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TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DEVANT
LE CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
Diverses demandes de radiodiffusion
Centre de conférences
140, Promenade du Portage
le 2 avril 2009
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues
officielles, les procès-verbaux pour le Conseil seront
bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des
membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience
publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu
textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée
et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues
officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le
participant à l'audience publique.
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Diverses demandes de radiodiffusion
Konrad von Finckenstein Président
Michel Arpin Conseiller
Len Katz Conseiller
Rita Cugini Conseillère
Michel Morin Conseiller
Sylvie Bouffard Sécretaire
Lyne Cape Gérante de l'audience
Peter McCallum Conseiller Juridique
Centre de conférences
140, Promenade du Portage
le 2 avril 2009
TABLE DES MATIÈRES
PAGE / PARA
PHASE III (cont.)
Bob Walsh 408 / 2266
Virée Blues Boréale 413 / 2296
City of Ottawa 430 / 2376
Réél-Radio 442 / 2443
Ottawa Media Inc. 446 / 2463
Radio de la communauté francophone d’Ottawa 474 / 2618
Corus Radio Company 480 / 2648
Pelmorex Communications Inc. 484 / 2673
Emergency Management Ontario 593 / 3317
The Honourable Bryon Wilfert 605 / 3383
Red Cross 610 / 3415
AMEC 622 / 3479
--- L'audience reprend le jeudi 2 avril 2009 à 0904
2264 THE SECRETARY: We will begin this morning with Bob Walsh, Virée Blues Boréale and the City of Ottawa to appear as a panel and present their intervention. Please approach the presentation table.
2265 THE SECRETARY: We will begin with the first presentation. Mr. Bob Walsh, you have 10 minutes for your presentation.
2266 MR. WALSH: Thank you. Bonjour. Mon nom est Bob Walsh. Depuis plus de 30 ans, je parcoure le pays pour chanter le Blues, toujours avec la même passion. Je suis l'auteur de huit enregistrements en carrière, et je suis toujours aussi actif, avec entre 60 et 100 spectacles par année.
2267 En 2004, j'ai reçu mon premier Félix à titre d'artiste s'étant le plus illustré dans une autre langue que le français, un honneur qui cumulait trois nominations à l'ADISQ dans les quatre années précédentes. J'ai également reçu sept Lys Blues, incluant le Méritas pour l'ensemble de ma carrière, et j'ai été en nomination à deux reprises pour the Maple Blues Awards à Toronto. Excusez, je suis asthmatique.
2268 La raison pour laquelle je crois qu'une station de musique Blues est un plus est assez simple. Une grande partie de la population adore cette musique. J'ai eu la chance de jouer devant des milliers de personnes, ce qui me permet de vous transmettre l'enthousiasme des fans qui ont eu la chance de s'imprégner de cette forme d'expression artistique.
2269 Malheureusement, la radio commerciale a oublié ce qui fait son pain et son beurre. Le Blues, c'est l'origine du Rock and Roll et du Jazz, et si vous avez le malheur de téléphoner à une station de radio et demander une chanson de Blues, on vous répond tout simplement, ce n'est pas sur notre playlist.
2270 Je sais qu'il existe une base suffisante d'amateurs de Blues dans la région de Gatineau pour appuyer cette station.
2271 Les artistes Blues québécois ne jouent habituellement que sur les scènes de leur province. L'arrivée d'une station de radio Blues 24 sur 24 permettrait de nous faire connaître davantage à Ottawa et la région et, qui sait, d'être invités à jouer à des nouveaux festivals, jouer à des nouvelles salles de spectacle, bref, donner un coup de pouce à nos carrières, sans oublier qu'en diffusant notre musique, cette station paiera différentes redevances, dont bénéficieront les auteurs-compositeurs, interprètes, producteurs et maisons de disque. L'industrie de la musique Blues en a grandement besoin pour continuer à offrir des produits de qualité à un public sans cesse grandissant.
2272 Permettez-moi, au nom de tous les amateurs et les musiciens de Blues de Gatineau, de vous remercier de votre attention et de permettre à des milliers de personnes de se divertir en ce temps économique difficile. Merci.
2273 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci, Monsieur Walsh.
2274 Vous avez dit qu'on ne trouve pas le Blues sur la radio commerciale.
2275 M. WALSH : On le trouve, mais pas autant que les autres styles de musique.
2276 LE PRÉSIDENT : Si, selon vous, il y a une audience pour ça, il y a une soif, il y a un amour pour le Blues à Ottawa, on a le grand festival de Blues ici, pourquoi ça...
2277 M. WALSH : Un super festival de Blues à Ottawa.
2278 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui, je comprends, mais j'aimerais comprendre pourquoi, s'il existe cette soif pour le Blues, pourquoi ça ne se traduit pas aux radios, pourquoi les radios commerciales n'exploitent pas cet évident désir pour le Blues.
2279 M. WALSH : Je pense que c'est pas mal évident. Qu'est-ce qui se passe avec les radios commerciales, c'est que les grands qui fournissent la musique à ces postes de radio ont le choix de passer qu'est-ce qu'on leur donne aux postes de radio, et ceci, c'est une vieille, vieille histoire qui date de long temps. C'est les multinationales, finalement, des musiques commerciales qui ont le contrôle sur qu'est-ce qui se passe à la radio commerciale. Puis ça, ça ne date pas d'aujourd'hui.
2280 LE PRÉSIDENT : Et vous croyez que Torres, qui a fait l'engagement vis-à-vis le Blues, va avoir assez de succès, va attirer assez d'audience pour être viable?
2281 M. WALSH : On va sûrement rester bête à voir à quel niveau que la tension va se pointer envers des stations pareilles.
2282 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Est-ce que mes collègues ont des questions? Michel...?
2283 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Un, je vous souhaite bonjour, Monsieur Walsh.
2284 M. WALSH : Merci.
2285 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Je vous ai écouté et je vous ai vu souvent à la télévision, malgré tout.
2286 M. WALSH : O.K.
2287 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Est-ce que le Blues est mieux reçu à la télévision qu'à la radio?
2288 M. WALSH : Elle est bien reçue partout où elle passe. C'est juste que, quant à moi, elle ne passe pas assez souvent. Et pour la même raison, que ce soit la radio ou la télévision, c'est que c'est toujours cette industrie commerciale de la musique qui fait en sorte que les plus petits indépendants, et dans le cas du Blues et du Jazz, souvent des indépendants n'ont pas des aussi grosses compagnies pour faire l'appui, si vous voulez, pour mettre un certain appui sur les gens qui engagent au niveau de la télévision et de la radio. Ça fait que ça nous laisse un peu de côté.
2289 Dans mon cas -- je peux parler de moi -- je continue à bosser mes affaires, puis à m'occuper de mes affaires, évidemment, avec un bon gérant et tout, mais on se fait voir assez souvent que les gens nous demandent.
2290 Mais ce n'est pas le cas général de tous les musiciens qui ont autant de talent que moi, si pas plus en certains cas, puis ils devraient avoir cette chance-là.
2291 CONSEILLER ARPIN : Merci.
2292 M. WALSH : Merci, Monsieur Arpin.
2293 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci bien pour votre présentation. Ce sont toutes nos questions.
2294 M. WALSH : Merci beaucoup.
2295 LA SECRÉTAIRE : J'inviterais maintenant Virée Blues Boréale à faire sa présentation. Veuillez vous présenter et, ensuite, procéder avec votre présentation.
2296 M. PETIT: Bonjour. Donc, je me présente, Alexandre Petit. Je suis en quelque sorte créateur/fondateur/directeur artistique/producteur de la Virée Blues Boréale, pour ne pas dire jusqu'à concierge.
2297 Je suis plus ici pour représenter réellement mes fans, qui sont quelque 8 000 amateurs de Blues du côté québécois et près de 2 000 amateurs du côté ontarien. La raison pourquoi moins du côté ontarien que québécois, c'est parce qu'on s'est concentré surtout sur le côté, justement, francophone, québécois, et caetera, du côté Blues, sans quand même oublier tous nos compatriotes du côté ontarien et autres provinces canadiennes.
2298 Pour ce qui est de la Virée Blues, bien, on a quand même, depuis neuf éditions, réussi à se bâtir une très forte réputation sur le réseau Blues canadien. Je dis réseau Blues, on s'entend qu'on parle quand même d'un réseau qui est quand même très underground et moins -- comment je dirais -- comme monsieur Walsh disait, peut-être un peu moins, excusez l'anglicisme, backer par les grandes compagnies.
2299 Moi, je veux vous parler un peu des impacts pour ce qui est du côté régional québécois et francophonie du côté canadien.
2300 Donc, pour ce qui est de l'impact régional, si on regarde ici pour ce qui est de la région, tout ce qui est actuel pour ce qui est de la diffusion du Blues, on ne peut parler que d'une très, très faible présentation ou diffusion, pour ne pas dire complètement inexistante.
2301 Vous pouvez faire le tour des stations de radio actuellement. À quelques occasions, vous allez pouvoir entendre un des grands succès des Bluesmen les mieux appuyés par l'industrie sur les ondes radiophoniques, mais très rarement, vous allez entendre tout ce qui est la relève ou la scène un petit peu plus underground, qui est souvent très talentueuse. Je vous dirais, on a beaucoup de spectacles, et j'en suis très surpris à chaque fois que je fais des nouvelles découvertes.
2302 Donc, je pense qu'une station de Blues ici en Outaouais offrirait tout simplement une visibilité qu'on pourrait dire de base à plusieurs de nos talents locaux de l'Outaouais et de la région d'Ottawa du secteur Blues, sans compter aussi tous les artistes québécois et canadiens qui auraient besoin d'un tel coup de pouce pour se faire découvrir auprès de notre public, et non pour... ici, je ne parle pas d'imposer de se faire découvrir, mais je pense qu'il y a vraiment une demande de ce côté-là.
2303 Je pourrais vous dire, juste par la réaction du public qui vient à la Virée Blues en raison de deux fois par mois, je pense que la demande est très forte et très là.
2304 Ça permettrait aussi, de l'autre côté... je remarque que, point de vue spectacle, vous allez souvent avoir, pour ce qui est des grandes productions, donc, au CNA et ces choses-là, oui, le public de l'Outaouais va traverser. Mais pour ce qu'on parle, du nouveau talent et de la scène un peu plus émergeante, le public d'Ottawa ne vient pas nécessairement.
2305 Donc, pour parler de mon cas à la Virée Blues, le public d'Ottawa ne vient que très rarement à la Virée Blues, et le public de la Virée Blues ne va que très rarement sur la scène Blues d'Ottawa.
2306 Donc, je pense qu'une station de radio englobant toute la communauté Blues de la région permettrait, justement, une circulation de ces deux populations, et ainsi, en quelque part, permettre de découvrir les deux régions et, si vous voulez, les deux cultures si on parle un peu plus de culture francophone et culture canadienne.
2307 Donc, c'est sûr que pour la communauté Blues, une station comme tel nous permettrait un appui sûr et certain, qu'on n'a pas en ce moment, de la part des médias. Puis c'est sûr que si on parle de Radio-Canada ou plusieurs autres, on a quand même des entrefilets, certains mentionnent nos spectacles, et caetera, mais on n'a pas... je peux bien vous dire des noms, mais si vous ne les avez jamais entendus, ça ne veut pas dire que ça vous porter à venir voir le spectacle ou à vouloir découvrir cet artiste-là.
2308 Ensuite de ça, bien, c'est comme je vous disais, rejoindre les amateurs pour ce qui est du rassemblement de la communauté Blues, qui donnerait une certaine force aussi de ce côté-là, et la collaboration et le développement.
2309 On a déjà commencé à discuter, dans l'éventualité où la licence serait accordée, avec monsieur Yves Trottier et les partenaires de DAWG-FM, et plusieurs projets sont déjà sur la table, donc, qu'on pourrait regarder, dont certaines diffusions des spectacles de la Virée Blues sur les ondes de DAWG-FM. Donc, ça ressemble à ça. Il y a beaucoup de collaboration qui est possible de ce côté-là.
2310 Puis si on parle plus de l'impact au point de vue du Québec et de la francophonie, je pense que c'est important de mentionner que peu importe la langue d'animation, le but ultime de ce côté-là serait vraiment le développement et le rayonnement de la culture canadienne, qu'on parle de celle francophone ou anglophone, et je crois que la station Blues serait très appropriée de ce côté-là.
2311 Si on regarde nos artistes québécois ou canadiens, plusieurs de nos artistes francophones québécois dans le domaine du Blues ont plus de succès aux États-Unis qu'au Québec. Donc, il y a un questionnement à se poser ici.
2312 J'ai un exemple ici, Mike Goudreau. Probablement que c'est un nom qui ne vous dit pas grand-chose. Pourtant, ce bonhomme-là est rendu à son sixième CD, a remporté plusieurs prix, a été numéro un en Floride avec des disques en français pendant plusieurs semaines. Je suis presque sûr qu'il n'y a aucun de vous, messieurs les commissaires et Madame la Commissaire, qui a même entendu parler de monsieur Mike Goudreau, et pourtant, c'est un de nos grands Bluesmen du Québec.
2313 Donc, on voit ici qu'il y a certains points faibles, si on peut dire, dans la chose, et une station de radio telle qu'elle pourrait aider grandement à régler ces... je trouve ça fort un peu de parler d'injustice, mais de lacunes. Oui, merci, Bob.
2314 Donc, à partir de là, c'est sûr que tous les impacts que je parlais du niveau régional se répertorient aussi dans ce qui est des impacts du côté de la communauté francophone, pour ce qui est de la visibilité, représentation, et caetera.
2315 Comme je vous disais -- je reviens aussi du côté de DAWG-FM -- je remarquais, malgré la demande anglophone, si vous voulez, la station de radio a un grand désir de leur côté de venir toucher tout ce qui est la culture francophone, québécoise et canadienne comme telle. J'ai été très impressionné par leur désir de venir chercher ça, parce que nous, comme tel, à la Virée Blues, notre but est un petit peu plus de faire découvrir le côté francophone, les côtés spéciaux du Blues. On va aussi sur le Blues japonais, ces choses-là. Donc, je pense que c'est une ouverture qui est très grande du côté de DAWG-FM.
2316 Pour ce qui est de l'impact canadien, bien, comme monsieur Walsh le mentionnait, je pense qu'il ne faut pas oublier que le Blues est à la racine de la majorité des styles musicaux.
2317 Puis, je pense que cet outil-là pourrait permettre, à certains points... quand on parle de problème d'accommodement raisonnable, et caetera, je pense qu'il ne faut pas oublier non plus qu'ici, par le Blues, on parle d'une musique qui est à la racine, mais qui est aussi le résultat de plusieurs métissages culturels, qu'on parle de nos amis africains, qu'on parle de nos amis haïtiens.
2318 C'est sûr qu'on parle beaucoup des communautés noires, mais j'ai découvert beaucoup de produits Blues du côté italien, japonais, et caetera, et on parle de la racine, on est revenu dans différents styles, et tout revient ensemble.
2319 Donc, c'est vraiment une mosaïque culturelle de ce côté-là, et je crois que venir chercher les racines de tout le monde, faire un petit mélange avec ça, puis revenir avec un produit au bout de la ligne, c'est quelque chose qui peut aussi aider du côté canadien, du côté de la culture canadienne.
2320 Ça, c'est sans compter le grand rayonnement que les artistes Blues peuvent faire du côté culture canadienne à travers le monde. Qu'on pense aux... bon, c'est sûr si on y va sur les plus gros noms, qu'on parle de Colin James, de notre ami Bob Walsh... là, je vous parle des noms peut-être un peu plus connus.
2321 Mais on a des artistes comme Harrison Kennedy, qui est en ce moment basé à Hamilton, qui est souvent inconnu de la plupart du public. Et pourtant, ce bonhomme-là a joué avec Stevie Wonder, B.B. King -- j'ai un blanc de mémoire, désolé -- Barry White, je pense, si je ne me trompe pas. Je fais peut-être une erreur ici. Mais ce bonhomme-là a trois nominations au JUNO à son actif, et pourtant, on l'a amené ici quelques fois, la Virée Blues.
2322 Je peux vous dire de parole, comme grand amateur, c'est un spectacle qui est complètement incroyable, et pourtant, cet artiste-là, on a de la misère à remplir une salle de 100 personnes avec parce qu'il n'y a personne qui peut le découvrir. Mais pourtant, c'est un très grand talent canadien, et c'est pour en nommer qu'un seul.
2323 Donc, je pense qu'une station comme ça permettrait, justement, de faire évoluer ces artistes-là qui en ont beaucoup à nous faire découvrir.
2324 Donc, c'est ça. Bien, ça fait un peu le tour des différents impacts que je trouve que cette station Blues pourrait avoir qu'on parle soit au niveau régional ou tout simplement canadien, d'un océan à l'autre, comme on dit.
2325 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci.
2326 J'ai la même question pour vous que celle que j'ai posée à monsieur Walsh.
2327 S'il y a toute cette audience, et nous avons le festival des Blues ici, c'est un grand succès, pourquoi les autres stations de radio, pourquoi est-ce qu'elles sont aveugles, elles ne voient pas qu'il y a là quelque chose qu'on peut utiliser pour attirer l'audience, et pourquoi elles n'offrent pas plus de Blues?
2328 M. PETIT : Dans les dernières années, je vous dirais, peut-être grâce au festival de Blues à Ottawa, effectivement, il y a eu quelques percées, si on parle de Colin James ou quoi que ce soit, qui ont commencé à tourner chez différentes stations anglophones du côté d'Ottawa. Du côté québécois, je vous dirais, ça tarde peut-être quelque peu.
2329 Mais j'abonde dans le sens de monsieur Walsh, comme quoi c'est probablement des choix de grandes compagnies ou, tout simplement, une question, si vous voulez, de moyens, tout simplement. Donc, si on parle de grandes compagnies, et caetera, on parle de choix de quelques personnes qui ont fait la direction.
2330 En ce moment, si on regarde les ondes radiophoniques, on parle de beaucoup... qu'on passe d'un poste à l'autre, le nom change, les animateurs changent, mais souvent, la musique est très, très, très semblable. Donc, on voit qu'il y a une certaine tangente, selon moi, par des choix de dirigeants de quelques entreprises qui font ce résultat-là.
2331 LE PRÉSIDENT : J'imagine qu'il y a une association des amateurs de Blues ou quelque chose comme ça. Est-ce qu'on a fait des démarches avec diverses stations de radio, soit francophones ou anglophones, pour transmettre plus de Blues?
2332 M. PETIT : Pour vous donner un exemple, si on parle la Sept-Saisons ici, on a fait le lancement, justement, de Mike Goudreau. Je pense que c'était le huitième album ou le dixième album. On a fait une approche personnelle, et je ne vous parle pas d'envoyer une liste d'e-mails, je parle de contacter par téléphone chaque représentant culturel de chaque radio francophone et anglophone de la région pour offrir des entrevues.
2333 On se déplaçait pour aller faire les entrevues, et une seule station s'est déplacée, et ici, on parle de Radio-Canada. À TVA, on ne fait plus de bulletins culturels. TQS, même chose. Radio Énergie, CIMF, on ne parlait pas... ce n'était pas le style musical qu'ils voulaient rejoindre.
2334 Et pourtant, on a fait certains tests, et j'ai plusieurs retours de spectateurs, de personnes qui écoutent ces stations-là en ce moment, donc, peut-être parce qu'ils n'ont pas d'autre place où aller. Si on ne leur offre que ça, ils ne peuvent pas aller voir autre chose ou ils vont sur les réseaux satellite ou ces choses-là.
2335 Donc, il y a, soit un refus de couvrir ces choses-là ou une incapacité. À partir de la, les raisons profondes de ces choix-là, je ne le sais pas, mais il y a, définitivement, un manque de visibilité du côté Blues sur toutes les ondes, qu'on parle radio ou télévision, du côté de l'Outaouais.
2336 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Merci.
2337 Est-ce que mes collègues ont des questions? Michel...?
2338 CONSEILLER MORIN : Oui, bonjour. Vous avez fait allusion à monsieur Boudreau qui était le premier en Floride pendant quelques semaines.
2339 M. PETIT : Oui.
2340 CONSEILLER MORIN : Est-ce qu'en Floride, il y a une station Blues?
2341 M. PETIT : Oui, il y a plusieurs stations Blues du côté des États-Unis. On parle peut-être un peu plus dans le sud des États-Unis. C'est sûr qu'en Louisiane et compagnie, ça, oui. En Floride, oui, effectivement, il y a quelques stations de radio Blues. Les noms, je ne pourrais pas... je ne suis pas un grand voyageur du côté de la Floride là, mais je peux vous dire, assurément, qu'il y a quelques stations.
2342 CONSEILLER MORIN : Ce sont des stations qui sont Blues?
2343 M. PETIT : Uniquement Blues, oui.
2344 CONSEILLER MORIN : Savez-vous quel pourcentage de musique Blues ils...
2345 M. PETIT : À ma connaissance, on parle de stations uniquement Blues, donc, pas de pourcentage, mais complètement Blues, donc, un peu comme la demande de DAWG-FM ici en Outaouais.
2346 CONSEILLER MORIN : Est-ce que vous avez une idée de leur pénétration au niveau du marché? Non?
2347 M. PETIT : Je ne voudrais pas m'avancer sur des chiffres. Je ne suis pas spécialiste là-dedans et je n'ai pas des...
2348 CONSEILLER MORIN : Mais c'est à cause de ces stations Blues si monsieur Goudreau était le premier, finalement? C'était surtout à cause de ça?
2349 M. PETIT : Comme je vous dis, il a eu un grand succès... Mike est allé faire plusieurs spectacles dans ce coin-là. Il vient de l'Estrie. Donc, on parle de la région de Magog. Il a fait le tour du Québec à plusieurs reprises. Ses disques se vendent, mais ses disques se vendent plus aux États-Unis.
2350 Donc, on parle d'un succès, aux États-Unis, majeur et on parle d'albums... il a des albums francophones et anglophones, et dans les deux cas, les ventes sont peut-être plus élevées du côté des États-Unis.
2351 Pour ce qui est de pourcentage ou de niveau, ça, comme je vous dis... je vous rapporte des faits que j'ai entendus. Je suis sûr qu'ils sont vérifiés. Mais pour ce qui est de vous donner des chiffres exacts, si vous voulez, je pourrais vous donner les informations de monsieur Goudreau pour aller aux informations. Ça, il n'y a aucun problème. Mais me prononcer moi-même sur ces choses-là, j'aurais peur de vous induire en erreur.
2352 CONSEILLER MORIN : Pour les artistes canadiens, québécois, est-ce qu'il y a un fort pourcentage de leurs ventes qui se fait aux États-Unis à cause de ces stations?
2353 M. PETIT : Pour ce qui est du pourcentage, je peux vous dire qu'il y a beaucoup de ventes de disques québécois et canadiens de Blues qui sont vendus aux États-Unis. Les ventes au Québec, je ne pense pas que ça soit catastrophique. Ça, monsieur Walsh pourra nous éclaircir là-dessus. Mais je pense que le marché est probablement plus développé du côté des États-Unis que du côté du Canada, pour une raison fort simple...
2354 CONSEILLER MORIN : Mais même pour les artistes d'ici?
2355 M. PETIT : Oui, effectivement.
2356 CONSEILLER MORIN : Et sur YouTube, par exemple...
2357 M. PETIT : C'est sûr que, là, il y a toute la nouvelle vague, justement, effectivement, comme vous le mentionnez, Internet, les radios spécialisées, les radios satellite, YouTube, toutes ces choses-là qui nous permettent de découvrir ces artistes-là.
2358 Moi, la majorité des nouveaux artistes que je découvre, je ne les découvre pas à la radio. Je ne peux pas dire... comme si on parle de talent populaire qui est Canadien francophone ou anglophone, vous écoutez la radio, ah, il y a une chanson qui vous intéresse, puis là, vous faites un petit peu de recherche là-dessus, vous trouvez l'album, vous l'achetez. C'est un média qui est très puissant.
2359 Quand il faut que vous preniez la peine, sur vos heures, d'aller faire des recherches sur l'Internet parce que vous aimez le Blues, là, on parle d'un effort qui est beaucoup, beaucoup, beaucoup plus important, et quand on parle de radio satellite, on parle de frais qui sont quand même non-négligeables. Moi personnellement, j'aime beaucoup le Blues et je n'ai pas les moyens de me payer la radio satellite.
2360 Puis si on parle de radio Internet, bien, il faut toujours avoir un ordinateur, une connexion, une vitesse, pour avoir une qualité qui est discutable, si on veut. Donc, ça, c'est quand il n'y a pas des frais appliqués encore là-dessus.
2361 Mais je pense que c'est un service à rendre à la population, de leur permettre de découvrir, un, leur racine et la musique qui fait partie de leur racine, parce qu'on parle de chose qui est ancrée très profondément chez nous, sans même que plusieurs personnes le sachent.
2362 Mais oui, pour revenir au point, oui, je pense que du côté des États-Unis, il y a des très bons chiffres de ventes pratiquement comparables. Je pense que... dans le cas de Mike Goudreau, je pourrais vous dire que c'est probablement...
2363 CONSEILLER MORIN : Mais est-ce que vous avez l'impression que si ce n'était pas de ce marché-là, la situation serait plus difficile pour vous autres ou si c'est marginal?
2364 M. PETIT : Il y aurait probablement plusieurs artistes qui n'existeraient tout simplement pas si ça ne serait pas de la percée du côté des États-Unis.
