TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS
FOR THE CANADIAN RADIO-TELEVISION AND
TRANSCRIPTION DES AUDIENCES DU
CONSEIL DE LA RADIODIFFUSION
ET DES TÉLÉCOMMUNICATIONS CANADIENNES
SUBJECT / SUJET:
CBC LICENCE RENEWALS /
RENOUVELLEMENTS DE LICENCES DE LA SRC
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Place du Portage Place du Portage
Conference Centre Centre de conférence
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
Hull, Quebec Hull (Québec)
June 3, 1999 Le 3 juin 1999
In order to meet the requirements of the Official Languages Act, transcripts of proceedings before the Commission will be bilingual as to their covers, the listing of the CRTC members and staff attending the public hearings, and the Table of Contents.
However, the aforementioned publication is the recorded verbatim transcript and, as such, is taped and transcribed in either of the official languages, depending on the language spoken by the participant at the public hearing.
Afin de rencontrer les exigences de la Loi sur les langues officielles, les procès-verbaux pour le Conseil seront bilingues en ce qui a trait à la page couverture, la liste des membres et du personnel du CRTC participant à l'audience publique ainsi que la table des matières.
Toutefois, la publication susmentionnée est un compte rendu textuel des délibérations et, en tant que tel, est enregistrée et transcrite dans l'une ou l'autre des deux langues officielles, compte tenu de la langue utilisée par le participant à l'audience publique.
Canadian Radio-television and
Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des
Transcript / Transcription
Public Hearing / Audience publique
CBC LICENCE RENEWALS /
RENOUVELLEMENTS DE LICENCES DE LA SRC
BEFORE / DEVANT:
Françoise Bertrand Chairperson of the
Commission, Chairperson /
Présidente du Conseil,
Andrée Wylie Commissioner / Conseillère
David Colville Commissioner / Conseiller
Barbara Cram Commissioner / Conseillère
James Langford Commissioner / Conseiller
Cindy Grauer Commissioner / Conseillère
Joan Pennefather Commissioner / Conseillère
ALSO PRESENT / AUSSI PRÉSENTS:
Nick Ketchum Hearing Manager /
Gérant de l'audience
Carolyn Pinsky Legal Counsel /
Alastair Stewart Conseillers juridiques
Carol Bénard Secretary / Secrétaire
HELD AT: TENUE À:
Place du Portage Place du Portage
Conference Centre Centre de conférence
Outaouais Room Salle Outaouais
Hull, Quebec Hull (Québec)
June 3, 1999 Le 3 juin 1999
- ii -
TABLE OF CONTENTS / TABLE DES MATIÈRES
Intervention by / Intervention par:
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network 2712
Directors Guild of Canada 2726
Helen Forsey 2751
Ottawa, Committee to Save the CBC 2766
Invest in Kids Foundation 2776
The Alliance for Children and Television 2793
Writers Guild of Canada 2814
Theresa Ducharme 2833
Power Broadcasting Inc. 2837
Community Access Network 2859
Communications and Diversity Network 2875
Canadian Teachers and their Students 2906
Aboriginal Voices 2922
Hull, Quebec / Hull (Québec)
--- Upon resuming on Thursday, June 3, 1999, at 0905 /
L'audience reprend le jeudi 3 juin 1999, à 0905
13678 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, would you please introduce our first intervenor.
13679 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madame Chair.
13680 The first presentation will be by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
13681 MR. TAGALIK: Good morning. I am Abraham Tagalik. We are busy with APTN getting our network up and ready, so it is good to take a little break and come here and see what the CBC's been up to and doing and we are quite busy these days.
13682 I have with me Patrick Tourigny, Director of Regulatory Affairs. I am sure you guys know him very well, he is a good addition here. And Jerry Giberson, Director of Network Operations.
13683 We won't get into too much depth. We were expecting to appear on Monday, but it is sort of a bit rushed at this stage. But we did provide written comments preceding the hearings and we still -- as we set up the Aboriginal Television Network, we have often said that, you know, we don't want to be the monopoly on Aboriginal broadcasting in this country.
13684 And we just want to reiterate that broadcasters have a responsibility to promote Aboriginal and hire Aboriginal and we did write in our submission that it has to be based on a criteria so that it is something measurable that broadcasters can attain and keep pushing. I think some of the broadcasters feel in this country that once APTN is set up and running that they don't have to do any Aboriginal programming or issues in that area. So I think we have to keep pushing that.
13685 I worked with CBC for 10 years in the North in radio and I know within the corporation how hard it is to work from the bottom and try and see the top. It is such a big corporation, it has a large mandate and for the North it really brought us the world for the first time when we got television. And the radio side has been very good in the North for Aboriginal programming. I think television is not quite there, but we will help encourage them in that area.
13686 I think, too, that as we look in the future that, you know, we would also like to work with CBC and really work setting up a partnership where everyone benefits in this country with co-productions, not only the CBC, but also other broadcasters so that when we look at what CBC is doing that it, I think, really sheds a positive light on this country.
13687 But I think they are trying to do everything for everybody which they can't do at this stage. I think, you know, 20, 30 years ago that was the only broadcaster that we had and as we get into the Millennium and into this new universe that we are in, I think that CBC really has to look at what their role will be in terms of being a public broadcaster.
13689 MR. GIBERSON: We had heard yesterday that some discussion had taken place about the coverage service in the North. And for a point of clarification with regard to the coverage of the Nunuvit celebrations that IBC, TVNC and CPAC worked together to provide extensive coverage nationally. So I understand that CBC had indicated that it was the only broadcaster to provide that service. We would just like to clarify that that was not the case.
13690 MR. TOURIGNY: We would welcome your questions then on our written submission.
13691 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
13692 I would ask Commissioner Cram to ask you the questions of the Commission.
13693 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, gentlemen.
13694 I may sound a little presumptuous to my colleagues, but on behalf of the Commission, I would like to thank you for your wise, judicious, nay solomonic decision to move to Winnipeg.
--- Laughter / Rires
13695 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I can think of no better place, save perhaps in Saskatchewan.
13696 I wanted to just talk about now that APTN is APTN, what you think your role is vis-à-vis CBC. Are you contemplating or have you got in the works co-productions or plans for that?
13697 MR. TAGALIK: Like I said, we are open for -- we are new, we are just starting off and we certainly will rely on some of the broadcasters that are currently in the field out there and I think, you know, we certainly always look forward to working on whatever productions it might be. I think that will be there, but our emphasis will be independent Aboriginal productions where possible.
13698 And I think, you know, we don't have a problem in working with the CBC. They tend to take the high road on projects and they treat our member broadcasters like they are down there. And I don't think that is intentional, it is just the way that CBC operates. When we looked at Nunuvit celebrations in the North, I think, you know, Inuit Broadcasting had a really hard time in terms of being recognized as a broadcaster and we always run into that no matter where it is in the North.
13699 And I think that if we are going to cover things together it has to be quite clear and who is doing what role and what the event might be, I think it would really dictate how that works. It might be coverage of the AFN Chief selection, whatever. I think we will certainly work where we can.
13700 I think a lot of it, too, we, as our own broadcaster will try and do as much as we can. I think in terms of sharing resources, I think that is only logical.
13701 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And certainly, you would be hoping to sell some productions to CBC, I would hope.
13702 MR. TAGALIK: Well, I just hope our producers, our independent producers, can also sell programming to all the networks where they can get more licence fees, I think it is better for them.
13703 MR. TOURIGNY: The other day CBC mentioned "Tales from the Long House" and we have been in discussion with the producers of that series, as well. So it may very well be that APTN gets a second or third window on that. We are still in the discussion stages. So that's an independent production, so I think there is a lot of room.
13704 We have been speaking with Vision, Discovery, Canwest Global. We realize because we are not part of a larger corporate group, we have to go out and create our own synergies and certainly we would hope that CBC would be as receptive to us as a lot of the other broadcasters, particularly Canwest, Vision and a bunch of others who have really gotten behind us and really supported us tremendously.
13705 TVNC has a history of working with the CBC. When TVNC launched in early 1992, the programs that are produced in CBC North were rebroadcast on TVNC often in better time slots.
13706 And now CBC North is producing a couple of daily newscasts, one directed at the Eastern Arctic, one directed at the Western Arctic. And we would be prepared to enter into discussions with the CBC on acquiring the rights for those programs for national coverage. And we will negotiate and if we can strike the deal, fine; if we can't, that's too bad.
13707 But certainly there is a lot of interesting programming produced in the North that doesn't get a national window and we would want to work and cooperate with the CBC wherever possible, because we have been co-existing and neither Aboriginal broadcaster, radio stations and so on have co-existed with the CBC in the North. And over time, they found that they can work in more or less a complementary fashion, particularly on the radio and television, the Northern Native broadcasting and IBC do a lot of cultural based programming.
13708 CBC North now is focussed more on information and news programming, so they do tend to complement each other, although, there are often points of contention, but we are working through those.
13709 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Mr. Tagalik, you talked about CBC trying to do everything for everybody and that they have to look at their role and focus.
13710 What do you believe they should be focussing on?
13711 MR. TAGALIK: I think they do very well in coverage of live events and I think they should really help nurture some of the artistic elements of our country and I think that, you know, as you see other broadcasters -- it is really hard to say what the CBC should be at this stage. I think what they should be -- that's a hard one.
13712 But when they can focus their efforts, I think you look at the news, "The National".
13713 And I think the radio service is very important, especially in the North. I think we rely on CBC for radio information very strongly, and some of the English programming doesn't always have that big audience up North, but that is one area I think.
13714 Those other issues about fighting for the same dollars in terms of productions, we wouldn't want to be fighting over cultural programming dollars, as with the CBC. I think they play a larger, bigger role than we do.
13715 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So the issue would be, in terms of Aboriginals, Aboriginal events like the National Awards being telecast on CBC. I know in Regina they telecast some Pow-wows and do a relatively good job of that. Is that the kind of focus in terms of Aboriginal coverage that you think they should do?
13716 MR. TAGALIK: I don't know. I think you have to see what the issue or the program idea is and work on it from there. I think any time you can get more Aboriginal coverage it is a lot better for the Aboriginal people and for the other Canadians to understand what is going on. I think you certainly can't get too much.
13717 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I worry about the day, because in Saskatchewan there are excellent Aboriginal events. Do you think you are ever going to compete with CBC to get them, for the rights?
13718 MR. TAGALIK: I think so. I think we will, yes.
13719 COMMISSIONER CRAM: What do you think on CBC is the proper way, the best way -- and I'm going back to your brief -- to reflect Aboriginal culture. You talk about a weekly public affairs program, and I think of that and I worry about some sort of ghettoization. You know, Native people would click on but others would click off. I wonder about that as opposed to something like "North of 60" or "Big Bear". Which do you think is the more effective?
13720 MR. TAGALIK: I think when we start seeing real Aboriginal productions that the audience will be there and that they will be really pleasantly surprised what capability is. It is hard to visualize what you are saying there, but I think --
13721 COMMISSIONER CRAM: The point is sort of reflection, and in terms of "Big Bear" I thought -- I thought the vehicle they used of the English being indecipherable, I thought it was -- it brought a lot of things home to me. I thought in terms of my nephew and niece learning how it is to be a Native that is far more efficacious than sort of a weekly news, sort of current affairs.
13722 MR. TAGALIK: Yes. I think when we were going through some of our research for our own network and people mentioned "North of 60", I think some of them said that they have never been on a Reserve like that. I think in terms of Aboriginal productions, I think the day you get Aboriginal writers and Aboriginal directors and it is an Aboriginal production, I think you will really see what is like on a Reserve. I think some of the arts that come out of that system will be quite incredible.
13723 But when you mentioned ghettoization, I was talking to a lady who is an Aboriginal in Vancouver and now she finds that her Aboriginal productions don't have any more access to some of the funds because the broadcasters are saying "There is an Aboriginal network, you can get funding through that for your programming", so that something like that doesn't keep happening.
13724 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I was talking to a fellow who is a Native in Winnipeg and he provides commentary for CBC. He was saying he had a -- I think it was a book that he wanted to be made into a play, and he was saying that -- and I don't know whether he was joking about it, that because he said "Joe From Winnipeg" it wouldn't sell. If he had had just "Joe" it might sell.
13725 Do you think there is some regionalism in addition to the Aboriginal issue in terms of non-saleability? You don't know. But it really raised an interesting thought to me.
13726 MR. GIBERSON: Well, if I can just comment on that, this doesn't just fall for CBC or APTN. I think there is a need for any national broadcaster to celebrate the diversity and not be afraid of those stories. I think those stories are very much an integral weave of Canada and I think once they are seen outside of those regions that people will accept them.
13727 COMMISSIONER CRAM: But I'm wondering if in addition to the perhaps reluctance to go into Aboriginal production issues, there is also the issue of being from Winnipeg. It is small population, they see it as a niche as opposed to sort of broad Canadian coverage, sort of double whammy against it.
13728 MR. TOURIGNY: I think regionalism can be a strength. I mean, you look at the type of programming coming out of Atlantic Canada, Newfoundland in particular, the amount of production that is coming out of Halifax these days with the new revitalization on the east coast, and hopefully with APTN having its production centre in Winnipeg I hope to revitalize that part of the country.
13729 I mean, it is the regional stories that are distinctive and that sell. Australia is very popular in its cinema because it doesn't try to to be American. They are blatantly Australian, and people by it and love it. And the Brits and their TV series, they are just excellent, and again it is their uniqueness and that slant that they have on the world that attracts people, not broad but a strong core.
13730 I think CBC has experimented with Aboriginal themes and they have proven very successful. Every broadcaster should be encouraged to do the same thing.
13731 And the CBC should be encouraged to continue and I think they have made certain commitments and we applaud them for that. On the journalism side, I think they can strengthen that. I think they have one Aboriginal person on air on Newsworld, Carla Robinson. I am not sure of anybody.
13732 COMMISSIONER CRAM: One in Regina.
13733 MR. TOURIGNY: Yes, on a regional basis but on a national basis I think they could probably strengthen that area.
13734 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You talked in your brief about a training and the obligation or the necessity for them to train. Do you see that as something that APTN also has an obligation to train Aboriginal journalists and on-air and off-air people?
13735 MR. TOURIGNY: Oh yes, very much so. I think we are finding now that the Aboriginal workforce and the television industry is really quite small. There are people out there that have experience. In terms of training, though, we are certainly committed. We put about a quarter of a million a year on training to try to build up the Aboriginal workforce in television. I think we are going to keep nurturing that.
13736 A lot of times for Aboriginal people it is hard to work your way up the system especially in the South and you know I think we will never get away from that and I really would like to see internships and scholarships continue to break new ground in that area.
13737 COMMISSIONER CRAM: How would your role in training and developing be different or complementary to the role that you think CBC should have?
13738 MR. TOURIGNY: I think it has always been complementary. I think the time we have had TVNCR, member broadcasters have raised or grew some of the television and radio talent and CBC has hired them. We have also gone the other way and hired from the CBC so I think it complements one another and I think that everyone benefits when things like that work out.
13739 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Do you envisage a day when CBC would do stage one of training and you would do stage two?
13740 MR. TOURIGNY: I think sometimes it is hard. You know the Aboriginal broadcasters in the north have found that you train someone and you can't compete on the salary and they go to CBC.
13741 I think if you try we can certainly work out stages. We have people going through Banff Centre for the Arts right now, there is the Rothschild Award that we are doing with CANCOM each year. I think it would be nice to do something along that line where it is highly visible and very valuable training and working up some of the workforce in there.
13742 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So do I get you right that if CBC trains them, they normally hire them and that is it? They are not eligible to the general pool?
13743 MR. TOURIGNY: If the northern broadcasters train them, CBC will hire them after they are fully trained and they can't at times compete with the salary level that CBC can offer.
13744 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Great. Thank you very, very much. I wish you success and, of course, I will see you in Winnipeg.
13745 MR. TOURIGNY: Yes.
--- Laughter / Rires
13746 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you.
13747 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen. Thank you.
13748 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by the Directors Guild of Canada, la Guilde canadienne des réalisateurs.
13749 THE CHAIRPERSON: Bonjour, how are you?
13750 MS BRAND: Bonjour.
13751 THE CHAIRPERSON: Welcome.
13752 MR. GRANT: Good morning.
13753 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning, Mr. Grant.
13754 MS BRAND: Good morning, Madam Chairman, and members of the Commission.
13755 My name is Pamela Brand and I am the National Executive Director of the Directors Guild of Canada. With me today is Peter Grant, our regulatory counsel in this matter from McCarthy Tétrault.
13756 Allan King who is the DGC President of the Guild is unable to be here today. He is on a directing assignment and he does send his apologies.
13757 As you know, the Directors Guild represents key creative and logistical personnel in the film and television industries. We have seven district councils representing over 2,700 members across the country. Our members are drawn from all areas of the production, design and editing of film and television in Canada.
13758 Our position in this hearing is quite straightforward. We support the CBC's licence renewal and applaud the Corporation for its contribution to the Canadian broadcasting system.
13759 The CBC plays a crucial role in bringing Canadian programming to Canadian audiences. In the fall of 1998, the CBC captured 42 per cent of the prime time viewing to Canadian programs.
13760 The Guild applauds the CBC for canadianizing its English-language prime time schedule and for exceeding the expectations set out in the 1994 decision with respect to Canadian content levels, both in prime time and throughout the broadcast day. This achievement is of particular significance in light of the funding cutbacks that the Corporation has experienced since the 1994 renewal of its licence.
13761 In this presentation, I want to address four issues of interest.
13762 First, the question of the CBC's mandate. There are some that have argued that the CBC should focus only on a PSB-north kind of mandate. In other words, a much narrower mandate than its current and proposed direction.
13763 We disagree with this view. The Guild supports the CBC's view that it should continue to provide a mass appeal service, not an elitist service.
13764 There is also recognition overseas for this wider role of public broadcasters. The Council of the European Union recently debated the role of public service broadcasting. And in January, 1999, the Council passed a resolution reaffirming the support of the member states for public broadcasting. That resolution stated that:
"Public service broadcasting must be able to continue to provide a wide range of programming..."
13765 And that:
"It is legitimate for public service broadcasting to seek to reach wide audiences."
13766 A copy of the EU resolution is attached to our presentation.
13767 Our second point relates to the place of under-represented programming in general, and Canadian drama in particular, on the CBC's TV schedule.
13768 Under-represented programming -- that is to say Canadian drama, music and variety -- is generally the most expensive type of programming to produce. At the same time, this kind of programming plays a crucial part in Canadian expression and is of particular importance to Canadian culture and national identity.
13769 We applaud the efforts made by the CBC to canadianize its schedule. However, the CBC has been less successful at increasing the total amount of under-represented programming aired from 7:00 to 11:00 p.m. on its English-language network.
13770 In terms of Canadian drama, the CBC has indicated that this represents about 30 per cent of its prime time schedule, or about 8 and a half hours per week. That is certainly much higher than the levels achieved by the private sector. But it is still short of the 10-hour target that the Commission established as a long-term expectation over ten years ago. We urge the Commission to reaffirm the 10-hour expectation in this area.
13771 Our third point relates to the CBC's commitment to independent producers. In its presentation, the CBC has indicated that 90 per cent of its drama currently comes from the independent producers and that its commitment to those producers will continue.
13772 However, this commitment does not appear to be reflected in the CBC's budget projections over the next seven years provided as part of its application. Although its drama budget increases from $54 million in 1999 to $65 million in 2006, the amount allocated by CBC to independent producers is essentially frozen at about $36 million of that. Of that amount of $36 million, the licence fees paid to independent producers for drama are frozen at about $28 million per year for the next seven years.
13773 In our view, this is not an acceptable approach. As the drama hours increase and the CBC budget for drama increases, so too should the amount allocated to independent production. We therefore ask the Commission to ensure that the proportion of drama funding going to independent producers stays in the same balance at it is today and does not decline, as the CBC has projected.
13774 Our fourth and final point relates to the CBC's new initiative regarding Canadian feature films. We applaud this initiative.
13775 As we mentioned in our written submission, the Guild urges the Commission to consider placing an expectation on the corporation that it should broadcast a minimum of 13 original full length Canadian feature films per year. This minimum should not include any repeats.
13776 In that connection, we note that the CBC has allocated $30 million over the next five years to its feature film initiative. However, this number is nowhere reflected in its projected licence fees to independent producers, which as we have pointed out, are projected to stay frozen over the next seven years.
13777 We therefore ask that the Commission inquire further into how this initiative will be carried out within the CBC's budget projections.
13778 This should not lessen our support for the future film initiative. It is long overdue and responds to policy recommendations made in a number of earlier studies.
13779 This completes our presentation, Madam Chair. And we would be pleased to respond to any questions.
13780 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mrs. Brand.
13781 I would ask Vice-Chair Colville to address to you the questions of the Commission.
13782 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Thank you very much.
13783 Good morning, Ms Brand, Mr. Grant. Welcome to our proceeding and thank you for your written presentation and your representation here this morning.
13784 I am wondering at the outset, given the points that you raised in your original submission and again this morning if you have been following the proceedings so far or whether any of your concerns have been alleviated, satisfied, heightened, whatever, by what you may have heard from the discussion we have had with the CBC thus far?
13785 MS BRAND: I personally have not had an opportunity to follow the proceedings closely. I have had time to watch very little of it. But certainly Peter Grant has been following avidly and perhaps he can respond to that question.
13786 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: It is what he gets paid for, I guess.
--- Laughter / Rires
13787 MR. GRANT: I guess in general in terms of the points raised in the initial submission, the main disconnect is that there seems to be a great lack of precision in terms of responses on budget projections and direction.
13788 I guess the central point here that is made is that while the oral submission by the CBC paints a picture of continued cooperation with the independent production sector and in fact says many useful and positive things about that, it is quite inconsistent with the budget projections that are on the record from the CBC where you see the independent production budget in English television over the next seven years staying essentially flat.
13789 So when asked to ask the question, where is the $30 million for feature films going, if it is to be taken out of that flat amount, does that mean that they are cutting back mini-series and MOW's and series? I mean, I am left going through the transcript that there is a lot of unanswered questions and imprecision. So that is the main concern.
13790 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: I guess with the exception of one particular genre, which I won't mention the name, in fact most of the projections are fairly flat, I guess you would acknowledge?
13791 MR. GRANT: Well, not for drama. It is projected to go up $10 million over the next 10 years.
13792 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Which is not that big an increase given the overall budgets and the time frame we are talking about.
13793 MR. GRANT: Well, it is more than 10 per cent, but I take your point.
13794 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: If I go back to your submission this morning and your first question about the first of the four points where you talk about the mandate and this issue about not becoming a PBS North. And PBS must feel particularly paranoid given all the comments about PBS North and I am not really sure what that means. And I suspect it means a lot of different things to a lot of people depending on whether or not they happen to like PBS. And the question of a narrower mandate.
13795 I was struck by your focus on this mandate issue and set aside the analogy to PBS. And the other concerns that you have raised in your brief that -- and in particular if I look at your point, your second point and I guess your fourth point, and even looking at your written submission and I am looking at page 9 of the written submission near the end, when you say towards the end of paragraph 49, you talk about:
It was felt that in many regions CBC was not providing the service that was not available from the private sector.
13796 And then in paragraph 50, you say:
For example, the Directors Guild believes that the CBC need not devote its scarce resource to local news.
13797 My question isn't so much specifically with respect to local news, but it is really, I guess, the issue about this whole question of balance, which I guess we have been struggling with in our questioning with the CBC. And I think, unfortunately, a lot of this discussion gets characterized as you start to raise this question about balance, well, you are just trying to marginalize the CBC and make them into a "PBS North".
13798 But I guess my question to you is, if one looks at your second point in your oral presentation today about the question of drama, the question of independent production, the question of feature films, where does the give come to allow this other activity to increase? Where do you think the balance should be drawn if we are going to increase drama and feature film, perhaps more money and more time to independent productions? What else has to give? What is your view on that?
13799 Where is the balance? What is the mandate?
13800 MS BRAND: We would like to see -- the DGC believes that the DGC should be a popular service -- sorry, CBC should be a popular service.
13801 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Directors Guild, too, I suppose.
13802 MS BRAND: And Directors Guild is a popular organization.
13803 But our focus, because of what we do and what our members do is on drama, that is of prime concern to us. And as to how the CBC can balance between sports and drama and news, we haven't really examined how they are able to do that. And that is something we believe that the CBC must look into and perhaps with the help of the Commission, we would like to see a balanced network, a popular network, but our focus is drama. That is of prime importance to us and it is of prime importance for Canadian culture and Canadian identity.
