Examen des politiques relatives à la télévision canadienne/
Review of the Commission's Policies for Canadian Television
CONSULTATION TENUE AU:
World Trade & Convention Centre
Highland Suites 7 & 8
Le 20 juin 1998
CONSULTATION HELD AT:
World Trade & Convention Centre
Highland Suites 7 & 8
Halifax, Nova Scotia
20 June 1998
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Transcription / Transcript
Consultation régionale/ regional consultation
David Colville Président/Chairperson
Joan Pennefather Conseillère/Commissioner
Geoff Batstone Conseillère juridique/ Legal Counsel
Rod Lahay Coordonnateur/ Coordinator
Brien Rodger Secrétaire/Secretary
TENUE AU: HELD AT:
World Trade & World Trade &
Convention Centre Convention Centre
Highland Suites 7 & 8 Highland Suites 7 & 8
Halifax (Nouvelle-Écosse) Halifax, Nova Scotia
Le 20 juin 1998 20 June 1998
TABLE DES MATIERES/TABLE OF CONTENTS
Présentation au nom de/Presentation on behalf of:
Mike and Nancy O'Halloran 5, 56, 83
Peggy Shaw 16, 86
Dave Spencer 22, 85
Anne-Marie Varner, CEO 25
Nova Scotia Film
Cary Murphy, Executive Director 47, 84
Impulse and Problem
Ralph Holt, Telefilm Canada,
Atlantic Office 59
Trish Turliuk 64
Graduate Student, Acadia University
Philip Gerard and Sheila Zebrig 72
Peter d'Entremont, Independent Filmmaker 89
Graham Hicks 100
Mike Elgie, ATV 71
1 Halifax, Nova Scotia
2 --- Upon commencing on Saturday, June 20, 1998
3 at 1340/L'audience débute le samedi 20 juin 1998
4 à 1340
5 1 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, good
6 afternoon everybody. I think we will get started. I
7 apologize for being a few minutes late but we seem to
8 have as many, if not more, observers than we have
9 people who had registered to present their views to us
10 this afternoon, and depending on how the time goes, I
11 will perhaps welcome any or all of the observers to
12 make any comments they might want to make on this
14 2 My name is David Colville and I'm the
15 Vice-Chair of Telecommunications for the CRTC and also
16 the Atlantic Region Commissioner. With me is Joan
17 Pennefather, one of our newer, but not newest,
18 commissioners. And with us, we have Rod Lahay from our
19 Ottawa staff and Geoff Batstone, our lawyer, to make
20 sure we don't goof up and make any legal mistakes here,
21 and in the middle, Brien Rodger, the Atlantic Region
22 Director for the CRTC.
23 3 The purpose of today's session is
24 really to get the public's views on the issue of
25 Canadian television and the regulation of Canadian
1 television. The Commission has put together a new
2 vision statement last year and, as part of this vision
3 exercise and as part of our workplan over the next
4 while, is a complete review of our policies respecting
5 radio and television and within a couple of years of a
6 review of our recent cable policies as well as we move
7 into a more competitive world in the area of cable.
8 4 We have already completed the review
9 of radio and rendered a decision just recently with
10 respect to that, and we are presently undertaking a
11 major review of our policies and our regulatory
12 structure for Canadian television. And so we thought,
13 as part of the exercise, and prior to undertaking the
14 more formal hearing with respect to Canadian Content
15 issues relative to Canadian television, we wanted to
16 reach out and move across the country and get the
17 public's views with respect to this particular issue.
18 5 As it happens, we had scheduled,
19 concurrently with this, a round of hearings on the
20 affordability question and particularly in rural remote
21 areas with respect to telecommunications, and then
22 added these television hearings on to this. So I think
23 we have actually about 20 hearings across the country,
24 and we have invited the public in the areas where we're
25 addressing this telephone issue as well. If they wish
1 to speak about the television issue, they are certainly
2 welcome to do so.
3 6 So what we have done is divided the
4 commissioners up in pairs and have been travelling
5 across the countryside from the north to the west, and
6 actually we are nearing the end of this exercise right
7 now. We have had hearings in western Canada and in the
8 North. I think we have three or four more to go before
9 this sort of phase of the exercise is completed.
10 7 We are scheduling a major hearing in
11 late September in Ottawa to address the television
12 issue, but we have tried to, as I say, reach out and
13 get the public's views on this. We have tried to do
14 it, in spite of what you might think of the set-up
15 here, in an as informal an environment as we could, and
16 sort of refer to these as town halls. We're not here
17 to question and interrogate people. We're hoping that
18 people will feel free to come and speak their mind
19 about how they feel about this issue of Canadian
20 television and, in this case, particularly as it
21 affects this part of the country and the region.
22 8 Now as you may have noticed looking
23 around the table, we seem to have more observers than
24 we have presenters. I know some of the observers are
25 people working in the industry itself, but since we
1 have the time available, I expect that we -- we had, I
2 think, about 15 people registered to come and present
3 their views here today.
4 9 While I haven't been here myself the
5 last week or so, I know the weather hasn't been all
6 that good. It has been rainy and foggy, and this is
7 the first nice warm, sunny day that we have had in a
8 while. And I suspect that some of the people who may
9 well have wanted to come and speak with us this
10 afternoon may have chosen to enjoy the sunny afternoon
11 rather than come here.
12 10 In any event, I'm certainly prepared
13 to provide an opportunity for anybody in the room if
14 they wish to express any views that they may wish to
15 here today, and just join us at the table and even
16 present their views or perhaps even, should time allow,
17 we could get into a bit of a discussion of some of
18 these issues.
19 11 I don't want to be particularly rigid
20 about the format here today, given the number of people
21 who are here and the amount of time we have available.
22 We had scheduled this to go through till about 5:00
23 this afternoon. So if we have the time, we could
24 certainly prepare to get into a bit of discussion of
25 some of the issues if people wish to do so.
1 12 So with that, I will turn it over to
2 Mr. Rodger just to outline some of the logistics for
4 13 MR. RODGER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
5 14 Just a couple of procedural matters.
6 I guess the first: we normally ask people to keep
7 their presentations to 10 minutes. It's probably not
8 going to be a problem today, but that's what we have
9 asked people to do. Secondly, again, if there is
10 anybody in the audience that hasn't registered to make
11 a presentation, you're more than welcome to do that.
12 Just come and see me and we will slot you in later on
13 in the day.
14 15 What I will do is start going down
15 through our list of presenters. Obviously, some of
16 them may not be here.
17 16 The first is Rick McNeil.
18 17 The second is Jane Cowie.
19 18 Third is Bruce Devenne.
20 19 And I know the fourth is here: Mike
21 and Nancy O'Halloran. So, if you will proceed when you
22 are ready.
25 20 MS O'HALLORAN: I really didn't come
1 here with anything specific to present. I mainly had
2 some concerns about the way the programming is going
3 for the deaf and hard of hearing, in Canada. For
4 example, we had all these wonderful specialties come in
5 the fall and they were -- you know, I thought, oh, this
6 is great, wonderful, new varieties, comedy channels,
7 house and garden channels. I thought, great. Anyway,
8 they weren't much use to me because they weren't
9 captioned. I mean, they were just a bunch of pretty
10 pictures to look at. It was a waste of time.
11 21 So when you consider that between 7
12 and 10 per cent of Canada's population is deaf or hard
13 of hearing, that means 7 to 10 per cent of your
14 population isn't going to purchase these specialty
15 channels. So I wonder sometimes whether it's worth the
16 money to go and invest and register these new channels.
17 I don't know. It's just kind of frustrating for me
18 because there were things on these channels I would
19 have like to have seen but I couldn't.
20 22 Do you have any plans in the future
21 for putting regulations for closed captioning on these
22 channels or will they be as they are now?
23 23 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm not aware that
24 we have any particular plans for regulations for
25 captioning for the specialty channels, although I would
1 expect that, as the audience levels tend to grow, they
2 will perhaps be realizing that they are missing part of
3 the audience by not captioning some of that
5 24 I'm wondering, while you're here,
6 what are your views on the quality of the captioning
7 for the more conventional television services?
8 25 MS O'HALLORAN: The ones that come
9 from the States, depending what they are, some of them
10 aren't captioned at all. Most of the ones from Canada,
11 I must say, are captioned. It more or less falls into
12 what shows are shown during what times. Shows that are
13 shown in the morning and the afternoon may be only 50
14 per cent captioned; the ones that are shown during
15 prime time, from 6:00 to 12:00, about 85-90 per cent
16 might be captioned.
17 26 So it really depends on what time the
18 show is being shown. If it's a home repair show, if
19 it's a fishing show or something like that, it more
20 than likely is not captioned. If it's a sitcom or a
21 drama, then it might be more likely to be captioned.
22 27 It varies. From the shows that are
23 bounced from the States by satellite, depending on
24 weather conditions or how strong the signal is, the
25 captions may or may not be there. That has happened
1 with some of the channels like ABC and CBS. The
2 captions either won't be there at all or they will be
3 like chicken scratches on the bottom of the screen.
4 So, it depends.
5 28 THE CHAIRPERSON: And the Canadian
6 channels? The Canadian television services?
7 29 MS O'HALLORAN: For the most part,
8 they're quite good.
9 30 Oh yes, my husband just reminded me
10 about the news. That is one big drawback. Most news
11 channel -- what the anchor says in the studio is
12 captioned. When they go out to a clip or they go out
13 to a reporter in the field, those things aren't
14 captioned. So I get the lead-up. I say, oh well,
15 there was a serious accident wherever today, and then
16 they go out to a reporter in the field. And then, I
17 get nothing -- the rest of the story.
18 31 It's funny that "Hockey Night in
19 Canada" can be captioned -- and that's live -- but the
20 reporters can't be captioned. It doesn't seem quite
21 right to me.
22 32 My husband has a whole list here.
23 The weather is never captioned. Again, I just look at
24 weather maps and satellite pictures. So again, I
25 depend on the little pictures when they do the three-
1 day forecast and then, I have an idea. But I have no
2 idea if it's raining part of the day or all of the day
4 33 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Can I ask
5 you your observations on captioning of children's
7 34 MS O'HALLORAN: Cartoons -- they're
8 about half there, about 50 per cent maybe. Some of the
9 more popular children's shows like "Mr. Rogers" and
10 "Sesame Street" and that sort of thing, they seem to be
11 mostly captioned for children. To be quite honest, I
12 don't watch much Saturday morning programming -- except
13 the children's shows aren't too bad.
14 35 THE CHAIRPERSON: When you comment on
15 the specialty channels, the cable channels, are you
16 able to identify whether -- because I know some of the
17 Canadian ones do at least some captioning -- can you
18 identify whether they are the American ones or Canadian
19 ones, and which ones you think are more of a problem
20 than the others? Are some of them doing a good job?
21 36 MS O'HALLORAN: You want me to be
22 able to say which channels have the captioning and
23 which ones don't?
24 37 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes.
25 38 MS O'HALLORAN: American versus
2 39 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, or do you have
3 a sense of -- I mean, do you watch some of them and
4 notice that some of them are doing captioning and
5 perhaps a good job or...
6 40 MS O'HALLORAN: When I turned on the
7 specialty channels, the only thing that was captioned
8 was on -- I think it was the Space Channel, the
9 information station. I can't remember the name of the
10 channel. The only reason that was captioned, there was
11 a movie, and it was a movie that had been released
12 within the last two or three years.
13 41 Other than that, I didn't find much
14 of anything captioned except, I think, on the History
15 Channel, I think there was one documentary captioned.
16 Otherwise, most of the time, nothing. So it didn't
17 matter whether it originated from a Canadian source or
18 an American.
19 42 THE CHAIRPERSON: How about TSN?
20 43 MS O'HALLORAN: My husband watches it
21 more than I do. They seem to caption the summary of
22 the sports, but the sports events themselves, do they
23 caption much? Some, some. Like I said, "Hockey Night
24 in Canada" is always captioned. But TSN, it's like I
25 said. When they have "Sports Desk" or they have some
1 of those -- those are captioned.
2 44 Oh, yes...
3 45 MR. O'HALLORAN: One of the programs
4 on TSN, "Off the Record", it's a live one. That's not
5 usually captioned. It is informal. They have three
6 people talking and an anchor, and that's not usually
8 46 THE CHAIRPERSON: How about the
9 baseball games?
10 47 MR. O'HALLORAN: Baseball: I'm not
11 really sure because I don't see too much of it. I
12 don't know if my wife has noticed.
13 48 MS O'HALLORAN: Yes. I think on the
14 American networks, like ABC or NBC or CBS, they will
15 caption the baseball games on there, but the specialty
16 channels are less likely to.
17 49 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay, thank you.
18 Are there any other comments you wish to make?
19 50 MS O'HALLORAN: No, I think we said
20 most of what we wanted to today.
21 51 THE CHAIRPERSON: All right. Thank
22 you very much.
23 52 MR. O'HALLORAN: I would like to make
24 a few comments on especially the news. The way the
25 news in Canada is going, we have a better idea of what
1 is going on with Bill Clinton and his sex scandal than
2 we do on Canadian news. The Canadian broadcasters are
3 focusing an awful lot on American news, not Canadian,
4 which is extremely frustrating. I'm not interested in
5 what is going on in the States. I would like to see
6 what is going on within my own country.
7 53 Now going from that, I also would
8 like to make a comment on the phone service commercials
9 by MT&T. They are supposed to be a communication
10 corporation but of all their commercials, there is only
11 one that is close-captioned. And when they first
12 started running it, it was about how MT&T used the
13 Sympatico service to help a person that was deaf
14 communicate. But they didn't caption it. They finally
15 captioned it, but that's the only commercial that is
16 captioned by MT&T.
