Transcript, Virtual Hearing January 18, 2021
Location: National Capital Region, in virtual mode
Date: January 18, 2021
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Attendees and Location
National Capital Region, in virtual mode
- Chairperson: Ian Scott
- Vice-Chairperson, Broadcasting: Caroline J. Simard
- Commissioner, Québec: Alicia Barin
- Commissioner, Ontario: Monique Lafontaine
- Commissioner, British Columbia and Yukon: Claire Anderson
- Legal Advisors: Jean-Sébastien Gagnon, James Wilson
- Secretary: Jade Roy
- Hearing Manager: Céline Legault, Manon Auger
Table of Contents
PHASE II – Presentation by the interveners
5844 Canadian Association of Broadcasters
6012 Société Nationale de l’Acadie
6128 April Halley
6158 Friends of Canadian Broadcasting
6374 Kamal Al-Solaylee
6391 Edmonton’s Food Bank
6405 Pôle médias HEC Montréal
6426 Sinking Ship Entertainment
6572 Women in Film + TV Vancouver
6739 Guillaume Le Nigen
--- Upon commencing on Monday, January 18th, 2021 at 10:00 a.m./L’audience débute le lundi 18 janvier 2021 à 10h00
5839 MS. ROY: Good morning, Mr. Chairman.
5840 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. Bonjour, Madame la secrétaire.
5841 MS. ROY: We will proceed to Phase 2 in which intervenors appear in the order set out in the agenda to present their intervention.
5842 We will begin this morning with the presentation from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. Please introduce yourself and your colleague, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
5843 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
5845 MR. DESJARDINS: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Madam Vice-Chair and Commissioners and Commission Staff. Thank you very much for the opportunity to appear before you today.
5846 My name is Kevin Desjardins, and I am the President of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. And joining me today is Peter Miller, our outside counsel.
5847 The CAB is the national voice of Canada’s private broadcasters, representing the vast majority of Canadian programming services, including private radio and television stations, networks, specialty and discretionary services.
5848 Il est évident que nous nous trouvons dans une situation exceptionnelle. La COVID-19 a eu un impact important sur tous les aspects de notre société et les effets sociaux et économiques de cette pandémie mondiale se font manifestement sentir au sein du secteur canadien de la radiodiffusion.
5849 Cependant, il est important de reconnaître que les tendances inquiétantes et les enjeux structurels auxquels les radiodiffuseurs canadiens font face étaient antérieurs aux évènements de la dernière année. Le coronavirus a néanmoins exacerbé et aggravé leur impact.
5850 Canadian broadcasters are now threatened on both ends of their value chain. The advertising marketplace has changed radically, with online platforms now growing to consume half of those advertising dollars.
5851 Similarly, nearly as many Canadian viewers are watching over-the-top streaming services as watch linear television via a broadcast distributor.
5852 These competitive platforms are overwhelmingly foreign owned, with minimal Canadian infrastructure, and lucrative business models that circumvent our regulated systems and program rights market.
5853 The massive shifts in how content reaches consumers and how it is monetized are imposing structural challenges onto the Canadian broadcasting system. Ultimately, when it comes to broadcast policy and regulation, structural challenges require structural solutions.
5854 Some of that will be driven by government, such as we have seen with the introduction of Bill C-10. But much of that challenge in navigating the uncharted waters ahead will be navigated by the Commission, with and without legislative change.
5855 Canada’s broadcasting system is unique, and that is certainly borne out by the fact that all Canadian broadcasters, private and public, are required to serve the public interest.
5856 According to CRTC data, while the CBC’s share of “contributions to content” is at 18 percent, the private element provides an incredible 82 percent of system contributions to Canadian content worth $2.74 billion.
5857 In the crucial area of news programming, private local TV stations outspend CBC/Radio-Canada conventional TV stations three to one.
5858 Our public-private broadcasting system was built at a time when the ability to tap private broadcasters to meet public interest needs was relatively easy. Regulators at the time could extract economic rents from private players, secure in the knowledge that our Canadian market was relatively closed, and broadcasters had a greater opportunity to capture viewers and advertisers.
5859 Clearly, this is no longer the case. Private local TV broadcasters suffered $681 million in accumulated losses between 2015 and 2019, and an additional 200 to 300 million in losses are likely by the end of 2021.
5860 Private radio broadcasters saw revenue declines of 9.3 percent in revenues from 2015 to 2019, but were dramatically down 27 percent in 2020. Approximately 50 stations -- 50 percent of stations would be in the red were it not for the emergency wage subsidy and other government support.
5861 So this is a lot of context from our perspective as private broadcasters, so allow me to bring this back to the matter at hand, the public broadcaster’s renewal.
5862 All indications are that the next five years will see further material decreases in the revenues and capacity of private broadcasters to meet public policy goals.
5863 If those goals are to be met, it will be fundamental to distinguish between what private broadcasters can reasonably be expected to do, what foreign players can begin to do and what the public broadcaster must do.
5864 The crux of our concern with the proposals put forward by CBC/Radio-Canada through this process is a growing emphasis on the public broadcaster being market-driven rather than mandate-driven.
5865 As a result, we believe that the Commission will need to play a vital role in determining what CBC/Radio-Canada should do and what it shouldn’t.
5866 In PNI, an area of major public policy emphasis for over 30 years given its lack of economic viability, CBC/Radio-Canada has to play a more significant role.
5867 News and information programming did not historically need public policy support, but in the new context, it is threatened in communities across the country. In this context, we believe that CBC/Radio-Canada has to play a more distinctive and complementary role.
5868 In radio, CBC/Radio-Canada does that. But in local news and TV and online, however, CBC/Radio-Canada increasingly competes directly not only for audiences, but also for advertising.
5869 Tout comme elle le fait avec ses services du Nord, CBC/RADIO-CANADA doit concentrer ses investissements dans les nouvelles locales et régionales de marchés sous-desservis. Elle devrait, au fil du temps, laisser la place aux médias privés qui sont présents et qui desservent les besoins de la communauté.
5870 L’idée selon laquelle CBC/RADIO-CANADA se doit d’être complémentaire et non en concurrence avec les radiodiffuseurs privés n’est plus qu’une belle construction théorique. Comparée aux diffuseurs privés, CBC/RADIO-CANADA dispose de plus en plus de ressources. Elle peut et doit contribuer plus tout en respectant son mandat public.
5871 CBC/Radio-Canada’s avowed focus on a market-driven strategy comes at a significant public policy cost. It diverts from its core mandate and disrupts private broadcasters’ ability to meet their regulatory obligations.
5872 We’ve seen the increasing emphasis on advertising and serving advertisers interests through market-driven, not mandate-driven initiatives, including
5874 decreases in Canadian content on television and the choice of more commercial TV programming, like Family Feud or Notre vie, the French version of This is Us), choices of new local digital markets such as Hamilton, well served by CHCH-TV and The Spectator, but both struggling, and of course, the issue with Tandem.
5875 With $150 million a year in increased Parliamentary appropriation and advertising representing a smaller portion of CBC/Radio-Canada’s revenues than ever, this proceeding presents the perfect opportunity for the Commission to set out a timeline and process for establishing an ad-free CBC/Radio-Canada. At minimum, they should be prohibited from selling local TV and online advertising in markets where local private radio and TV stations are present.
5876 We now know the extent of redirection of the Parliamentary appropriation to digital. These digital services had $265 million in revenues in 2019 and are forecast to grow to 368 million in 2023. While mostly funded by their government subsidy, there is no oversight, no regulation, and no safeguard.
5877 Moreover, CBC/Radio-Canada is seeking to use these digital channels to help them with their exhibition obligations while, at the same time, seeking for them to remain exempt from regulatory scrutiny. That's simply not tenable.
5878 And while the lack of certain data on the public record makes the Commission's task harder, CBC/Radio-Canada hasn't placed anything on the public record that suggests that it is already maximizing its contribution and can't accept higher obligations.
5879 When CBC/Radio-Canada failed to live up to its commitments in being granted permission to air radio advertising, in 2016 the Commission ended that experiment.
5880 Nous comprenons que la supervision réglementaire de CBC Radio-Canada n'est pas une mince tâche. Toutefois, le radiodiffuseur public a démontré par ses actions qu’il ne suit pas intrinsèquement son mandat de service public tout en se servant de ses crédits parlementaires significatifs pour le faire.
5881 We observe that -- the CBC Radio-Canada leaning in towards becoming more commercial, and less distinctive. A mandate-driven public broadcaster can complement our shared broadcasting system well. A market-driven CBC/Radio-Canada negatively disrupts an already challenged private broadcasting sector and undermines all of our ability to -- to appropriately serve the public.
5882 So we have provided our specific recommendations in our intervention. I'd like to thank the Commission for undertaking this vital process, and I'd be pleased to answer your questions at this time.
5883 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sorry, need to get myself off mute. It's a new hearing week. Get the buttons -- get back in control of the buttons.
5884 Thank you very much. Merci beaucoup. Vice-Chair Simard I believe has some questions for you.
5885 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
5886 Thank you for your presentation. Thank you for your intervention. Merci beaucoup pour votre présentation, votre intervention. Très apprécié.
5887 So in your intervention, you say that CBC Radio-Canada should at the minimum have at least the same, if not higher, obligations than private broadcasters. I understand as well that this is -- like you propose a baseline, a baseline plus, and also an absolute baseline. So I would like in the following minutes to clarify this proposal with you.
5888 So as I understand it, so there is this baseline -- the absolute baseline, so -- which is, as I understand it, it would include, as a minimum, the exhibition requirements to local programming; the exhibition requirements to locally reflective use and information; and as well, some commitments regarding expenditures, so some expenditure commitments to locally reflective news.
5889 So we'll start the discussion with this absolute baseline. I -- I have some questions for you regarding local programming.
5890 So I don't know if you have had the chance to -- if you had the chance last week to listen to the CBC Radio-Canada's I guess intervention and the discussion we had with them, but it became -- it was clearly stated that CBC has exceeded its condition of licence, but many Canadians still feel underserved.
5891 Why do you think that CBC Radio-Canada's current conditions of licence are not sufficient to ensure that it is contributing sufficiently to the broadcasting system? So this is like the -- the first, I guess, broad question. If I want to be a bit -- if you want to be a bit more specific, what I have in mind is the discussion we had about the firm floor that -- that was discussed last week. So do you think that this firm floor is sufficient?
5892 MR. DESJARDINS: I think that -- I think that is something that we can -- we can certainly review what was -- what was stated last week and come back in our follow up intervention with a -- with a -- a clear -- with a clear response on that.
5893 You know, I -- I think that -- that just as a general principle, you know, what concerns us is that we're seeing the public broadcaster looking for -- for less oversight and -- and fewer conditions of licence and fewer exhibition requirements and stretching those exhibition requirements out across to platforms where we're not entirely sure exactly how it is that they would intend to quantify what -- what amounts to exhibition.
5894 So you know, for -- for us, it -- it is something where I -- I think that there is a concern in the -- the degree to which the -- the flexibility maybe no longer serves the public interest, and -- and again, I would bring it back to this question of, you know, are -- is this flexibility being sought so that they can pursue a strategy that is more market driven in order to compete with private broadcasters. Which to us is not their role, and -- and it certainly is -- is not something that -- that puts them in a complementary position to us.
5895 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So as a minimum, when I read your intervention it became clear that as the minimum your view is that there is a need for exhibition requirements, but in addition to that, spending requirements as well. So could you confirm that, please?
5896 MR. DESJARDINS: Yes. I think -- given that there are exhibition, or sorry, that there are expenditure requirements for private broadcasters, we would see no reason why it is that the -- that the public broadcaster would -- would not have exhibition requirements, or sorry, expenditure requirements as well, sorry. But yeah, given -- given that -- and I believe in our intervention we -- we have stated that we believe that those -- those exhibition requirements should be at least what private broadcasters do, and perhaps more, given the -- the role of the public broadcaster.
5897 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. And -- for -- for the record, just to clarify, in your opinion, would those exhibition requirements be imposed on the -- the commercial revenues, the public one, both of them? Like how do you see that?
5898 MR. DESJARDINS: So we can come back to you on that, but I would -- I would say that we would consider their parliamentary appropriation part of their -- of their revenues. And obviously, it's -- it's a significant advantage that they have over the rest of the industry. There's a -- there's $1.2 Billion at the very least that is there at their disposal each year, regardless of -- of their performance. So -- so obviously we would think that -- that they should be using that parliamentary -- that parliamentary money in such a way to fulfill their requirements.
5899 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Good. Okay, thank you. Now, I would like to clarify another point that was in your intervention. You stressed the importance that the exhibition requirements apply to locally reflective news and information. Could you confirm that, please? And if it is the case, could you give us a bit more detail on that?
5900 MR. DESJARDINS: Yes. So -- so that is the case that we would see that -- that they would need to -- to provide locally reflective news and information programming. This is something that is being asked of private broadcasters, and again, it's -- it's another instance where, you know, we would certainly see no reason why it is that the -- that the -- the public broadcaster would have a -- a less of a public service requirement than the private broadcasters. You know, and in fact, if anything they should likely have more.
5901 We did hear in the hearing last week where there was some splitting of hairs in terms of locally reflective versus regionally relevant or whatever the terminology was at that point.
5902 You know, I think that, again as a general principle, there are areas in Canada, which just by virtue of the fact that there isn’t necessarily the market there for private broadcasters to serve in some of these communities -- like the North I think is a good example of that -- that CBC, as part of their complementary role and certainly to their mandate, should be able to provide locally reflected news and information to those areas and areas where they wouldn’t be competing directly with private broadcasters.
5903 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you, I will get back to that a bit later.
5904 But for now, I’m trying to assess your position in a context where CBC/Radio-Canada has also like a mandate -- how could I put that; sorry.
5905 I’ll just rephrase my question. So like local news are of the greatest importance right now in Canada. That’s a fact. You said that in your intervention, and I think that everyone agrees with that.
5906 At the same time, I’m trying to get a better understanding of your view in terms of balancing, you know, those obligations by the Public Broadcaster to offer local news; but at the same time, to provide Canadians with regional, national, and international news.
5907 So what is your view in terms of finding the right balance with all those types of news?
5908 MR. DESJARDINS: So I think again as we go back to the resources that the Public Broadcaster has at their disposal, they certainly have had the resources over the years to build a strong -- a strong network of news gathering and information sharing.
5909 So you know obviously I think that there is an ability for them with the resources that they have at present to be able to fulfill, you know, all of those mandates.
5910 And you know, ultimately, we know from the point of view of private broadcasters how critical local news and information is; and especially in a year like this. You know, we’ve spoken of the fact that we’re in the midst of a pandemic, but it’s one that has sort of expressed itself very locally.
5911 And so you know whether that’s the news at the top of the hour that the private broadcasters are providing on some stations or if it’s the personalities on the drive-time shows were reflecting on what has been communicated from governments in terms of the latest guidance, that’s really critical and very locally focused.
5912 So you know, I think for us we don’t necessarily see that there is -- that there are challenges that cannot be overcome by the resources that the CBC/Radio-Canada already has at their disposal in terms of news gathering and news distribution.
5913 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you.
5914 So if I understand, this is the absolute baseline, so the local programming.
5915 On top of that, you talk as well about the baseline itself -- and this baseline encompasses as well the PNI, CPE, French language groups with respect to original programming expenditure requirements, and finally percentage of revenue contribution to factor in Musicaction, en français.
5916 So I guess I have for you the same question I just had regarding the need to balance various elements. In this case, how would you balance the requirements on PNI with requirements on news? So how would you do that?
5917 MR. DESJARDINS: Well, that feels more like a question for the CBC/Radio-Canada themselves. Again, that’s really -- you know, we don’t want to do their strategic planning for them. That’s really for them to undertake.
5918 Ultimately for us, we don’t see that, given the parliamentary appropriation that they have, that there is a crisis in terms of how it is that they find the resources to undertake all of these ---
5919 And it sounds, when you list it off, as though that’s a lot. That’s nothing -- that’s nothing more than is generally being required of private broadcasters, for the most part.
5920 And again, we would see that given their complementary role within the system and, you know, that really some of those obligations that they have should probably be higher than those of the private broadcasters.
5921 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So I have an additional question for you regarding expenditure requirements.
5922 We talked about expenditure requirements applicable to news. Now, could you tell us how important the expenditure requirements are, like, more broadly for the -- I guess the whole in upcoming regulatory scheme applicable to CBC/Radio-Canada?
5923 So how important this component is -- how important it is in your whole proposal?
5924 MR. DESJARDINS: So I would say that -- you know, I think that these requirements -- can I maybe ask for you to clarify? What -- it sounds on a certain level as though you’re asking whether or not if those requirements are important to us or whether or not if they could kind of fall off.
5925 Is that kind of the crux of the question?
5926 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Again, I have read your intervention, and there is a list of recommendations. And I’m just trying -- and in the intervention you refer to the “baseline”. And as I understand it, at some point, you said -- you know, there’s this, you know, absolute baseline if, what I understand, if we cannot go as far as what it is proposed for the baseline.
5927 And in addition to that, you also propose what it seems to me a baseline plus.
5928 So I’m just trying to assess the level of importance of all those components.
5929 MR. DESJARDINS: Yeah, you know, I mean I think that one of the things in the coming weeks, as you’re hearing from a number of the other groups and especially those representing the production community and the various guilds, and what not, I think that that’s a question that, you know, in terms of the importance, that’s going to be something that’s going to be conveyed quite clearly to you at that time.
5930 You know, for us, it’s -- I think it’s a matter of striking a balance of fairness in terms of, you know, what exists for private broadcasters and what should exist for the Public Broadcaster.
5931 You know, I think that, for us, there’s concern that we see when there’s discussion about spreading out exhibition requirements over platforms that aren’t -- that are currently exempt from regulation.
5932 And I think it sends a signal to us in terms of, you know, the mindset and the direction of the public broadcaster. And on that level, I think that that’s why it’s important for us to see that there are expenditure requirements there that compel them to make sure that they are living up to their mandate and their obligations.
5933 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much.
5934 Now, I’m going to dig a bit more on this baseline plus, with -- which as I understand it refers to the CBC’s Radio-Canada’s proposal regarding the digital services. So in your intervention you said that, should CBC Radio-Canada wish to continue to operate its digital services, pursuant to the digital exemption and in compliance with its mandate, you submit -- you submitted that such permission should only be granted on the condition that CBC Radio-Canada’s level of investment in conventional radio and television services be maintained.
5935 So in your opinion, would there be a need for additional conditions?
5936 MR. DESJARDINS: Additional conditions if -- additional conditions if they were allowed the -- is this allowed the digital ---
5937 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Correct.
5938 MR. DESJARDINS: Yeah.
5939 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes.
5940 MR. DESJARDINS: I mean, you know, I would go back to the baseline of what it is that we’re -- that we’re saying. You know, I think for us, the concept of stretching exhibition requirements across digital -- to digital platforms, is you know, at this point for us it’s very hard to conceive of that, and so I really don’t want to necessarily get into horse trading based on that.
5941 So you know, I think again it goes back to us to ensure that there are -- that CBC and Radio-Canada are spending, you know, the share that they should, that they are focussed on providing local programming, as well that that programming is distinctive and complementary to the programming that private broadcasters provide.
5942 So I wouldn’t want to -- I wouldn’t really want to go down that road. It’s something that potentially we could take a look at, you know, we could take a look at your question in the -- you know, in our reply phase. But I wouldn’t -- I certainly wouldn’t feel comfortable going down that road at this moment.
5943 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. And feel free to just let me know if you don’t feel comfortable to answer the next question. But I want to give you the opportunity to provide some input regarding this question.
5944 So if we were -- if it were decided that we would be moving in this direction, do you have any views in how we should be -- what should be the -- how we could measure success? So we talked a lot about that last week, and it was at some point raised that this could be challenging because, for example, like hours in the online environment is not the same as in the traditional environment. So do you have any views on that, on the measurement itself, or no?
5945 MR. DESJARDINS: I think we would really just submit that this is -- this would be very difficult at this point, to be able to quantify, you know, if you’re talking about extended exhibition conceptually into -- into a digital platform, you know? I don’t even think that we’ve begun to have that discussion about how you do that, you know, what are the aspects of, you know, discoverability that you have to consider, you know, is that on a free tier, or is that in a premium tier?
5946 You know, I -- there’s so many questions around that concept that I think -- I think it requires a lot more thought and discussion, and I certainly don’t think that there is any sort of easy equivalency that you can draw between linear or conventional exhibition and placing something effectively on a digital shelf and ---
5947 MS. ROY: I’m sorry.
5948 MR. DESJARDINS: Yeah, sorry.
5949 MS. ROY: I’m very sorry to interrupt you, but we need to take a very short break because we have one Commissioner that is disconnected. So we’re just going to take a short break and we will be back in two minutes. Just stay connected. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 10:35 a.m./
L'audience est suspendue à 10h35
--- Upon resuming at 10:48 a.m./
L'audience est reprise à 10h48
5950 MS. ROY: Mr. Chairman, we are back. We can continue.
5951 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Madam Secretary. Merci, madame la secrétaire.
5952 We'll resume with Madam Simard's questions. Our apologies for the short technical delay.
5953 Madam Simard.
5954 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
5955 So perhaps we -- we could continue with the question regarding the -- the measurement of success.
5956 So perhaps, if you feel comfortable, could you just provide us with any additional information you may feel relevant for the public record.
5957 MR. DESJARDINS: Yes. So in terms of -- of measuring success on -- on the digital platforms? I believe that's where we ---
5958 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes.
5959 MR. DESJARDINS: --- left off. And again, I would -- I would restate that I think at this point it's -- that's a deeper discussion than I think -- that -- that I think that we need to have. You know, I -- I don't think that we need see that there is an immediate equivalency between -- between linear -- linear exhibition and having something on an online platform, essentially on an online shelf. So, you know, very difficult for us at this point to -- to comment on that.
5960 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you, Mr. Desjardins. Next question is very specific, and it refers to paragraph 32 of your intervention. I don't know if you have it with you.
5961 MR. DESJARDINS: I do.
5962 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes. Okay, so for the -- the record, I will just read the paragraph. So paragraph 32:
5963 "As the Commission is well aware, private broadcasters are also increasingly adapting a cross-platform programming approach, but instead of reducing the licence requirements as a consequence, the Commission increased them in 2017 and 2018 renewal and reconsideration proceedings." (As read)
5964 Could you clarify this for us? What do you mean by that?
5965 MR. DESJARDINS: Yeah. I may turn this over to my counsel, Mr. Miller, if possible, just....
5966 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, of course.
5967 MR. DESJARDINS: Sure. I think he's on the line. He just has to be let in.
5968 MS. ROY: No, he is there.
5969 Mr. Miller, can you hear us?
5970 MR. MILLER: I can hear you. Can you hear me?
5971 MS. ROY: I can hear you.
5972 MR. MILLER: You seem to be controlling my video though.
5973 MS. ROY: Here you go. You can just accept it. Perfect.
5974 MR. MILLER: Thank you, Jade.
5975 Thank you, Madam Vice-Chair. Let me start by giving a bit of policy context on that statement and some of the exchanges we've been having.
5976 Since the corporation's last renewal, there has been a very fundamental evolution in television policy. There have been at least five major policy proceedings that has reshaped how the Commission looks at the regulation of television for those with the Let's Talk TV proceeding, and then soon thereafter was the local and community television proceeding.
5977 And obviously, I can't summarize all the changes, but two of the most fundamental were a shift from exhibition to expenditure requirements. And that shift was not just because group commitments were placed on private broadcasters. That shift was out of a recognition that as a policy tool, as a regulatory tool expenditure requirements were more meaningful in the world we are evolving to.