13804 Peter, can you add to that?
13805 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Could you be a little more --
13806 If you were handed the job to deal with the schedule, the charts that we saw here earlier this week and we are going to try and satisfy this mandate with the balance that you think is more appropriate to serve the needs that you have suggested in your presentation and your written brief, what would the other side of the balance be?
13807 MR. GRANT: I guess, again thinking in terms of what was said a few days ago, I know the Commission, the CBC was saying, look, they like the balance idea of say 40 per cent in drama and arts and 40 per cent in news and information and maybe 20 per cent to sports, which is approximately, give or take, what their current schedule looks like.
13808 But when you look at the budget projections, sports in particular, in a number of years it is a lumpy projection. It seems to go up like crazy and then drop down by 20 million. I don't know what is happening there.
13809 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: But that is largely due to the Olympics, right.
13810 MR. GRANT: I guess that is.
13811 But it does mean though that in budget terms even though some of these categories may represent only a certain portion of the schedule, they represent a much higher proportion of the allocation of the corporation's resources in terms of dollars.
13812 Now, the allocation of the corporation's resources to drama, particularly if it is focussed on the independent production sector is quite efficient because the production sector, drama by its nature travels. It has library value, but sports does not and news typically does not. It has legs. Some of the programming, not all, can be sold abroad.
13813 So you can build economic models, particularly with the independent production industry and distribution that allow the CBC to propel and lever a lot of drama hours with not the same expense per hour that would have to be borne in the areas of news and sports.
13814 So it is not only a response to a cultural imperative, but is also an efficient way to spend ones' resources.
13815 In terms of looking at the efficiencies then, you would have to characterize local news as the least efficient. Simply because it doesn't travel, it requires a lot of fixed resources in a local community. And if you were looking at priorities in the system, if the local news is being adequately handled by the private sector, then you would be led to the conclusion that it may be appropriate to scale that back. If you are faced with choices.
13816 And of course, here we are faced with choices and priorities. And it is just a matter of balance.
13817 But I don't think anybody has a concern about the 40/40/20 sort of type of balance. One would like to see that develop in the context of the budget as well, though.
13818 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Did you hear the discussion or read the transcript in terms of that local news and how they have tried, in fact, to refocus that whole news operation because they felt they were drifting to essentially be competitors to the private sector and have realized that is probably not an appropriate approach for the CBC to do and that they are getting more into this investigative journalism approach, and in fact being unique in the marketplace and doing something that the private sector doesn't tend to do?
13819 MR. GRANT: I didn't follow that as closely, Commissioner Colville. So I guess I can't speak to that. But that would seem to me to be a positive response.
13820 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Going back to your brief this morning on page 4, picking up on your third point. Let me ask you a little more general question.
13821 Mr. Grant, you are quite familiar with our processes and sort of legal issues that the Commission -- and how the Commission treats issues in broadcasting in terms of its regulatory regime and the nuance and the different language that we use. For example in decisions we will note something or we will have expectations or conditions of licence.
13822 I was kind of struck when I read your brief and then again in your presentation this morning where you used the word "expectation" in most cases if not all, rather than condition of licence with respect to these issues.
13823 Given the strength of conviction that I sort of read through the rest of your brief, I was kind of struck by the fact that you used the term "expectation" rather than "condition of licence". Was there a particular reason for that?
13824 MR. GRANT: I guess I might speak to that.
13825 One is conscious of the two unique elements about this proceeding involving, as it does, the CBC that contrasts with the private sector. It is still unclear as to the certainty or stability of the parliamentary appropriation for the CBC over the longer term, and in those circumstances setting, as the Commission largely did in 1994, expectations as opposed to COLs may be a more appropriate signal that doesn't come with it attached the kind of review that a breach of a condition of licence would. It still entitles people for a review, but doesn't have quite the level of involvement that the COL does.
13826 The other problem in the Act, of course, is that, as I recall it, the Commission cannot impose a COL without the Corporation being permitted to address it at the political level, and I would like to think that this proceeding will have a close and will end. So you are a lot more free to put in expectations and I would think that the Corporation will pay attention to them and listen to them.o
13827 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Presuming the Corporation agreed to the conditions in this proceeding, I presume that would be preferable from your point of view.
13828 MR. GRANT: Yes, then it's a non-issue. That's right.
13829 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: It would appear that the funding is, if not a certainty in terms of stabilization on the way forward it is probably more stable than it was in 1994?
13830 MR GRANT: Well, that is a fair point.
13831 Certainly in terms of the types of numbers one would like to see embodied in licence conditions, if there was a sense that it was possible to do that, the 10-hour rule for drama would be wonderful to embody in a licence condition, as would the suggestion here that a proportion of the budget, say a minimum -- it is now that about two-thirds of the drama budget is allocated to the independent production sector -- if there could be an expectation, if not a licence condition, that that be maintained over the licence period, I think it would go a long way to ease the issue that has been raised this morning.
13832 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: And you would agree that if conditions, circumstances changed I presume, that, like private broadcasters do, CBC could apply to amend the condition if funding changed dramatically or whatever?
13833 MR. GRANT: Absolutely.
13834 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: So I was going to pick up that last point that you just mentioned then in terms of that issue towards the end of page 4 where you say:
"We therefore ask the Commission to ensure that the proportion of drama funding going to independent producers stays in the same balance as it is today ..."
13835 And again on the next page, at your next point:
"We therefore ask that the Commission inquire further into how this initiative will be carried out within the CBC's budget projections."
13836 Again this is the issue of --
13837 So in terms of how would you see that -- how would you see us dealing with that in terms of a condition or an expectation, whichever you feel is more appropriate for both those? When you say "the proportion of drama", what would you feel is appropriate?
13838 MR. GRANT: Well, I think in terms of the proportion of the drama budget for the English Television network consistent to funnel to independent productions we would see a condition of licence there requiring, say, two-thirds of the budget over time to be so allocated.
13839 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Two-thirds of which budget?
13840 MR. GRANT: This is the budget for Canadian drama.
13841 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Two-thirds of the drama budget.
13842 MR. GRANT: Yes.
13843 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Okay.
13844 MR. GRANT: Which is roughly where they are today.
13845 Their projections show it lowering down to about 55 per cent over time, but -- and I am including in the budget the line item 1.5 from independent producers, which would include more than licence fees.
13846 Then on the second point, which is the feature film, the request there is for 13 original full-length feature films per year to be set as the target. Now, whether that is to be embodied in a licence condition is a matter for the Commission to determine.
13847 The question, though, that is asked towards the end of page 5 is, it is unclear to the Guild where the $30 million fit into the budget. That, I think, is not maybe a question for a licence condition but simply a question that the Corporation should be asked to deliver in terms of more detail by the end of this process so we are all aware of where they are coming from with that $30 million.
13848 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Okay. Well, I guess that is an issue, then, that we could pursue.
13849 I guess we will put the CBC on notice that we could clarify that in terms of the CBC response to the Intervenors.
13850 Just a last point that I would like to raise and clarify with you -- you didn't raise it this morning but you did raise it in your written brief -- this issue of constellations.
13851 At pages 7 and 8 of your brief you talked about this constellation approach. At the top of page 8 you said:
"The CBC applications for news specialty service should be treated with caution and approved only if it is shown that the services will not negatively impact on its core mandate. Net Connections, DGC would support the Corporation taking a minority position in news specialty services."
13852 What would your view be in terms of this whole issue of constellations, and in particular, I guess, as it relates to television specialty channels as to how one should treat the CBC with respect to this?
13853 It seems to me that there are perhaps at least three approaches that one could take here.
13854 You could take the approach to say: No, it is probably beyond the CBC's core mandate and they should stick to their knitting, as has been mentioned, and do a good job in the main service and perhaps existing other services that they have.
13855 Or you could take the approach to say the CBC almost has a right, by virtue of this mandate, to have a wide variety of services to a wide range of audiences in the country and that they almost should have a right to have additional channels.
13856 Or I guess a third approach would be: They are just another competitor for specialty channels and you would approach it from the point of view that if the CBC's proposal is as good as or better than others in a particular genre, or considering the balance of services that one might licence you would simply choose, as the Commission traditionally has, among the various applications it has in front of it, regardless and just ignoring the fact of whether this is a public broadcaster the CBC or whether it is just one of a number of speciality channels it has in front of it, and it will pick the one that it feels best serves the broad objectives of the Act.
13857 Among those alternatives -- and there may be others that you think are appropriate -- what approach do you think the Commission should take in dealing with applications from the CBC for specialty channels?
13858 MS BRAND: The DGC's concern with the constellation approach and the CBC is that the CBC would be extending its very finite resources if it delved too deeply into specialty channels. We don't believe that they have the resources to do that and to do it well, whereas private broadcasters do.
13859 We are concerned that they would not be able to fulfil -- excuse me, I have a bad sore throat -- they would not be able to fulfil --
13860 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: It is something about this room. When people come in here -- and unfortunately we are here all the time.
13861 MS BRAND: We are concerned that they would not be able to fulfil their core mandate of speaking to the Canadian public on drama and a wide variety of issues if they were to spread their resources too thin. If they had the resources we would not have a concern.
13862 As to the best approach, I think perhaps Peter is better qualified to speak to that.
13863 MR. GRANT: I think the first approach probably best describes the Guild position. It doesn't necessarily foreclose the Corporation from putting forward a compelling application, but they would have to demonstrate that it would not dilute their resources on the core service. It does not pose a level of risk and a drain on their scarce resources, as Pamela has said, that would prejudice that mandate.
13864 So it doesn't exclude them from certain types of services. The news services that they have, Newsworld and RDI, are probably good examples of services which do fit well with the CBC simply because there is an incrementalism to the use of the Corporation's news and information gathering resources that can provide synergies.
13865 I remember I was involved a few years ago in also negotiating with the Corporation on behalf of Alliance the 20 per cent interest that the CBC initially had in "Showcase".
13866 That was an interesting example because the CBC had no money. So we organized a very innovative share agreement in which they paid for their shares by giving "Showcase" programs. Since the service was all drama it was out of the CBC's library of CBC-produced programs like "Street Legal". So we organized -- it was very difficult to make this work because we had to then value the programming, and how did you value it before the service is licensed, and so forth.
13867 We worked that all out, and basically within a year and-a-half, I think it was, the CBC had paid for all its shares by providing output deals for specific drama programs at prices per program that matched the private market.
13868 Now, in the end Alliance made an offer to the CBC at a price they didn't want to refuse and the CBC was bought out -- and made, I might add, a considerable capital gain at the time which I'm sure made them happy -- so they are no longer a shareholder of "Showcase". But they started as a 20 per cent shareholder and that too, it seems to me, was relatively risk free and made sense from their perspective because it made a good use of their library.
13869 So those are, I think, examples of where an involvement by the Corporation in specialty services is a win-win for everyone.
13870 COMMISSIONER COLVILLE: Okay. Those are all my questions.
13871 Thank you very much again for your participation in our proceeding.
13872 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
13873 I would now invite Mrs. Forsey to come forward and make her presentation.
13874 Good morning, and welcome back.
13875 MS FORSEY: First of all, I want to say thank you ever so much for your understanding and flexibility in rescheduling me yesterday. It was much appreciated.
13876 Thank you in general for the opportunity to appear here. It is quite an honour.
13877 I am a self-employed writer and resident of a rural area not too far from Ottawa, a regular listener to the CBC, occasional viewer, and mother and grandmother of listeners and viewers.
13878 My father was Eugene Forsey, who was the late Senator, and before that from 1958 to 1962 he was a charter member, I suppose you could say, of the Board of Broadcast Governors, which was the predecessor the CRTC. So I was having a wonderful time sitting here listening yesterday to the proceedings and thinking 40 years back this is what my dad was doing -- something similar anyway.
13879 I want to make a couple of main points, one is my general support and the reasons for it, for the CBC, is a unique -- not complementary but a unique and essential element of Canadian culture and citizenship.
13880 The second is to address the sponsorship identification issue, the commercialization issue that came up also yesterday.
13881 I think that during the four years that my father was on the Board of Broadcast Governors he was very much -- and his whole life he was very much a supporter of the CBC, and I grew up with the CBC. We never listened, and I still do not listen to private broadcasting, I guess because the CBC gives me everything that I need, including keeping me informed on a daily basis of things that I need to be aware of to respond to in my work and in my community in the broad sense.
13882 My rural neighbours in particular, I know neighbours and friends in other rural parts of the country are very dependant on the CBC for staying in touch, for being part of the Canadian community as a whole.
13883 I am appalled by the cuts that have happened in funding to the CBC over the past decade or so, and the CBC is an organization that should not have to struggle for existence. I want to quote my father on that. In 1961 he said:
"A strong, free CBC is essential to the survival of a strong, free Canada. The CBC must have ample and assured funds for its development. It must not be dependent either on year to year government grants or on commercial revenue. No private interests must be allowed to usurp the place of the CBC or cut it down to a mere programming producing agency or undermine its effective operation as a national broadcasting system." (As read)
13884 I think that speaks to -- I'm not too clear on what this concept of complementarity is about, but from what I heard yesterday I think the quotation I just read from my father may speak to that.
13885 The CBC is an entity onto itself and is also -- it's a public service and, as such, deserves our support.
13886 So I know you are not the funding body, but I want to make a plea. Before I move into the question of the sponsorship I want to make a plea for whatever you can do to persuade the government that as a background to all your conditions for licence and your expectations and all this we need long-term adequate public funding for the CBC, which it does not have now. It is not adequate and I don't know to what extent it is long-term.
13887 A lot of the questions that have been raised here, I mean they all seem to come back to that. And the answers -- to look for answers to an accepted fact of too little funding, to look for answers through commercialization or through cutting back of services, that is the wrong approach.
13888 The solution is not to commercialize the CBC. The solution is to get it adequate funding.
13889 I think most Canadians support that. I think there are some very loud voices coming from private broadcasters and the corporate sector which would like to commercialize everything in Canada and make it a source of private profit. I think there are voices that are moving us in that direction.
13890 I think the sponsorship idea has been part, perhaps, of sort of a desperate "Well, what can we do? Well, maybe we can solve it this way." But it is not the answer.
13891 I would like to read from my letter to you just to emphasize this point about the sponsorship identifications.
"To do as the CBC management is requesting and allow sponsorship identifications on CBC Radio would be a disaster and a betrayal. It would threaten the independence of CBC from the ubiquitous commercial interests which have already crept into almost every nook and cranny of our lives. As it is, I have already complained on occasion to the CBC about the insidious corporate bias which often gives a pride of place to business news, sometimes disguised as economic news ..." (As read)
13892 As though there was nobody else involved in the economy except business. I don't think the labourer or the farmers or the housewives are very pleased with that.
"... even within regular newscasts and imposes stock and financial market reports on us literally morning, noon and night. The last thing we need is an even greater presence of corporate business interests on our public airwaves. The reason I never listen to private radio, apart from the fact that they have inferior quality of programming, is that I cannot abide the assault on my ears and brain and spirit constituted by the commercial messages of their sponsors. If the CBC were to start down that slippery slope with its restricted advertising in the context of partnerships, my lifestyle would undergo a drastic change. I would simply stop listening to the radio."
13893 In the April 16 interview on "As It Happens" CBC Vice-President Alex Frame spoke of "a new business environment in which the CBC exists."
13894 Mary-Lou Findlay's response was a perfect one. Why do we want to plunk ourselves in the middle of a business environment, she asked? We are a public radio network. We are supposed to be programming for people. And I have to add that as a professional writer and an avid reader I was particularly struck by two of Mr. Frame's examples of possible sponsors: The mega book store chains, Chapters and Indigo. I find it shocking that our public broadcaster should contemplate giving these giant corporations, which already possess such huge and unfair market advantages over independent book sellers, the additional advantage of positive exposure on the mass airwaves, the kind of exposure that no smaller book seller could ever hope to gain. And that is just one example of the outrageous dimension of the CBC's proposal.
13895 The application as it was originally stated -- I realize there have been some changes, I found out about that yesterday and am pleased but cautious and still suspicious. I think that the kinds of pressures and the kind of attitude and the kind of general sort of move in that direction that was demonstrated in the original application, I can't see that that has changed. I think they have to step back. I am glad they have been made to step back and reconsider and rephrase and take out some of the most outrageous elements of it like slogans, which Mr. Frame explicitly said on "As It Happens" would be included such as -- an example he gave was, you might say, such and such a bank provider of a wide range of financial services. To get that come over our CBC airways at us, no thanks.
13896 Anyway, the original application suggests that the CBC should leave it to the Corporation to develop its own stringent code of policies and guidelines for the acceptance of content and presentation of on-air partnerships and sponsorship acknowledgements. All these fancy words are supposed to dress up what is really just commercialisation.
13897 In other words, the regulator is invited to abscond itself and hand "carte blanche" to the CBC management but that management -- both by requesting permission for these sponsorships in the first place and by the slippery public relations wordplay they have indulged in to justify that request -- has shown itself to be gravely in the judgement and sense of public accountability which alone can hope to even partly justify the dubious concept of self-regulation.
13898 So, as I said again, it is the wrong answer to the funding problem.
13899 I mean to include earlier in this discourse something a little more general about the comments that have been coming out from private broadcasters in recent days or weeks about what they see as the role of the CBC -- and I want to just, for your enjoyment and consideration, cite something that my father had to say in the Senate coming out of his experience with the BBG. He said:
"On the whole, I formed a very poor opinion of private broadcasters during the time that I was with the Board of Broadcast Governors. I was not by any means alone in this. Over and over again we got the impression that when these people spoke, often in purple passages, about their devotion to the public interest and their desire to promote Canadian programming and Canadian talent and so on, it was very much what the Irish call `big offers and small blows'. There was a lot of talk but very little action to back it up. In general, the impression left on me was that the theme song of the private broadcasters could very well have been taken from that Gilbert and Sullivan opera, the `Pirates of Penzance' ..."
13900 And then he sang, but I won't.
"`Oh, I am a pirate king, yes I am a pirate king and it is, it is a glorious thing to be a pirate king.'
To get rid of the CBC and turn over our broadcasting to this collection of gentlemen fills me with horror." (As read)
13901 To conclude, I guess, I will conclude with another quotation from my father:
"The CBC remains one of our major institutions and an absolutely indispensable support for the existence of a Canadian nation. I am a firm supporter of the CBC, not an uncritical supporter. I believe the CBC with all its faults -- and it has some like any other organization -- has been a major factor in preserving the two distinctive Canadian cultures which we possess. We must maintain the CBC and strengthen it." (As read)
13902 Thank you.
13903 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Ms Forsey. I would ask Commissioner Langford to -- no? Oh, I am sorry.
13904 Commissioner Grauer.
13905 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you, Ms Forsey. I know you were here for many hours yesterday and thank you for coming back this morning.
13906 Were you here for the discussions that we had with the CBC on the subject of sponsorship? I don't know when you arrived yesterday but it was yesterday morning.
13907 MS FORSEY: I wasn't here early in the morning. I heard little bits. It kept coming back.
13908 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Yes it did, didn't it? It was a topic of great interest and I must say your letter is very eloquent and articulate and we won't put you down as ambivalent on the matter of sponsorships of the CBC.
13909 I notice you did say that you have been, you have moved a bit with respect to the new revised conditions of licence. I didn't say that you were supporting it but you were somewhat comforted by the movement they have made with respect to the current proposal.
13910 MS FORSEY: I think the current proposal from what I have been able to see and what I heard yesterday is a significant improvement but they shouldn't be improving something that is bad to begin with and, in fact, I wanted to say I was privileged to hear, among the many other interesting things I heard yesterday -- it was no pain being here yesterday at all, very interesting and useful. Mr. Ward's and his colleagues' presentation on that I thought was extremely good and all I would add is that I think the pressures and the kind of corporate attitude that led to this in the first place are still there and the lack of funds, lack of funds not only for the CBC but for culture in Canada which is obviously a background to all of this, they are still there and therefore I think we need to be extremely careful not to start, or not to continue, any move in that direction because I think the commercialism is very insidious and it becomes invisible.
13911 I can imagine if I were working at the CBC, I would no longer see it because all the constraints would be so present and so immediate that the general sort of background music that all this -- everything has to be competitive and everything is a business and all those little messages that are just back there in the atmosphere, I think they would become invisible.
13912 So what I am trying to do is make them visible and say we don't need any more of this. In fact, we need to move in the opposite direction and the CBC has been a bulwark against that corporatization and commercialization and the transforming of me as a citizen into me as just a potential consumer and I am not important unless I am consuming.
13913 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I will come back to this, but I would appreciate your views on something else. We had quite a lengthy discussion yesterday morning with the CBC on a number of areas and one was the impact that the cuts have had and, as you may know, we had consultations across this country. We spoke to Canadians about the views on the CBC and certainly what we hard about was the people's love of radio. I mean I think that is consistent and is the case from coast-to-coast. Also a number of them expressing concerns about what they have seen as a decrease in the quality and the quantity of not just local and regional news but just overall CBC and I think one of the challenges is we have to, as a regulator looking at the terms and conditions of the renewal of their licences, they as a Corporation have been faced with a number of cuts and what we are trying to do is I think all of us are trying to move in a direction of what is best for Canadians and the Corporation and I would just appreciate your views on any of these in that area, if you have any suggestions for us in our decisions -- our considerations.
13914 MS FORSEY: I don't envy you and I did hear Mr. Langford's summary yesterday of some of the things you heard, particularly in the Maritime provinces where some of my roots are.
13915 I don't think that I have a lot to add to that. I would say that I was sitting there nodding as Mr. Langford talked yesterday about the things he had heard so, in general, I feel many of the same things -- that there has been a loss, that the CBC has coped and struggled as best it could but there has inevitably been an effect on programming -- and I don't know what else to say than that except, for goodness sake, I am keeping on writing my politicians and trying to write something in the public arena as well just about the importance of the public broadcaster and of getting enough support back there so that it can do its job.
13916 But I am sorry, I don't think that I could -- I would just be babbling if I tried to take up your time saying anything more than that.
13917 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: That is all right. And I take you would recommend that we not approve this condition of licence with respect of sponsorships then?
13918 MS FORSEY: Loosening it up? I think again along the lines of what Mr. Ward and his colleagues said yesterday, I did hear the concern about forcing -- sorry, not forcing but encouraging -- cultural activities to put a corporate name into their title and that is absolutely the last thing I would want to do -- with that one caveat: If there is a way to maintain sort of the status quo of the conditions and solve that little problem in some other way than simply loosening up the conditions.
13919 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So what you are saying is that there may be a way to fine tune existing conditions which we don't know yet, which would satisfy your concerns and perhaps not -- what should I say? -- lower the quality, as you talked about, increase the commercialization?
13920 MS FORSEY: Right. I would hope that that would be possible because I think in a way this thing about the name I can see why it arose and it is in a sense a sort of a little loophole. I would like to see the loophole plugged but I would not want to decrease whatever advantage in the sense of cultural programming that it has been able to provide. That is as far as I would go.
13921 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you very much, Ms Forsey.
13922 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
13923 MS BÉNARD: Our next presentation will be by the Ottawa Committee to save the CBC.
13924 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning.
13925 MR. LEVINE: Good morning. My presentation will deal almost exclusively with the issue that has just been looked at -- the commercialization. Regrettably, I missed the proceedings yesterday but I am aware at some of the changes that the CBC has now made in terms of the issue of commercialization.
13926 I will summarize my brief by stating that this submission is being presented on behalf of the Ottawa Committee to Save the CBC. Our group represents a broad spectrum of listeners and viewers. It was first organized in the fall of 1996 and the impetuous for our group coming together was our concern that proposed financial cuts would seriously undermine the quality and the breadth of programming that we have come to expect.
13927 We organized a number of activities around that period. We collected over a period of about two weeks 5,500 names on a petition requesting the government to eliminate their proposed cuts. We had a Townhall meeting which packed the auditorium of the National Library and there were many heartfelt expressions of support for CBC.
13928 We had a number of events show casing CBC talent, including the packing of the large meeting hall in the West Block. But the consistent factor in all of our events was the passion expressed in support of the CBC by all who came forward.
13929 Now in the past, one of the main distinctions of CBC Radio, as contrasted to private broadcasting, is in its information broadcasting. The high quality of CBC Radio derives largely from sufficient funding for solid investigative research which supports the on-air people.
13930 Consequently, CBC radio has been highly informative and this is in contrast, we feel, to private radio. We are very limited -- or no resources are provided -- and talk radio programs become a sharing of ignorance between audience and broadcaster.
13931 We regret the funding cuts but what we are proposing is adequate and stable funding. Since our submission -- I was going to address the issue of the simple announcements of acknowledging partners and sponsors -- the CBC has revised its concept so that there will be no sponsorship of news and public affairs programming and, secondly, that sponsors' financial contribution will not to go to the CBC but to third parties.