2365 Je vous parlerais de deux cas en particulier, Sonny Wolf et Joel, qui sont deux jeunes dans la trentaine du milieu du Blues qui ont roulé leur bus pendant longtemps au Bistro à Jojo et dans tous les bars Blues de la région de Montréal. Manque de travail, de visibilité et de ventes, ils se sont tout simplement exilés au Texas, et ça fait trois ans maintenant qu'ils sont rendus au Texas. Ils travaillent à tous les jours, les ventes de CD vont bien, ils ont des nouveaux CD de sortis.
2366 Donc, je me pose la question, si on ne veut pas tous les perdre, il faudrait peut-être faire quelque chose un moment donné, parce que la situation pour les artistes Blues au Québec n'est vraiment pas évidente.
2367 CONSEILLER MORIN : Puis les artistes québécois -- vous y faisiez allusion tout à l'heure -- dans le marché canadien, comment c'est?
2368 M. PETIT : Le marché canadien, je pense qu'ils sont quand même bien reçus. C'est sûr que pour ce qui est du Blues, qu'on parle de Blues francophone ou anglophone, ce n'est pas nécessairement un style de musique où la langue est nécessairement... je vous dirais peut-être que le public anglophone va facilement écouter du Blues en français, et vice versa.
2369 Je ne vous cacherai pas que le Blues en français est peut-être moins chose commune que le côté anglophone, peut-être par habitude ou quoi que ce soit, mais j'ai plusieurs noms qui me viennent à la tête quand je pense aux Blues francophone.
2370 Et du côté anglophone, je pense que la percée est quand même... on ne parle pas là de ventes de millions d'albums, mais je pense que tenant compte du côté underground, si vous voulez, du réseau Blues et de la distribution Blues à travers le Canada, je pense que les résultats sont quand même fort impressionnants, probablement plus impressionnants que les autres styles de musique du côté passage de la culture québécoise au Canada et vice versa.
2371 CONSEILLER MORIN : Merci beaucoup.
2372 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Merci. Ce sont nos questions pour vous.
2374 THE SECRETARY: I would now invite the last intervenor, the City of Ottawa.
2375 Please introduce yourself and proceed with your presentation.
2376 MR. EL-CHANTIRY: Thank you and good morning, Mr. Chair and Commission Members and Commission staff.
2377 My name is Eli El-Chantiry. I'm not a musician, I'm not an artist, I'm an elected official. I am a City Councillor at the City of Ottawa since 2003.
2378 This is my second time appearing in front of you speaking about this application. I was obviously pleased the last time to hear the Commission has agreed with my position, only to hear later on the Heritage Minister returned the decision to the Commission for reconsideration.
2379 I'm here again in front of you to speak a little bit about my connection to one of the applicants, which is Mr. Bernard. Todd Bernard and his family live in my area in West Carleton for a number of years. His family, his wife and his two children go to my church, they are active in our community. His parents live across the street from my family business, so for that reason I believe Mr. Bernard would have a pulse on the community and to bring that community aspect to this application.
2380 I have also been a City Councillor, my office on the north side of City Hall, and in the past the Blues Festival I always attend at the City Hall and I can assure you I was very popular at that time because a lot of my friends would call me to come and visit me that week when we have the Bluesfest at the City of Ottawa.
2381 As you know, that festival grew last year and they moved to the Lebreton Flats to see thousands and thousands of people who attended the last event because they have the facility and obviously they have the space to grow and I believe it's still growing.
2382 I heard early if the Blues is such a popular music why other stations don't play it. Well, that's no different than we have other languages in Canada and we didn't see any other radio station play, whether Italian or Arabic or Spanish until CHIN Radio came along. With the CHIN radio we start to hear about local artists, like Canadian-Lebanese or Canadian-Italian and they were promoted through those local stations because they were focused.
2383 And no surprise to you, a name like Massary made it almost international record and he's a local grown boy from Ottawa with a background of other language.
2384 The reason I'm bringing this to this application, because that is when you have a station focus, whether on blues or other language, it will just bring more people to the surface, bring more people to pay a little bit more attention I can assure you.
2385 I know from the CBC somebody asked what other station played the Blues? I listen to the CBC and I wait for something they don't start playing the Blues until midnight on Saturday night and I listen to this.
2386 So obviously there are some people out there who will pay attention to what time these stations play the music.
2387 But the benefit to bring other local artists to the mix -- and we heard from the artists themselves telling you that unfortunately some of our talent will go to United States only to come back as a big name. And I can assure you, most of the names we saw at the City Hall in the past few years and last year at the Lebreton Flats, there were a lot of Francophone names and other names. But the fact is, we didn't hear about them in Canada, we heard about them when they went abroad and came back to us.
2388 I think that's the benefit of having a local station focusing on the Blues will bring those local talent and hopefully we can keep them here before they travel abroad and come back to us in a different format.
2389 This is my submission. I was here before, a year ago, and I look for your questions.
2390 Thank you.
2391 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
2392 I am particularly interested in what you are saying about the local roots of the station. So you, as a municipal councillor, as an elected official, feel that this station will reflect the local scene as well as Blues I guess? It has a sufficient contact to the community to be truly a reflection of the community?
2393 MR. EL-CHANTIRY: Well, Mr. Chair, from the number of people we have seen, I mean the numbers have grown so much. At first the Bluesfest used to take place somewhere else in the community and then they moved to the Festival Plaza at the City of Ottawa for a number of years. Also now they grow out of that capacity.
2394 The unfortunate part, you only hear about it once a year when the festival in the city is taking place. Any other time you might hear a song here or an artist there or a segment on CBC after midnight, but I believe there is room for this.
2395 Especially when I saw that DAWG-FM has gone out of their way and discovered another viable FM frequency in Ottawa. I feel with this economic down we see in the country, to see some younger entrepreneurs bringing some new business, new idea, new vision to our region Ottawa-Gatineau, I believe we can see a great benefit from it.
2396 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you.
2397 Do my colleagues have any questions?
2399 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Both Montréal and Vancouver have a Jazz Festival and both cities have a Jazz radio station.
2400 I think Vancouver has lost it lately because it seems to be that those who have big festivals aren't necessarily able to generate them into long-standing tuning.
2401 I know I have read that Montréal was a 10-day per year Jazz town. After the festival is over, then we wait for next year, they don't go to listen to the radio station. The same in Vancouver.
2402 What in your own mind, based on your own experience, why do you think that Blues will be quite different and generate sufficient attraction to sustain a radio station in this market?
2403 If the others want to contribute to the reply, they are also welcome.
2404 MR. EL-CHANTIRY: I will take a shot at it.
2405 Obviously, my friend on my left, they are more familiar with the music and the music industry than myself, but where I come from, Mr. Vice Chair, I have seen the growth. I have seen the growth and also we are changing.
2406 The demographic is changing here. We are changing from -- I will speak for myself probably. Thirty years ago we listened to different music than we do now, so that change in the demographic shows there is an appetite to change and adopt this.
2407 The reason we see the growth -- I understand what you're saying, the festival they can see increase but not necessarily -- well, I can assure you -- and my experience with CHIN Radio, because I was one of those people who was happy to see Arabic language music playing in the city -- they have grown so big now. Now we are seeing all multicultural language, whether Chines, Japanese, Spanish, we see that.
2408 So there is an appetite for radio to focus on a specialty and bring those artists with them. I believe that is the only room where you can discover a local talent, through those stations.
2409 I'm not sure if Bob wants to add something to that.
2410 MR. WALSCH: Well, basically, it's giving the underdog a chance.
2411 As I pointed out early on, that when it comes to the business end of this sort of music we are not given a minute chance compared to what we insist on giving people on commercial radio. Given half the chance -- if we have a Blues station or a Blues radio station, given half the chance I'm sure, very, very sure just by what I have experienced as a musician myself, I'm very sure that this station would grow in popularity given half the chance.
2412 Because I know for a fact, I have played -- I play all year round for the past 30 years, people come in droves, and there's got to be a reason for that. I'm not saying I'm the reason for it, I'm not the only person playing in these venues, but I know for a fact that when I do play that kind of music brings a lot of people and it's got to be given a chance.
2413 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Thank you.
2414 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you very much.
2416 M. PETIT : Si je peux me permettre, j'aimerais ça intervenir sur ce point-là aussi.
2417 LE PRÉSIDENT : Oui.
2418 M. PETIT : Désolé, je vais vous parler en français. Je ne l'ai pas suffisamment à point pour être capable de bien m'exprimer là-dessus.
2419 M. WALSH : On va t'excuser là-dessus.
2420 M. PETIT : Je pense que ça serait important aussi de regarder... vous mentionnez que Vancouver n'a pas réussi à conserver leur station Jazz et que Montréal a réussi à le faire. Si je ne me trompe pas, je pense qu'il y a une question aussi d'histoire à regarder là-dessus. Si on regarde, Montréal a toujours été une ville de Blues et de Jazz, si on parle du Rising Sun et de plusieurs autres bars dans les années cinquante. Je pense qu'il y des racines de la culture du côté de Montréal qui étaient très fortes à ce niveau-là.
2421 Si on parle de l'Outaouais, je vous rappellerais que le Vieux Hull, tel qu'on l'appelle actuellement, se prénommait le Petit Chicago, pour des belles et des moins belles raisons, on s'entend. Mais il y a quand même... pour le côté musical, il y a plusieurs, plusieurs, plusieurs artistes de renom international Blues et Jazz qui sont passés, dans les années cinquante et soixante, dans le Vieux Hull.
2422 Et je pense que cette racine-là, malgré les grands changements... si on parle de toutes les infrastructures gouvernementales qui se sont présentées dans le centre-ville, je pense qu'il y a quand même une culture qui est encore là. Qu'on pense au Chez Henri, qu'on pense à divers édifices patrimoniaux qui ont accueilli plusieurs grands du Blues et du Jazz.
2423 Puis aussi, si ça peut vous aider à peut-être évaluer l'intérêt des personnes, de mon côté, les Virée Blues se tiennent un mercredi soir. On commence à 8 h 00 et on finit à 1 h 00 du matin. Plusieurs de nos collègues fonctionnaires se plaignent de l'heure à laquelle on finit, et pourtant, ils sortent à 1 h 00 du matin quand même du bar après les spectacles.
2424 Donc, je pense pour se permettre de se trouver une gardienne, couvrir les frais, couvrir les tempêtes de neige pour réussir à se rendre, toutes ces choses-là, pour qu'il y ait quand même... on parle quand même d'une quantité de personnes acceptable pour un mercredi soir, on parle de plusieurs établissements qui sont vides, et nous, on parle de 200-300 personnes, dépendant, si vous voulez, justement jusqu'à quel point l'artiste est connu. Je pense que le public de l'Outaouais et de l'Ontario ont fait leur preuve, en fait, de vouloir ce style de musique là dans la région.
2425 LE PRÉSIDENT : O.K. Merci de votre présentation. Ça termine l'intervention en faveur de Torres.
2426 So before we go to the applicant's reply I want to make an announcement for all the parties so that they can govern themselves according to whether they want to make a reply now or later.
2427 This is as follows:
2428 First of all, I want to thank Frank Torres for having raised the issue of the 94.5 frequency. This is a new element in this proceeding we were not aware of and which we are very interested in. However, we have insufficient information to deal with it. We therefore propose to do the following:
2429 We will adjourn the hearing until June 12th, 2009. Unfortunately there are no dates available between now and June 12th that we could squeeze that hearing in.
2430 Second, we will write to the CBC to seek clarification regarding the availability of the Camp Fortune Tower and its antenna. We will be asking the CBC to furnish us an answer by April 20th. That answer will be put on our website.
2431 We will also ask the CBC to make available on June 12th its key expert on engineering questions, Mr. Marcotte.
2432 Third, in parallel we will ask the Canadian Communication Research Centre to give us advice on the feasibility of using a second adjacent frequency on either the CBC tower or the adjoining Glentel tower. We will furnish that opinion on our website as soon as it becomes available.
2433 We will ask all parties to make submissions on the feasibility of the 94.5 frequency and only that in light of the CBC response, and the CCRC response if it's there, by May 12th 2009.
2434 At the resumed hearing on June 12th we will only deal with the issue of the 94.5 frequency because we need to have clarified in our head is it available, on what terms, what are the implications. We then will make a decision as soon as possible thereafter.
2435 The Pelmorex application which we are going to start later on this afternoon, after this morning, is totally separate and will go on a separate timetable.
2436 I hope this is clear. We will make what I just announced available in our information centre if you want details, but clearly the 94.5 frequency is a vital element in our decision-making process. We need to have more information on it before we can put it in our final mix.
2437 Thank you.
2438 Madam Secretary, we will take a 5-minute break and then we will start with the applicant's reply.
--- Suspension à 0945
--- Reprise à 0959
2439 THE SECRETARY: Order, please. À l'ordre, s'il vous plaît.
2440 Nous poursuivrons maintenant avec la quatrième phase, au cours de laquelle les requérantes peuvent répondre à toutes les interventions soumises au sujet de leur demande.
2441 Pour les fins du dossier, Fiston Kalambay Mutombo ont indiqué qu'ils ne comparaîtront pas à la Phase IV.
2442 Je demanderais, donc, à RÉEL-Radio de faire leur présentation.
2443 M. CHAHINE : Bonjour, Monsieur le Président, Madame, messieurs les commissaires.
2444 Notre réplique sera relativement brève et sera principalement orientée sur les commentaires de CHUO.
2445 Tel que mentionné lors de notre présentation, les difficultés de recrutement de CHUO auprès de la communauté francophone sont justement dues au fait que CHUO ne répond pas adéquatement aux besoins de francophones. Les bénévoles que RÉEL-Radio va chercher ne s'identifient pas à CHUO.
2446 Suivant cette même logique, l'acceptation de notre demande par la Commission n'aurait pas d'incidence sur les revenus publicitaires de CHUO puisque cette dernière ne parvient pas à rejoindre notre public cible.
2447 De même, que vous acceptiez notre projet ou non, nous continuerons d'exister, de recruter des bénévoles, de rechercher des partenariats, et d'explorer les moyens pour rejoindre un plus grand auditoire.
2448 Comme nous l'avons exprimé hier, ces deux dernières années, nous avons réalisé l'équivalant de 42 000 dollars d'ententes avec les organismes de la région des deux côtés de la rivière. Nous avons déjà atteint un marché et nous n'avons pas vu d'impact négatif sur CHUO. Il en résulte que toute éventuelle compétition qui pourrait exister entre CHUO et RÉEL-Radio est déjà là. Elle restera peu importe la décision de la Commission.
2449 M. PILON : De plus, nous avons entendu hier dans la présentation de CHUO que l'essentiel de leur programmation de langue française est principalement constitué de Franco-Ontariens. Donc, cette radio campus ne vise pas et ne s'adresse pas à la communauté francophone du côté québécois.
2450 C'est pourquoi nous réitérons notre position que RÉEL-Radio est uniquement positionné afin de contribuer à l'émancipation des communautés francophones des deux côtés de la rivière de par son association avec la musique qui est diffusée, les émissions qui y sont produites et les organismes locaux du côté ontarien.
2451 J'aimerais également réitérer le fait qu'on ne considère pas CHUO comme un obstacle à notre développement. Nous sommes ouverts à continuer les partenariats que nous avons présentement avec CHUO et en établir de nouveaux si l'opportunité se présente.
2452 Concernant une des questions de monsieur Arpin, à savoir si CHUO pourrait partager sa fréquence avec RÉEL-Radio pour compenser leur difficulté de recrutement auprès des francophones, nous ne pensons pas qu'un tel scénario serait bénéfique pour CHUO ou pour RÉEL-Radio.
2453 Nous ne nous opposerons pas au renouvellement de la fréquence de CHUO et ne demanderons pas à la Commission d'imposer quelque contrainte que ce soit à CHUO.
2454 En terminant, j'aimerais soulever un aspect intéressant de la présentation d'Impératif français. Vous noterez qu'une organisation basée à Gatineau et dédiée à la promotion de la langue française au Québec a cru bon appuyer à la fois notre demande, mais également celle de la RCFO. Il s'agit là d'un bel exemple de comment les intérêts des francophones d'Ottawa et de Gatineau s'alignent.
2455 Alors, je répète qu'il serait pertinent pour la Commission de considérer les francophones de chaque côté de la rivière dans sa décision.
2456 En vous remerciant, Monsieur le Président, Madame et messieurs les commissaires, on est disposé à répondre à vos questions.
2457 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci. C'était bref et clair.
2458 Est-ce qu'il y a des questions?
2459 Non. Merci.
2460 M. PILON : Merci.
2461 THE SECRETARY: I would now ask Ottawa Media Inc. to come forward to the presentation table.
2462 THE SECRETARY: Please re-introduce yourself for the record and proceed with your presentation.
2463 MR. EVANOV: Thank you.
2464 Good morning, Mr. Chair, Commissioners, Commission Staff.
2465 For the record, my name is Bill Evanov. Appearing with me today is to my immediate left Carmela Laurignano, Vice-President, Group Manager of the Evanov Communications Inc.
2466 Next to Carmela is Debra McLaughlin of Strategic Inc., and next to Debra is Sean Moreman, our in-house legal counsel.
2467 Seated to my immediate right is Rob Malcolmson, a partner in Goodmans, our legal counsel.
2468 And, finally, next to Rob is Jim Moltner, our Broadcast Engineer.
2469 MS LAURIGNANO: In this reply we will focus in particular on comments made by RCFO. We will also clarify comments we made in response to Commissioner Katz' questions regarding the ability of the Ottawa-Gatineau market to support two FM services with a primary audience of females 35 to 64.
2470 In its intervention RCFO stated that, I quote:
"The era of bilingualism is over and that a bilingual station simply won't work." (As read)
2471 MS LAURIGNANO: It is on this basis that RCFO claims that it is the only solution to serving the needs of the Francophone minority in Ottawa.
2472 We disagree. RCFO's position ignores the unique realities of the French language radio market in Ottawa-Gatineau. Those realities include the fact that the market is already well served by French language programming.
2473 Today, Ottawa-Gatineau Francophones have access to nine French language radio stations, two Radio Canada services, a French language community station, the University of Ottawa's campus station and five commercial FM stations from Gatineau, two of which are owned by Astral.
2474 As a result, Franco Ontarians already have ample opportunity to hear stories of international, national and regional interests in their own language.
2475 As well, to a degree, Franco Ontarians also have access to information in part on the community and campus stations that already operate in the market. This was acknowledged by RCFO when they stated:
"CHUO serves the community's needs but not all." (As read)
2476 MS LAURIGNANO: The existing radio services makes Ottawa-Gatineau unique as compared to other markets where a minority language applicant is often the only operator proposing to offer services in the minority language.
2477 Given the available range of services to the Franco Ontarian community, a full-time French language operation is not required to address the needs identified in the orders-in-council. Not only is a full-time station not required, we also submit that such a service cannot be supported in the market.
2478 Just last year the Commission denied proposals for a new full-time French language station on the basis that the French language market does not have the same capacity to support additional stations as does the English market.
2479 We agree with the Commission's findings and there is nothing on the record to suggest otherwise.
2480 MR. EVANOV: The reality is that the market cannot support a new full-time French language entrant over the long term, yet there is clearly a need for additional hours of programming directed towards a French language minority.
2481 We are the only English language applicant to provide service to the minority group in their own language and we are the only English language applicant to offer any French spoken word programming.
2482 Our proposal takes into account the limited capacity of the market to support a new full-time entry. At the same time we will provide a level of service that can be sustained without unduly impacting existing licensees.
2483 In this unique market bilingualism is not over, as RCFO claims, it is thriving. Our proposal for a hybrid commercial FM station that offers an appropriate amount of French programming is the right answer for a market that is already well served. It will provide a voice for Franco Ontarians embedded within a viable commercial FM station that is owned and operated by a well resourced, professionally managed and a debt-free company.
2484 Contrary to what RCFO claims, licensing our service will work. It works in Bathurst, New Brunswick where there are not one but two hybrid stations, Decision 2006-336 and 2003-572.
2485 It will work in Ottawa-Gatineau which is one of the most bilingual markets in the country.
2486 RCFO has suggested they have an exclusive support of the community. This is a mischaracterization of a clear preference for a dedicated service.
2487 It should be noted that no community organization opposed our application or intervened against us. In fact, they have expressed an interest in working with us in the event our application is approved.
2488 During our presentation in-chief Commissioner Katz asked if Astral's Eve and our ALICE could co-exist. The short answer is yes.
2489 While both stations have a primary audience of females 35-64, they target different segments of that audience as Ms McLaughlin previously explained.
2490 For the record, we target the least well served of all the demographics, 35-64. Put in context, the primary universe for this station is over 250,000, a quarter million females. A market of this size can support two stations and you need to look no further than markets like Regina which supports five stations with a population of 200,000, or Kelowna where there is just over 150,000 residents, the market supports four stations and soon to be six.
2491 The key to deciding where stations can co-exist is a combination of factors: size of the market, distinctiveness of the service, consumer interest and advertiser support.
2492 All of these elements have been proven for the ALICE concept and hold true regardless of the presence of Eve.
2493 We thank you for this opportunity and we would be pleased to answer any questions.
2494 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for the very clear presentation.
2495 Are there any questions from my colleagues?
2496 Thank you.
2497 MS LAURIGNANO: Finally, Chair, we would like to thank you, the Commissioners and the Staff. We look forward to seeing you in June in what's turning out to be the real survivor story --
2498 THE CHAIRPERSON: Exactly.
2499 MS LAURIGNANO: -- in the history of the CRTC.
2500 THE CHAIRPERSON: I look forward to seeing you then. Thanks.
2501 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
2502 I would now call Instant Information Services Inc. to come to the presentation table.
2503 THE SECRETARY: For the record, Instant Information Services Inc. will not be participating in Phase IV.
2504 I would now call Frank Torres to come to the presentation table.
2505 MR. ED TORRES: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Vice-Chairman, Commissioners and Commission Staff.
2506 My name for the record is Ed Torres. Seated to my right, once again, my brother Frank Torres and, to my left, Yves Trottier who we would really like to re-hire as Operations Manager of DAWG FM.
2507 Mr. Chairman, we started from a fundamental belief that you made the right decision by licensing two new FM stations to serve Ottawa-Gatineau in 2008-222. The licensing of Eve FM and DAWG FM was the result of a thorough process, including call for application, deficiencies, written interventions and a competitive oral hearing which included oral interventions.
2508 This is a process that you've honed over 40 years, an open and transparent process, and over 500 of our interveners in this process told you that it was the right decision.
2509 You noted in the decision that DAWG FM would increase competition, enhance diversity in the market, introduce a new editorial voice, a new music format with a commitment of 40 percent Canadian content, 20 percent Category 3 music and 120 hours per week of locally originated programming.
2510 In an increasingly consolidated world new entrants like DAWG FM are the best means to ensure that large ownership groups do not achieve a dominant position.
2511 None of these fundamental characteristics of our proposal have changed.
2512 The order-in-council asked you to look at ways to review the needs of the Francophone minority. Subsequently you asked all applicants to adjust their applications if they so wished to address the Governor-in-Council's concerns.
2513 Consequently, we adjusted our application to direct crucial funding to support Francophone community radio and made other minor changes to give even greater exposure to Francophone artists and aid young Francophone talent. Further, we encouraged significant expense to try and find other technical options that might allow additional licensing.
2514 All of our efforts together with the work of some of the others leave you with a number of options, and the first and most obvious is to follow what many of our supporting interveners have mentioned, to uphold your decision.
2515 The benefits to the system are many: two very different and diverse radio offerings in the market, significant financial contributions to Francophone community radio, Astral's support of Radio Enfant and our support of Francophone community radio together total almost $1-million over the course of the licence.
2516 Moreover, there are more significant contributions to other areas of Canadian content development in the applications. But we recognize the wish, particularly by the Franco Ontarian community, to have a new source of programming that focuses on their culture.
2517 We still believe that you have some technical options here, but we also firmly believe that if you want to licence a Francophone station or another bilingual hybrid station that will reach the Francophone community in a cost effective manner, the 350,000 commitment that we have made is essential for them.
2518 While Astral will support Radio Enfant, a station that's currently in existence, our fund will support a new Francophone radio station without condition.
2519 MR. FRANK TORRES: The technical options available to license a new station are numerous. Astral speculated about the use of a lower cost AM station and identified a number of possible frequencies.
2520 Unfortunately, there are no technical briefs that demonstrate this. In fact, Astral has provided no technical evidence other than anecdotal.
2521 We provided evidence of a second adjacent channel to CIMF that could be used to provide a good quality signal in the area. Clearly there is work to be done with this option, but we had Yves R. Hamel, Broadcast Engineers, develop an analysis on 94.5, the results of which we presented on Tuesday, but we first presented this frequency option to the Commission on December 12th in response to their letter.
2522 The solution was further analyzed by DH McAuley and HP Services who told us it was feasible and could be constructed to provide no interference to the incumbent.
2523 Mr. Moltner of Techniques told you yesterday that it was doable, as did Francois Gauthier of Sogitec.
2524 Astral is correct that a complete technical brief has not been filed for 94.5 and that no one has applied for it, but the preponderance of evidence says that 94.5 can be used interference free to the incumbent and we do realize that the announcement of the adjournment today certainly puts more clarity into the route that we're taking with that frequency, but if the Commission will allow us a bit of an indulgence to further develop the technical aspects of what we propose with 94.5. I'm just not very good off script.
2525 And we've often heard that in markets the last frequency has been licensed and it's gone. For example, Redmond Broadcasting was licensed for the last frequency in Toronto in 1986, then Rolco got the last frequency in 1990, then Milestone got the last frequency, then Canadian Multi-Cultural, followed by the most recent licence on FM to the Evanov Group.
2526 Our point here is that where there's a will and in some cases a cooperating incumbent, there is a smart engineer who can figure out a way to find a frequency and make it work.