5978 And in -- if I can just comment briefly on the local community TV policy, one of the fundamental decisions there was that all local stations -- and there was no differentiation made, by the way, between private and public -- all local stations should air and have commitments, both expenditure and exhibition, to locally reflective news.
5979 And so we come to this point, after a series of licence renewals for private broadcasters, where those policies were implemented, both extensive -- expenditure requirements, and specifically, locally reflective news expenditure and exhibition requirements, and the basic point of that statement is to say the same kind of policy reasons for the Commission to develop those policies apply to the corporation, and that there seems to be no policy basis not to do that.
5980 And so when you go through the decisions that were made in respect to private broadcasters, the basic logic would have seemed to suggest that these kinds of measures should also be applied to the corporation, because otherwise, we'll have this bizarre situation where in many respects private broadcasters actually have more obligations than the public broadcaster.
5981 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: So if I understand correctly, this leads us to your baseline, your proposed baseline; right?
5982 MR. MILLER: It leads to the baseline, and it leads to, of course, the big question that this hearing is grappling with, which is what to do with digital services. And obviously, that is new ground for the Commission and for public policy. And we suggested a couple of baseline, if you will, to use your term, recommendations in respect of that and the discussion that you're having and the questions that Commissioner Lafontaine asked about in terms of, for example, the possibility of a cross-platform expenditure could -- and there are obviously that we believe has to be looked at seriously.
5983 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Miller.
5984 My next question refers to your paragraph 57 in your intervention where you submit that a clear expectation should be placed on CBC Radio-Canada that new local, digital services be targeted to underserved local communities. You -- you refer to a specific example, the Hamilton example.
5985 So could you explain a bit more? Like explain two things, please: So what is your recommendation regarding the -- the underserved local communities, and -- with respect to the digital services? And as well, why do you raise this Hamilton example?
5986 MR. DESJARDINS: So I think that the Hamilton example is illustrative of what some of our concerns are. You know, when the CBC or Radio-Canada are moving into a local market, what should drive that is whether if that market is in need of service, in need of news and information, and not whether or not if this is a market where they can exploit the opportunity, and frankly, exploit the advertising opportunity that -- that is there.
5987 You know, I -- it's part of why -- and obviously this isn't, you know, a shareholder of ours, but -- but you know, the Hamilton Spectator is something that I raised in my remarks today. You know, to have a Hamilton-focussed CBC news hub online that has advertising sold on that, potentially local advertising sold on that, it is something that is negatively disruptive to the advertising market that -- you know, whether if it's the newspapers or especially local radio really rely heavily on, local TV as well though. CHC is a good example of, you know, I think, does exceptional work in terms of providing local coverage for the Hamilton area. So, it's really just -- for us, it's a question of, you know, why is that the market that is targeted as opposed to markets where, you know, where you're potentially -- that are just underserved, maybe growing markets that have not been served by a -- by private broadcasters traditionally, or -- again, as -- I mean, I think the best example is in northern and remote areas where there might not be the rationale for having private broadcasters or local newspapers or whatnot. That's a place where the CBC is really best suited to step in and to fulfil their mandate, to move into markets that are already well served, like, Hamilton. London is the other that we named. To us, it just raises a significant question of, you know, what's the motivation why that's being done.
5988 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: And just to be clear, what is -- what are you proposing, because in your intervention you said that CBC/Radio-Canada should be mandated to work with private local media in any market where it is seeking to extend its local news gathering. So, could you be a bit -- could you clarify this for us?
5989 MR. DESJARDINS: Yeah, I -- you know, I'm not sure what a process in that sense looks like, but I think that if they are -- you know, as a Crown corporation, you know, with their parliamentary appropriation and all the advantages that that brings with them, I think it would be incumbent on the public broadcaster to -- if they are making the strategic decision to move resources, news gathering resources and exhibition resources into a local market, that there should be some capacity to sit down, to meet, to be able to -- to have a discussion with those local entities.
5990 And, you know, and I'm not sure if that raises to the level necessarily of a hearing, but, you know, certainly we know that when -- when a private broadcaster wants to move into a market that's already well served, they don't simply make a strategic decision to do so, you know, that there is a -- there are processes, and perhaps that's -- that for us is just that there needs to be more of a process that's beyond an internal strategic decision.
5991 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you, Mr. Desjardins. So your proposal -- like, in my mind, and correct me if I'm wrong, but in my mind, your proposal refers to a certain kind of symmetry between the public broadcaster and private broadcasters. So my question for you is how do you envision the next group-based licence proceeding? So, are there obligations currently only on CBC/Radio-Canada which should be taken on by large ownership groups, if you posit logic?
5992 MR. DESJARDINS: Yeah, which, you know, I'll confess that I struggle with that logic, and to be frank, you know, the -- there are large ownership groups within private broadcasting, but I think that you have to recognise that there are many different size ownership groups within private broadcasting. I know that you'll be hearing from some of them a little later on in this process. So, and, you know, in terms of, you know, well-resourced and well-financed broadcasting entities, if we look at the Parliamentary appropriation of the CBC/Radio-Canada, I don't think that there is any that is as well resourced as the public broadcaster, so, you know, in terms of flipping obligations onto the private groups, I'm not sure that we follow that logic.
5993 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you. My last question for you this morning refers to children and youth programming. You stated that the CBC/Radio-Canada should maintain its exhibition requirements related to children's and youth programming. Could you expand a bit more on that, and also tell us what you think about I guess the rules that should apply to ensure that it remains transparent and accountable to Canadians, that the -- that, sorry, CBC and Radio-Canada remains transparent and accountable to Canadians with regard to children and youth programming?
5994 MR. DESJARDINS: Yes, so, you know, at the foundation of this is just that we did see within their proposals that they had asked for, I think beyond a reduction, a complete abandonment of that, at the very least, some reduction on children and youth programming. And to us, we don't see really the rationale in any sort of reduction in that area, you know, or moving anything -- any sort of requirement over to the -- over to the digital platforms.
5995 You know, and in terms of reporting, I think that just as a general principle, we have said, you know, kind of across the board that, you know, not all of the data is always -- has always been accessible to us. Sometimes it does take some time for it to become accessible. Certainly, I think that the amount that was being spent on digital undertakings was something that we had been seeking for some time, and it was only just recently that we got access to that sort of information. So I -- and my sense is that we're not the only ones who have that level of frustration with the transparency involved.
5996 So, you know, so, you know, as specific to the children and youth requirements, I don't know that there's anything really specific on that that we could -- that I could speak to at the moment, but just as a general principle for us, it's ensuring that there is a high degree of transparency, and in fact, maybe the highest degree of transparency on the public broadcaster just by virtue of their role within the system.
5997 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Desjardins. Thank you, Mr. Miller, for your participation to this hearing.
5998 Mr. Chairman?
5999 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Madam Simard. I don't know if any of the other members have questions.
6000 I have a quick follow up, if I may. I just want to come back to the question the Vice-Chair asked you about the extension of new services into, for example, you raised Hamilton and London as examples in your response. And not to put words in your mouth, but the gist of it is there's already enough news there, there is coverage. And I just -- doesn't quite sit right with me in terms of isn't more news better than less news, more sources of reliable news?
6001 And maybe a second part to that question, you emphasised coverage in the north, which is certainly -- and remote areas, which is certainly a laudable objective. But based on the discussions with the corporation last week, they certainly emphasised the point that they have an obligation to serve all Canadians in all markets, so I just wonder how you square that circle.
6002 MR. DESJARDINS: Well, I think to start with, you know, for us it is really that we see that there is a complementary role for the -- for the public broadcaster. And again, as I say, it's -- it goes to our concerns about what is driving the decision on why they move into certain markets. And you know, is more news -- is more news better? Perhaps, but I guess the question is, is what is the -- what is the disruptive result of having the public broadcaster move into a market where there's already -- you know, that is already being well served, you know, that they become a competitor not just for -- not just for news and information viewers, but, you know, for advertisers, for talent on-air or written or otherwise.
6003 And I think that the question is, is, you know, how do you balance that off, the benefit of having an extra -- an additional news source in a market that's well served in large cities of, you know, 250,000 residents or more versus -- and again, if you were to ask why it is that there are certain markets that are under-served, they would say, "Well, we don't have the resources for it".
6004 Well, it's a question of, do they have the -- do they not have the resources or are they not applying the resources into places that could -- that could use them.
6005 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you for your response.
6006 I have no further questions, and thank you very much, both, for your presentation and your responses to our questions.
6007 Madam la secrétaire, we'll take a 15-minute break now, returning at 25 after.
6008 MS. ROY: Perfect. Thank you.
6009 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
--- Upon recessing at 11:10 a.m. /
L'audience est suspendue à 11h10
--- Upon resuming at 11:24 p.m. /
L'audience est reprise à 11 h 24
6010 Mme ROY: Bonjour. Nous entendrons maintenant la présentation de la Société nationale de l’Acadie.
6011 Vous pouvez débuter. Vous avez 10 minutes pour votre présentation.
6012 PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
6013 Mme IMBEAULT: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le Commissaire, Mesdames les Commissaires. Merci beaucoup de me donner l’occasion de présenter le point de vue des Acadiens et des Acadiennes sur le renouvellement des permis de Radio-Canada.
6014 La Société nationale de l’Acadie, que je préside depuis maintenant trois ans et demi, est une organisation qui représente les intérêts des Acadiens et des Acadiennes depuis 1881, donc on n’est pas nés de la dernière pluie, et les éléments dont je veux vous entretenir aujourd'hui ont été répétés maintes et maintes fois.
6015 Je suis aussi une ancienne journaliste et une directrice de Radio-Canada pour les provinces de l’Atlantique pendant presque que 25 ans et alors il n’y a à peu près rien que je vais pouvoir vous dire aujourd'hui que je n’ai pas déjà entendu moi-même à la direction de Radio-Canada et que je sais qui a été répété maintes et maintes fois au CRTC.
6016 Je veux vous dire aussi que je suis née à Moncton il y a déjà pas mal longtemps et que, enfants à Moncton, on devait écouter la radio en anglais, CKCW, c’était la seule station disponible, et mes parents m’avaient dit : « Louise, quand tu seras en âge d’aller à l’école, on aura une station de radio en français pour qu’on puisse écouter les nouvelles en français et pour que l’assimilation galopante chez les Acadiens et chez les Acadiennes puisse être stoppée », et ça, c’est en 1954.
6017 C'est vous dire, donc, que la Société nationale de l’Acadie lutte et réclame une station, des stations, des services en français de Radio-Canada depuis pas mal longtemps, et il n’y a rien qui s’est passé sans qu’on n’en ait fait la demande, sans qu’on n’ait fait les représentations, que ce soit la radio en 54, ou la télévision en 1959, ou les centres de production dans les années 70. Toujours, c’est venu à force de représentations et de réclamations, des représentations et des réclamations qui s’appuyaient sur le fait que, étant des populations dispersées, minoritaires, les services publics étaient la réponse à nos besoins; les services privés, les entreprises privées n’arriveraient pas à se subventionner, à avoir les revenus nécessaires.
6018 Alors, c’est pour ça que, aujourd'hui, je n’hésite pas du tout à appuyer le renouvellement des permis de Radio-Canada – je pense que vous pouvez comprendre le contexte dans lequel nous sommes. Aujourd'hui, la station régionale de Radio-Canada basée à Moncton a trois centres de production et diffuse sur les quatre provinces de l’Atlantique, mais c’est une diffusion régionale – parfois plus provinciale, parfois régionale. Je pourrais rentrer dans les détails, si vous le désirez, mais je pense que l’important du message, c'est que nous avons une station régionale forte et qui est unique parce qu’elle couvre les quatre provinces de l’Atlantique, et donc, a un mandat atlantique. Pour nous, c’est Radio-Canada Acadie parce qu’elle rejoint tous les francophones sur le territoire des provinces atlantiques. Donc, pour me reprendre, si vous voulez, on appuie le renouvellement des permis.
6019 Cependant, comme la lutte pour obtenir les services a été longue, les reproches qu’on fait à Radio-Canada sont aussi nombreux et sont répétés à chaque audience, et je pense que vous connaissez mieux que moi les archives du CRTC, mais vous pourriez retourner en arrière et voir qu’à chacune des… à chacun des renouvellements de permis de Radio-Canada, les Acadiens et les Acadiennes se sont présentés pour demander de meilleurs services, plus de services, et toujours, quand la société a été menacée de baisses de revenus, de baisses de subventions, on s’est levés pour dire à quel point le service public était important pour nous.
6020 Donc, notre deuxième recommandation, qui est dans le mémoire qu’on a soumis au mois de février l’année dernière, c’est bien que les renouvellements de permis soient assortis d’exigences de rendement. On appelle ça des fois des conditions de licence; pour nous, vraiment, c’est des exigences de rendement avec des indicateurs – et ça peut se faire, ça existe. La Société s’est toujours refusée à ça, mais je pense que maintenant le temps est venu parce que, d’une part, il y a beaucoup de frustrations, même si on est des auditeurs, des auditrices, des téléspectateurs/téléspectatrices assidus, il y a beaucoup de frustrations. Je pense que vous allez en entendre parler au cours de ces audiences. Donc, des indicateurs de rendement, c’est notre deuxième recommandation.
6021 La troisième, qui découle d’observations et non pas de chiffres parce qu’on ne les a pas, mais il semble que le recrutement dans les dernières années, le recrutement à Radio-Canada s’est fait… – et toujours, je parle de Radio-Canada, mais mon intervention ne touche pas du tout la CBC, mais bien Radio-Canada –, on a pu remarquer que le recrutement des journalistes et des autres personnes à l’antenne avait été centralisé, ce qui fait que le nombre de jeunes issus de nos milieux qui sont maintenant à l’antenne a beaucoup diminué. On ne s’entend plus beaucoup à Radio-Canada.
6022 Bien sûr, la Société acadienne n’a pas d’objection à du recrutement national, à la diversification, mais on voudrait faire partie de cette diversification-là, on voudrait que nos accents s’entendent aussi à Radio-Canada.
6023 Donc, recrutement décentralisé avec l’opportunité pour des jeunes, que ce soit des recherchistes, des animateurs, des journalistes, pour qu’on puisse les entendre et les voir à l’écran. C’était notre troisième recommandation.
6024 La quatrième est peut-être la plus difficile à expliquer parce que, bien que les services régionaux donnent une couverture, je pense, assez étendue du territoire atlantique, les reproches qu’on fait à la Société s’entendent aussi sur le fait qu’on se voit très peu à l’antenne nationale, et pour que le pays fonctionne bien, pour que nous, on puisse se sentir partie intégrante de Radio-Canada, il faut que les informations qui nous concernent soient diffusées régionalement, mais qu’elles soient aussi à la tête du réseau, sur les émissions dites « réseau ».
6025 Et ça m’amène là à vous dire que notre perception, c’est que Montréal, qui est la tête de réseau, Montréal se comporte comme une grosse station régionale et utilise les ondes pour parler au public montréalais qui est le public le plus nombreux, on le sait très bien, c'est pour ça qu’à Montréal il devrait y avoir une distinction claire entre les émissions régionales pour la région de Montréal – on appelle ça le « 5-1-4 » ou un autre dénominateur du service téléphonique –, mais qui a aussi des émissions qui sont nationales, qui doivent être « réseau » et qui doivent refléter l’ensemble du pays.
6026 Et à ce niveau-là, c’est pas seulement sur le plan de l’information, c'est aussi sur le plan de la représentation des personnes, que ce soit nos artistes, comédiens, musiciens, mais dans toutes les formes d’émissions, et là aussi, bien des émissions qui sont pancanadiennes, mais dans leur contenu sont centrées sur Montréal ou sur le Québec, ils font… et, par ricochet, nous excluent. Il n’y a pas nécessairement de volonté de nous exclure, on l’entend, mais il n’y a pas d’efforts d’inclusion. C'est pour ça qu’on parle qu’il faut qu’il y ait des indicatifs de rendement.
6027 Je pourrais peut-être ajouter à ce niveau-là que je pense que le Conseil d’administration, la haute direction de Radio-Canada est sans doute tout à fait au courant à la fois de nos demandes et de nos plaintes, mais je pense que cette réalité-là ne se rend pas jusqu’aux animateurs, aux artisans, aux artisanes de Radio-Canada, les personnes qui font les contenus d’émission, et c'est eux et elles qui ont besoin d’être sensibilisés à notre existence, d’une part, parce que souvent ils ignorent notre existence, où on se situe, à quoi on pense, qu’est-ce qu’on fait, et, n’invitant pas nos artistes, nos musiciens, nos comédiens à participer, nuisent au développement de la société acadienne de façon générale.
6028 Et finalement, c’était ça notre cinquième recommandation parce que Radio-Canada commande beaucoup de ces émissions auprès des producteurs indépendants, c'est une donnée nouvelle des 20-25 dernières années où toute la production ne se fait pas à l’interne, mais se fait aussi à l’externe avec des producteurs indépendants, mais ces producteurs indépendants là doivent recevoir le mandat de refléter l’ensemble du pays dans leurs productions.
6029 Alors, c'est nos cinq recommandations, elles sont faites en toute bonne foi, mais avec un peu de fatigue je dirais. Parce que, ça fait longtemps et plusieurs années, que les Acadiens, les Acadiennes et, je pense, les francophones de l’ensemble du pays recommandent, demandent une meilleure représentation à l’antenne. Et pas seulement pour les questions de la francophonie, mais pour tout ce qui touche notre statut de citoyen et citoyenne de ce pays. Alors merci beaucoup, puis je suis bien prête à répondre à vos questions.
6030 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup. Merci pour la présentation. Je pense que Mme Barin avait des questions pour vous.
6031 Mme ROY : Madame Barin, je crois que votre caméra… Oui. Et vous êtes sur sourdine.
6032 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : Je m’excuse.
6033 Mme ROY : Parfait.
6034 Mme IMBEAULT : Les joies de la technologie.
6035 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : C’est bien ça. Alors je reprends. Je vous souhaite la bienvenue à cette audience virtuelle, Madame Imbeault. Merci beaucoup pour votre participation à ce processus, pour votre intervention écrite et aussi pour votre présentation orale ce matin. Le conseil est très intéressé de recevoir des commentaires de partout au Canada et bien sûr de l’Acadie. J’ai quelques questions d’ordre générales pour vous ce matin. Et je vous ai écouté, vous avez soumise, dans votre intervention, les recommandations que vous avez passées à travers, ce matin. Alors… Et j’entends votre frustration.
6036 J’aimerais savoir, est-ce que vous avez, ou pouvez, ou… Est-ce que vous pouvez formuler des suggestions précises, ou des conditions. Vous avez parlé des conditions de licence. Est-ce que vous pouvez nous donner plus de précisions sur ce que vous, vous suggérez imposer à Radio-Canada, pour s’assurer que la programmation reflète mieux les réalités des Acadiens, et ça sur toutes les plateformes ? Je vous écoute.
6037 Mme IMBEAULT : Oui. Je vous remercie de poser cette question-là. C’est pour ça qu’on a parlé d’indicateurs de rendement, parce qu’on le sait bien que des conditions de licence c’est coercitif peut-être, mais des indicateurs de rendement par contre, ça nous permet tout le monde de participer au processus.
6038 Et je vais retourner plusieurs années en arrière, parce que j’étais là à ce moment donné là, mais les groupes de femmes à travers le pays se plaignaient de la représentation des femmes aux antennes de Radio-Canada. Plaignait du fait que cette représentation-là était vraiment minime, n’était pas diversifiée, était d’une seule couleur, tout ça. Et le CRTC nous avait demandé d’étudier cette question-là et ça se fait. On peut faire l’analyse des émissions, on peut compter qu’est-ce qui est dit, qu’est-ce qui est représenté, qu’est-ce qui est vu. Et c’est ce qu’on propose qui devrait se faire, non pas pour proposer des quotas, parce que je pense que ça, on a tous une réaction épidermique. On ne veut pas de quotas. Mais de dire qu’on va représenter mieux, parce qu’on compte la provenance des reportages, parce qu’on compte les invités qui sont à l’antenne, parce qu’on compte les sujets qui sont abordés, parce qu’on compte la région d’où les sujets proviennent. Ça se fait, c'est pas de la magie noire puis c’est pas de la physique quantique non plus. C’est une volonté de dire, est-ce que véritablement on représente l’ensemble du pays ? Est-ce que véritablement, on a cette conscience que le pays ne se limite pas au Québec ?
6039 Quand les émissions sont faites pour le territoire québécois, c’est une chose. Quand les émissions sont faites, puis là j’englobe la radio, la télévision, l’internet, quand c’est fait pour l’ensemble du pays, ça doit refléter l’ensemble du pays.
6040 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : Merci. Alors si je peux reprendre en quelques mots ce que vous dites, ce n’est pas nécessairement des conditions de licence que vous suggérez, c’est plutôt un suivi, ou une mesure, pour s’assurer qu’il y a une représentation de la société acadienne. Mais… Est-ce que c’est bien ça ?
6041 Mme IMBEAULT : Oui, c’est ça. Parce que je sais à quel point, et ça c’est peut-être ma formation, ou ma déformation de journaliste, mais je sais à quel point des conditions de licence, ça peut être vraiment difficile de… Parce que c’est coercitif. C’est, vous avez des conditions, si vous ne les respectez pas, vous perdez vos licences.
6042 Pour nous, Radio-Canada est tellement important, c’est une… c’est un média essentiel. Alors on ne veut pas que ce soit assujetti à ça, mais on voudrait quand même être entendu, parce que ça fait des années et des années qu’on répète la même chose. Alors s’il faut aller à des conditions de licence, si le CRTC juge que c’est ça, faites-le, mais nous, ce n’est pas ce qu’on demande. On demande d’être entendu puis que ce qu’on a entendu de nous, que ce soit formulé dans des plans d’action, dans des rencontres de sensibilisation, dans des formations et que ça, ensuite, transparaisse à l’écran, à l’audio, sur les plateformes internet.
6043 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : Merci. Et alors, pour que ça soit un succès, selon vous, qu’est-ce que vous suggérez qu’on mesure ?
6044 Mme IMBEAULT : Oui.
6045 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : Eum… Allez-y.
6046 Mme IMBEAULT : Vous savez, à travers le pays, Radio-Canada a des stations régionales partout, des journalistes sur tout le territoire. Il y a effectivement un effet où il y a plus de reportages qu’on est capable d’en diffuser. C’est, dans certaines émissions, c’est pour ça qu’il y a des stations régionales et des têtes de réseau. Mais la tête de réseau ne doit pas répéter dans les émissions réseau, ce qui s’est déjà dit dans les émissions régionales, qui sont pour un public montréalais ou québécois. Alors on peut… On est capable de mesurer ça. Ces choses-là se mesurent parce que Radio-Canada a les outils pour couvrir l’ensemble du pays, pour faire écho à ce qui se passe ailleurs que dans la cour arrière de Montréal.
6047 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : Eum…
6048 Mme IMBEAULT : Est-ce que j’ai bien compris votre question ? Ou peut-être pas ?
6049 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : Oui, mais en fait, si possible, j’aimerais savoir de, de… Vous avez parlé de, le reflet des Acadiens dans les programmes nationaux, aussi de l’embauche de journalistes locaux. Alors c’est ce type de… Ce type de… En fait, ce que j’aimerais savoir c’est, quels autres éléments est-ce que vous pensez, devraient être mesurés pour ultimement arriver à bien suivre les activités de Radio-Canada, pour s’assurer de ce reflet régional ?