17 54 They have another commercial about a
18 Ms Giffin that lives in Stewiacke, a small community,
19 and trying to keep small communities closer together,
20 they can get a special rate. But that's not close-
21 captioned. So I can understand that, yes, if I'm in a
22 small community, I can get the special long distance
23 savings plan, but my wife, she just looks at it and
24 it's like, okay, what's going on?
25 55 She has no idea what savings plans
1 that there are out there for people living in small
2 communities that are deaf. I feel MT&T is being very
3 ignorant to the situation. If they're going to be
4 saying that these savings plans are available, they
5 should be captioning them so all people are able to
6 understand them.
7 56 THE CHAIRPERSON: You commented on
8 the news. What's your sense of the local television
9 news service in terms of addressing local or regional
11 57 MR. O'HALLORAN: We used to watch ATV
12 and "Live at 5." And it got to the point where I had
13 the newsroom phone number memorized because I
14 continually was phoning ATV and asking: where is your
15 captioning for your show? Most of the times, I was
16 told: oh, we didn't realize the caption wasn't on.
17 And I was saying: well, if you had a problem with the
18 sound, somebody would pick up on that right away. How
19 come nobody is monitoring to make sure that there's
20 closed-captioning on your news?
21 58 And I was told that no, now they have
22 to come up with a new contractor for their captioning.
23 I figured it was a very lame excuse for them reasoning
24 of not having the captioning. Why are other stations
25 like Global able to have the captioning, but ATV and
1 ASN are terrible with their closed-captioning?
2 59 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is that still the
3 case? Has it improved since you raised the concern?
4 60 MR. O'HALLORAN: No, it hasn't
5 improved at all. They have even taken me in and shown
6 me their newsroom. And I'm like, okay, that's nice,
7 that's great. But it still doesn't explain why you're
8 not able to caption your news.
9 61 I understand they were taken over by
10 Baton Broadcasting, which also has CTV News One, which
11 is also not captioned very often, and so, it just seems
12 that all under one umbrella, captioning is not very
13 good, especially the ATV and ASN.
14 62 THE CHAIRPERSON: Setting aside the
15 captioning issue for a second and going back to your
16 comment earlier about too much of the news focusing on
17 American news and relating that back to the question of
18 local or regional issues, the news stories and so on,
19 do you have a view on that?
20 63 MR. O'HALLORAN: I would like to know
21 more about what's going on in Canada. They still seem
22 to focus an awful lot on American issues. If you were
23 to watch an American news show, you would hardly see
24 anything on Canada unless there was an extremely large
25 disaster in Canada. I don't even know if that Irving
1 refinery fire would have made the news in the States
2 but yet, to Canadian broadcasters, any little fire in a
3 United States city is shown on the news.
4 64 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Well again,
5 thank you very much for...
6 65 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I just
7 wanted to ask Mike one more time on that point. Are
8 you talking, Mike, about all the news now: CBC, CTV,
9 local news? All of it is too focused on American
10 issues and American events?
11 66 MR. O'HALLORAN: CTV news, we don't
12 watch as much. It's all on at the same time. It's
13 difficult to pick, but as things have gone, we no
14 longer watch ATV news and "Live at 5" because of the
15 lack of captioning. We watch the Global News. But
16 still, Global has an awful lot of American content, you
17 know. I like to know what is going on in my own
19 67 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I don't
20 blame you.
21 68 THE CHAIRPERSON: Again, thank you
22 very much for taking the time to come and present your
23 views today.
24 69 Mr. Rodger.
25 70 MR. RODGER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
1 71 Our next scheduled presenter is
2 Gordon Johnson followed by Rhonda Reese.
3 72 And the next is Peggy Shaw and Dave
4 Spencer, and they are here.
7 73 MS SHAW: Good afternoon, my name is
8 Peggy Shaw. I'm a late deafened adult. This is what
9 we call the invisible disability. People that are born
10 deaf have an advantage that they can sign or they can
11 lip-read. Late deafened adults, which is quite common
12 after 60 or 65 -- I started at 66 -- it's going to be
13 more prevalent in the years to come. With the baby
14 boomers approaching the age, it's going to be
15 absolutely necessary to have captioning on television.
16 74 When you lose your hearing, you lose
17 your movies, your theatre, your meetings, your big
18 parties. Anything that requires hearing is a real
19 pain. So you drop out.
20 75 I was fortunate to start lip-reading
21 and signing. So therefore, I got involved in the deaf
22 community. Most late deafened adults don't bother.
23 It's just not used to it.
24 76 My main love is television and, as I
25 said to the young lady I spoke to, I worked for
1 television for a number of years -- film syndication.
2 I knew a lot television people and I still adore
3 television. I lived in the States for many years and
4 worked there, and now, I'm back here. I don't want to
5 watch American news. I don't even want to watch
6 programs on CBS, NBC and ABC.
7 77 I want to watch Canadian, and it
8 kills me -- when I look up to see what programs are
9 available, I just look at the caption notice and then
10 decide which one I will look at. I go between CBC,
11 Channel 29, CBC Channel 11 and ignore the Halifax
12 stations because of the captioning. They don't tell
13 you what is happening. They say: now, we will go to
14 Digby and get a report from John Jones. And then, you
15 just look at it.
16 78 Everything Nancy and Mike said was
17 true. I agree with every word, and I only hope that
18 CBC will endeavour to caption all their programs, even
19 the commercials.
20 79 Now, Thursday night, I was watching
21 television, thinking I might be coming here. So I
22 wanted to check out what it was like. CIBC, no
23 captioning. I wish I had brought my list with me but
24 every commercial would start off with captioning, and
25 then when the people spoke, there's no captioning. I
1 mean, I don't care. I'm not going to change my
2 lifestyle by the commercial, but some people do and
3 they are not getting it.
4 80 Now, anything more I should say?
5 It's my lifeline to the world. I can't enjoy anything
6 as much as I can enjoy captioned television. I think
7 that's all. I didn't prepare this and I'm so happy to
8 have you listen to us. We're quite thrilled that this
9 happened and we thank you. Go ahead.
10 81 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm wondering, with
11 the Canadian television services in particular, what
12 views you might have with respect to non-news
13 programming, in terms of captioning.
14 82 MS. SHAW: Well, I don't watch the
15 programs that aren't captioned. So I would watch the
16 ones that are, and the new films that were made in Nova
17 Scotia recently were captioned, "Black Harbour" and
18 other films like that.
19 83 I watch anything that is captioned
20 and I like the -- of course, I must say, I do watch the
21 movies that are captioned, but a lot of them, the
22 captioning isn't perfect and most of them are on
23 American stations. NBC has very bad captioning. CBS
24 and ABC are better. NBC, it will be garbled on the
25 screen. So it's impossible to read.
1 84 I have phoned CBC here and talked
2 with a woman, and I said to her: you should just
3 watch. And she said: oh, I don't have captioning on
4 my machine. I said: well, you come to my house, I
5 will let you see it. And she said: oh, I couldn't do
6 that. She had never seen the captioning -- or she had
7 never seen the non-captioning.
8 85 I have written letters. I have made
9 phone calls. I don't know the phone number off by
10 heart though, Mike, because usually there is nobody to
11 answer the phone when I call. You know, it's after
13 86 Okay. What else did he ask me?
14 87 THE CHAIRPERSON: I took your earlier
15 comment though to suggest that CBC, in your view,
16 generally does a good job of captioning.
17 88 MS SHAW: Yes, when things are
18 captioned on the CBC and on Channel 29, on the news
19 programs with the different -- Don Newman and the woman
20 at night. I watch her all the time, and their
21 captioning is excellent, as is Larry whatever-his-name-
22 is on Channel 19, the American that is always -- Larry
23 King. Excellent. And these are all done either before
24 the program is viewed or when the program is being
25 viewed, and when it's -- you know, it could be live,
1 and excellent. It must be expensive, but isn't it
2 better to do it the first time?
3 89 Now, "Biography," that should be
4 captioned all the time. But it's not Canadian. It's
5 American. But I don't watch it because it's not
6 captioned, although I watched it last night because it
7 was Princess Diana.
8 90 THE CHAIRPERSON: What about ATV and
10 91 MS SHAW: ATV and Global, I would
11 say, are better than ASN and -- there's Channel 7,
12 Channel 9, Channel 6.
13 92 THE CHAIRPERSON: Seven is ASN; 9 is
14 ATV; and 6 is Global.
15 93 MS SHAW: I don't know. I get them
16 mixed up because I really don't watch them that much.
17 When there's not good captioning, I just turn it off.
18 94 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so, does that
19 suggest that there isn't good captioning on those
21 95 MS SHAW: Yes. When it's partly
22 captioned or poorly captioned -- well, you yourself,
23 you wouldn't watch. You know, you're used to
24 television. You want to be informed and you want to be
25 entertained, and you don't want to be irritated.
1 That's it.
2 96 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I would
3 like to ask a couple of questions.
4 97 Overall then, are you able to watch
5 more news programming than entertainment programming
6 because of captioning or lack of captioning?
7 98 MS SHAW: Overall, I would say I
8 watch more news than I watch entertainment. When I
9 have time for television, I will check to see what the
10 news is first, and as Mike said, I followed President
11 Clinton closely. It's always on the news in the
12 States, every night. And so, I always pick that up
13 first and see what's happening.
14 99 However, on Channel 58 -- I don't
15 know if that's CBC or not. That's where we get the
16 House of Commons. I watch it a lot, and they are very
17 good at captioning now. They didn't used to be but
18 they are now. And the Legislature here, it's pretty
19 hopeless. I don't even think it's captioned except
20 they show it and then they have a reporter saying
21 something, and it's not good.
22 100 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So I
23 understand clearly, when you say, something is poorly
24 captioned, what are you referring to: the technology
25 or the content, or both?
1 101 MS SHAW: Well, that's a very good
2 point. I think it's more the content. I mean, they
3 get someone to say something and then move away before
4 you get the answer -- I think -- I think.
5 102 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: M'hm.
7 103 MS SHAW: Okay?
8 104 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you.
9 105 MS SHAW: Thank you.
10 106 THE CHAIRPERSON: Is there anything
11 else you would like to add?
12 107 MS SHAW: Dave, do you want to say
16 108 MR. SPENCER: I'd like to introduce
17 myself. My name is Dave Spencer.
18 109 Nancy, Mike and Peggy have touched on
19 most of the issues that would really affect me, but I
20 must -- Peggy's opening comment didn't really agree
21 with me. She said that late deafened adults are in the
22 60-65 age group. No, that's not correct.
23 110 I refer to my daughter as a late
24 deafened adult because with all her problems, we didn't
25 go deaf or didn't start to go deaf until we were 11.
1 So, there is one thing I would like to bring to your
2 attention. It's not 60 or 65.
3 111 Okay. I find -- she spoke about the
4 House of Parliament. Yes, that was not always
5 captioned, but to me, the last four or five years, it
6 has been fine. So that is an improvement in caption
7 there. Now, I can watch the House of Parliament, if I
9 112 I find the local news is not up to
10 par because what is happening with the local news is if
11 there's something outside the station, we are getting
12 the first word and the last word that is being said.
13 That's what is usually typed in. Of course, we have to
14 try to fill in what's in the inside and it's impossible
15 because you cannot lip-read TV with people moving back
16 and forth.
17 113 I think it's "Maritimes Tonight" --
18 I'm not positive of the news program. I find that is
19 never captioned. I watch either 6 or 7, ASN or Global.
20 I watch those channels because that is the only
21 channels that I find with local news that is partly
22 captioned. And I must say -- what the words, from the
23 answer, if they are interviewing somebody outside, it's
24 impossible for us to fill it in.
25 114 I'd like to add a real quick point on
1 captioning. I feel that my children learned to read
2 much faster due to captioning because they use the
3 caption TV. They watched TV much more before they were
4 going to school. Now, they are hearing impaired and
5 they have about a 40- or 50-decibel loss, which makes
6 it very hard to watch TV. But I have seen my oldest
7 daughter -- she is 21 -- stay up to watch for a program
8 that she has really been interested in on TV and find
9 out that the program is not captioned. And it has made
10 her so upset that she has cried because she's one who
11 likes to follow things like this.
12 115 Caption means -- I don't know which
13 word to use. Caption is our outlet to the outside
14 world. When you're deaf, we need this. And as they
15 said, before American TV -- I find American TV
16 excellent. But with Canadian TV, you don't know what
17 to expect in the caption.
18 116 From what the others said, I think
19 every view has been put in there. Thank you.
20 117 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very
21 much. I appreciate your comments and those of the
22 O'Hallorans on this issue. I guess, as Ms Shaw has
23 indicated, it's going to be -- we have a battery
24 wearing down here, I guess...
25 --- Laughter/Rires
1 118 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was just saying
2 that, obviously, this is going to be a growing issue as
3 those of us who are baby boomers are approaching that
4 age where you have suggested that probably many more of
5 us are going to be having this problem and we will be
6 disenfranchising a considerable segment of the Canadian
7 population if we don't ensure that they have access to
8 caption television. So we appreciate your comments.
9 119 Thank you very much.
10 120 MR. SPENCER: Thank you.
11 121 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Rodger.
12 122 MR. RODGER: Thank you. The next
13 scheduled presenter is Brenda Clark, followed by
14 Margaret Martin, Stella Lord, Chris Boyce, Susan Smith,
15 Thelma Coward-Ince, Dennis Brown, Jono Nemethy, and
16 finally, Anne-Marie Varner.
19 123 MS VARNER: That's a long list. Mr.
20 Chairman, I would like to thank you and Commissioner
21 Pennefather as well as the Commission for inviting the
22 Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation to make a
23 presentation to you today, as you deliberate the future
24 of Canadian Content television.
25 124 In 1990 -- as history -- the Province
1 of Nova Scotia established the Nova Scotia Film
2 Development Corporation to stimulate investment,
3 employment and growth in the Province's film and video
4 industry. At that time, the industry was valued at
5 little more than $7 million.