13932 Such being the case, and I may have missed something yesterday, I frankly don't understand what interest CBC would have of pursuing that because the original idea, my understanding was some financial gain. But that financial gain has now disappeared.
13933 Because of the importance of the CBC Radio audience, made up of a highly educated, above-average income group of opinion-makers, our concern is that advertisers will inevitably exert pressure to expand beyond the simple partnerships that we have heard about into full-scale private radio-style advertising.
13934 Advertisers could easily consider partnership mentions as an important foot in the door in a move towards real commercials. Partnership mentions would surely be the first step in the slippery slope in that direction.
13935 We have seen what has happened on CBC Television. We were told for many years that there would be no commercials on the national news and now we have full-blown commercials.
13936 The CBC Radio is highly trusted by its audience and commercial advertisers would want to associate themselves with the objective authority that that network represents.
13937 Sponsor identification with a particular CBC Radio program could be tantamount to a good housekeeping seal of approval for a particular product or service and we are opposed to that.
13938 We are greatly concerned that commercial sponsors will exert undue influence, compromising the objectivity of news and public affairs programming. We have now been told of course that news and public affairs will not carry these sponsorship messages. Nevertheless, if sponsorship does exist, it could have a spillover effect on news and public affairs programming.
13939 In our brief, we listed a number of examples of how public affairs programming could be affected by commercialization. I will just list three of them.
13940 For example, the General Electric Corporation is one of the world's biggest manufacturers of land mines. Would GE sponsorship of any CBC program blunt a report investigating the horrors of land mines or Canada's role in promoting a land mines treaty?
13941 Another example: Archer Daniels Midland, ADM, is a major sponsor of national public radio in the U.S. It is also in charge of one of the largest price-fixing scandals in U.S. history. If ADM also became a CBC Radio sponsor, could we expect a full exposé of the negative impact that this company has on the cost of food in Canada?
13942 Another example: MacMillan Bloedel has been targeted by environmental groups as a major despoiler of the environment. If Mac-Blo became a CBC Radio sponsor, could we count on hearing the work of the environmental groups on the network?
13943 I have many other examples.
13944 I want to explain that sponsors don't have to come to the CBC and say: Don't show our company in a bad light. They don't have to. Advertisers encourage a form of self-censorship with journalists and all media.
13945 The last point I would like to make is the experience of what has happened with national public radio in the U.S. and what has happened with sponsorship and funding. Up until a decade ago, the National Endowment of the Arts funded approximately 40 per cent of NPR costs.
13946 During the Reagan administration, NPR was pressured into seeking more and more private funding. The more it raised privately, the more public funding was withdrawn, to the point where today it is currently a mere 3 per cent of the NPR budget.
13947 Unfortunately, this may be the coming model for Canada. The more tax-deductible dollars corporations spend on CBC Radio sponsorship, the more the federal government will cut their funding.
13948 Let me just end by quoting a recent letter in the Globe and Mail of a resident in the States. He says:
"I live in San Francisco and I desperately miss the independence of CBC. Here even public radio feels like nothing more than a parking lot for corporate slogans."
13949 Thank you.
13950 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I would ask Commissioner Langford if this time he wants --
--- Laughter / Rires
13951 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I am a pirate king and it is my time to sing, I guess.
13952 Thank you very much. I don't have many questions. You are very clear and I don't think we should ask questions just to be polite.
13953 But just on the question of your sense, you are obviously a dedicated CBC listener and you have done more than just listen. You have made a study of this and you have organized. So you have a kind of credibility and a knowledge base here that we are interested in probing a little bit.
13954 You talk about the sort of sophistication of the CBC audience on one hand, and on the other hand, the sense that they may be lured -- I don't want to put words in your mouth, but somewhat lured down the garden path or whatever by advertisers or whatever.
13955 Don't you think that the average CBC -- well, I shouldn't say, don't you think, but: What do you think about the average CBC listener?
13956 Are they sophisticated enough to realize that just because Texaco brings the opera that the CBC is not going to turn a blind eye, say to a Texaco oil spill or something like that? I just wonder whether maybe you are selling the listeners a little short.
13957 MR. LEVINE: I think I am a fairly sophisticated listener but I wouldn't go so far as to say that when an advertisement comes on or an announcement comes on that it doesn't touch me. Why do companies like Coca-Cola have a sign at the back of a baseball diamond in The World Series?
13958 It is just the name that they want to get forward to push the idea that this is a worthwhile, desirable product, and I don't think even the most sophisticated of us are not touched in some way by that kind of message.
13959 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: The sense that news and current affairs will somehow be swayed, I see your point and I take your point. I don't know quite how much credence to give it and I don't mean this to be a personal attack in any way, but for example, it would occur to me that all people working in news and public affairs come from somewhere. There isn't a special kind of vacuum land, despite what Alan McPhee would say, where we find these people.
13960 So perhaps reporter "X" comes from a family that has a military background. Reporter "Y" comes from a MacMillan Bloedel family, et cetera, et cetera. You can draw the pictures as easily as I. They don't come completely washed. These are not Manchurian candidates.
13961 Yet somehow, I feel that you are pleased with the offering now where you say there has been somewhat of a reduction in the quality of current affairs and news but you seem still, overall, to be pleased with it.
13962 MR. LEVINE: I don't mean that it is unbiased.
13963 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: So what would -- you see what I am driving at. We are not getting people from Alan McPhee's vacuum land. We are getting people from the real world who have been touched in different ways by their background.
13964 MR. LEVINE: And they come with all their biases, which we can see. My concern is: I don't want it to get any worse.
13965 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And you think it would be worse because in a sense, we don't really see -- I don't know Peter Mansbridge's background. I don't know whether he comes from a family -- actually, I do know a little about Peter Mansbridge. I think he comes from a military family, doesn't he? But anyway.
13966 Well, let's assume I don't. I don't know whether his father was in the military or whether he was in a resource-based industry or whether petrochemicals in Sarnia. I don't know where he comes from, in that sense. In a way, that is hidden information.
13967 If there is a sponsorship for the arts, aren't you comforted in some way that at least it is hanging right out there?
13968 MR. LEVINE: It's open, right. I am afraid I don't derive much comfort from the openness. As I said, it is like a newspaper. A reporter doesn't have to be told how to slant a story if he knows the particular political or economic slant of his editor.
13969 In the same way, I feel that if CBC Radio is dependent on certain commercial interests -- and if I am working as a news reporter with the CBC, I don't want to do anything that is going to upset that source of funding. They don't have to say anything. It is that self-censorship that plays a very important role.
13970 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much. Those are my questions.
13971 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for participating.
13972 MR. LEVINE: Thank you.
13973 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
13974 MS BÉNARD: We will now have the presentation by Invest in Kids Foundation Board of Directors.
13975 MS BIRNBAUM: Good morning.
13976 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning. Welcome.
13977 MS BIRNBAUM: Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here and thank you very much for your invitation to address this hearing and to join in the public debates surrounding the future of our national public broadcaster.
13978 I am Nancy Birnbaum and I am the President and CEO of Invest in Kids Foundation. Invest in Kids Foundation is a national charitable foundation dedicated to the promotion of healthy development of children aged 0 to 5.
13979 We have worked closely with CBC Television children's programming for nearly two years on what we believe is an extremely innovative and important initiative. I would like to talk to you about that initiative -- it is called Get Set For Life -- and why I think it is relevant to these hearings.
13980 In your package is a copy of my text and some of the non-broadcast materials. I didn't bring T-shirts. Next time, I will.
13981 As many of you know, there has been an explosion in the scientific understanding of brain development. We now know that the first five years of life are pivotal in the development of a child's ability to learn, to think and to create, to love and to trust, and to have a strong, resilient, positive sense of themselves. That is because three-quarters of brain development occurs after birth, most of it during those first five years.
13982 We also know that how we care for our children in these years has a profound impact on their emotional, social and intellectual development. That is because a child's experiences, good or bad, influence how the brain is actually physically wired.
13983 Recently, my Foundation conducted a national survey of parents with children under the age of 6. We found that although these parents believe, as all Canadians believe, that being a good parent is the single, most important thing they can do, the majority of these parents were not sure how young children grow and develop and they were hungry for information and for support.
13984 We believe that Get Set For Life is a unique effort to address these needs. It is a multi-media, multi-dimensional national, public education campaign to support parents and caregivers in their efforts to ensure that Canada's children get off to a good start in life.
13985 The campaign is designed to educate these parents and caregivers about how to nurture and stimulate infants and young children. We do that by bringing the latest scientific knowledge to them in useful, practical and accessible ways. The messages are delivered through the Zap family and you will see pictures of them in your materials. They are our animated ambassadors of good parenting.
13986 Our goal is to reach Canadians with these important messages and to support parents across the country by whatever means we can.
13987 The core elements of the campaign to date include the following:
13988 First of all, we broadcast 2 from a series of 25 45-second Zap family stories daily as part of CBC children's programming, a commercial-free environment as you know, and we reach on average 400,000 viewers a day. The messages have been packaged in a video with a training guide book that is to be used by individuals and in group discussions.
13989 Last April, a 16-page editorial section ran in Canadian Living, reaching 2.3 million readers. Every month, in Canadian Living, there is a column about the Zap family, again reaching 2.3 million readers a month.
13990 The program also includes the distribution of hundreds of thousands of brochures and other materials, through new mothers' packs at hospitals, to events such as the Windsor Children's Festival, the Parent and Kids' Shows in Toronto and Vancouver, and the CBC Open Houses across the country last fall.
13991 We also distribute messages and information in millions of Sunlight and Lipton products across Canada. You will see an insert that went in the Sunlight detergent box.
13992 A very important part of the program was a 60-minute prime time special on CBC TV, called Get Set For Life: The Great Canadian Parenting Poll, which ran Tuesday, April 20 at 8:00 p.m., displacing "Market Place" and "Venture" and garnering an average audience of 376,000.
13993 We are also taking the campaign to the grassroots level, working with several levels of government, local not-for-profits and service agencies and the business community.
13994 The campaign is a joint venture of CBC, Canadian Living Magazine and Invest in Kids Foundation, with support from Health Canada and our generous sponsors, Bell Canada and Unilever.
13995 It is an unprecedented coming together of the public, the private and the not-for-profit sectors. We leverage the strengths and the resources of each to create a campaign that is exponentially more effective than any one partner could achieve.
13996 Get Set For Life is funded by our sponsors and through donations to Invest in Kids Foundation. This money has been leveraged tenfold through the activities and contributions of all involved.
13997 Why is this discussion relevant to the hearing?
13998 Because I believe that through Get Set For Life, CBC is defining its responsibilities as our national public broadcaster in new, concrete and valuable ways. Ways that set it apart from private broadcasters.
13999 That is by recognizing and using its capabilities far beyond its ability to broadcast programming.
14000 By acting on its mandate of public service.
14001 And by mobilizing its regional stations to truly reach out to its constituents and citizens.
14002 I know that this important campaign would not exist without the CBC, nor could a private broadcaster fill the leadership role that CBC has embraced. CBC led the creation of Get Set For Life and has been a driving force at every step along the way.
14003 The idea for Get Set For Life started within CBC, a reflection of their commitment to public service and addressing the real needs of Canadians.
14004 And since CBC provides powerful national reach for Get Set For Life, its participation greatly enhanced the value of the campaign to other potential participants and of course, it enables us to reach upwards of 400,000 viewers across Canada every day through broadcast along.
14005 The commercial-free environment in which the Zap messages are presented as part of programming provides, we believe, far more credibility and impact to those messages than they would have had as public service announcements or as commercials.
14006 And finally, CBC has also provided leadership with its regional links, building on the community relationships that already exist across the country.
14007 CBC's regional stations provide an important opportunity for local links, real, on the ground, in the community.
14008 For example, CBC Halifax, working with the national Get Set For Life team and with the Nova Scotia government, with regional Health Canada representatives, with local not-for-profits and service agencies, are bringing Get Set For Life to the grassroots level in Nova Scotia.
14009 As part of that effort, last weekend, thanks to the leadership of CBC partnering with the Nova Scotia government and Health Canada and ten local organizations, the first Get Set For Life festival was held as part of the IWK Grace Hospital annual Kermesse, an event which attracts 10,000 to 15,000 people. It was a wonderful event and it was a tremendous undertaking and tremendously ambitious undertaking by the volunteers involved.
14010 I would like to share with you what Haligonians had to say to me at the event about it and about the CBC's role. They said:
"This is what CBC should be about...touching and feeling people in their real lives."
14011 They said:
"CBC is more than what's on TV. It is connecting Canadians across the country, helping them in their daily lives, and making a real change in our world."
14012 Fred Mattocks and his team at CBC Halifax provided the leadership and the drive that made this happen.
14013 The collaboration continues as we work with the Health Canada CAP-C regional representatives and Nova Scotia's Community and Social Services outreach workers to be the Get Set For Life materials and messages into family resource centres and programs across the province.
14014 What else makes this campaign uniquely a product of the public broadcaster?
14015 Get Set For Life doesn't promote the CBC or its programming per se. Rather or instead, CBC is applying its resources to promote and support an issue of critical importance to all Canadians: good parenting and children. The Zap Family is not an adaptation of a commercial property. They are the personification of our messages.
14016 Of course Get Set For Life is intended to enhance CBC's image and credibility as a broadcaster of quality children's programming. But I don't think that is meant -- or that is not done in an effort to drive or build commercial revenue. After all, children's programming is commercial-free.
14017 Rather, it is done, I believe, in a drive to build relationships and loyalty with its constituents by providing quality programming for children and taking responsibility for their well-being. And by the involvement of its regional operations to reach out to Canadians where they live.
14018 I would like to offer up a final thought for the consideration of this group. We believe that the Get Set For Life model is one that could be nourished and replicated in other areas of CBC programming to the benefit of Canadians.
14019 Our experience is that the model works and it can be done.
14020 There are five core elements of the model and we believe they transcend children's issues or children's programming. They are:
14021 First, taking a leadership role around an area of importance to Canada, and our children are but one of those issues;
14022 Second, including but going beyond broadcast as a medium and a venue;
14023 Three, creating a partnership with other sectors, the private, the public and/or the not-for-profit;
14024 Four, leveraging the resources and the expertise of the CBC and those partners, and;
14025 Five, basing it on relationships, particularly with communities, defined either geographically or in other ways.
14026 Invest in Kids Foundation is obviously proud of its association with CBC and the impact we are able to have on the future of our country with Get Set For Life. The participants of Get Set For Life share a strong belief that providing this support and information to parents is fundamental to creating a stronger, healthier society. We are acting on that belief with the tremendous commitment and leadership of CBC Television.
14027 Thank you.
14028 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
14029 I would ask Commissioner Pennefather to ask you the questions of the Commission.
14030 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Good morning and thank you, Ms Birnbaum.
14031 MS BIRNBAUM: Good morning.
14032 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I hope I am pronouncing your name correctly.
14033 Thank you for being here today, coming all this way to participate in this hearing and for the information you have brought to us about the project Get Set For Life.
14034 It is a fascinating initiative and we appreciate it and I think you have been very clear about why you thought this particular initiative a value to discuss in this hearing, because it underlines for you the role of the national public broadcaster.
14035 In the time we have, though, I would like to take you to one point that you have raised in quoting some of the participants in the event in Halifax.
14036 "CBC is more than what's on TV." I would actually like to talk about what's on TV and ask an expert like yourself about television programming and children. I am assuming that in Get Set For Life one of the components in discussing parenting is television and its impact on parenting, its impact on children.
14037 And ask you to talk to us a little bit about what children are watching on television, perhaps from the point of view of how Get Set For Life approaches looking at what is on television for children. But my main question is, what is the unique contribution of the public broadcaster in your mind when it comes to children's programming on television?
14038 MS BIRNBAUM: That's a big question.
14039 First of all, let me be clear that Get Set For Life is directed at parents and caregivers.
14040 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Yes, I understand that. And a piece of it, I was assuming, would indeed --
14041 MS BIRNBAUM: Yes, runs during children's programming.
14042 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Exactly.
14043 MS BIRNBAUM: Primarily to reach parents and caregivers. And I wish I had brought a video of it.
14044 They are animated stories. They are little dramas that set up a situation and show how the situation is resolved. They are situations we have all been through and they tell people how -- they say many things. They say we have all been there. They say you don't have to be perfect and they say here's a way to handle a situation.
14045 Father and child building sandcastles. Father gets carried away and builds an elaborate, wonderful sandcastle and his little toddler is building what a little toddler can build. The little toddler looks at the father who is really into his sandcastle and is obviously dismayed at the relative grandeur of the two and smashes his.
14046 The father realizes and we show in all of them the realization with stars. There is no speaking in the messages. So you see stars and he realizes what has happened, he smashes down his castle and they start working together with the bucket that the toddler was using.
14047 That is the kind of story that they are. So in terms of -- while they appear during children's programs, they are directed at parents. Children do love the Zaps. We researched it and that says they recognize them and they love them. And they see themselves in it. So we work that way.
14048 I am not an expert on early child development or on the impact of TV, so I really can't address those questions.
14049 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But in this sense you see television in terms of bringing these messages or stories -- interesting that you changed the word to "stories", it is a much clearer description of what the clips are.
14050 And I was just interested because certainly one of the other parents in the room, so to speak, is the television set when it comes to raising children and this is not a new subject. And in that sense, the Get Set For Life initiative would also, I imagine take into consideration how a parent could or couldn't use television or what programming on television does in terms of also raising ones' children.
14051 Are there messages or stories that deal with that issue?
14052 MS BIRNBAUM: In the initial group that we have, no, we haven't dealt with that topic.
14053 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: You mentioned Get Set For Life is an initiative that might also work for other aspects of programming.
14054 One of the areas where some concern has been expressed, if we look at CBC a great deal of praise on many levels for children's programming, but some concerns in terms of youth programming which would address children, teens, pre-teens. Do you have any comment on that area? Is that the kind of thing you were referring to as a possible area for such a project?
14055 MS BIRNBAUM: Youth is an age category. If there were an issue or a cause, a topic that involved that age group, I think the model would fit because obviously broadcast isn't a prime way to reach -- if the issue were one where we wanted to talk with youth or wanted to talk to others about youth, broadcast would certainly play an incredibly important role in that and the model would work.
14056 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Indeed.
14057 MS BIRNBAUM: Yes.
14058 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And finally, you use the term in your letter and today and in your letter you say that:
The role of the national public broadcaster goes into new and unprecedented realms where the private broadcasters cannot go.
14059 Could you elaborate a little more on why you say that. And you mentioned that again today in a positive way in terms of supporting your view of the CBC's leadership in this particular initiative, but what did you mean when you said realms where the private broadcasters won't go?
14060 MS BIRNBAUM: I am not sure -- well, first of all, having the regional and the local coverage to be able to a program like this out of broadcast and into communities, into festivals, working with local organizations, that is number one.
14061 Number two, to be able to -- to be driven by a mandate of public service, rather than one of revenue generating. I think that is a key difference.
14062 I often talk about it. We could have worked with a private broadcaster. We could have developed the program and gone to a private broadcaster and said, "Will you run it?" and they very likely would have said, yes, they would run it. But what CBC did, not only came to us first, but they said, "We will help create it. We will help run it. We will help work with other organizations and local communities to take this and make it bigger and more than the television screen".
14063 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you. It is important to hear how in specific ways the role of the national public broadcaster is defined by Canadians across the country and I appreciate you bringing this particular approach to our attention.
14064 MS BIRNBAUM: Thank you.
14065 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you for being here.
14066 MS BIRNBAUM: Thank you.
14067 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
14068 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
14069 And we will take a break for a few minutes and be back at 11:10. Thank you.
--- Short recess at 1050 / Courte suspension à 1050
--- Upon resuming at / Reprise à 1110
14070 THE CHAIRPERSON: Some indication of where we will be going: We will try to hear three more intervenors which would include the Writers Guild of Canada. Then we would go for lunch and start probably at 2:00 and then it would start again with the telephone conference with People in Equal Participation. We won't sit any later than 6:00 tonight.
14071 Thank you.
14072 MS BÉNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
14073 The next presentation will be by Manitoba Motion Picture Industries Association.
--- Short pause / Courte pause
14074 MS BÉNARD: They had confirmed that they would come. Maybe they haven't arrived yet. So we will call them at the end of the day.
14075 We will go to the next one, the Alliance for Children and Television/L'Alliance pour l'enfant et la télévision. L'Alliance s'en vient.
14076 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning and welcome.
14077 MS WILKINSON: When they first requested the opportunity to appear today they anticipated that a number of directors would be accompanying me. Unfortunately, the exigencies of production schedules and the imminence of Banff and the fact that this is a very political day means that you have me and not them. I am the National Director of the Alliance for Children and Television. My name is Kealy Wilkinson.
14078 As you know, the Alliance represents the common interests of a highly diverse number of sectors who in other circumstances and on other issues might not really agree very much; private and public broadcasters, parents, teachers, producers and distributors of conventional and new media, cable casters, advertisers, creators and media educators. They all recognize that television and increasingly other forms of screen-based media, as well, are for Canadian kids an important part of the experience of childhood. The bottom line really is that our kids are into TV and it is our collective job to make sure that they get the most and the best out of it.
14079 When ACT began to research its submission to this hearing it followed the same process used for previous CBC network licence hearings. It may seem a bit simplistic to you, but over the 25 year history of the Alliance we have found an effective way to develop consensus among our diverse constituencies and that is to go right back to first principles: In this case, what is public broadcasting and why is public broadcasting, and how does the concept fit in our current telecast environment?
14080 Now, to the surprise of some, I think, the answers weren't really very different from the arguments that were mounted some 50-60 years ago by Graham Spry, Ellen Quant(ph) and their cohorts, one of whom by the way was Eugene Forsey. They speak directly to who we are and to who our children will become. For that reason, ACT's board felt that it might be relevant to these deliberations and to your efforts to give our contemporary broadcasting system a sense of shape that fits and where the public broadcasting service fits in that shape.
14081 We want to go on record too as saying that our submission in no way implies any hostility towards the CBC or SRC. Its role and its function have been essential to the creative and national life of this country and we very much support them and we appreciate their longstanding support of the Alliance for Children and Television. We certainly occasionally disagree on specific points of maybe programming or scheduling, but we do have enormous respect for the integrity, the talent and the dedication of its creative teams. Now, admittedly, our expectations of Radio Canada and CBC Television are very high, but we are not apologizing for that.
14082 At a much earlier CRTC hearing just shy, I think, of 30 years ago, Graham Spry strode into a hearing room that was rather more elegant than this one to talk with Pierre Juneau, Harry Boyle, Rhéal Therrien, Pat Pierce(ph), Northrup Frye(ph) and others, other commissioners, about the importance of Canadian television and about the importance of Canadian programming and Canadian television. That day Graham began his remarks with the following quotation from Colin Cherry:
"Communication is the substance of all social life. A social group of any kind exists only inasmuch as its members communicate, be it a boy scout troop, a hive of bees or a nation." (As read)
14083 Our board felt that is still an important principle, particularly because, as Commissioner Pennefather noted earlier, in the last three decades television has become the key communications medium for our children. It is their first point of contact with their country and with their culture and its role in the lives of our children now is only second, I think, to that of their families. Given the pace and the demands of modern life, that margin of influence appears to be narrowing day by day.
14084 So that is the imperative that drove ACT's interest in quality Canadian programming for children and young people and it is also the driver of the longstanding concern that we share with many at the CBC and at Radio Canada for their responsibility to young Canadians.
14085 We believe also that public broadcasting is different from private broadcasting. It is based on the principle of service, not business, not industry. It is about facilitating citizenship, participatory and productive involvement in community, regional, cultural and national life, and as you have heard and read, probably almost to the point of parody, to inform, enlighten and entertain. We believe that is more than just the rhetoric of legislative drafting and this geographically improbably country of ours is only going to work if our national communications infrastructure and its critical, absolutely critical, public component can provide effective linkages that will allow us to argue different points of view and share the fun of satire and stories and sports, music, humour, defeats, triumphs and fun because it is only by doing that we can play our individual parts in the whole process of the evolution of this northern part of North America.
14086 Now, building a country is an ongoing process whose foundation must be in its young people. That is the connection. It is with those young people that shared values, the inside jokes, pride and achievement, has to begin and it has to begin early. That is how they learn to value what is special and distinctive about who they are and the place from which they come. That is why our expectation of the CBC and Radio Canada is, I acknowledge again, very high indeed.