2527 We understand that the corporation will appear Friday, this may not be the case now, but they will give -- we will find out whether there is or isn't space available on the CBC tower at Camp Fortune.
2528 We made our views on this clear in Maurice Beauséjour's testimony yesterday.
2529 But even if you're not convinced by the CBC that the tower is the answer, there is another tower at Camp Fortune. We showed you a photo on Google Earth yesterday and we'll put that on the screen now as well, if we can -- oh, it's not functioning, okay.
2530 The photo that we did show yesterday, just to elaborate on it a little bit, showed a co-siting tower. So, a tower within one kilometre, which is the Glentel Tower. We actually have a letter of intent from Glentel to operate an FM service on that frequency. We would be glad to make that letter available to another applicant as well if it was deemed by the Commission that while maintaining our licence on 101.9, the feasibility of 94.5 could be obtained from that new Glentel Tower.
2531 THE CHAIRPERSON: Why don't you file it with us and then we can put it on the site.
2532 MR. FRANK TORRES: Yes, we'd love to file it.
2533 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2534 MR. FRANK TORRES: You could license Astral for its fourth full power FM station in Ottawa-Gatineau conditional on a technical solution that will permit a new station to be licensed. This would essentially call upon Astral to agree to work with the successful applicant to enable a new service to emerge.
2535 Astral noted that the interference caused by 94.9 would not be to their incumbent station but to the new station and many examples of stations on second adjacenies in Canada demonstrate that a viable service can be provided on such channels.
2536 There may be some technical issues, it can be surmounted by a committed and skilled engineer. All that's required is for Astral to recognize the incredible privilege that the Commission has conferred on them by allowing four licences.
2537 Alternatively, if you do not believe that Astral will play ball, you have another option. You can license them in part and license the Francophone applicant in part as well. Since there are at least five technical briefs filed for 99.7 on the public file in this proceeding approved by Industry Canada, you could indicate using the precedent of 2006-323, that decision, that if the applicant returns with a proposal on 99.7 they would be licensed. Astral would have to find another frequency and clearly 94.5 would be the one they could explore.
2538 In Decision 2006-323, you approved Newcap for a new FM in Calgary in part, denying the use of the frequency they proposed but indicating that there was another frequency available.
2539 Newcap was requested to inform the Commission within three months if it was willing to operate under these circumstances.
2540 If you believe that there's a need for a community radio for minority Ontario community, but do not believe that any of the applicants in this proceeding merit licensing, you have another option as well. You could issue a new call limited to Francophone community to serve the Ontario linguistic minorities.
2541 Such a call could appeal to the existing commercial radio sector in this market to work together to find a satisfactory solution. Any applicants in such a radio call would be able to rely on our contributions of $350,000.
2542 Mr. Chairman, in the recent minority languages proceeding you asked that the Commission had to get directly involved to make parties negotiate in good faith to find a solution to ensure that minority Francophones could receive the Olympics in their language. It may be that your intervention in this process could also be helpful.
2543 M. TROTTIER : Nous tenons à remercier les 3 000 personnes et plus qui ont exprimé leur appui à notre station. Dans le cadre de cette audience, nous avons reçu plus de 1 500 lettres et pétitions, 500 en 2008, et plus de 1 100 personnes se sont inscrites sur notre page Facebook DAWG-FM.
2544 Ces intervenants sont anglophones, francophones, allophones. Ils sont politiciens, musiciens, fans de Blues, des festivals de Blues, des promoteurs, hommes et femmes d'affaires, universitaires, des clubs de service, des radios communautaires, des annonceurs locaux, régionaux et nationaux, pour ne nommer que ceux-ci.
2545 Nous voulons particulièrement souligner l'appui des maires d'Ottawa et Gatineau. Nous sommes très contents de la présence du conseiller Eli El-Chantiry, qui a pris le soin de se présenter devant vous aujourd'hui, tout comme il l'avait fait en 2008.
2546 Bob Walsh, un incontournable du Blues francophone au Canada sur plus de trois décennies, est venu de Montréal pour qu'enfin sa passion pour le Blues se traduise sur les ondes canadiennes. Nous le remercions pour son témoignage.
2547 Notre contact avec le milieu, surtout avec le Ottawa Blues Society, nous a permis d'entrer en contact avec la Virée Blues Boréale. Ce contact précieux nous a permis d'améliorer nos initiatives pour le développement des artistes canadiens pour mieux inclure les artistes Blues francophones. Nous aimerions remercier monsieur Alexandre Petit pour sa présentation d'aujourd'hui.
2548 MR. ED TORRES: Finally, we would like to thank you and your staff for another thorough hearing. We recognize that you must grapple with complex technical issues and that you have tough decisions to make.
2549 We've attempted to aid in this process, not delay. It's our belief that bringing solutions that are consistent with the original licensing rationale in Decision 2008-222, but we've also brought these solutions which are responsive to the wishes expressed by the Governor-in-Council.
2550 Thank you.
2551 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Torres.
2552 And I may repeat, we are very grateful for bringing a constructive solution oriented presentation to us and hopefully we can find a solution to the issues before us.
2553 Clearly the 94.5 is a very integral part of a solution, if possible and, therefore, we do appreciate that you uncovered it and spent considerable expense in putting it before us in such a way that we can appreciate its potential.
2554 Are there any questions for Torres?
2556 Thank you.
2557 MR. ED TORRES: Thank you.
2558 THE SECRETARY: I would now invite Astral Media Radio Inc. to approach the presentation table.
2559 MR. BRAIDE: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission and Commission Staff, Counsel.
2560 My name is Rob Braide, Senior Consultant, Industry Relations and Contributions, Astral Media Radio.
2561 With me today on my left is, once again, Denis Bouchard, General Manager of Énergie, RockDétente, Virgin Radio and Star 96, Ottawa-Gatineau and Pembroke markets.
2562 To my right is Wally Lennox, Vice-President, Engineering, Astral Media Radio GP, and to his right, Kerry Pelser, Engineering, D.E.M. Allen & Associates.
2563 I think it would be safe to say that the process has been nothing if not stimulating. Usually not that much energy in the room by the time Phase IV comes around, but here we are.
2564 I hope you understand that these comments, Mr. Chair, were prepared before your announcement this morning which we accept with respect, but we wanted to read this material into the record.
2565 In the reply we'll try to achieve three goals. Firstly, to clarify some of the answers we provided the Commission in Phase I. Secondly, to correct some of the, we feel, inaccurate or incomplete information provided by other applicants. And, finally, to propose a positive and rational way to handle the questions surrounding the use of the 94.5 frequency.
2566 MR. LENNOX: In its February 12th intervention, Astral stated that it can make the best use of 99.7 given the fact that Astral can adjust the technical parameters of CKQB-FM-1, the Pembroke repeater, which operates on the same frequency.
2567 These are not adjustments which Astral is inclined to grant for the benefit of other broadcasters. We wholly maintain and confirm this position.
2568 As noted in our earlier exchange with Commissioner Katz, other applicants may use this frequency but to a far more limited extent. Only Astral can implement a Class C station on 99.7 operating at 100,000 watts. As such, in terms of best use of spectrum in the public interest, no other applicant can match Astral's ability to maximize the size and scope of 99.7 through Eve FM's application.
2569 In its reply of February 22, Torres claims that the contour comparison provided by Astral shows that the Francophone population covered by 99.7 in Quebec is much higher both in number and as a percentage of the total population than in Ontario. Torres has concluded that 99.7 is a frequency best used by the Francophone radio station.
2570 In this respect, Torres' assumptions are factually inaccurate, thus, its conclusions are incorrect. As indicated in Appendix 1 of this reply, 83 percent of the total population within the .5-Mv per metre interference-free contour of Eve FM is based in Ontario, 17 percent in Quebec.
2571 Fifty-six percent of the total population within the contour has the English language as the mother tongue, 26 percent has the French language as the mother tongue and 18 percent has a third language as a mother tongue.
2572 The 99.7 MHz frequency is perfectly adapted for Eve FM, not only because we are the only applicant who can make the maximum use of the frequency, but also because of the linguistic and demographic composition of the population reached is perfectly consistent with our target audience.
2573 MR. BRAIDE: Some applicants have suggested that Astral can use 94.5 for Eve FM. It's just not the case. Even if -- and it's a very big if -- carefully conducted tests and analyses demonstrate that there will be acceptable levels of interference vis-a-vis 94.9 CEMF-FM and assuming that it's possible to co-locate the 94.5 and the 94.9 frequencies at Camp Fortune, it's clear that 94.5 will not be appropriate for a station like Eve FM.
2574 The use of that frequency will not allow this station to sustain its business plan and its level of CCD commitments. It will also not allow the type of high quality and expensive feature programming upon which the whole concept is based.
2575 The service contour of 94.5 is considerably limited when compared to that of 99.7, especially in the western part of the Ottawa-Gatineau market where a large part of our target audience resides.
2576 In comparative terms, 94.5 would transmit from Camp Fortune at three percent of the power of 99.7 if operated by Astral from Manotik, Ontario. In short, 94.5 is absolutely not a viable option for us at Eve FM.
2577 M. BOUCHARD : Certaines requérantes ont tenté de faire croire que parce qu'elles sont situées au Québec, nos deux stations de langue française ne couvrent pas l'actualité franco-ontarienne et ne s'intéressent pas aux artistes franco-ontariens ou de Blues.
2578 C'est inexact et blessant. Le tiers de notre auditoire potentiel réside du côté ontarien. Nous serions bien mal aisés de ne pas en tenir compte et de ne pas lui accorder une attention qu'elle mérite, et c'est ce que nous faisons.
2579 À cet égard, environ le tiers du contenu de nos nouvelles locales et régionales émane de la communauté franco-ontarienne ou présente un intérêt particulier pour elle. Et oui, nous parlons régulièrement d'Embrun, Orléans, St-Albert. Nous préparons une tournée de nos émissions avec une caravane pour aller dans ces régions depuis déjà très longtemps, avant même cette audience.
2580 Nos stations et notre personnel appuient financièrement plusieurs institutions franco-ontariennes, que je me ferais un plaisir d'énumérer si vous le souhaitez : Fondation franco-ontarienne, Festival de la Curd, Festival franco-ontarien, Centre hospitalier Élizabeth Bruyère, Montfort.
2581 Nous faisons la promotion de pratiquement toutes les manifestations culturelles et festivals qui se déroulent dans la communauté franco-ontarienne. Cette cause nous tient à coeur. Elle fait partie de notre auditoire.
2582 Enfin, nous faisons la promotion et/ou diffusion d'oeuvres de nombreux artistes franco-ontariens et artistes Blues.
2583 Ricky Paquette, dont le groupe Torres parlait un peu plus tôt, a été invité à plusieurs reprises à nos émissions, a eu des entrevues, a pu même chanter sur nos ondes.
2584 Eva Avila, à ses touts débuts, artiste franco-ontarienne, nous lui donnions du temps d'antenne et parlions de cet artiste.
2585 Des artistes d'émergence franco-ontarienne ont eu du temps d'antenne chez nous : Damien Robitaille, Alexandre Désilets, le groupe Swing. Ce sont des artistes franco-ontariens dont on parle, dont on joue la musique.
2586 Je tenais à préciser toutes ces choses. C'est une réalité qui nous tient à coeur et que certains semblent avoir intérêt à nier.
2587 MR. PELSER: Applicants have quoted examples of adjacent channel operations in Canada which they claim demonstrate that adjacent channels can work. The situations quoted by other applicants are very different than what is being proposed for 94.5 for Ottawa-Gatineau.
2588 For example, Ottawa Media stated that their Toronto station CIDC-FM has a second adjacent station, CIRR-FM, and has never experienced interference.
2589 This is not an apples-to-apples comparison to the Ottawa situation because a second adjacent station, CIRR-FM, has an effective radiated power of only 50-watts compared to the 1,350-watt ERP proposed by Torres for 94.5 in Ottawa.
2590 In fact, Torres has stated in this hearing that the 94.5 MHz antenna has been reduced to 21 metres from 102 metres above ground. This would mean that the 94.5 MHz ERP has to be raised to approximately 2,500-watts in order to maintain the proposed 94.5 coverage.
2591 We also heard that the Jim Pattison Broadcast Group successfully implemented an adjacent channel operation in Vancouver. The implementation of CKPK-FM on 100.7 MHz in Vancouver was a successful first adjacent channel implementation to Pattison's existing Victoria station, CKKQ-FM, which is located 95 kilometres away.
2592 The new Pattison Vancouver station created an area of first adjacent interference to CKKQ Victoria that was outside of its Victoria market. That is not the same as this present Ottawa-Gatineau scenario where the interference could occur directly within the principal marketing area of the 94.5 MHz station and CIMF.
2593 Industry Canada's rules and standards for second adjacent stations are presently based on a wide cross-section of radio receivers where the second adjacent station operates outside of the coverage area of the incumbent station. Therefore, Industry Canada has no rules or standards in place to estimate the amount of interference that may occur between co-sited second adjacent stations.
2594 There are no rules or standards in place, nor are we aware of any comparable Canadian examples to support the statements that there will be zero interference as a result of co-siting 94.5 MHz at Camp Fortune.
2595 MR. LENNOX: Furthermore, all of the information currently on record with respect to 94.5 is purely theoretical. No applicant can unequivocally state that no interference will result through the use of 94.5 without adequate testing of that frequency.
2596 No applicant has approached us to conduct such a task and, through our conversations with the CBC, we know that no applicant has conducted testing of its own. As such, Astral is not in a position to comment on the potential usefulness of 94.5 as a third available frequency and the Ottawa-Gatineau market in the context of this proceeding.
2597 MR. BRAIDE: That being said, Mr. Chair, Astral is prepared to offer a solution which we believe will once and for all address the potential availability of 94.5 for the Ottawa-Gatineau market.
2598 Before I present the proposal, however, I would like to say a word regarding Astral's position on the use of second adjacent frequencies.
2599 While some could reasonably interpret our position respecting the use of second adjacencies as uncooperative, we hope the Commission understands that it would be irresponsible for Astral to pre-authorize use of the second adjacent without adequate research, consultation, negotiations and conditions.
2600 In the present scenario no applicant has submitted a clear and complete technical brief and no interference tests have been conducted. Thus, we can't assess the risks and consequences associated with the pre-authorized use of 94.5.
2601 To resolve the uncertainty, Astral is prepared to undertake a full and complete study respecting the possible use of 94.5, with the collaboration of Industry Canada, the CBC and any applicant who wishes to be involved.
2602 We further undertake to file this study, which will include thorough of the 94.5 frequency for interference, with the Commission as soon as it's completed.
2603 We expect that such a study will address all potential uses of this frequency, including the technical parameters and operational limits on any station which can be licensed to use the frequency, if possible.
2604 Meanwhile, we encourage the Commission to confirm its original decision regarding Eve-FM for the reasons you yourself mentioned in paragraphs 21 to 23 of Decision 2008-222 and allow Astral to conduct a thorough examination of the 94.5 frequency for your later consideration.
2605 Given the delays thus far, this would be, in our view, and under the circumstances, an appropriate and balanced approach.
2606 We would like to thank the Commission and Commission staff very much for the time listening to all of the applicants and intervenors. We would like to thank our intervenors as well and we would be happy, of course as usual, to answer any additional questions.
2607 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
2608 As you say, your reply was for the record and in terms of this morning's announcement I hope you can fit yourself into that timeframe.
2609 Let me add, I apologize for using the word "uncooperative" yesterday. That was an unfortunate choice of words. I should have said --
2610 MR. BRAIDE: Mr. Chair, Astral Media --
2611 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, but I want you to understand, and the audience, I'm looking for constructive solutions and you are clearly on the same path as we are and hopefully we can find a constructive solution to the whole problem here.
2612 MR. BRAIDE: Thank you, sir.
2613 It's been a pleasure.
2614 THE CHAIRPERSON: Any other questions from my colleagues?
2615 Thank you.
2616 MR. BRAIDE: Thank you.
2617 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Je demanderais donc maintenant à la Radio de la communauté francophone d'Ottawa à s'avancer à la table de présentation.
2618 M. BRADET : Bonjour, Monsieur le Président, messieurs les commissaires, Madame.
2619 Plusieurs membres de notre conseil d'administration vous ont adressé la parole pendant les phases précédentes de cette audience. Monsieur Boucher et maître Boivin sont toujours ici pour répondre à vos questions et discuter, mais j'aimerais aussi vous re-présenter un de nos membres dans le conseil, monsieur Jean-Michel Ouimet, qui est un musicien, un compositeur, un homme d'affaires régional dans l'industrie de la musique et aussi président de l'APCM, l'Association professionnelle de la chanson et de la musique.
2620 Jean-Michel, si tu veux dire quelques mots.
2621 M. OUIMET : Oui. Bonjour. Nos présentations dans les phases précédentes de cette audience et la participation des intervenants devraient laisser peu de doute que la communauté franco-ontarienne bénéficierait énormément d'une radio communautaire comme le projet de la RCFO.
2622 Les intervenants vous ont témoigné hier de l'importance des médias dans la survie des communautés linguistiques minoritaires. Une communauté qui n'est pas visible est une communauté qui ne pourra pas survivre. Les médias, et particulièrement la radio, donnent une voix, une visibilité à la communauté.
2623 Vous avez entendu les membres de différents milieux de la communauté francophone dans les derniers jours, et comme monsieur Bradet le mentionnait, je suis, dans ma vie professionnelle, un professionnel de la chanson et de la musique, et je suis aussi président de l'Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique, qui représente plus de 150 membres à travers l'Ontario et l'Ouest canadien.
2624 Je travaille au quotidien avec les artistes de la francophonie canadienne hors Québec. Je vous assure qu'ils sont plus de 200 au pays qui bénéficieraient artistiquement et économiquement de l'arrivée de la RCFO dans la région d'Ottawa-Gatineau
2625 Il y a présentement une explosion d'artistes franco-ontariens et francophones hors Québec, en général, mais ils ne sont pas diffusés sur les radios privées dans la région d'Ottawa-Gatineau. Ils sont, à travers le pays, même d'ailleurs, diffusés uniquement sur les radios communautaires. Vu l'absence d'une radio communautaire dans le marché d'Ottawa-Gatineau, on ne peut pas les entendre ici.
2626 Lorsque j'entends Astral Media, par exemple, nous dire qu'ils diffusent des artistes franco-ontariens, je trouve ça presque déplacer. Nous, on travaille avec les artistes au quotidien, et je pense qu'Astral diffuse peut-être marginalement deux ou trois artistes. Ce serait intéressant de voir les statistiques à cet effet-là. Je serais très surpris que ça dépasse le .5 pour cent du contenu musical de leur programmation.
2627 Et j'aimerais les corriger sur certains éléments, que Ricky Paquette n'est pas un artiste franco-ontarien mais de Gatineau. Même chose pour Eva Avila. Dans le cas de Swing, on l'a vu dans la vidéo qu'on vous a présentée, qu'il appuie énormément notre demande. Dans le cas de Damien Robitaille, que je connais très bien, il vient de Lafontaine en Ontario, et son succès est dû surtout grâce à la radio communautaire de Penetanguishene, où est-ce qu'il a fait ses débuts, où est-ce qu'on l'a entendu pour commencer. On fait du pistage radio dans la région, et la porte est fermée du côté du privé.
2628 L'APCM, donc, qui représente ces artistes, est un partenaire officiel de la RCFO, comme l'a indiqué l'APCM dans la lettre d'appui qu'on a déposée dans le document pertinent à cet effet. On a des appuis financiers à l'intérieur de ça aussi.
2629 Certaines parties et certains intervenants ont présenté la communauté francophone québécoise et franco-ontarienne comme une communauté unique. Il est très important de noter qu'à plusieurs égards, y compris sur le point de vue de la musique et de la culture, la communauté franco-ontarienne est une communauté distincte de la communauté québécoise. La communauté franco-ontarienne doit avoir un véhicule pour diffuser sa propre culture, ses propres institutions et sa propre identité.
2631 M. BRADET : Sur la base des présentations qui ont été faites pendant les phases précédentes, il devrait être évident maintenant que la communauté franco-ontarienne est inébranlable dans sa conviction que la radio communautaire pour la région d'Ottawa est essentielle à son développement.
2632 La communauté franco-ontarienne a su développer une vision de ses institutions, les bâtir et en faire des succès, exactement ce qu'elle veut faire avec la RCFO.
2633 Il est important de distinguer la communauté francophone québécoise et celle de l'Ontario. Un projet qui atteint les objectifs de la Loi sur les langues officielles doit nécessairement prendre en considération la spécificité et les besoins particuliers de la communauté franco-ontarienne de la région.
2634 Les projets qui mettent ensemble les besoins des francophones des deux rives ou les stations existantes qui mettent ensemble la programmation franco-ontarienne avec celle de la multitude de communautés ethniques, par exemple, CHUO, ne satisfont pas les besoins de la communauté franco-ontarienne.
2635 Lorsque j'ai dit hier que des institutions bilingues, ça n'existe pas facilement dans le domaine des arts et de la culture, on n'est pas contre le bilinguisme, loin de là, parce qu'on le vit à tous les jours, le bilinguisme, mais dans les institutions culturelles de ce genre-là, les écoles, les institutions, les théâtres, la nouvelle scène, les stations de radio, ce n'est pas une formule qui fonctionne en Ontario.
2636 C'est une formule qui a été rejetée par la communauté francophone, et on est allé en cour, fédérale, suprême, nommez-les, à tous les niveaux depuis les 30 dernières années pour avoir acquis ce droit d'avoir nos propres institutions. Alors, on n'est pas contre le bilinguisme, mais dans certaines institutions, ce n'est pas la formule.
2637 Vous nous avez posé des questions sur nos bénévoles et la structure administrative qui mènera le projet à bien si nous avions la licence. La communauté franco-ontarienne est généreuse de son temps et de ses ressources pour les institutions qu'elle a créées. Elle ne compte pas son temps et ses ressources.
2638 Le conseil d'administration de la RCFO est composé de gens très compétents -- très compétents -- s'entourera d'experts en communication pour bien démarrer la nouvelle station.
2639 Nous vous fournirons ces informations, Monsieur le Président, que vous nous avez demandées dans les délais que vous nous avez donnés.
2640 De la même façon, nous vous fournirons les informations que vous avez demandées concernant notre structure financière, en partie déjà données, mais d'autres informations supplémentaires.
2641 Ces documents prouveront sans aucun doute que contrairement à ce que soutiennent les autres parties, le marché local et la communauté francophone soutiendront le projet et assureront sa survie financière.
2642 Merci, Monsieur le Président. S'il y a des questions, ça me fera plaisir d'y répondre.
2643 LE PRÉSIDENT : Merci, et on attend vos données particulières que vous nous fournirez parce que c'est quelque chose dans laquelle nous sommes très intéressés, et je crois que ça va compléter votre présentation.
2644 Est-ce qu'il y a des questions de mes collègues?
2645 Non. Merci.
2646 M. BRADET : Merci beaucoup.
2647 THE SECRETARY: I would now invite Corus Radio Company to come to the presentation table.
2648 MS COURTEMANCHE: I feel like the last man standing, or in this case the last woman sitting.
2649 My name is Sylvie Courtemanche, I am the Vice President Government Relations for Corus Entertainment Inc. My colleague, Chris Pandoff, couldn't be with us today. It's a big day in radio today, it's ratings day, so I'm holding the fort.
2650 I am pleased to provide our reply comments, which will be brief.
2651 To begin, I would like to reply to a Phase II comment made by the Frank Torres Group. In their presentation they stated that the Corus application for 101.9 MHz had been deemed technically unacceptable by Industry Canada.
2652 While it is true that the current technical brief was deemed technically unacceptable, according to Corus' consulting engineers the issue raised by Industry Canada is minor. In order to remedy the situation we need only effect a slight antenna modification.
2653 After discussions with Industry Canada, it was decided that Corus would not include these slight modifications unless it's application was approved by the CRTC. If the CRTC were to approve the Corus application, the modification would be reflected in the as-built technical brief.
2654 Accordingly, Corus' ability to obtain a technical acceptance from Industry Canada does not represent a real barrier in the circumstances.
2655 On the matter of procedural fairness, again an issue raised by the Frank Torres Group, Corus would simply note that it was not attempting of its own accord to amend its application, but simply responding to a Commission question on whether it would accept a change to its proposal in the event the decision did not exactly reflect what Corus had applied for.
2656 This type of question is routinely asked in all types of licensing hearings and the Commission has the authority to effect such changes. This authority is reflected in section 41 of the CRTC Rules of Procedure where it is stated that the Commission may approve an application in whole or in part or maybe even substitute portions of the application in its decision.
2657 Mr. Chair, during the course of these proceedings you have no doubt gained a new understanding of the challenges radio broadcasters face on a daily basis as a result of issues related to the significant congestion on the FM band, especially in urban markets. This congestion represents a real barrier and we were pleased to see that the Commission had suggested in its Monday's report to government on minority language broadcast services that government explore the possibility of optimizing spectrum by reassigning the television channels 5 and 6, which would free up frequencies to be used for example by community radio stations.
2658 Corus appreciates that the Commission's deliberations process is likely to be difficult and complex and it's obviously not over yet. Our objective in this proceeding was simply to provide another option that would assist the Commission in achieving the various and competing objectives of the Broadcasting Act.
2659 We would simply like to thank you at this time for your consideration and we wish you wisdom and success with your deliberations.
2660 If you have any questions I'm available.
2661 Thank you.
2662 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
2663 Do any of my colleagues have any questions?
2664 I don't believe so, so thanks very much.
2665 THE SECRETARY: This completes the consideration of items 1 to 8 on the agenda.
2666 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, Madam Secretary, before we start with the Pelmorex let's take a 15 minute break.