6050 Mme IMBEAULT : Peut-être si je vous donne un exemple dans un autre type d’émission. Il y a des millions de Canadiens actuellement qui écoutent, ce que j’appelle moi, la grand-messe du dimanche soir, c'est-à-dire Tout le monde en parle, une fois par semaine, beaucoup de monde. Je mettrais au défi de me dire la représentation des francophones de l’est ou de l’ouest du pays, qui auraient été invités, ne serait-ce qu’une seule fois dans cette émission. Le bassin des personnes qui sont invitées à cette émission-là est très petit et je gage qu’il y aurait plus de Français de France, invités dans cette émission-là, qu’il y a de canadiens des autres provinces. Avec des romans, ou avec des performances, ou avec des éléments culturels importants.
6051 C’est pour ça, et ça, ça peut se… Ça peut se compter. Puis on… Et ce n’est pas faute de l’avoir dit, ç’a été dit, Radio-Canada fait régulièrement des tournées au pays, pour entendre ce que le public a à dire de ses émissions. La dernière fois, je pense que c’était en mai 2019. Les choses que je vous ai dites aujourd’hui, ont été dit à ce moment-là, mais dans les mois qui ont suivi, il y a très peu qui a changé, si, il y a quelque chose qui a changé.
6052 Est-ce que ça répond mieux à votre préoccupation ?
6053 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : Oui.
6054 Mme IMBEAULT : Parce que là, ça peut se compter. Je peux vous donner un autre exemple, si vous voulez. Chaque station régionale, ou presque toutes les stations régionales ont une émission du matin, du lundi au vendredi. Ou des fois, le samedi est inclus, de 6 à 9. Le dimanche, cette émission-là est réseau. Bien pour nous, on n’a pas le sentiment qu’on est inclus dans cette émission-là. Je parle de l’émission du matin, le 6 à 9, qui est tellement important, dans tous les médias. Si on ne s’y retrouve pas, ça veut dire que le dimanche on est exclus.
6055 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN : Alors si je comprends bien, c’est vraiment de compter le contenu local, qui se trouve parmi la programmation de Radio-Canada.
6056 Mme IMBEAULT : Je ne voudrais pas vous induire en erreur, ç’est pas juste compter le contenu parce qu’il y a la provenance des gens, les experts qui sont interviewés, le type de questions qu’on pose.
6057 Puis il y a aussi les références; les références à est-ce que ça ressemble à ceci ou à cela? Quand les références sont toujours les mêmes, on peut les reconnaître mais on peut se sentir exclu aussi.
6058 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Merci beaucoup. J’ai bien compris.
6059 Alors, Madame Imbeault, Radio-Canada actuellement a des obligations de consulter les communautés en situation… de langue officielle en situation minoritaire, comme les Acadiens aussi. Ils ont des rapports à rendre au conseil.
6060 Est-ce que vous, vous avez de l’expérience; est-ce que vous avez participé à ce type de consultation déjà avec Radio-Canada? Et si oui, est-ce que vous pouvez nous en parler si vous pensez que ce type de consultation a été utile et si c’est quelque chose qui devrait être continué dans le futur?
6061 Mme IMBEAULT: Oui, j’ai participé et plus qu’une fois, plusieurs fois. Et oui, je pense que c’est utile mais je pense que c’est utile dans la mesure où Radio-Canada… la direction de Radio-Canada, quand elle vient faire ces consultations-là, se fait accompagner de personnes qui sont à l’antenne de Radio-Canada, soit à la radio, soit à la télé. Et que ces personnes-là entendent elles-mêmes les commentaires que les gens ont à faire.
6062 Je pense que vous connaissez sans doute la tradition journalistique de Radio-Canada mais les journalistes, les animateurs en général se méfient un peu des directives de la direction. Hein, parce qu’on veut rester une radio, une télévision, un internet public, pas d’état, public.
6063 Donc, les artisans veulent leur autonomie de fonctionnement. Alors, il faut que ce soit ces personnes-là qui entendent les commentaires des gens. Bien sûr, la direction peut encadrer tout ça mais il faut que ces consultations-là… et je pense qu’il y a eu quelques progrès, parce que j’ai remarqué que certaines personnes qui sont venues aux consultations intègrent davantage les francophones du pays dans leurs interventions, dans leurs questions.
6064 Mais si on pense que… et je crois que c’est bon ces consultations-là. Il faut que le public qui est invité sente qu’il y a eu des progrès, parce que les gens finissent par dire, « on est allé l’année dernière; on est allé il y a deux ans. Voici ce qu’on a dit. On n’a pas noté d’amélioration. » Si on ne note pas d’amélioration, ça fait… les gens vont refuser de venir, vont écouter ailleurs, vont faire autre chose.
6065 Alors je pense que, pour nous, le service public est un service essentiel mais il doit aussi être à l’écoute et intégrer, pas juste entendre, mais intégrer dans ses émissions les préoccupations qu’on a formulées.
6066 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Merci beaucoup, Madame Imbeault.
6067 Ça fait le tour de mes questions. Je vais maintenant tourner au président pour voir si mes collègues ont d’autres questions pour vous.
6068 Et encore une fois, merci beaucoup d’avoir été ici avec nous, ce matin.
6069 Mme IMBEAULT: Ça me fait plaisir.
6070 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Monsieur le président?
6071 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci, Madame Barin. Est-ce qu’il y a d’autres questions?
6072 Oui, Madame Simard.
6073 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le président.
6074 Merci, Madame Imbeault, pour votre participation. Elle est importante et elle est appréciée. J’aurais quelques petites questions rapides de suivi.
6075 La première c’est une question de clarification. Ce que j’entends de vous c’est que, disons, le manque de reflet des Acadiens à l’écran ne serait pas uniquement une question de budget mais bien une question de sensibilité de culture.
6076 Est-ce que vous pourriez confirmer ça s’il vous plait?
6077 Mme IMBEAULT: Tout à fait. Tout à fait.
6078 Je ne pourrais pas le dire mieux que vous venez de le dire. Mais effectivement et c’est pour ça que je vous ai dit tout à l’heure, c’était peut-être un petit peu caricatural, mais de dire que Montréal, la tête du réseau, les gens qui travaillent à la tête du réseau sont comportent comme une grosse station régionale. C’est-à-dire qu’ils s’adressent à un public montréalais. Ils oublient qu’il y a un public canadien qui est là à l’écoute.
6079 Pas dans toutes les émissions mais toutes émissions qui ont un caractère pancanadien, qui sont diffusées sur tout le réseau.
6080 Alors, c’est exactement ce que vous avez dit.
6081 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait, merci.
6082 Aussi, au niveau de… vous avez parlé de reproches. Est-ce que je peux bien comprendre de votre entretien avec ma collègue, madame Barin, que la problématique se situe au niveau du reflet. C’est un peu moins clair pour moi si la problématique se poursuit également au niveau des nouvelles, la nouvelle locale.
6083 Mme IMBEAULT: Bien, au niveau des nouvelles, je pense qu’il y a, par exemple, pour les provinces de l’Atlantique, on a un seul Téléjournal. Et je pense qu’à l’occasion, des gens qui vivent en Nouvelle-Écosse, à l’Île-du-Prince-Édouard ou à Terre-Neuve trouvent que le Téléjournal Acadie est trop basé sur… ou s’appuie trop sur le Nouveau-Brunswick.
6084 Alors là aussi, il faut avoir cette sensibilité-là et s’assurer qu’on s’adresse à tout le monde.
6085 Alors, ça fait vraiment partie de ce qu’on dit. C’est que les stations régionales sont essentielles. Les stations régionales doivent être protégées, doivent aussi avoir un mandat plus large que les nouvelles seulement, parce que c’est le développement culturel, c’est le développement économique, tout ça.
6086 Mais quand on parle d’émissions réseau, elles doivent refléter l’ensemble du pays; pas dans toutes les émissions, pas tout le temps mais c’est au niveau des animateurs, des animatrices, des recherchistes que ça se passe.
6087 Donc, oui, c’est une question de sensibilité puis c’est une question de formation; d’où une de nos recommandations, que le recrutement pour le personnel ne se fasse pas juste de façon centralisée mais aussi de façon décentralisée.
6088 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait, mais est-ce que je peux comprendre de vos propos que s’il y a à mesurer, disons… en fait, si on doit mesurer l’ampleur des problèmes qui sont devant nous, le problème du reflet est plus important que celui de la nouvelle locale?
6089 Est-ce que je comprends bien ou non?
6090 Mme IMBEAULT: Pour le moment, en tout cas, avec les consultations qu’on a faites, nous, en préparant notre mémoire, c’est vraiment le reflet au réseau qui est problématique. Puis on l’a écrit dans notre mémoire.
6091 Je pense qu’on a tous en tête la dernière élection fédérale, où la tête du réseau a traité ça comme si c’était une élection entre le Québec et le fédéral, alors qu’il y avait deux heures d’antennes qui auraient pu être meublées par des commentaires et tout ça. Parce que les résultats d’élection sortent plus tôt à cause du décalage horaire mais qui auraient pu…
6092 Mais on avait confié l’émission à l’animateur du Téléjournal de Montréal et on lui avait donné une flopée d’analystes qui étaient tous du Québec, sauf une personne de l’Ontario.
6093 Alors déjà la table était mise pour que nous, on ne ressente pas qu’on traitait la soirée électorale comme une vraie soirée électorale pancanadienne où on aurait notre mot à dire.
6094 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Je vous remercie beaucoup, Madame Imbeault.
6095 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci, Madame Simard.
6096 Madame Lafontaine, vous avez une question aussi?
6097 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Oui, merci.
6098 Merci, Monsieur le président. Et merci, Madame Imbeault, pour votre intervention aujourd’hui. C’est très, très apprécié.
6099 Vous avez parlé du manque de reflet des communautés francophones hors-Québec sur les antennes de Radio-Canada.
6100 Vous avez aussi mentionné qu’il y a eu quelques progrès depuis que des consultations régionales ont commencé. J’aimerais savoir si vous pouvez nous donner un ou deux exemples de là où le reflet des francophones hors-Québec, les francophones de l’Acadie, ont été bien reflétés sur les antennes de Radio-Canada?
6101 Je ne sais pas si vous avez des exemples comme ça au bout des doigts mais ce serait aussi très intéressant de savoir qu’est-ce qui vous a plu.
6102 Mme IMBEAULT: Il y a deux exemples qui sont spécifiques à l’Acadie que je peux signifier et dire à quel point c’est apprécié, c’est la diffusion du spectacle du 15 août; le 15 août qui est la Fête nationale de l’Acadie. Quand ce spectacle est diffusé à l’échelle du pays, c’est sûr qu’on considère qu’on est bien représenté.
6103 Et non seulement ça mais on voudrait que ça, ça devienne un peu le pivot pour que de ces artistes-là, qui sont dans cette émission-là, qui est une grande émission généralement, bien soient repris après, soient invités dans d’autres émissions que ce soit En direct de l’univers ou une autre émission.
6104 Mais ça, c’est un exemple. Il y en a un autre qui est un peu de même nature, c’est la question du Gala des Éloizes. Le Gala des Éloizes, c’est un grand gala, mais qui souligne les performances des artistes acadiens, mais dans toutes les disciplines, aussi bien en théâtre qu’en musique, qu’en littérature ou en arts visuels. Quand cette émission-là est diffusée, qu’elle soit diffusée à Radio-Canada ou sur ARTV, on sent évidemment qu’on est bien représentés. Il devrait y avoir, après ces émissions-là, des gens qui sont invités à participer dans d’autres émissions.
6105 Alors, puis si vous me permettez, je vais vous dire que je pense qu’on dirait que la COVID a été bien couverte d’un bout à l’autre du pays, peut-être que les gens en ont un peu ras le bol, mais tous les soirs, on a su quels étaient les résultats, par exemple au Nouveau-Brunswick, en Nouvelle-Écosse ou au Manitoba, ou en Alberta, ou en Colombie-Britannique, et peut-être que ça pourrait devenir, pas un modèle, mais en tout cas une bonne référence pour dire que Radio-Canada a les ressources pour faire ça, est capable de nous donner ce reflet-là.
6106 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Je vous remercie.
6107 LE PRÉSIDENT: Je vous remercie.
6108 CONSEILLÈRE LAFONTAINE: Oui. Merci, Monsieur le Président.
6109 LE PRÉSIDENT: Pardon.
6110 Merci beaucoup, Madame Imbeault. Merci pour votre représentation.
6111 Alors, Madame la Secrétaire, est-ce que nous sommes prêts pour le prochain intervenant?
6112 MME ROY: Oui. Nous ne prendrons seulement qu’une petite pause de 1 minute pour bien connecter et faire la transition, puis on revient dans 1 minute. Merci.
6113 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci.
6114 MME ROY: Merci, Madame Imbeault.
6115 Mme IMBEAULT: Merci beaucoup.
6116 (SHORT PAUSE/COURTE PAUSE)
6117 MS. ROY: Hi Ms. Halley. Can you hear me?
6118 MS. HALLEY: Yes, I can. Can you hear me?
6119 MS. ROY: Yes.
6120 MS. HALLEY: Is it okay?
6121 MS. ROY: Yes, it's perfect.
6122 MS. HALLEY: Okay.
6123 MS. ROY: Thank you very much. We will soon begin.
6124 MS. HALLEY: Okay, good. It's a long day for you.
6125 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madam Secretary, are we ready?
6126 MS. ROY: Yes. Madam Simard? Perfect. So we will start in five, four, three....
6127 Welcome, Ms. Halley. You may begin your presentation. You have five minutes.
6128 PRESENTATION / PRÉSENTATION
6129 MS. HALLEY: I am very grateful to have this opportunity to share my concerns with you today about the biased manner in which the CBC has chosen to cover the ramifications of gender identity policies.
6130 Gender identity legislation, such as the federal Bill C‑16, is being used to strip women of our basic human rights. Women are losing the right to the safety of single sex spaces, such as bathrooms, changing rooms, and even shelters and prisons.
6131 Seemingly overnight an expectation has been decreed that women must accept that a man is a woman if he says he feels like one. Sex based safeguards exist for an obvious reason: males in society frequently prey on females.
6132 Canadians are not being properly informed about the erosion of women's spaces, as the CBC unfailingly portrays this rollback of women’s rights as a cause for celebration. Canadians are not being informed at all about the unprecedented dangers facing minors who undergo experimental medical procedures, referred to as treatment for Gender Dysphoria.
6133 The UK High Court recently made a landmark decision in the Keira Bell case when they determined that minors do not have the capacity to consent to these treatments because they cannot appreciate how losing fertility and sexual functioning will impact them in later life.
6134 The CBC did not report on this story despite its extreme relevance in light of pending federal legislation, Bill C‑6, that many experts fear will be used to intimidate medical professionals who do not agree with these treatments. A growing group of young Canadians, including the support group Detrans Canada, are speaking about their regret over having been medicalized in this manner.
6135 The decision of the Toronto Public Library to permit feminist writer Meghan Murphy to speak about these concerns at their facility, despite aggressive demands that the event be pulled, led to the CBC's Carol Off comparing Ms. Murphy to a Holocaust denier. Canadian women are not only losing our right to the safety of female only spaces, we are losing our right to speak while the CBC misuses our tax dollars to cheer it on.
6136 The CBC's Kathleen Harris wrote a series of one‑sided articles on the federal government's sudden decision to force the Correctional Service of Canada to allow inmates to be housed in a male or female prison based on their gender identity, not their sex. The Prime Minister personally intervened to change this policy. An ATIP I placed in 2019 revealed that almost all of the male offenders transferring from men to women's federal prison are violent offenders. Last spring, a female inmate at the Grand Valley women's prison in Ontario filed sexual assault charges against a male inmate.
6137 You would be hard pressed to find a group of people in this country more marginalized than incarcerated women. The CBC pays much lip service to reconciliation but this rings hollow in the face of the fact that 40 percent of federally incarcerated women are Indigenous. Many of these women have a history of being subjected to male violence. Now, they are being subjected to male violence by the state and the media is ignoring it.
6138 Women are also losing our right to access female only shelters. In 2018, Kristi Hanna was compelled to leave a drug treatment centre in Toronto because she could not cope with the presence of a male in what was supposed to be a female only facility. Kristi, like many women struggling with drug addiction, has PTSD as a result of male violence. Not only did she lose access to vital treatment she was denied help from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre because when she spoke to them about her experience she referred to the man who had been present at the shelter using male pronouns. The Support Centre deemed that this made her a discriminatory party, and thus, no longer able to qualify for their services.
6139 This story was taken to the CBC and they passed on it. It was thankfully reported in the National Post.
6140 Yet another example of the tremendous Liberal bias of the CBC can be seen in the contrasting ways in which they reported on the decision of Prime Minister Harper to axe the long form census verses their nonexistent coverage of the fact that this current government has removed sex as a recorded variable in crime statistics. Mr. Harper faced justifiable scorn for his policy, whereas the CBC has not reported on Stats Can's choice to destroy the integrity of crime statistics.
6141 A criminal may now decide whether their sex is recorded as male, female, or gender diverse. Police departments have been instructed to update their systems to reflect this change, and this has been in place since January 2019.
6142 Data from the police is used by Stats Can to create the Uniform Crime Reporting Survey. The UCR is a vital tool for researchers who seek to understand the frequency and characteristics of crime in Canada. Stats Can's change means men can now commit violence against women and girls and have it recorded as female perpetrated crime.
6143 Renewing the CBC's broadcasting licence is therefore inappropriate, as they have failed to live up to the standard of balanced reporting that Canadians expect of them.
6144 Thank you for your time.
6145 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank -- pardon me. Thank you very much for your presentation.
6146 Madame Lafontaine.
6147 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much, Mr. President -- Mr. Chair.
6148 And thank you, Ms. Halley, for your intervention today and your written submission and for taking the time to speak to us.
6149 Mr. Chair, I do not have any questions for this intervenor today.
6150 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
6151 Are there any other questions from Members? No?
6152 Then I thank you, as did Commissioner Lafontaine, thank you very much for participating in the proceeding and sharing your intervention and comments today.
6153 Madam Secretary, we'll take our lunchbreak now, returning at 1:05?
6154 MS. ROY: Perfect, 1:05. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 12:02p.m./
L'audience est suspendue à 12h02
--- Upon resuming at 1:05 p.m./
L'audience est reprise à 13 h 05
6155 MS. ROY: Welcome back, Mr. Chairman. Welcome back, everybody.
6156 We will continue and now hear the presentation of Friends of Canadian Broadcasting.
6157 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
6159 MR. BERNHARD: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Madame Secretary. My name is Daniel Bernhard. I'm the Executive Director of the Friends of Canadian Broadcasting. Thank you for inviting us to appear today.
6160 FRIENDS’ Chair Aritha van Herk is joining us from Calgary today and our Vice-Chair, Raymonde Lavoie, joins from Montreal.
6161 FRIENDS is a citizens’ movement defending Canada’s cultural identity on air and online. A strong, vibrant and truly public CBC/Radio-Canada is essential to our mission.
6162 Our work is financed exclusively by donations from individual Canadians, many of whom wrote you in early 2020 about why the CBC is so important to Canada’s decent, democratic society, yet the CBC they love and trust is disappearing, in part because of chronic underfunding, but also because of management decisions that undermine the CBC’s public service orientation.
6163 Our intervention boils down to a single plea: please do whatever it takes to keep the CBC from abandoning its public purpose.
6164 A truly public CBC/Radio-Canada would be fundamentally non-commercial.
6165 A truly public CBC/Radio-Canada would feature more news, and more local news, on all platforms.
6166 A truly public CBC/Radio-Canada would produce distinctively and unashamedly Canadian programming, reflecting our society in all its complexity, while challenging us to build a better Canada.
6167 And finally, a truly public CBC/Radio-Canada would always be transparent.
6168 You have the power to preserve CBC/Radio-Canada as a vital public institution, while helping it improve and evolve. Please use it.
6169 Oversight is essential because this CBC management group has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not fully respect the public service part of public service media. Let’s start with advertising.
6170 In her first days as President, Ms. Tait said, "We would love to be ad free", yet in a recent townhall with furious journalists protesting Tandem, Ms. Tait said that "advertising makes us stronger", and that she wouldn’t eliminate ads even if additional funds were available.
6171 Ms. Tait seems willing to pawn the CBC’s core asset, public trust, for a few bucks, but when you pressed her about how much CBC’s soul would fetch at market, they had no reply.
6172 On Friday, Ms. Tait also told you that the public has not complained about Tandem. Perhaps she forgot the more than 16,000 FRIENDS supporters who signed a petition to that effect. I sent it to her personally.
6173 And despite its embrace of digital, Canadians who visit CBC’s digital properties are further bombarded with ads, including aggressive, obnoxious pre-roll ads for video clips.
6174 And for what benefit? Net advertising revenues are quickly diminishing across English services. What was once a necessary evil may no longer be necessary.
6175 We urge you to impose a gradual phase-out of all English-language advertising on all platforms by the end of the license term, beginning with news, which should be ad-free in all languages by the end of 2021.
6176 Programming and scheduling decisions should not be governed by concern for an ad business that alienates audiences and makes progressively less money each year. You can put an end to this now, and deal with Tandem at the same time.
6177 Such a move is not without precedent. In 1974, CBC Radio was thought to be on its deathbed, rendered irrelevant by cable TV and stale programming. Your predecessors responded by prohibiting ads on CBC Radio, ushering in an era of renewal and innovation that has vaulted CBC radio to the number 1 or number 2 position in every major market today.
6178 We urge you to demonstrate the same vision, confidence, and devotion to public service as your predecessors.
6179 MS. Van HERK: Let me join in.
6180 News Media Canada estimates that more than 250 outlets have closed in the past 10 years, resulting in 16,000 fewer Canadian journalists in the field. CBC could soon be the only truly national Canadian media organization of consequence, leaving Facebook and social media misinformation as Canada’s primary news provider.
6181 The CBC’s mandate is to inform, enlighten and entertain. These imperatives are not in alphabetical order, yet CBC’s commitment to news is far from resolute.
6182 Since 2012, CBC/Radio-Canada has cut more than 800 staff. It is difficult to isolate news staff specifically, but newsrooms were certainly hit.
6183 In 2015, there was new hope for local news. The federal government had just re-invested in the CBC and appointed a new President who declared early on that "There is nothing more important than local stories and local news", yet her strategic plan summary doesn’t use the word journalism once, instead citing "business priority" and a focus on building "brand value", which is difficult to reconcile with public broadcasting.
6184 Meanwhile, conventional news spending is projected to fall 42 percent, or $87 million between 2014 and 2023. Now, this might be offset by digital spending, but there is no transparency about the digital black box plan, so it's unclear to us.
6185 Management’s decision to cancel all local TV newscasts at the start of the pandemic embodies their disregard for news. Their excuse, a "technical overload", is symptomatic of persistent neglect. The system collapsed because it was rickety, designed not to serve Canadians, but to save money by funneling all content through a small team in Toronto.
6186 Calgary, my home city, as is more than obvious to all of you, is a prime example of how diminishing local coverage takes its toll. Fewer reporters cover fewer stories, not optimal at a time when we need to know the local situation in every respect, health, political and environmental, to connect it to the national narrative.
6187 CBC management has boasted about the pop-up bureau serving my city, but this "bureau" consists of one amateur journalist with an iPhone. Hardly pop-up.
6188 I have also lived and worked in the far north, and the black hole of news and information there is nothing less than shameful. The entire world knows that our north is a distinctive element of our nation and must continue to be. We cannot treat it as peripheral, and we certainly cannot treat it as pop-up.
6189 Mme LAVOIE: Depuis que la télé de Radio-Canada a fait irruption dans nos vies en 1952-53, sa programmation originale nous a aidés à nous définir et à devenir qui nous sommes comme citoyens et comme collectivité.
6190 Nous avons grandi, nous avons appris et nous nous sommes ouverts au monde, tout ça sous l’œil bienveillant et encourageant de Radio-Canada. À ce jour, je parle français avec mon accent « radio-canadien », et j’en suis bien fière.