14087 SRC's success has been remarkable and we believe it is well within the grasp of CBC Television to also become a special place for young Canadians. It has made a great beginning with its "Playground for Pre-Schoolers", but once they head off to primary school CBC TV is currently less successful. The Alliance has urged the Commission to remedy this by spelling out some real and measurable programming expectations and we have suggested beginning with the after-school slot for which a range of distinctive Canadian programs of various genre should be developed, aimed at kids from 6 to 10, 6 to 12. We think that for maximum impact it is also important that these programs appear as part of a substantial block, perhaps weekdays, say from 3:00 to 6:00, 4:00 to 6:00, which could be banded by the network and in the minds of its young audience so that kids know that it is their time and it is their place on public television.
14088 I should also say that we are somewhat less concerned now with CBC TV's future service to youth having heard it addressed in the course of these proceedings the other day with the assurance that there are a number of new series in development including Darren and Grey's "Back to Sherwood", Jules Verne, et cetera. I believe that three of that number are actually in development at the point of children and youth in the CBC. The others are being developed within the drama department. In any event, the fact is that they are in the pipeline and they will be on the air very shortly. So that has allayed some of our concern about the current gap in service to the youth component. We are not, however, quite so comfortable with the lack of programming that would be aimed at kids who are in the primary school years.
14089 We are also aware that in order to do this it means that the CBC has to invest in development and the provision of licence fees that are adequate to make these programs a paying proposition for independent producers.
14090 We are also aware, as is everyone, of the financial constraints under which the CBC is working, but the fact is that we believe it is time some of these dollars moved into service to young people. Right now the children and youth department at CBC Television is producing or requiring Canadian programming, I think, for only about 20 hours a week of the total schedule. That amounts to about 14.3 per cent of the CBC's current broadcast time, three-quarters of that is for pre-schoolers. So at a generous estimate only about 4 per cent of CBC's current schedule is specifically dedicated to programs that have been produced for young viewers who are older than five and perhaps that is an inequity that it might usefully address.
14091 We are hoping that the Commission will encourage the CBC to allocate a quantum of hours in its broadcast schedule in the prime time for the relevant audience segments, an allocation of the financial and other resources that are necessary from the network's total production budget that more closely approximate the size and the importance of the children and youth audience which, according to the 1996 Census, comes in at about 25.9 per cent of our population.
14092 Further, we are hoping that for the sake of coherent development the network would consider returning to the practice of placing responsibility for programs directed to children and youth, regardless of the genre, within the program area responsible for children and youth. There is a reason for that. We believe that creativity and edge are what is needed to create interest and loyalty from this audience. It is a demanding audience. It has other alternatives: there is the Internet; there is video; there is all that stuff.
14093 We believe that for the CBC to be very successful and in fact to get the most for its investment, its program investment in this specific audience, will require specialized knowledge of the needs and tastes of young people and the consistency of vision which is frankly less likely to result when separate CBC fiefdoms compete for the precedence that comes with the big ticket items like drama or movies of the week or series. Network practice has demonstrated that since 1992-93 this sort of split jurisdiction hasn't been terrifically successful in terms of ensuring the strategic allocation of resources to children and youth and it also appears to limit responsive scheduling and audience development. The fact is that youth often is the bottom of the totem pole; so are children for that matter in creative areas where the focus is generally on adults. We have the proof of that in the last number of years.
14094 We believe that key to even greater success for the CBC will be harmonization of corporate and other funding to make any revitalized commitment real and we count on you to ensure that fair and unrestricted access to project funding and to programming is in the future as readily available to our children and to our independent producers of children and youth programming as it is for others who work in other genre.
14095 We appreciate the opportunity to participate in this hearing and I will do my best to answer any questions you might have in the absence of people who know far better than I.
14096 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
14097 I would ask Commissioner Pennefather to ask you our questions.
14098 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
14099 Ms Wilkinson, welcome. On your last comment "people who know far better than I", I am not sure about that because I believe you have been in this business of children's broadcasting for some time. I appreciate your being here today, as do my colleagues.
14100 I would like to pursue a couple of questions basically for clarification from the written presentation. But I also wanted to clarify your comments this morning relative to when you talked about percentages of budget, hours and so on, which I don't think I see in the written comments.
14101 As Commissioner Colville said first off this morning, one of the issues that the CBC has to grapple with and we are grappling with now in our discussions, within the realm of the public broadcaster's role in reaching Canadians there seems to be much discussion, as with the Directors Guild this morning, around the wide variety of programming that public broadcasters are expected to deliver and within that choice and balance become important questions.
14102 So I just wanted to be sure that you are looking at children and youth as an audience. You are talking in a range of 2 to?
14103 MS WILKINSON: 2 to 17.
14104 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: 2 to 17. Your group then is proposing a 29 per cent proportion of the budget? Is that right?
14105 MS WILKINSON: Not really. We pointed out that in fact 29 per cent of the population qualifies as children and youth and that at the current time substantially less than that obviously would be spent by the Corporation in terms of the service that it is providing. We are not as unrealistic as to expect that 29 per cent of their overall production budget would be directed to children and youth.
14106 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: But you are looking for more, obviously, but where --
14107 MS WILKINSON: We are looking for something that is rather --
14108 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: -- does one draw the line?
14109 MS WILKINSON: Yes.
14110 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: I mean, how does one approach this then?
14111 MS WILKINSON: I think that the program executives of the CBC are aware of what they can do with the resources that they have. They are, as you say, dealing with competing requirements, competing constraints, all through the organization as a result of the last several years of constraints, cuts.
14112 The difficulty that we have as an outside organization in assessing exactly how much is too much, or how much is enough, is that we are not in a position to know what else they can bring to the production of children's and youth programming other than straight dollars.
14113 There may well be things that they can bring in terms of facilities, in terms of other things that would work towards reducing the overall cost, the absolute cost of productions and those are the things that we feel they are best able to address. Our major concern is that we ensure that there are programs, high quality programs that Canadian children will want to watch and enjoy on the national public broadcasting service and particularly the programs that reflect the experience of being Canadian.
14114 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: On that score then I follow you. Thank you.
14115 The results of what you are after in terms of the schedule, let's break it into children and youth. For the sake of discussion, I believe you did in your document as well.
14116 Let's start with children. Let me make sure I have your concerns clear regarding children's programming which on the side of the SRC your group is satisfied, but on the side of CBC you have some concerns and if I am correct they evolve around the diversity of the afternoon schedule.
14117 What would you suggest change?
14118 MS WILKINSON: I think one of the things that we would like to see is a focus on that badly under-served programs of that population segment, the six to ten, six to twelve -- kids in primary school -- because at the present moment there is very little that is being provided for them. They are the children who come home after school anywhere between three and four o'clock and our workshops with parents across the country tell us that these are the children who get first access to the television in those important hours after school. It is not the youth segment. The older children who have moved into high school largely, because those children are committed elsewhere, whether it is the school sports, or it is in lessons, or it is in part-time jobs, or it is at homework or it is on the Internet doing research for school assignments.
14119 So almost by default, it seems that in most families it is the six to ten, six to twelve who are getting control of the television set after school, in those weekday hours after school and we feel that it would be appropriate for the CBC to begin to look at developing programs, a wide variety of programs, in various genres, to begin to address the need of those children.
14120 I am aware that currently they are looking at that period as a youth opportunity but given that our own research and our experience with parents indicates that the youth segments are not there in droves at that time. It may be a little bit of a mismatch.
14121 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: That is an important point which I didn't understand. Secondly, again, if we were looking at the schedule a few years from now and your point was taken, what kind of programming would the children be watching?
14122 MS WILKINSON: We are hoping that we can return to the days when, as some of the parents have pointed out to us -- there is more than just cartoons, for instance. There was a time when the CBC was involved in a whole range or programming. There were magazine shows, there were science shows like "Wonder Struck". There was variety, there was drama, there was entertainment.
14123 We now have a whole new area that has been developed by the CBC and pioneered by them, which is the sort of consumer/economic show like "Street Cents" that our children want entertainment, they also want information. And they are particularly interested in information that is well packaged and directed specifically at their particular interests and needs.
14124 We think that there is room on the network for the development of a range of programming that will more fairly address the scope of the interests of this very particular age group, the kids from six to twelve.
14125 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: The kids from six to twelve have the zapper like everyone else.
14126 MS WILKINSON: Absolutely.
14127 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And they can move around the system and find a great deal of programming, period. Discovery Channels and others who may be focussing on that age group or may not. And as a result, you are watching television as a child, period.
14128 In that mix you have mentioned a wide variety of programming which could take the whole stay of the CBC actually. But if you took that stream of television viewers and you focussed on after school between 4:00 and 5:00, as they zap through the system, what will stop them at the CBC?
14129 MS WILKINSON: A program that was so uniquely suited to the things that they care about and they want to know about that they would stay there. That takes money and that takes production skill, but it can be done.
14130 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: So a focus -- and it is not animation, it is perhaps other kinds
14131 MS WILKINSON: Well, I think there is a great deal of animation out there, which is not to say that there shouldn't be animation at all. It just that because there is a lot of animation available, we have suggested that perhaps looking at other program genre might be more useful than simply providing more of the same old same old.
14132 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: In paragraph 17 of your written submission, you make a comment which I think I would appreciate you expanding on concerning in-house production compared to independent production which you do praise. But you also call:
...for CBC TV to begin renewal of its capacity to develop and produce the specialized education requirements of your viewers.
At the national public television the potential for commercial success and exploitation should not be the sole determinate of which programs make it to air.
14133 I read from that you are calling for more in-house production and less independent production. Am I wrong in interpreting that paragraph that way?
14134 MS WILKINSON: Actually, yes. We are not calling for less independent production by any means, but what we are suggesting is that there may well be instances where the nature of a program makes it impossible for an independent producer to even consider the possibility of other sale beyond the CBC.
14135 And in that case, were the CBC to determine that it was of sufficient value within its schedule, its larger schedule, it might well be the sort of thing which the corporation would, in other days, have been expected to produce in-house and I think even now could be doing to some degree. There is not a lot of this kind of programming currently in the schedule, obviously and it is unlikely that there would be much.
14136 But there was a time when the CBC felt that in those instances it was its job, its responsibility to ensure that those sorts of programs were brought forward and that the sole determinate of their production ought not to be commercial viability in the Canadian or other markets. And that was the sort of thing that we were trying to address there.
14137 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Do you have a particular proportion in mind? The Directors Guild came forward with 60 per cent independent production in the drama area, and you know the current expectation. Do you have a particular proportion in mind?
14138 MS WILKINSON: No, no, we don't. In fact we think that that would be best left to the creative team that heads up the CBC's own children's department.
14139 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Turning to youth, I read from your written application greater concern in the youth programming area. I know we could speak at length about what that means and where you would see the CBC going in what you term as a "dilemma".
14140 But if you could pinpoint what you are looking for here it would be helpful. You go so far -- the Alliance goes so far as drawing the conclusion that the corporation will not get your unqualified support for renewal of the licence and you propose that CBC TV report semi-annually on its programming for children and youth. But I think it is the youth programming that is your particular concern.
14141 MS WILKINSON: It was, yes. And is.
14142 Our concern there was that in fact when we added up the years we are looking at about 12 in which there has been a consistent lack of service to what we regard as a pretty key audience component. There was the whole of the last licence period leading up to 1994, we submitted an intervention at that time that raised that issue and the Commission responded with a condition of licence.
14143 The subsequent five years have seen not as much change as any of us, I think, including the CBC would have hoped. And we felt -- we were looking for in the design of a so what factor, we were looking for a way to ensure that the regulatory lag not continue until the end of the next licence period.
14144 Who knows what political or financial imperatives may strike again at the corporation. And we felt that it might be useful to at least use a regular reporting mechanism as a way of keeping the board's and senior management's attention focussed on what is, we feel, a very particular need.
14145 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Specifically, how would we do this? You know the workings of the CRTC well, how would we do this?
14146 MS WILKINSON: I would suspect that there was the simple request would be sufficient to provide internally some leverage -- the leverage that might be necessary to ensure that these issues are top of mind.
14147 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Final question. Are you aware of comments on youth programming made by CBC English television --
14148 MS WILKINSON: Yes.
14149 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: -- regarding a commitment to replace the U.S. afternoon strip and other -- are you aware? Do you have a comment on that?
14150 MS WILKINSON: Yes, Commissioner. That is what I referred to earlier on. The list of programs that are in the pipeline now.
14151 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: And does that --
14152 MS WILKINSON: We are significantly encouraged, she said with great tact.
14153 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: On that note, thank you very much for your comments and clarifications. Thank you for being here.
14154 MS WILKINSON: Thank you.
14155 COMMISSIONER PENNEFATHER: Thank you, Madam Chair.
14156 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
14157 MS WILKINSON: Thank you.
14158 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Madam Bénard?
14159 MS BÊNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
14160 The next presentation will be by the Writers Guild of Canada.
14161 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good morning and welcome.
14162 MS KELLY: Good morning.
14163 My name is Sondra Kelly. I am a screenwriter, I am also the Vice-President of the Writers Guild of Canada.
14164 With me today are Maureen Parker, our Executive Director; Jim McKee, our Director of Policy and Communications; and two other screenwriters, Andrew Wreggitt and Don Truckey.
14165 We are here today on behalf of Canada's professional English language screenwriters, the creators of the drama, variety, comedy, children's and documentary programming that are at the heart of the CBC's schedule.
14166 For many years, the CBC has set the benchmark for commitment to programming created and produced by Canadians for Canadians. Undeniably, the national public broadcaster is the pillar of our broadcasting system.
14167 In our May 5th written submission, we expressed support for the CBC's licence renewal applications. At that time, we made four points:
14168 For us as screenwriters, the CBC is the primary means of telling our stories to Canadians. CBC tells the stories that no one else will because the primary market, Canada, is too small.
14169 Secondly, the CBC's prime importance is not solely as a broadcaster but as a developer and producer of Canadian stories.
14170 Thirdly, the creative integrity of the CBC, we think, we feel passionately, must be preserved. The major budget cuts imposed on them in recent years has resulted in decreased development in production activity. This creative heart, the ability to produce and develop must be rebuilt over the coming licence term.
14171 And finally, CBC's development and production activity must restore a balance between programming produced through partnerships with independent producers and in-house production.
14172 In radio, CBC is unique as a national service that assigns both drama and documentary programming an important place in its schedule. Point of view information programming such as "Ideas", drama programs such as "The Mystery Project" and "Monday Night Playhouse" and comedy programs such as "The Great Eastern" and "Madly Off in All Directions" are just a few examples of the unique work that the Canadian writers have been able to bring to Canadians through CBC Radio.
14173 In television, the CBC has led the way in its approach to creating Canadian programming, recognizing that what makes a dramatic series, a children's program or a documentary fundamentally Canadian is that it is created by Canadians, not simply tailored to meet the minimum requirements of the Canadian content points system.
14174 Recently, some private broadcasters strengthened their commitment to Canadian programming in under-represented categories such as drama. But we believe that there remains an important role for the public broadcaster in this area.
14175 We also recognize that proliferation of specialty channels means that Canadians have more choice than ever before. But few of these channels are commissioning significant amounts of original programming in the under-represented categories. The high cost of this programming, especially drama is the major reason for this.
14176 At a time when American dramatic programming continues to dominate our airwaves, it is particularly important that the CBC devote a major portion of its prime time schedule to drama.
14177 MS PARKER: Good morning.
14178 As a developer and producer of Canadian stories, the CBC may often act in partnership with independent producers. But on some occasions it may be more appropriate to move ahead with a story in-house.
14179 In-house development and production may sometimes be the preferred route because the story in question, despite its importance to Canadians, cannot attract international pre-sales or distribution advances.
14180 The entrenched perception that Canadian stories will not succeed abroad has often been proven wrong. Dramas such as "The Newsroom", "White Lies", "Love & Hate" and many others have earned international acclaim and attracted large audiences in other countries.
14181 The CBC is now almost totally reliant on the independent production sector for its drama production. Such an alliance brings with it increased external pressures to tailor projects so that they will have export appeal. This reliance has had an additional impact. As a licensor, rather than a producer of such programming, the CBC forgoes subsequent profit streams that may flow from international sales. These profits could be reinvested in the development and production of new programming.
14182 This leads to the issue of how development and production is financed. Over the past few years, the CBC has sustained major cuts to its Parliamentary allocation. Now it has lost guaranteed access to the Canadian Television Fund. This hardly constitutes a level playing field for the CBC.
14183 We all hold higher expectations of the CBC as the national public broadcaster. But given those high expectations, the only way the playing field can be level is if they have access to the resources to develop and produce distinctive Canadian programming, particularly high cost drama. For this reason we think it is very important that the CBC's secure access to the CTF be restored.
14184 With respect to development in particular, we note with concern that the CBC seriously cut back its development budget in the wake of the cuts to its Parliamentary allocation. Drama development alone fell to a low of $690,000 in 1997/1998 from just under $2.5 million in 1994/1995.
14185 Development spending is essential to ensuring that the very best stories are produced, and that those stories are ready to go into production. We believe that over the next term of its licence, the CBC should fully rebuild its development budget to the pre-1994/1995 levels.
14186 So far, we have spoken in general terms about the importance of the CBC as a national producer and broadcaster. At this point, we would like to invite our screenwriters to speak about their own experience with the CBC.
14188 MR. TRUCKEY: Thank you. My name is Don Truckey. I live in Toronto now, but 17 years ago, I was a newspaper reporter at The Calgary Herald. I had been writing creatively for some time and wanted to write screenplays. Luckily, I knew the story I wanted to tell, and equally luckily, there was a CBC willing to tell it.
14189 The show was a court story called "Rough Justice". It was utterly immersed in the Canadian justice system and it won an award for an actor and a writing award for me for my very first dramatic script. It was undeniably my big break.
14190 Cut ahead to the present. Only four days ago, last Sunday night, the network replayed the TV movie "Net Worth", for which I wrote the shooting screenplay which tells the story of Ted Lindsay's failed attempt in the mid-50s to form an NHL Players Association. "Net Worth", as you may know, was also a multiple award winner and also a thoroughly Canadian story.
14191 In between, I have worked on the CBC series "Street Legal" as head writer and "Urban Angel" as executive story editor and co-creator. I also had the pleasure of writing for "Seeing Things" and doing a few smaller regional dramas.
14192 There is no question that my career has in large measure been a creative partnership with CBC Television. But the TV business in this country has changed radically in those 17 years. I have expanded the reach of my career and the CBC has gone from being almost the only player on the block willing to tell Canadian stories to one of many competing for the attention and hearts of viewers.
14193 I can't help but notice, however, on a personal note, that most of my best work has been not only for the CBC but for CBC in-house productions. I am not suggesting categorically that this is a superior way to make shows there but certainly CBC in-house has been a place where my voice -- and yours -- has flourished.
14194 MR. WREGGITT: My name is Andrew Wreggitt. I am from Calgary, Alberta. The last five years or so, I was the head writer at "North of 60" and then at "Black Harbour". I also wrote the "North of 60" movie that was aired recently, "In the Blue Ground" and I have written a second movie, "Trial By Fire", that begins shooting this August.
14195 I was in Yellowknife in February researching a new movie and I met a woman who ran a commercial fishing operation there. She told me a story about travelling across Great Slave Lake by cat train for 80 kilometres to get to her crew who were setting nets for whitefish under the ice.
14196 The camp itself is basically just a barge locked in the ice under the northern lights. When she finally got there, they were all sitting around the TV watching "North of 60". For northerners, "North of 60" was a chance to see their own passions and struggles reflected back to them, not tarted up for some big foreign market but honest drama about them
14197 Ninety episodes and two movies about a tiny Dene community in Canada's North, with a large loyal audience that stretches from one end of the country to the other: it could not have happened without the CBC.
14198 The series was off the air for a year and a half when the first movie "In the Blue Ground" was broadcast, but over a million viewers came back to watch it. People will choose well-made Canadian stories if they are given the chance.
14199 It is the responsibility of the CBC to find programming that reaches from the outside edges of this country into the centre. They are doing it. It is a struggle but they are getting it done. It matters to those guys up on the barge and to me and to a lot of other Canadians.
14200 I believe the CBC deserves our applause and every bit of support we can find for them to keep their prime time schedule Canadian.
14201 MS KELLY: My own experience as a screenwriter has been with in-house drama as a writer-editor on "Street Legal" for three seasons, as a writer-story editor for a series made by independent producers for the CBC as well.
14202 At the moment, I am a writer-producer on an hour-long dramatic series in development with the Corporation, called "False Gods".
14203 My creative experience with the Corporation has been remarkable. No one has ever said things like: You can't have heroes with so much baggage, which can be heard in other venues. In fact, the response has been the opposite.
14204 In the intervening years, I have written for the private networks on series like "Traders", "Ready or Not", and "Jake and the Kid". I have also been in development with one of their private networks. My relationship with them is excellent and I feel free to approach them with any idea or work I want to.
14205 But perhaps the biggest difference between the public and private network experience, for me at least, is my certain knowledge that it is the CBC to whom I can bring my riskiest ideas, the ones that don't fit the conventional mould.
14206 When I ran the Canadian Film Centre's TV Dramatic Workshop in 1997, it was striking to watch and hear various network executive reactions to my students' ideas. There was enthusiasm and interest in some of the proposals and scripts but I remember someone from the private sector, who shall remain nameless, urging a wonderful writer to change the ethnicity of her leads; otherwise, no U.S. network would look at the project. That wasn't a cynical comment but it is a reality for the private sector.
14207 There is a lot of British and American television that we all admire. That is because these excellent stories reflect ideas and events that are specific, not generic and not aimed at a huge amorphous audience somewhere else on the planet.
14208 We have made these stories before, largely thanks to the CBC, and we can make them again. We need the CBC to provide the place for us to tell those stories.
14209 Finally, if I may paraphrase a former head of Channel 4 in England:
We aim to please all of the people some of the time.
14210 That is what the CBC, at its best, has allowed us the screenwriters to do.
14211 Thank you.
14212 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I would ask Commissioner Langford to address the questions of the Commission.
14213 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You're sure?
14214 THE CHAIRPERSON: Yes, I'm sure. It's your name.
--- Laughter / Rires
14215 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, Ms Kelly has stole my title, "False Gods", but I have a great idea for you: Brave, beautiful commissioners, lonely, working alone, surrounded by interest groups, trying to come to the truth.
14216 MS KELLY: I feel the national public broadcaster is probably --
--- Laughter / Rires
14217 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It has a ring to it. The Prairies, the oceans, you know, it's all there. It's a perfect 10. I want you to consider it. Don't walk away from it. It's more than that $1,000 cup of coffee that Commissioner Colville is always talking about -- okay. All right. You don't like my idea.
14218 I don't want to ask questions just to ask questions. Your brief is very clear. It is refreshing because it is trying to find a balance and it is not a "gimme". People legitimately come to us with their "gimmes" and we listen, but this one is not a "gimme" and I like it. In that sense, it is refreshing. It shows that there are roles on both sides.
14219 I don't want you to think that I don't understand what you are saying, but I want to focus, if I could, on just a couple of maybe sub-plots here, peripherals.
14220 You speak -- first of all, Ms Kelly, you spoke on the second page of today's brief about the -- recently, you say, conventional private broadcasters have strengthened their commitment and you talk about them getting into specialty channels and what not.
14221 The CBC, in their submission to us, has spoken about the same sort of idea, of picking up this, if we want to call it, commercial notion of finding more shelf space for their products on what they call constellation channels. How does the Writers' Guild feel about that sort of notion?
14222 MS KELLY: We support it. The wider the breadth of CBC programming, the better. The CBC has a huge archive which, for free broadcast particularity, can only have so many windows on the network, which doesn't mean that the programming isn't of value. Of course, the more space there is for Canadian content on all of the channels, the better.
14223 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: But assuming that your members don't collectively suffer writer's block and therefore don't want to rest on their existing scripts, isn't that in some ways contradictory? Don't you want to see new product all the time coming forward rather than seeing more shelf space for old product?
14224 MS KELLY: Yes. But I think that the difference between -- the satellite channels can provide more windows for network broadcasts. But it also allows, I think, could allow -- and we actually didn't talk about this. So here I go.
14225 It could provide a level of access for lower budget and equally risky programming that it is impossible or difficult to produce now and it could be in all areas.
14226 MS PARKER: I think -- if I may just jump in -- with respect to the specialty channels, we are prepared for this particular question. One of the things that we spent a lot of time doing last year was negotiating provisions in our collective agreement which would make it more affordable for the CBC to be able to licence and rebroadcast and re-use the archival programming.