--- Suspension à 1046
--- Reprise à 1106
2667 LE PRÉSIDENT : Commençons, Madame la Secrétaire.
2668 LA SECRÉTAIRE : Merci.
2669 Now, Mr. Chairman, we will proceed with item 9 on the agenda, which is an application by Pelmorex Communications Inc. for the mandatory distribution on digital basic, pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act, of the national specialty programming undertakings known as The Weather Network and MétéoMédia.
2670 If the application is approved, the applicant commits to enabling the broadcast of emergency alerts by acting as a national public alerting aggregator and backbone network distributor.
2671 As contemplated in Notice of Consultation CRTC 2009-2-2, additional documents have been added to the public file relating to granting mandatory carriage of the programming services for a limited period of time and relating to whether the Commission may impose mandatory carriage of emergency alerts.
2672 Please introduce yourself and your colleagues, after which you will have 15 minutes for your presentation.
2673 MR. MORRISSETTE: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Vice Chair, Members of the Commission.
2674 My name is Pierre Morrissette, Chairman and CEO of, Pelmorex Communications Inc., the licensee of The Whether Network and MétéoMédia.
2675 I am pleased to introduce our team. On my right is Paul Temple, Senior Vice President, Regulatory and Strategic Affairs. Beside him is Jean-Pierre Boulanger, Senior Vice President and Chief Information and Technology Officer.
2676 To my left is Gaston Germain, President and Chief Operating Officer. Next to him is Alysia Charlton, our financial expert and Corporate Secretary. Next to Alysia is Luc Perreault, Vice President, Affiliate and Government Relations.
2677 We are before you today to request an order pursuant to section 9(1)(h) of the Broadcasting Act, to keep The Whether Network and MétéoMédia on the basic television service. This will give us the ability to fulfil our current alerting mandate and provide a national alert aggregation and distribution system.
2678 As a result, all broadcasters and BTUs will be able to broadcast alerts originated by emergency authorities from three levels of government throughout Canada on a localized basis. Canadians will be alerted to authorized public safety information that is relevant to them where they live at the instant they need to know it.
2679 By continuing to provide our highly valued programming and by undertaking this alerting role which will fill a long-standing gap in the Canadian broadcasting system, our services will continue to make an exceptional contribution to the objectives of the Broadcasting Act. We have detailed this contribution in our application.
2680 For now we would highlight the Commission's own statement that, and I quote:
"The broadcasting system, as one of the most powerful delivery platforms, has a vital role to play in the provision of emergency alerts to the Canadian public." (As read)
2681 We agree and believe that by enhancing our public safety programming and continuing our current programming, our service offered on basic at an affordable and a reliable rate will undoubtedly safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, political and social fabric of Canada.
2682 Au cours des 18 dernières années, les représentants du gouvernement et de l'industrie de la radiodiffusion se sont rencontrés afin de discuter de la possibilité de mettre sur pied un système national d'alerte. Aujourd'hui, il n'existe toujours pas de tel système, à l'exception de l'initiative de Pelmorex, qui distribue des alertes via ses deux réseaux de télévision spécialisés, MétéoMédia et The Weather Network.
2683 Il y a déjà deux ans, le CRTC a demandé à l'industrie de travailler à la préparation d'une proposition visant la mise sur pied d'un réseau national d'alerte sur une base volontaire. Nous avons, encore une fois, démontré notre leadership avec cette demande, qui est fondée sur notre expertise car nous faisons l'agrégation et la distribution d'alertes et d'informations relatives à la sécurité publique sur une base locale depuis 20 ans.
2684 Les citoyens et les autorités qui oeuvrent dans le domaine de la sécurité publique de l'océan Pacifique à l'Atlantique à la mer Arctique attendent depuis longtemps la mise sur pied d'un système national d'alerte. Personne ne met en doute la nécessité d'une telle initiative. Il est maintenant temps de passer à l'action.
2685 MR. GERMAIN: Canadians are emphatic that the CRTC should ensure that The Weather Network and MétéoMédia continue on the basic service. More than 15,000 individuals wrote to say so in 2007, with many more voices added in this proceeding. This unprecedented public support reinforces the fact that our services make an exceptional contribution, a key criteria for mandatory basic carriage.
2686 In more than 1200 communities consumers know that our services give them detailed local weather forecasts, local alerts, local road safety and other local information.
2687 The information we provide to Canadians most definitely is not available everywhere. The Weather Network and MétéoMédia really are exceptional services and here is why.
2688 We produce and deliver over 1200 local weather channel's every day. They are more in depth, with more varied information than anyone else provides. We are working at more than doubling the number of individual forecasts we create so we can be even more precise about the information we provide to the communities we serve.
2689 There may be a perception that our operation is automated and runs on autopilot and this is far from the truth. Our service is labour-intensive, employing almost 400 people with a unique blend of scientific, technological and creative skills.
2690 The job isn't complete once software is written in systems are engineered. We have 40 meteorologists on staff who are constantly comparing forecast models, inputs from satellite and radar systems, weather stations, UV monitors and observation sites region by region and making adjustments to improve the accuracy of our forecasts. They track storm systems and other severe weather with the same vigilance as air traffic controllers track aircraft in order to give communities at risk the best information possible.
2691 Other staff is dedicated to road safety information. They enter and update information from provincial Ministries of Transport, Provincial Police, road cams, snowploughs and tow truck operators on more than 3000 different road segments throughout the day every day.
2692 Others integrate information from hundreds of volunteers who monitor and report on extreme weather across Canada. We are constantly investing in more sources of data and developing new products to improve the weather story we tell and provide even more comprehensive public safety information.
2693 It takes the same manpower and resources to provide alerts, weather, road safety and environmental information for the Moose Factory First Nation Reserve on James Bay as it does for Ottawa or Calgary and we provide the same high quality of information across Canada in each of the local communities we serve.
2694 Now, we don't have to tell the Commission there's a crisis in local programming. Eleven hundred small Canadian communities have no local radio or television stations. Now even larger centres are seeing local broadcasters close or cut back on newscasts and on local coverage.
2695 The Commission's data shows that more than one quarter of Canadian households, or more than 3.5 million homes, are without Internet service. So to say whether it's everywhere ignored the reality outside a handful of major cities.
2696 En l'absence de MétéoMédia et The Weather Network, qui diffusent des informations locales aux services de base dans 1 200 communautés, de nombreux citoyens seront dépendants d'informations météo destinées à des villes éloignées, qui seront, à l'évidence, moins pertinentes, incomplètes, intermittentes et mises à jour à des fréquences variables.
2697 De plus, nous sommes la seule source d'information météo locale qui fournit des prévisions aux communautés linguistiques demeurant en milieu minoritaire dans toutes les régions du pays. Nous offrons nos services dans les deux langues officielles à toutes régions, 24 heures par jour, sept jours sur sept.
2698 Des milliers de Canadiens ont fait connaître leur opinion au Conseil, à l'effet que nos services sont essentiels à leurs yeux car l'information que nous leur fournissons n'est, en aucun cas, disponible ailleurs dans leur région.
2699 Plus de 40 députés de la Chambre des communes, issus de tous les partis politiques et de toutes les régions du Canada, ont fait écho à ces propos et ont fait part de leurs inquiétudes au Conseil en intervenant dans ce processus.
2700 Nous avons aussi reçu l'appui des caucus du Québec, du Parti Libéral du Canada et du Bloc québécois. Nous avons aussi reçu des appuis solides de la part d'organisations nationales oeuvrant dans le domaine de la sécurité publique, des autorités provinciales et de nombreuses municipalités.
2701 We make exceptional contributions in many other ways which we have detailed in our application, including 100 percent Canadian content.
2702 Our proposed alerting aggregation band and distribution system now takes our public safety contribution to an even greater level.
2703 MR. TEMPLE: Pelmorex is uniquely qualified to run a national alerting service as the CRTC itself noted in Public Notice 2007-72 when it licensed us to provide a voluntary service.
2704 The Weather Network and MétéoMédia have been in the alerting business for 20 years. Over this period we've been a leader in working with the Federal Government to make public safety alerting a reality and no one has questioned our credentials.
2705 We have the relationships and credibility with emergency authorities to take on this challenge. This is demonstrated by the support from Environment Canada, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, CAPAN, the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Safety Association, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, provincial authorities and other emergency management organizations.
2706 In the past four years we have expanded alerting to include pilot projects in the Provinces of Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick.
2707 Since the Commission challenged the broadcasting industry to implement a voluntary alerting system in 2007, we have created a national alerting feed allowing BDUs and broadcasters to experiment, gain experience and provide feedback on the requirements of a national alerting system.
2708 We've also integrated public alerting into our consumer products. Today we distribute public alerts real time to our websites, our desk top applications, BlackBerries, iPhones, other mobile devices, as well as by text messages and e-mails.
2709 For all of these reasons, proven alerting experience, infrastructure, relationship with the emergency authorities, technical skills, as well as a sound business plan and consultation that anchor our application, we can hit the ground running should the Commission approve our application.
2710 The public alerting aggregation and backbone distribution proposal outlined in our application is consistent with the National Public Alerting System or NPAS objectives envisioned by Federal, Provincial and Territorial safety authorities.
2711 Our proposal will build on the work already invested by our company and by government, emergency management stakeholders, BDUs and other broadcasters.
2712 Our solution is voluntary and is based on open industry standards consistent with the Commission's alerting policy in Public Notice 2007-20, the NPAS Report and the positions taken by broadcasters and BDUs.
2713 It has a governance board that ensures ongoing dialogue. It has annual reporting to the CRTC and other stakeholders, ensuring complete accountability.
2714 BDUs in the past have insisted that there be no proprietary technology so that they can develop their own presentation solutions. Our system fully meets these requirements.
2715 It would also meet messaging format standards established by the Federal and Provincial Governments.
2716 The missing element today is sufficient and stable distribution on basic that allows the required investment for a national alerting aggregation and distribution system. Approval of our application as filed will enable this.
2717 MS CHARLTON: our application is not without cost or risk to Pelmorex. We're not looking for a free ride.
2718 In the plan you have before you we will assume the responsibility and bear the significant financial risk of the public alerting initiative we propose. We will offer an enhanced level of service at our current wholesale fee for all systems, large or small, in English and French. And we must still compete for viewers against strong competition from regulated and unregulated weather information providers, particularly in large urban markets.
2719 As you can see from our application, our ability to make a stronger contribution to the broadcasting system will depend in part on the growth of advertising revenue.
2720 Without a 9(1)(h) order to maintain The Weather Network and MétéoMédia on basic, consumers won't have access to our current level of programming at the same price across Canada, let alone a national public alerting system.
2721 Two BDUs have already tried to remove our services from basic carriage despite signed contracts and it took a court fight in one case and CRTC intervention in the other to stay on basic.
2722 Other large BDUs have been quite explicit that to remain on their basic service we can expect significantly lower wholesale rates. Without a 9(1)(h) order, we will be forced to make difficult choices that will impact the service we provide Canadians.
2723 MR. MORRISSETTE: We are offering a win-win-win situation. Canadians will receive enhanced safety information with no disruption to the programming they rely on, no price increases and no expensive packaging changes.
2724 Pelmorex will have the financial stability to deliver an alerting system and enhance our current programming. BDUs will get the technical prerequisites they seek in an alerting system, no increase in our price and the ability to better serve their customers.
2725 Our application is fully funded with a responsible, sustainable business plan. The CRTC, government and safety organizations will have the assurance that a long overdue national alerting system that meets functionality and alerting standards can be put in place in less than 12 months of the CRTC's decision.
2726 Commission, we urge you to approve this application and ensure that national broadcast alerting becomes a reality as soon as possible.
2727 We would be pleased to answer your questions.
2728 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Morrissette.
2729 As you appreciate, I'm new to this file, so I am going to ask you some basic questions first of all so I can...
2730 If I understand it, the data is actually not yours, it's Environment Canada's. You aggregate it, you deal with it, you interpret it, you transmit it and you give it for, what is it, whatever you have, 1,200 points across Canada, but you don't generate any data, or am I wrong here?
2731 MR. MORRISSETTE: The raw observations or current observations, some of these are accumulated from Environment Canada's network, some of it comes from other sources.
2732 THE CHAIRPERSON: M'hmm.
2733 MR. MORRISSETTE: In addition, Environment Canada does provide us with some modelling input/output, but this we supplement with other modelling information from systems around the world plus other systems that we have created.
2734 At the end of the day we are responsible for all of our own forecasts. We provide forecasts that go out 14 days, Environment Canada's go out five. We provide hourly forecasts, they do not and we update more frequently and we serve many more locations than they do because we provide distinct forecast --
2735 THE CHAIRPERSON: Please answer my question. I know what you are doing, I read your things very carefully, I just wanted to get something.
2736 So, if I understand it, the data that you have comes from other sources, or do you have any -- do you generate any data that would not be accessible to somebody else?
2737 MR. MORRISSETTE: I should add that we also get the alerts from Environment Canada and we pass these on on their own.
2738 We have many of our own data elements which is distinct and unique to us. An example are UV networks, pollen networks, the aggregation of road conditions across Canada, that we're the only national network of road conditions across Canada and other data as well.
2739 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm trying to go -- I'm trying to find out to what extent you are unique or to what extent somebody else with sufficient money could emulate you.
2740 And clearly you have a lot of software which you generated and you have a unique system which is fabulous, the whole country supports it, as one can see from the documentation that you presented.
2741 I just wonder if another -- somebody else wanted to emulate you, could they do that, or is there something that is unique that only you have that others don't have access to? That is what I'm really trying to get, in terms of data.
2742 Clearly the software is yours and the systems and -- I'm just talking data right now.
2743 MR. MORRISSETTE: We have a 20-year history of aggregating data, constantly enhancing it and developing proprietary systems and technology to add to the aggregation, the database management, the distribution of this information, 20 years of history of very, very focused development of our content.
2744 It would require a major, major investment and a lot of time for anybody to emulate our history.
2745 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't dispute that at all. My question was on data.
2746 Can we please get a straight answer. I said, is there any data that you generate that would not be accessible to others?
2747 I gather pollen data you mentioned you generate. Anything else?
2748 MR. MORRISSETTE: There is -- yeah, pollen data, the road information that we report on on a national basis, the 3,000 and more segments of information or road data that we accumulate and exhibit on our system at a very localized level.
2749 There are -- we -- the forecast data that we generate is more granular than anybody else does in the country.
2750 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. No, clearly.
2751 MR. MORRISSETTE: And so -- and the end result of that is that we then transmit that to a community and 1,100 of those communities that we serve are without a local radio or a local television station.
2752 So, for those communities that type of information we're talking about is highly localized and is not easily available to them anywhere else.
2753 THE CHAIRPERSON: Please, we are having dialogue of the deaf here. I know your system, its coverage, how extensive it is, I just wanted to have a couple -- I'm trying to deal with the lacunes, where I don't know -- what I didn't know and what I'm trying to get out of you is, do you generate data yourself? And if I understand it, you mentioned pollen data.
2754 I know how you distribute it, how you analyze it, how you are much more granular and how you are much more thorough, et cetera. That is not what my question is. I just want to know, is there some data collection that you perform and others don't perform. That was the simple question.
2755 MR. TEMPLE: We have ultraviolet sensors that we put in across Canada which we gather information and produce information with regards to ultraviolet.
2756 There's the pollen network. We have a lightning network. We have proprietary patented equipment in each cable company.
2757 Now, if your question is -- I mean, no one else does those things. With enough money I'm sure someone could duplicate it. Nothing is --
2758 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of course, they'd have to duplicate it, but they don't have access to it. That was my question.
2759 MR. TEMPLE: They don't. We don't give them access to it.
2760 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. I'm glad we were finally dialoguing.
2761 Now, the second point I wanted to understand is, you are extremely successful, you are a household word. I can't go anywhere without people talking to me and making reference in support.
2762 You are also very profitable, et cetera, but you're obviously worried about digital transition and that when you go to digital you will no longer be on basic and there will be a temptation for BDUs, if I understand you, to move you off basic and to squeeze you on the price.
2763 can you explain to me why you feel that, because your very success would argue, as for instance Rogers argues, that you are a very desirable product that every BDU has to have, they may lose customers if they don't distribute YOU.
2764 sO, why should they want to move you off basic or try to squeeze you on price?
2765 MR. GERMAIN: Mr. Chairman, if I can make a few preliminary comments and then I think Paul and perhaps Alysia if we get into the financial models can support.
2766 But the first of your questions, you're right that we are a strong brand in the country and we're grateful for that and, so, we are proud of our success, but the reason that we take that position is that, firstly, we filed an economic report with you that discusses at a more economic theory level the dynamics and the behaviour of the players in that market and comments on the relative negotiating power that exists.
2767 So, I mean, I think we first of all agree with that and, secondly, we're experiencing that in the marketplace. So, we've had -- Alysia referred to in oral comments -- examples where before even framework review was completed where we were, what we would suggest, may have strong armed a bit in terms of what our carriage might be.
2768 That was ultimately resolved but with a lot of pain and we have had examples in negotiations where it was made clear to us that the expectation of basic carriage would come -- must come at a significantly lower price than what we're offering.
2769 We make the case, we hope successfully in our filings, that our business is -- it's a region frequency business, so, for us basic carriage is very, very important and our financials are affected directly and our ability to fulfil our obligations would be, we think -- and we filed several models to that effect -- would be significantly affected otherwise.
2770 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I understand that. I read this very carefully last night. I'm trying to put myself in your shoes and I guess I'm trying to understand.
2771 You think that if you were -- if after 2011 you are moved off basic you would lose something like a 20 percent drop in subscribers. And I can see why that would happen because a lot of people only buy basic and say, you know, the weather channel is very nice, but I get some weather on CTV or wherever and it's not worth for me to paying extra, that's assuming you would assume some people will do.
2772 I'm just wondering about the other side of the coin, putting myself in the shoes of the BDU, would the BDU not risk also losing customers because The Weather Network in this country where weather is so key -- such a key aspect of our lives, people are saying, why would I buy this cable service if they don't give me The Weather Network?
2773 That is sort of for me essential information that I need and that I consider basic and should be part of the basic package.
2774 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. We'd like to think that we're so popular that they wouldn't do that, but the case in point that we made in our oral remarks is on two occasions --
2775 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2776 MR. E TORRES: -- we've been moved. So, it may not seem to be a logical thing to do, but on two occasions that is exactly what has -- we've had to fight.
2777 The other thing is, I mean, I guess we have to be -- it's about leverage. It just comes down to that, you know. I'm sure that many of them may very well leave us on basic, but they know that our business model relies on that and they get to decide and it's -- you know, if we go back a long time ago when the Commission first licensed services such as ours it was -- we used to say, who has the hammer; it was, who has the leverage.
2778 And the Commission realized that to encourage the distribution and success of Canadian services in a smaller market like Canada, in our case where we're operating in both markets, we had to have some leverage. And if you take that away, we have no leverage.
2779 And if they say it's going to be "x" cents, and we've had some pretty explicit discussions in that nature then, you know, we're not going to be starting talks at 23-cents, we're not going to be anything close to it.
2780 So, there's a huge risk to us.
2781 The other thing is, as I know you understand, we need some stability, we need some -- the risk of having to renegotiate contracts and hope that we're not going to get, you know, another rate decrease or moved in this system, allows us -- that just adds so much to the uncertainty that we're facing and the risks that we face, it's a problem for a smaller service as ourselves.
2782 We have a lot of regulatory obligations which we take quite seriously and with that kind of risk that puts our ability to meet those obligations in jeopardy.
2783 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. You were before us I believe two years ago for a 9(1)(h) application, you made a very detailed distinct application, same as this time, reading every single point, every requirement, you've got the data there.
2784 And, Mr. Morrissette, you were very successful, you persuaded my Vice-Chairman here to dissent and say you should get it. So, clearly there was a lot of logic and there still is, no question about it.
2785 I'm just trying to think, leaving rational logic aside, just in terms of the 9(1)(h), what has changed between now and then.
2786 In your present application you say the context has changed. Maybe you can put a little bit of flesh on the bones. What do you really see is different between now and the last time when we heard you?
2787 MR. TEMPLE: I guess it's the presentation of the argument, that we are an exceptional service. You know, we have achieved success, but when we acquired -- when Pelmorex acquired the MétéoMédia and The Weather Network in '93 there was no advertising revenue, there weren't any ratings. In fact, the rating agencies did not even have our services in their books.
2788 We have had to invest, innovate, create, market our service and enhance it every step of the way since 1993 to bring it to its current level where it's one of the most frequently watched services in Canada.
2789 We're very proud of that success and hard work and creative skills, scientific skills and technological skills and attitude to innovate and lead and be an early player in new market activities, whether it's broadcast or otherwise, as ultimately that attitude has paid off in our current market position.
2790 Why are we an exceptional service? There is no other service like ours in this country. We are unique. We are the only national network that distributes local programming to 1,200 -- 1,300 distinct communities in Canada with distinct content.
2791 We're the most local of all networks and we're totally committed to enhancing our localization in more centres with more local content, whereas the industry is going the other way.
2792 We provide a hundred percent Canadian content, content that's focused on health and safety and planning activities for every Canadian coast-to-coast regardless of where they live.
2793 We save lives. Our service provides information to Canadians, planning tools that enables them to actually make decisions that if they didn't or ignored that could put their lives in jeopardy.
2794 We're successful because we meet the needs of Canadians. We listen to them. We are innovative and we're constantly enhancing.
2795 So, yes, we are one of the most highly watched services, and also market research shows that we're one of the most -- provide one of the highest levels of satisfaction and perceived value to subscribers, BDUs coast-to-coast.
2796 We are two networks reaching every English and French community in Canada in both languages. We treat all Canadians equally and we do that by cross-subsidizing French service. Most other parent services, the French subscriber rate is much higher. Ours has been the same since day one.
2797 And the smaller communities also get subsidized and cross-subsidized in our mode of operation because we have to invest equipment in every system that we serve and also our content is equal for all Canadians regardless of where they live.
2798 So, ultimately the biggest beneficiary in our cross-subsidization are small communities in the French market.
2799 We've been the champion of alerting for 20 years. We have provided every alert, distributed, disseminated on our services every alert issued by Environment Canada since we were licensed 20 years ago.
2800 We are committed to and a leader in diversity. Our workforce of almost 400 people reflect the Canadian mosaic and so successfully that we've been recognized by the Federal Government with an award in that regard, and we're one of the very few federally regulated companies to achieve a perfect status when it comes to employment equity and diversity. That's one of our commitments.
2801 For the vast majority of communities that we serve, we are the only weather-related content specific to that community. They don't get it from anywhere else, they get it from us and us alone.
2802 And for all markets we serve, we provide unique and exclusive content as mentioned --
2803 THE CHAIRPERSON: I understand all that. My very specific question to you was, we heard that in 2007, you convinced Monsieur Arpin, you didn't convince the rest of the Panel.
2804 You're before us again, it's a different Panel. You said in your opening statement and in your comments, the context has changed. As far as I -- the one context that I understand from what you just said is. in effect, small communities are getting better service now than they did two years ago and the broadcasting industry is in trouble and they are announcing the closing of those local stations, so, therefore, the only source of weather is you. That's clearly a different context than two years ago.
2805 What other contextual change have we between now and then?
2806 MR. TEMPLE: I guess part of what Pierre was trying to explain is we're doing more of all of those things, we are doing more local forecasts now than we last appeared before you.
2807 More local forecasts allow us to give more detail, more granularity to the communities that either aren't being served or being served in a general way. It's just more of the same, if you will, but that more is --
2808 THE CHAIRPERSON: More and better.
2809 MR. TEMPLE: -- important. It is.
2810 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2811 MR. TEMPLE: And, so, now -- I can't recall that number, but the number of forecasts we produce now and use so that we can develop our products on air is significantly increased and we have plans to, I think it's -- we're going up to 10,000 -- it's going to be more than double in a short while, we haven't done that yet, but...
2812 So, all these things are making the service more of what it was, so...
2813 THE CHAIRPERSON: Would it be possible for you to file a graph showing what you did when you did your first application -- your last application and what you do now, so I can -- to demonstrate exactly the point that you're doing more and you have a greater reach or greater granularity or whatever it is.
2814 MR. TEMPLE: M'hmm.
2815 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, to demonstrate that very point.
2816 MR. TEMPLE: We'll file that with the Commission.
2817 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Now, you have combined this with the public alert system application.
2818 Now, are these severable or are they integral, that is what I'm trying to understand. I understand the logic of putting them together, but from a technical point of view, do they have to be treated as one or can they be treated as two separate applications?
2819 MR. GERMAIN: No, they have to be treated as one. We're proposing it as one.
2820 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2821 MR. GERMAIN: We're proposing that -- we're proposing that if you grant us the authority we will make the commitment to escalate the level at which we distribute alerts.
2822 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2823 MR. GERMAIN: And the breadth and width and the robustness of the system that we'll deliver that, and for that we need the stability that the order would give us.
2824 THE CHAIRPERSON: What do you do right now in terms of national alerts.
2825 Mr. Morrissette in his opening statement says you are already operating alerts right now. Just educate me, I have no idea what you're doing on the alerting front right now.
2826 MR. TEMPLE: At the moment, and since we were first licensed, we distribute all Environment Canada weather warnings. So, we have a special data feed from Environment Canada and then we identify internally the location, the designation, which market it's for --
2827 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2828 MR. TEMPLE -- and using our system, we can then deliver that warning just there and we do that for each of MétéoMédia and The Weather Network.
2829 So obviously when Environment Canada issues a warning in French it will go on MétéoMédia if it's for a community being served by MétéoMédia.
2830 In addition to that, we have projects under way with the Provinces of New Brunswick, Québec, Ontario and Manitoba which allows them to issue a warning and that is sent to us and we will display that warning on our own channels in the appropriate markets.
