octroi de ces prix-là. Alors, pour dire qu’on n’a pas des émissions de qualité, c’est incorrect.
5421 Il y a déjà un an, nous avons commencé à produire, renouveler notre production avec de nouveaux producteurs qui se sont intégrés dans le groupe de programmation italienne locale. Le résultat de la communauté a été incroyable ; ils ont même commencé… ils ont même octroyé de la publicité à ces producteurs avant la première diffusion de la première émission qui était en novembre dernier.
5422 Alors, je suis au courant de tous les aspects d’opérer une chaîne multiethnique au Québec. J’ai vu ses forces, j’ai vu ses faiblesses, j’ai vu les succès et j’ai vu les défaites. Il y en a beaucoup ici qui vous font des propositions et je ne doute pas de leurs bonnes intentions, mais moi, je les ai vécues et je sais ce qui fonctionne et ce qui ne fonctionne pas.
5423 Je ne prendrai pas plus de votre temps ; merci pour m’avoir indulgé et on est tous prêts à répondre à des questions, si vous les avez.
5424 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci, merci pour votre présentation et votre commentaire.
5425 I’m glad, as I’ve said to a number of others, to see that you have highlighted, among other issues, the issue of advisory committees and we look forward to your response to our request for information. I don’t have any other questions for you, but I think my colleagues do.
5426 Commissioner Laizner?
5427 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Good afternoon. I just wanted you to comment on the comments made by another Applicant in reply today about your 95 journalists and where they’re drawn from, whether they do work for other stations, whether they’re totally dedicated to OMNI, whether they work for OMNI OTA, so perhaps you’d comment on that.
5428 MS. WATSON: All our employees work for OMNI OTA and OMNI Regional. I haven’t split them out between those two, but those 95 are solely dedicated to OMNI.
5429 The Applicant ---
5430 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: That includes Regional and OTA?
5431 MS. WATSON: Yes.
5432 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Okay.
5433 MS. WATSON: Yes. The -- if I were to grow -- if -- I guess they were asking about the shared services, if I were to include that then the number is 120.
5434 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Okay.
5435 MS. WATSON: But 95 of them only work at OMNI.
5436 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Okay, thank you.
5437 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame Simard?
5438 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Merci. Alors, ma question, elle est toute simple : est-ce que vous regardez de façon personnelle sur une base régulière les programmes d’OMNI?
5439 So in English, do you personally watch, on a regular basis, OMNI programs; and if so, why?
5440 MS. WATSON: So as the head of television, in my office, I have several screens. I spend 10 to 12 to 14 hours a day in my office and so OMNI is on all day. I will -- I don’t understand a lot of the language, but I watch it all, and my personal favourite, though, is “Blood and Water”. I watch that one.
5441 It is -- as you asked me on Monday what my -- what I’m most proud of, I’m most proud of taking OMNI into a scripted drama direction and it gave me goosebumps to listen to Felipe this morning. And so I watch that one personally. I don’t know if my colleagues want to jump in on what they watch.
5442 MR. NOROUZI: I’d like to jump in.
5443 Well, I watch “Ici”all the time. It’s a small family business. I watch it. My parents watch it. My in-laws watch it. My sister watches it. Even ---
5444 THE CHAIRPERSON: You make them watch it.
5445 MR. NOROUZI: No, no, no.
5447 MR. NOROUZI: My father is so dedicated -- he’s actually our president and CEO -- he’s constantly watching it at home just because we’re so dedicated to making sure there’s quality programming that is going on. And he’s always criticizing saying, “Why is that like that?” And I’ll be, ”Dad, come on, you know, sometimes you know, you got to -- there are certain things that we got to, you know, weigh a balance and use it that way,” but we’re constantly watching.
5448 And I find -- if I may, I just want to -- I didn’t have a chance to mention this about my relationship with OMNI because a lot of comments were made about their intentions and their devotion to ethnic programming. When Colette and Susan came to see me a couple of years ago with their plan -- their proposed plan to launch -- to apply for a 9(1)(h) service, I had no qualms about it. I know I’m a very small broadcaster. They could have just come to me and say, “Well, listen, this is what we’re doing. If you want a part of it, these are the conditions; take it or leave it.”