14227 We don't feel that we are putting ourselves in competition with ourselves because, as we all know, it costs a great deal of money to produce anything new in the underrepresented categories, and as you are viewing currently on the current specialty channels, a lot of that programming is CBC archival material. We believe that the CBC should have the right to retain the revenue from their own programs. It is their library.
14228 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Yet, you talk, in a sense, of the problem with specialty channels in the private sector or commercial sector, if I can call it that, being profit-driven and revenue-driven, and therefore perhaps having to take that too much into consideration.
14229 Specialty channels, one would assume, if they are patterned on Newsworld and the French version RDI, even if owned and controlled by the CBC, would not be public broadcasters in the pure sense that we think of the main service. They would have a profit motive as well. They would have to at least break even.
14230 Do you think that might change the reception you would get and change the rules of the game that you are now obviously very comfortable with, at the CBC, that is?
14231 MS PARKER: The CBC can surprise us. But I believe that if -- just looking at the types of programming on specialty channels, they are generally lower budget, generic programming, and we would rather see that off of a specialty channel, supplemented with archival or library material, and keep the main network free for drama and documentary and children's programming.
14232 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: One other point. I guess it is to you, Ms Parker, because it is your part of the brief, though I am only going by the headings here.
14233 MS PARKER: Not necessarily.
14234 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Others may have views and feel free to jump in.
14235 Your comments regarding the CTF, the public funding for productions and what you referred to, I think, as the no longer secure access guaranteed to the CBC, I think is your term -- the secure access.
14236 In the sense that the CBC's schedule is now so Canadian and that their emphasis is so Canadian and that makes them so singular in that way, in comparison to the commercial competitors, do you really think that will change the status quo at all?
14237 Won't the funders still be more attracted to what CBC is doing just by the other side of your brief, that they are so Canadian, to use the term, "distinctly Canadian"? Won't that give them an edge even without the guaranteed percentage?
14238 MS PARKER: I don't think so. It is a very competitive environment, just applying for the CTF monies. Now of course, it is a requirement that all production must be 10 out of 10.
14239 So I don't think that CBC has a particular advantage going in, but it is our opinion that they need that advantage and they need secured access.
14240 The CBC is the only broadcaster with the tradition of placing Canadian programs first. Other broadcasters may say it. Some may attempt it. One, for example, will place their prime drama series opposite "ER". What are they telling us by placing their one and only drama series opposite a top-rated U.S. program?
14241 But the CBC won't do that. They have not only Canadianized their prime time but they promote their programming, et cetera. So that is our position.
14242 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
14243 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much to all of you.
14244 We will interrupt for lunch and we will be back at 2:00. Thank you.
--- Luncheon recess at / Courte suspension à 1200
--- Upon resuming at / Reprise à 1410
14245 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Madame Bénard, je crois que monsieur Stewart a des documents... ah! c'est madame Pinsky.
14246 Me PINSKY: Merci, madame la présidente.
14247 I just have some documents to advise, for the record, that have been placed on the public record by the CBC.
14248 First is a letter dated the 1st of June containing a correction by the CBC to the new Canadian content commitment it had set out in its Promise of Performance indicating that it is actually intended to maintain the current commitment and not alter it.
14249 Secondly, a document dated June 2 in response to a commitment made on June 1 in the course of questioning. It is a document entitled "Clarification of Regional Hours, Revenues and Programming Expenditures".
14250 Third, a document dated June 3 entitled "Request for Filing of CBC Sports Report". It is a document being filed in response to questions put to the CBC on June 1.
14251 In addition, a letter dated June 2 containing the response to a question put to the CBC in relation to the five-year capital plan.
14252 Finally, the CBC has filed a revised version for the public record containing its responses to questions on advertising on the CBC English and French language television networks.
14253 Thank you.
14254 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci beaucoup, Madame Bénard. Voulez-vous, s'il-vous-plaît, présenter le prochain intervenant?
14255 MS BÉNARD: I have a few announcements to make as well before we start.
14256 THE CHAIRPERSON: Oh, yes.
14257 MS BÉNARD: The Manitoba Motion Picture Industries Association and the Government of British Columbia will no longer be appearing.
14258 Now we will go our first intervenor this afternoon, and it is a telephone conference, and it will be People in Equal Participation Incorporated, and I have Madame Ducharme on the phone.
14259 Go ahead, Madame Ducharme.
14260 MS DUCHARME: Hello. I am pleased to be here on June 3rd at 1300 hours to compliment the CBC and to credit them on the community services that they have provided people with special needs.
14261 We find that the CBC must be maintained in the fashion that they always have been as a family show and encouraging them to continue their phenomenal good work and that CBC will always be there for the complement of the elderly and the disabled. As they bring the news to us, they also involve us in community services. They are a really family show where we feel energetic, enthused and we can take on the world as we watch CBC and the world.
14262 People in Equal Participation Incorporated wishes to support the renewal contract of the CBC and those who wish to support CBC must be heard first. That is why our PEP organization, which translates into "Pester Every Person until you win", and we don't give up until we win. So that is why we are supporting.
14263 We encourage the cultural and religious integration of all people so that we can work together for the common good of all, and we find that the CBC is the top-notch communications for all people to recognize and to absorb and also to be encouraged and inspired by.
14264 You are welcome to ask any questions.
14265 It is a short and sweet presentation, but we are encouraged by CRTC's good works that they will listen openheartedly and make the right decision and always come up with the right response and listen to consumers who are there for the betterment of all.
14266 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much.
14267 I would ask Commissioner Grauer to ask a few questions.
14268 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you very much.
14269 I thank you very much for taking the trouble to get on the phone and contribute to our discussion with respect to the terms and conditions of the renewal of the CBC. We have heard from lots of their supporters and we are certainly very pleased to hear from you.
14270 One thing I did want to be clear, that you understood that the issue before is the terms and conditions of their renewal and not whether we renew.
14271 MS DUCHARME: Okay. That is what we were wanting to hear directly from CRTC, as you hear it from the media, you hear it from everywhere else, but you don't hear it exactly as it is. We would like to know exactly how it is.
14272 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Well, that is exactly how it is.
14273 MS DUCHARME: I see.
14274 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I don't really have too many questions -- I don't have any more questions for you because I think you have certainly been very clear indeed with respect to your position on the CBC.
14275 MS DUCHARME: That's right. Nobody can take the CBC away from us because we need them and we can't do without them. They have always been a family show, community involved and complementing all people regardless of race, religion, ability or disability. That is why we are classified as differently abled, because we are not disabled, we are differently abled, thanks to the CBC.
14276 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Thank you very much, Ms Ducharme. I congratulate you on your spirit and I thank you for your contribution which now forms part of the public record.
14277 MS DUCHARME: I would like to have them give us a report as to where it goes from here.
14278 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: Who? The CBC or the CRTC?
14279 MS DUCHARME: Both. We want to protect the CRTC as they are doing a good job as well.
14280 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I thank you very much and you can be sure that we will give you a report on where we go from here as we get there.
14281 MS DUCHARME: Thank you.
14282 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: I'm sorry, it looks like legal counsel has a question for you.
14283 MS PINSKY: I would just note as well that she would receive a copy of the decision ultimately that will be rendered.
14284 MS DUCHARME: Okay.
14285 COMMISSIONER GRAUER: So you will get a copy of our decision and thank you very much again.
14286 MADAME DUCHARME: Merci beaucoup.
14287 CONSEILLÈRE GRAUER: Merci beaucoup.
14288 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Bonjour, madame. Merci.
14289 MS DUCHARME: Okay.
14290 THE CHAIRPERSON: We will now go to the next presentation by Power Broadcasting Incorporated/Diffusion Power.
14291 Monsieur Chouinard.
14292 M. CHOUINARD: Madame la président, madame la vice-présidente, Mr. Vice-Chair, Commissioners, my name is Yvon Chouinard. I am the Executive Vice-President of Power Broadcasting Radio and Television. I would like to introduce Mr. Larry Harrison, recently appointed Vice-President of our Ontario Television operations.
14293 First, I would like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to present in person our view and concerns regarding the renewal of the CBC English Network Licence.
14294 Power Broadcasting owns and operates the two largest CBC English language network affiliate stations as measured in terms of viewing share and reach. CKWS-TV Kingston and CHEX-TV Peterborough have operated as affiliates of the CBC television network since they each signed on air in 1955. We also operate a local television station in Oshawa.
14295 Power Broadcasting has some other broadcasting relationships with the CBC. In 1994, Power Broadcasting, in partnership with the CBC, created and launched in the United States two new specialty programming channels, TRIO and Newsworld International, each of which currently has in excess of four million cable and DTH subscribers in the highly competitive U.S. market.
14296 We have been monitoring these proceedings very closely because we have an obvious interest in their outcome. Therefore, not only would we like to emphasize the key elements of our written intervention but also comment on some issues raised by questions from the Commission and the general public debate surrounding this hearing.
14297 Consequently, our presentation will revolve around four main topics:
14298 The interdependence between the CBC and our affiliated stations;
14299 The role of the CBC in the existing broadcasting system;
14300 The funding of the CBC and its commercial presence in the marketplace;
14301 Finally, the impact of the CRTC decisions on our stations and their local services.
14302 The public/private broadcaster interdependence between the CBC and Power Broadcasting is truly symbiotic. The national news and current affairs, drama, arts, children's and sports programming of the CBC national network service are carefully blended each day with local and regional programming, including news, weather, current affairs and sports programs, which are either acquired or produced by Power Broadcasting. Each party is independent in its management decisions, but they depend on each other for the delivery of programming to Canadian audiences.
14303 Power Broadcasting believes that this private/public broadcaster network affiliation relationship has served well the interests of television viewers in Kingston and Peterborough, for the past four decades and has contributed to the fulfilment by the CBC of its statutory mandate under the Broadcasting Act.
14304 For the Power Broadcasting stations to remain viable in the heavily cabled and increasingly fragmented television markets they serve, the CBC network programming must remain responsive to the needs of viewers and advertisers alike in markets such as Kingston, Peterborough and Oshawa. Therefore, the manner in which the CBC interprets its statutory mandate in respect of the programming it provides on its English language television network has a direct and immediate impact on the affiliate stations owned and operated by Power Broadcasting.
14305 Put otherwise, Power Broadcasting shares in the success or failure of the CBC franchise and is very closely identified in the minds of our viewers and advertisers with the CBC trade mark.
14306 Furthermore, contrary to several other CBC affiliates, Power Broadcasting does not have a second "twin-stick" affiliation in its Kingston, Peterborough and Oshawa markets as a business complement or alternative. We rely exclusively on the CBC network service to support our broadcasting activities.
14307 CBC has traditionally been a leader in the Canadian broadcasting industry, pioneering in new areas that only a public organization can consider venturing into, but benefiting as a result of the industry-at-large.
14308 We hope the CBC can continue to be proactive as it has always been. As a public broadcaster funded via public means, for the most part, the CBC can afford, and has the duty, to take risks and produce some programs that have little commercial appeal to private broadcasters. The CBC is clearly an innovative leader in this regard, while continuing to produce programs that appeal to a large number of Canadians.
14309 Power Broadcasting, as a private sector affiliate of the CBC national network, is understandably concerned that the CBC may be relegated to a more marginal role, showing programming of more limited interest to most Canadian television viewers. Our understanding is that Parliament did not intend for the national public broadcaster to have a marginal role.
14310 Power Broadcasting is concerned, therefore, about the widely-held misapprehension that the mandate of the national CBC television network somehow includes the provision of programming that is "complementary" or "alternative" to that provided by Canada's commercial television broadcasters.
14311 It is a metropolitan view of the television world, a view that ignores the rural areas which are not 100 per cent cabled and who need to receive the widest gamut of programs from over-the-air broadcasters including the main service of the CBC.
14312 The most worrying topic for the affiliates we have been hearing about since the beginning of this hearing is whether the CBC should reduce its commercial content in its regular programs and even completely eliminate it in some categories of programs.
14313 Frankly, we are not convinced that this whole debate is entirely connected with the reality of society. Agnès Gruda, in her May 29, 1999 editorial in La Presse had an interesting title to sum it up, "Radio-Canada: l'impossible schizophrénie".
14314 Ce n'est pas parce que La Presse fait partie de notre groupe qu'on l'a conseillé dans son texte.
14315 Some private broadcasters were very vocal and articulate in their pronouncements about the CBC dilemma. Why should the CBC continue to compete with private commercial broadcasters while it is receiving most of its funding from the State? And, on the other hand, why should the CBC, as a public broadcaster, be subject at all to the pressures of the commercial market?
14316 Those voices asking for a reduction in the commercial content of the CBC often use foreign examples, namely France and England, to support their position. Unfortunately, none of these examples can be applied to the existing CBC.
14317 CBC and its affiliates were born in a North American context with a democratic model of government intervention and effective business co-operation between the public and private sectors. It is a unique model developed to respond to the unique Canadian situation.
14318 We believe that the Canadian CBC model has worked very well for our broadcasting system over the years. Despite the continually increasing number of imported U.S. signals and programs on our screens, CBC has demonstrated an incredible ability to carve for itself a very distinctive niche of Canadian content that has generated large and loyal audiences throughout the country and beyond. In what has been a very challenging environment, one can say that the CBC has been quite successful.
14319 The broadcasting system is changing. The CBC is changing, and maybe should change even more. However, we must be careful.
14320 The most virulent critics of the CBC are essentially focusing on two things: Commercial time and the kind of programs the CBC should carry. We think that such an approach is too narrow and does not take into account the complexity of the existing structure. These people have an event-oriented view of the world which misses the overall context and environment.
14321 This oscillation between a commercial, not-so-commercial or no-commercial-at-all CBC is a pattern that we have been observing for over 30 years in Canada and, with all due respect, we don't think this forum should attempt to resolve this claimed philosophical problem.
14322 In order to resolve this perceived dilemma, we obviously need a high leverage governmental action that would potentially completely reshape the existing structure and the role of the CBC.
14323 In the final analysis, the overall funding of the CBC must be addressed by the Canadian government.
14324 In Canada, where is the will or commitment to re-invent the CBC? We just keep bashing at the CBC without proposing an alternate model. We are simply creating negative feedback loops in the system which frustrate all parties, including the citizens.
14325 Therefore, although you have the authority to do it, we don't think that the CRTC should attempt to change the system through a single event like reducing the commercial content or CBC's access to professional sports programs. It is simply going to hurt both the CBC and its affiliates and the system in general.
14326 Unfortunately, I don't think you can call the Minister to appear at this hearing, because that would make for a more complete debate.
14327 Indeed, we must look at the existing state of the system and determine what would be a desirable state for the system, and then propose the changes that will satisfy the public interest. Doing so, we must also take into consideration the impact it will have on the affected players, including our stations, and take the necessary corrective actions that will make the system work, according to a new mandate, funding, programming, performance evaluation and accountability of the redesigned public television?
14328 If all those conditions are not met, we suggest that the existing system not be changed at all, certainly not on a piecemeal basis.
14329 On the other hand, we believe that advertising compels public television to take account of audience ratings and enable it to respond to viewer demands and even give it some degree of independence from politicians.
14330 It is obvious that this Commission is at the heart of the existential problem of the CBC. Axing the commercial resources of the CBC, or limiting its abilities to program mass appeal programs, including sports, offer no patent tradeoffs to the system.
14331 This is a dynamic system where everything influences everything else, where change occurs on many time scales. You can't do just one thing. There will be side effects. Among them, a negative impact on most of the affiliates and their ability to provide local services to their respective communities. What may seem an obvious solution to a problem may fail or actually worsen the situation.
14332 In all fairness, the CRTC should certainly not reduce our stations' commercial content through the CBC while our fastest growing competitors -- the specialty services -- obtain more commercial time.
14333 If the commercial content of the CBC is reduced or its programming strategies modified significantly, most affiliates, especially non-twin-stick operations, will be seriously affected.
14334 Simple maths tell us that such a move by the CRTC would not only reduce our ability to sell commercial inventory to local and national advertisers and directly impact our ability to continue to provide efficient and pertinent services to our communities, but would also reduce the market value of our franchise.
14335 Moreover, it is important to emphasize the fact that our main point of differentiation in our markets is our ability to provide relevant news and community information to our audience. These are also key revenue generators. If we must reduce the quality and quantity of services because of squeezed resources, it would affect our whole business. These are important factors you should consider in your decision making process.
14336 Finally, there is a view that a reduction in the commercial inventory of the CBC would allow other media to receive more advertising revenues. Actually, nobody knows where the money lost by the CBC would go. There is no guarantee it would be re-routed to the private television business in particular.
14337 In conclusion, the relationship between the CBC and its private sector affiliates is an important one that combines the CBC's popular national brand with the affiliate's intimate knowledge of the local community.
14338 The network affiliate model allows the CBC to have a presence in communities in which it could not afford to operate its own stations. While the local communities enjoy CBC network programming blended with relevant local and regional programming, this creates a truly symbiotic relationship which provides benefits to all parties concerned, most particularly to the residents of the communities we serve.
14339 Why should this successful model be destroyed if there is nothing better to replace it?
14340 We thank you for giving us this opportunity to communicate our views on the occasion of this very important public hearing.
14341 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Merci beaucoup, monsieur Chouinard. Je demanderais au conseiller monsieur Langford de vous adresser les questions du Conseil.
14342 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you, Mr. Chouinard for your brief and I read your earlier presentation which was very detailed. It had a few extra things, so perhaps I will refer to that, as well.
14343 We don't have endless time, but there are perhaps a couple of interesting areas that you might share with us for the record.
14344 I was wondering, for example, what input an affiliate like yourself -- well, there you have three, but assuming just one for sake of academic exercise here -- what sort of input do you have into the new schedule that we saw released here and announced here earlier this week? We have a brand new television schedule for the fall, it is all painted red everywhere and it is very Canadian and the CBC is very excited about it.
14345 Did you have any input into that as an affiliate?
14346 MR. CHOUINARD: Actually, I think I would like Mr. Harrison to respond to that question. He is actually the new Chair of the Affiliate Committee and he is certainly, you know, the first on the line.
14347 MR. HARRISON: Actually, we didn't have a direct input. I am sure that the CBC considers all of our feedback throughout the year, but the schedule and putting together the schedule was not a direct consultation with us as affiliates.
14348 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Does that have to do, as well, with the sort of general programming development. When we saw the shift in the middle nineties towards Canadianization, would that have been something that the affiliates were part of or is that something done by CBC and then that you just get by osmosis?
14349 MR. CHOUINARD: That was at the CBC's initiative. And we are a partner of the CBC, so in principle we follow what the CBC decides. And I must say that they have been right most of the time. So when they moved "The National" to a new window everybody wondered, you know, what was going on. So they were partly right there.
14350 But I think overall we can say that the affiliates are willing to cooperate with the CBC, because the CBC is a very innovative broadcaster and most of the time, as I said, it works. So I think we like to follow their lead in this regard.
14351 MR. HARRISON: We like it.
14352 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You like it but also that is the way the partnership works. They are setting the pace, as they say.
14353 MR. CHOUINARD: It has not always been a very easy relationship to maintain. I must say that this forum has been used very often in the past on the occasion of the renewals of licences of the CBC by the affiliates to voice their concerns and their frustrations. But I think that we are seeing at the CBC a new approach to the relationship that they have with the affiliates.
14354 I think the partnership that maybe existed on paper was not very effective in reality. But I must say that since we signed the new agreement two years ago, there is a new approach at the CBC regarding the affiliates, especially those who are non-altruistic affiliates, who are relying exclusively on the CBC to make a living.
14355 So I think the management who is in place right now is very open to our concerns and our demands and I think we are willing to continue to work with them in this regard.
14356 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Sounds like a perfect marriage. I am not trying to put any -- you know, make the dishes fly in the kitchen in any way. I am just looking for some information.
14357 MR. CHOUINARD: Yes, we rarely talk about our marriage problems in public.
14358 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Probably just as well, there is enough of that on American soap operas.
14359 I think you have told us pretty clearly, I don't have any questions about what you want us not to do. You don't want us to ruin your perfect marriage here and to start taking sports away and whatever, it is pretty clear.
14360 If you could step into our shoes, though, as an affiliate with a special sense of CBC's place and its changing place in Canada, is there anything that you would do? Is there anything different that you would do?
14361 MR. CHOUINARD: We suggested in our written intervention that maybe the cooperation with the affiliates in terms of covering news in our territories or even producing some programs or participating in some of the productions that the CBC has, maybe that would be one way to strengthen the relationship with the affiliates.
14362 But besides that, we don't see any need to change the current relationship or the current arrangement we have with the CBC.
14363 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: And finally, you talk a little bit in your presentation, the brief you filed first about your own production that you are putting some production yourself into, I think was it in Oshawa or all three, I can't remember?
14364 MR. CHOUINARD: Yes.
14365 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Into local information and programming. Do you have any other -- you sort of mention, I think it was on page 12 of your initial brief, you sort of talked about the willingness to get involved in more production, more development of production. But have you hardened that up in your mind in any way? What sort of productions areas might an affiliate get involved in?
14366 MR. CHOUINARD: I think the best example is Quebec or Radio-Canada. And one of our stations in Carleton used to be a Radio-Canada affiliate. We produced several programs that were reflections of the areas we were covering. And I know that Cogeco has been a steady contributor to Radio-Canada's schedule.
14367 So it could be anything that would be a reflection of our community. It is hard to take the place of a producer here and say, "Okay, this is the kind of program that we could produce". But I think anything that would have to do with the reflection of our communities would be something that we would certainly be willing to contribute to.
14368 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Mr. Harrison, from kind of the broader point of view of the affiliates, is there more willingness to get into production or co-production from the affiliate side?
14369 MR. HARRISON: Definitely on the standpoint of news. There is a lot of shared resources that could be used there. I am fairly new to the chair, so I would be, I guess, ill-informed to answer on behalf of all of them at this point in time.
14370 I certainly can get back to you with that response, if you wish.
14371 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: No, we have enough undertakings floating around this room now to sink a ship. But thank you very much.
14372 Those are my questions.
14373 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. May I add a question.
14374 I was wondering, we have had from Cogeco, Mr. Audet, who came last week and talked more about his affiliate relationship with the SRC. Of course, he is not only carrying the CBC's, I think --
14375 MR. CHOUINARD: Quatre saisons, yes.
14376 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Oui, je pense qu'il est presque... "Three Sticks"... non, c'est Radio-Nord.
14377 M. CHOUINARD: Non, non.
14378 THE CHAIRPERSON: He also said that it was not totally satisfactory, the agreement they had reached, but all the same he was very supportive of the CBC and the importance, maybe you can give him some lesson in order to get some better kind of agreement.
14379 But I would be curious to see your making a point of the fact that you are only a CBC broadcaster. Where do you see the -- could that be the reason why there is a difference between your perception of what your relationship is and what seems to be the one of Cogeco. Is there also a difference between the French part of the CBC and the English? Do you have any insight?
14380 You know, I am not trying to --
14381 MR. CHOUINARD: No.
14382 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- take any competitive information out of you at this point. It is just really to understand are there differences that we should be addressing or should be aware of.
14383 MR. CHOUINARD: I will try to do my best to answer your question.
14384 It is true that when the CBC had to go through the reduction of appropriation, you know, funding from the government, that it was not an easy situation to handle for both the affiliates and the CBC. So we could have got into a big fight and we had some difficulty in resolving our problems, because the CBC essentially told us, "We are going to reduce your affiliate payment by 35 per cent almost". So that was a big reduction, a big blow.
14385 The decision then from Power Broadcasting -- our view was this: The CBC is going through very tough times, so let's not stop at this problem. Let's try to accommodate the CBC the best we can and let's work on the future.
14386 This is where we really worked at it. We spent time with the CBC, we had several meetings trying to understand where they wanted to go in the future with the affiliates. And it was clear that they wanted the affiliates to remain part of the system.
14387 Then we said, "Okay, let's work on a deal that will allow us to benefit from some of the parts of the system of the CBC that can help us in our markets. And, you know, let's have a long-term deal instead of renewing an agreement every year, let's have a five-year agreement where all parties will try to work together".
14388 So I think this is what we are in the middle of. In the middle of a better relationship and I don't know the details about the Quebec situation, but essentially I think that we have been able to work together and we are very pleased with it.
14389 THE CHAIRPERSON: And when you worked those agreements, it is not with the corporation, per se, it is with the English TV network?
14390 MR. CHOUINARD: Yes, but I must say that in that case other people were involved in the discussions and because we thought that it was important that everybody be on the same wavelength. So there were several meetings where people at different levels of the organization at the CBC were involved in discussions with the affiliates.
14391 THE CHAIRPERSON: May I ask you another question on --
14392 MR. CHOUINARD: Sure.
14393 THE CHAIRPERSON: -- something that you know very well because not too long ago we were discussing the situation in Bas Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie about the specialty channel.