2831 So by way of an example, if the Province of Ontario were to issue a warning for Ottawa, then if you were watching The Weather Network or MétéoMédia it would be displayed, the contents of the warning would be displayed on our channel.
2832 The same applies for New Brunswick. So if there is something happening in Moncton or whatever, those warnings are displayed in the appropriate communities.
2833 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm trying to understand.
2834 Let's say Environment Canada says there's a problem in the Barrie area, there's going to be whatever, a major snowstorm or something like that, you put that on your network, right, and it appears across Ontario or across Barrie?
2835 How do you sort of localize it to Barrie?
2836 MR. TEMPLE: We have equipment at every cable head end --
2837 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2838 MR. TEMPLE: -- so that when we send that information out through our network the equipment in the Barrie cable system says "I have a message for Barrie" and the equipment in all the other 1300 locations ignore that message because they know it's not Barrie, and then it's displayed on our channel.
2839 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that puts you in the logical position, then -- now I understand why you are doing this application for a national alert system. You sort of have some of the basic infrastructure already in place.
2840 MR. TEMPLE: We have been doing it for 20 years.
2841 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is there any crossover between what you do and radio? The data that you have, does it find its way to radio in any way?
2842 MR. TEMPLE: Right now our systems are designed to meet our own particular requirements.
2843 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
2844 MR. TEMPLE: As part of this proposal we are committing to work with the federal government and provinces to adopt their standard systems so that we can then make all those warnings available in a standard format to anyone.
2845 At the moment we have a test feed up that we put up. That's the essence of what we are proposing to do, is to change our systems to adopt some of the systems or the functionality that the provinces and the federal government are looking at and then we can provided to everyone.
2846 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right.
2847 And you propose to do this -- if I understand it, the essence of your application is you propose to be -- want us to designate you as a national aggregator for a national alert system. You will run it basically for free on the present rate of $.23 and you will put it up and running within a year, if I understand it correctly.
2848 MR. TEMPLE: That's the essence of our application.
2849 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see.
2850 Now, people who disagree with you make a lot of points.
2851 The first one they say is the timing is -- the timetable is wrong. There's no way you can do it. You are being over optimistic, there are too many things.
2852 Do you actually have a timetable with milestones as to get you from here to there?
2853 MR. TEMPLE: We have a plan to implement it and we are confident we can do it within the year of receiving Commission's approval of our application. It obviously requires the work and cooperation of the federal government and provincial authorities and other broadcasters, but we see no reason why that wouldn't happen, particularly if the Commission were to approve the application.
2854 So we are confident we can deliver.
2855 THE CHAIRPERSON: I appreciate that the timetable is based on getting assumption from us, and I presume there are some other assumptions, too.
2856 Is there any reason why you can't file that timetable with us? In confidence if need be, but at least so that we have an appreciation of what's involved, what has to be done and what's the likelihood of you meeting that timetable?
2857 MR. TEMPLE: We can, I guess, certainly provide a summary of that perhaps in confidence as we are not quite sure how things are going to end up playing out, but if that's acceptable.
2858 THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't want to put you at a competitive disadvantage, don't understand that, but you are basically asking me to place a lot of faith in you and saying you can do it and I would like to have, you know, trust and verify, you know. Yes, I trust you, you have a phenomenal record, you are a phenomenal success story, you are ideally placed to do this, but I want to make sure that the next step, which is fairly large step over and above what you are doing right now, there are some realistic assumptions and what are some of the obstacles that you face and then what is the assumption that you build in in order for the timetable that you laid out?
2859 MR. TEMPLE: Just to speak to that in general, most of the -- and I wouldn't call them obstacles, but there are things like, you know, sign-off on the standard format, the CAP format.
2860 But the actual work that we have to do, it's just -- it's more of the same of what we have done. I'm not suggesting it's easy or it's a trivial matter, but it's the type of thing that we do. I mean we put in place admittedly a pilot project with the provinces, but it didn't take very long to do.
2861 So we are quite confident we can deliver and we will provide, kind of in confidence, a summary of how we see the actual implementation happening.
2862 THE CHAIRPERSON: An implementation with milestones would be very helpful.
2863 Second, I see on today's presentation on page 8 you mention your:
"...support from Environment Canada, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Ocean, CAPAN, the Canadian Red Cross, the Canadian Safety Association, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities ...."
2864 The one party that is missing in that list is Public Safety Canada. Where are they?
2865 MR. TEMPLE: I don't know. They have not --
2866 THE CHAIRPERSON: You were part of this industry working group, you worked with them very closely and you mention that, et cetera, so you know that they filed a report with us, which I'm sure you --
2867 MR. TEMPLE: Yes.
2868 THE CHAIRPERSON: You are here because we said if there is something in place then we will hold this hearing, which is what we are doing right now. In their report on page 1 in the executive account they suggest:
"NPAS is on target for completion in 2010. PS has made NPAS a priority in partnership with FPT partners. It is nearing completion on the NPAS planning and definition phase. Through procurement strategy management for Public Works and Government Services the system development phase is expected to start in 2009 and the NPAS implementation phase, including system rollout and outreach, is expected to take place in 2010." (As read)
2869 Is that realistic? You have worked with them for the last two years, with that whole group, you know where they stand, you know what has been going on.
2870 MR. TEMPLE: We don't have the same confidence that that will happen that we have that we will deliver the system on time.
2871 You know, it's an awkward position to -- you know, I don't want -- we worked closely with them and have certainly taken them into our confidence in terms of our application and plans for some time and continue to do that. So, you know, I don't want to be overly critical, but to the best of our knowledge there has been no announcements of funding or as of timing of any funding.
2872 It's just, I guess, a situation where we know we can deliver what they are looking for and in effect what we are doing is we are doing the NPAS system for them, for the government.
2873 THE CHAIRPERSON: Help me interpret this paragraph that I just read out to you.
2874 It strikes me, first of all, as you say, you have to have funding. Then you are going to have an RFP for systems development phase. You are going to have --
2875 MR. TEMPLE: I'm sorry.
2876 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm waiting to have your attention, so go ahead.
2877 MR. TEMPLE: No, I'm sorry. I want to make sure I'm getting the same --
2878 THE CHAIRPERSON: It's the Executive Summary, the third last paragraph.
2879 MR. TEMPLE: I have the wrong binder. Too many binders.
2880 This is the Executive Summary of the NPAS Report.
2881 MR. TEMPLE: Sorry.
2882 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. The third last paragraph.
2883 My interpretation, and tell me if I'm correct, you require funding and you have to have money available.
2884 Then you have an RFP for systems development.
2885 Then you select somebody, he will presumably deliver the product, and then on the basis of that you are going to have a second RFP for an implementation phase. You have to have to select that person and he has to put it in place. And all of that is going to be done between now and the fall of 2010.
2886 Do I read this correctly?
2887 MR. TEMPLE: That's what they are proposing will happen. That's what they are suggesting.
2888 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. So we are talking two RFPs, two selection processes, two performances on this process. It may be the same contract obviously by 2010?
2889 MR. TEMPLE: That's what they are suggesting.
2890 Also, and the reason why we think we are more confident that we provide this for them, is the fact that an RFP process doesn't guarantee any end result. There are lots of RFPs that go out and the responses don't meet your needs or don't meet your budget or don't meet your timeline. So there is risk to an RFP.
2891 So to just say "Well, we will issue an RFP and therefore we move to the next step", I have never seen an RFP that doesn't have qualifying language that the issuer is not committed to picking someone or, you know, all sorts of qualifications.
2892 So we know we will do it and we will do it in the timeline that we have proposed.
2893 THE CHAIRPERSON: I agree with you entirely, an RFP doesn't mean you get a compliant bid nor within the range of acceptable funding. That's clearly issues that have to be dealt with
2894 Talking about funding, is this really the backbone of all of this? If we award you a 9(1)(h) status and designate you are the aggregator, in effect the system is funded and will be up and running to the extent it's there.
2895 While if not, if we are talking about the Public Safety process, funding has to be found. It has to be found, it will come from government sources which will pay for it. They may find a way of billing it back to users, to viewers, to BDUs or to broadcasters, whatever, but all of that is still up in the open, right, or else it comes out of general revenues.
2896 MR. TEMPLE: Or it doesn't happen.
2897 THE CHAIRPERSON: Or it doesn't happen.
2898 MR. TEMPLE: I mean, to be honest, we have been involved in public alerting and talking to various levels of government for, as we mentioned in our opening remarks, 18 or 20 years.
2899 The last time we applied for public alerting it was CANALERT. CANALERT was the solution to everything, CANALERT was on the verge of happening, CANALERT would solve all these problems. Well, there is no CANALERT and we are, whatever, three or four years later we are here talking about the same thing.
2900 Now, it's not for me to say that they won't deliver these things and they won't do that. I don't control how effective or successful they will be, we can only speak to what we can deliver and the concerns we have if it's left to the process. Maybe they will do it on time and maybe they won't.
2901 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right, okay.
2902 But funding is clearly a major issue which is beneath the table, but it's not even mentioned in the NPAS report. But that's clearly an outstanding issue.
2903 MR. TEMPLE: Funding is an issue, it's not with our application.
2904 THE CHAIRPERSON: I know, okay. Thank you. That's exactly what I thought.
2905 Now, with your application people who oppose you are saying there are an awful lot of things that still have to happen for you to meet your 2010 deadline.
2906 Let me just -- one of them is equipment. It's the usual story, the Canadian market is too small and to produce equipment for the Canadian market is -- until the Americans get their act and produce it en masse it's not going to be affordable here. That's one of the suggestions made by one of the opponents.
2907 Is there any truth to that? Is equipment an issue here?
2908 MR. TEMPLE: Equipment is not an issue with the delivery of the system we are proposing. We have no issues in terms of equipment. There is no problems, we are not relying on anyone for equipment.
2909 To have an end-to-end system I'm sure that there are equipment issues, because a lot of the -- there are no devices that are readily available at least that will take the standard that the government is proposing to use and enable cable companies and satellite to display it.
2910 But that is -- that is a challenge they face, it's not a challenge we face in delivering and making the alerts available to them.
2911 In prior proceedings the broadcasting industry has made it clear that they want to have control over what equipment they put in their head ends or at their sites to receive and display warnings, so our proposal does not include any equipment.
2912 We are basically saying "Okay, we heard you, we heard what you said last time, so we will provide an open non-proprietary feed of the warnings and the display challenge, the putting the equipment in, is your issue." And it is an issue for some of them, but it's not an issue for us to deliver.
2913 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let me read you the note in my briefing book and you tell me whether it's right.
"Standardized equipment compliant with CAP standard will not be available until the end of 2009 at the earliest. Manufacturers are awaiting formal adoption of the CAP standard by the U.S. Department Of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency." (As read)
2914 That's a true statement, is it not?
2915 MR. TEMPLE: That's we have to finalize the CAP format -- which when I say "we" I mean the provinces and the federal government.
2916 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2917 MR. TEMPLE: Once that's nailed down people can write software and build devices and we are off to the races.
2918 But it doesn't -- it's not going to hold us up.
2919 THE CHAIRPERSON: Assuming it's not there, what does that mean?
2920 MR. TEMPLE: That would mean that -- well, it's a bit of a chicken and egg. I will answer the question directly and then I will explain it.
2921 If there is no equipment to display it, then no one is going to see warnings except on our channels. Realistically it's a chicken and egg. Until the standard is nailed down manufacturers can't build the device that they are looking for.
2922 So the sooner we get approved and we sit down with the provinces and the federal government and nail down the format, then manufacturers will be able to build the devices that cable companies and satellite companies need, or they can build them themselves.
2923 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, there is another thing that you still have to do, which is you have to review all authorized government agencies that have access to create alerts, create PC-based application that captures and validates the alerts, or is this already done?
2924 MR. TEMPLE: Well, the actual software or system to allow authorities to input an alert is something that we will deliver. That's part of our responsibility.
2925 THE CHAIRPERSON: So that's under your control.
2926 MR. TEMPLE: That's under our control.
2927 Now, we sit down -- there is the technical element of building the system or the software, then there is what I will call the policy issues. That's why we propose a governance board or council, so that we can sit down with the provinces and make sure that everyone agrees with the rules of engagement and then, in fact, a lot of that is already being done and worked on as part of these projects. So we are not starting from the beginning, but you have to make sure that something as simple as the City of Kitchener can't send a warning to Halifax. And once you get all that straightened out --
2928 THE CHAIRPERSON: I appreciate you need the policy decisions to make the software, but the software is in your control; right?
2929 MR. TEMPLE: That's under our control.
2930 THE CHAIRPERSON: And, if I understand it, have you already done part of the software so that in effect just to the extent that policy decisions are made you would then do the necessary input selection or how --
2931 MR. TEMPLE: We have done similar things. We haven't done this because obviously we are not going to develop a whole bunch of things and not get our application approved, but the fact that we do similar things, even for other data inputs, I mean it's the things that we do.
2932 THE CHAIRPERSON: And then you are going to have to enter into user access agreements. If I understand it, you want to develop a standard form.
2933 The key provision of that is that you are only responsible for your activity, in effect for taking the data as furnished and putting it on and delivering it to the BDUs who will distribute it, but the correctness of the data, et cetera, that is all to the person who furnishes the data.
2934 You only respond that you want to make sure that your liability is limited to the direct activity that you influence, in effect the transporting of the data.
2935 Is that correct?
2936 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. The principle is that the authorized agency takes responsibility for the content of the message and that is the principle and the agreement that we already have with the four provinces that we are working with now.
2937 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, you already have one in place. So you have a template that you can adopt and make it --
2938 MR. TEMPLE: Yes, we have a template that we -- we have letter agreements with each of the four provinces that deal with the more critical issues, that being one of them.
2939 THE CHAIRPERSON: What are the others?
2940 MR. TEMPLE: The right for us to use the information that we receive on our own products and services. Those are probably -- I mean the agreements that we entered into are for pilot projects. The provinces have the ability to cancel it at any time if they want, because we didn't want to tie them up.
2941 But it's pretty straightforward, it just sets out what everyone is responsible for.
2942 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, you also mentioned liability, that you were going to have liability insurance in your budget.
2943 Do you have liability insurance right now for the three agreements or four that you have with provinces right now?
2944 MR. TEMPLE: We have liability insurance for our operations now, for all our operations.
2945 THE CHAIRPERSON: So therefore you have an idea of the costing of the liability, et cetera, and presumably you can extrapolate from the existing -- okay.
2946 Now, if the Public Safety proceeds with the RFP process, the two-phase RFP process that they mention in their Executive Summary, are you going to be a bidder?
2947 MR. TEMPLE: I guess we would have to see the terms and conditions and how the structure of the RFP comes out. So it's a little difficult to answer.
2948 Typically we do not build or write software which we just kind of hand over to people, we create and operate system to ourselves. So it would depend on how that RFP is structured.
2949 You know, we view the application we have before the Commission as -- we think this is just such a natural complement, an extension of our current undertaking that it makes a lot of sense for us to do, but if we were just going to write some code that we sell to someone and get a couple of bucks for and then they go off and do something, I think it loses some of the attractiveness.
2950 But I guess the final answer is we would have to look at an RFP, but I'm unsure as to whether we would bid.
2951 THE CHAIRPERSON: As I understand it the RFP would be more comprehensive. It would not only deal with broadcast probably, it would deal with radio, it would also deal with the system --
2952 MR. TEMPLE: That's not a concern. We expect that the service we provide will be made available to telecommunications companies, websites. It would be crazy to have a system serving broadcasters and then tell people "Well, you can't use it."
2953 So we fully expect -- and I think that's the vision of the federal government and the provinces, is that once we get this feed up and running we will -- you know, it will be available to anyone. So it will be available to cellular carriers and telephone companies and people who run websites and anyone else.
2954 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess what I'm struggling with is I don't want to interfere with whatever Public Safety has planned, it would be nice if we knew, but we don't. But on the other hand, you are here, you are ready to go and you can certainly meet the national alerting requirements insofar as broadcasting is concerned.
2955 How do we construct this so that one doesn't impede the other?
2956 Let's say for argument's sake we say "Yes, Pelmorex, we like what you are doing, we give you authorization as you request", because it's then possible that Public Safety comes along and says "Let's wrap around that. We have a wonderful system for broadcasting, but we want to make sure it also reaches radio." And maybe for instance can one do by computer every phone in the country rings and there is a recorded message saying there is a terrorist attack" or I don't know, presumably it can be done. I don't know whether that's part of their planning or not, but just how can we construct it so that our giving authority to you is a step toward the complete system rather than a roadblock or rather than a hindrance to what Public Safety may envision?
2957 MR. TEMPLE: We are providing what they want.
2958 There might be -- the provinces and the federal government are trying to develop a system, and we are calling that system NPAS, but NPAS isn't some group of people doing something, it's a concept and there is certain functionality and things that they are looking for for this system to do and we have stepped up and said "Oh, well, that's funny enough, that's what we propose to the Commission that we are going to do when we filed our application."
2959 So we are NPAS. If we are improved -- if you go to the functionality that the NPAS document, that the federal government and provinces are looking for, the distribution, the secure distribution of alerts, availability of alerts in a standard format established by the federal government, when you go through all those criteria that's what we are proposing to do.
2960 So once we have this system in place, then all those things that you mentioned, having it available, of course it's going to be available to radio stations.
2961 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let me pose the question a different way because I think this is a very key point for us.
2962 Assume we say "Yes, Pelmorex 9(1)(h), here you are", et cetera, et cetera, "Here is your timeline and we expect you will do it by 2010. Is it then possible for Public Safety to build on that and saying "That's wonderful, but that's not enough. We will now issue an RFP to sort of complete the system and ensure that the information that you garner and which you distribute also gets transferred to radio, also gets transferred to telephone companies so it can be used that way, et cetera".
2963 Is there any way -- and also do it in such a way that you automatically don't win that RFP, that whoever is -- well, maybe you, maybe somebody else, but the possibility is there that in effect Public Safety can build on your success and say fine and here is the winner. If it's you, wonderful, if it's somebody else, that person can, in effect, in a smooth way to work with you so that we have a complete system with you being the first cornerstone of broadcasting and the other person being the telephone, radio and whatever else system there is?
2964 MR. TEMPLE: That's not an issue for us at all. If the Commission licenses us, we expect to work with and complement any of the other alerting initiatives at Public Safety or the provinces. So that's -- we will do that.
2965 THE CHAIRPERSON: We would write that in the very terms of your approval so that it's absolutely clear that you cannot be a roadblock or cannot use this as leverage in order to become the "total administrator" if for some reason they choose to have two administrators.
2966 MR. TEMPLE: I don't think -- if they wanted to -- I'm sure we are not going to be a roadblock to doing what they want to do. We are committed to working with them cooperatively and we always have.
2967 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm using the word roadblock here. Maybe it's a very legitimate differences of opinion, I'm not suggesting any bad will.
2968 MR TEMPLE: But that's why we would establish a governance council with them and the provinces. The users are going to, as we outlined in our application, they are going to be giving us the advice and guidance on the development of the system. They are our users in this case.
2969 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
2970 What about the alternate scenario, the public service, for reasons of their own whatever they are, says "No, we actually wanted to -- we will proceed and we will do a total system including broadcasting, et cetera, and we designate you, but we designate you only as long and until such time as the Public Safety system is up and running", which may be three years, maybe 10 years, maybe never, I have no idea what they are -- I'm just trying to ensure maximum flexibility.
2971 Is it necessary to designate you permanently or can we do it on a conditionality? Obviously we would have to put a sufficient time period in, until let's say the Public Safety system is up and running and has been there for one year, et cetera, before your designation ends.
2972 MR. TEMPLE: I guess we have concerns with that. I mean I think everyone understands that nothing is forever. Having said that, if this system is viewed as some kind of interim measure or temporary measure, first of all the risk to us then is significantly increased.
2973 Now, I can let Alysia talk about bankers and things of that nature, but just the whole message that that sends out to everyone who is going to be involved, because this does involve a lot of people, I think it's just the wrong message. It's almost ensuring that it will -- that there will be problems.
2974 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Rather than a temporary system -- rather than a provisional system which I can see what you are saying in terms of giving you financing costs, would it be possible to do it for a fixed timeframe and say "We will review it then in light of developments which are taking place?"
2975 I mean as you point out in your own submissions national alert has been on the table for 20 years and nothing has happened. It's within our power to do this one piece, it doesn't cover everything but at least this one we can get up and running and will cover 90 percent of Canadians who have cable or satellite access.
2976 And we would say "Well, okay, we will do this, we will do it for a period of, let's say 5 years, 10 years and we will review it then in light of what the situation is at that point in time."
2977 MR. TEMPLE: Ten years is certainly a lot more interesting than five years.
2978 THE CHAIRPERSON: Than five, yes, I think so.
2979 MR. TEMPLE: The point -- I mean, as I said, nothing is forever and we understand that. We don't, as I think Pierre far more eloquently than I did, explained that we think the merits of the order do not rest solely on our provisioning of an alerting service, that we warrant distribution on basic regardless. We are quite happy to do this and, you know, if -- but just making it -- having a sunset type of provision or review because of something else happening just adds significantly to our risk.
2980 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Could I ask you to reflect on it. I obviously caught you cold with that.
2981 This is a key issue obviously for us because -- not only for us, for the government as such, and if it was for a limited type period subject to review, then what would be the appropriate period that you have in mind. Okay?
2982 MR. MORRISSETTE: Yes. We will get back to you on that, but if I can just add a few comments.
2983 In the opening presentation I mentioned that the outcome that we are seeking in the approval of this application would represent a win-win-win. I use the word "win" three ways, because it starts with a partnership with the various levels of government, the authorities who will be originating the messages and coordinating quite a bit of the effort to create the system; our involvement as part of the pipeline of receiving, aggregating and disseminating to the end distributors' and then the partnership, the third level of partnership with all the distributors whether they are telecom, broadcast or BDU.
2984 This is not a one-man show, this is a partnership every step of the way. We expect our efforts to be complementary shared objectives with every step of the chain and we will be working with all of them to do so.
2985 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I understand that, Mr. Morrissette. This doesn't work unless it is a partnership, as you say. It's a collective act, you just can't...
2986 Now, a couple of small questions.
2987 Governance. You want to have a governance board there and you say it will be advisory in some parts and directive in the other.
2988 What do you mean by "directive"? Will the governance board make the decisions and you will abide by them? Is that what you mean by "directive"?
2989 MR. TEMPLE: Yes. I want to make sure I'm not making things up here, I just want to turn to that.
2990 We said for instance that the governance board would give directions on matters related to the implementation of the CAP format. That's clearly they have to establish that standard.
2991 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
2992 MR. TEMPLE: So we are not going to be establishing that standard.
2993 THE CHAIRPERSON: What page are you reading from?
2994 MR. TEMPLE: That's going to be done.
2995 It's in a couple of places, but specifically on Appendix B of our application, the second page and under the heading of "Key Stakeholders".
2996 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, Appendix B, yes. Second page you said? Yes.
2997 MR. TEMPLE: Yes.
2998 THE CHAIRPERSON: Interesting, that's exactly what I had underlined. We are in the same spot.
2999 MR. TEMPLE: Excellent.
3000 So if I just run through this quickly, "Definition of Approved Users". I can't be telling the Province of Ontario which of their municipalities are approved to use the system, they have to.
3001 Now, we are going to be pushing these guys to make these decisions, but they have to make that decision and tell us.
3002 THE CHAIRPERSON: My whole point is let's take reporting requirements, if those directions generate costs for Pelmorex, you will accept them?
3003 MR. TEMPLE: We do. We accept the risk of the application we file.
3004 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, fine. I just want to I appreciate what you mean when you say direction you mean you will follow the direction of that. That's what I wanted to --
3005 MR. TEMPLE: Well, we will be happy to tell them what we think, but --
3006 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm sure.
3007 MR. TEMPLE: -- they or may not listen to us.
3008 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
3009 Now, you want us in this governance. I don't quite understand why we would be there.
3010 We are designating. This is not our principal line of business; right. Obviously we are responsible as a broadcaster, but shouldn't this be something that you set up and then you come to us to sanction it, rather than that we be part of it? Because it's not normal that the regulator is part of a governing body.
3011 MR. TEMPLE: I think the intent was -- well, I guess we can invite lots of people to the party and maybe they don't all accept the invitation.
3012 At a minimum we would hope that the Commission would participate as an observer because it was our intent to make sure that everyone was involved and knew what was happening.
3013 So if it's more appropriate that for the reasons you explained that you not have someone there as part of the board, we understand that. And if it's more appropriate, I would hope, though, as an observer or some other role, but the intent was to keep -- have everyone involved.
3014 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
3015 What about the OTAs? Is there any link between what you do and -- everything you do will go to the BDU's and the satellite and will be broadcast. Is there any link foreseen, planned or something so that the information that you generate will also be broadcast over-the-air?
3016 MR. TEMPLE: The information will be available to TV and over-the-air broadcasters at the same time as it's available to satellite and cable. It will go -- it's the same.
3017 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let's go back to my example. We have a thunderstorm or a twister in Barrie, clearly you get the alert from Ontario, you send it to the Barrie BDU, you presumably send it to the DDI, also to the satellite companies who are serving the Barrie area.
3018 Would you send it to the over-the-air station in Barrie? Would they monitor that they get it from you? How would that go?
3019 MR. TEMPLE: It would be available by satellite, Internet, two or three different ways.
3020 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, but you are not sending it directly to them. They have to --
3021 MR. TEMPLE: It's on the satellite. They will know what channel to tune to or what feed to get.
3022 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, I see.
3023 MR. TEMPLE: It's just available to everyone. It's there.
3024 THE CHAIRPERSON: So in the newsroom in Barrie of the TV station there's a screen shows and there comes a banner saying "Snowstorm for Barrie" and they can then read it from the NPAS.