6 125 The tools provided to the independent
7 production community, through NSFDC, helped to develop
8 Canadian Content programming for television that has
9 included national and international hits like "Codco"
10 and "Theodore Tugboat". As a first-in financier, the
11 NSFDC has launched many producers in the province who
12 have earned a world-class reputation for production
14 126 In 1994, the Province instituted a
15 labour rebate program administered by the NSFDC which
16 increased production levels by several million dollars.
17 Building on that success, the Department of Finance
18 introduced a 30 per cent labour-based film industry tax
19 credit to further encourage growth in the sector. The
20 new tax incentive was introduced in 1995 and has made a
21 very significant impact on the industry ever since.
22 127 The introduction of the Canadian
23 Television Cable Production Fund has also fuelled
24 growth in this region. Specifically in the last 15-
25 month period, the production community in the Atlantic
1 Region, primarily in Nova Scotia, has triggered over 17
2 per cent of the funds from the CTCPF. For a region
3 with a small population base, the access to CTCPF is
4 extremely significant.
5 128 In the last 24 months, film and
6 television projects in which NSFDC has played a role
7 have grown from just over $20 million in the 1995-96
8 fiscal year to a staggering $86.8 million at the end of
9 fiscal 97-98. And this is due greatly in part to the
10 labour-based tax credit and also to the CTCPF. We
11 estimate that the total value of the entire sector,
12 including broadcast, commercial/industrial and
13 independent production has exceeded $230 million in the
14 province this year.
15 129 Since the establishment of the NSFDC,
16 the bulk of the support for Nova Scotia's independent
17 production has come through CBC. In our experience,
18 the local private broadcasters have licensed very
19 little of the production the NSFDC has supported since
20 its inception in 1990.
21 130 The ownership change at Baton/CTV and
22 commitment to develop Canadian Content programming in
23 the region has altered the landscape. ATV's desire to
24 develop product for the CTV network has already been
25 felt by the community and it is encouraging.
1 131 Global's Emerging Producer initiative
2 has also helped to develop up-and-coming talent in the
3 region and has produced award-winning results. Last
4 year's production of "Nan's Taxi" was the Gemini Award
5 winner for best short dramatic program, and an upcoming
6 production of "December 1917," which has just completed
7 principal photography in Halifax, will be of the same
9 132 The hurdles that continue to face the
10 local independent production community are access to
11 decision-makers to trigger broadcast licences and
12 access to local air time, particularly in prime viewing
13 hours. A large percentage of independent production
14 created in Nova Scotia is not seen on conventional
15 stations but on specialty services that are not readily
16 available off air in rural areas. Documentary
17 producers, in particular, have a struggle to reach
18 their target audiences locally.
19 133 With the evolution of the
20 broadcasting industry, there are already indications
21 that regionalization will further diminish the exposure
22 of local independently produced stories to local
23 audiences. The broadcast community must remain
24 sensitive to the independent producers outside Toronto
25 who have restricted access to head offices because of
2 134 In the last round of applications for
3 NSFDC program support, there were no projects that
4 received local licences. However, on a national basis,
5 through CBC, specialty and other broadcasters, 12
6 projects valued at over $24 million have been
7 supported, with licences totalling over $5.2 million.
8 135 It is evident that producers in Nova
9 Scotia are highly regarded nationally and their
10 projects are more enthusiastically promoted nationally
11 than on a local level. For those producers who break
12 through to the decision-makers in Toronto, this is
13 indeed gratifying. However, there are many who
14 continue to struggle with access to market.
15 136 Speaking directly to the questions
16 that face the Commission in these hearings, or the
17 upcoming hearings in the fall, NSFDC experiences the
18 demand for independently produced content primarily
19 through specialty services during each of our
20 programming rounds. In fact, the demand is so great
21 that NSFDC has, for the first time in its history, had
22 to make some very difficult choices on projects that it
23 is able to support. The demand on NSFDC programs far
24 outweighs our available resources.
25 137 NSFDC also recognizes the tremendous
1 growth in the province of multimedia production.
2 Development of CD-Rom and DVD program components along
3 with merchandise have become part of the overall
4 marketing plans for most production. The increase in
5 multimedia activity in the last two years prompted
6 NSFDC and MT&T to enter into a three-year deal to
7 provide support of over $800,000 to local multimedia
9 138 Interactive programming like "Bardo"
10 by local producer Ken Green, "Perigee" by
11 Calliadeascope, and "Aftermath" created by Richard
12 Zurawski, which have received support through the New
13 Media Fund, will no doubt amaze audiences of the
15 139 Fragmented audiences are choosing
16 content, and it is clear that the Nova Scotia
17 independent production community will continue to meet
18 audience demands by providing high-quality Canadian
19 programs without the same constraints placed on
20 broadcasters who must always be cognizant of keeping a
21 saleable program schedule.
22 140 The industry, however, is still
23 fragile and the continued support of the federal
24 government through programs like the CTCPF and Telefilm
25 Canada are paramount to ensuring the stability of the
2 141 NSFDC sees domestic alliances every
3 day in the independent production centre. You only
4 have to look at co-productions like "Black Harbour" and
5 "Emily of New Moon" to see how effective
6 interprovincial cooperation can be. Internationally,
7 the Nova Scotia production community is held in very
8 high esteem and export sales are very strong.
9 142 This past April, the province,
10 through NSFDC, entered into the first ever region-to-
11 region cooperation agreement with Filmboard Berlin-
12 Brandenburg to encourage co-production and export
13 sales. These types of alliances between countries and
14 more specifically between production communities will
15 ensure our future success.
16 143 One only has to look at the
17 production of "Lexx: The Dark Zone," which is now in
18 the Electropolis sound stage on our waterfront, to
19 witness the size and the complexity of the production
20 that can be accomplished through global cooperation.
21 144 In order to meet public policy
22 objectives in the future, much consideration must be
23 given to how broadcast undertakings are affecting job
24 growth in the film and video sector on a regional
1 145 To reiterate my opening remarks, the
2 NSFDC's mission is to stimulate employment, investment
3 and growth in the film and video sector here at home.
4 Whatever framework is adopted to embrace the changing
5 broadcast environment, it must be considerate of
6 provincial mandates and the effect centralization may
7 have on our local industry. There is no doubt that the
8 greatest power broadcasters hold is that over their
9 audiences through programming, promotion and marketing.
10 146 There is tremendous opportunity to
11 use broadcasters' resources to support the efforts of
12 the independent production community. These days, one
13 would be hard pressed to find an independently produced
14 program in this region that is not commercially viable.
15 Local support through increased broadcast licence fees
16 and program acquisitions would be most helpful to
17 encourage development of the local industry.
18 147 Nova Scotians can be very proud of
19 the role that our producers are playing in the
20 evolution of broadcasting. The local independent
21 production community is an economic and cultural
22 success story that fulfils public policy by providing
23 culturally relevant, globally successful programs and
24 new employment in a region known for its reliance on
25 dwindling natural resource-based industries.
1 148 There is no doubt that the CRTC
2 deliberations on Canadian Content programming will have
3 a lasting impact on the business of broadcasting, the
4 role of the independent production community and on how
5 the people of each region see themselves as part of
7 149 The role the Nova Scotia Film
8 Development Corporation will continue to play will be
9 to effectively facilitate connections between the
10 broadcasters, the producers and the community through
11 our programs.
12 150 I thank you very much for including
13 Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation in today's
15 151 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very
16 much, Ms Varner.
17 152 Commissioner Pennefather.
18 153 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I have a
19 few questions. Thank you very much for being here.
20 154 I wanted to be sure I understood,
21 first off, your comment on the specialty services and
22 their role in terms of the productions locally and
23 generally, if you could also make a comment, but I
24 understood you to say that access to specialty services
25 was problematic and yet, you said later that the demand
1 was very high in specialty services. So I'm not quite
2 sure what you mean there.
3 155 MS VARNER: No, I think perhaps you
4 didn't quite understand what my point was. Basically,
5 specialty services have been excellent at effectively
6 providing broadcast licences. Locally, that has not
7 been the case on conventional stations. And this, of
8 course, is in the projects that we have had a hand in
9 as the provincial funding agency.
10 156 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So if the
11 focus then is on access to conventional stations as a
12 difficulty, do you have some suggestions as to how that
13 could be improved? I noticed you mentioned your role
14 as an organization in terms of bringing the synergy
15 together, but that is one of the questions that I think
16 we're addressing -- is how the production community
17 can, in fact, assist in solving some of these issues.
18 157 MS VARNER: I think the documentary
19 production community in particular has some struggle
20 with respect to finding an audience in their own local
21 markets, particularly in prime viewing hours. I think
22 that if the broadcasters were able to look at
23 generating or triggering broadcast licences that were
24 for prime viewing hours, for documentary production, on
25 a local basis, that would certainly be helpful. I
1 think that it is a market that we could see some
2 expansion in here.
3 158 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm curious about
4 some of your comments with respect to getting
5 independent production perhaps more locally or
6 regionally. I raise this issue -- I guess it has
7 largely been the CRTC's view over the past number of
8 years that fundamentally, if we had a problematic area
9 in programming it was what is generally referred to as
10 the under-represented categories, which is for the most
11 part Canadian drama because it's so expensive to do.
12 And the view has largely been that if we had strong
13 financially healthy national networks or station groups
14 that they would probably bring the financial resources
15 in order to be able to support good-quality Canadian
16 drama or other entertainment programming that would be
17 aired in prime time, largely the kinds of programs that
18 you have talked about that have been developed here in
19 the region, things like "Codco" and "This Hour" and so
21 159 And so it seems to me that poses a
22 dilemma in terms of how to treat the issue from the
23 point of view of having local programming which, for
24 the most part, in Canada, I guess, it's probably fair
25 to say there's been generally news in public affairs
1 programming, as opposed to providing an opportunity for
2 regional independent producers to be able to get their
3 programs available to national audiences on networks or
5 160 So I guess I'm curious, when you say
6 that you think it's important that we provide
7 opportunities, perhaps through regulation or whatever,
8 licensed conditions for more of this kind of
9 programming to be available locally so the local
10 audiences can see themselves, I'm just wondering how
11 important you see that relative to those same programs
12 perhaps getting on the national networks or station
13 groups, however you want to characterize them, and be
14 available nationally? And isn't that, from a financial
15 point of view, a business perspective, I suppose, for
16 the independent producers, what their objective would
18 161 MS VARNER: Well, you know, I'm only
19 bringing up what we hear every day from the independent
20 producers and in particular in our last forum that we
21 held with them. They do have some difficulty getting
22 access to local air time, and obviously, it has
23 benefitted us in terms of regional or national exposure
24 that we have been able to trigger as much through the
25 Cable Production Fund as we have and also that we have
1 a group of tenacious producers who are, you know,
2 extremely market-driven, and they have literally made
3 the opportunities happen for themselves.
4 162 However, on the basis of what we know
5 about the smaller producers and particularly some of
6 the ones that are just on their way up from sort of
7 ground level from the development level, it's going to
8 be extremely important that they have some window here
9 in the local community. They don't seem to have that
11 163 THE CHAIRPERSON: Where would you see
12 those windows being, given the sort of nature of
13 television today and how the programming is laid out
14 through the schedule through the week and on the
15 weekends, which largely is national audience
16 programming through prime time in the evenings? How do
17 your members see that in terms of where they would want
18 to get access?
19 164 MS VARNER: Well, I think that's
20 really a question for the independent producers.
21 However, what has been suggested to us is that access
22 to prime viewing hours, say, a one-hour block on
23 Saturday evening or on a regular basis would be
24 something that they would be most interested in
1 165 THE CHAIRPERSON: And is it your or
2 their perception that there are local regional time
3 slots, either through the week or on the weekends, now
4 that they simply aren't able to get access to, or is
5 this something that we, through the regulator, working
6 with the broadcasters or again, through regulation or
7 whatever, would this be sort of a new slot, if you
8 will, that regional producers would get access to?
9 166 MS VARNER: I think we see it
10 nationally with "Witness". I think that's an excellent
11 program the CBC does which independent producers can
12 access on a regular basis. Locally, we don't have the
13 same type of window.
14 167 I don't really have a suggestion for
15 you at this time as to where I would think it would fit
16 in a prime time program schedule. I think that's
17 something that really is better negotiated between the
18 independent producers and the broadcasters. However, I
19 do raise it as an issue. It is something that is of
20 concern to the independent production community, in
21 particular, the documentary area.
22 168 THE CHAIRPERSON: The reason I'm
23 focusing on this -- I guess it's their view that there
24 is not a window there at all that they can get access
1 169 MS VARNER: Yes.
2 170 THE CHAIRPERSON: Not that there is a
3 window and they simply don't have access, that there in
4 fact is no window.
5 171 MS VARNER: That there is, in fact,
6 not a window.
7 172 THE CHAIRPERSON: There is no local
8 window or regional window. And it would be your view,
9 representing them, that that's something that should be
11 173 MS VARNER: Well, I represent the
12 province, first of all, not the independent production
13 community. However, this has been an issue that was
14 raised to us simply because we tried to facilitate
15 connections between the broadcasters and the producers
16 and have done so in a series of meetings that we have
17 provided opportunity for the independent production
18 community to get together with some of the specialty
19 services and the conventional stations to talk about
20 how they can better access licences. But basically,
21 the perception that is there -- and I should think it's
22 a reality from the producer's perspective -- is that
23 there is not a window locally for them to access.
24 174 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Along
25 those lines, I understand your position. Have you
1 heard any suggestions as to what incentives could be
2 put in place or discussed with broadcasters for their
3 side to encourage them to create such a window?
4 175 MS VARNER: No.