14394 MR. CHOUINARD: Yes.
14395 THE CHAIRPERSON: There has been some representation from the MP's of the Bas Saint-Laurent, La Gaspésie, also from the City of Rimouski, some representations and interventions saying that since the three stations were closed down, the French network which was Matane, Rimouski and I can't remember which other one, but there was a third one anyway, that was closed. They feel in those regions that they don't have as much services as they used to and they are trying to get our attention and the attention of the CBC in terms of getting at least one news bulletin that would be done locally -- I mean, in Rimouski or anywhere in that region rather than being fed from Quebec. And eventually even get an affiliate there.
14396 With your knowledge and expertise in being an affiliate and your knowledge because you have other business in that part of the country, what would be your assessment?
14397 How come, for example, didn't you offer to take up an affiliate station in that region? What is your view economically? Do you think it is feasible?
14398 MR. CHOUINARD: I think the third city is Sept-Iles or Seven Islands.
14399 THE CHAIRPERSON: C'est ca, oui.
14400 MR. CHOUINARD: Frankly it is an idea that we have not explored. Maybe we should have. But I don't know, we would have to examine it and see whether currently the market could bear an independent or a private station there.
14401 But, I think, you know, that basically the relationship between the CBC and the private enterprise might be a good way to serve the communities and it works well in our case in Kingston and Peterborough. It works well now in Oshawa, too. So, I think that we would be open, certainly, to consider that in the future.
14402 But they belong to the CBC, so we will have to --
14403 THE CHAIRPERSON: I was just trying to get a sense from your experience in that region.
14404 MR. CHOUINARD: We are always open to creative ideas, especially when they come from you.
--- Laughter / Rires
14405 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, thank you very much for your participation. Merci beaucoup, monsieur Chouinard. Merci, monsieur.
14406 MR. HARRISON: Thank you.
14407 MR. CHOUINARD: Merci, au revoir.
14408 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by Community Access Network.
14409 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon. Welcome.
14410 MR. BROUGH: Good afternoon. My name is David Brough.
14411 I first should make it clear that Community Access Network really is three people, me, myself and I at this present time. I am hoping some time in the future that we will include many, many other people across Canada.
14412 I am coming from a different perspective. When I hear my friend or my two friends who just departed I am somewhat bemused by it all because if they are the people who are a product of a happy marriage, I am the reluctant suitor. In fact, the rejected suitor, probably subject to a restraining order if the CBC had its way.
14413 And I will explain that. I have, for the past several years -- in fact maybe for the past decade -- been trying to work with the CBC at various times. And if you go back into the history books you will remember, oh a decade or so ago, the CBC came out with another grand plan that they called "Let's Do It".
14414 Anybody remember "Let's Do It"? They wanted partners. They didn't use the word "partner", that's a new buzz word now. Let's partner with everybody as long as it benefits the CBC.
14415 At that time, the CBC was disaffiliating the London station and it was disaffiliating Barrie and other stations, as well. And I came up with the idea, I simply said, "Look, if you are going to disaffiliate these stations, why not start new stations and take these people that you are laying off", they were at the time dismissing staff and other people, "why not give them jobs and why not give them an employment opportunity at the same time to be an independent broadcaster associated or affiliated with the CBC?"
14416 The CBC didn't want to have any part of it and recently or two years ago I started the same round with the CBC and my approach really was to the President of the CBC and it took two years to get an answer. I finally got an answer saying, "Let's talk it over with the engineers".
14417 Two weeks ago I got a letter from an engineer saying, "We are not interested". And I found it kind of strange that an engineer would be making the policy decisions.
14418 I live 200 miles or 200 kilometres north of Toronto and I get my CBC television from the Toronto station, but via a rebroadcast transmitter. As you know, the CBC has many rebroadcast transmitters, it has something in the neighbourhood of 600.
14419 And when I see 600 transmitters across the country that are unattended, I look at it and I see one thing, I see opportunity. I see an opportunity to do what the two gentlemen who sat here just a few minutes ago are doing in partnership with the CBC and in their happy marriage.
14420 Looking at it from some perspectives, if you look at it from the rural perspective, places like Wawa or Manitouwadge or Stephenville in Newfoundland, those are fairly small markets. But if you look at it in Southern Ontario around, like, London or Barrie or Kitchener, where the CBC has these unattended rebroadcast transmitters, I see opportunity.
14421 But I also see opportunity in the Stephenvilles and the other parts, the Wawas, as well. If you go down into the Maritime provinces right now, you will see a lot of people who are unemployed, looking for new employment opportunities. We have got miners, we have got fishermen. We have a lot of people in this country who, I think, could participate in the Canadian broadcasting system and it will just take a little bit of imagination. But with 600 transmitters sitting out there unattended, waiting for people to come along and plug their thoughts, their local expression, and especially their creative enterprise into it, I see opportunity.
14422 That is why I am suggesting that when you consider the CBC and their applications for relicensing their local stations that you include a proviso. And the proviso that I would like to see you include is that where somebody comes along and they can meet a promise of performance or they can make and they can apply to you people and get a licence, that they should get the licence and affiliate with the CBC. I call it a reverse affiliation agreement.
14423 The CBC owns the transmitter and the land that the transmitter and antenna is on. Well, there is no reason why somebody couldn't come in, get loans, whatever it takes to start a business, and become a local broadcaster.
14424 In my case, 200 kilometres north of Toronto, I am watching Toronto weather. I am watching Toronto sports. There is no local broadcaster in my area at all. They all are Toronto broadcasters with rebroadcast transmitters.
14425 There is good service but there isn't local service of any kind from any broadcaster. The best that any broadcaster does is the broadcaster from Kitchener, CKCO, which is a CTV affiliate and has one stringer covering the entire area.
14426 I think there is room for new employment, new opportunity, and that is why I am saying to you people, when you are considering the licensing of these individual local stations, and I would include the Toronto flagship station, CBLT, which has a dismal record. In fact, when I go through your material, and I can see that -- in fact, I don't see one local CBC station that has lived up to its promise of performance.
14427 They can't get it right and indeed, in reflecting what the Chairwoman of the CBC said to you people -- let's see if I can get her quote right because I picked it out of the newspaper. I don't have cable and I can't watch what is going on here.
14428 She said:
"They are proposing to use partnerships and economies of scale to build strong self-sufficient specialty channels and use part of that programming to strengthen their main channel." (As read)
14429 She said that she was frustrated with the $100 million it cost to operate separate stations in every city, claiming that this money could be best spent on journalists and TV shows but that the stations are necessary in order to reach all Canadians, as required by law.
14430 So the assumption I am drawing from this and from history is that the publicly funded broadcaster simply doesn't want to operate local stations.
14431 I am sure we can find a lot of people across this great country of ours who want to operate local stations. I think we can create 2,000 or 3,000 jobs, using this particular concept and I think you are all for creating jobs, especially in an industry where the attrition rate is enormous.
14432 What is happening with the mergers and the acquisitions? We see the CBC cutting jobs, but in the private sector, we see other people cutting jobs as well.
14433 Let's provide new opportunities, and we can. The broadcasting frequencies are a public resource. They are owned by all the people. Let's find ways to use this resource.
14435 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Brough. I would ask Vice-Chair Wylie to address the questions.
14436 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Brough. You are looking for jobs and opportunities, but you are looking at a participation that would be not-for-profit. I am looking at your intervention.
14437 When you say "the intervenor which will operate as a not-for-profit corporation", you are talking about the CBC or about you?
14438 MR. BROUGH: Well, I don't think the CBC is a not-for-profit corporation.
14439 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: No, but in this arrangement.
14440 MR. BROUGH: What I am saying is that this arrangement, whoever creates it, would be not-for-profit because what I am suggesting is that the urban areas, whereas there is an opportunity to make some money, could support the rural areas where there is less opportunity, as an example, Wawa, Northern Ontario. It has --
14441 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: As among the participants or are you suggesting that money would be funnelled from the more profitable areas of Radio-Canada? In other words, I am trying to understand.
14442 Your model would be a bit -- I understand the idea of affiliation agreements in reverse and you would see those who would get involved in this as a bit like community programmers, so to speak, for the local portion, utilizing CBC assets, right -- unattended CBC assets which would receive the network feed too?
14443 MR. BROUGH: Precisely.
14444 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Then the people you are envisaging or you yourself would provide the local portion?
14445 MR. BROUGH: I see it almost identical to what you just observed with the affiliate members who were here.
14446 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: But in reverse.
14447 MR. BROUGH: Right, only in reverse in the sense that the CBC owns the transmitter.
14448 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Would you see the -- let's call them the local participants would also maintain the facilities that are owned by the CBC?
14449 MR. BROUGH: I am not sure about that.
14450 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Then, of course, you would need -- are there some of these facilities that have also equipment in them, cameras, whatever is necessary?
14451 MR. BROUGH: That is the nice part of it.
14452 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Or just transmitters and a building?
14453 MR. BROUGH: Well, the CBC owns the transmitter in the building right now. What I am proposing is that because of this new generation -- you have seen the new digital camcorders that are around now. These things are becoming very inexpensive.
14454 For $3,000 you can get a three-chip camcorder that is every bit as good quality-wise as a betacam, in fact, has many other qualities that a betacam doesn't: the ability to fire wire interconnected with a computer so that you can edit it. So for $5,000 suddenly, somebody can do what cost a quarter of million dollars a few years ago.
14455 So that means that your economies of scale are being reduced considerably. It means that you could go up into a very small community of maybe a population of 10,000, say, and probably with this type of equipment operate a commercial station that might support two or three jobs.
14456 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: When you say money from the larger communities could be refunnelled to the smaller ones, you are obviously envisaging local ads supporting the local portion and a consortium of sorts between these participants so that there is this shift of funds --
14457 MR. BROUGH: Right. But there would be --
14458 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: -- between the larger communities and the smaller ones?
14459 MR. BROUGH: Yes. There is a shared resource base. What I am trying to do is create a model where the CBC isn't even involved because they have things that they want to do. If it is going to cost the CBC money, they will balk. Let's try and set up a model where it doesn't cost them anything.
14460 So we move into a market like, say, Kitchener or London, Ontario --
14461 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: And you lease the facilities for $1.00, but all the operational expenses would be the consortium's or those participants?
14462 MR. BROUGH: That's right. The CBC --
14463 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: In using the transmitter, which will require, I suppose, some maintenance, et cetera, producing a certain amount of local programming and selling ads in it to -- then there would have to be some arrangements between the participants so that there is a shift of funds from some localities to others depending on their ability to generate funds.
14464 MR. BROUGH: That's right. What I see again is -- I have some experience in the Far North, places like Wawa and Longlac in Northern Ontario, or Tuktoyaktut in the Northwest Territories, and I know the problems that they have in creating their own product. But I also know that it is possible to do this on extreme budgets.
14465 I have put in TV stations in these areas for $1,500 and that included the camera. It can be done. The creative element is there but we need a partner. In other words, we need the CBC as our partner.
14466 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: So this would be limited where there are so-called unattended facilities because you don't imagine the ability to build a facility and build a transmitter from scratch?
14467 MR. BROUGH: Oh, yes.
14468 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You would?
14469 MR. BROUGH: There are still areas that aren't covered.
14470 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: You would get the network feed then?
14471 MR. BROUGH: Yes.
14472 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Then, it would be a little more like an ordinary affiliate, right?
14473 MR. BROUGH: Yes.
14474 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Yes. And in certain circumstances, it would be in reverse because you would be using the facilities?
14475 MR. BROUGH: Well, the CBC owns the transmitter. Then I suggest that we utilize that facility that they don't want to use, at least for local expression right now. There are big gaps in their programming schedule that aren't being filled at the present time and there are opportunities there for people to do that.
14476 There are lots of people in this country who want to make TV programs. How are they going to get into the big leagues? How are they going to make good programs? Well, they are going to start off somewhere in some smaller community and they are going to work their way up. But there isn't a lot of opportunity when you have a transmitter but you don't have access to that transmitter.
14477 I will point out another area that is interesting too and critical. Right now, you see the forest fires that are raging in the Far North. Well, somebody in Cochrane, they would have to go through a TV station, maybe 100 kilometres away in some other area, in order to get a message out to their local community.
14478 If you have this local access and this ability to do this type of thing, all you do is turn it on. You have somebody who does the job in that community. You know that the TV stations and the radio stations they are a focal point of the community.
14479 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: I have no doubt if this worked of the value of the result. Now when you started, you said that you were you, yourself and yourself. Do you have partners -- I don't mean partners in the legal sense -- but other parties who are interested in pursuing this or has it just been a discussion between yourself and the CBC to date?
14480 MR. BROUGH: It has been between myself and the CBC. What I wanted to be able to do is I wanted to get it to a stage where the CBC would say: Let's do a test somewhere and I picked out a test location. But I was just stonewalled by the CBC.
14481 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: A test location to try and see how this could be done.
14482 Well, Mr. Brough, when my term is over, you can give me a call.
--- Laughter / Rires
14483 MR. BROUGH: I hope it expires tomorrow then. Not really.
14484 But there is that opportunity. It is there. As I said, what we --
14485 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: It is an interesting idea. That is always the difficulty, getting the critical mass of interests sufficiently to make it appealing.
14486 MR. BROUGH: I think when the word gets out on this type of opportunity, and there are many other opportunities around as well. I haven't even started on the private broadcasters and you know how many unattended transmitters there are all across this country.
14487 If you pick on somebody like Global whose original promise of performance was, where somebody wanted to start a local station, we will go along with them, I am sure Mr. Asper would like that.
14488 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Keep nurturing your project and maybe you and I can appear together in front of Commissioner Langford in the future.
--- Laughter / Rires
14489 MR. BROUGH: Thank you.
14490 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Thank you.
14491 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I will sing you my rendition of George Gershwin's "They Wouldn't Listen to Christopher Columbus". Remember that one? So you may be on to something.
14492 MR. BROUGH: I heard you before when you were talking about the possibility of being a playwright or otherwise, but there are lots of opportunities and they are there.
14493 But you know, part of it has to do with you people as well. I must confess that I put myself in your shoes a lot. When you see somebody being laid off from their job, and here is this wonderful, expressive medium that we can use, and we are using to some extent, and the CBC is doing a pretty good job in many respects of tying this country together, it needs help.
14494 Here is the first partner and I am sure there are thousands of others who want to join it.
14495 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Don't forget me.
14496 MR. BROUGH: Okay. Two partners there.
--- Laughter / Rires
14497 MR. BROUGH: But you people have to -- you have to give them a little bit of a boost too. You are going to have to come back and say: Look it. There are opportunities there. Explore them because I want to come and I want to challenge the CBC's right for a licence and I will go right after Toronto if I have to. That is where it is all going to start.
14498 If they can't meet their promise of performance, you tell them somebody else is waiting to do it. And we will do it.
14499 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Brough.
14500 MR. BROUGH: You're welcome.
14501 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Your message is broadcasted, as you know. So it is not only to the CRTC.
14502 MR. BROUGH: Well, let's hope that some of those people in Stephenville or wherever else that they want to be broadcasters that they can use that facility.
14503 COMMISSIONER WYLIE: Thank you very much.
14504 MR. BROUGH: Thanks.
14505 MS BÉNARD: The next presentation will be by Communications and Diversity Network.
14506 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon. Welcome.
14507 MS CLARKE: Thank you for giving us this opportunity to be here today.
14508 The Communications and Diversity Network had an opportunity to present before you previously. We are an organization of a loosely knit group of people across the country and individuals who are concerned with how communications, broadcast media and telecommunications is projected in our society, which is a very multiracial one.
14509 We are here today to speak specifically to the CBC call for relicensing. I have with me on my far right, Dr. Karim Karim; and right here, Lionel Lumb. They are both with the School of Journalism at Carleton University and members of the network. I am Anne Clarke.
14510 MR. LUMB: Good afternoon, Madam Chair, commissioners. We are definitely not here to bash the CBC, a phrase that I got from Mr. Chouinard. We are here to try to make it do its job a little better, we hope. We have some suggestions that the CBC might find interesting.
14511 We are here to present some thoughts, concerns and possible solutions about achieving true cultural diversity on the CBC's Television and Radio networks.
14512 Of course, by diversity, we don't mean variety of programming. Our concern is to achieve a more faithful reflection of the wonderful diversity of Canadians' experiences, aspirations and cultural history and remain all Canadians.
14513 If this reflection were to happen, we are sure that it would automatically enhance variety of programming. So I think that the two go hand in hand and I hope that by the end of this presentation, you might agree.
14514 The Communications and Diversity Network, CDN for short, and proudly Canadian in everything, is not seeking something extraordinary. We only ask that which is required of television networks and channels in the Broadcasting Act of 1991, to reflect "the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society" and to reflect Aboriginal cultures to the rest of the country.
14515 We pointed out in our written submission that the cultural make-up of this country began a radical change more than three decades ago. But if one were to judge simply by what Canadians see and hear on television screens and radio channels, then it is very much the "old Canada", not the new one, that is portrayed.
14516 All the old authority figures run everything, the new and potentially exciting minorities -- and of course, articulate, talented First Nations artists and performers -- either barely exist or make do with lesser roles, as seen and heard.
14517 For private broadcasters such as CTV and Global, this is a shame; for the public broadcaster it is nothing short of a disgrace to not draw on the richness of the mosaic. It is, in fact, a tragic waste of the glorious opportunities that a more realistic and faithful representation of Canada's intriguing cultural complexity has to offer, in terms of creativity and artistic inspiration. To draw on the richness and the variety of the peoples of Canada is really something that ought to be done far more than we see now.
14518 Diversity is -- some people sort of shrug and draw back from the word -- diversity is not a drawback but rather a treasure for Canada and Canadians to celebrate. There could be so much more to television and radio programming and it is time that broadcasters got the message: Diversity is not a duty, it's a delight.
14519 Now, this is particularly crucial for the CBC. It is the only national broadcaster whose programming can be primarily directed at questions of public interest.
14520 In reviewing the CBC's commitments to the CRTC at this time of licence renewals, we are dismayed by the absence of a comprehensive diversity plan. We did not detect it. Perhaps it is there. If we miss it, we apologize, but I don't think we did. Perhaps such a plan is in the works; perhaps it might be tabled before these hearings end and our network might have an opportunity to comment further.
14521 Such a plan -- in fact, a well-rounded policy initiative -- that is what it has to be, a well-rounded comprehensive policy initiative, is essential. Experience in this field of advancing diversity and hiring practices and coverage has shown that the inspiration and impetus must come from the top, from senior managers committed to the principle of true diversity and determined to sustain and enforce it. That is true of the newspaper business. We have seen various newspapers that have tried to do this, the Montreal Gazette is one example. It went through a very long process to do this, to achieve this -- in fact, I will return to this -- has defined a path for how to achieve diversity.
14522 More than two decades ago the CBC set out to provide more equal opportunities for women in the Corporation. As a mid-level executive or senior producer with the CBC news and current affairs at the time, I played a small part in advancing that policy, hiring people, and again later when the CBC broadened it to in include visible and other minorities. But I want to say this, and this is very important that I emphasize this, my bosses at the time I am proud to say, never let me forget my responsibility to seek out and hire worthy candidates. I had good strong bosses.
14523 It's time for that kind of policy drive to kick into gear in drama and entertainment programming on the CBC. It makes both business and social sense. For instance, the advertising industry saw the light in the early nineties and changed the look of its ads and flyers, brought in a whole lot of different looking people. Why not? It sold more goods. Why not the broadcast industry? Why not? Now, there is an echo from the past whose time perhaps has come again.
14524 The advertising industry based its policy directives on population projections which saw visible minorities rising to 30 to 35 per cent in Canada's major cities by the year 2000. Recently, the Toronto Star published projections based on Statistics Canada figures which show how the cultural make-up of our major cities has seen remarkable acceleration even faster than that. In the city of Toronto, comparable to the old Metro area which included Scarborough, Etobicoke and North York, the percentage of visible minorities has gone from 3 per cent in '96 to 1, to 30 per cent in 1991, to an anticipated 54 per cent by 2000. It seems like an awfully high figure even to me who sometimes visits Toronto from Ottawa, but anyway, that is what they say. This kind of increase, though not quite as remarkable, has also spread across Canada even to mid-sized cities.
14525 It is clear that Canada's minorities have indeed entered the mainstream, but Canada's broadcasting mainstream still flows along blindly down below in some sort of self-created canyon from which it can't see the Canadian reality up above. It is time for the public broadcaster, at least the public broadcaster, to head for the high ground.
14526 To be fair, in its news programming and the people who deliver the news on the CBC, the Corporation has made significant progress. It is no longer remarkable to find reporters and anchors of various backgrounds. We see that every night. We see that all day on Newsworld. But CBC's drama and entertainment programs lag far behind.
14527 The new programming schedule just partly released has only one returning series "Riverdale", with a reflective mix of actors. From what our network can discern, and we would be happy to hear that we are wrong about this, the new program schedule has no continuing series that would qualify under any kind of diversity policy should there be one adopted by the CBC. There are two specials that would, a "North of 60" movie, two hours, and George Elliot Clarke's contribution from Nova Scotia "One Heart Broken Into Song". I think it is a kind of operetta. I think that is two hours as well. That is a total of four hours maybe.
14528 The major prime time drama of last season, the compelling "Da Vinci's Inquest" is also returning. Last year it had one minority actor that I could tell, in a supporting role, of course, not a major role, and that is in Vancouver whose cultural make-up is changing about as rapidly as Toronto's is.
14529 You have to wonder whether CBC producers and executives and their independent co-producers, who make so many of the CBC programs these days, ever venture out onto the streets, visit schools, shopping malls, restaurants to check out vernacular and English-language newspapers and magazines which target minority groups. There is a lot out there. Well, of course, they do go out and of course they can see what they want to see.
14530 No Canadian needs StatsCan to point out how the country has changed. What is missing is the will to bring about change, the will to enforce and sustain a comprehensive diversity policy at the CBC. That is what is missing, the will to do it, to design it and carry it out, sustain it, enforce it, all of those things.
14531 But it is within your power, the CRTC's power, to make this happen. That is why the Communications and Diversity Network is here to urge you to take action on five fronts as spelled out in somewhat greater detail in our written submission:
14532 Number one, to ensure that the public broadcaster develops a pool of writers, producers, performers and managers drawn from right across the Canadian cultural spectrum and the country so that viewers find a fresh and balanced array of programs; and that it also creates a diversity unit, a specialty unit, as a condition of licence similar to one that the BBC has in order to foster such programming.
14533 Number two, to develop a research framework that monitors -- that is for you to develop or to make sure the CBC develops -- a research framework that monitors the reflection of Canadian minorities in CBC programs.
14534 Number three, to develop a framework to monitor, measure and evaluate the progress of the CBC in this regard.
14535 Number four, to ensure that the CBC understands that its performance and progress in meeting this section of the Broadcasting Act will face review at the time of licence renewal, at this time, future times.
14536 And finally, number five, to ensure that the CBC will be required as part of the licence process to conduct an assessment of the diversity needs of its various markets at the time of licence application or licence renewal, and to couple this with a promise of performance that will be measured and evaluated again as a condition of licence during subsequent reviews.
14537 In conclusion, we urge the CRTC to take strong action on the obligations enshrined in the Broadcasting Act. Armed with research and information about the progress of diversity at the CBC in both programming and the hiring of talent, we urge the CRTC to take the next and logical step.
14538 The CBC must know as it comes before you at the time of licence renewal, or with an application for a new licence, that the Commission has the necessary data, that you would have the necessary data, to judge the CBC's progress in the field of diversity, that the CBC must know that the commitment to reflect Aboriginal cultures to the rest of Canada and to reflect the multicultural and multiracial nature of Canadian society has indeed been monitored, measured and evaluated.
14539 The Communications and Diversity Network and its member organizations -- we are indeed a truly diverse group, I promise you that -- stand ready to work with the CBC to plan and develop a diversity strategy should we be asked.
14540 One final thought. The Canadian reality embraces a gloriously simply message: There are unheard voices well worth hearing. There are many, many untold stories well worth telling.
14541 That is our presentation.
14542 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much for your presentation.
14543 I would ask Commissioner Langford to address you to questions.
14544 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you for your presentation and welcome to these hearings.
14545 It is a big topic, isn't it? It is huge. I am sitting here and you know, I think of five questions and then I say, gee, we don't have all day. So I will peck away at it a little bit if you don't mind, and obviously we are not going to cover the waterfront here.
14546 You had some very interesting statistics about drama programs where you obviously have done monitoring, but then in a kind of -- to use a news term "a throw-away line" -- you said things were better in the news and information area and better on Newsworld. Do you have some statistics there too? I don't want to bury us in them, but how much better?