6191 Les émissions de Radio-Canada depuis le départ, de La famille Plouffe et La soirée du hockey à Tout le monde en parle et District 31, et toutes les autres émissions tellement aimées et les meilleures « nouvelles » au monde, selon l’opinion générale, ces émissions font toujours partie intime de notre vie et contribuent encore à l’aspect distinct et unique de la francophonie canadienne.
6192 Je crois que la CBC a eu un effet semblable, mais moins prononcé, avec sa programmation en langue anglaise dans le reste du Canada, bien que celui-ci se trouvait menacé – sinon agressé – par la culture affirmée de notre voisin au sud et sans la protection d’une langue différente.
6193 CBC/Radio-Canada est reconnue pour son leadership en matière de production et de programmation « principalement et typiquement canadienne ». Nous recommandons au Conseil d’examiner les précédents établis par le Royaume-Uni, l’Allemagne, la France, qui pourraient nous inspirer à élaborer un cadre de référence comparable ici au Canada adapté à nous.
6194 Ce caractère distinct dont on parle apporte un double avantage: nous définir, et donc, nous rassembler, et exporter nos produits culturels à l’étranger. Des exemples, des productions telles que Anne with an E ou Un gars, une fille, parmi d’autres, démontrent que des auditoires internationaux sont prêts à accueillir des histoires canadiennes et à payer pour elles.
6195 Une nouvelle emphase sur une programmation canadienne distincte pourrait aider CBC/SRC, particulièrement la télé anglophone, à se tailler une place plus importante dans l’univers média, comme on l’a vu à la radio anglophone et dans les véhicules francophones.
6196 Comme tous les citoyens qui nous font confiance à nous, les Amis, pour porter leurs messages, nous souhaitons voir CBC\Radio-Canada continuer de raconter nos histoires distinctes et uniques avec passion et détermination.
6197 J’aimerais rappeler pour finir la signature de la campagne actuelle de Radio-Canada :
6198 MR. BERNHARD: Thank you.
6199 Mme LAVOIE: Il n’y a pas de diffuseur public sans public. Radio-Canada, ça passe par vous.
6200 MR. BERNHARD: Thank you very much. And I know we're a little short on time, but I have a point-and‑a-quarter just to add in closing, if that's all right.
6201 A note on transparency first:
6202 CBC management wants lighter obligations in exchange for new expectations to produce more programming online, yet they also maintain that you have no businesses directing their online activities. Last week, Ms. Tait asked you not to, quote, "tether the CBC to the past", yet her team insists on retaining the regulation of the past for a shrinking part of its work, and no regulation at all for the part that is growing, now up to $300 million per year and counting.
6203 This proposal should be summarily dismissed. The Commission's very authority is at stake.
6204 Now, let me be clear: We support the CBC's desire to do more in digital. By imposing cross-platform expenditure obligations, the CRTC can create a flexible, but no less rigorous regulatory framework that supports CBC's modernization while binding it to uphold its public purpose.
6205 One final comment in closing: We wish to revise our recommendation for a five-year licence term. The corporation has asked for a bridge to the future, but it need not be the Confederation Bridge. They have disclosed three years of financials but refused to disclose updated projections taking COVID-induced changes into account. They propose to hide some $300 million of activity behind the Digital Media Exemption Order, which won't likely exist in five years, and they reject adequate expenditure-based oversight that applies to almost every other broadcaster in the country. This CBC management group, in particular, merits a shorter leash, and so we recommend a 3-year renewal term.
6206 The Broadcasting Act wisely insulates the CBC from political direction. It therefore falls to you, and only to you, to ensure that the CBC returns to its focus on public service. Canadians are counting on you. Please don't let us down.
6207 We'll take your questions now. Thank you very much for your time.
6208 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Merci pour la présentation. Thank you for your presentation. I have a few questions for you, if I may.
6209 I'd like to start, if I could, just with a bit of a clarification, make sure that I do properly understand your proposal. You just mentioned in your opening remarks, and it's -- it's very clearly stated in your submission that you support the CBC's desire to do more in digital, but elsewhere in the submissions, your supporting submissions in the case of CMRI, I note that there's a statement in the last paragraph of that submission that the CBC should not be diverting any funds from TV or radio to support digital services.
6210 Obviously, you do not support advertising and advertising -- advertising-based revenues, pardon me, for the CBC; and you've also, lastly, noted in a couple of places in your submissions that a decrease in the CBC's budget is possible in the future.
6211 So I'd just ask you if you could help me square the circle there to understand how those go together. How does one grow the digital platform without advertising revenue, without taking any funds from linear, and without additional funding?
6212 MR. BERNHARD: Thank you for your question, Mr. Chair. You're correct that we did submit a supplemental research paper in addition to our submission from CMRI which had as its main purpose to evaluate CBC's advertising revenues in English and French on the main networks and in the discretionary services over time, and this research did conclude that basically the profit, the net revenue that CBC, English in particular, garners from advertising is decreasing fast.
6213 And so this suggests that the cost of eliminating advertising has, you know, by extension never been lower. So that's -- that's, you know, one of the main lessons from that report.
6214 Now, the author of the report obviously had some other personal opinions about linear and digital which are included in the report which we conveyed to you as is written. But our submission I think was quite clear that we believe that the CBC should invest where the audiences are, we believe that the pursuit of digital makes sense, but we don't think that transparency is an antiquated value.
6215 And so if the CBC would like to take credit for its digital activities towards its license obligations, then by extension surely they are saying that you have the authority to regulate and to direct their digital activities. For a $300 million black box to exist inside of a public corporation is just simply unacceptable, and we think that this -- this request, you know, should be -- should just be dismissed. I mean, it's -- it has no merits. So that's one point.
6216 The second point is that we've asked for those cross-platform obligations to be expenditure-based requirements. And you're correct that the funding is uncertain. The current government has promised additional funds to reinforce CBC's local services, although those have yet to materialize, they were not mentioned in the -- in the fall economic statement nor in past budgets, and the official opposition has promised to basically cut off CBC English services entirely. So you're correct to say that their funding future is uncertain.
6217 And this is why we believe that a shift to expenditure-based requirements is appropriate because advertising revenues as they stand are uncertain and declining, and the parliamentary appropriation is unstable, and so we think that for the CBC to be able to innovate, modernize, but also change and accommodate fluctuations in revenue that expenditure requirements are -- are more appropriate.
6218 So hopefully that circles the circle in response to your question.
6219 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. And I think that was a -- a very broad response and you've touched on a couple of areas I'll come back to.
6220 But if I could just pick up on the last point. Help me understand a bit better, in the face of possible budget reductions, how does a focus on expenditures rather than exhibition as a metric, why is it better?
6221 MR. BARNHARD: Well, especially when it comes to digital, as we know, you don't have to fill a whole broadcast day with digital. And as CBC management in their presentations last week very, you know, astutely pointed out, the cost of production is growing rapidly.
6222 And so the cost of producing a quality series, and especially in the dramatic realm is going up, you know, I think it's over two million, two‑and‑a‑half million potentially per hour now, and so having a hit show on digital could mean fewer shows in some cases as opposed to the number of hours that you need to fill on a broadcast because of the OnDemand nature. So trying to shoehorn this new reality into an old regulatory framework doesn't seem to make sense.
6223 And so, you know, the CBC wants flexibility, and expenditure-based requirements provide flexibility because they change as the expenses change. And if the budget was to be cut dramatically, which I hope it won’t be, but should that happen and the CBC be governed entirely by hours of exhibition requirements, quality would suffer hugely.
6224 I mean, that’s just the only logical conclusion one can draw. And so if it’s suitable for private broadcasters to have this type of flexibility, given the current changes in the environment, it seems suitable for CBC as well. And hopefully it will afford them the flexibility that they ask for without compromising on accountability, which I think is the essence of our submissions and our proposal to you.
6225 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6226 In your submissions, I’ll pick up on the cross-platform issue. So in your submissions you recommended that the Commission apply cross-platform expedition commitments to local news of 15 percent of revenues in aggregate to all of CBC/SRC, local English language TV stations, and to predominantly news and information websites, CBC News, CBC.ca, and so on.
6227 You also indicated that an appropriate percentage would -- should be set for SRC’s local French language television stations and their associated websites.
6228 And before I complete that question, I’m not sure if I missed it if it’s on the record, or if it’s not there, what is an appropriate percentage for SRC on the French language side? You indicated, 15 percent of revenue for English -- sorry, in aggregate; pardon me.
6229 MR. BERNHARD: Yes, I think that an equivalent percentage should be a good starting point, although the specifics of the markets are different, the specifics of the localities are different.
6230 I think we could start there and if the Commission found it wise to make adjustments, based on specific circumstances on the ground, then a variation would be appropriate.
6231 But I think the 15 percent benchmark is a good place to start.
6232 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
6233 So just to finish that question then, you also recommend that no more than 25 percent of required local television news expenditures be permitted to be spent on digital.
6234 MR. BERNHARD: M’hm.
6235 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you combine those and have a 25 percent cap on digital and you acknowledge that increasingly the audience, particularly younger demographics, are migrating from linear to digital, again, if you can square the circle or as you said, “circle the circle”, why would we impede the Corporation’s ability -- why would we limit them in that way on a 25-percent basis if that’s where the audience is going -- or part of the audience?
6236 MR. BERNHARD: Well, I mean, I think it depends on whether you elect to adopt 100 percent of our suggestions or a smaller proportion.
6237 Right now, you know, the situation is that digital is a black box. We know, for example, that station-produced programming, which seems to me a good proxy for local news, has dropped from $92 million in 2012, in English, to $37 million, in English, in 2020.
6238 We know that television news in the last decade has dropped by almost $87 million a year across both services.
6239 If that is made up in digital, maybe it is. But you know, typically we don’t regulate on a just-trust-us basis. And so to the extent that the Corporation maintains that you have no business directing its digital activities, we are trying to find a way to limit the amount of money that can disappear into this black box.
6240 Now, were the Corporation to come to you with what I would submit is a more respectful and appropriate proposal, that says, here are the entire -- of our activities, here is how we work, we have a ‘shared news spine’, as they’ve said on multiple occasions, we distribute your multiple platforms, we would like to be held to a certain spending requirement for news gathering, and then we can break up distribution by the platforms and have a regulatory framework that reflects how we actually work. Then perhaps this cap on digital wouldn’t be appropriate.
6241 But to the extent that the Corporation maintains that its digital activities are not in the business, then I think it’s imperative on us to limit the amount of money that escapes scrutiny.
6242 Right now, that amount is huge, and it only serves to grow. And so I think, Mr. Chair, you’ve kind of touched on the key point here, and you very accurately mentioned this predominantly in your questioning on the first day.
6243 If they -- you know, what gets measured gets done. Right, and if they want this money to be unmeasured and disappear into this general black hole called, “digital”, then the amount of money that is allowed to disappear under that hole should be limited.
6244 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6245 Let’s talk about PNI for a second. You just mentioned the issue of, we’ll call it, “trust”. We’ve noted, and -- if you were following the proceeding last week, you would have heard reference to the fact that the Corporation has consistently exceeded its requirements with regard to the exhibition of PNI, each week, over the course of the licence term.
6246 So maybe just to start, to get clear about your position, do you accept, or do you believe that the Corporation has been successful in supporting the creation and acquisition of PNI productions through the existing exhibition requirements?
6247 MR. BERNHARD: I think in general, yes, and you know I would like to ask Raymonde for her opinion as well.
6248 But I would start by just, you know, pointing out that exceeding or meeting requirements does not seem to me to logically justify the needing of reducing those requirements. You know, I haven’t killed anybody today. That doesn’t mean that we should, you know, eliminate the prohibition on murder.
6249 You know, just because you follow the rules doesn’t mean that the rules have no place.
6250 And so for the CBC to say that their obligations to PNI should be in part replaced by expectations or I believe what Ms. Tait called “aspirations”, because they have previously exceeded their expectations doesn’t seem to make sense to me.
6251 If they have exceeded their expectations in the past, then presumably they could reduce the amount of PNI under the existing expectations and still be in agreement with their licence.
6252 So the desire to reduce those even further is suspicious, and it makes us wonder what they have in store.
6253 Raymonde, I am not sure if perhaps you could talk a little bit about the impact of CBC’s original programming, in French especially and why it’s important that it stay strong and stay present in large quantity.
6254 MS. LAVOIE: Well, this answer is really qualitative and in the realm of intangible. The distinctiveness of the content, the cultural purity of that content is where Canadians recognize themselves.
6255 So here we have a mirror that sends back a message about who we are, and we answer by saying, yes, indeed and here’s more information about who we are. And it puts -- brings us together.
6256 Now, if you look at just in French Société Radio-Canada, if you look at any week of Numeris numbers, which are the 10 most appreciated or visited shows on television -- on linear, well, eight out of 10 of them are original content and they are from Radio-Canada.
6257 So that there’s a message there and a familiarity that is absolutely indispensable.
6258 But that’s, I think, what I can say now.
6259 MR. BERNHARD: Thank you.
6260 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup.
6261 MR. BERNHARD: I would just add one more point, which is that, you know, Harnessing Change, a great report and example of how to release information digitally and in a compelling way, had one graph that really struck me, which is that English communities watch less domestic television than people in any other -- well, in 17 other developed countries, including English-speaking countries that have access to American content in the same measure as we do.
6262 Twenty-six (26) percent of the top 100 shows, according to this report, in Canada are domestic compared to 40 percent in New Zealand, 64 percent in Australia, 68 percent in Ireland, and 96 percent in the U.K., in England where they speak English.
6263 So you know this dearth of distinctive content in English, I think is something that the Commission has to look at. And that’s also why we’ve recommended qualitative changes as to how “Distinctively Canadian” is defined, to see if the CBC can carve out a bit more of a niche in the marketplace in getting this Canada product to the rest of the world when it comes to the consumption ---
6264 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Yes, there is no doubt of the impact, we’ll just say, of Hollywood and residing in close proximity to the world’s largest producer and most dominant producer of cultural content.
6265 Just picking up on that notion of, I guess, relevance or importance of the programming; so the CBC files TNI reports and fills out all the requisite logs, and so on, in order to prove to us or for its assessment that it is indeed meeting its conditions of licence, both on its English and French stations. But that doesn’t necessarily help us with respect to the relevance of the programming. So I wonder if you can comment on how we ensure that PNI programming offered on traditional stations is indeed relevant to Canadians and meets their needs.
6266 MR. BERNHARD: Absolutely. So I think this ties in -- it’s a two-part answer and I’ll take (indiscernible) first, if you’ll permit me, Mr. Chair, and then come back and answer your question more squarely.
6267 CBC content is perhaps -- CBC’s best distribution channel is not just digital but I would submit it’s actually Netflix, where people can watch this content without ads. And we know that Kim’s Convenience, Working Moms, Schitt’s Creek, et cetera, have all been huge hits
6268 on Netflix. In fact, when Netflix cancelled Anne with an E, over a million and a half people around the world signed a petition calling for that show to be reinstated. So the demand for this programming, I think, is actually pretty significant. It’s one area where I think the CBC does very well.
6269 What seems to be the case is that nobody wants to watch it with ads on TV, or ads on Gem, or pay even more as a subscription fee for the ad-free version of Gem. So I think in that sense the content does hit the mark.
6270 Now, we have proposed that the definition of “Distinctively Canadian” in the Act be clarified; that you clarify this to include not just economic considerations about who owns the show and who made it, but also substantive considerations; you know, what is it? Is it about Canada? Is it about Canadian experiences or the experiences of Canadians abroad?
6271 The UK has a Britishness test which they apply for their tax credits; the Germans and the French likewise. And as I mentioned, 96 percent of television consumption in the UK is domestic, so this seems to be a hit with audiences.
6272 That relevance is something that the private broadcasters don’t seem to be offering in as great supply because they don’t have the Parliamentary appropriation to help them do that. We see through the Numeris logs that the top 10 shows in any given week are almost always either newscasts or private broadcasters retransmitting something from CBS or ABC, or from other show from the United States.
6273 So CBC content is popular but it’s not consumed on linear television where there is ads, people seem to want it ad-free. And it seems to be popular not in spite of the fact that it’s distinctively Canadian in substance but because of the fact that it’s distinctively Canadian in substance. And so adding that clarification would prevent future lapse. It doesn’t fix the current problem. I think the CBC excels in that department right now.
6274 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6275 Continuing for a moment with PNI. You’ll know that certain intervenors have recommended that the Corporation be required to file a report on PNI, and independently produced PNI, that it provides on both its traditional and digital platforms.
6276 So the example given was information could include titles, expenditures, regions in which it was produced, and whether or not it was produced by independent production companies, for example.
6277 So could you comment on whether or not you believe such a report could help to serve -- to hold the Corporation rather accountable to its programming obligations on both traditional and digital platforms?
6278 MR. BERNHARD: Yeah, I can for sure.
6279 Unlike some of the intervenors here who have a commercial interest in the outcome of the proceedings; Friends does not. Our only interest, really, is the public interest. I’ll just, you know, follow up quickly on my previous answer.
6280 We have less concern with the economic definition of PNI, including where that content was produced, but -- and more of a focus on the substantive aspect of it.
6281 And I think, Aritha, I think you may have more to add on the cultural value of programming from across Canada. Not so much the fact that it is produced in the different regions but rather that it reflects the different parts.
6282 MS. VAN HERK: Thank you, I do.
6283 The whole question of reflection is one that I know the CBC takes seriously, but I think, given the enormous diversity of this country, it’s challenging for them to implement. But we do need a greater reflection of our national -- all of our national stories. And one of the problems with funnelling every aspect of production through Toronto, or because it’s supposed to be branded content of one sort or another, means that a good deal of the regional disparity that’s so important to cover and to reflect is omitted.
6284 And so I think there's much to be improved, even if there is much that is excellent and we see on Netflix, when we see it on Netflix.
6285 THE CHAIRPERSON: Just to understand; are you referring to news now or you’re referring to PNI?
6286 MS. VAN HERK: I’m actually referring to both. I mean, the news in the regions -- frankly, the news in Calgary is abominable. The television -- local news is a half an hour which gives it, presumably, seven minutes for Calgary, seven minutes for Edmonton, seven minutes for the rest of Alberta, and most of the stories are actually out of Toronto.
6287 So that does not reflect our image at all. In many ways it simply glosses over it and it may be one of the reasons why we have so much regional discontent, not that I am a part of that regional discontent. But the whole issue for programming of national interest, I think is that -- and I think Kim’s Convenience, which I understand you’re going to talk to very soon, is a really good example of that.
6288 If you have presented that program in one space or another, they would have said, “There's no way this will fly, its reflection of our cultural identity is too niche.” Well, it isn’t, in fact. And I think that’s one of the elements that needs to be forwarded and pushed into greater prominence.
6289 MR. BERNHARD: And just to finish on your question, Mr. Chair, you know, a show like Trickster, for example, you know, production controversies not withstanding, I've enjoyed greatly. And the fact that it’s set in northern BC that involves very specific issues pertaining to that locality but also certain motif in Indigenous storytelling of the trickster, that is valuable to Canadians not because of where the ownership of the production is, or who made it, or whether it was independent or not, it’s valuable to Canadians because of what it is. And we think that should be taken into account.
6290 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6291 Going over on the digital side, just continuing to talk for a second about exhibition hours. So going over on the digital side, it’s been noted in our discussion last week in a number of places on the record, that counting hours of programming online is not the same as counting exhibition hours on conventional TV as digital platforms are on an on-demand basic -- basic; on-demand basis, pardon me.
6292 So on-demand services requirements are typically counted as a percentage of titles rather than hours. So, for example, you might have an obligation to have 20 percent of all of the titles must be Canadian programs. Given that on-line services and digital platform are on an on-demand basis, do you think that type of expectation would be more appropriate for online PNI than simply counting hours?
6293 MR. BERNHARD? I mean, the short answer is yes, and I would just append a regret, which is that because of the pretty antiquated nature of what the Corporation has proposed, trying to shoehorn all of its future activities into this exhibition-based system without any disclosure or digital, we're talking about a basic question should we look or should we not, should we regulate or should we not, when ideally, we would be having a conversation of the kind that you have just put now. You know, how do they work? How can we regulate in a way that reflects how they work, but that also protects the public interest?
6294 And so, yeah, there are questions of discoverability and a percentages of titles -- percentage of titles rather. There are questions about the amount that you spend on production, different types of programming and, you know, how it's released throughout the year, for example, on availability. And this is the type of conversation that we should be having, not whether the CRTC has jurisdiction and you need to be looking in this area at all.
6295 And so I'm glad that you raised the question, Mr. Chair, because this is basically where it needs to go. And I'm encouraged, perhaps of my own invention, but I'm encouraged nonetheless by your comments because I hope it portends to, you know, a bold regulation that just gets us where we need to go, despite the reluctance of the CBC mandates.
6296 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, as complimentary as you were to my last comment, maybe it'll be less so when I ask you a question, turn it around the other way so to speak. Notwithstanding your position, if the Commission were to adopt the regulatory approach that didn't include either exhibition or expenditure requirements for certain types of content distributed on the corporation's platforms, how else could we hold the public broadcaster accountable and ensure it's fulfilling its role and mandate and have the necessary degree of transparency? You probably heard me last week discussing the issue of transparency and measurement to a fairly considerable extent with the representatives of the corporation.
6297 MR. BERNHARD: Sorry, why are ---
6298 THE CHAIRPERSON: Let's just say notwithstanding your approach, what else could be done? What are the other -- if we chose not to have those requirements, how can we hold them accountable to ensure they fill their mandate?
6299 MR. BERNHARD: Well, I mean, I think those regulatory measures in terms of a combination of exhibition for linear platforms and expenditures for both linear and digital platforms are necessary. I'm not sure how you could do that -- how you could do what you're asking to do without them, but I would just say that ---
6300 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's my question.
6301 MR. BERNHARD: Yeah, so I'm not sure that that is possible, but at the very least, if the corporation would disclose to us what they actually do, you know, here are our production expenses for various different types of content, here is content that we've produced on TV that we just do -- that we spend money on digital to distribute, et cetera, we'd have a much better understanding of what's appropriate. But right now, when it comes to digital, a lot of this is hypothetical because their disclosure has been, you know, rudimentary. And so at the very, very, very, very least, we should just see what's going on. And if there are other ways of regulating that better reflect the way that the corporation operates and intends to operate throughout the licence term, then we would see that and perhaps we can make adjustments, but nothing comes to mind now.
6302 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I suppose maybe it would have been helpful if I had said, you know, assuming greater transparency and disclosure of information, then what I was looking to -- and I think you've answered it, but I take it you would agree that the Commission would have more room, more flexibility potentially to introduce other measures if it's accompanied by greater disclosure and transparency ---
6303 MR. BERNHARD: Yes.
6304 THE CHAIRPERSON: --- in particular on the digital side.
6305 MR. BERNHARD: Yeah, and it's a shame that we have to, you know, say assuming in future that maybe it occurs. I mean, I think that's a very accurate reflection of where we're at right now.
6306 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is -- I take it from your comments, for example, you don't feel like the annual report to government is sufficient in its completeness and the nature of the disclosure contained therein?
6307 MR. BERNHARD: I'll give you an example. M. Bissonnette in the first week of programming talked about how digital affords new opportunities to do 10-minute episodes, for example. Where are those 10-minute episodes accounted for? What category of programming is that? It's all just in this 300-million digital black hole.
6308 So, if the corporation wants to innovate and wants regulation that reflects its innovative operations, we need to see what those operations look like. And right now we can't. And so the report to government reflects its submission to you that digital is its own beast, and we don't think that's adequate. And the corporation has said that's not how they work anymore. And so, you know, the shared news spine is a perfect example. They say we shouldn't have -- you know, the exhibition requirements are difficult. We can't report on different platforms and how news works on different channels because we share all this news-gathering capacity. And that's different since the last time that we appeared, since our last renewal. It's a new development. So why doesn't the regulation evolve to reflect that? Instead, they're insisting on having the same regulation as before, while acknowledging that they operate differently.