5 176 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: If I could
6 go on to something else, maybe we will come back to
7 that because I think that's one of the issues that
8 we're looking at in the Public Notice as well is
9 looking at what other new forms of funding, what other
10 incentives, what other ways we could have where
11 broadcasters would be encouraged to help promote --
12 that's certainly one of the words we use in the Public
13 Notice -- the Canadian product, be it local product or
14 national product.
15 177 And one of the dilemmas -- David was
16 underlining the challenge to both produce programming
17 which is locally enriching and viable and reflects
18 local interests as well as national interests, which
19 brings me to the international component. Do you have
20 any comments or suggestions on what we should be
21 looking at in terms of encouraging export of Canadian
22 product, which is another vehicle for production
24 178 MS VARNER: Well, I think that we
25 have a remarkable success story in this region with
1 global exports. There's no question. "Theodore
2 Tugboat" has been sold in 64 countries, as has "The Pit
3 Pony". We have the "Lexx", as I said, shooting on the
4 waterfront. Those are exceptional opportunities, but
5 they all come with an awful lot of work on behalf of
6 the independent production community to get out and
7 actually sell it. I think the broadcasters obviously
8 have -- I think there is some opportunity anyway with
9 them in terms of their contacts outside of the region
10 to perhaps facilitate better distribution or global
11 distribution. How that would work I have no framework
12 for you -- to provide you today.
13 179 However, I think our role, from a
14 provincial perspective, is really to try to match
15 production communities. I think our success in Berlin-
16 Brandenburg really shows that it does work. You know,
17 using the connections that we have -- using the
18 resources that are behind us to provide a connection
19 globally has certainly, I think, from the independent
20 production perspective, given them a whole new
21 opportunity to market globally.
22 180 We know that, out of the trade
23 mission, we have now four complete deals. We have two
24 export sales out of it. People want Canadian content.
25 They do -- good Canadian content. Any Canadian content
1 is really a story. It's a story being told, and I
2 think that our producers do very well. We do provide
3 "Emily of New Moon", "Black Harbour", all very saleable
4 in the global market.
5 181 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I just
6 wanted to ask another question on the area of
7 multimedia which you mentioned. You said it's
8 increasing as a form of production. Just to what point
9 is it becoming an activity here with producers?
10 182 MS VARNER: Last year, we estimated
11 the projects that we were involved in to be in the
12 neighbourhood of about $1 million. We anticipate the
13 growth to double on an annual basis for the next two
15 183 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Do you
16 foresee or see that producers and multimedia are going
17 to face some of the same issues of access to markets?
18 184 MS VARNER: I think they do every
19 day. They have a real struggle in terms of development
20 in particular. I think development has been an area
21 that we have looked at. You know, we tried to use the
22 film "Video Model" for them, and it certainly is not as
23 effective. There's far more work in the development
24 stage of multimedia project than perhaps in the area of
25 film and video at the moment.
1 185 So, we have recognized that and have
2 fine-tuned our programs to try and help them through
3 the stage of development to the point of production.
4 But they are going to have difficulty with access to
5 market. There's an awful lot of people out there, and
6 I think it's so new that perhaps there's a bit of
7 reluctance on the other end too.
8 186 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned -- I
9 was trying to jot down various comments that you made
10 and I may not have written this down correctly, but you
11 were concerned about the effect of centralization on
12 the local industry.
13 187 MS VARNER: Yes.
14 188 THE CHAIRPERSON: I wonder if you
15 might comment on that.
16 189 MS VARNER: Well, our labour-based
17 tax credit, as you well know, has been extremely
18 successful in this market -- spring -- you know, $86.8
19 million in production in the last 15 months. It is a
20 labour-based tax credit. In essence, the province's
21 mandate under NSFDC is really to stimulate employment
22 and growth and investment.
23 190 As I said, that is going to continue
24 to be our interest. What I would, I guess, partially
25 fear is the fact that with centralization we won't have
1 as much access to market as we would hope, and I would
2 hate to see any kind of mandate change affect the
3 independent production sector here in terms of its
4 ability to grow and for our ability to create jobs.
5 191 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you be more
6 specific? I guess I'm thinking back to my comments
7 earlier about the struggle that you have with -- or
8 that we have -- we collectively have, with respect to,
9 on the one hand, having the financial resources and the
10 audience to be able to support programs being available
11 nationally versus a bunch of small local operations
12 that may not be able to provide that kind of economy of
13 scale, if you will.
14 192 MS VARNER: Yes, but the public
15 policy objectives, if you look at those and the fact
16 that really Canadian programming is to reflect
17 Canadians on television, obviously this region,
18 particularly Nova Scotia, but the entire Atlantic
19 Region needs a voice nationally.
20 193 THE CHAIRPERSON: H'm.
21 194 MS VARNER: I think you get -- nobody
22 knows their community like the people who live in it.
23 And I think that one of the great fears is that the
24 decentralization could indeed result in broadcasters
25 not looking to the regions, as much as they do now, for
2 195 THE CHAIRPERSON: I take your point,
3 and I guess that's the struggle. I know, having been
4 from here and having had some involvement in this
5 business over the years, that the film business here
6 really didn't start to take off until, in the
7 particular case of a couple of the programs at least,
8 you know, Bill Donovan, who was a Regional Director for
9 the CBC here, was able to convince the CBC network
10 folks in Toronto to put some of the programs like
11 "Codco" and "This Hour" on the network as opposed to
12 those being simply available in the region.
13 196 And that's my struggle -- about how
14 best do we draw that balance between those things
15 becoming successful because they were able to get on
16 the network and not just be available as a reflection
17 within the region, but in fact, to take ideas,
18 concepts, programs that come from this region, in fact,
19 make them available to the entire country.
20 197 MS VARNER: I think there has to be a
21 balance of both regional and national objectives.
22 There has to be, and I think, if you look at the way
23 Baton/CTV has set up its independent production
24 management team here in the Atlantic Region, that's
25 really promising. I think that kind of involvement by
1 broadcasters is going to be increasingly important as
2 they do centralize. I would just hate the region to
3 lose its voice now that it's finally, you know, got a
4 very, very active production community -- to lose its
5 voice nationally or even regionally.
6 198 THE CHAIRPERSON: So, your point is
7 that you don't have a problem, I take it, with the sort
8 of national networks or station groups like Baton or
9 Global, CBC, whatever, but that there be some decision-
10 making in the region?
11 199 MS VARNER: Correct.
12 200 THE CHAIRPERSON: Influence on
13 production and access of that production to either the
14 local stations or the national service?
15 201 MS VARNER: Yes.
16 202 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
17 203 Anything else?
18 204 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Just a
19 quick -- any observations on digital technologies and
20 how they are going to impact on production here? I'm
21 not up to speed on how all the new developments are in
22 terms of the studios and all the exciting work going
23 on, but are the upcoming changes in digital production
24 and digital exhibition affecting you yet?
25 205 MS VARNER: We haven't seen too much
1 of that at this point. I think, you know, we have
2 certainly put a lot of investment in sound stages and
3 infrastructure for the production community to grow.
4 There are some activities with respect to film school
5 that may indeed include a digital component. But
6 really, as far as it's affecting the production
7 community at this point, I'm really not aware of any
8 new developments at this time.
9 206 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay.
10 Thank you.
11 207 MS VARNER: Okay.
12 208 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. We
13 appreciate your comments today.
14 209 MS VARNER: Okay. Thank you.
15 210 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Rodger.
16 211 MR. RODGER: Thank you. The next on
17 the list is Peter d'Entremont.
18 212 We have one additional presenter
19 today: Cary Murphy.
22 213 MR. MURPHY: Goodday. Hi, I'm Cary
23 Murphy. I'm the Executive Director of a society called
24 the Impulse and Problem Gambler Society.
25 214 We run an outreach centre in Halifax.
1 It's a 24-hour operation, and when we first started, we
2 thought we would just deal with problem gamblers. We
3 have come to find that there was a lot of cross-over
4 addictions and what have you, so that we were dealing
5 with other addicted people.
6 215 We went to the CBC and ATV and
7 decided to put a show on Channel 10 -- or put a show on
8 TV, if we could, about addictions, but not the
9 downside, not the "Oprah" not the "Jerry Springer"
10 shows, but we ended up doing a show called "Addictions
11 and Problem Behaviours: Road to Recovery". We wanted
12 to show people who were suffering from these addictions
13 and problem behaviours that there was a way to turn it
14 around. Now, the response from the CBC and other local
15 area producers was just: no, thank you. Don't bother
17 216 We had talked to Channel 10 at that
18 point, and they didn't want to play it. They wanted to
19 do a show with a live audience and someone behind the
20 screen -- the whole concept was against what we were
21 trying to do, which was to show people who were
22 suffering that this was a way you could turn your lives
23 around. The concept of the show was to bring on a
24 recovering person who had turned their life around,
25 bring on a therapist to talk about the problems and
1 bring on somebody from the community who could tell you
2 where to go to find help.
3 217 Basically, having that said, Channel
4 10 recanted and allowed us to do the show. I brought a
5 tape with me but there's no facility to show it. So, I
6 will just leave it there. But basically, they have
7 asked us to do another 15 shows because it went so
8 well, because of the way this show went off. But I
9 feel it's something that -- regional content in Nova
10 Scotia is very poor to start with, and you were talking
11 about the cost a little earlier -- the same thing you
12 were saying. This show doesn't cost very much. These
13 are not stars we're bringing in. These are people
14 where the show could be shot very, very reasonably.
15 And no one wants to even look at that or entertain the
17 218 So for someone like myself, I think
18 there has to be some moral conscience to the stations.
19 For example, give us your dead air time. Give us 2:00
20 in the morning so someone who has a problem with
21 addictions could be watching that show, on a re-run
22 basis, where you wouldn't be interfering with your
23 prime time, but once they turn the TV off and the
24 station is over, there's no way for us to access that
25 air time. We just feel that it's a necessity.
1 219 We have had to go on -- for example,
2 even with Channel 10, we had to pay for the production
3 ourselves and we are a non-profit charitable
4 organization. It cost me $600 for set design; it cost
5 me $1200 to send it across the province so that it
6 could be province-wide. And I just feel that because
7 cable now does not have a mandate to be for the
8 community anymore -- they are now called the view and
9 they have a different concept and, I guess, a different
10 approach to things. The community-based programming is
11 not there anymore.
12 220 So I have nowhere to put a show like
13 this on the air, other than Channel 10, and that took
14 too much negotiations and too, cost to our society,
15 which is non-profit. Now, we have had sponsorship from
16 Oland's Brewery, Nova Scotia Alcohol and Gaming
17 Authority, the Department of Health, and they think
18 this is a wonderful idea. As for getting sponsorship
19 to shoot a show, we could subsidize most of the cost of
20 the show if one of the producers wanted to take it on.
21 The problem is no one even entertains us.
22 221 So, I'm sitting here thinking to
23 myself, here's a show touching people from all
24 different gambling, alcohol, cocaine, different
25 addictions, and nobody wants to entertain the idea on a
1 regional basis, let alone national.
2 222 And that's what I came down to
3 express. Thank you.
4 223 THE CHAIRPERSON: I'm curious about
5 your comments with respect to the community-based
6 programming on Channel 10, the community channel.
7 Perhaps I'm misunderstanding what you said. They have
8 carried the program?
9 224 MR. MURPHY: They basically shot six
10 episodes, and it will be shown in October. But I had
11 to pay for certain -- I understand that across the
12 province, we would have to pay "X" amount of dollars to
13 have it redubbed to send out throughout the region. We
14 understood that going in, but even for the set design,
15 we had to pay for in Halifax. And the reason, they
16 were saying, is that they didn't want to do the show at
17 first because they changed their mandate.
18 225 Our mission statement has changed
19 from what it used to be. They are no longer community
20 functioning where, you know, anybody can go on and do a
21 talk show sort of thing. They wanted to do other
22 functions, and I understood that. But they relented.
23 I thank them for that. They at least allowed us to do
24 the show. But because it went so well, they have asked
25 me to do between 12 and 15 more episodes. But I think
1 it's something that could very easily be done by
2 independent producers or what have you. And there are
3 time slots for shows like this that don't cost very
4 much money, that could get government support, are not
5 even questioned or looked at. And that's where, I
6 think I'm having the dilemma.
7 226 THE CHAIRPERSON: So what did you
8 understand the comment to mean when they talked about
9 this community-based programming is not going to be
10 there anymore, that they weren't going to do that?
11 227 MR. MURPHY: Well basically, I wasn't
12 really sure what they meant by that. I think what they
13 were trying to get away from was the talk-show type
14 show, where you brought on somebody from the community
15 who was maybe working in the area, doing things, and
16 you would have different people on who -- and basically
17 just a talk show, where you had one of their guests
18 which were the guests. And they didn't want to do that
20 228 So where I was willing to pay, with
21 our society, for the format, they were willing to try
22 it. But they haven't given us any -- we even had to
23 pay for the tapes. We paid $65 for the tapes. I mean,
24 I just don't understand what the community-based
25 channel is anymore. I'm not sure, but at least they
1 were there and we could at least pay for the time. On
2 the other networks, we couldn't even get in to talk to
4 229 THE CHAIRPERSON: So it's your
5 understanding that they intend probably to do community
6 programming but not that particular format?
7 230 MR. MURPHY: Right.
8 231 THE CHAIRPERSON: I see. Okay.
9 232 And you mentioned that you had tried
10 to get access to the other over-the-air television
11 stations. You have approached them all: ATV, Global
12 and CBC?
13 233 MR. MURPHY: I sent letters off and
14 talked to various people. Basically what it comes down
15 to -- the response they returned back to me was simply:
16 if it's a Nova Scotia idea, don't bother with it; if it
17 comes from Toronto, great. Otherwise, you know, with
18 me and no experience in the field or anything like
19 that, they didn't want to have a meeting with me.