14547 MR. LUMB: Well, I mean, if I go back to the times, to the late seventies, early eighties and mid-eighties and even almost -- yes, into the early nineties when I was with either the CBC or CBC Newsworld -- we certainly, the CBC certainly did not have a great number of people from various cultures who were reporters or fronting programmings and it does now.
14548 You look at almost any city you like as -- to take Toronto, for instance, and its local news programming unit, which is by the way quite an exceptional unit. It works rather hard at diversity and that may be a case where one individual, an executive producer, has turned on the heat a little bit. You see that kind of hiring policy, that kind of programming initiative that would actually go out and look to bringing in a really representative mix of Canadians.
14549 There are attempts on current affairs programs such as Newsworld, all of which try to bring on new faces. There have been various attempts over the years to build a better, you know, the old Rolodex file of different people, of different experts and so on. I have been part of that process in terms of advising people. So there have been that kind of -- there has been that kind of initiative.
14550 There are gaps there. If you go back to the '97 election, I don't think you saw a single minority on any panel that appeared on election night even in the town halls which -- you know, a town hall is where you would expect to see the greatest variety of Canadians, but even that process is left to a company from outside that chooses people and so on.
14551 So it is not ideal, but news, I would suggest, news and current affairs programming has seen some progress. How to measure it, I suggest we ask the CBC to give you those statistics. That is part of the framework we are talking about and then you would be able to measure that.
14552 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I am not prepared to comment in an informed way, but it does seem a lot better to me as well that backgrounds are not that dissimilar. I see a massive -- I see almost a sea change, but maybe just as you said there was nothing before, so any change would be. But it does seem to be, as you say, particularly on Newsworld.
14553 In our examination of the Newsworld application, we were concentrating very heavily on their rate increase and didn't get into this area, but if we had I think I would have been feeling like praising them in the sense that they seemed to be really a model almost. But I don't want to go overboard, because your statistics may not bear that out, but there were vast improvements there, I would say then, over what we are used to.
14554 MR. LUMB: But where it also counts is in the social stuff. It is in the dramas. It is in the comedies. It is in the entertainment programming. It is in the stuff that people care about, talk about the next day. They may be talking about news when it is really hot and really big, but they won't be talking about it every day. Whereas, you bring on a popular program, a popular drama series or something like that, and I think that does excite curiosity and interest and that we don't see.
14555 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Before we get to that, and my fellow commissioner Joan Pennefather was questioning some of the people from radio -- was it yesterday, Joan? It seems like a hundred years ago, but I think it was yesterday -- about this very area. She may have questions.
14556 But they seemed to indicate they were trying very hard in radio. Now, of course, we don't see radio. We hear it. You have to have an ear like Henry Higgins perhaps, to know precisely what part of the globe each voice is coming from, but they seemed to have a very strong commitment towards diversity and hiring practices. Do you have any information on radio?
14557 MS CLARKE: Well, actually, we certainly need to say that the CBC is trying, as we all recognize that. We have on radio Dave McKay(ph), who has been on radio it seems forever, and my recollection is he may be the only one. Either that, or he may be the only one I am aware of. In terms of reporters you have got -- it is probably a 0.1 per cent, but then that in comparison to when you take all of the CBC online people and look at them, you have got Martin Simungel(ph) who I believe is now in Africa; you have Carla Robinson, and this is really wonderful. She is the first Aboriginal woman and she is on Newsworld, I believe. You have Ian Hanamandsing(ph) that is in Vancouver. There is also -- who else is there? There is about maybe five or six you can count in terms of people who are, maybe a little bit more than that.
14558 MR. LUMB: There are more than that on TV, but radio as you say, we are not sure.
14559 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Is the flip side better --
14560 MS CLARK: It certainly makes a difference.
14561 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: -- is the flip side better on radio? Now, again, I have no empirical data on this whatsoever, but it seems to that I hear more of a sense of diversity in radio drama in people appearing on the radio. What does one do on the radio -- guests -- there being guests on the radio telling their stories. There are people who come on at different -- gosh, you know, you hear radio in the car. You can never remember what show you are listening to, but it seems to me there are people who come on and tell folk tales of different stories, who read short stories on the radio.
14562 It seems to me there is a wide diversity of cultures reflected in some of these shows. How that works out in percentages I am not sure, but my sense is that there may be a kind of a flip then in radio that on the more social area, on the drama area, that it is stronger. Do you have any feelings there?
14563 MR. KARIM: If I can address that, as you said, it is the time that we listen to the radio. For the dramas and the short stories, I think one program that comes to mind is "Between the Covers" in the evenings, the late evenings, which seems to be fairly, making a very, very strong effort to have a diversity of voices and it seems to be succeeding very well.
14564 Apart from that, I particularly have not been impressed with the kind of current affairs programming in what Mr. Lumb mentioned to the kind of experts being invited in to give their commentary, their view of the world. It seems to be fairly lopsided. You will have the strength in certain kinds of issues. For example, there is the program that is the "Global Village" which again tries to make an effort to look at the diversity, global diversity and national diversity, et cetera.
14565 But then if you look at -- in terms of music at CBC too, given that it is largely classical music, but it is mostly western classical music, hardly any attempt is made to bring in Chinese, Japanese, Indian or any other forms of classical while the population, the Canadian population has changed, to reflect those kinds of tastes, not only of people of those communities but people who go to concerts and listen to various different kinds of music.
14566 So it is lopsided. I think we need to, as Lionel said, perhaps ask CBC to do more of a rigorous monitoring of their diversity content. We have suggested some sort of a framework. We would be very happy to work with someone like CBC to develop some sort of a monitoring evaluative mechanism, but this is what is missing. I don't think we have the right amount of research, the right amount of stats on this. That is what needs to be developed.
14567 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: It seems to me on the radio that Tom Allen is waking me up to some -- it is not always Mozart -- but again, I don't have the statistics. It is funny. I am sure you are right in the sense of minutes and hours, except I do have a sense that there is a change, somewhat of a change.
14568 I hope Joan has some questions. I am not trying to put you on the spot, but I hope she will join in on this because I know she had some yesterday and I have so many others. I will try and limit them.
14569 We have a number of weapons in our arsenal, tools in our kit. We have expectations of licence. We have suggestions, advice, and we have conditions of licence which is, I guess, our nuclear device, is it, short of taking away?
--- Laughter / Rires
14570 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You are suggesting that we go nuclear here.
14571 I wonder, in a sense, and I am not trying to in any way be too irreverent, although it is hard for me not to be, it seems to be part of the genetic make-up. But I wonder: Is that the way to go? I just sort of wonder, in a sense: Should that be the first step?
14572 MR. LUMB: Yes, I think so.
14573 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: How much have you done with the CBC? Maybe that is a good enter. Have you had negotiations with them?
14574 MR. LUMB: I think so. Until there was a policy that there would be equal opportunities, hiring opportunities for women, it didn't happen at the CBC or indeed in this government, and you know that.
14575 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, that is right to the point. How about something --
14576 MR. LUMB: Was that nuclear or was that simply action?
14577 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I don't know. I am just asking --
14578 MR. LUMB: I think that was just action really.
14579 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: I am looking for insight. How much negotiation has your association done with the CBC directly on this sort of --
14580 MR. LUMB: We do this kind of presentation. We do round tables to which we invite people. We have done in the past. We have done reporting diversity workshops with the CBC. The CBC was a major contributor to a major conference in our workshop in 1995 and sent perhaps the greatest number of people to it from Vancouver and Toronto as well as Ottawa.
14581 So in that sense, there is an ongoing effort to try to get this off the ground. But I think, rather than use a phrase like "Go nuclear", you should be talking about getting them airborne on the subject -- you know, just lift-off. Let's achieve lift-off.
14582 The CBC can be a very responsible organization. I know that because I worked for them for a good many years. Once there is a policy in French, which people at the mid-level management level feel the bosses out there really want us to do this thing, whatever it is, it gets done, and I think that that is the kind of thing that we are looking for. I don't think the CBC is averse to this, you know. It just needs a nudge.
14583 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Well, we will hear from them.
14584 MR. LUMB: How about a nuclear nudge, if you like?
14585 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Yes. We will hear from them in something tactical. We will hear from them in reply, of course.
14586 I just have one other question before -- perhaps there might be some others. As I say, it is such a huge area. The question was: Is there a difference, from your knowledge, between the French and the English networks in this area?
14587 MR. LUMB: Yes, there is. We have had some focus groups and round tables, and a couple of things emerged. One is that the viewers and listeners to the French services are less unhappy with that situation. In fact, there seems to be progress.
14588 However, later on, perhaps next week, you are going to hear from INCRI, an organization from Montreal, and they would certainly bring you up to date.
14589 One of the things we have heard, which is kind of disturbing, is that a lot of young black people, for instance, cannot watch the CBC. They never see themselves reflected, except in unfavourable lights. They find many, many American programs available on a multi-channel system, many American programs that apparently give them what they want.
14590 Yet at the same time, you have to couple this with the knowledge that the CBC, as every Canadian broadcaster, is really looking to increase their appeal to the younger generation. Well, that younger generation is turning to American channels even more. So I think that that is something that the CBC has to really think about.
14591 Just think that there may be 30 to 40 per cent or 50 per cent of viewers that you are not even beginning to reach out to. Put on something that they may see themselves in and you could possibly press the "okay, I want you for a while" button and see how it works and "if I like you enough, I will stay". That is where it's at.
14592 If you were selling magazines, Stuart, newspaper articles, freelancing, you would know your market. You would go after it.
14593 If I can address the previous question: What sort of tools could be used? I was just looking at CBC's publication, which I assume was put out for this set of hearings, and in their mission, they say, right up front:
"The CBC tells Canadians stories reflecting the reality and the diversity of our country."
14594 They should be lauded for that, but when you look down -- well, there are no page numbers here but in "provide Canada's premier news and information service section", they have:
"Given CBC's public service mandate and its journalistic independence, as protected under the Broadcasting Act, it has a set of clear responsibilities to which it must adhere."
14595 Apparently, this is where it outlines its responsibilities and mandate according to the Broadcast Act. Nowhere does it mention diversity, which is indicated in Section 3 of the Broadcast Act. So at this level, there is no recognition that this is something that they have to adhere to as a way of performing.
14596 So there is almost a kind of a schizophrenic approach to diversity here. Up front, there is almost lip service or maybe a little better, but when it comes to acknowledging it as something that they are bound by law to do, I don't see it.
14597 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: You are not the first intervenor to make the schizophrenic diagnosis here today.
14598 Those are all my questions. There may be others. Thank you very, very much.
14599 MS CLARKE: I would just like to add to what Dr. Karim has said. What are some of the stories that the CBC could carry? They can look at the history of Chinese-Canadian women. They can also do documentaries on the people of Nova Scotia, the Black Battalion and some of the heroes that came out of the First World War.
14600 Certainly, that is the past -- some of the very present work that could be done is the profile of one of the world's best soccer stars, who is right here in our community, Charmaine Hooper, who will certainly be playing for Canada on the 19th of June, and who is a role model. She is very well placed in the world, she is very educated, and she is Black. And certainly, she has quite a following.
14601 I have noticed in the papers that recently The Citizen did an article on her, saying that CTV SportsNet will be running some of the games, 30 of the 32 games. Is the CBC doing any of these games, following any of these games? What is the role of the CBC in terms of being the eye of the nation and setting the standards and values?
14602 Certainly, CBC has done an excellent job and there is a lot more that they can do and the network will certainly be happy to work with them. We have lots of ideas and areas. They don't have to do a lot of research. They can come to us and we will help them.
14603 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Commissioner Colville is our sports expert. He may have some views on that.
--- Laughter / Rires
14604 COMMISSIONER LANGFORD: Thank you very much.
14605 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess Commissioner Langford was asking about the difference you may be aware of between the French network and the English network. Certainly, in the last few years, we have seen more and more new visages and not only in the news part but in variety and drama and there was -- not on the CBC but on TVA even a series on racial issues with the police as a matter of fact.
14606 So I suppose too it is really like the more you see kind of new talents, they talk about other people they know and it is really to start la percée and the immersion kind of comes around by having -- it is like when, at the time we were talking about women in organizations, it was very important to have them in selection committees so that they could remind others that there were more resources out there than strictly the ones that we usually know because of our background.
14607 So I suppose it is the same kind of strategy you are looking for, kind of just starting it in such a way that it spreads out and not only news or that it would be an all-genre of programming.
14608 MR. LUMB: That's right and until you get that kind of varied input, you are not going to get the true variety of programming that the CBC really would benefit from. Again, this is to echo the previous presentation.
14609 There is opportunity here and that is the kind of thing that we want to stress very firmly, that there is a great opportunity here for the CBC to get out ahead, well ahead, of the private broadcasters because they are certainly not doing it themselves and it will be a long, long time before you see that kind of person show up on "Traders", I can assure you.
14610 In Quebec, they even have diversity awards now. There is enough input to have an awards program. Now, how do you have an awards program if you don't have lots of offerings?
14611 Another example, if I go back to the BBC, for which I also worked at one time, they not only have a special programming unit, they even have an Asian Network, which is a local radio network serving a densely populated immigrant area, and as they say in Britain and the West Midlands and the East Midlands, and they have special programming devoted just to that kind of audience. They have something like an audience of 210,000 a week.
14612 That programming won diversity awards in Britain. Britain also has diversity awards. I guess we haven't thought of that here in English Canada yet because we haven't seen enough examples of --
14613 THE CHAIRPERSON: Maybe there are not enough Canadian programs yet.
14614 MR. LUMB: Oh, yes! I share the lament about that.
14615 THE CHAIRPERSON: For having been in a television that has received oftentimes that price that you are talking about, that was not about programs talking about diversity, it was programs where it was like a reflection of the diversity that exists in the community?
14616 MR. LUMB: That's right.
14617 THE CHAIRPERSON: I think that is what you are talking about.
14618 MR. LUMB: I am talking about people of various backgrounds performing and bringing to their audience culturally beautifully packaged programs that stand on their own as programs, that don't make any kind of major -- Hey look, guys, we actually did this kind of thing. But they are funny or they are dramatic or they are interesting.
14619 THE CHAIRPERSON: They are good.
14620 MR. LUMB: They are just plain good.
14621 THE CHAIRPERSON: I guess it is the same thing that we had some years ago. We are quite a number of women here in front of you. I would be totally ashamed if we were here because we are not good.
14622 MR. LUMB: Exactly.
14623 THE CHAIRPERSON: So I guess it is the same kind of approach we are talking about here. So it takes really the talents -- identification too in terms of knowing that they are there and who they are so that we can recognize them.
14624 MR. LUMB: That's it exactly.
14625 THE CHAIRPERSON: One comment I would have on your presentation, and I always have some discomfort with that, I would say especially with the public broadcaster in a sense, is I know diversity has become much more a reality all across Canada, but when we are using all the time Toronto as being like the example -- and if you would had used Montreal or Vancouver, I would have had a similar kind of comment -- it seems to me that if there are three cities where it is happening more than everywhere else, it is those cities.
14626 Canada is becoming more and more diverse and it is an enhancement in terms of the population and our capacity of doing things, but it seems to me that to always come back with the example of Toronto gives a wrong perspective. Frankly, we have heard a lot, in our regional consultation, of the fact that people in all regions of Canada and in small and larger communities would like more and more the CBC in French and English to reflect other cities or other realities than the one of Montreal and Toronto.
14627 So I think it is not the kind of model or the benchmark to kind of present or to propose. I think it has to do with the whole country that is changing.
14628 MS CLARKE: We are certainly cognizant of that. Kingston as an example has quite a large multi-racial, multi-ethnic community. There are certainly other areas. There is --
14629 MR. LUMB: Edmonton.
14630 MS CLARKE: Halifax also has quite a large community. One of the things too is, as we talk about the institution of broadcasting and you have been here for the last few weeks listening when people have come before you to make presentations, 60 or 70 groups and individuals, it must have been quite interesting to notice that very few of them have been visible minorities and many of the people have probably been in middle and upper management.
14631 So when we talk about the talent, we also want you to be able to understand that talent is not necessarily only those of the actors and producers, but that will not happen if you do not have the people in the policy and decision-making hierarchy of any structure, and structures are only buildings.
14632 We are talking about infrastructures and systems, and systematically, corporations, groups do things with how they are comfortable, and making people uncomfortable and recognizing that takes a lot of time, and change takes, they say, 10 years from the time that the policies have gone into place.
14633 So when we talk about diversity, it is certainly something the network would want to see, not just at the bottom but at the front end. But also it won't happen at the front end if it doesn't happen in the top, middle and all other areas.
14634 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, for having said often about the panels here, about women, it is a long journey. Thank you very much for your participation.
14635 MS CLARKE: Thank you.
14636 MR. LUMB: Thank you.
14637 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
14638 We will take a break and be back in 15 minutes.
--- Short recess at / Courte suspension à 1540
--- Upon resuming at / Reprise à 1555
14639 LA PRÉSIDENTE: Alors, nous reprenons les travaux et je demanderais à madame Pinsky de faire une intervention pour déposer de nouveaux documents s'il vous plaît.
14640 Me PINSKY: Merci, madame la présidente.
14641 I would just like to note for the record that the CBC has filed its undertakings -- two more undertakings made on June 1st. The first relates to the breakdown of CBC access to the Canadian Television Fund in a document dated June 3rd. And the second as well, document dated June 3rd entitled "CRTC Request For Information regarding programs from the French Television Network which have been broadcast on the English Television Network".
14642 Thank you.
14643 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you. Madame Bénard.
14644 MS BÊNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
14645 The next presentation will be by Shari Baldwin.
14646 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon, welcome.
14647 MS BALDWIN: Thank you. I want to thank the Commission and explain that you have just had a gentleman who came representing no one, well, I will give you the other side, I am representing all Canadian teachers and all their students.
14648 I am doing that because -- or I feel I can do that because I was the former Executive Director of Cable in the Classroom. I am a teacher with 19 years experience in the classroom. I will be returning, very bravely, I hope to a grade 2/3 class in the fall and I am currently working with the Media Awareness Network that the Commission is well aware of.
14649 Media -- and I really think it is important that the voices of teachers and students are heard on media issues.
14650 Media coverage of both education and young people tends to focus on the negative. There is teacher bashing, which is a very popular pastime and I understand it is done outside of Ontario, not just inside Ontario. And the media coverage of young people tends to be hyper-media, focussing on the extremes, from Littleton and Taber to the Reena Virk and Alison Perrault stories. And that is why Newsworld's contribution to education is so very important.
14651 Through their commitment to Cable in the Classroom, Newsworld provides a daily 15-minute news broadcast that is aired copyright cleared and commercial-free for teachers to tape and use in their classrooms. This programming has been developed specifically classroom use.
14652 I have a couple of clips that I would like to show you.
14653 In the first one, please take note of who the types of people are being interviewed and if we could have the first clip, please. This is about some students at the launch.
--- Video presentation / Présentation video
14654 MS BALDWIN: We should be getting some audio. Can we get some audio, please?
14655 I apologize.
14656 Anyway the children being interviewed are discussing their experiences, their aspirations and it is hearing young voices talk about a monumental event as in one Canadian woman going into space. There should be another segment that is being shown right now and you can see that one was very aimed at younger children.
14657 The next segment looked at the crash of the plane at Peggy's Cove a year ago and it was looking at pieces of wire this big that they were trying to find to piece together the story. They showed the pieces of the aircraft. And that is not something I could show to my 2/3 class, but it is something that would be very appropriate with older students to discuss the impact of that. That's the joy of the news programming provided by Newsworld.
14658 I have given you in the package that I handed out today, I have given you a copy of the lesson plan that goes with it. You will see that there are time codes there to help us to know when the programming is on.
14659 I can preview this and take out the elements that would be appropriate for the curriculum and the learning needs of my students.
14660 That lesson plan is done every day. It is on the net. So I can tape the program, I don't know how many of you -- I know with the type of schedule you have, some of you may be catching the 4:00 a.m. playing of NewsLink which is the program I am talking about. It is aired at 4:00 a.m., some of do watch it live, but the idea is that you tape it. You can have a chance to preview it, pull down the lesson plan, decide what it is you want to use.
14661 Now, one of the big boons to teachers in this is these materials are created by an in-the-classroom teacher, Ron Geoffery(ph), who is a teacher with Calgary Board of Education. And one of the things he does is to give Internet links.
14662 Now I, as a teacher, don't have time to go through a lot of sites to be able to find good, safe sites for my kids. But I know that if I am going to bring in a piece of footage, I can send kids to the site that is listed in there and they can get quality information because Ron Geoffery has already gone through and checked out that these are appropriate resources to provide.
14663 Now, for teachers, this is a wonderful resource and this is what Newsworld is doing for us.
14664 The response from teachers has been extremely positive and that was one of the other additions that I provided was a list of comments from teachers.
14665 Brian Carr talks about every grade 9 to 11 student watching once every two weeks the programming. And that is right across his school.
14666 T. Wilson talks using it with a grade 8/9 and English Second Language students and how it is great preparation for citizenship.
14667 We have R. Coghill who is talking about using it with a grade 7/8 class of kids with learning disabilities and how he is using it to motivate his students to learn about current events, but also to help them learn about vocabulary and reading.
14668 Then we have comments from Kevin Viau and he is talking about how his --
"NewsLink presents current events in a manner that is relevant to teenagers. The format of the show is designed to talk to teenagers about what is happening in their world. The daily selection of topics includes major news events, but also highlights light-hearted stories that peak students' interest. My students like the young hip format of the show and say that NewsLink is different from those other 'boring' news broadcasts."
14669 And I apologize to Newsworld, those are his words, not mine.
14670 He also says -- describes it as making an important contribution to teacher training. He was first introduced to NewsLink and the NewsLink website by one of his profs at the Faculty of Education.
"He suggested that I took a look at the web site and the television program for some lesson planning ideas. Many of the students within the faculty use the site as a model for creating discussion questions about current events. NewsLinks effective integration of the internet and television medium was discussed many times in our classrooms.
NewsLink is a powerful teaching tool. I look forward to using it throughout my teaching career."
14671 So I think the teachers say it quite clearly, how important it is.
14672 I would like to cue up the next piece. And as I say, we hear about Littleton, Taber, Virk and Perrault. And although these incidents have happened and nothing can take the truth away that they did happen, it is not reflective of what is going on in classrooms. It is not reflective of the children that I have in the class and it is certainly not the example that I want thrown at the kids all the time, nor does any other teacher.
14673 NewsLink has gone to find the stories about young people, really positive stories that will present excellent role models. You will see too that the faces that we see on NewsLink are also reflective of the faces that are in our classrooms. There is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic representation on NewsLink that they can be very proud of.
14674 Could we roll the next clip, please? This is about some young men that have been very, very successful.
--- Video presentation / Présentation video
14675 MS BALDWIN: We have no sound again.
14676 These are some young men who have just sold their company for multi-millions of dollars. It is an Internet company -- it doesn't matter now because it is almost over.
14677 It is an Internet company and the three of them, one is 17, one is 19 and the oldest is 21 and they are talking about retiring down to the Islands to enjoy themselves. I imagine that will last about six months before they create something else that is new and exciting.
14678 These are stories that maybe I am not going to have in my 2/3 next year, someone who will grow up to be a multi-millionaire. But perhaps I will have someone that will grow up to be a Julie Payette, a CRTC Commissioner or a Newsworld reporter and those are things that we want to inspire our kids to do. We want to tell the positive stories.
14679 As well as NewsLink, Newsworld provides and so does the main network, CBC, they provide copyright cleared commercial-free access to a program called "Street Cents" that was mentioned earlier today. It is a consumer youth program. It is an excellent program that is very valuable to teachers and to helping kids become wise consumers.
14680 And I know I am here speaking to support Newsworld, but I would also like to mention that RDI has also got programming. They provide an hour of news programming every week designed for youth, and that's called "Bulletin des Jeunes".
14681 Newsworld is continuing its commitment to children and youth. Beginning this year in the fall of 1999, we will be piloting in Ontario a web awareness campaign. And this will roll out nationally for 2000. This is to help -- it is aimed at parents, teachers and librarians to help them to understand what kids are encountering on the Internet and to help them deal effectively with it and become safe and savvy surfers in the environment.
14682 In the latest CRTC Commission report on the new media, the Media Awareness Network was cited as an important educational group dealing with it and they are actually spearheading the campaign and working with teachers' organizations and librarians and police.