6309 So, if they want to change how they are regulated, we welcome that, we welcome regulation that accurately reflects how they operate. We think that makes a lot of sense in quadra flexibility in this regard. But just, you know, just trust us it's in the 300 million, 400 million, however hundredmillion dollar box, I don't think that cuts it.
6310 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. If we were to impose conditions of licence strictly based on types of content that need safeguarding, in your view, what would be those content? What would be those areas of content I should say?
6311 MR. BERNHARD: I suppose, you know, I'd come back to Parliament's intention, inform, enlighten and entertain, and quite rightly said, those priorities are not listed in the Broadcasting Act in alphabetical order. And what we have seen is that news spending has declined. Station generated programming has declined. CBC is asking for reductions in its obligation to produce local programming in English in its metro and non-metro markets. And so we think that this is a top priority, especially since private media in this country are closing, and disappearing, and cutting in alarming rate. And if you could, you know, wave a magic wand and end the government's litany of unfair advantages that they provide to Google and Facebook that would be great, but I'm afraid you can't, and so the best that we can do is try and put the CBC to be a backstop for democracy in this new environment. And news is disappearing. It's disappearing fast. And we see the consequences of this in the United States. We see the consequences of this in the far right, you know, so-called populous politics across the planet. It's violent. It's anti-democratic openly. And as journalism disappears from large parts of the country, especially private journalism, what's left?
6312 And so ensuring that the CBC not only maintains but vastly increases I think its expenditures on news and local news, that's one thing that you can do to stand up for Canadian democracy, which is really, I think, under pressure. We're not at the place where the United States is, but like most things in Canadian culture, it seems that we're just 10 years behind.
6313 So, you know, we don't want to get there, and a strong public broadcaster is I think a good way to keep this from happening.
6314 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. So news clearly was the answer to your question -- to my question, pardon me. And that that foremost is the type of content that needs additional specific safeguards?
6315 MR. BERNHARD: If we had to -- yeah, if we had to prioritise into best funds unlimited as you've mentioned, yeah.
6316 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Those were all of my questions.
6317 I should just look at my colleagues to see if they have any additional questions.
6318 Commissioner LaFontaine, please go ahead.
6319 COMMISSIONER LaFONTAINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you very much, Mr. Bernhard, and your colleagues for your presentation today.
6320 I just have a couple of questions of clarification for you. I believe you mentioned that you're recommending, in terms of the cross platform on local, that there be a limit on the amount of money that the corporation could expend on the local programming that would appear on the digital platforms at 25 percent; is that -- have I understood that correctly that it's -- that in your view it shouldn't be more than 25 percent of their expenditures on local news that could be spent on the digital platform?
6321 MR. BERNHARD: Given the current regulatory framework, yes. If the regulatory framework evolved to be more realistic or reflect better the CBC's actual operations and take digital into account, then we could see where the money goes, and we could talk again.
6322 COMMISSIONER LaFONTAINE: Okay. Great. Thank you.
6323 So just in terms of that, I was wondering if you could elaborate, please, on how you arrive at that 25 percent, like, why the limit of 25 percent, and if you have a view on whether there should be a limit on the cross-platform spending for PNI and children's programming because they have put forward a similar proposal for -- for those types of programming, and also whether it applies on the -- to the English and French side.
6324 MR. BARNHARD: Sure. So let me start with the 15 percent if we may -- if you'll permit me with what we set as a cross-platform commitment to news in general.
6325 This number -- obviously, these things are somewhat arbitrary, but we've based it on, you know, the amount that private broadcasters tend to be obliged to, which is in my understanding around 11 percent, and so we think for the public broadcaster it should be a little bit higher.
6326 As for the -- as for the digital amount, if we believe, and I don't think we can say this, but giving them a little -- with an optimistic or a charitable lens on, if we believe that CBC's expenditures on news overall have been steady over the last license term and that the decreases reported in television are made up 1:1 and 2, then by that measure some 40 percent of news expenditures have now moved over to digital in a way that's completely unaccounted for.
6327 Ms. Kirshenblatt I believe, on -- in her appearances last week said, "We can't even tell you where these people are. We don't even know where -- we don't see it as relevant to disclose market by market where the newsgathering capacity is in the country." We know, and Aritha I'm sure can tell you this very well, however, that there are, you know, more CBC local bureaus in Newfoundland with a population, you know, 500,000, 600,000, rather, than there are in Alberta, a province with almost 4 million people. That's not to take away from the good people of Newfoundland and Labrador, but simply to say that we know that these resources are not distributed equally around the country.
6328 So for the CBC to put more money into an unaccountable supposedly unlicensed section of its activities is really dangerous because we know even from the licensed activities that it is diminishing its expenditures and we don't know where that money is going.
6329 So as I said earlier, I think our recommendation is about limiting the amount of money that can bleed into the black hole. If a more appropriate regulatory framework is adopted then I think we can revisit that 25 percent. But under the current proposal, there have to be limits.
6330 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Okay, thank you. And did you have any views on a PNI, whether the spend on the flex programming for PNI and children on the digital platform whether that should be limited in the same way that local is, or you don't have a view?
6331 MR. BERNHARD: Well, do you want to give me a hint as to whether or not you plan to accept their proposals for expectations? I think that's what it really depends on, you know.
6332 For them to say that "We would like to replace obligations with aspirations", and for those aspirations to be fulfilled in a vacuum inside of which we cannot see, is troublesome. And so if the regulatory framework is updated and they want to say, "Here's how much we spend producing content. Some of it we play on TV and digital, some of it goes only to digital, some of it goes only to TV", we can have a more appropriate conversation.
6333 We did not in our submission mention, I don't believe anyhow, a limited PNI, but it would make sense that something comparable to news would be applied. Again, in the sole interest of ensuring that money doesn't disappear into this hole.
6334 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Bernhard.
6335 And thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Those are all of my questions.
6336 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Lafontaine.
6337 Commissioner Anderson, I believe you had a question.
6338 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Yeah, just one question.
6339 Thank you very much for your presentation, to the three of you, and thank you for your submissions.
6340 I was wondering, you had spoken about the importance of shows like Trickster and Kim's Convenience for the value that they add presumably in their reflection of Canada's multiculturalism, and you've also talked about the impossibility of regulating the public broadcaster without having exhibition or expenditure requirements. And I was wondering if you had any views on both expenditure or exhibition requirements when it comes to programming that reflects Canada's multiculturalism?
6341 MR. BERNHARD: Well, I'd like my colleagues to chime in, but I think there is a simple answer to some extent, which I hope is satisfying.
6342 We have suggested that Canadian content be, you know, more precisely defined to include the substance of the content, not just we made it but -- but what it is. And I think Schitt's Creek is a good example of this. This is a show that is widely celebrated that won all kinds of awards in the United States and elsewhere, but is kind of set in Nowhereville USA, and I think one could make a claim that it doesn't contribute to the cultural life of the country in the same way as some of these other shows do.
6343 If a substantive criteria -- set of criteria were adopted to be about Canada and people were competing to have to pitch their shows and to pitch their ideas, I think by definition the diversity of the country would come through because that is the Canadian reality when we start talking about Canada's reality.
6344 So if you're asking should we be prescriptive or should we be prescriptive about how much of the content should reflect certain cultures and multiculturalism, I am not sure that it's necessary to go that far. I think if distinctively Canadian is defined as having substantive value, not just ownership value, I I think you'll get that anyway and you may get that in ways that you don't even expect and haven't predicted, and it's one of the kind of benefits of letter regulation in some ways is that you leave a little bit of opening for creativity to enter in.
6345 So I think by default you would get that if substantive criteria were taking into account, but Raymonde and Aritha may have -- may have their own views, and so I'd like to see if they'd like to offer them to us today.
6346 MS. Van HERK: Exactly. Thank you. I -- because if the measurement is only the ownership or the production instead of the content, you actually decrease the capacity for diversity, whereas if you were interested in both covering all of the different regions, covering all diverse -- all of the different aspects of Canada, you would inevitably I think reach that diversity.
6347 I guess one of the questions that this current CBC is asking it says, "Taking our stories to heart", but our question is are our stories taken to heart? And if we present them in all their variety and distinctiveness then I believe that the diversity, the multiculturalism will be reflected as part of the work that is available to Canadians.
6348 MR. BERNHARD: And I would just -- sorry. Raymonde, do you have something to add?
6349 MS. LAVOIE: Just -- just to relate back to the lady from Acadia who was speaking a bit earlier. She felt a bit, and I presume they feel a bit abandoned because they -- they have two events in the whole year that are covered by Radio-Canada, the August 15th and another one, and they feel abandoned, they feel orphaned. So that -- that's the kind of PNI I suppose that we're looking for; it's what is really identity of all the -- the smaller groups, of all the groups that belong to Canada.
6350 That's what I have to say.
6351 MR. BERNHARD: And I would just add very quickly that I think, you know, I talked about the importance of news to democracy, but think PNI is also very important to democracy. Things like, you know, bringing a gun to a kindergarten, for example, as a political norm, which exists in large parts of the United States, that's a cultural norm about what's okay. You know, English Canada I think has a, unfortunately very poor definition of culture. People think of it often too much as like the opera or the ballet or something like that, whereas, you know, in Francophone Canada la culture has a much more broad definition, it's much more comprehensive.
6352 In democracy, decency, multiculturalism, civility, these are cultural norms and the way that we learn about what's normal, what's okay, what's good, what's bad, whose pain to feel, what to sympathize, these are -- these are areas, these are values informed by fiction margins.
6353 And so PNI that is distinctively Canadian in both ownership and substance I think has a -- an additional aspect to it which reverberates into our political culture, and I think events around the world have shown us that we should not take that political culture for granted.
6354 And so this is one of the ways that the Commission can uphold and support Canada's integral and democratic values by ensuring that this programming not only reflects our society but challenges our society to make sure that we get better. It's the -- it's one of the main tools for doing so is mass media, and entertaining programming in particular.
6355 COMMISSION ANDERSON: Thank you.
6356 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6357 Madame Simard.
6358 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur le Président.
6359 J’aurais une seule question, et la question réfère à votre proposition, donc… c'est-à-dire, votre… oui, proposition/recommandation concernant les seuils en matière de programmation locale ainsi que de… et PNI, en principe, donc, émissions d’intérêt national (« ÉIN »), alors, ma question pour vous, ce que je comprends, c’est que vous souhaitez que les seuils actuels demeurent, mais par ailleurs, je serais intéressée à vous entendre sur votre position sur ces seuils-là mêmes et au niveau de l’efficacité de ces seuils pour atteindre les différents objectifs, tant en programmation locale qu’en production d’émissions d’intérêt national.
6360 M. BERNHARD: Alors, de premier abord, je peux dire que ces obligations de diffuser un minimum d’heures de programmation locale, aussi un minimum de programmations locales qui ne sont pas des nouvelles, sont… elles font du sens pour une catégorie de moyens, de technologies de diffusion, et il faut qu’on protège ces règles ou ces moyens de diffusion pour ces technologies de diffusion. Mais on voit aussi que ces autres chiffres, par exemple de programmation générée par l’incitation locale, ils ont diminué beaucoup en anglais; en français, ils sont égaux qu’ils avaient en 2012. Donc, la réalité est différente entre les deux. Et notre confiance par rapport à Radio-Canada est aussi différente entre les deux langues à cause de ces chiffres à l’évidence qu’on voit.
6361 Mais il faut aussi savoir où les ressources sont placées, et combien de journalistes sont placés dans chaque bureau ou station, et combien d’argent est-ce qu’on dépense dans chaque région et bureau. Avoir quelqu’un, un, dans une ville par exemple, n’est pas pareil qu’avoir une douzaine ou plus, donc la quantité, pas seulement de stations, mais de ressources de personnes, de journalistes qui sont présents est aussi importante.
6362 Et, comme, combien on dépense? Ça, c’est une mesure pour « approximer » le niveau d’investissement qui existe dans chaque marché, dans chaque région. Donc, combien d’heures sont accessibles au public? Oui, c’est imparfait aussi, mais CBC/Radio-Canada ont parlé de leur « spine », les ressources partagées, donc où sont ces ressources? Et qui ramasse les nouvelles? Qui cherche les nouvelles? Qui cherche les histoires? Qui font un reportage? Où sont-ils? Et les obligations d’investissement sont peut-être mieux pour accomplir ces autres chiffres (phon.).
6363 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Je vous remercie beaucoup, Monsieur Bernhard. Merci à vos collègues également.
6364 THE CHAIRPERSON: Merci. Thank you.
6365 Thank you, Mr. Bernhard, Ms. van Herk, Madame Lavoie, merci beaucoup pour votre présentation, and for responding to our questions. We bid you a good afternoon.
6366 Madam Secretary, I think it would be a good time for our afternoon break. We can return at 1:25.
6367 MS. ROY: Two twenty-five (2:25), yes.
6368 THE CHAIRPERSON: Two twenty-five (2:25), yes. Pardon me.
6369 MS. ROY: Thank you.
6370 THE CHAIRPERSON: Put the time machine in gear.
6371 Thank you very much.
6372 MS. ROY: Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 2:08 p.m. /
L'audience est suspendue à 14 h 08
--- Upon resuming at 2:25 p.m. /
L'audience est reprise à 2 h 25
6373 MS. ROY: Welcome back. We’ll now hear the next participants, Kamal Al-Solaylee, Edmonton’s Food Bank, Pôle media HEC Montréal, Sinking Ship Entertainment, and Kim’s Convenience. We will hear each presentation, which will then be followed by questions by the Commissioners to all participants. We will begin with the presentation by Kamal Al-Solaylee. You may begin. You have five minutes for your presentation.
6375 MR. AL-SOLAYLEE: Thank you so much. Since I have five minutes, let me quickly clarify that I’ll be wearing different hats in this intervention. First, that of a journalism professor, then as a citizen, and finally as a book author and screen writer and someone who has a vested interest in Canadian stories and talent.
6376 As a journalism professor, I want to repeat what I suspect other intervenors have made. Study after study have shown that a strong independent public service broadcasting is a bulwark against misinformation and is essential, not just to how the public understands democracy, but how institutions uphold or abdicate their responsibility to the public.
6377 In a study by the Open Society Foundation, and a quote “public broadcasting can shape a nation’s value and quality of citizenship as much as its main laws and regulations”.
6378 Some of these studies need to be updated in the wake of the last year, or maybe the last five years of geopolitics and media landscape. We’ve witnessed a rise in digital disinformation in misinformation, the demonization of the media as enemy of the people, and a world where liberal democracies have come to the brink of a civil war. You just have to look south of the border. All that has eroded public trust in media and perverted our national conversations.
6379 The need for trusted, fact-based journalism has never been greater. I realize that many other media outlets, particularly legacy newspapers, offer excellent news coverage, but I ask you to consider how many of them keep that information behind the paywall to survive financially, which is completely understandable.
6380 CBC Radio-Canada is a great equalizer of access to information. However, it remains chronically underfunding and its staff hiring processes which emphasize precarious hiring and short contract, really make that part of its mission -- it compromises that part of its mission.
6381 Let me wear quickly my second hat as an immigrant and a Canadian citizen of Arab-Muslim heritage. To me, any talk about responsible journalism and an accountable public broadcaster is not purely academic, although that’s what I also do. It’s my life, and that of family and friends.
6382 Conspiracy theories that spread of hate on social media and even in mainstream advertising driven media, more clicks and outtakes from editorial integrity put racialized lives at risk. You just have to look at 10 years of British tabloids describing refuges and immigrants as vermin and invaders to know how that translates to an increased level of hate crime and intolerance. We need to be on our guard in Canada for the same -- for the same forces are at work here.
6383 This is why the CBC is in an enviable position to guide a better conversation on race and immigration. It was my getaway into understanding Canada when I, first of all arrived in 1996, and I think it continues to be so.
6384 As a writer and a creative person, with two books and someone who has been branching into working for T.V., including but not limited to the CBC. I also wanted to point out, you know, in as stark language as my usually mild manners will allow, that the cultural fabric of this nation, what we leave to future generations of Canadians, is single-handedly been carried out by the CBC.
6385 I’m thinking here of two cultural sectors in particular, books and music. No other network or additional service come even close to replicating what the CBC does and continues to do for Canadian writers and musicians. In my letter, which was in the submission, I mentioned how CBC books puts the spotlight on Canadian writers at a time when book coverage have to fight for space and airtime. Show me one commercial network that dedicates as much space and resources to fostering Canadian writers. I speak here as someone whose first book was featured on Canada Reads in 2015. So I felt that impact personally.
6386 I’ve been teaching arts, journalism and creative writing for 13 years now, and I’ve noticed how millennials, and now generation Z, consume and get their media. It’s digital, it’s borderless, but sadly, it’s mostly American. In the last few years, however, I’ve noticed quite the shift, some of the most notable exceptions have been shows like Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience, and Baroness von Sketch. Three comedies that only a Canadian public broadcaster can produce. And, you know, I’ve heard other people reference the word -- the show Trickster as well.
6387 Globalization is a fact. Digitization is a fact. And so is the measure of a nation by the legacy it leaves behind. A public broadcaster is an essential provider of that legacy.
6388 Finally, I should note that I don’t always agree with CBC’s creative or editorial decisions. I certainly support the call for more emphasis on news, and I think there’s room for improvement when it come to diversifying the upper level of management to reflect the country’s demographic makeup, and there are some issues are objectivity and race that need to be fine tuned. None of that makes me doubt my belief in or in the significance of our public broadcaster in the 21st century. To me the stakes have never been higher.
6389 Thank you for listening.
6390 MS. ROY: Thank you. We’ll now hear the presentation from Edmonton’s Food Bank, please introduce yourself and you have five minutes. Sorry, you are on mute.
6392 MS. BENCZ: Hi, I’m sorry. My name is Marjorie Benczand I’m the Executive Director of Edmonton’s Food Bank, and it’s privilege to present to you today and find out more about your goals and objectives as you go through this process.
6393 Edmonton’s Food Bank is a central warehouse. We collect and redistribute food to over 250 agencies, schools, churches, and other organizations. We provide food for hampers. We’ve provided a number of different types of food hampers out in the community. We provide food to soup kitchens and shelters. Each month we provide food to about 20 to 22,000 people over the course of the year, over 60,000 different people get hampers from us. We also provide food to 350 to 450,000 meals and snacks this month.
6394 Our corporate name is Edmonton Leaders Association, and so the vast majority of our food is actually gleaned from the food industry. And we were actually incorporated four years ago on Saturday. So it’s kind of a big milestone for us as an organization.
6395 We work with other partner groups who provide support to other organizations. We also have other programming that we do in collaboration with other groups. So for example we have a program called Beyond Food, which helps people find work, helps them with resume writing, provides safety tickets and helps with job searches. So we even hosted job fairs, pre-Covid-19, and of course, Covid has put a different lens on this particular program, which we’re hoping will be able to work to it’s fullest in the fall again.
6396 We’ve had to pivot and make many changes because of Covid, including physical distancing and masks. And this summer we did three drive through hamper pick ups to accommodate the number of food requests that were receiving. We’ve also been very active in the community and distributing masks and hand sanitizers to different groups, as well as people who are living in poverty.
6397 CBC has been providing in-depth coverage of current affairs and of opportunities faced by the community, including hunger, and poverty, and income support. And as the previous speaker spoke about, the lens that CBC puts on these areas of concerns and these issues is one of truth and one of fairness, and one of looking at things through a depth and perspective that you don’t see from other vehicles of communication in our community.
6398 More recently CBC provided valuable up-to-date information about Covid, including health and social issues related to the pandemic. These Covid updates are essential to how we fight the spread on a local and national basis. In their coverage, CBC has created awareness of current events by raising the stories of real Albertans and real Canadians.
6399 Edmonton’s Food Bank relies on the community to support our work. We rely on volunteer time and donations of food and money. Over the past 20 years CBC has supported our work by having a CBC turkey drive. This year, instead of the turkey drive, CBC held a new event called "Make the Season Kind," to reflect the current reality that we're seeing in our communities and the event held raised funds for us. Over $1 million was raised through their campaign.
6400 The world is changing and it's changing fast. CBC must be a leader in traditional and digital broadcasting.
6401 In this environment, essential news, information, and entertainment must continue to be made available to all Canadians in formats of their timing and choice.
6402 Again, I think you for this opportunity to speak to you today.
6403 MME ROY: Thank you – merci.
6404 Nous entendrons maintenant la présentation de Pôle Média HEC Montréal. S’il vous plaît, vous présenter et vous avez cinq minutes.
6406 M. LAFRANCE: Bonjour et merci de me recevoir. Je suis Sylvain Lafrance, je suis professeur associé à HEC Montréal et directeur du Pôle Média HEC. En fait, le Pôle média est une entité de recherche appliquée d’enseignement et de transfert dans le domaine des médias.
6407 Auparavant, j’ai passé plus de 30 ans à Radio-Canada, d’abord comme journaliste, puis à différents postes de gestion dont celui de vice-président exécutif des services français.
6408 Mon intervention, en appui à la demande de Radio-Canada, portera principalement sur les grands enjeux des transformations médiatiques actuelles et sur le devoir de transformation du diffuseur public dans cet environnement.
6409 Dans cette audience, nous assistons à un débat, très sain et très riche, sur le rôle de Radio-Canada et sur les souhaits de différentes parties prenantes. Ça donnera lieu, légitimement, cette semaine encore, à des éloges, critiques et à des attentes nombreuses face à notre diffuseur public. Mais cela ne doit pas nous faire oublier que, particulièrement pour les francophones de ce pays, le système canadien de radiodiffusion est une histoire à succès. Les efforts combinés des différents acteurs, des politiques publiques, du CRTC, des diffuseurs privés et communautaires, des producteurs et partenaires ont permis la mise en place d’une industrie qui ferait l’envie de bien des pays.
6410 L’attachement des francophones du pays à leurs médias, à leurs artistes, à leurs créateurs, et leur loyauté envers la production canadienne est exemplaire.
6411 On peut donc quand même prendre un peu de recul et se péter un peu les brettes pour se le dire ; notre système mixte qui s’appuie sur la coexistence du privé et du public comme garantie de la diversité de l’offre, a permis de faire de notre radio, de notre télé et de nos médias en général, un véritable succès.
6412 J’entends parfois que Radio-Canada ressemble trop au privé. Je crois que c’est faux. Par sa présence sur le territoire, par la quantité de fictions canadiennes, par ses émissions d’analyse et de débats publics, Radio-Canada est foncièrement différente et participe d’une véritable diversité de l’offre.
6413 Mais tout le système est aujourd’hui menacé – vous savez, c’est en 1995 que Radio-Canada commence à s’intéresser à l’internet. 25 ans déjà.
6414 Et la montée d’internet, c’est aussi la montée des technologies numériques qui bouleversent tout l’écosystème basé sur les installations techniques et la règlementation. Et comme si ce n’était pas assez pour nous inquiéter, arrive la mondialisation de la communication et l’invasion des GAFAs et des nouveaux joueurs internationaux qui menacent aujourd’hui ce système qui avait pourtant livré ses promesses.
6415 Cette rupture entraîne aujourd’hui de vraies questions fondamentales sur la souveraineté culturelle, sur la défense du fait français, sur la qualité du débat démocratique et sur le financement des différents acteurs du système.
6416 Soyons clairs, nous sommes à un point de bascule qui s’annonce depuis 25 ans, et il est maintenant urgent pour notre système de s’adapter.