20 234 So now, I have a product that I think
21 is very good, and I think the people at Channel 10
22 think it's very good. But again, I have no idea who I
23 would approach with that, how I would talk to someone,
24 where we would go with that because I think, if you
25 look at what's happening in gambling alone in North
1 America right now -- it's the fifth largest industry in
2 Canada, and there are people who are hurting all over
3 the place with that, plus alcohol, plus other
4 addictions. And there is no show that isn't like
5 "Jerry Springer."
6 235 We have had so much American content,
7 we have been talking about that. We have to have some
8 kind of a show where we have to make people look silly
9 and not address the real issues, and anybody who wants
10 to do a show -- you know, like, they expect me to put
11 these people behind a screen. Well, these people have
12 recovered and they are willing to stand up and say
13 their whole names and what they are doing and how they
14 have turned their life around. So we don't want this
15 to be a "Jerry Springer" show. That wasn't the
16 concept, but that is what everybody is looking for.
17 236 THE CHAIRPERSON: Since you have now
18 been able to package the show, have you gone back to
19 them and shown them the sort of thing you can do?
20 237 MR. MURPHY: No, we only started two
21 weeks ago, and we just got our first copies ourselves
22 last week. We haven't talked to them, but I really
23 don't know who to talk to. Basically, the response has
24 been so poor from the first round that I'm not really
25 sure I'd want to go back. And it's something where I
1 think, if I don't do it -- it's the type of show that
2 should be done in general because it doesn't cost a lot
3 of money.
4 238 We talk about drama in Canada. We
5 talk about a lot of this, but there's no real regional
6 shows that talk about the issues of what's happening
7 right here in Halifax, Dartmouth, in Cape Breton,
8 whatever. There's no show about those issues other
9 than news, and everything we get either comes from the
10 States or Upper Canada on what's happening in Canada.
11 239 There's very little regional show
12 that isn't a drama. Like "Black Harbour", it's a
13 wonderful show but there's no real show that's there
14 about the region. And that's what I think we're
15 missing here more than anything else. And this would
16 give us that -- not just from that point of view, but
17 there are other shows that could be done along those
19 240 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, I thank you,
20 Mr. Murphy, for your presentation here this afternoon.
21 I know there's a few representatives sitting in the
22 back row here from several of the local stations. I
23 don't know whether they might want to talk to you now
24 that you have the videotape in your pocket here today
25 or not. We'll just leave it at that.
1 241 MR. MURPHY: Thank you very much.
2 242 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very
4 243 Mr. Rodger.
5 244 MR. RODGER: Thank you. I think that
6 completes the agenda, unless there's anybody else in
7 the audience that wants to make a presentation.
8 245 THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. O'Halloran.
9 You're getting a second crack here.
12 246 MR. O'HALLORAN: Yes. I figured I
13 would leave this to the end.
14 247 Correct me if I'm wrong: the CRTC
15 does not have any control over commercialling, just
16 television shows?
17 248 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, strictly
18 speaking, we don't regulate the content of commercials
19 themselves, except -- I mean, broadly speaking, I think
20 they have to be within certain parameters in terms of
21 good taste and so on. But I would probably defer to
22 our lawyer here in terms of the details of the
23 Regulations, which I don't have off the top of my head.
24 But strictly speaking, we don't regulate the content of
1 249 MR. O'HALLORAN: Okay. This comes
2 back again to the closed captioning. At my home right
3 now, I have the Election Act from the Government of
4 Canada and the majority of the provinces. I'm missing
5 probably two or three provinces. This March 24th, we
6 had a provincial election. My wife, Nancy, finally was
7 saying -- got into a bit of an upset -- was saying to
8 me: what are these politicians saying? None of the
9 political commercials are closed-captioned.
10 250 In the Nova Scotia Election Act, it
11 is not mandatory for political advertisements that have
12 any vocal content to be closed-captioned. The
13 the Election Act, it also states
14 that there is broadcasting time and broadcasters must
15 provide this time, but nothing is mentioned about
16 closed-captioning. The Province of Quebec also;
17 nothing is mentioned about closed-captioning.
18 251 Why doesn't the CRTC make it
19 mandatory that any political commercial that has vocal
20 content must be closed-captioned for the deaf and hard
21 of hearing so that these people, these taxpayers, these
22 voters will understand what the political parties are
23 saying, and also, any debates must be closed-captioned
24 so that the deaf community will be able to understand
25 what is being said?
1 252 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think you have
2 raised an excellent point, Mr. O'Halloran. We will
3 take note of that and see what we can do to -- I think
4 you have raised an important issue, and whether or not
5 we can put in place a direct Regulation or perhaps have
6 some moral suasion over those folks, both in Ottawa and
7 perhaps in the provinces, who are dealing with the
8 election acts, to overcome that problem.
9 253 Before I go back to you though, I
10 don't want to sort of monopolize too much of the time
11 here. I know there are other people here who are here
12 as observers, some from the industry itself, and I just
13 want to provide an opportunity for anybody else in the
14 room who may want to make a comment -- who we have not
15 already heard from, to do so if they wish.
16 254 I just want to say, before I turn to
17 Mr. Holt here, that we are not here to interrogate
18 anybody. If anybody just has any views they would like
19 to express on the issue, feel free to do so.
20 255 And if you're here and you have any
21 comments or any issues have occurred to you today that
22 perhaps you don't want to raise with us orally here
23 today, you're certainly welcome to provide your
24 comments to the Commission in writing.
25 256 We are having this proceeding this
1 fall to deal with the whole issue of our regulation of
2 Canadian television, and any written submissions can be
3 provided to the Commission by the end of June.
4 257 So again, I just want to provide this
5 opportunity. If anybody else has any comments,
6 certainly, feel free to do so. So you may want to
7 think about that for a minute. In the meantime, I will
8 turn to Mr. Holt.
11 258 MR. HOLT: My name is Ralph Holt.
12 I'm with Telefilm Canada in the Atlantic Office.
13 259 Just listening to your exchange with
14 Anne-Marie Varner, I just would like to sort of
15 reinforce the development that has been going on here
16 by saying that as well as the NSFDC, we now have
17 provincial film agencies in Newfoundland, New Brunswick
18 and a very active investment environment in Prince
19 Edward Island at the moment. So the region is
20 definitely burgeoning right across the entire Atlantic
22 260 I guess the next point I would like
23 to make is with regard to the national versus regional
24 discussion that you're having with Anne-Marie. It
25 strikes me that most producers in the industry would
1 like to see the window on a national stage, that they
2 really are looking for the opportunity to have their
3 product or their voices heard from coast to coast, and
4 that I guess judicious regulatory requirements are
5 probably not out of order in trying to achieve those
6 kind of things. I think that's what most of the
7 producers have been telling me over the years.
8 261 With regard to the resources in the
9 system, it seems to me we have seen a lot of changes
10 over the last few years. You know, we have seen a
11 large number of new broadcast outlets coming on the
12 scene with the specialty channels. And they have been
13 very active in commissioning work within this region,
14 and it has been very nice to see them coming along so
16 262 We have seen the provincial
17 governments stimulating or providing resources for
18 production in significant amounts and, at the same
19 time, while we are seeing stronger and stronger
20 broadcast groups, in fact, the licences, on average,
21 have declined over the last five years. So I think
22 that's an area of investigation that you should
24 263 With regard to local programming, I
25 have certainly seen over the years a lot of initiative
1 from the part of the local broadcasters and, in
2 conjunction with provincial agencies and Telefilm, with
3 very, very small amounts of money supporting small
4 emerging production companies, documentarians who are
5 always working at a small budget level and achieving
6 quite a bit. And I think that generally, as long as we
7 can continue to do that, we will probably be feeding
8 another generation of producers.
9 264 I think those are sort of the big
10 observations, other than to say that, at Telefilm this
11 year, and with the financing of production from coast
12 to coast, there was quite a bit of furore about the
13 processing of applications, et cetera, et cetera. But
14 I think the one point that must be made is that one of
15 the reasons this all happened was there was a
16 phenomenal number of applications coming forward. The
17 broadcasters, the producers were bringing forth many
18 more project proposals than we had ever seen in the
19 system before, and I think that's also a very, very
20 sort of interesting thing to watch. There's no
21 shortage of good stuff coming down the pike.
22 265 THE CHAIRPERSON: You're feeling
23 compelled to defend...
24 --- Laughter/Rires
25 266 THE CHAIRPERSON: While I take your
1 point, with respect to the local programming, when you
2 say, as long as we can continue to do that -- to be
3 sort of, I guess, at the developmental stage with some
4 of these smaller budget programs, with perhaps some of
5 the newer independent producers, do you think, based on
6 your experience and what you have seen in terms of
7 trends in the industry that that's a particular concern
8 that, in fact, that sort of local programming and
9 access to the local markets, if you will, is somewhat
11 267 MR. HOLT: Yes, to some degree,
12 because the financing model is -- there's always
13 multiple partners in financing. I think some
14 flexibility has been withdrawn from local stations to
15 commission work to partner with other traditional
16 financing sources like Telefilm, and that has put a
17 crimp in some of the flexibility local broadcasters
18 have had in helping young producers get their projects
19 financed, since there is no single broadcaster who can
20 generally afford to do it all.
21 268 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, would you
22 have a view then as to how best one would deal with
23 that issue from a regulatory point of view?
24 269 MR. HOLT: Well, it's probably a
25 comment on the overall situation. As far as the
1 regulatory environment that, I guess, is your chief
2 concern, probably the requirement of national
3 broadcasts to ensure that adequate levels of local
4 production were happening. But I think if there were a
5 priority to be placed, it would be in ensuring that
6 every part of the country was getting into the national
8 270 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay.
9 271 Joan.
10 272 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: You made
11 the comment on the declining licence fees or something
12 -- do you want to expand on that a little bit, just --
13 what impact that has had?
14 273 MR. HOLT: I think with the growth of
15 the numbers of productions going on, even with the
16 expansion of funds available through the CTCPF, through
17 provincial sources and the other financing sources,
18 there still seems to be the missing piece, the gap that
19 has, almost in proportion to those declining licences,
20 that even with licence fee top-up, producers still feel
21 there are gaps.
22 274 These have been met, to a great
23 degree, through minimum guarantees from large
24 distributors. I think, in some cases, these large
25 distributors are even finding it difficult to assure
1 themselves that that money is in the foreign
2 marketplace on a speculative basis.
3 275 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you,
4 Mr. Holt.
5 276 Anybody else have a chance to think
6 about any comments you might want to make?
7 277 Any of the folks from some of the
8 local television stations want to make any comment one
9 way or another? No? Save it for the fall.
12 278 MS TURLIUK: I'll say a thing or two.
13 279 THE CHAIRPERSON: Sure, if you would
14 just come to a microphone.
15 280 MS TURLIUK: I would like to actually
16 submit something.
17 281 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before you get
18 going, could you just provide your name and area.
19 282 MS TURLIUK: My name is Trish
20 Turliuk. I come from Wolfville, Nova Scotia. I'm a
21 biology grad student there, studying for my Masters'
23 283 I come from a population of people
24 and a community of people, the majority of which
25 disregards television as an entertainment device and as
1 a source of information. I'm just going to go briefly
2 over the reasons why that is.
3 284 The first is that it's driven by
4 commercials that coerce us to consume, and the goal of
5 which is for me and everyone who watches to consume
6 more of product "X" and sometimes over product "Y" so
7 that some megacorporation may make more profits.
8 285 Yet, I have learned, in my education,
9 that it's not sustainable to consume and consume, and I
10 feel a violation of my mental environment by
11 commercials. And since TV is run by advertisements
12 telling me to consume, I think, why should I watch it?
13 I know it's full of crap.
14 286 The second reason is that it targets
15 a mass market which has the indirect effect of
16 homogenizing culture and perpetuating false stereotypes
17 and thereby leaving little room for anything different.
18 287 The third reason is because I don't
19 wish to desensitize myself any further to violence or
20 acts of hate, and it troubles me to even consider that
21 violence forms some form of entertainment. It disturbs
23 288 And then, the next reason is that the
24 majority of television that I see operates on a top-
25 down basis, with few avenues for feedback or
1 participation. So if I can't participate in this form
2 of media, I will go to another form of media which I
3 can participate in, which is the Internet. Television
4 will soon link up with Internet. I don't know where
5 that will lead.
6 289 And then, the final reason which I
7 will bring up here is -- well actually, no, there are
8 two more reasons -- that in terms of entertainment, the
9 stories that are depicted are formulaic. They follow
10 formulas and they are so predictable and they are the
11 same old drivel and I'm tired of it. There are more
12 stories to be had out there that are not predictable,
13 that are more like real life. And I will use "Black
14 Harbour" as an example for that. It's a lovely show.
15 I agree. I watched it for the first two months or so,
16 thinking, yes, this is great. And then, it's just the
17 same old thing. It's just like a story from Hollywood,
18 it seems, you know, soap opera style.
19 290 And then, the last reason is the way
20 the information regarding politics intangibly moves
21 across the screen, promoting national leader superstars
22 and all the one-dimensionality that goes along with it.
23 291 And the rest I will submit in
25 292 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. We
1 appreciate your comments.
2 293 I'm curious, when you talked about
3 television being -- I forget the exact word you used.
4 It was your second point about homogenization, I guess,
5 about this kind of melting pot, that programming is
6 directed to mass audiences and so on.
7 294 What about your perspective on what
8 is characterized as the specialty channels, which often
9 are designed to focus on a particular interest and
10 serve what is generally characterized as niche markets?
11 Doesn't that get away from your concern about mass
13 295 MS TURLIUK: True, but they are
14 beyond my reach in terms of finance. I'm not going to
15 pay for it. I don't have cable now. I have three
16 channels, and -- no, I don't think I would pay for it.