14683 I am pleased that Newsworld is helping to support this. "Street Cents" is committed to some programming to support the theme. NewsLink is looking at providing news segments that will support it and we have been in discussion with "Under Currents", as well, who may be working with NewsLink to provide some really in-depth, hard hitting web analysis and background information.
14684 So I want to thank Newsworld for their commitment to teachers, for their commitment to the children and to remind the Commission that the students in our classrooms today are the voters and decision-makers who will shape Canada's tomorrow.
14685 Thank you.
14686 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much. I would ask Commissioner Cram to ask you a few questions for the Commission.
14687 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Is it Ms Baldwin? I think I have met you in a previous life.
14688 Let me get this straight. This is all part of the CCTA's Cable in the Classroom initiative?
14689 MS BALDWIN: Well, Cable in the Classroom does have an independent board, but, yes, it came out of the CCTA.
14690 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And Newsworld, if I have got it right, must tape, in addition to the hard hitting news, must tape the kids news at the same time. I mean, they must be filming it at the same or --
14691 MS BALDWIN: What happens is there is no separate channel that is created. Newsworld designates at 4:00 a.m. that this program will run and if we had been able to see the full first clip, you would have seen that, yes, that first one dealt with the kids' point of view. But the second one, you would have recognized the voice, you would have recognized the clip as coming off the main network or off of Newsworld directly.
14692 So it is a mix of programming or of news items selected specifically for kids and hard news. There is no -- it is not wishy-washy news.
14693 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So there is a kids' perspective that we wouldn't see on Newsworld and then there is the Newsworld perspective that we would see on Newsworld?
14694 MS BALDWIN: M'hm.
14695 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And it is packaged together in 15 minutes and at 4:00 a.m. in the morning, you can see it --
14696 MS BALDWIN: Or tape it.
14697 COMMISSIONER CRAM: -- or tape it. And then what you do in the classroom is you would go to minute 2.03 for that one and then minute 7.08 for the next one. Is that the concept?
14698 MS BALDWIN: It depends on what your needs are as a teacher or what your curriculum needs, what your students particular needs are. With older students you would be taking a much different approach to what I might do with my students in the fall in grade 2/3 where we might be doing a unit on space or we might be just following the news on a regular basis.
14699 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So then, presumably somebody could sort of keep a library of that, almost?
14700 MS BALDWIN: That is exactly what we hope, because although the news is instantaneous, we may want to get a better perspective on things. So if we look at Kosovo right now, I mean, the news is coming out every day and sometimes we have to take a step back and say, "This is what we thought, let's compare it with what was really going on".
14701 Because media literacy is all part of this and we have to look at analyzing what we see and what we hear. And we have seen cases in the past where the media may have jumped to a conclusion that has been -- they have had to take a step back from.
14702 Or we look at just the coverage of Littleton and to look at assessing whether media went too far and almost glorified it and how much did that contribute in the end to what happened in Taber. Would that have happened if we hadn't had the hoopla, maybe yes, maybe no.
14703 But for the kids to sit back and think about these things and to realize that the camera is a point of view and to understand that it is only one point of view and what the camera person does is one thing, what the reporter does is something else and what the editor does with it in the final analysis is something else. So each of those influences the type of story that will be seen and heard.
14704 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And what about the language level that -- what is the target age group?
14705 MS BALDWIN: Well, as I say, that clip and the reason I brought that clip was to show the variety so that you could use it with younger kids. But the one on the aircraft was aimed at an adult audience, so it would have language at that level.
14706 You can see that through some of the excerpts from the teachers and their comments how one of them prepares in advance and looks through it, checks the vocabulary, finds the words that feels will challenge the students. They have an opportunity to look at them and discuss it beforehand or to discuss it after so that they can get the context.
14707 But it is something that you need to have a teacher involved. This is not like Youth News Network, if you are aware of that, where it is a mandatory viewing and it is commercial thing. It has advertising in it. And this is completely non-commercial, which is why the teacher's associations have come forward and endorsed it and it is a quality product.
14708 I think that the opportunity to preview it means that the teacher makes the decision about what is appropriate that day and what isn't appropriate for their particular students.
14709 COMMISSIONER CRAM: There is news and this one-hour of programming?
14710 MS BALDWIN: Well, no. There -- on Newsworld we have a 15-minute daily news broadcast with the lesson plans. Plus, they run "Street Cents", an original airing of it and then a repeat broadcast. That's on Newsworld and I think it airs twice on the main network, as well. And then the hour of programming is from RDI and they run two half hour programs called "Bulletin des Jeunes".
14711 So right across the three networks there is support for teachers.
14712 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And in terms of the -- you say in your letter, that teachers have access to French language news. So it is a similar package, the 15-minute package?
14713 MS BALDWIN: No, that's the half hour twice a week on RDI.
14714 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And are there the lessons?
14715 MS BALDWIN: Not yet. We keep encouraging RDI to catch up with Newsworld.
14716 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Can you tell me, how is this program publicized and what is the usage of it?
14717 MS BALDWIN: The usage, I don't know, except that there is a comment in the comments from the teachers saying, "When will the strike be over" because it is the whole idea of you don't know what you are missing until it is gone -- or what you have got until it is gone. And I think it was at stage Newsworld heard from several teachers wondering where it was.
14718 With the function of the Internet, you don't know who is pulling it down and where they are when they are pulling the lesson plans down. So I don't know whether Newsworld knows how many teachers are using it.
14719 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And there was one reference in there to the College of Education, I thought, by one of the -- finding out about it from their --
14720 MS BALDWIN: Faculty of Education.
14721 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes.
14722 MS BALDWIN: When I was with Cable in the Classroom I was going across the country and doing workshops for it. There is a magazine produced that helps teachers to know and I have just been talking to Tony Burman about having an opportunity on something like children's broadcast day where that actual broadcast, the 4:00 a.m. broadcast is shown in prime time so that parents understand that there is this wonderful resource out there that they can have access to.
14723 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And if I understand it also, cable operators go to schools and try to publicize this.
14724 MS BALDWIN: We now have teachers going out on behalf of Cable in the Classroom, just ordinary teachers who are committed to using it and they are now all on their own going out and doing workshops to inform their school, their school board and the broader areas.
14725 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you very much.
14726 MS BALDWIN: Thank you.
14727 THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you very much, Mrs. Baldwin.
14728 MS BÊNARD: Thank you, Madam Chair.
14729 The next presentation will be Aboriginal Voices, Mr. Farmer.
14730 THE CHAIRPERSON: Good afternoon.
14731 MR. FARMER: Good afternoon, members of the distinguished panel and ladies and gentlemen.
14732 It is a pleasure to be back in front of you again, it has been a very hectic time for me as I am planning a festival in Toronto, the Aboriginal Voices Festival, June 16 through 21. And it has been a hectic time.
14733 At this time, as well, though, we will be using the Internet to establish the first Internet network for Aboriginal people while using the web, as well to broadcast many of our activities and events, including a media conference at the time that we got the web cast throughout the continent and around the world.
14734 But I wanted to take this time away from those activities to come and share with you some personal experiences of mine throughout my long career here in Canada as an actor and a director and producer of materials both in print and radio and television and film. And share with you some of the frustration why I put in the kind of intervention I did in terms of asking for some hard line nuclear to be used in order to move the powers that be to recognize the situation that is before us in Canada here with Aboriginal people and our need to begin to fix our own house and put it back into order as it should be and utilize the technology that's available to us to do that.
14735 I can only think that when my people meet, sometimes when they want to talk about difficulties they often burn tobacco so that we can all go ahead in a good way and be of a good mind in order to discuss the things that we need to discuss. Maybe you can just imagine those thoughts now so that we can proceed.
14736 But first I was listening to some of the responses of Mr. Langford and others during the discussions just previous to me or the one previous to that one about the multi-cultures that exist in Canada. I really wanted you to kind of understand. I know that when -- it is one of the things that it is really hard to communicate that I couldn't get through in the letter that I really wanted to share, was that it is very difficult to understand what the relationship has been with CBC and Aboriginal people in this country. I only can share my personal experiences of the 23 years, as I said.
14737 CBC has always been and is, of course, is a law unto itself. Even if I request some heavy duty things take place, you know, it can actually bounce back to the legislature and they can determine whether -- that my conditions of licence would not even stand. So it is very difficult to make change in that environment when the broadcast policies and the policies that govern the CBC actually don't really allow for the kind of change that I would like to see. But it is difficult.
14738 I know that it was just a light joke, but I thought it was a perfect example of how I have often felt over the 23 years when CBC has always come from a position of power. It has always been a challenge, to know that there was a certain sense of arrogance, I suppose is the best way to sum it up, in dealing with CBC on issues about Native stories and about gaining access to the public network.
14739 It wasn't until the last few years that CBC -- well, in my recollection, anyway -- that it really became obvious to me that it was calling itself a public network and yet had never served the interests of Aboriginal people in Canada. Of course, with the demise of our native land 13 years ago and with nothing to replace it -- and I remember back in, I think it was 1988-89 when I was brought to a panel discussion with CBC employees entitled "Is the CBC Too White"? I always thought that was a fairly entertaining title -- I tried to give my best effort at that time and to encourage them to embrace our communities simply by empowering them with the technology, with the broadcast system, simply allowing them to gain access to it and to perform the stories that they wanted to tell with that would be an excellent idea of empowering them with media and media education and media literacy.
14740 For one instance I don't want you to believe that the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, of which I am a vital part of and hoping to win that licence and still a vital part of carrying out that licence term, is an answer to that situation or an answer to this question of gaining some access to the airwaves, especially in CBC. What we are finding is that many of the broadcasters in the country are shutting their doors to our Aboriginal producers, especially with the advent of APTN.
14741 The situation at CBC has never been one of very much of an open-door policy. It's that arrogance and that mystifying of the technology that has more or less kept Native people away from the broadcast system, to the point that I don't believe that they actually have any access even now that we have a signal that has the potential to reach 95 per cent of the Canadian market.
14742 I can't begin to tell you the difficulty in trying to socialize our people to the fact that, yes, you can indeed begin to create the difference. Now, we are really going to need some proactive in terms of training and development. We are really behind in those areas.
14743 I have been here before and commented about the use of our stories over the history, and my history, of taking you to stories and turning it into television, but we are never in creative control. It has never been the case.
14744 One instance that I can remember most clearly for myself was when I took the time to gain or to gather stories from Aboriginal people from throughout Canada and I put them in a 13 -- package for television -- 13 1/2 hours that we were going to originally write and produce for CBC. I really felt that it was very difficult for Native people to go within the institution and actually produce programming because of the situation that existed, just that it was very difficult.
14745 Any training program that they attempted with Native people has never seemed to work. It has always sent the people running away from the bureaucracy, from the institution. And so that issue -- and I think there had been honest attempts in the course of that history, but it has been very difficult for the CBC to realize how indeed they could begin to infiltrate the community in order to train the people to get them up and going with the material. So consequentially, the material has always been somewhat whitewashed. It was never equally or, you know, very well represented. Our stories, our ideas, they have been taken in the hands of non-Native producers and melted into a kind of a mediocrity.
14746 I will never forget that when I did take these 13 ideas, I took with me, because I realized that as a Native person I was insecure about going before them on my own with a Native team, so I made sure that I took an experienced producer with me who had produced television, and I also took an experienced screenwriter, story editor, who were not from my community. With myself and the 13 writers I took this to CBC creative and it was a dramatic series. It was initially called "Four Directions."
14747 You may or may not know whatever happened to that, but that 13 ideas that I took to CBC was literally taken from me and the CBC produced it itself in its own form, determined -- they attached a non-Native producer to the project who had never had any experience with the community at all and they proceeded to produce four of the stories without no consultation to me whatsoever. My efforts were then -- besides being kind of, you know, "wowed" by that that they had the audacity to do that, I supported that effort only because I wanted to see that that Native work was produced. They in the end, I think, bought 8 or 10 of them, but tied those rights up for years so that those writers could never access that material for a long time. The stuff that they never produced they tied up with rights.
14748 In the end they ended up producing four of those stories. I practically had to beg to become a part of that team to actually direct one of those stories. That was hell because I was given that opportunity, three weeks, with a story that didn't reflect my knowledge of culture and I adapted that story to a culture that I understood which was my own, the Cayuga culture. I proceeded with that and it was a struggle the whole time with the creative powers at CBC to make that story true to my vision as a creative person.
14749 I will never forget as well, and another example, of sitting during the 1990 siege at Oka as a journalist who was working for "Sunday Morning" producing a documentary program. I produced a show called "De Ne Walahota(ph)" which was a story about education and the Onedia community, how the community had taken about 12 students of their own and took them out of the education system and put them into their own system of schooling based on their ideas of clan and education. It was never able to be -- it was never aired. The program was never aired and it met all the standards of quality there at that time. In the end they moved that whole system out. But during the production of that whole thing I sat and listened day after day as the radio announcers would discuss the situation in Quebec from an English and a French point of view where they would literally have English and French journalists speaking on Native affairs and about the situation at hand, but never ever consulting Native people, Native journalists who were in their own ranks, be it on contract, but we were still there to be consulted, but never once was that consultation. So day after day during that period we had to listen to non-Native people discuss the situation at hand as critical as it was.
14750 I remember at that time, as well, where there was a story that, you know, was one of the first spills of uranium out at the Pickering Station. I presented that story to the producer at hand and that was where they used to give this line all the time about, "We couldn't do that story because we couldn't look at that story objectively", that that story wasn't something that could be looked objectively by me for whatever reason. I would choose not to think that it is because I am indigenous person or an Aboriginal person or a Cayuga man, that I couldn't look at a nuclear spill objectively as a story. How they twisted that around on us constantly was always there.
14751 The occasion when -- even in the sports coverage, you know, when Ted Nolan, who is an Ojibwa up in the Rainy River or up in the Sault Ste Marie region was coaching the Buffalo Sabres and we were having commentation by CBC announcers making light of the "white buffalo calf" and "Is Ted a believer in the white buffalo calf", and "Is he going to use those special powers to turn this game around", I mean --
14752 MS BÉNARD: Mr. Farmer.
14753 MR. FARMER: Yes.
14754 MS BÉNARD: You have exceeded the time allowed. Could you summarize your comments, please?
14755 MR. FARMER: Sure.
14756 MS BÉNARD: Thank you.
14757 MR. FARMER: It is at these times when even today when the comments are made about, "Oh, we are going to have to use our nuclear arsenal" and it is kind of a big joke for everyone, you know, I don't think you realize how that makes us feel that we have always been left at the bottom and that whatever our stories were weren't necessarily a make-up of what Canadian culture is or will be.
14758 I once again urge you to take a serious look at what can be done to empower the Native community, especially with radio in the areas, especially in that third one which is not the -- or in the areas that there is any market where there is an Aboriginal broadcaster who does not control a single broadcasting licence, that the CRTC released at least one CBC frequency for the use of Aboriginal broadcasters, because it is at a point where we need that just like water and sewer and electricity. Those are basic commodities that we need to exist as nations of people within the context of Canada. It is urgent. It is not like we have a lot of time. There is factors that we are facing in terms of health care and social issues that we have got to deal with directly and we need this kind of empowerment to kind of turn those things around for ourselves.
14759 With that I will shut off. Thank you very much.
14760 THE CHAIRPERSON: I hope not. I hope you will engage in the dialogue that Commissioner Cram will open up with you.
14761 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Thank you, Mr. Farmer.
14762 I apologize for coughing, but I did cough less this time than I did on Monday and Tuesday. I have a serious cold.
14763 I read what you filed with us, and can I say that there is a couple of issues that are most pressing? You say that Aboriginals should have their own TV and radio nationally and one out of two so far, and that CBC and others should: number one, help you develop expertise, their own expertise; two, reflect Aboriginals both on air and in programming; and three, in some way show your creativity in the programming, the creative control issue?
14764 MR. FARMER: Right.
14765 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I have got to say, and I am from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, that my perception is that Aboriginals are doing very well at developing their own expertise. Do you know NCI at all?
14766 MR. FARMER: Yes, very well.
14767 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes. They are pretty impressive, like their coverage exceeds CBC in Northern Manitoba. They moved to Winnipeg and within six months they have sold all of their advertising and they have developed a niche that didn't even touch the other broadcasters. Manitoba Tel asked them to stop having their phones in Sandaso(ph) because the lines between Thompson and Manitoba were full and nobody could get up to Thompson on the phones. It seems to me that is the kind of expertise that may help Aboriginal people more than CBC because these people are good, you know. I mean, Mr. Nadeau and Mr. McLeod there. I felt more life in that set up and more -- I don't know -- they are new. They are adventuresome and it seems to me that is the kind of expertise that Aboriginals would want.
14768 MR. FARMER: It is true that there is an opportunity there, but I am not sure that you have monitored the kinds of programming that they are capable of building, which is primarily music programming. I am talking about the kind of programming that CBC is famous for, I suppose, which is very well produced and informative programming. It deals specifically with issues related at hand.
14769 COMMISSIONER CRAM: The social programming?
14770 MR. FARMER: The social programming or entertainment programming that can take things to a new level. It is that expertise that you have that needs to be shared because 98 per cent of the programming currently being held on NCI is primarily music programming. It is not that they don't have the ability or the finances or the technical skills to produce the kind of programming that is needed at the kind of program that I am talking about.
14771 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And we are talking radio?
14772 MR. FARMER: We are talking radio. Well, we are talking television and radio.
14773 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Yes, I know, but I will --
14774 MR. FARMER: Specifically, NCI is radio.
14775 COMMISSIONER CRAM: M'hm. Because I thought your issue when you were talking today was into the mystification and demystification of the technology. I would have said NCI knows how to do far, far more with less than CBC because those -- I mean, they have got all these rebroads with the time, you know the time, individual radio time for each community.
14776 MR. FARMER: Yes. Technically, it has been able to get into services that have never been serviced before and certainly, with the kind of population that you have in Winnipeg. The Winnipeg population, it makes a lot of sense that we can create a signal there and have some success.
14777 But again, it is the kind of programming that we just don't have that is going to take us a long time to come around, at least 10 to 15 or 20 years at the current rate to create programming that is actually going to be of social value to the community in the long term.
14778 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You see I was looking at the issue of training people. Are you really then talking about CBC training on the creative side and on the drama side as opposed to the technological side?
14779 MR. FARMER: I think the technological side is less an issue in terms of a lot of service. I mean, it is outstanding what we are able to do, the people who have had no resources, which the Internet is just filled with, people who have had no access, are able to do and what we are able to do even in two weeks is broadcast right around the world and create a network of Native broadcasters from around the world to cooperate with each other and create programming that will be effective.
14780 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So then, the issue is really training on the creative side. Is
14781 MR. FARMER: Yes, and I think technical skills, too, because I mean, there is not a lot of people who could technically direct a radio station or not many -- I mean, there is a handful of people who can actually manage a radio station within the skill set in the community right now. There is only a handful.
14782 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And --
14783 MR. FARMER: And we are communities that have no other access to any kind of electronic media. Most of them don't have Internet access, we are talking about urban centres that do have some.
14784 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Internet access there is apparently wonderful access in Northern Quebec, but I mean, by, I think it is a couple of Bands themselves who have set it up.
14785 So CBC should help somewhat with the technological because you have your own skills and they might -- NCI might be better at training means, you talked about CBC not being terribly effective at training Aboriginals.
14786 MR. FARMER: No, but I think the situation has always been to bring Native people to CBC. It might be interesting to take CBC to Native people, which I think would not -- wouldn't be such an interference. It would them culturate into our culture instead of us having to culturize themselves into CBC culture, which is quite a bureaucracy, very difficult to find themselves there.
14787 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I was talking with APTN this morning about APTN and CBC getting together on a training module of some sort, because they have some expertise. But there is the cultural issues that don't mesh with the bureaucracy. I understand not meshing.
14788 MR. FARMER: Well, I think that is the important issue though. That is the thing that needs to break down, not generally just for Aboriginal people, but for people of colour throughout Canada is that that really needs to break down. I mean, because it -- I don't think it will be tolerated a lot longer at the current status. Even though we have no power within the CBC to do anything. So it really is an issue in terms of -- and also that direct relationship they have with all the funding sources. We have no economy to produce that programming either, or the signals.
14789 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. You say in training, bring CBC to APTN?
14790 MR. FARMER: Sure. Bring CBC to the community, more importantly, whether it be an urban or a rural community, which is exactly what was brought up about decentralizing programming all out of Toronto. It takes it to the rural regions which would be very good.
14791 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So maybe training programs, and I think there are actually training programs for Native interns in Winnipeg, aren't there?
14792 MR. FARMER: Within NCI?
14793 COMMISSIONER CRAM: No, no, within CBC actually.
14794 MR. FARMER: I don't know about that.
14795 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. I understood they were taking trainees from the journalism course and a number of them were Native.
14796 So that is the concept that you would prefer as opposed to any sort of centralized training?
14797 MR. FARMER: Yes, I think that would be the better model.
14798 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Okay. And on the creative part, would you agree that things have somewhat approved with "Big Bear" and -- because "Big Bear" was produced, I understand, by an Aboriginal company from Saskatchewan?
14799 MR. FARMER: Partially, but I mean that's one effort. It took some six years to manifest itself and it was a struggle for Gail. I mean it wasn't something that was easy. There are other factors there that -- you know, I don't think "Big Bear" is necessarily the answer, certainly in terms of contemporary issues. The whole lifestyle potential.
14800 I mean, that's the other thing, too, is that when we did "The Four Directions" we saw a strong marketing potential outside of Canada for sales, that, as well, was an opportunity for CBC to take advantage of, because their programming by Native producers has always been outstanding outside of our own country. Interest in other broadcasters around the world, because we haven't infiltrated that market at all as independents. We don't have any access to the world market and CBC could help develop that market for us -- with us.
14801 COMMISSIONER CRAM: You might be able to do that through APTN also.
14802 MR. FARMER: To some degree, for sure. But APTN is going to have its hands full for quite a few years before they actually reach their maximum potential.
14803 COMMISSIONER CRAM: It's got lots of enthusiasm though.
14804 MR. FARMER: Enthusiasm doesn't often create the kind of results that we would like to see.
14805 COMMISSIONER CRAM: I understand that.
14806 So when you say 5 per cent of CBC annual airtime for independent productions, does that mean all genres, is that what you are talking about?
14807 MR. FARMER: Sure. That would be great.
14808 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Because I am thinking of things like --
14809 MR. FARMER: CBC has to set the trend is what I am saying. When government pulls out support on culture and social issues, you think that big business would pick up the slack, but they don't. That sets the turn for them, too. They feel that they don't have to. If the government isn't going to support it, they feel that they don't. So if CBC doesn't show its support as the primary public broadcasting showing support then no one else will. And TVO is a perfect case of that right now with Native programming where they have literally shut the door, where the door used to be very wide open.
14810 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Because I am thinking about in Saskatchewan, I mean, and they are not professional but there is a junior hockey team league that has a lot teams from the Reserves who do very, very well. Would that be something that you would see that could be, should be aired?
14811 MR. FARMER: Well, there is no local coverage of local sports at all. I mean, we just spoke of the soccer situation, the Memorial Cup was just here in Ottawa. The top four teams had three Native representatives, one each on each team, but there was absolutely no local coverage at all. None by CBC.
14812 COMMISSIONER CRAM: So in your 5 per cent then, that would be okay to put in?
14813 MR. FARMER: It was a number that I started with, I thought it would be a good start. That would be great.
14814 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Include summer games, because there are Native summer games, at least there is in Saskatchewan.
14815 MR. FARMER: There may be. The games were actually cancelled this year due to financial --
14816 COMMISSIONER CRAM: The national?
14817 MR. FARMER: The national games, yes.
14818 COMMISSIONER CRAM: The Aboriginal Awards?
14819 MR. FARMER: Well --
14820 COMMISSIONER CRAM: And they do do that.
14821 MR. FARMER: That's an interesting situation. I mean, we should have coffee and talk more about that one.
14822 COMMISSIONER CRAM: Maybe we will.
14823 Thank you very much.
14824 MR. FARMER: For sure. Thank you.
14825 THE CHAIRPERSON: Well, we see that the dialogue will be pursued. Thank you very much for participating. Thank you very much.
14826 MR. FARMER: Thank you.
14827 THE CHAIRPERSON: That concludes our day of hearing, Madam Bénard.
14828 MS BÊNARD: Yes, it does, Madam Chair.
14829 THE CHAIRPERSON: And so I wish everybody a good evening and we will be back tomorrow morning at 9:00.
14830 Thank you very much, good night.
--- Whereupon the hearing concluded at 1648, to resume
on Friday, June 4, 1999 at 0900 / L'audience se
termine à 1648, pour reprendre le vendredi 4 juin
1999 à 0900