6417 Face à ces menaces et à ces bouleversements, le diffuseur public canadien a non seulement la responsabilité, mais il a le devoir de se transformer. Il a le devoir de s’adapter à son environnement pour garantir l’intégrité et la qualité de notre vie culturelle et démocratique. Radio-Canada a d’ailleurs démontré sa volonté et capacité à le faire par plusieurs initiatives très porteuses dans les dernières années.
6418 Le CRTC a la possibilité de l’aider dans cette transformation. Nous n’avons pas un autre 25 ans devant nous. J’ai trouvé d’ailleurs rassurant, Monsieur le Président, vos mots d’ouverture et cette reconnaissance très claire de ces bouleversements.
6419 C’est ici que la demande de Radio-Canada dans ces audiences prend tout son sens. Pour réussir, Radio-Canada a besoin de flexibilité, d’innovation, d’agilité. La Société doit pouvoir s’adapter rapidement et accompagner avec vigueur ces révolutions sociales et technologiques. Elle doit accompagner les Canadiens de tous les âges, là où ils se trouvent et elle doit demeurer une télévision généraliste et grand public pour avoir un impact réel.
6420 Vous savez, le monde ne change pas. Il a déjà changé et continuera de changer. La démographie, les valeurs, les outils, les débats, l’engagement citoyen… Nous sommes face à un monde en transformation et nous avons tous le devoir de s’y adapter. Et nous devons surtout en avoir le courage. Nous le devons aux futures générations qui ne nous ont pas attendus pour faire leurs choix.
6421 En conclusion, je veux donc appuyer la demande de Radio-Canada d’une plus grande flexibilité et d’une vision plus large de son action. Je suis convaincu que, devant les bouleversements actuels, le diffuseur public doit se transformer, sinon il pourrait échouer dans ses missions les plus fondamentales.
6422 Je crois que Radio-Canada poursuit, avec la demande qui est devant vous, une transformation mesurée, prudente, mais indispensable. Nous devons lui permettre de jouer dans la prochaine décennie et plus encore, le rôle indispensable qu’elle a joué depuis sa création pour renforcer l’espace médiatique canadien et défendre nos valeurs et notre culture.
6424 MME ROY: Merci. We'll now hear the presentation from Sinking Ship Entertainment. Please introduce yourself and you have five minutes.
6425 You may begin.
6427 MR. FECAN: Thank you very much, Chairman and Vice-Chairs, Commissioners and staff. It's been a while since I've had an opportunity to appear in front of this honest group, so I really appreciate being invited to appear in person virtually.
6428 I'm here today in two capacities. One is a producer of Kim's Convenience, and I wouldn't be much of a producer if I didn't take this opportunity to plug the fact that our fifth season starts tomorrow night on CBC and Gem. And secondly, as a grey beard, one who did shave this morning, who has been around radio and TV for a very long time.
6429 In my first capacity, I want to state for the record how important CBC was in the making of Kim's Convenience as a TV show. Turning a beloved play into a TV series is fraught with danger, in particular, when the main character says all kinds of politically incorrect things. I can only imagine the nervousness of the CBC when they started reading the scripts. To their credit, they gave us the creative freedom to take those risks. Success can make risky things look effortless, but I can assure you, they weren't.
6430 In addition, a big part of our success is that the CBC promoted the hell out of Kim's Convenience. In too many cases, good content dies because no one knows about it. This is more true today than ever with so many content choices online. Real discoverability doesn't just happen by having a mention on a webpage.
6431 As a grey beard, my purpose was to encourage the Commission to give the CBC an appropriate amount of flexibility. CBC is an essential cultural institution, but young Canadians in many cases don't watch linear television. They deserve to be served by their public broadcaster as well. And if they don't form a relationship with the CBC now, there is no future for public broadcasting in television.
6432 To borrow the CBC's imagery, I'd rather be on a bridge to somewhere than stuck in the past.
6433 But based on the Chair's opening remarks and the Commission's questioning last week, I am heartened by the serious consideration being given to their proposal.
6434 So, I'd like to leave you with one more thought. Profit is the raison d'être of private broadcasters. In contrast, in the case of the CBC and SRC, the motivation is entirely different. It is mission driven. Of course, there are many different missions within the CBC: great journalism, talent development, cultural reflection, and so on. And in addition, many expectations by citizens hungry to see themselves reflected are placed on the CBC. The difficulty is that CBC's funding doesn't come close to its mandate, and thus, priorities need to be established.
6435 In his opening remarks, the Chair said that if you can't measure it, it doesn't happen, and there's a great deal of truth to that. But it's also true, if you have dozens or priorities, you have none.
6436 Prioritising the priorities is the prickly part of this process, and I wish you well. Thank you very much for listening.
6437 MS. ROY: Thank you.
6438 Mr. Chairman ---
6439 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
6440 MS. ROY: --- those are all the presentations.
6441 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you all. I'll look to my colleagues to see if they have any questions. I'm -- I'll turn to Commissioner Barin in a moment. I have to -- prioritising your priorities is an interesting turn of phrase, as is grey beard, I should point out. Mine didn't come off this morning and isn't likely to.
6442 I'd just like to pick up maybe just briefly on your obviously supportive comments, but you indicate that as a public broadcaster and one that was open to a certain amount of risk, the corporation became the right partner and has led to success -- to the successful creation and production of Kim's Convenience. I guess I'm interested at a general level to hear your thoughts about how much regulation is required in order to ensure that continues to happen. Clearly, in your view, they made the right decision in that case. Others would say they don't always make the right decisions, or they need to have a regulatory requirement to make certain kinds of decisions. So I recognise that's somewhat vague, but where does the -- you know, where do you put the emphasis on those priorities in terms of the need to use regulation to ensure that the mandate of the CBC is fulfilled while giving them the flexibility that you describe as being extremely helpful to ensure the successful production of programs such as Kim's Convenience?
6443 MR. FECAN: Yeah, it's a really great question, Mr. Chairman. And I guess I -- the first place I go is something that you probably -- well, you, in fact, can't help with, and that is by choosing the right people to make those decisions. And there's no getting around that. I mean, as a regulator, you're -- you can't be part of reading scripts and making day-to-day decision. Hopefully the people in place make those decisions, and hopefully your expectations or actual regulations encourage them to do so.
6444 In listening to the Friends' proposal, I very much -- I'm intrigued by their idea of focussing the definition of what is Canadian, because I think that, by virtue, effectively, will cause more things that are reflective of the Canada we live in, and I think that maybe is one interesting idea worth considering.
6445 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6446 Commissioner Barin?
6447 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you.
6448 So, let me begin by thanking each of you for your thoughtful comments. We really appreciate your participation both written and oral. And I will take advantage of your presence today to ask a couple questions, and really with a view to helping inform the Commission and deepen our understanding of some of the issues in this proceeding, and I am going to start with Mr. Fecan.
6449 I am interested in your perspective, as the Chair said, with your -- the grey hair perspective. You've been around and you're an experienced veteran in the industry. The previous intervenor referred to Kim's Convenience as a typical Canadian story, and the kind of story that the CBC should do more of.
6450 Now, you characterised Kim's Convenience as a TV show. And in your letter of support, you are supporting the CBC's, I guess, diverting of its resources from its legacy linear business to online content. So I'd like to understand, from your perspective, as an independent producer, what it means to move from financing -- or not financing, but producing a TV show versus producing a show that is for digital only. And I guess I'd like to understand your perspective on two questions.
6451 So, the first is, if you were to have produced Kim's Convenience, for example, for only a digital window, would that have made a difference in the production budgets? And more generally, is there a difference in the production budgets of productions that are geared only to digital?
6452 And then the second question I'd like to get your views on is the issue of quality. Is there, in your view, a distinction in the quality of productions that are being geared only to a traditional window?
6453 MR. FECAN: It's a deceptively simple question, Commissioner, as you well know. You know, you could say that, sure, some digital productions are done much more cost efficiently, but if you talk about streamers, and streamers are digital, The Crown is $10 million U.S. per hour. Per hour. So, I don't think the nature of the platform has anything to do with the cost of production necessarily. One could choose to spend less on digital, one could choose to spend more on digital, depending on your business case and how you intend to make money. And obviously in the case of Netflix, it's subscription-based model, and they feel having very high-quality material, $10 million an hour in the case of The Crown, and some of their other shows are approaching that as well, it is far more than what the CBC can spend on linear television, far more. Like 10 times more.
6454 So I don't think it has anything to do with the nature of the platform. It has to do with the business model and what you want to pay for it.
6455 COMMISSIONER BARIN: And I guess in your view, the CBC's request to, I guess, have some of its productions go -- be produced for the digital environment or their digital services versus their linear services.
6456 Does that in any way signal to you the type of production the CBC would be willing to finance?
6457 MR. FECAN: They need to speak for themselves on that, but I would make the point that, generally, there's more creative freedom than there is on linear, generally speaking, because you don't have commercials. You're not concerned about the commercial environment for a sponsor. There's all kinds of things you don't worry about.
6458 There's -- there's not the same concern about watershed hours viewing for children and appropriateness of time.
6459 So there's a lot of things that potentially give you more freedom, but these are all tools and it depends on how each entity chooses to use those tools.
6460 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you. I appreciate your views.
6461 And I'd appreciate Mr. Powers' perspective as well on -- because I understand, you know, most of your productions are geared to the very audience that is found on the digital platforms and your productions tend to be, I guess, geared to the digital only providers.
6462 So maybe you can provide us with your perspective on that.
6463 MR. POWERS: Sure, absolutely.
6464 You know, I think that -- you know, I think the viewers are the younger age are pretty agnostic in terms of where they're getting the content with a bias towards digital, but in terms of being a producer, you know, we partner -- we had a show called Endlings just launched on CBC on the 15th of January for season 2 where we had, you know, eight different partners from around the world, so it launches on Hulu in the U.S., which is an all-digital platform, CBC on Gem and on linear, NBR in Germany, ABC in Australia, CBBC, so -- and all of those different public broadcasters and private ones have different strategies for how they launch their shows for their youth depending on, you know, how they're building up their slate.
6465 And so you know, we tend to not think of shows as being linear or digital. We are looking specifically at the story they're telling and the audience that they are targeted at, and we think that, you know, building partnerships with CBC and then working -- you know, as Ivan said, budgets are difficult, so working strategically internationally to make sure that we can fund at a level that kids are going to take note of to watch and be a part of.
6466 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Thank you.
6467 Monsieur Lafrance, j’aimerais vous poser une question. Vous avez parlé spécifiquement du marché francophone et, en particulier, vu aussi que vous avez une expérience assez vaste dans l’industrie, vous avez… dans votre intervention écrite, vous avez soulevé le modèle de TOU.TV comme un modèle de transition qui est intéressant pour la Société Radio-Canada. Est-ce que vous… comment… quelle est votre perspective sur les modèles d’affaires qui sont utilisés par Radio-Canada dans le monde numérique?
6468 Vous avez parlé de l’importance de la télévision généraliste pour aller chercher les auditoires francophones; pourtant, sur le numérique, c’est des modèles qui ne sont pas axés pour un auditoire large vu qu’il y a aussi des modèles payants, c'est des modèles qui proposent des abonnements pour les consommateurs, surtout pour les consommateurs francophones. Alors, j’aimerais avoir votre perspective.
6469 M. LAFRANCE: C’est intéressant. Merci de la question.
6470 Vous avez parlé d’un modèle de transition, en fait j’ai pas parlé comme tel d’un modèle de transition, mais c'est un peu vrai dans le fond parce que TOU.TV, surtout au moment où on l’a créé, parce que j’y étais à ce moment-là, c'est un modèle qui était très précurseur en fait, on ne connaissait pas beaucoup ce genre de diffusion là quand on a créé TOU.TV, on ne savait pas tout à fait sur quel modèle on allait partir. On est parti sur un modèle de gratuité, mais très vite il a fallu renforce le modèle parce qu’on les invente un peu, les modèles numériques, encore actuellement; on commence à voir poindre des modèles d’affaires qui sont intéressants, mais ça demeure pour l’instant quelque chose qu’on découvre au fur et à mesure.
6471 Et je dirais que dans le cas de TOU.TV, si on veut que TOU.TV prenne véritablement son envol, il doit absolument offrir un contenu à valeur ajoutée, il doit donner plus que du rattrapage télé, il doit donner un contenu ajouté de différentes façons – des émissions qu’on peut parfois visionner à l’avance, des émissions qu’on ne verra que là, des émissions étrangères parfois –et là, dans ce contenu à valeur ajoutée, c’est probablement normal qu’il y ait une certaine forme de paiement et, de toute façon, cet argent-là est retourné vers le système de production, donc il ne fait qu’encourager encore plus la production numérique.
6472 Donc, ça me semble un modèle qui est tout à fait acceptable, tout à fait légitime, et à la limite indispensable pour le développement à long terme de plateformes numériques comme celle-là dans un marché qui est un marché, il faut le savoir, on est dans la francophonie sur un marché, selon ce qu’on compte, de 6, 7 millions d’habitants sur l’ensemble du Canada. C’est pas un très gros marché, il faut donc développer des modèles d’affaires qui nous permettent de soutenir une télévision de qualité sur une plateforme numérique dans un marché comme celui-là.
6473 Alors, il faut être inventif, et moi, je pense que le modèle actuellement de paiement de TOU.TV. est tout à fait légitime compte tenu de besoins de financement et compte tenu du marché dans lequel on se trouve.
6474 CONSEILLÈRE BARIN: Merci beaucoup, Monsieur Lafrance.
6475 M. LAFRANCE: Merci.
6476 COMMISSIONER BARIN: I'd have one final question, and it's for Mr. Solaylee.
6477 You -- in your written interventions, you spoke about the importance of podcasts and the journalistic materials that the CBC has available, and you called them essential services.
6478 These are not, you know, the digital audio-visual type services that, you know, we've been talking mainly about, but I'm interested in your views on how -- you know, why do you think they're essential and how -- how important in your role as an educator and in particular with, you know, young students do you see -- what importance do you place on this part of the CBC's mandate?
6479 MR. AL-SOLAYLEE: The importance is the access and the access that my students -- and of course, I don't want to speak on behalf of an entire generation, but their access point is digital and not linear. And the way they even listen and the way I listen to sometimes radio programs is through the podcasts, and not necessarily live on radio because I'm working. I am -- you know, I have other -- I have other things to do.
6480 The reason I -- in that particular letter I describe podcasts in that language is because it allows a much longer narrative to unfold over weeks, over hours. It's depth of storytelling. It's actually in some cases like -- for example, the Uncovered series that the CBC produces, it is going back to cold cases from the eighties and nineties, maybe something that the -- that the regular network doesn't really have the time or the resources to devote to, but they are -- they remain essential stories. They remain unanswered questions.
6481 And there is a perfect marriage between content and medium.
6482 And again I will emphasize that for me to be able to teach -- to use them as teaching tools is essential because I can't -- I can't expect all my students to have, for example, cable and can get CBC television in the -- in the regular way.
6483 I only -- when I mentioned other TV shows, I would only assign them as to review or whatever if they're available digitally. Otherwise, I can't. I can't use those resources which were all paid for as taxpayers, so I think the digital -- the digital and in particular podcasts is just an essential way to how I consume news, how my students consume news and media in general.
6484 COMMISSIONER BARIN: Thank you very much.
6485 I have no further questions for any of the intervenors. I will pass the floor back to the Chair and my colleagues for further questions.
6486 Thank you. Thank you very much.
6487 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Barin.
6488 Commissioner Lafontaine, I believe you have a question.
6489 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you to all of the panelists for their presentations this afternoon.
6490 I have a couple of quick questions. My first one is for Mr. Fecan with regard to Kim's Convenience.
6491 I believe you mentioned that part of the success of this program was that the CBC heavily promoted the program. And so I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about that, what that heavy promotion and support looked like for that program?
6492 MR. FECAN: Yes, thank you for the question. It was both paid and -- paid advertising, billboards, bus boards, transit shelters, ads in -- on cable, on the U.S. news channels, things -- so these are things they paid for; and then there was all kinds of internal publicity were generated by our own teams, which -- you know, getting articles written. And then on top of that, there was a whole digital layer. We had a whole team, we still do have a whole team of digital people putting together little trailers, behind the scenes stuff, and we put it on the CBC sites, we put it on our own Facebook sites. Anything you can do to bang the drum.
6493 Because there's so many choices right now, piercing through that is really important, and -- and I don't think enough attention, frankly, is -- is being given to that. Because, you know, it's not content, it's -- it's not cultural, it's -- it's some -- it's marketing.
6494 But if people don't know... You know, before, in the olden days, it was easier. I mean, there were newspapers, there was, you know, linear television, you could -- you know, you had places where mass audiences gathered. If you put something in front of them then you had a pretty good chance that they would see it and maybe if you're lucky give you a chance to try it out. I mean, generally, if -- the most you can hope for is five minutes of viewing, and you know, sometimes less and people make their decision based on that.
6495 But today, you don't have the same number of places where a mass congregates. I mean, there are still exceptions. The Superbowl, the Oscars, there is still exceptions where you get a mass audience, and if you can get an ad in front of that you can do that, but that's not realistic for promotion for a Canadian show, so you have to do a whole bunch of other things.
6496 And so when you talk about discoverability, to just have the shows is not enough. To just mention it on a website is not enough. I mean, yes, you can tick the box that you've done it but it's not going to be effective; you're not going to create a hit.
6497 And -- I mean, the success of Kim's is from the culturally specific comes the universal, but if nobody watches it it doesn't matter.
6498 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Right, then there wouldn't be a subsequent season, et cetera, et cetera, international licensing, yes. Great.
6499 MR. FECAN: Exactly.
6500 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Thank you very much for that response.
6501 My next question is for Mr. Powers, and you indicated in your submission this afternoon that the children's age group of six to twelve is very key and very impressionable. You've also mentioned that CBC's linear television strategy for children is more focussed on pre‑school, and we heard that last week as well.
6502 MR. POWERS: M'hm.
6503 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: I'm wondering if you have any suggestions about how to ensure that this critical age group of six to twelve does not get lost and continues to be served during the CBC's and Radio-Canada for that matters next license term?
6504 MR. POWERS: Yeah, thank you for the question. It's definitely a difficult one. I know a lot of broadcasters do struggle with that.
6505 I think that having the approach, you know with Gem, and ensuring that funding whether it goes to linear or to the digital platform, is equally counted and important to help make sure that decisions are made, more and more viewers are going to be found, rather than regulations of where money can be spent. Because I do think that the SFOD (ph) platforms, whether it's Gem or one that's more targeted towards youth specifically, or more cordoned off, because I even think, you know, that's a problem across all SFODs is kids -- is a big blanket statement across many, many genres within the kids market.
6506 So, you know, I think it's just, you know, making those quality shows and having discoverabilities that people can find them is one of the key things. If the shows are not there then kids are not going to go there and find them, and -- and I think really building a word-of‑mouth and people seeing CBC or Gem as a place to go and find that content is a key step. It's a bit of a chicken and egg, and I know CBC is working very hard with the -- with that content is making great strides in that, but I think they need to continue that and be able to find greater emphasis amongst their many priorities to make sure that kids in that age should find that.
6507 What we do to help with marketing is we work with different groups that are aligning with our message and our series. So for Endlings, we've worked with the National Federation for Animal Wildlife, worked with foster parent programs, all different themes in the story that we partner so they can get the message out in a more grassroots manner and reach kids in different ways in different venues or areas that they might not expect where it might be a clearer voice. So we really work to have strategic partnerships and work with their digital agencies to create a compelling campaign, and I think that's key for all kids' content.
6508 And like Ivan said, it is a hard number to put when it's not pure culture, it's not pure content, and it's -- it is essentially marketing, and I think it is important CBC let it be known, you know, all of the great content they are making and, you know, it'll open up audiences for the content they do have and for future content they're making when there's an awareness that is a place to go for that in even greater numbers.
6509 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Great. Thank you very much.
6510 And thank you very much, Mr. Chair. Those are all of my questions.
6511 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Lafontaine.
6512 Commissioner Anderson.
6513 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
6514 Thank you, everybody, for your presentations and submissions. They were very informative.
6515 My question is for Mr. Al-Solaylee, and my question is about the comment you made when you said that there are issues in CBC's coverage around objectivity and race.
6516 MR. AL-SOLAYLEE: M'hm.
6517 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: You went on to say that the stakes have never been higher.
6518 I was wondering if you could elaborate using one or two examples on what you mean and what kind of steps could be taken to ensure that programming is done in a more respectful way.
6519 MR. VAN BAKEL: Of course. I mean, obviously one of the big sort of news stories of the last week concerned the arbitration -- the arbitrator's decision to reinstate a journalist in CBC Winnipeg, Khan, who simply called out racism and was punished for it. I am also thinking of the experiences of a journalist like Bisenth Natar (ph), who wrote extensively about her experience working at CBC Radio about what is considered objective, and what -- when -- why journalists make a claim it's assumed to be universal but journalists of colour have to work much harder to prove that same claim or to prove that, you know, the weight of racism as -- it interacts with how the news is conducted and gathered.
6520 I think we need -- I mean, as a -- as someone who teaches journalism, I think we need to move from really old and entrenched ideas around objectivity, as if there is only one truth, and -- and that's -- that truth is universal and applicable at all situations. I think we need to consider what impact -- and as I said in my statement what impact, for example, giving a platform to hate speech or proponents of hate speech in the interest of presenting both sides of the argument actually does, not just the kind of -- to the quality of the news or the quality of the argument but then to how it actually travels from a news program down to the street level and it affects the vulnerability of racialized people as they.... You know, ask any veiled Muslim woman how she feels if she lives in a society that constantly demonizes what she looks like and think of her as the other.
6521 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you for that response. And I was wondering if you could comment, because there was discussion last week, I'm not sure if you were watching, but with respect to the journalistic standards practice. And certainly it was in the media last summer when quite a few CBC journalists ---
6522 MR. AL-SOLAYLEE: Yeah.
6523 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: --- of colour, in particular, racialized journalists, were speaking about the limits that those standards presented when it came to expressing their viewpoint. And it kind of goes in -- hand in hand with what you're saying about whiteness being the baseline or kind of emblematic of notions of neutrality.
6524 What role rule do you think the JSP plays in terms of perpetuating that difference?
6525 MR. AL-SOLAYLEE: I -- you know, I -- it's hard for me to, you know, to answer that on the spot, but I do think that it was -- I mean, most of those policies were written for a different time, were written for a model in which journalism was the radio, the newspaper and maybe -- and the television, and it doesn't take into consideration how social media changes in the context of the news, how -- how much misinformation and disinformation actually changes how we consume news and how news has spread through whatever it was, ad groups, et cetera, et cetera.
6526 I just think -- I think it's an issue of the CBC and many other news organizations recognizing that they're -- they are not operating in the same political reality where there was, even in Canada -- I mean, I think the fact that we -- I know there's -- it's not a secret there's increased politicization of the funding of the CBC, something that, a generation ago, would have been taken for granted that the public works is for the good. But we have seen, you know, at least two decades of particularly conservative governments that have constantly branded the CBC as biased or as -- you know, or as privileged or elite, et cetera, et cetera.
6527 And these are -- these are all conversations that are dated and we need -- we just -- there's a need for a new framework of understanding how news is produced and also how news is consumed.
6528 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much.
6529 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissionner… Vice-Présidente Simard, avez-vous des questions?
6530 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Oui, s’il vous plait. Merci, Monsieur le Président.
6531 Alors, first of all, I would like to thank all for your participation in this hearing. My question…
6532 Ma question est pour Monsieur Lafrance.
6533 Alors, juste un instant, je ne vous vois pas.
6534 M. LAFRANCE: Ah.
6535 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Alors, Monsieur Lafrance, je m’en voudrais de ne pas profiter de cette occasion, étant donné vos nombreuses années d’expérience au sein et aux commandes de Radio-Canada et ainsi que votre expérience récente en veille stratégique, en recherche, en analyse du monde… du milieu des médias.