17 Well right now, the only alternative -- I must take a
18 step back here because when I first heard about the new
19 added specialty channels, I would love to get the
20 Discovery Channel, but the option that I had through my
21 cable company was get all this other crap and then you
22 get the one channel that you want. And you know, I
23 have to pay for all the schlock that comes along with
24 it. If I could pay $4 a month, say, for one channel, I
25 would be happy doing that.
1 296 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned also
2 the issue about the Internet and the inability to
3 interact or relate back with the program.
4 297 What is your sense about younger
5 people who perhaps have grown up more with computers
6 and the Internet even though the Internet is pretty
7 new, in terms of sharing your view about this whole
8 question of being able to interact with media and, in
9 particular, the technology of the Internet, in the
10 sense of drawing them away from television and that
11 form of entertainment or news and information?
12 298 MS TURLIUK: It's hard to encapsulate
13 a response to that answer quite simply, but I'll just
14 take a shot at it. I mean, the young people of today
15 see sort of a seamless media through their computer
16 screens, that radio mixes with newspapers, mixes with
17 television and that the beauty of it is that you can
18 connect them and that you can cooperate and together
19 form a new form of media. There are lots of
20 opportunities there for connections.
21 299 THE CHAIRPERSON: You mentioned you
22 went to Acadia?
23 300 MS TURLIUK: I do. I attend Acadia,
25 301 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so, there's the
1 computer program there, where most if not all of the
2 students are --
3 302 MS TURLIUK: I'm in the graduate
4 program and it's actually beyond me. I attended Acadia
5 as an undergraduate prior to the "Acadia Advantage." I
6 didn't need a laptop to get an education through the
7 Internet. It was text-based. I did a lot of research
8 through that on my own, not connected with "Acadia
9 Advantage" whatsoever.
10 303 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes. I was just
11 meaning though that, in the sense that a lot of young
12 people either through things like the "Acadia
13 Advantage" or whatever are using computers. And just
14 getting back to -- is it your sense that many young
15 people would share your views about the issue of the
17 304 MS TURLIUK: I wouldn't say all of my
18 views, no, but as an alternative, if we don't like what
19 we see on television in terms of participation, that it
20 doesn't provide an avenue for feedback, yes.
21 305 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: That's an
22 interesting point. Is it the opportunity for feedback
23 which you find so important about the Internet?
24 306 MS TURLIUK: Absolutely. Absolutely.
25 307 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: What I
1 would like to ask you about the Internet is: in what
2 you have been seeing, using it for interacting, are you
3 in any way concerned that it would repeat the same crap
4 level that you described for television programming?
5 308 MS TURLIUK: I am concerned about
6 that, and I think that I would prefer to address that
7 in written form than here today.
8 309 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay.
9 That's great because there may be some suggestions you
10 would have, because television certainly -- and what is
11 there, with or without interactivity, is a major
12 influence on our society, as you have described. And
13 so, any suggestions you would have, I think you are
14 probably up to date on violence and the work being done
15 in terms of violence, at least awareness of what
16 television violence is about, and I understand you to
17 say you're looking for greater diversity, which is one
18 of the issues that we're addressing. So any of your
19 comments and suggestions would be most welcome.
20 310 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very
22 311 MS TURLIUK: Sure.
2 312 MR. ELGIE: Thank you.
3 313 I'm Mike Elgie from ATV, and I just
4 wanted to respond to a couple of the comments from
5 Nancy, Mike, Peggy and Dave, with regard to captioning,
6 specifically on our programs, our local news programs,
7 and just give assurances that through the next year,
8 the gaps that do exist in captioning on the local news
9 programs will be filled in and that all Baton stations
10 will have all captioning done on the local news
12 314 That's all.
13 315 THE CHAIRPERSON: Can I just ask
14 before you escape?
15 316 MR. ELGIE: Escape? I'm not...
16 --- Laughter/Rires
17 317 THE CHAIRPERSON: No, I just saw you
18 sort of moving away from the table.
19 318 When you say "fill in the gaps,"
20 because we have often heard before -- and I don't mean
21 this as a criticism -- that part of the problem with
22 doing news is, when you do cut away to the newsclip,
23 like the plane crash at Mirabel, when you go to the
24 site and there's somebody reporting from the field,
25 that it's difficult, if not impossible, to do that sort
1 of thing fairly quickly. I'm just wondering, when you
2 say, fill in the gaps, does that include --
3 319 MR. ELGIE: Yes, those are the gaps.
4 I mean, right now, the captioning that is being fed
5 from the station is basically our teleprompter feed to
6 our anchors so that when we do throw to a live-in-the-
7 field or a report story, captioning isn't provided. So
8 real-time captioning will be in place over the next
9 year to fill in those gaps.
10 320 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. Thank you
11 very much.
12 321 Go ahead, sir.
15 322 MR. GERARD: Hello. My name is
16 Philip Gerard and my wife Sheila Zebrig is here with me
18 323 We're just Joe and Jane Q. Public.
19 We weren't even really aware of this consultation until
20 quite recently. We're not stakeholders. We haven't
21 followed this all that much, but we do have -- we came
22 really partly out of curiosity and partly out of
23 concern, I guess, to see that the level of Canadian
24 programming is maintained, even though we don't
25 terribly watch television that much. We listen more to
1 radio but I guess we missed the boat on that one
2 because you have already done your review on that one.
3 324 But just a couple of suggestions and
4 a question as well that we have. We received -- we
5 found out more from this package here since coming
6 today but, previously, we just found out the general
7 questions that you had put forward to try to focus
8 people's participation in this consultation, the list
9 of how important is Canadian television programming to
10 you, and so on.
11 325 I guess it's kind of hard for people
12 to respond to those very general types of questions
13 without knowing what the options are. I mean, you say
14 that you're undertaking a general review of the whole
15 framework of the system, and I think people have to
16 have some sense of what the options are. I mean, you
17 know in a very detailed way all the Regulations that
18 exist and presumably have some idea of what possible
19 options are on the table or kind of in the cards, and I
20 think it would help to have more focused questions for
21 people to be able to participate. In other words,
22 should current level of "X" per cent of Canadian
23 Content programming be increased or decreased, or
24 something like that that gives people a little bit more
25 to focus on.
1 326 When I saw these questions, they
2 reminded me more of the kind of questions that might be
3 said as high school essays, you know. They weren't the
4 thing that is very possible to respond to.
5 327 One specific question that both of us
6 had is whether there's at present any requirement for
7 Canadian content with regard to documentaries, public
8 affairs or news programming? Is there any sort of
9 minimum Canadian content with regard to that specific
10 form of programming?
11 328 THE CHAIRPERSON: Before I answer
12 your question, let me address your earlier -- it's
13 always somewhat difficult when you try to frame the
14 issues, particularly if one wants to get input from the
15 general public and not just -- you mentioned that you
16 weren't a stakeholder. The reason why we're doing
17 these kinds of town halls -- as we are referring to
18 them -- is because we are hoping we won't just hear
19 from the stakeholders. In fact, we'll hear from people
20 like yourself.
21 329 And the difficulty then becomes, if
22 you phrase the questions which either (a) presume that
23 people know the rules, which we don't expect people are
24 necessarily going to know all the rules -- I can't
25 remember all the rules myself without, you know,
1 turning to the specific Regulations and looking them
2 up. And then, there is always the danger that if you
3 get too specific in formulating the questions, then
4 you're not throwing the issue out wide enough, and
5 people will then tend to only focus on those questions
6 and perhaps we are missing some broader issues and
7 broader concerns that the public might have. And so,
8 we deliberately didn't really pose a lot of detailed
10 330 I mean, if you say, well, should we
11 ratchet up prime time from 50 per cent to 80 per cent,
12 then we have a collective heart attack with some of the
13 industry people that are around the table here, I
14 suppose. But really, I guess, what we were trying to
15 get is the views of Canadian people as to whether they
16 think that the television service that they get in
17 Canada, through our licensees and through our
18 Regulations, is serving their needs and providing a
19 service to them that is useful and valuable, whether
20 that's local news and public affairs programming,
21 perhaps documentary programming or maybe more on a
22 national basis, other drama or entertainment
24 331 So as I say, we're curious to know
25 whether you think that those programs are satisfying
1 your needs and what you might perceive as the needs of
2 Canadians in general, and if people can offer some
3 options as to how best, if those needs are not being
4 satisfied, how best we might do that. It doesn't have
5 to be sort of in a detailed way of -- this is the
6 Regulation we think you should put in place but, you
7 know, perhaps more generally, how they could be.
8 332 So it's perhaps more deliberately
9 that we tried to phrase it in a more general way so
10 that people would feel perhaps a little more
11 comfortable about providing a response to those needs.
12 333 Mr. Batstone.
13 334 MR. BATSTONE: I just thought I would
14 add: if you want a more detailed set of questions,
15 they are in the actual document, calling for comments.
16 There are -- it's set out in various sections, and
17 there are questions at the end of each section which
18 the Commission would like participants to address.
19 335 MR. GERARD: Is that the Public
20 Notice 1998-44?
21 336 MR. BATSTONE: -44.
22 337 MR. GERARD: Okay. Can we get that
23 on the Website then?
24 338 MR. BATSTONE: Yes, you can or, in
25 fact, if there's a photocopier I could give you a copy
1 today if you like.
2 339 MR. GERARD: Okay.
3 340 MR. BATSTONE: All right.
4 341 MR. GERARD: I guess I would just say
5 in response to your observation, I suppose the concern
6 that we have is with the decline in funding at the CBC,
7 it seems that a lot of programs, both on -- not so much
8 perhaps on television, really more on radio, that there
9 has been something of a decline in the programming
10 offered by the CBC because of the funding cuts they
11 have had. And I suppose -- I mean, we're not big
12 watchers of non-public television but we wonder, I
13 suppose, if some of this sort of decline in the public
14 broadcast might be offset to some extent by regulation
15 in the private sector of things like documentaries and
16 public affairs programming, and so on.
17 342 That's why I asked that specific
18 question about whether there was any content regulation
19 at the moment or minimum thresholds of time for that
20 type of programming.
21 343 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we don't tend
22 to get into minimum thresholds in particular program
23 categories. Largely, the concern has been getting
24 Canadian program on the system, so 60 per cent over the
25 day and 50 per cent in prime time, and prime time is
1 largely defined as the time period that does include
2 news. So news gets included in that.
3 344 I should say, I think, in terms of
4 trying to encourage broadcasters to sort of reflect the
5 Canadian identity to Canadians, if you will, the
6 biggest struggle has been, as I mentioned earlier, to
7 try and get programming in what has generally been
8 characterized as the under-represented category, which
9 generally has been sort of drama and entertainment
10 programming but mostly drama because it's costly to do
11 good drama.
12 345 And so, our challenge -- I think our
13 collective challenge as a country -- not just as a
14 regulator -- as the broadcaster, as the regulator,
15 people who are producing the programming, people who
16 are providing funding for programs, has been to try and
17 figure out a way that we can do this in a way that we
18 will end up getting enough money into the system to
19 produce good quality drama programs. And so, we
20 haven't largely been focusing on -- other than that, on
21 sort of assigning, if you will, particular blocks of
22 time have to be made available.
23 346 Now, one of the things that has
24 happened, of course, is that with the licensing of the
25 specialty channels, and I guess over the past number of
1 years, we have licensed, I think, in English and
2 French, and if you include in Pay and Pay-per-view, 50
3 some-odd, 54, I think, specialty channels. And many of
4 them, as has been noted earlier, tend to get involved
5 in more of the documentary type programming. As I say,
6 the main focus, I think, has been more in trying to
7 encourage more drama.
8 347 Joan.
9 348 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I think
10 you just got the Public Notice.
11 349 MR. GERARD: Yes, that's it.
12 350 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And you
13 will note that, in fact, you have addressed one of the
14 areas in the Notice, called "Under-represented Program
15 Categories." And in here, you will get a sense of
16 where we want to look at this very question, in fact,
17 and suggestions for how the regulatory framework could
18 continue to focus on increasing the availability of
19 this kind of programming. And so you have hit on one
20 of the areas that, as Commissioner Colville has said,
21 that currently the Commission expects all conventional
22 broadcasters to have appropriate strategies in place.
23 351 And we go on then to say what other
24 suggestions would we have in areas which have generally
25 been the focus of our attention, the categories we call
1 under-represented. Amongst that though is drama and
2 entertainment, which is, as you have said, very costly,
3 but the issue of documentary is addressed here
4 specifically as well.
5 352 MR. RICHARD: Okay. Well, we will
6 read this and perhaps make a written submission. I
7 don't know -- maybe you have a question you want to...
8 353 MS ZEBRIG: The subject of
9 documentaries came up and you have addressed it a
10 little bit. I confess that we tend to just watch
11 mainly the public channel, the CBC, here. So I don't
12 know how much news is on the other channels on a
13 regular basis. We don't watch. We don't know how much
14 is American news reporting and American-based stories.
15 So I guess I'm surprised to hear that that seems to be
16 -- there may be a problem. And is there any Regulation
17 to provide a certain minimum amount of Canadian news
18 content in news reporting?
19 354 This is just a question of complete
20 ignorance on our part. We just don't know if this
21 exists, and it would be interesting to know. It seems
22 a very important issue, but if it's not...
23 355 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, it is, but
24 the Commission doesn't regulate what the source of the
25 news is going to be. I mean, if it happens to be a
1 newsday where there's a lot of news coming from the
2 U.S. or Europe or the Far East or wherever, and that's
3 where the focus of the news that day is going to be, we
4 don't -- and I'm not sure it would be appropriate for a
5 regulator to be telling a television station or a
6 specialty channel where and how much of a certain type
7 of news they should broadcast. I think that's -- in a
8 democratic society, it seems to me that one has to
9 provide the flexibility that you do the news where the
10 news is coming from.