3025 That's what you are suggesting?
3026 MR. TEMPLE: Well, what they will do -- and what they are going to do is exactly the same as what is explained in Public Safety's report to the Commission. We are doing the same thing. We are going to put a feed up on satellite, on the Internet, in fact we said we would put it on two different satellites, we will put it on the Internet, so they can all easily receive it.
3027 So if there is a -- every radio station in Canada, every over-the-air station in Canada, every telecommunications undertaking in Canada, will have free open access to the warnings that we will be distributing.
3028 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, I understand that. I was not looking at the availability, I was thinking on the push side.
3029 As far as I know, as a BDU you actually send it to them; right? You will send it to the BDU for distribution.
3030 Take my example in Barrie, you will send it to whoever serves Barrie. You will send it to --
3031 MR. TEMPLE: No. What I'm doing is I'm putting it on a feed and I'm sending every message on that feed and the cable company in Barrie is monitoring the feed looking for a Barrie warning.
3032 THE CHAIRPERSON: Ah! Right.
3033 MR. TEMPLE: And that's part of the standards. That's why I said the standards are so important. So I'm going to use my -- it's not a perfect analogy, but let's use the example of Barrie.
3034 Someone -- I'm using an example of mail delivery. So you have somebody someone in Barrie, a public authority, and he's writing a letter to the citizens of Barrie saying there is an emergency. I'm the mailman, I'm there at his doorstep instantly. As a matter of fact, I am always standing at his doorstep. I take multiple copies of that letter and I deliver it through multiple routes to every broadcasting undertaking in Canada.
3035 I need, before I take that -- before I take that letter I'm going to check the letter and make sure it's properly addressed, that there is a return address, that all the standards we agreed to are right. If there's anything wrong, if it's misaddressed, I will tell the authority in Barrie right away, "You have misaddressed this, let's correct it." They will correct it if there is an error and I will deliver to every undertaking in Canada.
3036 They will all get it, they all understand the standards, they will look at that letter and it's either for them or it's not. So if you are in Kelowna or you will take the Barrie letter and you will just ignore it, but if you are in Barrie, whether you are cable company, a satellite company, a TV station or a radio, you are going to open that letter and then you have to do something, you have to warn your viewers or your cable subscribers.
3037 That part is their problem, their challenge, but that's what they wanted us to do and that's what we are doing.
3038 THE CHAIRPERSON: And this is the voluntary part to this. It is up to them to pick it up.
3039 You can't put it on their signal or you don't want to.
3040 MR. TEMPLE: We proposed to the Commission twice that we would do that and both times it was suggested that that wasn't the way to go. So we are back doing it the way they wanted us to do it.
3041 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3042 Just to follow your example then, we are staying with Barrie for simplicity sake, if I am the BDU for Barrie I can decide whether I put it by way of banner, whether I do it by voice overlay whether I interrupt the program or whatever.
3043 MR. TEMPLE: It's all up to them, I'm not involved in how they display it at all. I'm just there to deliver the message.
3044 And of course deliver it to our own service. We are going to take that message and put it on our own service. It is part of our undertaking.
3045 THE CHAIRPERSON: Of course. Yes, of course. No, no. That's clear.
3046 One last question. You mentioned that you are distributing your stuff right now by way of iPods, mobile devices, et cetera, something that as you all know is becoming much more and more prevalent. You know recently we had the new media hearings and everybody says it's a wonderful way but to monetize it is still the golden grail that everybody is looking for.
3047 Is this a money loser for you or are you actually making money on that part?
3048 MR. TEMPLE: We are -- if you looked at individual services I don't think we are making an awful lot, but I think if you look at how we see our services as a whole we can't just do one thing. I think people will go to another supplier, so we are trying to meet all their needs regardless of what medium they are using.
3049 In terms of whether we are making much money...
3050 MR. GERMAIN: At this point in time we are not. We are spending a lot of money and a lot of effort to be in -- as I think I said that the new media hearing, we need to be in the right place at the right time, otherwise we are catching up.
3051 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3052 MR. GERMAIN: So we are gambling, but we have a lot of faith that it is a significant platform that will be monetized. We will all figure out a way at some point in time and we will be there.
3053 THE CHAIRPERSON: Now, I notice it's 12:30, I know my colleagues have lots of questions for you. I'm sure my staff will tell me I forgot to ask you some things, et cetera, so I suggest we break for lunch now and we will resume, Madam Secretary, at what time?
3054 THE SECRETARY: We will resume at 1:45.
3055 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, Thank you.
--- Suspension à 1232
--- Reprise à 1352
3056 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Let us resume. I just had a couple of clean up questions and then...
3057 First of all I asked you for some more information. I think there should be a deadline for that. We will be discussing it over lunch we think. We will give you until April 16th to file whatever you and other people we ask to file. Okay?
3058 Now, I asked you to a file a timetable with milestones. And you said you would do that but you wanted to do it confidentially.
3059 Actually in confidence I would ask you to file two: one which we can put on the website as general information of how things evolve and another one which you want to keep confident which would contain more pertinent and detailed information, yes, because we really want to know what are the steps and what has to be done there.
3060 I appreciate that you don't want to disclose that -- some of those things. And so you make the choice. But I want at least something on the record of what is it you are going to do and then a more detailed one containing confidential information which we need in order to evaluate you, okay?
3061 MR. TEMPLE: That is fine.
3062 THE CHAIRPERSON: Then I have two things really. One is the signal that BDUs receive from you, they will take it in the format which you provide it, right, whether it's voice, whether it's a banner or whether it's a picture or whatever, and put it on their system? Or are they free to change it, alter it or do anything with it?
3063 MR. TEMPLE: We are providing them with the information for them to display it any way they want. What we are -- we are not even indicating how it is to be displayed. It is just the data.
3064 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, but you don't insist on integrity? I mean you, let us say you give voice, you are giving them a voice overlay or something, can they change it or do they just -- if they show -- is there integrity of the message or signal, that is what I want to know.
3065 MR. TEMPLE: The integrity of our signal is that we will deliver exactly the message that has been given us.
3066 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3067 MR. TEMPLE: So, to you use my mail analogy, we are not opening the letter, we are not changing anything or putting anything in. So, if there is an audio file with an audio message, that is what gets delivered.
3068 THE CHAIRPERSON: But what the recipient does with it is up to them. They don't have to use it as in the format that you give it. They can change it, alter it, et cetera.
3069 MR. TEMPLE: They can do whatever they want with it.
3070 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the equipment that they will use to receive that, as I understood you earlier you said they can either buy it, they can manufacture it or you can manufacture it for them? Is that what --
3071 MR. TEMPLE: Now, we are not proposing to provide any equipment to them. That is what they made clear to us in the past.
3072 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3073 MR. TEMPLE: So, our proposal is not to provide any equipment whatsoever.
3074 THE CHAIRPERSON: So the BDU, since it is on a voluntary basis has to be sure it has accepted as capable of receiving your information; is that --
3075 MR. TEMPLE: Well the real challenge -- receiving the information is the easy part. What they have to do is have equipment that will allow them to display it.
3076 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Sorry.
3077 MR. TEMPLE: Because it will just be on the internet.
3078 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3079 MR. TEMPLE: Anybody can get it. I will be able to get it at my home.
3080 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3081 MR. TEMPLE: But what they have to do is figure out what to do with it on their network.
3082 THE CHAIRPERSON: And that is up to them and they will have to decide how to do it best.
3083 MR. TEMPLE: Exactly. And the same with a radio or a TV broadcaster. It will be delivered to their studio, transmitters, everywhere. They will have to figure out what to do with it on their network.
3084 THE CHAIRPERSON: Your proposal is for a voluntary system. And are you -- do you see yourself having to do anything in terms of encouraging the adoption of your system and participation in it, et cetera, or is it -- is your assumption it will sell itself, if it is there the BDU's will use it and display it?
3085 MR. TEMPLE: Well, I think our assumption is and as we outline in the application we would hope that they would be involved in the different meetings in terms of the -- just like what is being done now. All the parties are involved.
3086 And then I think people want to do public alerting. So we think that if the commission licenses our application then they would be participating.
3087 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right. And we would obviously express an expectation that they use it.
3088 But what I meant to do, you could see yourself doing some active marketing or promotion, do you?
3089 MR. TEMPLE: Oh, well, yes. I think in an informal way we are going to be encouraging their participation.
3090 Those that do participate we said in our application we would make available documentation or whatever they need --
3091 THE CHAIRPERSON: Right.
3092 MR. TEMPLE: -- from us to facilitate their being able to take the signal and do what it is they have to do. We will provide information in terms of specifications and --
3093 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
3094 MR. TEMPLE: And we will support them as much as we can.
3095 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
3096 MR. TEMPLE: But they have to do the --
3097 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see that as a support activity not really as a marketing activity. I mean I didn't see anything in your budget --
3098 MR. TEMPLE: Not to market. Not to market to...
3099 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
3100 Thank you. Those are my questions. I'll leave you to the tender mercies of my colleagues.
3102 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: I have one question. And really it is that I am trying to better understand how it will work from... And could you on a step-by-step basis, say that an emergency takes place in Barrie, to get back to Barrie, and what happens from the time that the -- and I understand you are going to have some authorized organization or people that will issue those warnings. So, from the time an authorized organization or person issues the warning what happens on a step-by-step?
3103 MR. TEMPLE: First of all, let us assume it is a local emergency and it doesn't really matter what municipality, but that they are an authorized user. So let us just assume that they would have available to them a software or systems that would allow them to enter the message in the proper formatting and whatnot. And they would send that message to us.
3104 They will be able to send that message to us by several different routes, whichever routes they choose or they could choose to send it to us by both routes. So they might send it to us through the internet and they might send it to us by satellite. But we will put those networks in place so that they can send the message to us. We will receive the message at two different locations so that we have complete backup.
3105 Then our system will make sure that that message is properly formatted. We are not looking at what is in the message, like whether they are telling them to evacuate or -- we are not paying attention to what the message itself is but are the rules of the game being followed? Is it properly addressed? Is it -- if there are restrictions on where they can send messages.
3106 So, to use the example, if they have identified a code that says that this message is for Hamilton, well, Barrie is not allowed to send message to Hamilton. Hamilton sends messages to Hamilton.
3107 So, we would send an error message back or a message back to them saying you have miscoded your area. That may even be difficult to do because probably our system will catch it when they are even entering it on the screen.
3108 But in the case, if there is anything like that, if it is not following the agreed to standards, then we will notify them immediately that the message has been rejected and tell them why it is rejected.
3109 Once we have identified that a message is legitimate, it is properly addressed and meets the criteria that everyone has agreed to, we will make that message, we will put that into the alerting data stream. And that will obviously go on our own services. So we will put it on MétéoMédia and in this case probably the weather network.
3110 But we will put it in the data stream and we will send it up on the satellite and through the internet and probably put it up again on two different satellites and internet, have an RSS feed and some other nice things technical people like. And then it is available to authorized users.
3111 So it is up there in the internet and on the satellite. And the cable company or TV or radio station if they are participating would see that, be monitoring the data stream. They would see a message for the Barrie area and that would presumably trigger their equipment which presumably would then display the message on their TV station or trigger an audio message if it is a radio station or perhaps do both if it is a cable service.
3112 So that is what would happen.
3113 At the same time as that is happening we would be logging and recording these events so that there would be a clear paper trail if you will so we could tell you when that message came, if it was rejected why it was rejected, if it was approved what time it was -- or not approved but verified and then what time it went up on the satellite.
3114 And we would also have in place systems that would monitor the satellite and internet signal to make sure that the integrity of those networks is working and that those messages were indeed sent.
3115 So that is how we see it working.
3116 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: In these instances time is always of the essence. You took maybe three, four, five minutes to describe. But how long will it take from say A, B, back, C, and back to D?
3117 MR. BOULANGER: Tens of seconds.
3118 MR. TEMPLE: Jean-Pierre says tens of seconds.
3119 MR. BOULANGER: At the most.
3120 MR. TEMPLE: At the most.
3121 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: At the most.
3122 MR. PERRAULT: To answer your question directly, Monsieur Arpin, we recently did a test with the province of Quebec. And at the minute the message was entered at the emergency centre in Quebec City, it was received in our offices in Montreal, it went up on satellite and was received at the cable system, it took less than one minute.
3123 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: So, on the one hand I have you, Mr. Perrault, saying less than one minute and on the other hand have Monsieur Boulanger says tens of seconds.
3124 MR. BOULANGER: By tens of seconds I mean twenty, thirty, this order of magnitude until it is transmitted. Luc included there also the display on our home network which is a second transmission and processing at the end.
3125 COMMISSIONER ARPIN: Well, those were my questions, Mr. Chair.
3126 THE CHAIRPERSON: Len, do you have some questions?
3127 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes, I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3128 I want to come back to something that I thought I heard you say this morning, Mr. Temple, in response to the Chairman. And that was if public safety issues an RFP you would investigate before you decide to become a bidder to this thing.
3129 I guess I ask the question, if you are not a bidder and if you were a bidder did not get the approval to go forward could this be interpreted as being possibly the beginning of the end for the Weather Network in Canada?
3130 MR. TEMPLE: I am assuming that I think when the Chairman asked the question the question was based on the fact that we were not -- our application for an 9(1)h)order was not approved in which case we would not be providing the service, we would not be on basic and Public Safety Canada would proceed at some point in time with issuing an RFP.
3131 So, would it be the beginning of the end for the Weather Network? The issuance of an RFP would not be the beginning or the end of the Weather Network. The fact that the application was denied wouldn't, I don't think we are saying it would be the end of the Weather Network either. But it would certainly -- that would have far more significant impact than our not being the distributor or an aggregator of alerts.
3132 Not being on basic at the rate we currently are has far more substantial impact. For instance if the Commission were to approve our basic carriage but suggest that we not do public alerting or act as an aggregator, we would still be very involved in collecting and disseminating alerts over our services.
3133 So, a critical issue is whether we are on basic.
3134 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But I guess I was sort of looking down the road and sort of saying, so there is somebody else who becomes the aggregator of the emergency alerting system in Canada and they would, needless to say, partner with a distributor, whether it is the phone company, cable company, both, whatever the case may be. And those people also have the wherewithal to, as they do right now, to provide weather on their own broadcasting systems as well.
3135 So we end up with a competing path where the Weather Network is out there and these folks become entrenched for emergency purposes and obviously become a brand as well for the general public. And now we have two weather networks in Canada basically as well.
3136 MR. TEMPLE: I thought you meant whether they were doing alerts. Alerts is not the Weather Network.
3137 COMMISSIONER KATZ: No, I know. But I have leapfrogged from there and sort of said somebody else if they get the franchise to do the alerts in Canada would partner with a distributor. And if that distributor was also involved in broadcasting that they would become an alternate weather outlet as well as an alert outlet for Canadians.
3138 MR. TEMPLE: I don't see the tie in to alerting. They could do that. They could take the alerts that we are feeding them and do what you suggested assuming that there is no genre protection.
3139 I mean it involves other regulatory policies. I don't see how they -- under the current situation.
3140 But if you are suggesting if we got rid of genre protection, if we turned down your application, if we let someone else do aggregation, all those things, they would have a significant cumulative effect. Whether it is the end of the Weather Network or not, I don't know. It certainly would be the end of a lot of the service we provide to a thousand small communities in Canada.
3141 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes. Okay.
3142 One of the issues that you have also raised and I think it was Mr. Morrissette who raised it in his opening remarks, is the issue of the leveraging or the inability for you to leverage when you are negotiating fees and access with a BDU.
3143 We issued a decision last year and I think you were a party to that hearing and to the decision as well, where we found that there was a need to strengthen the relationship, negotiating relationship on your side, on the broadcasting side. And by doing that we introduced a notion of reverse onus, leveraging undue preference.
3144 Is that not the solution from your perspective to making sure that when you negotiate with a BDU on the other side of the table you do have more of a balanced position?
3145 MR. TEMPLE: The short answer is no. The long answer is that that in and of itself does not provide any counterbalance really.
3146 A service like ourselves, right now with the exception of one, we have no affiliation agreements that extend beyond a year at any one time. There is always the sword of Damocles hanging over our head when we deal with these people.
3147 Now, you know, right now we're on basic and that is great. And tomorrow that can change. And they all want MFN's. They all want favoured-nations. And it just takes one to act and it is going to create a chain reaction.
3148 And our experience is that, you know, the ability to -- it is kind of like complaining about being mugged after you have been mugged. And we are looking for regulatory safeguards that just stop us from being mugged.
3149 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But hypothetically, we will take your example, why can't you sit across a table and say we think we need to have long-term flexibility in agreements. We want a three-year contract or a five-year contract. And they say no and you reach an impasse.
3150 The decision last year allows you to come before the CRTC. It allows, first of all it obligates them on a reverse onus basis to explain why it is not fair and equitable. But then it allows you to come before us and have the CRTC mediate or arbitrate this as well.
3151 So it is not as if it has already happened and then you are stuck with it.
3152 MR. TEMPLE: So, I am going to drag them before the Commission every time I have a problem.
3153 COMMISSIONER KATZ: If you have a problem that is material enough to your business whether you take them to the court or you take them to us, I mean you are going to go somewhere.
3154 MR. TEMPLE: Right, and we are trying to avoid that.
3155 I mean I don't think that is a constructive way to set up the regime. The ability to drag someone into court and complain against your biggest -- or it doesn't have to be your biggest because they are all our biggest -- customers and it is just... I just don't know how to give you the sense of the imbalance that there exists.
3156 I mean we are at jeopardy sometimes in voicing these concerns. I mean why don't we have long-term agreements now? What is the problem? And it is all leverage.
3157 COMMISSIONER KATZ: You see -- it's a good the question.
3158 MR. TEMPLE: But I am trying to explain. When I was at -- I will give you a specific example. When I in a previous career --
3159 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yours or mine?
3160 MR. TEMPLE: Well, I saw you sometimes in the hall but...
3161 I didn't want a long-term agreement.
3162 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
3163 MR. TEMPLE: And in fact the Weather Network, you know there is no incentive for a long-term agreement. If you have got a short-term agreement with a Most-favoured-nations clause you have the ultimate power.
3164 So we can't say -- well, some we don't even have an agreement with. But others you can say, well, I have an agreement with the Weather Network. And sure, they do. And it might roll over every year and do that.
3165 But no one is going to sit down and say, yeah, I'll keep you on basic for the next seven years because they know what a great service you are. And I'll pay you the 23 cents because I know that is a fair rate that hasn't changed since 1993. No one does that.
3166 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. Let us go on to that issue.
3167 MR. GERMAIN: Commissioner, may I add one point to this?
3168 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Sure.
3169 MR. GERMAIN: And I think that Paul didn't cover is it puts us in a situation where we would have to try to make a business case and a business plan whether we are looking for funding, for example for HDTV investments, where we would be in front of boards of directors, shareholders, bankers, saying, "Well, yes you do have that risk. And yes we do face that risk. And there is a disparity in the leverage at the negotiating table. And we need to be on basic and we likely will have to compromise but let's go ahead anyway on the strength of a leap of faith that it all will get resolved in a dispute resolution process."
3170 HDTV for us represents, unlike other services because we have the localization issue to deal with, it's a much larger investment. It's in -- it's well north of $15-million to equip our two networks from end-to-end to do HD.
3171 That's a big -- that business case is difficult to make if you have that kind of risk over our head and to rely only on the promise of a mediation process of some kind.
3172 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
3173 M PERREAULT: If you prefer more, Mr. Katz, I would kindly turn you to the intervention of the Federation des cooperatives de cable du Quebec which represents 64 small systems in Quebec.
3174 And if you look at the intervention very carefully, they're worried about the stability of the rates and they're worried about their competitive stance in the HD environment that Gaston just mentioned because these small operators fully understand that any move by a major BDU will cause us financial harm and may well change our business plan which is now to supply the same service, the same equipment to the smallest system or the biggest operator.
3175 And they may face up a solution -- or a situation whereby they won't have anything to do with our service and both satellite providers will have one.
3176 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. I want to move onto costs and come back to the rates as well.
3177 I think I've been accused in the past of bringing a financial background to broadcasting matters, so I'm going to try again.
3178 How will the emergency services operation, if you are granted that right, be accounted for?
3179 MR. TEMPLE: Well, it will be part of the licensed undertaking, it's part of the Weather Network and MétéoMédia's specialty service licence, if that's --
3180 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But will you account for all the costs associated with the all channel alert, or whatever it's called, as a stand-alone operation so you can account for and report to people what the true cost of that is?
3181 I can give you an example. If you look downstream into a crystal ball in three years from now costs may be different, you may have to increase your costs.
3182 How would parties be able to ascertain whether the cost increases are really a function of your operation of the Weather Network or a cost increase associated with operating the all channel alert and the distribution of that and the hardware associated with that and everything else as well?
3183 MR. TEMPLE: We could identify the costs that are associated with that part of the undertaking. That's not a problem.
3184 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So, you're prepared to have a totally separate accounting system to deal with those costs associated with managing and maintaining the emergency services end of the business distinct from the Weather Network part of the business?
3185 MR. TEMPLE: Well, it is part of the business, but we can identify the costs. I don't want to give the impression that this is some project that's unrelated to our licence, it's an integral part of our programming service.
3186 Having said that, just like we can account for our HR Department or our Finance Group or our Regulatory Group, small as it is, we can identify the costs that are associated with this part of our undertaking.
3187 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So, you're treating it as an integrated part of your business as opposed to a separate line of business completely?
3188 MR. TEMPLE: Oh, it's part of our service. The first people who are going to put the warnings on are us. Well, maybe a couple of seconds later, but pretty close. So, it is part of our service.
3189 When we put this service into place we'll be able to get a lot more warnings from a lot more people that we can put on our service and enrich and strengthen the value of the Weather Network and MétéoMédia to our viewers.
3190 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Where will the support, financial support for doing the things that need to be done under the emergency services piece be funded, coming from the 23-cents, presumably?
3191 MR. TEMPLE: Yes.
3192 COMMISSIONER KATZ: And what component of the 23-cents have you in your -- I mean, you came up with the -- initially you had 20-cents and eight-cents, I think, as your initial application for the Weather Channel would be 20-cents and you'd have an eight-cent charge for the all channel alert.
3193 MR. TEMPLE: In prior applications, that's right.
3194 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So, you had a separate cost and accounting to sort of say, eight-cents will fund the costs associated with that piece of the operation.
3195 MR. TEMPLE: That's correct.
3196 COMMISSIONER KATZ: And you've now come back and said you're rolling it all in and it's going to be part of the 23-cents.
3197 MR. TEMPLE: That is correct because -- I mean, the cost is significantly less because we're not putting any equipment in. The cable companies and the satellite companies have made it clear that they don't want us to put equipment in.
3198 So, under our previous applications we were putting equipment into every cable company in Canada to allow for the switching and the display of the alerts and in two different -- in both cases people said, don't do that, we don't want it. We'll decide what equipment we want to put in our head end, we'll decide that, we don't like your proprietary system, go away.
3199 So, we've said fine, I'm going away, I'm not going to put any proprietary equipment in. So, I'm going to save millions and millions and millions of dollars because I don't have to put it in, I don't have to maintain it, I don't have to repair it.
3200 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So, if I do the math on that, 28-cents, which was your previous application to 23-cents now. So, can I assume from that that five-cents times 12 months times 10-million homes-- I guess 10-million homes is what, the cost that you would have imputed into the capital associated with this initiative?
3201 MR. TEMPLE: Sorry, I'm not following your question.
3202 COMMISSIONER KATZ: You're saving five-cents. You've reduced the --
3203 MR. TEMPLE: well, they're apples and oranges. I mean --
3204 COMMISSIONER KATZ: They're both your outcomes.
3205 MR. TEMPLE: Correct, but we're not applying for what we did before, we're saying that we're going to provide a distribution and aggregation system, so we're not doing all sorts of other things.
3206 COMMISSIONER KATZ: No. So, I'm trying to understand --
3207 MR. TEMPLE: Right.
3208 COMMISSIONER KATZ: -- how much money that which you're no longer doing amounts to. And I'm saying if you were doing it all --
3209 MR. TEMPLE: I'd have to go back. I mean, I don't have all those -- I mean, I --
3210 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Yes, but I'm just using your numbers. You had a 28-cent application, now you've got a 23-cent application and you backed out a whole lot of costs so, therefore, you've knocked off five-cents a month.
3211 MR. TEMPLE: Actually our application was for -- the first time included analog, so it was 13-cents, the second time it was eight-cents for analog and digital or six-cents for digital only, always in addition to the 23.
3212 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So, you've now confused me.
3213 MR. TEMPLE: Well, I don't know where the eight-cents --
3214 MR. GERMAIN: It is apples and oranges.
3215 I mean, if we work it the other way, we've identified in our application the incremental costs of doing it, you know, under the model which is significantly different and doesn't include a whole -- a number of other things that the other applications would have and we estimate that incremental cost to translate into approximately two-cents.
3216 MR. TEMPLE: And I'd add to the comment that we're integrating it into our business, we're integrating it into our business because we see it as -- in part because we're broadcasting the output of this as part of our licence and part of our business.
3217 The accounting for it will be completely separate.
3218 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So, you're saying we could be here in five years from now with an application from Pelmorex to increase the 23-cents because the costs of the all channel alert has gone up and we would never know how to break it apart --
3219 MR. TEMPLE: No, no.
3220 COMMISSIONER KATZ: -- because it's not one business.
3221 MR. TEMPLE: No. It's one business but, as I said, we know what our HR Department costs, it's part of the business. We can identify the costs, but the suggestion that it's a different business, it's part of the business of our specialty service.