5449 That was really not the case. There was discussion; I was heard. We had negotiations and it was truly -- my concerns were truly heard and they were really respected, so I really want to commend them for that. And because people are saying that Rogers is such a large corporation and they -- you know, you get lost in it, I’ve had a chance over the past year to work closely with a lot of the people on this panel who are mostly of ethnic backgrounds, and I’ve never worked with a group of professionals that are more devoted and dedicated to what they do and they truly care about the product that’s being put out.
5450 So I just wanted to add that.
5451 Thank you.
5452 MS. WATSON: I’m sorry; if I could add, Commissioner -- Vice-Chair Laizner, Manuel, who is in charge of OMNI, reminds me that my answer to your question is based on current day, and he would like for me to remind you that those numbers will go up in -- with respect to the proposal.
5453 COMMISSIONER LAIZNER: Thank you.
5454 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
5455 Commission counsel, I believe you have a question.
5456 MR. BOWLES: I have a few questions.
5457 I believe in your -- and I realize that you’re appearing before us as Rogers Media, so you may not be able to -- or in a position to answer this question. I believe in your intervention you mentioned that it’s technically feasible to provide three audio feeds for one video feed. Can you explain what your distribution operations would be required to accomplish, both from a technical perspective and the amount of financial investment required in order to implement the ECG proposal, for example?
5458 MS. WHEELER: I don’t have the ability to answer that question right now, but if you were to allow us to consult with our cable colleagues to provide that information, we could do so, likely within the deadline for undertakings on December 6.
5459 MR. BOWLES: If you could undertake to that, that would be very helpful.
5460 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
5461 MS. WHEELER: Sure.
5462 MR. BOWLES: One final question. You -- when you appeared on the first day of this hearing, there was mention of a 65 -- a sales rep team comprised of 65 individuals. Can you clarify whether those sales representatives would be dedicated to OMNI Regional or are dedicated to OMNI Regional, ---
5463 MS. WATSON: There are -- so ---
5464 MR. BOWLES: --- or whether their activities are shared with other ---
5465 MS. WATSON: A ---
5466 MR. BOYLES: --- undertakings?
5467 MS. WATSON: I’m sorry; I should have let you finish.
5468 A combination of the two. So all 60 are tasked with OMNI targets. All 60 are incented by selling OMNI. There are six language-specific dedicated reps; four in Toronto and two out West, and those are the only ones who take OMNI-only product.
5469 In addition to that, we have the OMNI -- the Rogers Media Elevate Team that goes to national marketing agencies and meets specifically with the diversity and ethnic media people at those agencies.
5470 So that’s -- and I don’t have the number of sales reps in that unit, but I -- we can send that along.
5471 MR. BOWLES: So please do.
5472 UNDERTAKING / ENGAGEMENT
5473 MR. BOYLES: If I’ve understood, six are dedicated solely for OMNI Regional.
5474 MS. WATSON: In addition to the 60 who sell ---
5475 MR. BOWLES: Who -- is it possible in responding to that undertaking to better describe the allocation of work for the 60 remaining -- the amount of their time dedicated to OMNI?
5476 MS. WATSON: Yes, my pleasure.
5477 MR. NOROUZI: Thank you very much.
5478 MS. WHEELER: Just to clarify, the allocation will likely be more in terms of their incentives and -- as opposed to the amount of work because it’s based on sales targets.
5479 MR. BOWLES: Fair enough.
5480 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I’d like to thank you for your contributions and participation throughout the hearing. I think -- oops, if there is no other matters then we’ll just prepare to conclude.
5481 Avant de conclure cette audience, permettez-moi de remercier diverses personnes qui ont participé à cette planification et réalisation.
5482 On behalf of my Commission colleagues and myself, I’d like to thank all of the intervenors who participated in the proceeding, whether it was by writing or through their participation at this hearing over the past few days.
5483 In particular, I would like to thank those who work to support our hearing; our court reporters, simultaneous translation services, and of course our Commission staff and my Commission colleagues.
5484 I’ll take this opportunity to remind parties that undertakings are due December 6th; final submissions of those who intervened are due on December 18th and final replies due on January 14th. Final submissions and replies must not exceed 10 pages.
5485 Je vous remercie encore une fois pour votre participation et la présente audience est maintenant terminée. Bonne fin de journée. Have a great afternoon. Merci beaucoup.
--- Upon adjourning at 4:14 p.m.
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