11 356 MS ZEBRIG: It wasn't so much the
12 content of the news but who is producing it.
13 357 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, it doesn't
14 count as Canadian content if it's not being done by the
15 Canadian station. In effect, it's in their interest to
16 do that because it does qualify as Canadian content.
17 358 MS ZEBRIG: Okay. So it's more
18 complex than obviously -- I can see that the general
19 concern is still there. If CBC is able to produce a
20 broader range of news, I don't know. I just think,
21 perhaps it's an important thing to be monitoring, how
22 much news is general news, international --
23 359 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, let me add
24 this too though. I mean, certainly, there is a concern
25 and has been for some time about the relative balance
1 of, let's say, national and international news, which
2 you would perhaps see as the national and the late
3 night CTV or Global news as opposed to -- and that's
4 where you're largely going to see the stories from
5 Washington or New York or wherever the big fire is,
6 somebody referred to earlier, or Europe or wherever --
7 as opposed to the amount of local news and issues that
8 reflect issues of concern to Nova Scotia or New
9 Brunswick or Prince Edward Island or wherever.
10 360 And that is an issue, I think, that
11 has been raised by a number of people and that we are
12 interested in hearing people's views about because
13 there has been a concern raised that, over the past
14 number of years, there has been a move away from doing
15 less local/regional news and perhaps more national
17 361 And if either the structure of the
18 industry or whatever leading us in that direction, then
19 we are interested in hearing what people's views are
20 about that sort of issue. So you may want to think
21 about that and provide comments in writing.
22 362 Thank you very much.
23 363 Anybody else?
24 364 Mr. O'Halloran. Third time up.
2 365 MR. O'HALLORAN: Well, they say three
3 is a lucky number.
4 366 Regarding the gentleman from ATV, the
5 CRTC has sent out a Bulletin that all local news
6 broadcasts must be closed-captioned by September 1st,
7 1998, or at the end of the current licence year. Which
8 is the CRTC going to be following: September 1st, 1998
9 or when ATV's licence comes up for renewal, which I
10 believe is around the year 2000? Basically, my wife
11 and I, do we wait until September 1st and then see what
12 ATV is doing or do we wait until the year --
13 367 THE CHAIRPERSON: My understanding of
14 the comment that was provided was that the newscast
15 would be captioned and that the gaps would be filled
16 in, in terms of the cutaways to the live, on the site
17 interview, or whatever, if you will.
18 368 MR. O'HALLORAN: Yes, that's within
19 the next year, you said?
20 369 MR. ELGIE: Yes.
21 370 MR. O'HALLORAN: September?
22 371 MR. ELGIE: Yes, that starts our new
23 year. September is our new year. Effective September,
24 all of our newscasts will be real-time captioned.
25 372 MR. O'HALLORAN: Real time -- so we
1 won't have to worry about any of those little glitches
2 again, going to Yvonne Colbert and she starts talking
3 about her story, and then, no idea what she's talking
4 about anymore. We will be able to understand
6 373 MR. ELGIE: Yes.
7 374 MR. O'HALLORAN: Okay. That's what I
8 was wondering. Thank you very much.
9 --- Applause/Applaudissements
10 375 THE CHAIRPERSON: Did we capture that
11 on the transcript? I feel like this is an auction --
12 going once...
15 376 MR. MURPHY: I would like to say one
16 more thing. Our shows were not done in closed caption.
17 I don't know what the ruling is on the community
18 channels like Channel 10, but are their shows supposed
19 to be closed-captioned? I don't know what amount there
20 is but I just know that ours wasn't and I didn't think
21 of it myself. So I'm glad I came today.
22 377 THE CHAIRPERSON: Honestly, I don't
23 have the answer for the community channel. I don't
24 know whether it's a requirement. I don't think it is.
25 I mean, we would obviously encourage all broadcasters
1 or programmers to do it, but we recognize that some
2 have the resources to do it perhaps more than others.
3 378 Go ahead.
6 379 MR. SPENCER: I just have one more
7 question. Does CRTC regulate the amount of caption
8 that must be in a program if the program is classed as
9 closed-captioned? I heard that if only four words of
10 an hour is captioned that they can say that this
11 program is closed-captioned.
12 380 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well again, I don't
13 know the details of the Regulation off the top of my
14 head, but it's not my understanding that we regulate
15 the number of words. But we would expect that the
16 entire program would be captioned in order to make it
17 as intelligible for you as it would be for a person who
18 has hearing.
19 381 MR. SPENCER: Okay, thank you very
21 382 MR. O'HALLORAN: Just to help this
22 gentleman out. I have been doing some volunteer work
23 for the Deafness Advocacy Association of Nova Scotia
24 regarding the Election Act. There are no places in
25 Nova Scotia to get programs or commercials captioned.
1 They have to go to Upper Canada, up to Toronto, to get
2 it done. That's what I have been told. There's
3 nothing locally to get things captioned.
4 383 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe there's a
5 business opportunity there for you, Mr. O'Halloran.
6 384 MR. O'HALLORAN: Sorry, I'm retired.
7 --- Laughter/Rires
8 385 THE CHAIRPERSON: Okay. I think I've
9 provided an opportunity for everybody to come forward
10 and comment if they wish to.
11 386 I always say at hearings when people
12 always want to ask us a question that we get paid to
13 ask the questions, not them.
14 --- Laughter/Rires
17 387 MS SHAW: You know, when I was
18 sitting there, I wrote you a little note because I
19 watched a program the other night, called "Comics," and
20 I laughed the whole way through out loud, for half an
21 hour, and it was captioned. The only reason I watched
22 it was because it was captioned, and I thought, this
23 has to be funny -- you know, for me to sit there and
25 388 But I'm so pleased that this has
1 happened and that we have been part of it. It has just
2 been wonderful. We're just thrilled, just delighted.
3 389 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, maybe we
4 should forward --
5 390 MS SHAW: I loved the comments from
6 the young woman from Wolfville and I think that the
7 computer world is going to squeeze into the television
8 world and that the television has to be more important
9 to keep the viewers because it's so exciting this
10 Internet and computer, just so exciting, and you have
11 control. You don't have control on television.
12 Wonderful! Just great! Thank you.
13 391 THE CHAIRPERSON: You may want to
14 forward your note to the particular comic who was on
15 the program at that time to have him realize what an
16 impact he had on you.
17 392 As far as the Internet is concerned,
18 you raise an interesting point because many people
19 argue that it does give the individual viewer or user
20 of the computer or the Internet the control rather than
21 the regulator.
22 393 And I should note, for everybody here
23 who has an interest, that we are also conducting a
24 proceeding this fall to look at the whole issue of new
25 media, the Internet, to try and get a better
1 understanding of it, to try and understand how it's
2 going to impact on our ability to be able to regulate
3 and control existing broadcast services to the extent
4 that it will have an impact on that, and to try and
5 understand to what extent new media itself can be a
6 useful tool to help enhance and promote Canadian
8 394 Whether or not the CRTC can regulate
9 it is really not the issue, it's trying to figure out
10 how best it will serve our needs in the area of culture
11 and entertainment and news and information.
12 395 So I would encourage you to follow
13 and perhaps participate in that proceeding as well.
14 396 I understand Mr. d'Entremont has
16 397 MR. D'ENTREMONT: Yes.
17 398 THE CHAIRPERSON: If you want to find
18 a microphone somewhere around the table there -- oh, I
19 guess there's another gentleman who would like to say a
20 few words as well.
21 399 Please proceed.
24 400 MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you very
25 much. I made a few notes I thought I would read from.
1 My background is 20 years as a filmmaker in this
2 community, both television and film. So after nearly
3 20 years in the business, I have witnessed quite a few
4 changes in the industry. Today, I wanted to briefly
5 outline some things that I feel are positive and worth
6 supporting, and a few things that concern me.
7 401 I don't pretend to be an expert or
8 even suggest that I'm comfortable giving this Committee
9 any advice, but I do feel strongly that at the heart of
10 the television industry, the small independent producer
11 is threatened.
12 402 First the good news: Vision TV has
13 set up a regional office and has hired a representative
14 to encourage local programming. I understand that it's
15 working well. There are over two dozen programs from
16 this region now produced or are being produced because
17 of this investment by Vision TV. In fact, four or five
18 shows will be at this year's Atlantic Film Festival.
19 403 More good news: Baton Broadcasting
20 has recently set up a regional office and have hired a
21 producer to work with the local community. They are
22 operational and they are already making a difference,
23 although they are still a relative newcomer. They have
24 commissioned three or four one-hour documentaries and
25 are involved in other dramatic projects with emerging
1 talent from this area.
2 404 In effect, both Vision TV and Baton
3 Broadcasting are creating the kind of positive
4 environment that local production needs to flourish.
5 So kudos to Vision TV and Baton Broadcasting.
6 405 Now, let's look at some of the trends
7 that are disturbing. First, Vision TV is in danger of
8 being marginalized by virtue of the fact that it's now
9 being placed higher on the dial in some areas of
10 Canada. This will make Vision TV, a worthwhile non-
11 profit public broadcaster, less accessible.
12 406 Second, the National Film Board is
13 losing its relevance to Canadians, and I believe that
14 the CRTC should find a way to encourage the vast NFB
15 Library to be available to Canadians. I don't
16 understand why the CBC, the public broadcaster, doesn't
17 have an NFB strand or why the NFB doesn't have its own
18 channel. It's a national disgrace.
19 407 Third, in today's high pressure, high
20 stakes world of broadcasting and film production, it is
21 often the independent that must suffer the ambition of
22 others. For instance, CBC continues to insist on co-
23 production or co-producer status on projects where the
24 CBC's role is simply a broadcaster. Editorial control
25 and editorial influence are other concerns, especially
1 for regional producers.
2 408 Another example: the National Film
3 Board now requires, as a precondition to their
4 investment, that their producer be paid from the budget
5 item allocated to the independent producer, also -- and
6 here is the interesting part -- that the money paid to
7 the NFB producer remains as a form of NFB equity, in my
8 view, an institutional form of double-dipping.
9 409 I believe that the independent is an
10 essential part of the TV industry, a part that creates
11 exciting and worthwhile programming, a part that must
12 be nourished in order to survive economically and
13 culturally. No one can regulate quality. No one can
14 regulate audience satisfaction, but you can create a
15 more positive environment for growth and prosperity.
16 We need to encourage a better economic climate for the
17 smaller independent producer, with greater
18 opportunities for developing local stories that reflect
19 our sense of place to the world.
20 410 The U.K., for instance, has done a
21 remarkable job. Channel 4 created change overnight by
22 instituting policy which created a positive
23 environment, not for a handful of large companies but
24 for 1,000 small companies.
25 411 Why did they do it? To build a
1 vibrant independent sector in the industry, probably
2 because they wanted to get programming at a reasonable
3 rate -- good quality programming.
4 412 How did they do it? They created
5 standard contracts which outlined the terms of the
6 deal. They also allowed the independent to charge more
7 so that he could build his business. The by-product
8 was a stronger industry, one which has led the way in
9 creating programs that are not only well-placed but
10 also speak to the world.
11 413 After 20 years in this industry, I
12 realize that change doesn't occur overnight, but
13 sometimes I wish that it could. Thank you for the
14 opportunity to express my thoughts today.
15 414 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you
16 very much. I would like just to explore a couple of
17 the points you raised in your presentation and,
18 starting with the kudos that you mentioned for Vision
19 TV and Baton, it's in establishing the local office.
20 Could you give me a little more detail on what
21 specifically the difference has been? What has
23 415 MR. D'ENTREMONT: I think it was a
24 couple of years now that Peter Flemington saw an
25 opportunity in this region, and out west, I think the
1 success was obvious. And he looked to the same model
2 down east. And when he hired a person part-time to be
3 a liaison with this community, overnight there was an
4 opportunity that was created, and that opportunity was
5 to talk to somebody, on a casual basis, that would
6 reflect the type and nature of programming that people
7 here wanted to do. And I think the opportunities just
8 became very obvious to everybody and started to expand
9 from that point onward.
10 416 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: We were
11 having a discussion about this issue earlier in terms
12 of access to local markets. So you have raised a point
13 which we have reviewed.
14 417 But you also raised some other issues
15 about the relationship between the producer and the
16 broadcaster, and if you could just clarify what you
17 would suggest would improve that situation. You used
18 the Channel 4 model, for example, but do you have any
19 other suggestions in that circumstance?
20 418 MR. D'ENTREMONT: Well, I think we
21 are all doing the same thing, you know, and I think we
22 should all get together and perhaps sort of realize
23 that we can all benefit from doing the same thing. It
24 strikes me that every time something is done, it is
25 quite a labour, and if we could simplify that in some
1 way, I think there would be a direct result, not only
2 in the quality of the programming but the efficiency of
3 the business we're all in.
4 419 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: M'hm.
5 420 MR. D'ENTREMONT: And the U.K. sort
6 of strikes me as a model for that, to some degree. I
7 don't know it well enough to speak chapter and verse,
8 but the sense I have is that they looked at their
9 industry and looked at how to grow that industry and
10 came up with some solutions to that, which I think are
11 far-reaching and which were based upon smaller
12 companies being part of the foundation for the growth
13 in that sector. And the primary benefit to that is, I
14 think, quality programming and, I think, some stability
15 within the industry economically. And the level of
16 programming now, I think, is quite high in the U.K. --
17 421 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes.
18 422 MR. D'ENTREMONT: -- in terms of
19 factual programming especially. And I see we are sort
20 of at a watershed area in Canada. We are looking
21 around for some solutions to multi-channel universe and
22 Internet and all this other stuff, but at the end of
23 the day, we still have to have an audience that wants
24 to watch this.