6536 Donc, ma première question, c'est une question de clarification. Vous l’avez dit tout à l'heure, lorsque vous étiez, donc, dans ce poste… je pense, probablement dans votre dernier poste de vice-président exécutif à Radio-Canada, vous avez jeté les bases de ce qu’on connait aujourd'hui comme étant TOU.TV. À l'époque, ma compréhension, c’est que la mission de TOU.TV se voulait une plateforme de promotion du contenu francophone, donc canadien, de la… du contenu canadien et francophone, et à l'époque, ce que je me rappelle, c'est qu’il y avait beaucoup plus de joueurs qui étaient impliqués, donc plus de joueurs aussi du secteur privé.
6537 Depuis – c'est une impression et c’est ce que j’aimerais que vous me confirmiez ou que vous m’infirmiez –, j’ai le sentiment que la mission a changé et a perdu de la vitesse peut-être par rapport à ce qui aurait pu être à l’origine, donc une plateforme de promotion à grand déploiement du contenu canadien francophone.
6538 M. LAFRANCE: Ben, écoutez, je suis un peu surpris parce que j’ai plutôt l’impression que les ambitions de TOU.TV ont crû beaucoup depuis quelques années, ont connu beaucoup de croissance depuis quelques années. Quand… à la création de TOU.TV, c’est vrai qu’on a vu comme, pas tant seulement un outil de promotion, mais un outil de diffusion de la culture francophone, c’est vrai, avec des partenariats, avec, à l'époque, TV5 déjà, avec la RTBF en Belgique, avec France Télé, donc il y avait déjà ce… et avec d’autres diffuseurs publics du Canada, donc il y avait cette volonté de créer une plateforme qui était à ce moment-là une plateforme des diffuseurs publics, il faut le dire, c’était le premier groupe qu’on voulait rejoindre, et ç’a donc été… c'est vrai que c’était la première ambition, donc, de permettre une plus grande découvrabilité des contenus de l’ensemble des diffuseurs publics.
6539 Ensuite, bon, cette… et comme je vous dis, quand ç’a été créé, on était l’une des premières plateformes de ce type-là, donc on avait l’ambition qu’on avait, on se demandait si ça allait marcher, et ç’a marché très fort, ç’a été un succès instantané dans le marché francophone, et après, il y a eu une croissance effectivement, et à l’arrivée de M. Bissonnette effectivement, il y a eu une volonté aussi d’aller chercher des nouveaux partenaires pour TOU.TV. Je pense que c’est devenu aujourd'hui une plateforme absolument incontournable dans le monde de la télé.
6540 Mais moi, je pense que son ambition n’a pas baissé, elle a au contraire largement augmenté, avec des productions originales, ce qu’on n’avait pas au début, hein?
6541 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Mais pour la participation des partenaires, donc, je ne sais pas si c’est au tout début ou un petit peu plus tard, il y avait cette participation-là des joueurs du secteur privé, ce qui n’existe plus, à ma connaissance, ou peut-être un peu… beaucoup moins…
6542 M. LAFRANCE: Em… écoutez, (inaudible)…
6543 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: …donc on avait V, on avait…
6544 M. LAFRANCE: Oui.
6545 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: …puis, en fait, ma question, c’est par rapport à votre expertise. Mon sentiment, c'est que présentement il y aurait un peu une redirection des forces là. Donc V, en se retirant, bâtirait davantage du côté maintenant de Noovo et, bien sûr, pour TVA, c’est concentré dans les mains d’Illico. Alors, juste par rapport plutôt aux partenariats.
6546 M. LAFRANCE: Oui. Écoutez, je n’y suis pas depuis neuf ans, donc je ne sais pas comment tout s’est passé à l’interne, mais je dirais que, dès le départ… dans mon souvenir, dès le départ, il n’y avait pas partenariat du privé. C'est vrai que V s’est joint au groupe; maintenant, V a maintenant Noovo qui est sa propre plateforme, donc à ce moment-là c’est sûr qu’ils ont probablement eux-mêmes… j’imagine que c'est comme ça que ça s’est passé.
6547 Donc, c’est… il y a toujours eu à TOU.TV une volonté de partenariat parce qu’on a toujours été sûrs d’une chose en tout cas, et je ne pense pas que ça ait changé : pour que ces plateformes-là fonctionnent, pour qu’elles aient un succès, elles doivent créer de la valeur ajoutée, elles doivent vous donner des contenus auxquels vous n’aviez pas accès avant. Surtout dans le cas de TOU.TV Extra, si vous voulez vendre un abonnement, il faut qu’il y ait quelque chose de plus que ce que vous voyez partout.
6548 Donc, je pense que l’ambition a grandi, mais c'est vrai que les autres joueurs ont développé ensuite leurs propres plateformes, donc je dirais qu’on l’invente à mesure, hein? On construit l’avion en volant, donc c’est pas tout à fait simple, et je pense que c’est un peu ce qui s’est produit avec TOU.TV.
6549 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Parfait. Et ma question supplémentaire, additionnelle, vous venez de le dire et vous l’avez dit à quelques reprises durant vos interventions cet après-midi, cette valeur ajoutée là alors, pour vous, est-ce que cette valeur ajoutée là, ce contenu à valeur ajoutée sur les plateformes en ligne justifie, disons, la réattribution des fonds et évidemment une… disons, un peu moins d’énergie déployée possiblement au niveau des nouvelles, au niveau de la programmation canadienne sur les plateformes conventionnelles?
6550 M. LAFRANCE: Ma réponse est oui. Encore là, on avance dans un nouveau monde. Moi, je sais une chose, c'est que Radio-Canada n’a pas le choix de développer une plateforme qui soit performante, qui amène des nouveaux contenus francophones, qui crée des partenariats dans le monde francophone, qui donne accès aux Canadiens à des contenus qui ne seraient pas disponibles sans ça. Alors, je pense que c’est très important de le faire et la plateforme TOU.TV Extra crée vraiment un contenu à valeur ajoutée.
6551 Et il faut penser que dans la francophonie, la question de l’accès – et je pense autant ici à la francophonie québécoise qu’à la francophonie de l’ensemble du Canada –, il y a un enjeu qui est majeur pour les francophones, c’est d’avoir accès à du contenu francophone et de pouvoir découvrir le contenu francophone, le fameux enjeu de la découvrabilité. Je pense que TOU.TV, plus elle est riche en contenus, plus elle est riche en contenu original ou spécifique, plus elle va permettre effectivement la découvrabilité des contenus, puis là elle va permettre d’élargir l’offre aux francophones sur l’ensemble du territoire canadien.
6552 Donc, pour moi, c’est un… c’est… je n’y vois que du positif, et la question du paiement à TOU.TV Extra, à mon avis, est intéressante parce que cet argent-là ne sert pas à générer des profits, il sert à enrichir encore le système de productions.
6553 CONSEILLÈRE SIMARD: Je vous remercie beaucoup, Monsieur Lafrance.
6554 M. LAFRANCE: Merci.
6555 LE PRÉSIDENT: Merci beaucoup, Madame Vice-présidente.
6556 Thank you. Merci à tous les intervenants. Thank you for your submissions and your responses.
6557 Madam Secretary, I think you need a short five-minute break in advance of the other party joining us?
6558 MS. ROY: Yes. Thank you. We’ll be back.
6559 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
6560 MS. ROY: We’ll be back.
6561 THE CHAIRPERSON: We’ll return in -- well, in five minutes.
6562 MS. ROY: At 3:30.
6563 THE CHAIRPERSON: 3:30.
6564 MS. ROY: Yes. Perfect.
6565 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6566 MS. ROY: Thank you.
6567 M. LAFRANCE: Merci.
6568 MME ROY: Merci tout le monde.
6569 MS. ROY: Perfect. Thank you.
--- Upon recessing at 3:24 p.m./
L'audience est suspendue à 15 h 24
--- Upon resuming at 3:30 p.m.
L’audience est repris à 15 h 30
6570 MS. ROY: Welcome back.
6571 We’ll now hear the presentation of Women in Film and TV Vancouver. Please introduce yourself and your colleague, and you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
6573 MS. BRINTON: Thank you.
6574 Good afternoon.
6575 Good afternoon Commissioners, Commission staff, members of the wide ZOOM audience.
6576 Thank you for the opportunity to appear before the Commission again.
6577 My name is Susan Brinton, and I am the Co-chair of Advocacy for Women in Film and Television Vancouver. And on ZOOM with me today is my Co-chair of Advocacy, Sharon McGowan.
6578 Women in Film and Television Vancouver was incorporated in 1989 as a not-for-profit society in BC. We are a member-driven organization, committed to creating equity for women and gender diverse people in Canada’s screen-based production industries.
6579 We are particularly concerned with creating opportunities and equity for Indigenous peoples, racialized peoples, and women with disabilities who have faced disproportionate barriers to participation in our industry.
6580 We are located on the unceded traditional and ancestral homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. WIFT Vancouver is a member of the WIFT Canada Coalition, as well as Women in Film & Television International.
6581 MS. McGOWAN: Firstly, we want to state that we fully support the CBC as our national public broadcaster, and WE encourage the Commission to renew its licences and to provide our public broadcaster with the necessary funding and regulatory framework for it to thrive, now and in the future.
6582 There are many experts here to advise you on how to deal with the Catch-22 of the CBC’s funding model. Our public broadcaster is not sufficiently funded by the government to meet its many public mandates, thus requiring it to chase advertising dollars in the private sector. This model is the basis for conflict on many levels.
6583 Please fund the CBC.
6584 MS. BRINTON: We have five points that we wish to discuss further with the Commission:
6585 First off, our support for the initiatives the CRTC has launched to address gender inequality and the underrepresentation of Indigenous peoples, Black, and people of colour in our industry.
6586 Two; our concern that in spite of multiple promises made by the CBC to collect and publish data on the participation of women in the Canadian programming they produce and commission, there is still no publicly available data that we can find. And, believe me, I’ve tried.
6587 Our concern number three; that the crucial references to gender and gender equity appear to have vanished from the CBC’s submissions and references to diversity; where have the women gone?
6588 Four; our concern that any CBC digital platforms, whose programming tends to skew male, need to ensure the programming they support and provide serves all Canadian audiences across all platforms.
6589 Number five; our thoughts on Tandem and CBC’s proposal for paid content and how this is of concern for advancing equity, inclusion, and diversity.
6590 MS. McGOWAN: So these are our comments in relation to number 1:
6591 As noted in our submission, Women in Film and Television has, and continues to be, deeply concerned by persistent gender inequality and a lack of representation of Indigenous people, racialized people, and people with disabilities in the production of Canadian film and television programming. Together, these groups make up the vast majority of Canadians. Therefore, the current systemic biases present at all levels of our industry affect and discriminate against the majority of Canadians working in the industry.
6592 We applaud the Commission for establishing its Women in Production Steering Group, and the valuable and necessary measures the CRTC has since undertaken in ensuring gender equity and diversity in Canadian broadcaster offerings, including its expanded Broadcaster Production Report, and its insistence that private broadcasters voluntarily commit to achieving gender equity and diversity in their Canadian programming by 2025.
6593 We support the necessary and overdue actions to respect and rectify the issues and concerns of Indigenous peoples, Black, people of colour, and the LGBTQ2+ communities. Women from these populations face multiple intersecting levels of discrimination and systemic bias in our industry, and major systemic change is urgently needed to support their full participation.
6594 MS. BRINTON: Further to point two, for our submission in February 2020, we were unable to properly analyze the CBC’s progress on gender equity in their Canadian and PNI programming as there was no current data available.
6595 We asked the Commission at that time to allow us to update our submission once the CBC submitted its Broadcaster Production Reports after the due date at the end of February 2020. However, the CBC did not file a Broadcaster Production Report, and while we realize it was directed at the private sector, during the Summit we were given the impression that the CBC would follow the same reporting mechanisms that the private sector would follow.
6596 Therefore, we remain, in 2021, unable to assess the CBC’s performance in regard to gender equity and diversity in its Canadian and PNI programming in the key creative positions; producer, writer, director, editor, director of photography, and showrunner. This is very disappointing, especially as the CBC’s Women in Production Action Plan dated September 2019 promised it would provide the following, and I quote:
6597 “Enhanced Measurement: Point 1: CBC/Radio-Canada will continue to measure gender parity and improve measurement tools.” (As read)
6598 Bullet 2:
6599 “To accomplish this, the public broadcaster will build on collaboration with independent production partners to better track gender parity.” (As read)
6600 Point 3:
6601 “Existing measurement tools include the Diversity Reports from independent productions, which track women in key creative roles.” (As read)
6602 That section on the CBC website does not appear to have been updated since September of 2019. In response to our submission, the CBC referred us, in a one-paragraph reference, to their employment equity stats internally at the CBC. Did not mention PNI data at all.
6603 We have to therefore ask if this is such a difficulty, how the CBC was able to calculate the following numbers for 2018/19 as reported many times in their licence renewal application and as referred to many times on its website, and, again, I quote:
6604 “We surpassed our goal of gender parity across all independently produced original, scripted, and unscripted Canadian television shows on our linear and digital platforms. During the 2018/2019 broadcast year across all original French and English shows, we supported 62 percent female-led projects where the majority of the key creative roles of producer, director, writer, and showrunner were held by women.” (As read)
6605 This is from the CBC Action Plan.
6606 We have to ask; they must be able to supply the data, and therefore, we urge and strongly recommend the Commission to require the CBC to adhere, by Conditions of Licence, to the same detailed, structured reporting requirements and timelines as the private broadcasters under Bulletin CRTC 2019-304.
6607 The Commission should also require the CBC to provide this data for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, within 30 days of the date of this hearing. We really don’t what to hear any more excuses about why this data cannot be provided.
6608 MS. McGOWAN: And Point 3: The CBC’s Diversity and Inclusion Update of December 2020 no longer includes women, contrary to their Action Plan bullet point above. So where have all the women gone?
6609 In that report, the CBC states:
6610 “In our national diversity and inclusion, D&I, strategy, we understand ‘diversity’ to mean working with and in favour of people who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of colour, people with disabilities, and people from LGBTQ2+ communities.” (As read)
6611 According to the CRTC’s November 10th, 2020 letter to the CBC on the importance that its programming meet the needs and reflect the diverse Canadian population, the CRTC stated:
6612 “Diversity includes, among other elements, women, Indigenous peoples, ethnic and multicultural communities, Canadians with disabilities, and Canadians who identify as LGBTQ2.” (As read)
6613 As our public broadcaster, the CBC needs to do better at data reporting, and the Commission’s role is to ensure that they do so.
6614 Point 4: The CBC, as our national public broadcaster, is facing many challenges in light of rapid technological change. We support the CBC's move into expanding the digital offerings to Canadians with the following caveat. We have noted in the CBC audience report entitled "A Full Canadian View in Profile" that the growing trend to digital platform viewing is currently skewing. We believe it's imperative that the CBC ensure they actively work to bring women and diverse viewers into this trend. Gender equality and diversity commitments in its programming must apply to CBC's online services before viewing profiles become even more entrenched.
6615 We urge the Commission to require the CBC to report data across all their platforms, including viewership data to ensure that currently underserved audiences are not being driven to lower budget fair, as is currently being evidenced in the CBC's viewership report.
6616 MS. BRINTON: Finally, and our fifth point, with respect to the issues surrounding Tandem, we offer the following concerns. Sponsored stories have the potential to undermine or whitewash efforts at gender and racial equity. For the CBC to achieve gender equity, inclusivity, and diversity, it requires adequate public funding.
6617 In conclusion, we urge the Commission to carefully examine all CBC/SRC commitments to women, Indigenous peoples, racialized peoples, and peoples with disabilities, and seek clear data on its performance and success rates to date and in future years. Ensuring gender equity and diversity requires a focussed and multifaceted long-term plan to deal with the underlying systemic biases in our industry. And without specific commitments by the CBC and the data to assess their performances and success rates, we are severely hampered in our ability to comment on these issues that are critical to all Canadian women.
6618 That concludes our presentation. Thank you. We'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.
6619 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Thank you very much for your presentation. I'll turn the floor to Commissioner Anderson.
6620 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation and thank you for your submissions.
6621 Before I move on to the questions, I just wonder if we could get a little bit of clarity about language because that's been a recurring theme. And specifically, in your written submissions at paragraphs 14 and 15, discussion about diversity groups, and you caution that women should not be included in diversity groups, and that it might actually be a step backwards to lump women back into a diversity group category with minority marginalised groups.
6622 And I was wondering if you could please elaborate a little bit on the risk of including women as a diversity group, just so that I've got a bit of clarity?
6623 MS. BRINTON: I will start, and I know Sharon is very involved in this issue for WIFT Vancouver. What we found in the past -- and in our original submission to the private broadcaster hearings, way back in 2016 when we first appeared before the Commission, women were no where to be found. There was no discussion, there was no tracking, there was no data. And, in fact, in CRTC policy, women had been removed from gender -- equity and gender issues and put into the diversity of voices policies, which in 2016, we were definitely having an issue with because there was no mention of gender in the diversity of voices policy. So, again, women were kind of left off the plate.
6624 Going forward, we realise that we are encompassing multi intersectionalities in women, and we have to be able to provide voices for that. But at the same time, women as a category, as a borderline majority of the population is not -- is no longer being addressed and it's problematic to me that somehow women have been dropped off of being tracked. There's -- the data is not the accounting of priority anymore. That's my concern is the history and the track record of CRTC policy is that when gender starts disappearing, it stops being tracked.
6625 And, Sharon, I don't know if you want to ---
6626 MS. McGOWAN: I'm fine with that as long -- and our -- you know, we're just very concerned that that's missing.
6627 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Yes, thank you.
6628 And on that topic as well and maybe for the record, I was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit on what you mean when you say intersectionality.
6629 MS. McGOWAN: By intersectionality we mean the multiple identities that people might have, like, that women particularly might have, LGBTQ, as well as disabled, as well as Indigenous, as well as racialized. We're becoming much more evolved on that as Women in Film in general, and we have a lot more understanding and awareness and commitment to making sure that we take that into account in all of our work. Does that answer your question?
6630 MS. BRINTON: For us as well ---
6631 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: It does, thank you.
6632 MS. BRINTON: --- for us as well, the intersection is there's women as a chunk of the population, as a big chunk of the population. But at the same time, with these intersectionalities, the issues that are of issue, as Sharon said, to perhaps somebody with multiple identities, racial, ethnic, cultural, disabilities, sexual orientation, these lay compounding efforts on women, but they are still women. And for us, we speak for women on the high level. We cannot speak to the intersections each woman might find each other in. But that's important to have the diversity and inclusion but not lose the gender angle, because even in those subgroups, gender is -- there is a gender bias for people in the -- for women in those subgroups as well. So if you take gender out of it, and you just make the issues people's issues, and you remove the gender, then we cannot identify the issues as we go into groups that are specific to gender as well as all these other intersections that these women might have, if that helps.
6633 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much for that. So now I'm going to get into some substantive questions, starting with diversity and programming. And I wanted to ask you about programming relevance for women and diversity groups, which has been a theme throughout the proceeding.
6634 I was wondering, what kind of criteria do you think the Commission should consider to ensure that programming offered for a particular diversity group is relevant to that group?
6635 MS. BRINTON: The big answer is it should made by that group. It should be stories by those groups, written by those groups. They get -- they are involved in the creative and the production process, because that's where we, as women, came from as well. That's what the broadcaster report is about. It's who are the people making the decisions? Who are the producers? Who are the writers? Who are the directors? Who are the editors? Who are the, you know, who are the directors of photography? If you do not have these people telling their stories, then they're not going to be reflected. It's not -- we do not come in on the content. It's about allowing these people to express their stories from whatever viewpoint they have without somebody else intersecting into that to get it made.
6636 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. So how would the Commission measure the success of whether or not it's met the criteria that it sets if reflection would be reflective of the -- what would be the baseline? Would it be population baseline, for instance, or how would success in meeting that objective be measured?
6637 MS. McGOWAN: I think ---
6638 MS. BRINTON: You go, Sharon, because I know -- you go ahead.
6639 MS. McGOWAN: That's an interesting and complicated question, and I think that that would be something that you would want to work out with the groups that we're talking about, marginalised groups. And I -- because in certain situations you could say, well, the Indigenous population of Canada is this percentage, but, you know, does it really only deserve that amount of money since historically that population has been suppressed through cultural genocide, so we need to measure these things very carefully and very specifically. And I don't think you can have a blanket formula to apply. I think a lot more work needs to be done by everybody, including us at Women in Film, and the CRTC, and every institution to examine how we rate success, and how we rate inclusivity, and how we bring people in, and we open up what has been an extremely narrow cultural mandate.
6640 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: So, you had just suggested that in order to ensure that the media is meeting -- or the public broadcaster is meeting the needs of the different -- Canada's diverse population that programming should be made by that group. Is that true then for musical content as well as television and radio and news, for instance?
6641 MS. McGOWAN: That's an ---
6642 MS. BRINTON: Gee, that's not my area.
6643 MS. McGOWAN: Well, yeah, we're not ---
6644 MS. BRINTON: That would make sense.
6645 MS. McGOWAN: We're kind of film and television, but yes. I mean, to come back to the major point and to -- I do find this line of questioning slightly disturbing, in that you are again including us in diversity questions, and we may not be the best people to answer. We can answer the women questions. How do we get better reporting on women is having them report, and to -- and I'm sorry if I'm jumping ahead, but my -- I have a big issue with a lot of this and how the heck we get the data?
6646 I mean, we wrote to the Commission and said, you know, we don't have the data. The CBC in their response to us, one paragraph referring us to gender equity stats, not mentioning PNI, not mentioning achievements was a bit of a sluff off, you know. The Commission asked them for this kind of information on in-house programming and got, "We can't provide you that." And that was the end of it.
6647 And to try and find this data in the myriad of stuff that's on the -- under the filings and on the websites, and I'm somebody who does this for a living, and it was really hard to find where this data was. Your broadcaster production reports are not attached to the broadcasters in your typical TV data annual reporting. It's over in business under stats and surveys. I mean, even that, the difficulty in finding information on what the CBC has done in terms of production for women after the summit that they were very welcome and very aggressively participated in has been almost nothing. And so how are we following up on this?
6648 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: I understand that there was an ATIP request that was made, and as a result of that request, there was over 4,000 pages of content in response to an ATIP request regarding the 2018 to 2021 diversity and inclusion plan. And I was wondering if you've had an opportunity to examine that data provided by the CBC and SRC. And if so, if there are any key takeaways.
6649 MS. BRINTON: Well, if there was 4,000 pages of it, no, because, you know, priority is looking for the indicators. Anything that I looked through in this process -- and it did take me hours -- was to try and find where is that information that breaks it down by program, writer, director, producer. That was not there. Anything that I examined, of all the data anywhere in there was, okay, this is where it was made. This was regional. This was the production company. You know, the budgets or the expenditures were confidential. But any data that I was looking at, I could not find anywhere in the CBC stuff -- and you all know how much is on there. I could not find anything that showed me the breakdown by gender in -- or diversity stats like the broadcaster production report.
6650 In their PNI programming, what was the breakdown of women in writer, producer, director? Why can they make a comment about 2018/19 but then not be able to go forward? If they could do that calculation on their 2018/2019 data, why is it so hard for them to do it on 2019/2020? These are PNI. These are not internal ones where I understand they had different job classifications, but this is independent production where it's pretty standard to make demarcations of writer, director, producer, you know. Where is the data and why is the CBC not providing it? That to me is unacceptable. We've gone backwards.