3222 But if you want -- I mean, we've already identified the costs in our application, we identified the capital costs, we identified the operating costs. It's all in our application. There's several pages of detail as to how those costs are determined and what our assumptions are and it's easy. At any time we'll be able to tell the Commission that we spent this much money providing and supporting the service. That's easy.
3223 I just don't want to leave you the impression that it's somehow unrelated or some -- it's just some other business that we're getting into, it's part of our programming service.
3224 COMMISSIONER KATZ: And do you believe that if you had overrun the cost of the all channel alert, in light of the obligations and the reporting structure and everything else as well, that you would come back to the CRTC and ask for an increase in order to cover those costs?
3225 MR. TEMPLE: We're assuming the risk of doing it within the 23-cents.
3226 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So, you don't see yourselves, if you overrun that, coming back here before us?
3227 MR. TEMPLE: Well, I don't think we'd have any luck if we did, but...
3228 I mean, unless there was some catastrophic thing that happened. I mean, we can make all the applications we want, but unless we have a compelling case, you're never going to approve it. So, we understand that we bear the risk of the cost of providing it.
3229 If it's more money than we expected or it's more complicated, or we have to hire more people or whatever the case may be, we run that risk.
3230 MR. GERMAIN: We have a sufficient -- Commissioner, we have a sufficient understanding of the technology elements that need to go into this piece, the piece that we're taking responsibility for and we have a very high degree of confidence that we can know what the limits of the costs are in that piece.
3231 So -- I mean, and that's why we're here today. We think that -- we're confident that we can do -- because we have already done and we're already doing similar things.
3232 So, we don't see it as a bottomless pit. We're positive that it never would be.
3233 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
3234 THE CHAIRPERSON: Rita, you had a question?
3235 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Yes, thank you.
3236 Good afternoon.
3237 Just a couple of follow-up questions.
3238 If I understand your proposal completely, and let's go back to the Barrie example, you receive an alert, it goes to every single community across Canada.
3239 So, I live in Red Deer and I'm opening up an envelope that is giving me a wind warning in Barrie; is that correct?
3240 MR. TEMPLE: Well, you probably wouldn't open it up because you'd see it's addressed to Barrie, so you would just ignore it.
3241 Your automated system or software or whatever you put in your head end or TV station would just say, huh, letter for Barrie.
3242 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: But isn't it more efficient to just send the information to Barrie?
3243 MR. TEMPLE: No, it's imminently more costly. You would then have to have a route to each person individually rather -- I mean, it's always easier to broadcast than it is to have multiple lines.
3244 MR. BOULANGER: We cannot really do that because the standard, what is required from the CAPCP to have all the fields there in such a way that the BDU can filter and do whatever they want.
3245 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay.
3246 MR. BOULANGER: I mean, we can do it, but it's...
3247 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Are there any types of alerts that you would be restricted from distributing? I'm thinking, for example, of amber alerts.
3248 You know, I can watch an American network now and have heard the interruption of the broadcast signal for an amber alert from the local police, for example.
3249 Are you going to be able to do that as well?
3250 MR. TEMPLE: The short answer is we'll be able to distribute anything. The standard that is being developed accommodates any kind of warning. In fact, there are levels of severity and urgency.
3251 So, the system can accommodate anything from a school closing or -- you know, no school buses today to a catastrophic alert because that information is in the addressing code that everyone can see.
3252 So, that's the flexibility.
3253 If the provinces and the Federal Government want to include all sorts of advisories and notices and amber alerts, whatever they want to put on, the system will accommodate it because the design and the standards are set that way.
3254 Now, clearly broadcasters and cable companies will only be looking for those letters that are of urgency.
3255 Now, the nice thing about the system is, you can still monitor things that are less urgent because it may be useful information that you want to broadcast in your news, but you don't necessarily want to interrupt your programming.
3256 So, the radio or a television station can be monitoring the feed and saying, oh, there's an amber alert. Well, I'm not going to interrupt my radio programming, but I'm going to make sure my newsroom knows that there is an amber alert, or that -- it could be a catastrophe that's happened in -- poor Barrie -- it's happened in Barrie --
3257 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: In Red Deer, because I said Red Deer.
3258 MR. TEMPLE: But the radio station in Winnipeg can see the message and say, there's a big catastrophe in Barrie, I'm going to get that on my news. They don't necessarily have to interrupt their programming.
3259 So, there's this flexibility that we can accommodate all those things. That's in the design of the NPAS system, that's the concept that everyone's working towards.
3260 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: And what about multiple alerts or multiple warnings, how is the system accommodate that?
3261 MR. TEMPLE: You're thinking of a situation where there is one event and we have several people issuing a warning?
3262 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Or the reverse, there are several events that are meant for different communities.
3263 MR. TEMPLE: There is no bottleneck. There will be no bottleneck in being able to push through the warnings. I mean if you want to get into the technical part of it, but if you are, you know -- I am not going to say the more, the merrier, obviously, but we can handle -- that won't be an issue.
3264 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay. I did hear you say correctly this morning that the two aspects of your application are not severable, you need one in order to do the other?
3265 MR. TEMPLE: Well, we are quite happy to get the 9(1)(h) mandatory order whether you approve the alerting aspect or not but we didn't think you would go for that.
3266 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So my question is --
3267 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: You should know better than to anticipate.
3268 Because I also heard you say that The Weather Network has the highest level of satisfaction, it is the most frequently watched network, it saves lives, the alerting system, would that just not make your service that much more valuable and therefore that much more attractive to BDUs to carry it on basic and to give you the wholesale rate that you are asking for?
3269 MR. TEMPLE: We wouldn't be doing it if we weren't on basic, so there is kind of a bit of a logic issue. But assuming for some reason we were doing it --
3270 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: But to that point, there would be those who say, come on, you guys have had a pretty good ride for the last 20 years. Why do you need the guarantee when you are already operating on a bit of a pad?
3271 MR. TEMPLE: We will talk about that in a minute but to go back to your earlier question, the alerting will be -- we are saying we will do alerting if we are no basic. You are suggesting, well, you know, wouldn't it make us all the more important to be on basic even if you didn't issue the order? Well, we wouldn't be doing alerts if you don't issue the order.
3272 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: No, my question was: But if you do the alerting, aren't you just about guaranteeing -- I know I am not saying aren't you guaranteeing but -- okay, let's be devil's advocate. Aren't you guaranteeing yourself a position on basic by doing the alerting?
3273 MR. TEMPLE: The only thing that is guaranteeing us basic is when you issue a 9(1)(h) order.
3274 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: So you are not convinced that this is going to enhance your service and enhance the attractiveness of your service to BDUs?
3275 MR. TEMPLE: It is because theoretically the feed is available to anyone. We didn't say, sorry, you have to carry us. I mean we have no relationship with radio stations and TV stations and telecommunications carriers and they are all going to get the feed. We are not saying, sorry, you can't have the feed unless you carry me on basic. That is not the proposal that we are putting forward. We are saying if we are on basic, we can do the feed. If we are not on basic, we can't do it.
3276 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Will the feed be provided both in French and English?
3277 MR. TEMPLE: The feed is -- think of the feed as -- we will go back to that letter. If Barry writes it in English and French, it will be in English and French. If they write it in Cantonese, it will be in Cantonese. But we don't open the letter, we don't change what the letter says. So if they just write it in English, it will deliver it in English.
3278 COMMISSIONER CUGINI: Okay. Thank you, those are my questions.
3279 THE CHAIRPERSON: Michel...?
3280 CONSEILLER MORIN : Oui, simplement une petite question en ce qui concerne les municipalités, enfin, les villes qui sont desservies. On parle de 1 200 là.
3281 Évidemment, les alertes et les prévisions météorologiques, c'est deux choses bien différentes, mais il reste que quand on a... ça ne se pose pas à Montréal, ça ne se pose pas à Québec, ça ne se pose pas à Toronto. Mais les petites municipalités, ce n'est pas certain qu'elles ont toujours le service.
3282 Je vais vous donner un exemple. Austin dans les cantons de l'Est, qui est une petite municipalité, si je regarde le Mont Orford, ça ne fait pas partie des 1 200. Si je regarde Eastman, ça ne fait pas partie des 1 200. Si même je regarde Magog, qui est une ville de 25 000 habitants, ça ne fait pas partie non plus de vos prévisions météorologiques, et pourtant, on parle d'une ville de plus de 20 000 habitants.
3283 Ma question est peut-être secondaire, mais j'aimerais savoir si vous avez des plans pour augmenter... vous avez dit au président ce matin que vous aviez augmenté le nombre de municipalités desservies par votre service de prévision météorologique, mais est-ce que vous avez des plans pour l'avenir?
3284 Parce que moi, je peux avoir une alerte à Sherbrooke. Je ne suis pas certain qu'à Austin, pour combien de temps, et caetera, je vais avoir un portrait global de la situation pour prendre une décision relativement à l'alerte en question. Alors, c'est dans ce sens-là que je pose ma question.
3285 Est-ce que vous avez un plan en ce qui concerne l'augmentation des municipalités, des villes à travers le pays qui seraient éventuellement desservies par votre service?
3286 M. PERREAULT : Pour répondre directement à votre question, Monsieur Morin, la région que vous nous décrivez est desservie par un cablôdistributeur qui s'appelle Câble-Action. Donc, on la connaît assez bien. On connaît également le territoire desservi par Câble-Action. Alors, les prévisions météo que l'on envoie dans la région sont focusées sur la majeure partie du système de distribution diffusé par Câble-Action.
3287 Si, par contre, une alerte devait être émise pour Austin, alerte météo, par exemple, tornade, vents violents, grêle, cette alerte-là serait reçue pour toute la région aussi.
3288 Dans le test qu'on fait avec le gouvernement du Québec, si on prend toujours Câble-Action comme exemple, les villes qui font partie de l'aire de desserte de Câble-Action sont listées sous ce système de câble et sous cette tête de ligne. Alors, si le gouvernement du Québec émettait une alerte pour Austin, elle serait peut-être vue dans une région un peu plus large qu'Austin, mais tous les abonnés de la région d'Austin la recevrait.
3289 CONSEILLER MORIN : Mais ça ne règle pas le problème au niveau des prévisions météorologiques de votre service, parce que là, il faut que j'aille à Sherbrooke.
3290 M. PERREAULT : Monsieur Morrissette vous a expliqué ce matin qu'on est en mesure de faire des prévisions sur 10 kilomètres carrés. L'élément déterminant, c'est la tête de ligne du distributeur où nous devons déposer les prévisions météo, et là, à ce moment-là, la région est plus large que la ville d'Austin.
3291 S'il y avait un système de câble à Austin, avec une tête de ligne séparée, vous auriez les prévisions pour Austin parce qu'on les fait les prévisions pour Austin. C'est la livraison, ce qu'on appelle en anglais the last mile, qui est plus large que la ville à laquelle vous faites référence.
3292 CONSEILLER MORIN : En tout cas, les prévisions, telles que je peux les trouver, je vais les trouver à Sherbrooke, je ne les trouverai pas à Magog, qui est quand même une ville de 20 000. C'est dans ce sens-là que je posais ma question.
3293 Alors, il y en a combien de ces aires au Canada qui ne sont pas desservies, qui quand même représentent un périmètre assez grand? Parce que Sherbrooke, mon Dieu, je ne sais pas la distance entre Magog et Sherbrooke, mais ça doit être au moins une quinzaine de kilomètres, et je n'ai pas de prévisions dans cette région-là.
3294 M. GERMAIN : Monsieur Morin, c'est pourquoi l'initiative... et on l'a annoncée dans notre soumission. Certaines des initiatives que nous poursuivons, l'une d'elle -- on l'appelle une programmation régionale -- c'est de trouver une façon pour prendre notre technologie de localisation, la PMX qu'on appelle, et de se donner la capacité, qui n'est pas tellement compliqué, de les accumuler dans des régions définies.
3295 Alors, ce que nous voulons faire pour adresser particulièrement ce point-là, c'est d'être capable de définir une région, leur fournir une programmation audiovisuelle. Alors, on ajoute, à ce point-là, au lieu de seulement les données et les produits PMX, un produit audiovisuel où nous aurions une personne qui annoncerait... puis on a commencé à le faire par expériment à Toronto, par exemple, où nous ajoutons, pour la région de Toronto, 12 minutes de programmation audiovisuelle qui traite exclusivement de la région telle que définie.
3296 Alors, ça voudrait dire dans l'exemple que vous nous avez présenté, pour une région du Québec, nous pourrions, en fait, être devant le Keywall, une carte qui fait un focus sur les villes que vous avez nommées, où on parle des prévisions des données et des prévisions pour ces localités particulières.
3297 CONSEILLER MORIN : Mais est-ce que vous êtes en mesure de donner un chiffre? Le 1 200, je pense qu'il y a quelques années, c'était 1 000. Là, vous êtes à 1 200. C'est combien dans X années?
3298 M. GERMAIN : Pour l'année prochaine, on cible 10 000 locations au Canada où on peut annoncer une prévision. C'est encore plus qui est nécessaire, en fait.
3299 CONSEILLER MORIN : Merci.
3300 M. MORRISSETTE : Je veux juste, si vous me permettez, quelques derniers mots.
3301 Notre succès à date, c'est du fait que nous sommes très local. Notre stratégie, c'est d'être de plus en plus local continuellement. Notre commitment à l'interne de notre entreprise, qui fait partie de notre plan stratégique à long terme, c'est de continuellement augmenter le nombre de sites pour lesquels on fait des prévisions d'information météorologique, ainsi que la fourniture de toute autre information reliée à la météo.
3302 Alors, si aujourd'hui, c'est 1 200 communautés, très prochainement, ça va doubler, très prochainement par la suite, ça va encore doubler. C'est notre stratégie. C'est là-dedans qu'on veut continuellement réinvestir parce que c'est comme ça qu'on rencontre les besoins des Canadiens, et de plus en plus qu'on rencontre les besoins des Canadiens, le plus ça va contribuer à notre succès futur et notre habilité de concurrencer dans le marché, qui implique beaucoup de concurrence d'année en année.
3303 CONSEILLER MORIN : Merci.
3304 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, before we wrap up, let me just revisit. You are going to give us some further information, the two timetables with milestones I talked about. You are going to give me some reflection on what is the minimum term.
3305 There are two other things, I think, we need from you. One is a follow-up to the question from Mr. Katz. I would like to know how one would be able to identify the costs of the alert system. So if there is an increase, I want to be satisfied one could see it is the alert system and not your weather network that is causing it.
3306 And lastly, you talked about a governance model and I haven't seen anything. I think, if you could, you should file with us a model governance agreement of what you have in mind. Obviously, you have to negotiate that later on with the various provincial partners, et cetera, but I mean you are saying you want a governance model, you say who should be on it, you say part of it should be directory, part of it advisory. I think it would be much easier for us to get our head around it if we actually saw a first model. I just want to see sort of how you envision things functioning.
3307 Is that clear? Okay, then we will leave it at that. Thank you for your presentation.
3308 We will take a five-minute break before we start with the next panel. Thanks.
--- Suspension à 1443
--- Reprise à 1458
3309 THE CHAIRPERSON: Madame la Secrétaire?
3310 THE SECRETARY: Merci, monsieur le Président.
3311 We will now proceed to Phase II in which interveners appear in the order set out in the agenda to present their intervention.
3312 For the record, please note that Honourable Bryon Wilfert will replace intervener Gordon Brown, M.P. for Leeds/Grenville.
3313 I would now call the Emergency Management Ontario, the Red Cross and the Honourable Bryon Wilfert to appear as a panel and present their intervention.
3314 We will hear each presentation which will then be followed by questions by the Commissioners.
3315 We will begin with the first presentation, Emergency Management Ontario.
3316 Please introduce yourself and begin your presentation.
3317 MR. HEFKEY: Thank you. And good afternoon.
3318 My name is Dan Hefkey, I'm the Chief of Emergency Management Ontario and, just for the record, I live just north of Barrie.
3319 MR. HEFKEY: I'm here in support of the Pelmorex proposition that is before us here today, and I've chunked my presentation in three parts.
3320 First, the role that Pelmorex through Weather Network and MétéoMédia has and continues to play in advancing emergency preparedness in Ontario.
3321 Second, is a brief description of the public alerting system that we currently have in Ontario and the partnerships we established with the private sector to make what we call the Red Alert Program a reality and, further more, a tool that municipalities and the province can access to alert its citizenry.
3322 And, lastly, third, I'd like to comment on the merits of the Pelmorex public alerting proposal and what it would mean for us in Ontario.
3323 Now, again, in prefacing my first part here, it's again my estimation that the best predictor of future success is past performance and behaviour and, over the years, Pelmorex has been a huge supporter of Emergency Management Ontario.
3324 So, I'm just throwing my bias up there right up front so you know from where we're coming from.
3325 And in Emergency Management Ontario our vision, and Pelmorex has been very good in supporting us in that vision, that is that we be leaders and partners in ensuring all of Ontario in its varied and diverse communities are safe and secure.
3326 Since 2006, Ontario has had an agreement with Pelmorex to broadcast emergency messages to one or several municipalities or province wide in both French and English on the Weather Network and MétéoMédia.
3327 Now, pre-scripted alerts allow EMO to quickly warn Ontario residents about imminent threats to life and property from man-made and natural hazardous events. Things like the floods that are coming to us and are always facing us in the spring in the northern part of our province, to forest fires, boil water advisories as well as chemical spills.
3328 The arrangement that we had in 2006 had its obvious limitations in terms of exposure and span of impact. However, the arrangement also demonstrated the role that Pelmorex was willing to take on in terms of public alerting.
3329 Emergency Management Ontario recognized the shortcoming of that arrangement and continues to seek out and support the application of a combination of public alerting mechanisms, you know, things like reverse 9/11, e-mail, text messaging, web-based broadcasts, radio tone alerts that we use a lot in our nuclear communities, as well as television messaging.
3330 We have realized that no one or single method is sufficient to reach each and every citizen.
3331 Pelmorex has been particularly supportive of our work during emergency preparedness week, which will come up next month. Activities and stories in Ontario and across the country indeed have been broadcast through their two stations.
3332 These stories on personal preparedness have included interviews with myself and others on my staff at Emergency Management Ontario on topics such as how do you build an emergency preparedness kit? Or, how do you prepare a pet preparedness kit? And I've got to tell you, folks are genuinely interested in those kinds of stories and the message that we send out, and part of that -- and partially that is due to the credibility that Pelmorex brings to the message.
3333 Pelmorex has also broadcast the preparedness efforts of local, provincial and national NGO organizations such as the Red Cross in reports on large-scale exercises, such as Exercise Trillium Response which happened up in Thunder Bay last November.
3334 They've also brought provincial, if not national attention to the real hazards faced by residents of our First Nations communities who live along the large rivers that feed into James Bay.
3335 So, as rivers such as the Moose and the Attawapiskat flood every year, they create real and present danger that requires, at times, evacuation of residents from these First Nations communities to host municipalities to the south.
3336 Sensitizing all the province through news items creates an awareness through such towns such as Stratford and others who, last year, was the very first time to host evacuees from Kashechewan and Attawapiskat and Fort Albany.
3337 Pelmorex has also helped EMO produce at their studios and at minimal cost two training videos that we used during some of our exercises in the past, Atlantis and Frosty.
3338 In both, news anchors from the Weather Network were featured and read mock news stories of pending weather-related emergencies.
3339 This professional quality of our product lends a degree of credibility to what is in fact a fictitious event.
3340 They also, Pelmorex that is, also sends out weather watches and warnings on behalf of Environment Canada and to those -- and for those of you who do watch, whenever we see that red screen up, it does draw our attention to the message, but what they've also done is added a protective measure or directive to the end of that message and usually that message comes from ourselves or another similar kind of organization. And, again, it helps the viewer, our citizens in Ontario, better prepare for the impending weather event.
3341 So, all this to say that Pelmorex has and continues to contribute in a positive way to the personal preparedness and established strong and functional relationship with us at Emergency Management Ontario.
3342 I'd like to now speak to Ontario's current version of a public alerting system.
3343 We call it the Red Alert System and it comes as a result of a partnership between Emergency Management Ontario, the Ontario Association of Broadcasters and Pelmorex and other media -- other service providers such as OnStar. Pretty unique, very niche, but again one of them.
3344 The system allows us to relay early alerts to Ontarians about impending emergencies. Again, here this is operating on the assumption that communications between the affected citizens of a particular community and the officials managing the effects of the emergency is key.
3345 Alerting individuals of the threat to their safety and security for us is job one.
3346 Red Alert is another tool, and that's the way we've always seen this, because it isn't the only tool, but it is one of many tools that we can use to get the word out quickly so Ontarians can get prepared.
3347 And private broadcasters such as the OAB and Pelmorex are key partners in our collective efforts to inform Ontarians before, during and immediately after that catastrophic event.
3348 Now, our made-in-Ontario system is modelled on the highly successful -- and I heard it earlier today -- on the successful Amber Alert Program that is operated jointly by the Ontario Association of Broadcasters and the Ontario Provincial Police.
3349 As you most likely know, amber alerts are issued under specific conditions, so there are certain criteria before an alert goes out and, again, here we're talking about abducted children.
3350 Red Alerts also have issuing criteria. They are broadcast when an imminent and significant incident threatens the safety of Ontarians and their property, such as tornadoes or other dangers posed by hazardous materials, such as a train derailment.
3351 In an emergency when time is of the essence, early alerts will allow Ontarians to take appropriate action and move much more quickly.
3352 This public alerting system helps people be more organized in the event of an emergency.
3353 In our estimation, and this goes to a statement that was made in the earlier session -- early part of this session was, in our estimation it can help save lives and reduce property damage by providing Ontarians with accurate and timely information.
3354 By way of process, because for some of you this may be the first time you've heard of Red Alert, but by way of process I believe it's important to note that this is a true partnership between broadcasters and EMO.
3355 It is a formal partnership where we at EMO commit to providing factual and confirmed situational information and direction in both official languages. They, the broadcasters, commit to getting that message out and to the letter to their various audiences.
3356 Now, in doing that we sign a formal agreement, so we have a memorandum of understanding, further to your point about a governance body.
3357 Now, while I will be the first to acknowledge that our version of our public alerting system does not touch at this point in time each and every Ontarian, I just want to make it real clear, it is better than what we had two, three years ago and prior to the OAB approaching us on this matter.
3358 The important thing here to remember is that the partners continue to improve upon our system. In fact, last year Pelmorex in fact tested its capability to pinpoint broadcast of the Red Alert to specific areas in southwestern Ontario, and it worked.
3359 And in terms of the time taken, it is within seconds. But to be -- again, just to bring clarity to some of the questions that I heard earlier and now to go off script a bit, for us it has been our experience that it is not the time taken to get a message to the citizenry. Once we get it to the broadcasters like OAB and Pelmorex, getting the message from there onwards takes those milliseconds or seconds.
3360 For us, truly the challenge is to get the message from the municipality and up the line, that's what it takes, and it takes time to translate and it takes time to make sure that the message is crafted appropriately and that the appropriate approvals have been achieved or received at a municipal and/or provincial level.
3361 So, our goal with any public alerting system is to touch a hundred percent of our population, and to that end our Red Alert Program continues to grow and evolve.
3362 We have folks like, for example, OnStar who are able to provide the public alert messaging to a specific subscriber population.
3363 We also have other folks like MultiMedia Nova who broadcast to their various sites and get the message out in several different languages, other than French, other than English, which is very important because we have to recognize that in, like our mission, we have diversity that exists in Ontario, and so while English and French are the predominant languages, we want to make sure that we have an opportunity to give that message in a variety of languages. And they do that for us.
3364 The point I want to leave you with is that there is no one solution or single organization like mine and -- organization and we must seek out any and all means offered to get us that much closer to an ideal end state; that is, in our case, a public alerting system in Ontario that reaches a hundred percent of the population with a clear and confirmed public safety message out as quickly as possible.
3365 EMO sees the proposal put forth by Pelmorex as a great step forward to meeting that end state.
3366 THE SECRETARY: Excuse me. You have one minute remaining. Could you please conclude.
3367 MR. HEFKEY: Yep.
3368 THE SECRETARY: Thank you.
3369 MR. HEFKEY: Now, at the matter at hand. The majority of critical infrastructure in Ontario -- in Canada, sorry, for that matter is owned and operated by the private sector.
3370 TeleCom for example, critical infrastructure, owned in part by folks like the Pelmorex and operated through organizations like the Ontario Association of Broadcasters.
3371 As such, we believe that where the private sector has proven expertise ownership and demonstrated a commitment to public safety, the private sector should be encouraged to further any initiative that will help our citizens be better informed.
3372 I believe my previous comments have demonstrated that Pelmorex has proven itself to EMO, so I won't go any further there.
3373 Now, Ontario has and continues to be an ardent supporter of the National Public Alerting System and related RFP process undertaken by the Provincial, Territorial and Federal officials responsible for emergency management, and I do not see a contradiction -- and I know some of you are aware of this -- in our support of the Pelmorex proposal and the ongoing work by that community through the RFP process.
3374 My belief is based on three considerations. First, no one organization can do it all.
3375 Second, diversification. What I mean by that, as I mentioned earlier, we continue within our Red Alert to seek out other means by which to get the message out. It's my understanding that the system being offered up will allow us to get that infamous message out to as many broadcasters as possible.
3376 The proposal that Pelmorex is putting forth should be seen as an opportunity for jurisdictions, such as mine, to now look at what complementary features or systems we can add on to the proposal to get the message out, and the RFP process would allow us to do that.
3377 Third, is the proposal offers clear value for money. Pelmorex is offering up its infrastructure for the purposes of public safety, why would I want to duplicate that infrastructure?