25 423 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Well,
1 that's one of the points that is obviously an important
2 part of this whole review -- is not just access to the
3 screens of this country but promotion of what we have.
4 As you say, we have done extremely well. The quality
5 of production, the amount of production has increased
6 dramatically since years ago, and that's delightful.
7 But if we don't know the programs are available, that's
8 a difficulty now.
9 424 Do you have some suggestions for how
10 the production community, the broadcasting community
11 together could promote Canadian production more
13 425 MR. D'ENTREMONT: Well, I think the
14 first thing is to make the business of making films and
15 television easier, make it more accessible, find ways
16 in which people can realize that they are on the same
17 side of the table and work collectively together. It
18 strikes me the terms of the deal that the U.K. struck,
19 which outlined pretty clearly what the nature of a
20 contract is and what the contractual relationships and
21 what the roles and responsibilities for each party are
22 -- you know, should a broadcaster get into
23 distribution? Should a broadcaster be a co-producer?
24 426 These are a lot of issues, I think,
25 that the U.K. have dealt with. And it strikes me,
1 unless you have those ground rules well established
2 from the very beginning, it becomes very difficult from
3 that point onwards, to have the editorial ability to
4 create the programs that ultimately are required.
5 427 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: M'hm. So
6 it's in that balance. I think that you have raised
7 that specific point about the role of the broadcaster
8 in the program, a broadcaster who, from his or her
9 point of view, has to fill a grid and one that will
10 gain audiences, so that there is a balancing act there
11 in terms of that editorial involvement. Do you have
12 some suggestions there?
13 428 MR. D'ENTREMONT: That's right. I
14 think, ultimately, it's really the audience that you're
15 trying to satisfy, and it seems to me that everybody is
16 becoming a little bit more mature in terms of this
17 industry and, I think, in terms of the audience. I
18 don't know why we have to always fit things into a
19 grid. You know, why can't programs be a little bit
20 longer -- a little bit shorter, you know?
21 429 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But with
22 the arrival of specialty services, we were talking
23 earlier about the demand that they are creating and
24 have created for a variety of different programs. Do
25 you feel that they are fulfilling their role in terms
1 of support of Canadian production?
2 430 MR. D'ENTREMONT: Well, I don't think
3 I could speak to that truly, because my sense is very
4 much that, as a producer of Canadian materials, they
5 have created an opportunity for me. Whether or not
6 they are fulfilling a CRTC Regulation, I'm not too
7 certain of that, but I think they have created an
9 431 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: M'hm. But
10 in terms of the access we, as Canadian viewers, have to
11 the productions of the independent production community
12 -- are you a documentary production or...
13 432 MR. D'ENTREMONT: Primarily
14 documentary --
15 433 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: That's
16 what I thought.
17 434 MR. D'ENTREMONT: -- but drama as
18 well, yes.
19 435 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Surely,
20 that whole 40 or so specialty services in this country
21 do offer an important opportunity, and I'm assuming
22 that that has changed the environment for the future of
23 production in this country, and that you will address
24 that as we go forward.
25 436 MR. D'ENTREMONT: I think it's a very
1 important area of growth, and I think it's an
2 opportunity for all filmmakers.
3 437 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: M'hm.
4 438 MR. D'ENTREMONT: There's an
5 expansion. There's no question of opportunity because
6 of that.
7 439 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER:
9 440 Speaking very objectively of course,
10 I was interested in your comments on the NFB. I'm
11 going to relate that and make a quick jump to the new
12 media world.
13 441 Do you as a filmmaker see the
14 Internet or see new media or access to such as the NFB
15 Library as part of the future, and do you have any
16 suggestions in that regard, what we should be looking
17 at, in terms of promotion, access and production?
18 442 MR. D'ENTREMONT: I don't understand
19 how the Internet works for a filmmaker. I don't
20 understand how we benefit from that. I don't
21 understand how copyright works.
22 443 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: M'hm.
23 444 MR. D'ENTREMONT: I don't understand
24 how culturally we can protect ourselves and how the
25 economics of that create something that I think
1 resonates with the filmmaker or is it totally market-
2 driven and to what degree does that dictate the
3 editorial aspects of the programming on the Internet?
4 Is it the lowest common denominator? Those are my
6 445 I think all those opportunities for
7 delivery are terrific. They're wonderful, but I think
8 we have to rewrite the way in which we do business and
9 rewrite the way in which we try to "regulate."
10 446 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So do you
11 have some areas specifically for the regulator -- some
12 areas we could look into, to approach that environment?
13 447 MR. D'ENTREMONT: I don't think I
14 have any comment on that.
15 448 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Okay.
16 449 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very
17 much, Mr. d'Entremont. Thank you for your comments.
18 450 MR. D'ENTREMONT: Thank you.
19 451 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think there was
20 another gentleman who...
21 452 I'm sorry. I didn't mean to cut you
22 off earlier. I just hadn't noticed you coming to the
2 453 MR. HICKS: No, well, I had just
3 come. My name is Graham Hicks. I live here in
5 454 I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying
6 to say. Several things are going through my mind, but
7 one thing that comes to mind is that I think, that when
8 it comes to Canadian programming, the Canadian content
9 specifically, that it is better to have, we'll say, 10
10 per cent of the time with quality Canadian programming
11 than to have 30 per cent of the time with thrash. I'm
12 not saying it is that way, but I think we have to look
13 at the quality of the programming as well as just the
14 amount of time it takes on the air.
15 455 I don't know if that's something the
16 CRTC can control, but we should be aiming at getting
17 good programming on there, not just something to fill
18 in the required amount of time so that they can spend
19 the rest of the time showing whatever they can get at
20 cheaper prices from the American, British or whoever
21 sources. That's just one idea that comes to mind, and
22 I'm just wondering, what is Canadian content?
23 456 As far as I can tell, it seems that
24 it has to be made here in Canada. But yet, I -- I may
25 be wrong about this, but I'm left with the impression
1 that if an American company or British company,
2 whatever, came here to Nova Scotia and made a program,
3 it would be considered American content because it was
4 being produced by an American manufacturer or producer,
5 even though you may be using Canadian actors, or if
6 it's not drama, other people on the air, announcers,
7 whatever. I would think that there should be some look
8 taken -- forgive me. I better just calm down a minute
10 457 I think you should look at who is in
11 the programming too because if some quality
12 programming, let's say, was made by one of the PBS
13 stations or one of the commercial stations in the
14 States, and you have a number of Canadians in it, there
15 should be some room for that to have some sort of
16 rating as Canadian content of a sort.
17 458 It may not be possible, but it's just
18 an idea that comes to mind because it would seem to me
19 that if, for instance, Robert McNeil, when the McNeil-
20 Lehrer Report was on -- obviously he's a Canadian. I
21 believe he retained his Canadian citizenship. But he
22 produced probably what is considered the best program
23 that was on the air, in terms of news programming, of
24 the sort that he did and probably the only one that was
25 really -- his program still is good. But yet, that, as
1 far as I know, is American content.
2 459 Now, I may be stating things
3 incorrectly, in one sense, but I'm thinking, say, in
4 terms of drama. If they're producing it here in Nova
5 Scotia, through money that comes from either the
6 provincial or federal government, not producers, but
7 yet, it's being made by American programmers, I would
8 hope there would be some way of perhaps giving them
9 half the time. Like, if they produce an hour-long
10 program, then only merit it, say, at half an hour worth
11 of time on the air, because if it's made here -- maybe
12 I'm wrong about all this. Please stop me if I am
13 because I don't want to go on too long about it if I'm
14 totally wrong.
15 460 I have heard of other instances,
16 perhaps not with drama, where there has been programs
17 with Canadian singers and other performers have not
18 been considered -- their programs have not been
19 considered Canadian content because it was made outside
20 of Canada. I just think there should be someone
21 looking at what's in the program as well as where it's
22 made, both sides of it. Both the production and the
23 actual program -- the performance, so to speak, should
24 be considered. And there should be some way -- if
25 there isn't already -- there should be some way of
1 looking into that.
2 461 I would say too that we should try to
3 have locally produced programs that tell people about
4 at least the Atlantic provinces, hopefully about Nova
5 Scotia. I think too, to be practical, from what I can
6 gather from certain people I have spoken with, programs
7 like "Theodore Tugboat," for instance, wouldn't sell as
8 well if they were talking about Halifax Harbour and
9 about Barrington Street, et cetera, et cetera, as
10 opposed to the way they do it where they produce it,
11 talking about -- I forget, the Big Harbour or whatever
12 they call it. They don't name the harbour. Obviously,
13 Americans could think it was in the States, if they
14 wanted to. British people could think the same thing
15 about that program. I believe he said earlier was --
16 or someone said anyways -- in over 60 countries around
17 the world, it is seen.
18 462 So I think, it would seem to me as a
19 layman -- I'm only a layman speaking here. I'm not
20 involved in production and perhaps I'm showing that by
21 the way I'm speaking. But I think, in order to sell
22 it, you've got to have it not too local, at least for a
23 certain percentage of the program that's produced in
24 order -- it would seem to me that would be necessary.
25 So I would hope that any rules that come up, any
1 changes that are made wouldn't force people to make it
2 in Halifax -- pardon me -- have the content of the
3 program talking about Halifax in a drama. I'm
4 basically thinking of drama or something like the
5 children's program, "Theodore Tugboat," that type of
6 thing, when I'm pretty sure it would affect its ability
7 to be sold elsewhere.
8 463 And I think that there's a lot of
9 good programming made here. I know there's a lot of
10 other producers, but I think that Cochrane Productions
11 and Salter Street Productions seem to produce some
12 excellent programming that's seen on various networks,
13 particularly, I believe, the CBC, but on other stations
14 as well. And I would certainly hope that nothing would
15 be done to lessen the amount of Canadian programming.
16 And as I say, hopefully, some look could be given at
17 this idea of just what is Canadian content and take
18 into account that the people as well as the production
19 aspect of it.
20 464 I think that's all I have to say. I
21 just spoke off the top of my head, and I may not have
22 made sense in some of it, but I tried anyway.
23 465 THE CHAIRPERSON: That's fine, Mr.
24 Hicks. You said that you're a layman. You know, our
25 interest is not in developing a television system in
1 Canada for all the television and regulatory techies,
2 if you will, who are the insiders in this business.
3 Television is produced by producers and broadcast by
4 broadcasters and regulated by regulators, to be for the
5 layman of this country, if you will -- if that's not a
6 pejorative term, and I certainly don't intend it to be.
7 466 If I can just respond to at least
8 three points that you raised. We are concerned about
9 quality. It's difficult and expensive to make good
10 quality Canadian drama and entertainment programming,
11 and I think that's the challenge that we face in this
12 country -- is to try and come up with a way to be able
13 to do that effectively so that programming will be
14 interesting and watched by Canadians.
15 467 You asked about what is -- do we have
16 a definition of Canadian content. We do and it
17 involves -- it does tend to be a rather complex
18 formula, I guess, and I might note that that whole
19 question of how we define a Canadian program or
20 Canadian content for television is up for public
21 comment and has been put out in a Public Notice for
23 468 It probably, I suppose, speaks more
24 to the -- if I can use the term "more technical people"
25 or the insiders, if you will, but it does address the
1 question about who is the producer, who is the
2 director, who is the star, who is the co-star, where is
3 it done, and so on. So there is a rather complex point
4 system that goes together to define a Canadian program.
5 469 And if I can relate it to a more
6 simpler one, that is, on the radio side, with respect
7 to music, it's a four-point system which talks about
8 the artist, the music, the lyrics and the producer.
9 And you have to get two out of four points for it to
10 qualify as a Canadian song.
11 470 So for example -- and this has been
12 suggested to us as somewhat problematic -- if a singer
13 like Shania Twain goes to Nashville and records a song
14 that's written by an American and it's produced there
15 and the only Canadian element is the singer, Shania
16 Twain, then that becomes problematic because it doesn't
17 qualify as a Canadian content because it only gets one
18 point. But nonetheless, there is a point system for
19 Canadian programming on television as well. It's a
20 little more complex than the radio one.
21 471 Your point about "Theodore Tugboat"
22 and whether or not a program becomes identifiably
23 Canadian or identifiably Halifax in origin is a good
24 one. And I think that there's a case where, as you
25 suggest, Andrew Cochrane has been able to produce a
1 program that is produced here and is, I guess for
2 anybody that lives here, is identifiably Halifax, even
3 if you look at the set that it's done on. And yet
4 because of the nature of that program, it's able to be
5 sold around the world and can be dubbed into many
6 foreign languages and it has universal appeal.
7 472 And I think, again when you look at
8 the cost of programming and how the producers have to
9 get a return on that investment, and people aren't
10 going to do that sort of thing if they can't make a
11 living off it, then in many cases, the Canadian market,
12 the local market or even the Canadian national market
13 isn't large enough for people to make a return. So you
14 would want to sell that program globally, and to the
15 extent sometimes that perhaps, being particularly
16 identified as Halifax or whatever may be problematic in
17 terms of those sales, one wouldn't want to restrict, as
18 you suggest, necessarily, programs to -- how shall I
19 say -- perhaps handicap them, if you will, in terms of
20 being able to market them around the world.
21 473 In any event, we thank you for your
22 comments and we certainly welcome lay person's comments
23 as well as the people who perhaps understand the
24 details of the industry a little better.
25 474 I think that concludes our day. I
1 think everybody has had an opportunity to comment --
2 some even three or four times.
3 475 I want to thank you all. For those
4 who were here earlier, we will certainly thank them on
5 the record for taking the time out of a beautiful
6 Saturday afternoon and what otherwise has been a foggy
7 week in Halifax to come and present their views to us.
8 With that, we will thank the folks behind here as well.
9 476 And with that, we will adjourn our
10 proceeding here today. Thank you very much.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing concluded at 1604/
12 L'audience se termine à 1604