Opening remarks by Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
To the public hearing in Gatineau
November 7, 2012
Check against delivery
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this public hearing. At this hearing, we will be reviewing three broadcasting applications.
We will begin today by considering an application by Rogers Broadcasting to acquire from Channel Zero the assets of CJNT, an ethnic television station in Montreal, for $10.3 million.
Rogers is proposing to convert CJNT to an English-language commercial television station. Should this request be approved, Rogers is seeking similar licence conditions to those imposed on its Citytv stations. Alternatively, Rogers proposed to keep CJNT as an ethnic service provided that the Commission accepts less restrictive conditions of licence.
As with all ownership transactions, it is the responsibility of the seller or its representative to prove that a transaction is in the public interest. This means that the burden of proof lies with Rogers and Channel Zero. This is not simply a matter of promising to invest a certain amount into the Canadian broadcasting system. Many other factors must also be taken into consideration, including the impact on the Montreal market and the Commission’s various policies.
In studying this application, the panel must be persuaded that this transaction would provide benefits to Canadians as citizens, creators and consumers, as well as to the overall Canadian broadcasting system.
The panel will also consider an application for a licence to operate a new over-the-air television station in the Montreal market that would be called International Channel/Canal International, or ICI.
The applicant has proposed that ICI would serve Montreal’s ethnic communities and, in particular, fill the void should the format of CJNT be changed. ICI would offer programming in 15 languages to 18 different cultures, including the Italian, Greek, Arabic, Chinese, Russian and Hindi communities.
Finally, the panel will examine an application by CHMZ-FM Radio Limited to acquire the assets of CHMZ-FM Tofino in British Columbia. The station’s current licensees are listed as McBride Communications & Media and Umeek Human Resources Development, partners in West Island Radio Enterprises General Partnership. However, there appears to have been a change in ownership without the Commission’s prior approval.
In addition, it appears that the station may have failed to comply with various sections of the Radio Regulations, 1986 and its licence conditions related to the filing of annual returns and contributions to Canadian content development.
The panel for this hearing consists of:
- Tom Pentefountas, Vice-Chairman of Broadcasting
- Suzanne Lamarre, Regional Commissioner for Quebec
- Candice Molnar, Regional Commissioner for Manitoba and Saskatchewan
- Marc Patrone, National Commissioner
- and myself, Jean-Pierre Blais, Chairman of the CRTC. I will be presiding over this hearing.
The Commission team assisting us includes:
- François Vézina and Josiane Lord, the Hearing Coordinators
- Romy Ochmann St-Jean and Joshua Dougherty, Legal Counsel, and
- Cindy Ventura, Hearing Secretary and Manager of Public Hearings.
I would now invite the Hearing Secretary, Cindy Ventura, to explain the procedures we will be following. Madam Secretary…
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