6651 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Your concerns are noted for the record. I fully understand what you're saying.
6652 And I'm going to continue on with the questions that I've got. And some of the questions are going to pertain to other diversity groups because your written submissions do discuss racialized women and women with disabilities. But to the extent that you don't feel comfortable asking, of course, please just let me know, and then you can -- you can take whatever approach you'd like. But because the written submissions do discuss different segments or intersectionality, as you've clearly defined it, I will extend the question to racialized and other marginalized women. But, again, feel free to answer in whatever way you'd like.
6653 So I'm going to move on to discoverability, and so from the perspective of the production company, what are some of the best practices to include women, Indigenous people, other racialized communities, Canadians with disabilities, and Canadians who identify as LGBTQ in key production roles?
6654 And then can you please explain if programming dedicated to those designated groups is easier to find or not on certain platforms.
6655 MS. McGOWAN: I'm not sure I -- I understand the question, so you were wanting to know how to make those programs or those representations visible, or accessible to an audience, or discoverable? Does that ---
6656 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Yeah, are programs that are supposed to be reflective or perhaps intended for those groups easily discoverable on different platforms, and how could that be improved?
6657 MS. BRINTON: That's a good question. I mean ---
6658 MS. McGOWAN: That's a really good question.
6659 MS. BRINTON: Everything is involved around promotion; right? I mean, we heard Ivan Fecan say if you don't promote it, people don't know where it is. And I would agree with that just as an audience person.
6660 MS. McGOWAN: I think what would help is if the ---
6661 MS. BRINTON: You have to make a place for it. Sorry.
6662 MS. McGOWAN: Yeah. Well, and if the CBC were openly -- like, the kind of -- the question we have around the data is that like most other agencies or publicly funded agencies now have, like, on their home page when you land statements about this. Yes, I think it should just be out front, very public, very open, promoted very clearly, absolutely.
6663 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Okay. So and some intervenors have expressed concern about the pressure that commitments to diversity in front of and behind the screen could have on independent producers. And it's believed that the responsibility for diversity rests too much on independent producers. What are your thoughts on those concerns?
6664 MS. BRINTON: Well, I -- we have -- when we look at who commissions, right, I mean, there's a lot of power in who commissions the stories. And, you know, if they're coming out with this is the kind of programming we want to provide, this is the spectrum of programming, if they are not involved in helping to encourage that talent, and they require on the independent production company ,as a much smaller entity, to go out and try and find the people without, you know, individually, that's where something like hire BIPOC, or some kind of database is very helpful, and it shouldn't always rely on the independent producer as one entity who's trying to provide the commissioning broadcaster, studio, with whatever they want.
6665 So, you know, I would say it would have to be at both levels. If it's not coming from the top down and the bottom up, from the side -- you know, the production company itself, I think it's got to be both, if that helps answer it.
6666 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you. Now I think it would be helpful to move on to a measurement framework because we've been discussing reflection quite a bit.
6667 So, currently, as a way of ensuring that official language minority communities are reflected in programming, the Commission has imposed a number of requirements to either track exhibition or the allocation of budget -- production budgets to the creation of that programming. Would this kind of approach work for diversity groups that we've discussed?
6668 MS. McGOWAN: So you're talking about tracking the amount of money that goes to specific productions and then ---
6669 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: And exhibition.
6670 MS. McGOWAN: --- and -- absolutely. Absolutely. I think it would be essential.
6671 MS. BRINTON: If you want to -- if you are talking an hour's requirement versus a dollar's requirement, if you are talking, you know, the CBC has proposed that they should go on an exhibition and not a monetary, or did I get that backwards? I think that's right.
6672 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: We're asking for both metrics, I suppose.
6673 MS. BRINTON: Yes. So, yeah.
6674 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: It would be helpful to hear your views on both.
6675 MS. BRINTON: Yeah.
6676 MS. McGOWAN: You can't ---
6677 MS. BRINTON: Because I ---
6678 MS. McGOWAN: Without tracking the money, you have nothing, because you could end up in a situation with certain requirements being met by ultra low-budget productions. And without tracking exhibition, you could have, like, only one show getting all this money, and then the numbers being skewed. We found in our work with tracking numbers at Telefilm or the CMF that it's always dollars to programming. We have to do both. And the roles, like, you can't just track the number of women directors without tracking the amount of financing that's going against shows that are directed by women because you can create a situation that might look like you've got equity in women directors, but of course, they're all directing, you know, no-budget movies, or no-budget TV series. So I totally agree with that approach.
6679 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: So we’ve talked now, then, about expenditures, and we’ve talked about exhibition, and we’ve talked about women in key creative positions, but are there any other metrics that we should be considering to ensure that programming is meeting the needs of Canada’s diverse population?
6680 MS. McGOWAN: I think you’ve put your finger on it with the advertising and promotion.
6681 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you.
6682 All right. So just bear with me for one moment because I think a lot of these questions have been answered.
6683 MS. McGOWAN: They’re good questions, thank you.
6684 MS. BRINTON: (indiscernible) interacting and (indiscernible) because it is important (indiscernible) for example, as a venue -- oh, she’s on mute.
6685 MS. ROY: One minute. I think we cannot hear you.
6686 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Sorry, no, I was just reading the questions because I ---
6687 MS. ROY: No, not Commissioner Anderson, it was Mrs. Brinton.
6688 Can Mrs. Brinton...?
6689 MS. McGOWAN: We’ve lost you, Susan.
6690 (SHORT PAUSE/COURTE PAUSE)
6691 MS. BRINTON: Can you hear me now?
6692 MS. McGOWAN: Unplug your microphone, your headset, see if your computer mic works.
6693 MS. BRINTON: Can you hear me now?
6694 MS. McGOWAN: A little better, yeah.
6695 MS. BRINTON: Okay, I’m going to try and up my volume.
6696 I just wanted to make a reference to the Broadcaster Production Report. If you were asking of ways to track diversity, you already have a template in that form that can be expanded to other racialized peoples, and it already includes Indigenous, and official language minority, and women. You want to go further into that, you already have a template for that.
6697 And, again, you know, I’ve got to come back to what the Chair said right at the beginning; if you don’t measure it, it doesn’t get done, which is really the underlying feeling in our submission is, you know, if the CBC is not going to measure gender in their programming, especially their PNI programming, I don’t -- it’s not going to get done, that’s my fear.
6698 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: So, again, can we just talk about how success would be measured. Would it be via feedback from the diverse communities, for instance, or how would we know that -- how would we know when we’ve been successful in what we’re trying to achieve, or that the Corporation is successful in adequately reflecting its diverse communities?
6699 MS. BRINTON: There’s lots of answers to that, including audience acclaim, critical acclaim. I think it’s fantastic that a show like Tricksters, you know, gets this recognition and gets this international recognition because it’s well-done, it’s well-written, it's an excellent program.
6700 And to a certain degree in digital offerings there is a word of mouth that happens. And so that brings a lot of value, but so does an international Emmy, you know, and that that is a distinctly Canadian show that won -- sorry; not even an international Emmy, a regular Emmy, a US competitive Emmy.
6701 You know, those kinds of things help us realize that our stories can travel, that we can take pride in our Canadian stories, when they are recognized both in Canada and around the world, and I think, again, it’s a partnership here. It’s a partnership with the broadcasters and the producers and the communities, and especially communities that haven’t had the resources to be able to build a book of experience and a level of undertaking that they can tell their own stories, and that’s where a public broadcaster like the CBC has a responsibility, in my opinion, to nurture those groups and those stories so that Tricksters and Schitt’s Creek, and all the different variety of programmings that we can recognize as Canadian can be told.
6702 It’s harder on the private broadcasters, it’s harder on the CBC with an advertising mandate, you know, because they have multiple agendas, multiple mandates, and try and compete in the private sector just makes it even more complicated. Why not revel in the success of what they can do and what we can do.
6703 COMMISSIONER ANDERSON: Thank you very much. I have no further questions. I’m going to turn the floor back to the Chair.
6704 Thank you very much for your time.
6705 MS. McGOWAN: Thank you.
6706 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Commissioner Anderson.
6707 Commissioner Simard, I believe you have a question?
6708 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Yes, please. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
6709 I have one question for you. In 2018, I think, we held Summit for Women in Production here at the CRTC and one of the conclusions were that it was important to have solutions to increase women’s access to key creative positions.
6710 So I’ve heard many references to this concept during your intervention, but there was also another main conclusion, which was the challenge to get access to women to high production budgets.
6711 So I would be interested to know if you think that this should be one of the targets as well, the high budget -- the high production budgets.
6712 MS. McGOWAN: Absolutely.
6713 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Okay.
6714 MS. BRINTON: Yeah, Sharon can tell you more about that. That is particularly, as well, a telefilm datapoint that we notice, in that it’s the films. You know, the women will get opportunities to direct the smaller films but not the opportunities to direct the higher-budget films, and that’s where you need to count the collars and the hours.
6715 When it comes to -- oh, okay. No, I think I’ll just leave it at that.
6716 COMMISSIONER SIMARD: Good. Thank you very much. Thank you for your participation in this hearing.
6717 THE CHAIRPERSON: Commissioner Lafontaine, did you have a question?
6718 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Yes. Thank you very much.
6719 Thank you very much for your presentation today. I have just one quick question for you with regard to the production report.
6720 During your presentation today you talked about, you know, one solution could be the production report or that the CBC, as a corporation, file, you know, the same types of information with regard to PNI as set out in that Production Report.
6721 However, the requirement set out in 2019-304 is actually for all Canadian programming, and so not just PNI. And so I’d be interested to just hear from you quickly about whether you are advocating for just the PNI programming or all Canadian programming.
6722 MS. BRINTON: It’s really tough because, I mean, on the CBC all Canadian programming is a lot higher than it is on private broadcasters. So I could see how that could be a difficulty for the CBC; I can understand how difficult it could be on their in-house reporting, as they did state. Which is why, for us, PNI is the target because it is mostly done with independent producers. You know, it’s funded through the CMF or other agencies that also have gender equity mandates as well, so in partnership they kind of work together to fund. So I think that’s -- yeah, that’s important.
6723 COMMISSIONER LAFONTAINE: Okay, great. Thank you. Thank you for responding to my question.
6724 Thank you, Mr. Chair.
6725 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
6726 Thank you very much for your presentation and your fulsome responses to the Members’ questions. So much appreciated.
6727 Madam Secretary, I believe we have the next intervenor available online, so we’ll just allow you to make the technical handover.
6728 Thank you, and good afternoon.
6729 MS. BRINTON: Thank you.
6730 MS. McGOWAN: Thank you.
6731 MME ROY: Thank you.
6732 Oui, merci, nous connecterons maintenant avec Guillaume Le Nigen. Monsieur Le Nigen, est-ce que vous m’entendez?
6733 M. Le NIGEN: Oui, je vous entends.
6734 LA SECRTÉAIRE: Parfait, on va activer la vidéo.
6735 Parfait, je vous vois. Donc, vous m’entendez bien?
6736 M. Le NIGEN: Oui, ça va.
6737 MME ROY: Parfait. Merci.
6738 Vous pouvez débuter votre présentation.
6740 M. Le NIGEN: Oui, bonjour. Tout d’abord, je vais simplement me présenter; Guillaume Le Nigen. Je suis ici à titre de citoyen tout simplement. Peut-être la portion de mon curriculum qui pourrait vous intéresser tout simplement c’est que je possède un Master-Pro de la Sorbonne en Sémiologie. Puis de tous les types de médias, si on se rapporte à l’art, c’est certainement le cinéma ou la télévision qui est le plus difficile à analyser en sémiologie.
6741 C’est pour moi, incontestable. Donc, vous faites un travail qui est certainement très difficile.
6742 Donc, je vous ai transmis un texte amendé que j’ai pris le temps de rédiger un petit peu plus en profondeur. J’imagine que vous l’avez reçu. Je vais tout simplement faire un survol. Je ne vais pas le lire. Donc, j’ai sorti certains points.
6743 Le premier portait sur une invitation que je voulais vous faire de revoir les catégories et les proportions qui sont accordées à chacune des catégories de contenu. Pour moi, il devrait y avoir beaucoup plus de contenu d’enquête journalistique. Les fonds publics des citoyens devraient être mis au bénéfice des citoyens.
6744 J’ai lu dans les documents de la consultation que vous accordez beaucoup d’importance aux audiences, aux individus. Tout ça, pour moi, ce n’est pas là-dessus que ça devrait être mesuré mais c’est plus la rétribution des citoyens. Ce sont des dollars que les citoyens donnent à la Société Radio-Canada. Donc, ce seront des services qui devraient être rendus aux citoyens.
6745 Et dans ce sens-là, les contenus d’enquête journalistique, je pense par exemple des émissions comme Enquêtes ou La Facture devraient composer la majorité de la grille horaire, surtout en 2021 où les informations puis l’acuité du public est beaucoup plus grande qu’il y a peut-être 20 ans. Donc, c’est mon premier point.
6746 Aussi, bon, ça fait peut-être suite justement à la présentation qui a été faite par les deux dames qui me précédaient. Oui, je suis tout à fait pour le fait de favoriser l’inclusion de toutes sortes de types de personnalités puis de gens qui appartiennent à toutes sortes de minorités dans les contenus du radiodiffuseur. Mais j’ai peur que ça devienne… peut-être que ça vienne diluer l’identité canadienne; qu’on ne se retrouve plus dans les contenus qui nous sont présentés.
6747 Si on fait un parallèle, par exemple, avec l’art plastique, si on vous dit qu’on doit utiliser 8 pour cent de bleu, 5 pour cent de jaune, 40 pour cent de vert, ça devient plus difficile de venir faire une oeuvre qui représente les contenus comme il le faut.
6748 Donc, je pense qu’il devrait y avoir une plus grande latitude par rapport à la représentation des minorités, toujours aussi en question de proportionnalité.
6749 Mon deuxième point est à l’effet que je trouve qu’il y a un grand manque de neutralité dans les téléjournaux, surtout les téléjournaux francophones. Il est trop facile de dire quel chef d’antenne est de quelle allégeance politique. Pour moi, c’est anormal. Ces gens-là devraient être neutres et ce n’est absolument pas le cas surtout avec les chefs d’antenne. On le voit avec certains journalistes qui passent dans les partis politiques d’ailleurs. C’est leur droit. Mais si on pouvait savoir, avant qu’ils passent dans ces partis-là, à quels partis ils pouvaient aller, pour moi, il y a un problème.
6750 Aussi, les téléjournaux devraient servir uniquement aux nouvelles. On voit de plus en plus du temps d’antenne, près de 20 minutes parfois, qui est accordé à des reportages qui durent très longtemps, de cinq minutes et plus, sur des sujets qui ne sont pas des sujets d’actualité, qui deviennent complètement éditoriaux. Pour moi, ce n’est pas la place de reportages comme ça, de les mettre dans les téléjournaux.
6751 Puis aussi, ce serait important de présenter davantage d’opinions qui s’opposent parce que souvent on présente un côté de la nouvelle, on présente une nouvelle ou la suite d’une nouvelle sans présenter l’origine du sujet qui est traité. Donc, de rappeler d’où vient la nouvelle puis quels sont les groupes qui s’opposent. Puis aller s’assurer de présenter des opinions qui s’entrechoquent pour inciter les gens à discuter; puis avoir des arguments qui leur sont présentés qui ne sont pas fallacieux, qui viennent toujours simplement présenter un seul côté de la médaille.
6752 Aussi, on peut voir que, récemment, dans l’actualité, il y a eu une brève mention dans les documents de la consultation, vous aviez traité des fausses nouvelles… le sujet des fausses nouvelles qui semblent devenir un problème. Je suis tout à fait d’accord avec vous.
6753 Par contre, vous demandiez une façon de régler ce problème-là. Bien, je pense que ce serait d’augmenter la couverture qui est accordée, que ce soit dans les téléjournaux ou dans les documents… dans les productions journalistiques d’enquête qui portent sur les organisations supranationales; donc, on pense à l’ONU, à l’Union européenne. Donc, de présenter les bons coups, les mauvais coups, que ça fasse les nouvelles, que ça fasse les reportages. Puis qu’on sache quels contenus sont mis de l’avant puis sont transformés en règlement par ces organismes-là, parce qu’on n’en entend jamais parler. Les seules fois où on en entend parler c’est par des canons informels de gens qui en font des fausses nouvelles.
6754 Donc, davantage traiter des organismes supranationaux, l’ONU, le Fonds monétaire international, l’Union européenne. Je vous donne des exemples comme ça.
6755 Puis aussi, bien reprendre plus les bons coups étrangers parce qu’on entend très peu parler des bons coups à l’étranger. Souvent, les nouvelles étrangères c’est des mauvaises nouvelles.
6756 Donc, s’il y a des politiques qui ont été mises en place, je pense à l’Union européenne en agriculture, par exemple, ils ont un paquet de mesures qui seraient bénéfiques, que les Canadiens en prennent connaissance puis qu’ils puissent le demander à leur député. On n’entend jamais parler. Donc, la (micro)… façon de savoir que ça existe ailleurs alors qu’il y a des très bonnes pratiques qui sont faites en Europe.
6757 Aussi, quand je parlais des agendas politiques, c’est sûr, on peut penser à des enquêtes locales, étrangères, les enquêtes sur des compagnies, sur toutes sortes de sujets.
6758 Par contre, il y a trois types d’enquêtes que j’ai identifiées et que je pense qui devraient être favorisées et qui devraient constituer la majorité de l’antenne. C’est-à-dire près de 80 pour cent du temps, l’antenne devrait être des enquêtes journalistiques; donc soit des enquêtes scientifiques, soit des développements d’affaires publiques ou des enquêtes sur l’appareil gouvernemental pour pouvoir présenter comment ça fonctionne. Qu’on sache comment les programmes sont élaborés, qui est derrière ça, quelles consultations ont été faites, et cetera, parce qu’on n’en entend jamais parler.
6759 Mon quatrième point, c’est à la rémunération et à la sélection des comédiens, des personnalités et des animateurs. Surtout dans la… je n’suis pas très connaissant dans la télévision anglophone mais pour le volet francophone, on a toujours les mêmes animateurs, les mêmes comédiens puis les mêmes personnalités qui sont présentés, autant dans les galas que dans les quizz télévisés, que dans les téléromans, que dans les talk-shows. C’est toujours les mêmes personnes qui reviennent, qui répondent, oui, justement à une certaine portion de l’audience.
6760 Par contre, les gens qui représentent des minorités ne sont pas forcément intéressés par ces personnalités-là qui sont beaucoup trop régionales puis qui ne reflètent pas nécessairement la personnalité de l’ensemble de l’audience.
6761 Donc pour moi, il devrait y avoir un maximum qui devrait être imposé pour les cachets des personnalités, pour toutes les productions qui sont diffusées à Radio-Canada, puis… dans les cachets au sens de leurs rémunérations mais aussi au sens du temps d’antenne qui leur est accordé. C’est-à-dire de ne pas surreprésenter toujours les mêmes personnalités pour offrir justement la possibilité à des gens de devenir une figure publique puis d’apporter un nouveau visage, de nouveaux visages à l’identité canadienne.
6762 Aussi, je suggère que vous interdisiez la télédiffusion des galas de remises de prix pour la même raison. Il y a beaucoup de complaisance dans ces galas. C’est toujours les mêmes qui reçoivent les prix. C’est toujours les mêmes cliques qui sont mises de l’avant.
6763 Moi-même, j’habite en coopérative et je peux vous dire que le milieu des cliques, je connais ça. Et le moindrement que des gens ont du succès, c’est facile de garder puis de diminuer la part du mérite qui est donné à d’autres.
6764 Aussi, en ce qui a trait à mon point cinq, la proportion du contenu canadien, au Québec, ça s’est beaucoup transformé au fil des années. Ce qui était un mécanisme de protection de la souveraineté culturelle identitaire québécoise ou canadienne est devenu un renfermement identitaire au Québec. On connaît très peu ce qui se passe à l’étranger.
6765 Moi-même, je suis obligé d’aller sur des publications étrangères pour savoir ce qui se passe en termes d’où on est rendu dans les niveaux de qualité à l’étranger, dans la production de toutes sortes de contenus; que ce soit le cinéma, la télé, la musique.
6766 Au Canada, on est rendu très mauvais à aller chercher des talents qui percent à l’étranger pour vraiment présenter ceux-là. On essaie de créer nos propres talents en mettant des règles puis en leur donnant… en donnant de l’argent à toutes sortes d’organismes qui les promeuvent mais en réalité, il faut aller chercher les gens qui ont un succès à l’étranger. Je pense que le succès à l’étranger est une bonne mesure de la qualité des contenus qu’on produit.
6767 Puis ça permet aussi de s’ouvrir à ce qui se fait ailleurs dans le monde et ailleurs au Canada. Le Canada anglais qui pourrait regarder davantage le Canada français et le Canada français qui regarde davantage le Canada anglais.
6768 Mon sixième point est relatif aux avis publics. Moi, je suis friand des consultations publiques. Je participe aujourd’hui à type de citoyen sur mon temps personnel. J’ai dû prendre des vacances pour pouvoir être avec vous aujourd’hui. Donc, je crois que c’est le rôle aussi de la Société Radio-Canada de présenter le résultat des consultations publiques qui sont tenues. L’Office de consultation publique de Montréal ne fait jamais les nouvelles mais il y a toutes sortes de règlements qui sont adoptés à Montréal, qui ont passé par là puis qui ont fait l’objet de mémoires très intéressants, comme ceux que vous voyez aujourd’hui. Puis on n’en entend absolument jamais parler.
6769 Donc, il devrait y avoir un quota, à tous les jours, à toutes les nouvelles, où systématiquement on devrait entendre parler de tous les avis publics, toutes les consultations publiques d’envergure qui sont tenues puis les résultats de ces consultations-là. C’est-à-dire les commissaires qui rédigent les mémoires, qu’on sache qu’est-ce qu’ils ont dit. Parce qu’on ne le sait jamais. Il faut aller le lire puis on ne sait même pas que ça existe.
6770 Enfin, je reçois un courriel de… par rapport à CBC Tandem. Je ne suis pas très familier avec ce sujet-là, donc je ne m’aventurerai pas longtemps là-dessus. Mais pour ce que j’en ai lu, je ne suis pas d’accord à ce que la SRC aille produire des contenus au bénéfice d’entreprises privées. Je crois que si elle veut chercher des nouvelles sources de revenu, ce serait plutôt l’inverse, elle devrait aller diminuer ses dépenses.
6771 Et notamment, dans tout le volet « divertissements », j’ai vu qu’il y avait trois volets par rapport aux objectifs de la SRC. Bien divertir, ça devrait être le moins important et vraiment le plus minime là, à 10 ou 20% des contenus, maximum. Et l’ensemble des contenus qui visent à divertir, les quiz télé, les talk-shows, les téléromans, les tout ça, c’est là-dedans qu’il faut couper puis c’est là qu’il faut diminuer les budgets.
6772 Donc ça fait le tour de ce que je voulais vous présenter, je ne sais pas si vous avez des questions, j’ai pas vraiment adressé rien de nouveau. Je suis disponible pour en discuter avec vous.
6773 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci beaucoup pour votre présentation. Je ne sais pas si des membres avaient des questions pour vous. Madame Simard, avez-vous des questions ? Non ? Alors merci beaucoup encore, pour votre présentation. Madam Secretary, I think that brings our process for the day to an end ?
6774 Mme ROY : Exactement, Monsieur le président. Donc demain matin, nous recommencerons à 10 heures. Merci beaucoup.
6775 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci Madame la secrétaire. Merci encore, à demain.
6776 Mme ROY : À demain.
--- Upon adjourning at 4:20 pm/
L’audience est close à 16h20
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