3378 And, fourth, is the need for clarity. Pelmorex, again, the system is being proposed in the absence of the RFP that has yet to be shared outside of our Federal/Provincial/Territorial working group is just that, there's a lack of clarity at this point. Allowing us to work with Pelmorex on their proposal and to continue with the RFP would permit us to achieve a state greater than what currently exists and to work -- allow us to work on the refinements that would be identified and required.
3379 So, with that I'll conclude and open it up to any questions.
3380 THE SECRETARY: We would normally continue with the presentation by Red Cross, but due to scheduling conflicts, would you mind if the Honourable Bryon Wilfert would present next?
3381 We will then proceed with the presentation by the Hon. Bryon Wilfert.
3382 You have 10 minutes for your presentation.
3383 HON. BRYON WILFERT: Thank you very much.
3384 Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission. I am here on behalf of over 40 Members of Parliament. I bring regrets on behalf of Patrick Brown, Gordon Brown and Larry Bagnell who, due to scheduling, were not able to accompany me today.
3385 By way of background, I'm a former President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and therefore have worked extensively and continue to work extensively with many large and small communities across this country who are very dependent on The Weather Network. And as a former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment in the previous government I know how valuable The Weather Network has been in terms of dealing with some key issues and I'm here really to talk about good public policy and the public interest.
3386 Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission, The Weather Network is important to my riding and certainly to my colleagues across the country and we do believe that it should continue to be offered on basic carriage.
3387 Speaking to my colleagues I realize it's important from one end of the country to the other. It's important because of its source of key information for fishers, farmers, tourist operators, emergency management, first responders, people who are planning family trips and events outdoor events.
3388 How many of us have not just turned on The Weather Network to see what the road conditions are going to be like; if I want to go out on a lake what's the weather going to be like? Very, very important.
3389 It is access to that information, particularly for small communities across this country who have access presently to a service they would not otherwise have if in fact it goes off the basic carriage. It's no doubt that they would be responding mostly to major cities and the fact is that this isn't something -- you can't just tape the weather and go and watch a couple of hours later, you need instant information.
3390 Other broadcasters, as you know, Mr. Chairman, are cutting back on weather and on safety information. We need Weather Network to continue to serve so many small towns and communities across the country, as well as the urban centres.
3391 We need the availability of detailed weather and safety information 24/7. Many seniors in my community and all across the country depend on The Weather Network and would not be able to afford increases if their cable fees -- if The Weather Network were moved off from basic to other packages.
3392 As we know, Mr. Chairman, there is no question that the public interest is served when people are able to get information readily and certainly from a standpoint we see The Weather Network's generous offer to provide an aggregation and backbone for comprehensive national public alerting system. It's something that clearly is overdue in this country.
3393 If Canada can finally get a national public alerting system with no cost to government, then I would suggest to you that that's a win-win situation. I think that's good public policy.
3394 Mr. Chairman, I certainly know that you have been a major proponent for Canada to have a comprehensive national public alerting system and I certainly applaud your leadership on this very important issue.
3395 I would point out to you that if the private sector is willing to pay and develop and run a system and the provinces and the territories, clearly our counterparts, will control the specifications and monitor the effectiveness of the system, then that again I believe is a win-win situation.
3396 I certainly over the last number of years, and certainly when this issue came to my attention again over the last month, have been in contact with many Canadians, thousands in fact across the country, with colleagues, both of the federal, provincial and certainly the municipal level, and I can tell you that there is a very strong message that I have heard and that is to leave it on the basic.
3397 The fact is, the rate has not gone up, I think it has been $.23 since 1993. We do believe very strongly that it's important for small communities and without that small communities would be severely disadvantaged.
3398 Mr. Chairman, I won't take too much more of your time, but simply to say that it is our view as Members of Parliament who have contacted me, from all the political parties I might add, that this is important, we do believe very strongly that whether it's chemical spills, forest fires, flooding -- and this gentleman talked about the red alerts -- these are very important to the average Canadian.
3399 In fact, my wife I think is a Weather Network junkie because she seems to tune in about 15 times a day. I often have said, you know, "Geez, just look outside." She says "No", and she would go through the reasons why it was important to her.
3400 And I will tell you that whether a ski operator or whether you are working in a marina, these are important to them.
3401 I appreciate you listening to me.
3402 Unfortunately I will have to leave shortly because I have to go to a committee, but again I appreciate the opportunity to present to you today.
3403 Thank you very much.
3404 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you for making the time.
3405 Before you go, just answer me one question.
3406 You started off by saying you represent over 40 MPs. I presume they are from more than the government party.
3407 HON. BRYON WILFERT: They are. In fact, I am from the Liberal Party and I support Mr. Brown and Mr. -- while Patrick Brown and Gordon Brown are Conservatives who were going to be here today, but also for the New Democratic Party, et cetera. I talked to my FCM friends, I know they sent letters in, but all the parties.
3408 This is a non-political issue as far as we are concerned, it's simply what we think is in the public interest.
3409 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you for taking the time to share your views with us.
3410 HON. BRYON WILFERT: Thank you very much and good luck in your deliberations.
3411 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
3412 HON. BRYON WILFERT: Thank you.
3413 THE SECRETARY: I would now invite the third intervener, the Red Cross, to make their presentation.
3414 Please introduce yourself and begin your presentation.
3415 MR. SHROPSHIRE: Thank you very much.
3416 Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission. My name is Don Shropshire, I am the National Director of Disaster Management for the Canadian Red Cross Society and I thank you for giving me the opportunity to address the Commission today.
3417 If I may just begin with a few words about the Canadian Red Cross, the Red Cross is a not-for-profit volunteer-based organization that deals with improving the situation of the most vulnerable people in Canada and around the world. We have been doing so in Canada since 1896.
3418 We have been involved in emergency preparedness and response activities, home health care, community health and injury prevention. We have 30,000 volunteers and over 3000 staff and internationally we are a member of the International Red Cross Movement which is present in over 186 countries around the world and represents over 100 million people.
3419 In the case of Canada, we serve as and auxiliary to the public authorities, in particular with respect to disaster management, and in this capacity the society provides an essential bridge between governments, other civil society institutions and organizations and the communities that they serve.
3420 Let me say that based on 100 years of experience in Canada and abroad we know that emergency preparedness and timely information saves lives. To echo Dan Hefkey's remarks of a few moments ago, Pelmorex has proved to be a credible and a valuable partner in delivering some of that information in partnership with the Red Cross.
3421 For over 15 years we have worked with Pelmorex to deliver essential emergency preparedness and response information such as tornado preparedness, preparedness for schools, importance of home preparedness kits, climate change and severe weather information and emergency planning for people with various disabilities.
3422 In all respects they proved to be a credible partner and very concerned about making sure the messaging is delivered to Canadians in a timely fashion and in a way that's going to enhance their safety.
3423 We believe that the application by Pelmorex to provide a national emergency alerting system can significantly contribute to Canada's overall capacity to provide people with timely information related to severe weather events and other threats to their safety and security.
3424 A few recent disasters would highlight why Canadians need such a system.
3425 In 2004 we had a major tsunami that affected Southeast Asia. Seismologists and emergency management personnel knew that the tsunami had been created and was actually going to hit landfall several hours before some of the major areas that were hit. The challenge was getting the information to people that were in harms way. Trying to get the information to people so that they could clear the coastal areas.
3426 And when I look at the proposal you have before you, it offers a tremendous opportunity, widespread distribution of information in a timely fashion so that we can actually save lives.
3427 In the case of the tsunami over 230,000 people lost their lives because they could not get timely information.
3428 Unfortunately, the tsunami was not the only example. In 2005 the Canadian Red Cross collaborated with their international colleagues to publish the World Disaster Report. It was a comprehensive review of the importance of providing timely information in the case of disasters. Just for the sake of time I will illustrate just one example of what is contained in the report.
3429 There was a contrast of Cuba, who has instituted a very comprehensive emergency management and warning system of the citizens with other members or countries in the Caribbean. In 2004, when hurricane Ivan hit Cuba, there was an evacuation of over 2 million Cubans. There was not one single loss of life. Very comprehensive, extensive system, but extremely effective.
3430 In contrast, the same year we had hurricanes Charley, Ivan and Jeanne hitting Haiti. A huge loss of life. Over 1800 people lost their lives and another 800 were missing.
3431 But the importance of a comprehensive system where we give people timely information definitely saves lives. And there is no question that governments or Red Cross agencies or others in the response community, we can't do it all, we need to make sure that citizens are empowered to take care of themselves and providing them with good information is a way to do that.
3432 I would like to also emphasize the importance of providing information to people that are the most vulnerable.
3433 In 2008 the Canadian Red Cross worked with the federal government with Public Safety Canada to investigate the needs of high-risk populations and we determined that there were a number of major gaps. Governments and Red Cross agencies and others that were involved in the emergency response community, we have not done a very comprehensive job of addressing all the needs of vulnerable populations. We are starting to get there, but we are a long way from finished.
3434 Making sure that people can get good information so they can help take care of themselves is an essential way to help address that gap.
3435 One of the major recommendations coming out of the report was highlighting the need for collaboration with organizations like Pelmorex and the corporate Canada to work with governments and to work with organizations such as ourselves to make sure we could address some of those gaps and providing good emergency preparedness and alerting systems was key to those recommendations.
3436 Pelmorex's application offers a comprehensive emergency alerting system that addresses the significant shortfall in Canada's early warning systems. Providing people with timely alerting information we do believe saves lives and leads to increased safety and security and reduction of the impact of disasters.
3437 We consider the combination of these essential public services essential to maintaining that safety. Without The Weather Network and MétéoMédia on the basic service, millions of Canadians would no longer have access to this critical information on a daily basis. We think Canadians deserve such a system and it needs to be available anytime, anywhere, right across the country. And those small communities, it's essential that they have that information as well.
3438 So like many other organizations in Canada with a public safety mandate, we have supported the applications of Pelmorex in 1999 and 2006. We also support their application for 9(1)(h) order in 2007 because we believe without that enhanced service information will not be available in the way it needs to be available. So we are urging the CRTC to support the application and we think it would make a great contribution to the safety and security of Canadians.
3439 Thank you for your attention, I appreciate your time.
3440 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentations.
3441 The gentleman from Emergency Management Ontario, I'm sorry, I forgot your name.
3442 MR. HEFKEY: Dan Hefkey.
3443 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Hefkey, you support this.
3444 If I understand it, you were also part of the process that, under the auspices of Public Security Canada, has developed the process on which we received a report The National Public Alerting System, which I understand is now at the pre-RFP stage.
3445 You say you see approval of the request by Pelmorex being complementary to these efforts here, et cetera.
3446 Interestingly enough, Rogers, who was part of this process too, comes exactly to the opposite conclusion. In their submission they state you have already slowed the process down merely by having this hearing. If you approve Pelmorex it's a dead duck more or less.
3447 How come you come to opposite conclusions, both of you, being part of the same process? Explain to me why you come to your -- why you feel that Rogers' surmise is incorrect?
3448 MR. HEFKEY: Well, I can't speak on behalf of Rogers, and while they were --
3449 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I don't expect you to, I just expect you to say why you feel -- obviously that this will not impede, hinder or delay the process run by Public Safety Canada.
3450 MR. HEFKEY: Sure. Because with any RFP what you are looking at is your business requirements and right now we, too, in Ontario are looking to create an information -- sorry, an emergency management software package and as part of that process is to develop the business requirements.
3451 So when we talk about an end-to-end public alerting system, what does that look like? I'm not a technician, but what I would like, as I said in my statement, is I would love -- and my ideal end state is to have 100 percent coverage. That RFP process will allow that.
3452 And we aren't there just yet. We have, as you know, a variety of jurisdictions, both small territorial and provincial jurisdictions to large provinces who have differing needs.
3453 What this process is allowing us to do as a group is to define exactly what those needs are that will allow for us to have a national system.
3454 However, the point I was making was why I don't say this to be contradictory is that the Pelmorex proposal would provide us all -- not just Ontario but all of us -- with a significant chunk of the system being offered up.
3455 As our Member of Parliament said, for me it's like everything, it's, you know, how am I best using my government funds and what is good policy. Well, if somebody comes to me and says "I'm here to help and I'm going to provide you with a system that will enhance what you have" -- I am, by the way, one of the few jurisdictions in Canada who actually has some form of an alerting system. Not all provinces or territories have an alerting system. So there is that piece.
3456 The other piece is the clarity. This is an issue of fairness to me, is that Pelmorex has not -- we have not shared with anyone, including Pelmorex, the business requirements as they are stated within this, again, to be developed RFP. To that end, to get clarity on both sides, both on the end-user ourselves and the person who is going to provide that service, I think that's where, again, allow us to continue down that road so that then we are all talking apples to apples.
3457 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
3458 Michel, you have some questions?
3459 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Yes. In your oral presentation, you define the service offered by Pelmorex as a great step forward, but technology evolved and why is it important for you that the Pelmorex proposal be seen as a permanent arrangement?
3460 MR. PERREAULT: Thank you.
3461 I would agree with the first part of your statement as it relates to technology continues to evolve and not for a moment am I suggesting that what we agreed to today is not going to change over time. So what we are looking for is some stability.
3462 I apologize I didn't get an opportunity to talk about that stability and that's for me, and I said in my letter, was the need for some permanently so that the players in this true partnership have the opportunity and the comfort level to know that they will over time continue to work through this system.
3463 That's where I was coming from.
3464 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Yes.
3465 You didn't give any example in Canada. I think you gave some examples in Haiti and Cuba. We have survived up to now without this service, so could you give us some examples in Canada what the service could have done if it had been in place?
3466 MR. SHROPSHIRE: A real live personal example, my wife and two children were actually on the highway in the Barrie in gridlock in 1985 when the tornado swept through Barrie. Had we had the systems in place at that time, they would not have been driving into harms way. That was a frightening sight.
3467 That is on a personal level. That was before emergency management. But there have been several instances.
3468 I have to say, we have been extremely fortunate in Canada not to have some of those catastrophic disasters, but about two years ago there was a major tsunami warming in the west coast of Canada and there was an operational review from Dan's counterparts in B.C. and there was a major shortfall found. They were unable to provide the significant warning systems to their population. Major gaps in the system.
3469 I think of events like a major wildfire situation that we had in 2003 in British Columbia, there were situations where the fires -- there were hundreds if not thousands of fires occurring simultaneously; things like road closures and where it was safe to travel, and so on, alerts regarding weather -- pardon me, air quality were also critical.
3470 So unfortunately we do have a number of those different examples where Canadians -- thankfully we have not been hit in some by some of those catastrophic events in recent history, there have been major tsunamis and other major events that have affected Canadians and we could have benefited from a system like this.
3471 COMMISSIONER MORIN: Thank you.
3472 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, those are all our questions.
3473 Thank you very much.
3474 We have one more intervenor I believe, Madam Secretary.
3475 THE SECRETARY: Yes.
3476 For the record, please note that in light of previous commitments for tomorrow, we will hear intervenor number 9, AMEC today.
3477 I would therefore invite AMEC to come to the presentation table.
3478 THE SECRETARY: Please introduce yourselves for the record and begin your presentation.
3479 MR. GREEN: Thank you very much and I do appreciate the indulgence you have provided us today.
3480 My name is Stephen Green, I am the Marine and Weather Services Development Lead for AMEC Earth and Environmental. I hold degrees in physics, oceanography, meteorology, civil engineering and environmental engineering.
3481 To my left is Mr. Paul Delannoy, a Senior Associate with AMEC Earth and Environmental. Paul is a formally trained meteorologist with over 40 years of experience with Transport Canada, Canadian Armed Forces and Environment Canada and now AMEC Earth and Environmental.
3482 It is interesting to note that I think that we are the only two meteorologist in this room. We are in fact scientists who have migrated to management. So first and foremost we are scientists.
3483 I would like to bring a few points of clarification from a meteorological perspective.
3484 It was stated earlier that Environment Canada's forecast goes out five days. That is incorrect, it's seven days.
3485 It was also mentioned that 100 percent Canadian content. A couple of issues associated with that.
3486 Canada has no global climate models which are distributed today, they are under development. In order to forecast 14 days you need to have global circulation models, global meteorological models, and they are available through U.S. and they are also available through European sources.
3487 In addition, if you look at -- I'm sure you have seen the very nice pretty satellite imagery that comes on the television, everybody has, the Internet. Canada does not own any weather satellites, they are U.S., which are primarily used for Canadian imagery.
3488 In addition, Environment Canada's data assimilation which goes into the numerical guidance is worldwide. So the point I want to bring is, weather knows no boundaries.
3489 The question was asked earlier, "Can anyone else provide forecasting", notwithstanding the communications and the software and the infrastructure to deliver them.
3490 I sit here today and say yes, we can and we do. We actually do provide weather forecasting for television and radio, on a much limited aspect, but in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
3491 In addition, to our knowledge we are the only private-sector meteorological company who is doing their own in-house high-resolution atmospheric modelling. This is by no means a trivial matter. Again, that is to our knowledge, our own atmospheric numerical model.
3492 I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak today. We are part of AMEC Earth and Environmental, a division of AMEC PLC, which is headquartered in the U.K.
3493 The Weather Group represents a niche market within the company and is a stand-alone business. AMEC's weather unit is one of approximately five companies in weather forecasting businesses in Canada. Four of these, including AMEC, are small businesses of approximately 20 employees or less, while The Weather Network dwarfs all of these in terms of size and revenue.
3494 We agree with the CRTC decision to remove Pelmorex from basic cable for the following reasons.
3495 The weather forecasting business is not a level playing field in Canada. In the past decade Symec Ltd. of Halifax went out of business. Another company, World Weather Watch, was acquired by Pelmorex, shrinking the number of players by two.
3496 It is an extremely challenging market to be in for those other than Pelmorex. AMEC and other companies do not enjoy a steady stream of revenue fixed to nearly every household in Canada such as Pelmorex does. They compete for commercial contracts in a much smaller segment in the Canadian weather services market.
3497 They may also compete with American firms across the border that have access to much larger American market and increasingly offering Canadian services. They must work against the huge marketing advantage that Pelmorex enjoys by being the face of weather on television and that they have further leverage on their public weather website.
3498 It is extremely difficult for other weather companies to gain brand recognition and to gain entry into the broadcast industry. Pelmorex, in one month generates revenues that AMEC and other players in the weather market take over the course -- have to generate in the course of over years.
3499 To continue to grant Pelmorex exclusive access to basic cable will further enable what amounts to a virtual monopoly and continue to erode competition in the private meteorological sector within Canada.
3500 Here's a statement that I like. "We need stability". If it is such a problem that we are such a small service ourselves may not continue.
3501 Without healthy competition in this market, all Canadians will lose out. Competition fosters creativity, it fosters innovation and it enables choice in the marketplace. All Canadian customers win when there is choice.
3502 The argument has been made that due to the uniqueness of weather in the social fabric of Canadian life that Pelmorex should be part of basic cable. We argue that if weather is this important to Canadians that they should have the most advanced weather services in the world. They should be able to freely choose their television weather provider.
3503 These things are not the case in Canada today. A lack of competition in this market has instead stifled innovation and choice. Although AMEC has brought innovative road weather services to Canadians in Atlantic Canada and have contributed to the public safety of Canadians, it has found it extremely difficult to spread these services elsewhere in Canada because of market pressures.
3504 Finally, we wish to point out that the safety of Canadians is in no way compromised by enabling choice of cable television. Today the medium of choice for weather information is increasingly mobile and there is no doubt that this trend will continue.
3505 It is the mandate of Environment Canada to produce weather warnings for the general public and we stress that these warnings are freely available to any company for general distribution.
3506 As an example, AMEC acquires these warnings in real time and distributes them through multiple media to our current customers. There is nothing exclusive or unique about the distribution of these warnings.
3507 The CRTC Mission Statement states:
"... to ensure the Canadian communications contribute fairly and equitably to Canada's economic, social and cultural prosperity through regulation, supervision and public dialogue." (As read)
3508 We contend that the decision to exclude Pelmorex from basic cable will stimulate the economic and social prosperity of Canadians by allowing meteorological firms to provide innovative solutions that respond to the challenging lifestyle of Canadians, thus increasing cultural prosperity and enhancing their safety. We firmly believe that the CRTC is 2007 decision stating:
"While weather information is an important topic to Canadians, such programming is readily available in the Canadian community through conventional over-the-air television services on the basic service as well as certain specialty services, through radio and through sources outside of the broadcasting system such as print media and Internet. As such, the Commission considers The Weather Network and MétéoMédia are not of exceptional importance in the fulfilment of the objectives of the Act and consequently should not be granted mandatory distribution on digital basic." (As read)
3509 We believe that this argument is valid today.
3510 I would like to thank you for the opportunity presented to me today and we would be more than happy to answer any of your questions.
3511 THE CHAIRPERSON: You say absolutely nothing about Pelmorex's application to be national aggregator for national alerts.
3512 Your submission, the way I understood it, is basically you argue that they don't deserve 9(1)(h), I understand that, but as I said in the opening, it is, in their view, in exorbitantly linked application.
3513 MR. GREEN: Okay, yes.
3514 Please forgive me, I have a little bit of a hearing impairment.
3515 The question that you are asking me is what is our position towards the mandatory alert that has been proposed by Pelmorex.
3516 The PSEP, this RFP that everybody seems to be talking about today, I'm planning on bidding it.
3517 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. That explains it.
3518 Okay, Len, you had some questions?
3519 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
3520 I'm trying to understand who AMEC is. Can you tell us -- you talk in your first paragraph here that you represent their Weather Business Unit with 20 employees.
3521 I have actually just gone on the Internet and you have offices throughout Canada and there are more than 20 offices in Canada. So I'm trying to understand how this business unit and how your general business relate to each other.
3522 MR. GREEN: Okay. Actually, AMEC -- let's just step back for a second. Our mother company is AMEC PLC and we are publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange. Total revenues of the company are 2.6 billion pounds per year. Within AMEC PLC there are numerous companies.
3523 My official company name is AMEC Earth and Environmental, a Division of AMEC America's Ltd., which is owned by PLC, which is publicly traded and owned by Canadians.
3524 Within AMEC Earth and Environmental we subscribe to the local business model and what that means is the local business has to be responsible for generating revenue and profit that eventually goes back to the shareholders, which can be you or me or anybody else on the planet.
3525 So when we say we have 20 members within the Weather Services Unit, we are effectively an SME, a small to medium enterprise. To reiterate that, the Atlantic Canada opportunities agency actually considers AMEC Earth and Environmental's Weather Unit an SME. We are recognized by the federal government as in fact a small to medium enterprise.
3526 COMMISSIONER KATZ: But the offices that you have for Earth and Environmental cover a broad range of small towns and cities across Canada. So are you saying that those people aren't involved in the Weather Business Unit --
3527 MR. GREEN: Absolutely.
3528 COMMISSIONER KATZ: -- that are involved in other businesses?
3529 MR. GREEN: Absolutely.
3530 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. So where is the Weather Business Unit stationed out of?
3531 MR. GREEN: Our main office is in St. John's. We have an employee in Ottawa providing services and we also have two meteorologists in Halifax. This is part of our disaster recovery plan for dealing with offshore oil and gas.
3532 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. So it appears, and correct me if I'm wrong, you are primarily an east coast Canadian-focused business unit right now?
3533 MR. GREEN: Absolutely not.
3534 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
3535 MR. GREEN: You could use the same argument that Pelmorex is in Oakville and also in Montréal, so they are a southern Ontario and southern Québec business unit and I'm quite sure they would argue completely different, that they are a national service.
3536 We have contracts ranging -- weather forecasting contracts ranging from South Korea to the west coast of the United States.
3537 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. So when I see here on the second page of your submission here, as an example:
"AMEC acquires these warnings in real time and distributes them through multiple media to our current customers." (As read)
3538 Can you expand on who the multiple media in Canada is and can you give us a sense of who your current customers are in Canada?
3539 MR. GREEN: I'm sorry, in terms of multiple media, television, radio, mobile and Internet. That's the media that we present our information on.
3540 Our customers in Canada, the Provinces of Newfoundland, Provinces of Nova Scotia, Provinces of British Columbia -- I'm sorry, Provinces of -- I'm sorry, all of Atlantic Canada, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
3541 We are also the forecast provider for IESO within Ontario, the Independent Electrical System Operators for Ontario, and various municipalities actually also through Ontario, and we have select contracts in western Canada. Actually, also the Yukon.
3542 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay. Do you have any experience --
3543 MR. GREEN: Sorry, the Northwest Territories. We just bid the Yukon.
3544 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
3545 Do you have any experience with end-users, customers as opposed to corporations or government agencies?
3546 MR. GREEN: Every time I walk down the street in St. John's. Where we are on television I am the -- I personally am the face of weather on the local CTV affiliate within Newfoundland and Labrador and I am also the voice of weather on the number one FM station within Newfoundland and Labrador.
3547 COMMISSIONER KATZ: So you are a contractor to the broadcasters in Canada, in eastern Canada?
3548 MR. GREEN: To the CTV affiliate in St. John's and to the number one FM radio station within Newfoundland and Labrador, yes.
3549 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
3550 And AMEC is looking, as I heard you say to the Chairman, at bidding on the national alerting system?
3551 MR. GREEN: Yes.
3552 COMMISSIONER KATZ: Okay.
3553 Those are my questions, Mr. Chairman.
3554 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. There are no other questions.
3555 Thank you very much for coming.
3556 MR. GREEN: Thank you for your time.
3557 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think that's it for today, Madam Secretary; right?
3558 THE SECRETARY: Yes. This adjourns the hearing and we will reconvene tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m.
--- L'audience est ajournée à 1550, pour reprendre le vendredi 3 avril 2009 à 0900
Johanne Morin Jean Desaulniers
Sue Villeneuve Beverley Dillabough
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